Saturday, July 25, 2009

Why you can learn too much about SEO

In any field the more you learn about something, the better you get at it. That's satisfying, of course, and enjoyable. But there is a downside: Knowing too much about something can make it seem like hard work!

Here's an example: In the past, when I started blogging I just did it solely because it was fun. I didn't have much of a clue as to whether my approach to it was right or wrong. Thankfully, I was doing two things in particular that were beneficial: writing often and commenting on other blogs. So before too long I had accumulated quite a bit of content on my first blog and a few good backlinks here and there. (These were mostly from the bloggers who had seen me commenting repeatedly and had put a permalink to my blog in the sidebar.)

I just kept chipping away at it, and gradually became curious about the nuts and bolts of blogging. I'm no Darren Rowse, of course. But I have amassed quite a bit of knowledge now. That means that when I post I'm mindful of SEO aspects - keywords in titles, for instance. (That's not something I spend much time investigating; I'm just aware of it so that it might help draw more traffic.) What I've found is that this awareness has complicated the experience and therefore diminished the enjoyment a little.

The process is a bit like what happens to a film buff who becomes a writer/director. In the beginning, he just loves watching movies. He gets caught up in the world on the screen and has a great time. Then he decides he wants to write and direct films himself. So he gets comprehensive training, making several films in his course. After that he can never look at a film in the way he used to because he keeps seeing the craft. It doesn't mean that he can't enjoy them at all; he's just lost his innocence (for want of a better word). The simplicity, or purity of his original experience has gone.

That may not be the best analogy to use when talking about the journey bloggers go through since they were writing from the start as opposed to reading them, then writing them! But they do go through a similar journey, I believe.

Basically, bloggers run the risk of becoming too constantly aware of what they're doing, rather than just doing it! That's why I think it's worth taking a break from learning about (and consciously applying) various blogging techniques and simply writing about your passion. By doing this you can let the stuff you have learned become second nature, while still enjoying the process.

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