Year of Learning? The Pancake Rule
Blogging is one of the most popular methods to gain passive income. And SEO (search engine optimization), the traffic coming from Google and other search engines, is one of the most important parts of it. So, it is painful today to see some heavy SEO blogging errors I made. (And the low click-rate I’m still reaching by Google searches.)
Perhaps you have heard the pancake rule. It implies that the first pancake almost always ends up burnt, weirdly-shaped, and a failure.(Jeff Bullas)
I founded the site Turboyield.net almost a year ago (in September 2019), and Ageless Finance in January 2020. Ageless Finance. I noticed I made errors difficult to correct afterward. Maybe my first year will be partly lost, or be a year of learning and reading, rather than building a reader’s base, traffic. Let’s see the heavier mistakes I made in this 11 months:
1. Blogging SEO Error: I Didn’t Make This Five Years Earlier
In my readings about blogging SEO (search engine optimization), the first and more important on-page ranking factor is domain age or website age. It is almost impossible to rank on the first page of Google if your site doesn’t have at least some years of history. Or, better, five or ten. Brand new sites receive some penalty. Sites of six months or more have some chance, but the content must be super outstanding, on a very high level, and high-optimized for SEO. (More about the importance of the domain age here.)
2. Blogging SEO Error: I Didn’t Choose a Niche
I suppose all blogging SEO experts are recommending you to choose a profitable niche in the blogging sphere. That means a smaller topic, a tight industry branch, a sub-theme. In which you feel good and you are an expert. You can’t compete with companies and bigger blogger teams in a broader industry. Competition is very strong. People using search engines are looking for something specific. Some important information for them, special details on a topic.
Only A Few Are Coming Back
If you are writing about various themes, most readers won’t come back. Imagine you are writing about precious metal investments, 18th-century romantic oil paintings, and skateboards. People who find your page because of the precious metals will go away soon because they don’t look like paintings and skateboards. And other readers will not stay on your page because they were interested only in skateboards.
Too Many Topics?
Newbie bloggers like me need a small niche to keep readers. Everyone can have various hobbies. But who has the 3 or 4 specific ones just like you? The same ones you have? My site, Ageless Finance has too many topics. In the first 50 posts, it included personal finance, passive income, investing. Low and high-risk investments, interests, stocks, commodities, inflation, crisis, economy. I included “life hacking” productivity utilities (dictation, several other useful apps). Last time, I also wrote about cryptocurrencies. Way too much.
Most people aren’t interested in so many topics. There are complex and broader interest news and analysis sites, but not my site. People seeking news and general knowledge about finances will go to giants like Bloomberg.com, Cnnmoney.com, Yahoo Finance, etc. Or larger personal finance sites.
3. Blogging SEO Error: No Keyword in Domain Name
Another very important factor in on-page blogging SEO rankings was your keyword in your domain name. Also called EMD, “exact match domain”. The keyword in the domain name is the second most important factor in the list of Hookagency. (Read their comprehensive post about on-page SEO in 2020.) Others claim it’s not so important anymore, or may even have a negative effect. For example:
You do not get penalized just for having an EMD and in some cases, you will get a boost. However, for the larger part, using exact match domains is going to be like walking on thin ice and could make you very prone to Google penalties. (Search Engine Watch)
The One and Only Job
But the domain name is always orienting readers. They can decide in one second if the site is for them. So it seems to be an important marketing tool by “niche” blogs.
Your domain name has one job. When someone visits your website, your domain name must answer the following: “Is this site for me? Am I in the right place?”–wrote Smartblogger.com about domain names.
After choosing a profitable niche, choose your main keyword, for example, “gold buying”. That will be the keyword which–and variations of which–you will use the most on your page. For example, if you are writing about gold buying, include it in your domain name if possible. (Goldbuyingsecrets.com, goldbuyingtricks.com, goldbuyingideas.net, etc.) But it is a difficult task. All nice domain names are already taken.
Google prefers 1 comprehensive high-quality blog post over 100 thin contents! (The Blue Oceans Group)
If you don’t have the proper niche, you can’t choose the main keyword either. The same happens with AgelessFinance.com. Should I start various new websites? Or reorganize and develop the old one? A big dilemma.
4. Blogging SEO Error: Not Using My Real Name and Identity
Blogging experts say you have to use your real face. Smile nicely on the pictures, show your teeth. Fill your curriculum vitae with impressive professional details to gain the trust of readers. Finances are always about trust.
I know it is an error, but I can’t do it otherwise. My curriculum vitae is impressive, but I can’t use it. (I have some rigorous and unfriendly bosses and colleagues.) So, I’m losing the opportunity to share my posts on my real Facebook page, and missing hundreds of potential readers. Potential shares, comments, links of friends, and old professionals I know. (Shares and comments are important for SEO.) Maybe that will change one day and I can make the “coming out”. Make a transition between my real life and my now-secret cyber-life.
5. Blogging SEO Error: Too Many Efforts in Page Design?
I can spend hours playing around with WordPress blocks, pictures, effects, charts, lists to give my posts a nice look, a pretty design. Although, these efforts mean nothing for search engines, have no SEO value. Some people can appreciate this beauty, others, not. Most readers are searching for specific information on some topic and won’t care much about the design. Only about readability and effectiveness. Others, especially users with slow internet connections, may find it futile, because the page may load slower.
But possibly this error won’t stay an error, not forever. Google may appreciate these efforts one day. I see signs of it. In May 2020, Google announced changes in its algorithm. It’s about useability, unexpected movement of pages because of delayed loading of elements. It’s like page speed ranking but seems to be the first step to test layout.
Conclusion: Blogging SEO is a Long-Term Play
I suppose I have to re-think and re-organize a lot of things in my blogging activity. But the invested time and effort won’t be lost. I learned a lot in the last 11 months about SEO and blogging, and my English is getting better. Fortunately, I’m not in a hurry, I have my job as a journalist and analyst in a small country.
My life is writing, writing is my life. I will never stop it.
But I’d like to find a way to make it more profitable.
If you want to launch your blog, also read this quote:
If you need to generate income from your writing within the next 6 months, creating and growing a blog of your own is probably NOT your best option. The reason: It takes time to grow a popular blog. And sometimes you can’t wait that long. I certainly couldn’t. I initially supplemented my income by writing articles for OTHER sites. (Jon Morrow, Smartblogger.com, in an e-mail.)