SEO without an established brand is a waste of your time.

I know that I ramble a lot, so I am going to try to keep this brief.

First and foremost, if anyone doesn’t know, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of increasing the quality and quantity of website traffic by increasing the visibility of a website or a web page to users of a web search engine. 

In layman’s terms – SEO is trying to make your webpage appear at, or near the top, of google, bing, duckduckgo, etc… when people search certain terms.


SEO without an established blog and brand is a waste of your time.

But why?

Well, the idea of SEO is ranking your blog/website high on search engines so that when people search certain terms, your blog/website is one of the first things that they see. It’s the idea of gaining raw, organic traffic to your site.

But, and this is a big but, if your brand and blog are not established, what’s the point of ranking at the top of search engines? Heaven knows, if you actually write something that goes viral, without an established brand for your blog, people are going to accidentally stumble on your page, read only the searched term and leave.

Now, if you’re thinking ‘hey, at least I got that traffic!’ I would strongly recommend you readjust your thinking. Successful blogging involves building a community. You want readers to find your blog, read your blog, fall in love with your blog and want to come back. You want them to hit that follow button, like your posts, or submit their email address for subscriptions. Why? Because this is blog growth.

If you write something that does happen to go viral, you want people to read it and to want to come back. If your blog isn’t established, what are people coming back for?

I see a lot of bloggers feel the desire to jump on the SEO bandwagon right away. As much as I hate the statement, you really ought to learn to walk before you can run.

Build that blog. Create that community and that space which you’re damn proud of. Make it a place for people to come, fall in love with you, what you share and who you are. Make it yours. Design a layout. Talk about your passions. Make a safe space for thoughts, hopes and dreams, and everything that you love to write about.

Picture it like you’re building a house. Jumping on the SEO bandwagon before your blog and brand are built is like moving into your master bedroom when the roof hasn’t been put on the house.

SEO is a great tool, when you’re established. And when you’re established, it’s something that you’ll find a great deal of fulfillment in learning and trying to master. But, until you’re established with your blog, any of your posts ranking highly on search engines will likely garner only temporary attention. A day or two of a lot of a traffic might be exciting in theory, but in reality, it’ll show a fatal flaw in your blogging structure in that, you’ll be failing to keep any of that traffic as a piece to your community.

I’m not saying don’t ever establish SEO for your blog, I’m just saying that there are more important steps to establish first.

Build the blog (people will find you from WordPress during the process) then invite the people from the interwebs.

68 thoughts on “SEO without an established brand is a waste of your time.

    1. SEO is something you do, yourself, to try and make your blog posts more visible. It can be done whether your blog is free or you pay a million bucks for it. It’s strategic efforts to make your posts appear higher on search engine rankings

      Liked by 1 person

  1. By and large, people are lazy. Some will continue to try a short cut – even knowing this wisdom you’ve shared here – because building community takes a lot of time, patience and in most cases – talent – of one variety or another. Writing talent, marketing talent whatever, and talent has to be developed, seeds sown. So it’s like one of those things people know already. They’re left with 2 choices: do the work & make the sacrifices & develop skills, or forget about it.

    Liked by 5 people

      1. Well yeah, the other side of it, to be more positive, is there’s the people in the middle who just need inspiration and repetition of these things over and over again. Like maybe they need to read this kind of stuff many, many times and then a few years later take action. That happens too. So it’s not like it’s a bad thing. I guess I just like ripping on people’s laziness sometimes. I do abhor laziness, including in myself.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Oh, I’m the laziest person ever. But I like to think I know a thing or two about this stuff. And, even if it helps one person, then it serves its purpose, right?

        Liked by 3 people

      3. I’m not devaluing your post or debating anything. It more like a separate thought tangent about the nature of people. A little insomnia inspired. But now I’m feeling like I should have kept my mouth shut.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. It’s never a bad thing, but I think it’s something people try to jump into too quickly when it comes to blogging. If you’re the Nike’s of the world, SEO is great because your brand is established. But if you’re #MillennialLifeCrisis, it’s not going to do much good yet. You know what I mean?

        Liked by 1 person

    1. So true. That’s basically what business school is: Repeating common sense knowledge over and over until you actually start doing it!

