Compelling content vs SEO

After reading an article last week on IFB, ‘SEO-friendly Basic Blogging Rules‘, I’ve been thinking about the impact of SEO on blogging, and how much bloggers really need to buy into it. Since the last month and a bit, my work life has been consumed with blogger research, and one of the main things I’ve been surprised to discover is how many great blogs are actually pretty difficult to find. But then is it more important to have poor SEO (and presumably remain on lower readerships) than to bastardise your writing with key word terms? Yes of course, if you’re blogging then you are writing for an audience, so how far should you go to make sure that you’re visible enough to get their attention?


SEO is one of those buzz terms that gets thrown about at the moment, and there’s no doubt about how vital it is that bloggers know how to market themselves. It’s not about creating a new identity for sole use online, or about turn your blog into a hub filled with paid links and sponsored posts. It’s about being able to make yourself visible to a wider audience. Now there are all kinds of good and bad articles I’ve read over the last few years and most of which offer pretty sound advice, IFB for instance wrote a good article on SEO tips a couple of years ago. Similarly, Catherine from The Spring Blog wrote a nice post with some great SEO tips. And while it’s great to be aware of all the ways you can make yourself visible (and by all means I think you should!), but if there’s one thing that irks me about it all it’s writing to a set of rules. Especially when the rules have little or nothing to do with writing.

To me, blogging started as an outlet to improve my writing rather than a means through which I could work on ticking boxes in order to climb up Google’s page rankings. By no means did I start a blog in the hope of getting free things, or being paid to write anything… and certainly for the first three years of blogging I didn’t receive any kind of privileges like that. What was (and still is) more important is developing my voice as a writer. I feel like it’s more important for me to be posting content that I’m actually interested in than churning out posts at a ridiculous rate that are filled with key words and read as though they’ve been copy and pasted from a press release. Likewise, the blogs I read are much more concerned with creating compelling and engaging content, which is why I continue to read. And while I try to incorporate a few tips from good SEO articles, I’m more concerned with creating posts that people will actually want to read. There are relatively easy tweaks to make, such as amending my blog title to become more descriptive and paying more attention to properly naming images and files, but I try to avoid using SEO style titles on my posts because I think it can make them sound flat. How about you, have you made many adjustments to try to improve your blog’s google ranking?


  1. January 31, 2013 / 12:42 pm

    I never use SEO – I always read those articles and think 'yeah I should totally incorporate that' but then it just goes out my head. And similarly to you I read blogs where I engage with the tone and style of the writing – not ones where everything is written in a SEO friendly way, so I don't want to write my blog a way that I wouldn't want to read for the sheer sake of google rankings. I suppose if your blog is your career then this stuff is all very important because it equals revenue but my blog is and always will be my hobby, I don't think I'd love it as much as I do if I did it for a living!

  2. January 31, 2013 / 10:35 pm

    For me content comes first. I read some amazing blogs that have 'bad SEO', but they still have a decent following and their blogs help their careers massively. If you write honestly and stay true then readers will find you and stay with you regardless of how high up you come in a google search!

    p.s. I hope everything is going well with the new job back in blighty!

  3. February 3, 2013 / 8:43 am

    great pics!

    Angela Donava

  4. February 12, 2013 / 11:59 pm

    SEO is a huge topic, There is so much I could write about it I don't know where to begin! 😀
    Titles of blog posts are the basic, and easiest way of making your blog better in terms of SEO. A good title is not only good for SEO but also good for someone reading, it gives them an idea of what the post is about.

    It is not about good content vs SEO…In fact, if you speak to anyone who knows about SEO a large number will use the phrase "content is king". Quite self explanatory, having good content will lead to better SEO.

    p.s. I've read those articles you posted a while back, I think they're quite poor :p

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