My Facebook is littered with memes about the Gorilla that was recently killed at the Cincinnati, Ohio zoo because a young child managed to find his way into the animal enclosure. While this is indeed a scary example of why having wild animals in such close proximity to humans is risky, people are up in arms on both sides of the issue.
In my opinion there is fault on both sides. Number one why were the parents not in more control of their son? My wife and I have raised two children and taken groups of children to the zoo before and have never had a problem. Number two, how in the world did a four year old defeat the zoo “security” fences. If a four year old can master this feat imagine what a field trip of Kindergartners might mean.
But I digress from the subject of my post. I am not breaking my own rule about choosing not to write about this type of event, I just had to get that five minute commentary out of my head so I can keep the other good stuff cooking. So why do I not join the masses in stuffing my pages with stories about Harambe, Cecil and Donald Trump? SEO, that is why.
What is SEO? Oh my word, if you are a blogger, even a semi-serious one you have to know about SEO. IT is short for Search Engine Optimization. Search Engine Optimization means that when you title your post you find the sweet spot as far as the way you attract people searching for your topic. One of the biggest keys to getting your previously posted work relevant is to write about topics that do not have a limited shelf life.
Think of the phrase “fifteen minutes of fame”. Sure Harambe and the Cincinnati Zoo are all the rage today, but who remembers when Cecil the Lion was shot by the dentist? It was a huge deal for a wek or maybe two, but now? Eh, we are a fickle lot. It doesn’t;t take much to wrench our attention away to something else.
You think Donald Trump has staying power? Only if he manages to win the 2016 election. Otherwise he will join Mitt Romney as a jeopardy politics trivia question answer. The same goes for Hillary Clinton. One of them will become irrelevant on November 9. Sure, plenty of words will be written between now and then about them, but I plan to keep collecting eye balls for my writing for years to come.
Okay I see you nodding your head and crossing your heart that you don’t care about how many visitors see your blog posts. You are fooling no one by claiming such. Anyone who writes does so with the desire to have their work read, enjoyed and followed. It is why Blogger, WordPress and other sites spend so much time quantifying your numbers for you.
The key to success is writing about “evergreen” topics. What is an evergreen topic, you ask? It is something people will search for on Google and every other search platform across the internet. My flagship evergreen post is one called Growing Wave Petunias. I posted it on May 19,2013. Since then it has collected 1,271 views. How do I know that? WordPress gives you this number in the data with the post.
Granted the interest in this post is heavily centered on the March to June timeframe, but I don’t know many people who will scoff at 12-20 visits for a post every day of the week. I also have two other posts that seem to have staying power, called The Best Annuals for Hanging Baskets, Part 1 and Part 2. While they aren’t gangbusters, it has taught me about how to title my posts.
Google, the authority of all things internet has SEO tools to help bloggers succeed in this never ending chase for viewers. One of my favorites is the Adwords site. If you want to see what people are searching for you can go to the site and type in your keywords and get the combinations most searched.
In my example I searched for homemade Christmas ornaments. It is no surprise the most interest for this topic is in October, November and December. You will also notice that the phrase Christmas ornaments gets a high amount of traffic. If you title your post with Christmas ornaments somewhere in it you are likely to see traffic.
Using another tool by Google I can prove the validity of Trump’s short shelf life unless he can mange to capture the keys to the Oval office. This chart shows the amount of interest in Trump from 2004 through today, June 3, 2016.
Here is the same analysis about The Force Awakens, the long awaited seventh chapter of George Lucas’ space odyssey.
I want my writing to stay relevant for longer than either of these two subjects. Unless I was to feature it on a subject specific blog, such as a movie review or television show review where it would be part of a larger collection and thus become more of a repository the idea is to make it open-ended in its appeal.
So I guess what I am saying is take Harambe, Cecil, Trump and all the others that fill up the 24 hour news cycle while I dig deeper for my evergreens!