      It’s amazing how much wisdom we already have but end up not following it because of emotional or temporary considerations.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Oh I wholheartedly agree. I spent four years at business school and I can think of entire courses that was literally just straight up common sense the professors were trying to drill into our brains. haha

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I agree that SEO shouldn’t be the focus early on. I am glad, though, that I started putting some of the foundations in place early on, like image alt text and internal linking, because it saved me from having to go back and do it all later when it got to the point where I did care about SEO.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. You’re right. There are some small steps that you can take in the beginning that will help you in the long run.

      I just get frustrated when I see people advocating for brand new bloggers to devote all their time to SEO. That’s my issues with people on twitter, lol. Sorry.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. One of the things about SEO (correct me if I am wrong) is that search engines have algorithms that tend to gravitate towards the more reputable brands. So, in a way, working on making sure your blog is well-established and reputable is by itself an important SEO tool.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Totally correct, by merely having consistent traffic of relevant users, you are building an SEO core. Search Engines’ top consideration comes from the links to your pages. If you are building a core of followers who actually like your material, they are more likely to link your website in a relevant context – this is SEO gold.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Short answer: Yes.

        Long answer: What we are calling “brand” here is referred to as “relevance” in the SEO industry. Much like a brand, this relevance tests how closely associated your site is with given concepts. For example if you were to type “soft drinks” Coke would be a very relevant brand to that keyword.

        The search engines use computers called “bots” to visit as many sites on the internet as they can find. These bots are very fast and create a catalog of all the sites they visit. They keep track of how often words and links are used. They create a map of what words and phrases appear to be associated with each other. For example, they might keep track of how “Coke” is mentioned or linked to in sites containing the phrase “soft drinks”. The higher the association between the terms, the higher Coke’s website will show up on the list when you type in “soft drinks”.

        Because bots visit WordPress, they are keeping track of how often your articles are mentioned by comments and other blogs. This is creating a relevance between your site and the terms that are mentioned when people talk about your articles.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Oh wow how enlightening! Thank you for taking time to explain. Beginning to make a little more sense.

        One last question. There is that thoery that if your blog is like blog name.wordpress.com it won’t do sro so well. But, from what you say that bot is looking for words in a blog post so then it doesn’t matter if you have a free wordpress account or paid?

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Hey I know this isn’t my convo and that it’s kind if been between the two of you (hope you go follow sapling too) but I just wanted to say a name.wordpress.com domain shouldn’t hurt you. So long as you’re not trying to artificially drive up the hits to your blog.

        Here a quote

        Google’s John Muller claims that the engine knows how closely subdomains and their domain are bounded. But technically they are different websites. Take the websites created as subdomains for .wordpress.org. It answers the question, whether a subdomain can harm your domain’s SEO. The answer is ‘no’ if you are playing fair.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. V, you are part of the conversation, we wouldn’t be talking about it if it weren’t for you 🙂.
        Thoughtsnlife, I think the reason someone told you that your name doesn’t help you is because your name probably isn’t associated with any one thing, so the search engines have nothing to go on. But as V noted, it’s not counting against you. It just doesn’t give you the head start. Eventually, as you build your brand, the engines will come to associate your name with what your blog is about.

        Like

    2. Yes. Listen to everything ‘SAPLING’ said.
      Organic traffic helps you in the long run with SEO and makes your site look more reputable and, therefore, valuable.

      Like

      1. Funnily enough, I have a post about blog monetization in my marketing category (on top menu) if you want to learn more about it. It talks about the kind of… money you can make (estimates) from hits.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I will check it out. Still a baby-tiny blogger and can’t manage to get my menu set up but will note it for future reference.

        Given that I’m a multi-media artist, one aspect of my work involves creating visual family trees using scrap glass & semiprecious gemstones (vastly scaled down site at SolCatchers.NET (I mentioned in your work theft post about another glass “artist” scooped the domain, name and even my font) so I point out it’s net, not com. I need to be able pull in relevant ads if I want to monetize it.

        Like

    1. I have a few in my drafts folder. I just tend to ramble so much that I take s while to actually post them because I try to spend a few days cutting out the rambling as much as I can.

