13 July 2007

SEO -- Oh, no!

Most jobless moms have had this thought: "Maybe there is something I can do from home to earn a little extra cash." Since I like to write, I thought maybe I could write short articles or blog for money. How hard could it be?

Oh, boy. Writing for sites like Associated Content is more complicated than I thought. Apparently there is this thing called search engine optimization (SEO). As far as I can tell, what it means is that an author has to try to use popular search terms in her article so that the article will show up on the first page of results when someone does a search. You also have to pick a topic that hasn't been explored to death or there will be too many search results and your article will be lost in the crowd. Do a search and you will find all these guidelines about where the words should appear in the article and how long the article should be. It makes my head swim.

Creating a blog and adding Adsense or an affiliate program is even more confusing. All the advice about blog names, keywords, and ad placement sent me into a panic. It took me over a week just to come up with a name for my book review blog. I've moved the ads three times already. All the fuss about the setup is keeping me from actually reading any books!

Yesterday, I wrote an article and submitted it to Associated Content. I thought I did a pretty good job of using the proper amount of keywords and keeping the article to the optimum length. This morning, I found an article on the same topic on a different site. It was much better than mine and used all the ideas that I left out of mine because I was trying to stick to the length that is supposedly best for getting picked up by search engines. I was so bummed because I could have written a better article if I hadn't been worrying about SEO.

This is what inspired yesterday's poem. The writing is difficult enough for me. The business of making my writing pay is downright paralyzing. I'm beginning to think that this isn't the gig for me. I am still going forward with my plan to create a few different blogs and monetize them, but I can't let myself get sucked into the whole optimization trap. A blog is nothing without good content, and that is what I want to focus on.
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