The Cold Hard Truth About SEO

Oh boy are we gonna have fun today! In short, I’m going to tell you the details I recently found out about search engine optimization and then come up with a flimsy excuse to explain away why I’m too lazy to do it. Let me set the scene:

sora-no-game-no-life

check it out

From time to time, I will stumble upon one of your wonderful posts that lays out how the author is deeply disappointed or dissatisfied with their blog’s stats. At which point said stats are usually given out and explained, and I get to feel pretty silly indeed for not only being happy with, but occasionally even proud my stats which are almost always objectively worse than the ones discussed in the post.

This is a me problem. Because my blog has no particular goal, I often long for some clear indicators of progress. Stats is an obvious one. So in those times , I’ll get little bursts of energy and actively try to make my blog…*better???*. The last of these escapades lead me to read up on SEO in 2019 and how to Master it. What I found out was a little depressing. Not in that it was depressing in and of itself but because I’ve pretty much been doing everything wrong.

First the good news though. There are a few SEO techniques that are fairly easy and you could do right now if you wanted to. Here are some websites with easy tips and tricks.

It’s not all bad. In fact none of it is bad at all. It’s simply a little disheartening to me as it told  me that my approach to blogging was all wrong from the start.

anime depressed

no big deal…just a thousand posts to redo….

The first thing to understand is that all these guides and articles are meant to teach you how to create a *successful* website, and success on the internet is measured first and foremost by number of views. Not followers (subscribers), not likes or comments nor even recognition from the community. All those are ultimately just a means to get more views.  It is true that a high follower count is still very attractive to potential investors and advertiser’s, which is the perceived end goal of all these guides. However, this is more and more discounted if the views don’t follow but it is a nice starting point.

This is where one of the oldest WordPress tricks comes in: The Follow for Follow. As I said follower count is not as important as it use to be but it’s not completely meaningless either. And on this platform (due to the reader app), it’s a quick way to up your reach.

On the surface Follow for Follow makes perfect sense. If someone is following my blog and consistently reading my posts, in all likelihood we have some things in common. They are paying attention because they like my sense of humor or my ideas on certain subject or we simply have similar tastes. It’s only natural that I would want to see what they post. In practice this becomes quickly unviable as reading thousands of posts a day is simply not possible for most of us. The smart way to capitalize on this is to get in at the ground floor. If you read a lot of blogs you may eventually notice how some bloggers are very quick to follow new blogs and they will like all the posts for a little while then move on to the next new blog. This is very effective as you won’t get buried under a slew of other followers and new bloggers are so excited about any interaction that they are much more likely to follow you right back. And don’t get me wrong, I think it can be beneficial. Any encouragement you give a new blog is extremely helpful even if you’re not planning on sticking around.

Now this isn’t exactly SEO. It’s just a little WordPress trick some people use. I just wanted to throw it in here because the reader app can be considered a sort of search engine. It also serves to illustrate the difference between building a community and growing a blog. They simply aren’t the same thing and you can’t expect to go about it in the same way. For one, if you ever want a *lucrative* blog, you have to eventually accept that your readers are either your customers (Patreon, Kofi, ect), your product (if you are selling advertising space on your blog or doing sponsored posts) or both.

anime girl confused

this blows my mind too

But back to SEO. Pretty much every article I read indirectly confirmed that writing about what you want to write about may seem poetic but it’s just not all that effective. If you want to get people to your blog, you need to write about what they want to read. Basically, once you’ve chosen your general field of interest (i.e. anime), you should use one of the dozens of available services out there to figure out what people are searching for in relation to said field. These platforms will generate lists of relevant keywords ranked by popularity.

Careful now, you can’t just pick the most popular one and call it a day. It’s great that a billion people are searching “anime girl” but if there’s already a quadjillion pages on the subject, you’re still not gonna get hits. You have to balance out the popularity of any given keyword with the competition for it.

Once you’ve chosen your keyword, put it everywhere. In your tags, your pic descriptions, your title and sprinkle it throughout your post. And keep doing that with multiple posts until you reach page 1 of Google results. Then move on to subjects closely related enough to still use it in your tags and so on. After all, few professional writers can actually choose their subjects. Passion may make for good writing but you gotta learn to generate it on command.

anime bored

I love that I found this image by searching for “anime passion”

Another common tip I saw was “links not likes”. From what I understood, this means that although engagement may feel personally rewarding and likes and comments do have a small influence on search engine results, they are much less important than having another site link back to yours. This really tells those googlebots that your blog is relevant and high quality.

