Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is a complicated mess. If you want to stay at the top of your game, you need to hyper-optimize everything. You need the perfect keywords, you need to fulfill all of Google’s ever-changing criteria and more. Actually good SEO can genuinely cost you hundreds or even thousands. Not just in advertising and adwords, but also manpower and upkeep. Not only are you fighting Google and search engines to be seen, but you’re also fighting literally every other website on the internet.
It’s a huge amount of work, for very slow results.
However, when it comes to free options? There’s… I want to say there’s plenty of options, but I’ve never really known if they work or not. There’s SEO companies, plugins and services featuring squirrels, rockets and more. All of them offer a rather basic free package and constantly trying to sell a premium version. One of the more common free options is Yoast SEO for WordPress. And it’s no exception when it comes to up-selling.
However, Yoast SEO, despite its annoying popups, shows the green dot of SEO goodness.
Okay, it’s not really called that. It’s actually called a readability score. Make sure you tick all these boxes, and your articles are easier to read and thus more easily picked up by search engines. Honestly? Most of the suggestions are kinda fine. Using sub-headings helps space things out, and it’s useful to not make paragraphs too long. But the tips are often context-free. Some articles ARE going to be harder to read because they’re niche – after all, a Flesch Reading Ease test is going to judge all articles the same, even when they’re not. An in-depth scientific article, an article about damage calculations in Warframe and a listicle about cute cats are all judged the same way.
The green dot of SEO also heavily scrutinizes any paragraphs that start with the same few words and gets pissed off if you don’t use transition words. Heavens forbid you start a sentence with “I” more than twice in a row- that causes the readability score to immediately drop to red.
For some reason though, there also seems to be a massive hatred of Passive Voice. And I can’t work out why. According to this crap, anything over 10% passive voice is bad? Screw that.
But despite the green dot, I don’t think it’s actually helped that much.
Sure, I’ve seen some increase in views. But the visible increases started long after I started following the readability rules.
You see, all these grammar rules miss out one key thing. People have to actually want to read your article. To put it another way, I could go on until the cows came home, talking about how the Toa Nuva are actually a pretty shitty Toa team. Or how Mesa Prime’s butt isn’t really that impressive. But no one really wants to read that.
In fact, looking at our stats, you can kinda see where everything started turning upwards: when everyone first went into lockdowns across the planet, we got a bump in viewership. But we’ve also seen bumps whenever we’ve tickled the SEO beast just right: writing an article that people want to read. My original article about the GO Battle League sucking still regularly gets views, despite it being only mostly still accurate. And every nude article aabicus writes seems to cause a boost as well.
Really though, SEO is mostly about luck.
There are THOUSANDS of blogs out there for video games alone. Heck, even articles about the GBL and nude mods aren’t that uncommon. What brings you to the Daily SPUF instead of any other site is mostly at the whim of search engines.
At the end of the day, we’re all at the mercy of search engines and their algorithms, which show us what they think we want to see. No matter how green or red my dot of SEO goodness is.
But SEO companies are at their mercy as well, also bending to their every whim.