SEO Tips For the Uninitiated

When’s the last time you thought about SEO?

(I mean, except for right now. I can guarantee you’re thinking about SEO right now. Or, if you’re like me, SEO and pizza.)

I once kept the words “update SEO” on a to-do list for three solid months. And then I still didn’t update my SEO.

The truth is that when it comes to SEO, most of us have no idea what we’re doing. We’re vaguely aware that we need to put important search words in our blog post titles. We’re also aware that we need to educate ourselves on how SEO works, which is why I recently read Naomi Dunford’s SEO School and learned a few extra tips like how to add search keywords to imagetags.

But I still don’t feel like I know what I’m doing. I mean, even if I put “best freelance writer” in every blog post title on my website, creating brilliantly awkward posts like “Pacific Rim Does Not Pass the Bechdel Test, As Written By The Best Freelance Writer,” I still don’t show up in the top Google searches for “best freelance writer.” Isn’t that how SEO is supposed to work?

The other tricky part is that SEO keeps changing. Google introduced a search algorithm called Google Panda in 2011, then updated it to an algorithm called Google Penguin in 2012. (I look forward to someone announcing Google Porcupine in fourth quarter 2013.) Memorizing all of the Google SEO rules is hard enough — and that doesn’t even take into account all the other search engines out there, like… um… Bing.

Annie’s given us the tough love about SEO before, which is that search engines don’t care about us at all. You could in fact be the world’s best freelance writer, could cover your blog with pictures of your cat with tags that read “the world’s best freelance writer’s cat,” and Google still wouldn’t pay any attention to you. In the great search engine of life, you’d be on the fifth page.

Unless, of course, you hire help. Remember: even if you are a freelance solopreneur who handles everything about her business, down to the graphic design and the quarterly taxes, it’s okay to hire help. (I hired help 5 minutes ago, when I wrote that sentence about wanting pizza and then promptly hired someone to make me a pizza and deliver it to my apartment. Since I’m writing you at the same time, it counts as a business expense. Probably.)

What I mean to say is this: even if you are the best freelance writer in the world, you’re not going to be able to master SEO on your own. It just doesn’t work that way. You need to pay someone to read SEO School and actually understand what it says, or do to the research to learn the latest Google Penguin updates. The firm 29 Prime even has expertise in video SEO, to which I say wait even VIDEOS have SEO now???!!!

In short: you need someone to update your website’s SEO on a quarterly basis, and you need to pay that person well, so you can go back to your business of being a successful entrepreneur.

I hope I have helped you seriously think about how to handle your website’s SEO. I also hope that you hire SEO help this week, instead of putting it on the to-do list for the next three months. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to spend some quality time with my dog, eating freshly delivered pizza.

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