In other words, as far as Google is concerned, an insightful essay which prompts 100 comments is fine but an “award” post with 20 nominees of which 10 link back to you, is absolutely amazing! This is a big part of the reason so many “award” and tag post creators insist that everyone link back to their blogs.

You may have noticed that I have yet to talk about actual content. This is because it sadly doesn’t matter. Obviously interesting well written posts are what is going to keep people coming back to your blog, but it’s not necessarily what’s going to make them discover it. Really the only content tips I could find was use pictures, write longer posts and whenever possible include videos. That’s really all the search engine cares about. Besides finding your key words of course.

The few pages I found with any general content suggestions told me to keep the language simple (use small words), break up long paragraphs and don’t advertise too much in my posts. Beyond that, I’m free to publish any nearly readable garbage I like!

anime pandora device

you asked for it

Before you get the wrong idea, none of these tips are bad and they don’t prevent anyone from creating a wonderful and entertaining blog. It’s just that writing great posts and getting lots of views are two different things that require different steps. One won’t necessarily bring about the other or imply it in any way.

And did I mention I’m lazy? I am. I barely have time and inspiration to keep up with the blog as is. Requiring that I do research and write posts on imposed topics. Multiple posts at that. Is a quick way to burn me out. I will try to tag my pics more often but for the rest, the SEO game is a bit much for me right now.

If I ever find any easy magic SEO tricks that I can do without too much extra effort, I will do it and I’ll make sure to tell you all about it. Or you can tell me about it!

glasslip-11-hina-listening-hand_to_ear-cute

Irina

I'm much nicer than I seem, we should be friends!

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44 Responses

  1. MySocialGod says:

    One of the worst enemy of a blogger is laziness aha!

  2. Good article, Seo can be really tricky. I just did a review of the software Im currently using. Its real newbie friendly but gets Pro results.

  3. YumDeku says:

    I honestly just do the best I can on the topic am writing on searching for keywords on topics you have no interest in is a hard sell for me lol.

  4. Lumi says:

    SEO is boring but practical to me. I get how helpful it is, but it’s so……..limiting.

    I like talking the way I always do,not like some informative robot.

  5. crazyidiot78 says:

    Wish I had read this before i started blogging animescience101

  6. Dawnstorm says:

    How many people stay after a search engine hit, I wonder? It’d be interesting to have numbers on that (in comparison with word-of-mouth, or other ways people find a blog). What I know about the topic fits on a quark and probably wouldn’t even influence it in any way.

    Also, I’m sure actual anime names help, too, so this seems to be a perfect time to play the screenshot guessing game:

    No Game No Life – Black Rock Shooter – Bimbougami ga – Kyoukai no Rinne – Koukaku no Pandora – Glasslip

    There’s a sex-sells trend in the comments, so it’s sort of embarrissing to admit that my favourite anime among those is… Koukaku no Pandora.

    • Irina says:

      everyone loves robots…right?

      • Danwstorm says:

        This particular model is a cat girl maid combat all-purpose robot, who was entrusted to one of the few sucessful full-body cyborgs teenage girls by the mad scientist after she died uncharacteristically heroically and characteristacally suspiciously. They’ll be able to take down the show’s villain, because he thinks he’s in a shounen fighter and didn’t bank on everyone else being completely nuts. It wasn’t a popular show, but it had its fans. It’s pretty much what except from a collaboration of the guy behind Excell Saga and the guy behind Ghost in the Shell (the source material, that is).

  7. Fred Heiser says:

    Always include plenty of keywords and pics involving nudity. You will have a massive number of views years later it may not be the audience you want but views are views, right?

  8. Shokamoka says:

    To hell with that. I am a simple man who enjoys writing out simple things!

    To me one reader is beyond godsend. I only need an ear to my rambles!

  9. Pete Davison says:

    Hi Irina this was a great advice tutorial writing #amwriting information instructions blog blogging blogger post article entry weblog on the subject of SEO search engine optimisation metrics numbers analytics performance for Google search engine Yahoo Altavista Ask Jeeves duckduckgo web portal world wide web WWW anime girl hot tiddies boobs hentai manga doujin doujinshi eroge nukige sex.

    Just doing my part to help your rankings. 🙂

  10. Arthifis says:

    Great post Irina, but I have to say that you are wrong in some parts… Content matter and a lot!

    It’s true that keywords are important (that’s how googlebot knows what you are talking about), but don’t be misled… Keywords are having less and less impact when it comes to SEO.

    At the moment, Google cares more about the engagement and time spent reading than keywords which makes sense, since that’s what is going to tell if your post is interested to the people who are reading it. So, yeah, putting a clickbait title with the keywords will just help you so far.