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Sounds like you’re a very wise soul Jenni. How’s SEO working for you these days? How are your rankings? (If you feel okay with sharing. If it’s too personal, don’t share! I know some people are particular about their stats, I just know that sharing, if people read this comments, it might help them!)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m slowly progressing. I’m still working on my keyword understanding and everything with how to increase my sessions. Since I’ve starting going back and looking over older posts and formatting for SEO, my daily average views has gone from 18 to 120 in these last few months. Other than that, I try not to stress the numbers too much yet. It’s a learning process, for sure.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. I’m definitely trying. It’s cringe worthy seeing my older posts, but I love seeing my growth. Poor SEO before or not, building that foundation with my readers was the most important for me.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. As a beginning blogger, more than a little intimidated by the concept of SEO, meta tags, it is reassuring to me that, as I start blogging, it’s ok if I don’t do all those things and do them correctly. I’ve got a bunch of SEO classes ready to take but I really like the idea of being able to focus on my voice, my content, my connections to other bloggers before having to also worry about SEO. Yes, I know categories and navigation are important but content is king and it takes the pressure off a bit knowing it’s ok, if not better, to produce quality content and worry about the rest later. It also seems to me that the SEO will begin to form somewhat organically as one’s voice becomes more focused and content more compelling.

    Like

    1. Look into SEO with time. A lot of youtube videos, twitter threads, and even a lot of blog posts, promote SEO right away, and it’s just not… worth devoting all your time and efforts there. You can start small and do little things. But these videos and threads are encouraging people to spend hours and hours and hours on it. It’s crazy!

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      1. No – no intention on spending a whole lot of time on it until my umbrella site is done. I have 3 distinct lines of art, customization pages, galleries and so on. Oh, and my blog.😳 So I will build in what’s quick and easy and do more later. I was paying my hosting company to do SEO for me. Got hits, no sales. No more paying hosting company.

        Like

  5. Jenni, another great post and food for thought. I don’t get the basic when it comes to seo. I think if I get found on a search engine it is sheer luck and no proper knowledge of seo. Do you have a post on the basic requirement for seo? I understand it keywords, holding, underline words, and links to other posts.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m not sure if this comment was for me or for Jenni above, but if it was for me, then I’m answering. haha

      Honestly, it’s an extremely convoluted subject. There isn’t really a ‘one size fits all’ answer for every blog or website. I think perhaps one day I’ll do a ‘basics’ for the bare basics people can start implementing into the every day. But it would be bare basics, because genuinely, I don’t want to waste anyone’s time trying to pretend it’s a ‘must do’ to be a successful blogger. Because you can definitely be successful without it.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. SEO is pointless. It’s snake oil sales. I know somebody that works for an SEO company – over dinner one time I had to keep my mouth shut, when he admitted to having programming to spin up networks of websites to invent link farms. Good content should always win out – and the search engines are beginning to use AI to find it directly, instead of taking any notice of the wider network. It’s no accident that emotional reactions to text are the first big AI projects going public – determining sentiment, quality, and so on.

    Like

  7. I usually tell my clients whenever I build their websites that SEO isn’t a quick fix that will make your website go straight to number 1 on the search engines. It takes time, plenty of dedication and being able to reach out to your audience in an honest manner. I really love what you wrote in the article 🙂

    Like

  8. Hi, That is really awesome to find your blog. I was really looking for SEO Articles. I am currently on Premium package at WordPress.com. I want to improve its SEO but I can’t install Plugins. any Good Suggestions for my blog. It is on inspiration and motivation.
    https://idealinspiration.blog is the blog link.
    Regards
    Rising Star

    Like

  9. You’re absolutely right, marketing a brandname is a most. Also, I always include a myriad of keywords in my posts including misspellings of keywords. Please let me know if you accept guest posts? Wishing you a wonderful day!

    Like

    1. Sometimes I do. I get a lot of requests for guest posts but they’re from a lot of people who’s topics really don’t align with this blog and my goals for it. If you want to email me and ask and share what you might be interested in writing a guest post about, I’d be happy to let you know if I would consider that or not.

      Liked by 1 person

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