Sam is staring at the laptop monitor with a blank expression on his face. His mind though is in turmoil. He can’t understand why after several months of backbreaking work, his blog is still not making a dime.
Nothing is obviously wrong with his blog. It is well designed. It loads fast; it has all the right plugins and security features. And most importantly of all, the blog is filled with pages after pages of unique and quality content.
All the good things he had read about blogging were turning out to be a personal nightmare in reality.
He decided to Google, ‘How to make money from a blog Nigeria‘. The results were overwhelming. He opted to go through them all. At the end, he was left even more confused than when he started.
Apparently, he is not doing something known as ‘Search Engine Optimization’ or SEO correctly. And all the SEO experts had something to say about it.
So he decided to take the plunge a talk to some SEO experts in Nigeria. His advert on a popular Nigerian forum elicited several responses.
All of them promised to ‘rank‘ his blog if he hired them. They promised to get him the traffic he needed and ultimately converting that traffic to money once visitors clicked on the Google ads on his blog. The promised him the world.
This was the beginning of a new nightmare for Sam. The promised of traffic didn’t materialize after one SEO expert after another who had impressive pitches as their common denominator. They could sell sand to a wretched man living in the desert.
He was helpless in their hands as they demanded money for one SEO service or another. He stopped using them after 4 months when he had no more money to pay. He still wasn’t making money from his blog.
Sam’s story is similar to many others in the blogosphere in Nigeria. Every year, thousands of new blogs are registered and launched online. Most of them go bust after one year. Only a tiny fraction survive into the second year.
Blame that on the hype generated over the success of older blogs and Internet marketers masquerading as SEO experts. These SEO experts are the ones who would convince some wide-eyed, naive person to invest in a blog because, ‘It is easy and you’ll make money working just 30 minutes daily.’
Blogging is not easy. You would work more hours than the regular 9-5 worker. And there is no guarantee money would be made after working hard.
SEO Experts’ winning pitches
But how do this SEO Experts convince naive bloggers to invest money on their expertise?
1. They’d make your blog rank on Google: That is one of the vaguest statements ever. They get away with it because people assume wrongly that ‘rank’ in Google means the first page on Google.
Virtually every website ranks on Google. But only a few appear on the first page. The first page though is the most important.
Even sites on the second page don’t attract that much traffic through search engines because hardly anybody bothers to read beyond the first page.
2. Your blog would appear on the first page: these ones are specific with their promise. But promising you first page is just like handing you the keys to the Central Bank’s vault.
Truth is, Google would rather push older, well-established blogs to the first page than the new ones just finding their feet.
3. Keyword research: this goes hand in hand with Google rankings according to the SEO experts.
Keyword research is such a subjective process that all the keywords softwares sold out there give different results. Naturally, each software claims they are the best.
Because keyword research is at best confusing, SEO experts pitch long and hard on how they can generate specific keywords that would help you get to Google first page.
It sounds impressive but it is a sham. You are unlikely to get anywhere with just the right keywords.
Maybe back in the day when search engines were just starting out, stuffing your website with keywords would get you the desired result. It is different today.
Google, by far the dominant search engine in the world, is constantly evolving to make searching for information a worthwhile experience for users around the world.
The algorithm has gone through several upgrades from panda, to penguin and hummingbird. The net effect of all these is that the old methods don’t work anymore as they used to.
The focus is on giving users the best content available in search results at any point in time.
So the question now is, what works and what doesn’t?
The bad news first. There is no magic formula. The good news is you can make it in blogging without wasting money on SEO experts.
The ‘how’ would be explained in the next article of these series.