    Basically, for me, SEO is basically good writing practices to have in your blog.

    Let’s start with writing.

    Your sentences should not be too long. Your paragraphs should not be too long. You should have images/titles between paragraphs.

    Now, that’s not really about SEO, it’s about making it easy for the reader to read. If you just bulk a post with 700 words paragraphs, I’m pretty sure everyone will grow tired in the middle of it… But, that’s true not only for blogging, but for books as also.

    Now, keywords.

    Yes, it makes sense that you need to use the right keywords… But isn’t that how it works on life? I mean, if you go buy a book, you will go to the section of the genre you want to read.

    So, keywords work like that. If you are reviewing an Anime and you never speak the name of it once, of course no one is going to find it on the huge library called Internet (Unless you already have a huge community following you that is)

    The same goes for the pictures. Every picture you post will appear on Google’s library of images… If you don’t put what the image is about, of course Google will never show your image to anyone xD

    When it comes to general keywords as you talked about, well those don’t work… at all. Of course your post is not going to appear on the first page if your keyword is “anime”… We have huge companies which specialize in Anime, and they are going to first… Always.

    Generic keywords should be seen as the general keyword for your site. If your site is all bout anime girls, then it makes sense for you to curate your posts to have those words. However, for a stand alone post you need to be more specific.

    So, if you are doing a Goblin Slayer First Impressions, you need to have that written at least in your title and that is going to be your main keyword. The generic word Anime will never show your Goblin Post… Maybe Anime blog, but even so, it’s not going to be that easy.

    Last, but not the least, Content

    More than ever, Google gives more importance if the content you are putting out is interesting than just taking into account your keywords.

    The way they see that is the time spent on your page and link clicks. Which, if we think about it, makes sense. If you have a link to another post from your website in the article and people click, Google will see your site/blog as something that was enough catchy to make people read other stuff from you.

    When it comes to time spent on your page, well, unless you have good content, nobody is going to stay much time on your page. The same goes if you use misleading titles to get more views… People hate to be clickbaited, and if that happens, what they will do is just click away.

    So, more than ever, content is of the utmost importance. The same goes to writing in an easy and engaging manner.

    Just one last note, it really doesn’t mean you are going to stop writing about what you want. It’s true that, if you want to have more traffic you need to write what other people are looking for… That’s how you reach a market… In any kind of industry, not just blogging 😛

    However, if you are in a niche that you love (such as Anime) then you just need to take into mind what is happening around what you are writing. Of course that, if you do a Naruto review today, when there are so freaking many posts already out there which had time to rank on Google, your post will not appear. However, if you go for a detail which people are looking for and not finding it, that’s the perfect way to shine.

    I’ll give you an example, for Gotoubun first episode review. I knew that I wanted to review the first episode. I went and tried to find out what people were looking about this Anime which was who Fuutarou was going to marry.

    So, what I did was to have a part talking about that and gave my opinion/theory in who is going marry him. If you look for “Who is going to marry Fuutaru” in Google, my post appears first than posts from sites like Cruncyroll

    Do you know how many times did I use the keyword “Who is going to marry Fuutaru”?, probably one. And then I ended up having some keywords similar to that, not because I put it them for SEO, but because it made sense with the article I was writing. So, yeah content matters a lot xD

    I wrote something I was interested in and I gave the public what they wanted at the same time. But, I made sure the content was good. Which I think it is since I’m getting comments from random people on the internet giving their own opinion and theories about the subject.

    So, yeah, it’s difficult and takes some time, but it’s in fact quite interesting (at least for me) to be able to write what I want to write, while at the same time connecting what other people are looking for 🙂

    Sorry, for the long post, but I wanted to make sure you understood how SEO works since the sites you have looked up are probably not the best way.

    Remember, to have good SEO you need to write for people, not for Googlebot ^^

    • Irina says:

      I think we may be differentiating between content and structure.
      I really beleive that just because search engins haven’t picked up your post doesn’t mean you’re a bad writer. I’ve read some incredable articles that seem to have gone completely ignored. Witty and brilliant in thesis but without any key words or engin flattering structure. Maybe I’m wrong and what I think are really well written posts, aren’t. That’s also an option. But since it’s subjective then I would figure the same ambiguity ould flow over to the algorythms.

  11. Love it! Thanks for the excellent advice!

  12. Yomu says:

    The EAT Monogatari blog… currently on haitus… actually gets extremely good SEO for Monogatari searches. I’ve searched several keywords and it consistently gets 1st or 2nd page google results. As a result it’s getting ~30 search engine clicks per day, resulting in 30+ views per day, despite no actual likes / comments on anything.

    I’m not sure how it ended up so good in google’s eyes, but I guess the fact that the entire blog is dedicated to Monogatari has something to do with it. Our two best posts on the blog are from people searching “kaiki deishu” (pg 1 google results for me) and “monogatari watch order” (pg 2 google results). But I’ve checked a bunch of other keywords, like certain characters and whatnot, and they consistently show up within the first couple of pages on Google.

    Not sure how this info could be used my blog or yours though.

    • Arthifis says:

      Hey Yomu, just a small advise 😛 When you are looking something on Google it takes into account what you look for, so if you go to the EAT Monogatari website many times, it’s normal that it will appear in an upper 😉

      To make sure what page rank you are you should do a google search with the private thingy on (I’m not sure how you say it in English) but that one where when you browse something there is no registry created 😛

      • Yomu says:

        Yeah the results I mentioned are with private mode on. I’m sure it depends on country or something if you aren’t getting similar results.

        • Arthifis says:

          I’ll take a look xP but if you used private mode then it should be the same more or less eheh some people forget that small step that’s why I commented eheh
          Great job by the way! 👌

          • Yomu says:

            No worries. It’s just funny cause the Monogatari blog is getting about 1000 views per month from only search engines. Makes me wish I could have some of that on my main blog haha.
            I think being a niche, and having “monogatari” in the url as well as plastered all over the website helped it get to where it is. No new posts in many months but still tons of views.

            • Arthifis says:

              Having the name on it helps for sure 🙂 That’s why the url of your website is so important (and why you will see many domains for sale)

              However, it also has some problems. If you use a domain that is only for the Monogatari series, then you should only write about that series. The same way if you call your blog top10Anime you shouldn’t really start doing reviews (unless it is some sort of Top 10 things I liked about x Anime)…

              But, there are other things that enter in the mix. Number of pages a user reads in one sessions, the average time users spend on the website… All of that counts for ranking higher in Google 🙂

            • Yomu says:

              I looked at your other comment here too, very interesting stuff. Thanks for all the info!

    • Irina says:

      That’s great! So consistent posting isn’t that important it seems!

  13. I get the feeling that what you found out left you feeling a little dejected? The more I studied SEO, the more depressing it felt to me…

    That was about 20 years ago, actually. A lot of advice has come and gone. I’ve watched Google actually make changes to exclude advice they thought gamed their system. So much so that I take most SEO recommendations with a dash of salt.

    Right now, I rely on three sources:

    Google itself for general advice (https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/7451184?hl=en)

    Problogger for specific advice

    Seth Godin for philosophical advice

    The latter just might be the most important, because most of what Google recommends (aside from the purely technical material) boils down to good content. Arthifis’ comment has a lot of good, concrete examples that are consistent with what Google recommends, and I know some of those ideas work because they’ve helped my site.

    I mean, who knew naming images mattered? I didn’t until I read one of Arthifis’ posts on the topic.

    SEO can get people to your site for the first time, and good writing will keep them coming back. I know it’s not really as simple as that, but I like it as a rule of thumb!

    I just the idea that some of that advice is so depressing in terms of emphasizing good content. I think in the long run, this blog’s content will draw consistently improving traffic with or without SEO — and I think that traffic is from folks who will come back because of the content.

  14. Cactus Matt says:

    I’ve found that putting the words “uncensored” and “nudity” on picture captions has helped immensely in having consistent traffic to certain reviews. My episodic reviews of High School DxD, Senran Kagura and My Sister, My Writer still get hundreds of views every month based solely on that and nothing to do with the content of my review. So I guess that’s a tip for anyone who wants lots of views for the wrong(?) reasons!

    • Arthifis says:

      Fanservice is other one that works great xD (Although make sure to have some kind of fanservice in there hahaha)

    • Irina says:

      I get that tip a lot. It seems some people use the internet for unsavory endeavors. Who knew?

    • Pete Davison says:

      Just checked my search terms and I’m disappointingly short on pervy search terms, considering I have frequently written about games with boobs and willies in them. That is, aside from an occasional “[game name] hentai”. Well, that and “honey select”, which is consistently at the top of my post rankings and has been ever since I wrote it.

    • AK says:

      I absolutely believe this. One of the best-performing articles I’ve ever written has a screenshot of Persona 3 Portable’s female main character in a bikini and “fanservice” in the caption. More of that is what I need to really succeed at writing.

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