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You are definitely forgiven if you never heard of the term SEO.
Before I became a blogger, on my 47th birthday, I had no clue what SEO was.
Getting high marks with SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is the holy grail for bloggers or anyone else in the digital world.
In the blogosphere digital currency is measured in pageviews.
Pageviews are the lifeblood for a website’s success.
After all, you can have the most incredible, informative, articulate message to share with the world but if no one visits your site it makes no difference.
Pageviews also allow you to monetize your website as sponsors will pay a premium to display ads that are being witnessed by 100s of thousands of eyeballs versus just three or four.
The more traffic you have also gives a certain clout to your website and allows you to parlay it into other endeavors that can pad your bottom line.
So how does one get these elusive pageviews?
Sure you can build up an audience via word of mouth, but nothing will jump start your website faster than if it is getting preferential treatment from search engines.
The 500 lb gorilla in the search engine space is of course Google.
When you search for something on Google, you can often have over 7 figures of results returned to you.
Now how many of us go through each and every page of Google results when we search for something?
I personally am satisfied with my query within the first 2 or 3 pages of Google search results, if not much sooner.
That makes those first few pages of digital real estate extremely valuable if you are the website owner hoping to get traffic for that particular keyword search.
And thus the gamesmanship of SEO begins.
In order to be invited to the game you have to play by the rules, which by the way can change on a whim.
Ever read an article and it seems like a certain word is rammed down your throat?
In all likelihoods the author of said article is trying to rank in Google for that particular keyword.
Throughout my education I would be penalized if I had a particular word or phrase seem repetitive in the assignment I turned in.
I became the master of the Thesaurus as I would find creative ways to keep the story going without repeating a key word.
I still feel today that for an article to feel natural and easier to read, repetitive words should be eliminated.
But if you choose this course of action, you will be penalized by the search engine overlords as there is no obvious keyword for your article to rank in.
I personally try to keep the article interesting with the use of fresh words, but even so I sometimes find myself being influenced in word choice in hopes to improve my SEO ranks.
I also write articles on topics I want to write about and am really not bothered trying to curate an article just to please the SEO gods.
The Next Page Trap.
This is not really an SEO issue, but I thought I would share some other tricks some websites use to inflate their pageview numbers.
Ever click on a post and there would be a short snippet of text which then asks you to click on the next page for continuation?
I have seen articles, particularly in sports, where you had to click 30+ times to read the entire story (1 click for each team).
This would make sense if we were using actual physical paper as there is space constraints.
However in the digital world, one sheet of paper, or page, could be infinitely long.
The purpose of making the end user click through each page is to register an additional page view in their site stats.
The Incessant Pop Up.
I’m not sure about you, but absolutely abhor reading an article and right in the middle of it a pop up occurs asking me to subscribe or take some other action the website owner would love for me to do.
What’s even worse is that these pop ups tend to not go away even if you do the desired action.
After I have subscribed to a particular blog/website from a popup, any subsequent popups making the same subscriber plea are infinitely more annoying.
Why is there a premium placed on viewer subscriptions?
Because the email list could be potentially valuable and another way a website owner to demonstrate to a potential sponsor that their website is worthy of sponsorship money.
When I first started blogging, I was beguiled by the pop up siren.
I too employed a pop up system on this site that would occur after a certain time period passed.
I tried to minimize the annoyance by using settings that were supposed to suppress this popup for months after it first occurred on a new user (based on cookies).
I found that this was indeed hit or miss as glitches still allowed the popup to keep making appearances despite being in the exclusionary time period.
I knew how I felt when I saw popups on other websites and did not want my readers to have to endure this on my site, so I eliminated them altogether.
Could I have gained more subscribers if I left it as is?
But for me it was not worth it.
I still left the opportunity for readers to subscribe if they choose to do so on their own volition (right sidebar) but I did not feel like I had to force feed them this option any more.
Freeing Oneself From SEO.
I actually love to write and have always done well in creative writing courses all throughout my life.
In the beginning stages of this life, before I knew about SEO, I enjoyed writing posts at a record pace.
My mistake occurred when I got preoccupied with site statistics, one of the dark sides of blogging I have previously mentioned.
I then got consumed on how to drive up those statistics with, you guessed it, SEO techniques.
This made writing and blogging a lot less fun.
It was tedious to try and deal with all the minutiae necessary to conform to SEO parameters that it got to the point where I actually thought about hanging the whole thing up.
My passion was reignited when I decided that it was the writing and commenting that was important to me and the other issues were just superfluous.
Yes, I would love to headline the front page of every Google search result (the only one I am currently ranked page 1 of Google is for the keyword, “Xrayvsn“), but it is not my driving force anymore.
[As an aside, I am proud to be currently ranked in the top 3 pages for the keyword “Physician Investor Blog.”]
Taking a page out of Field Of Dreams, I choose instead to follow the philosophy of, “If You Build It They Will Come.”
As long as I am happy churning out content I am proud of, I hope word of mouth, a little bit of search engine mojo, and a sprinkle of luck, will eventually help my site find its tribe members and build a larger audience.
My journey is much happier because of this mindshift.
The importance of LEO.
To address the second half of my title, I first want to say that this has nothing to do with astrology.
Springboarding off the concept of SEO, I thought it appropriate to designate the term LEO for Life Engine Optimization.
Too often in our lives the choices we make have the wrong motivating factor that drives us.
In society, a physician is perceived to be wealthy.
In order to look the part, physicians are then forced to live paycheck to paycheck to support this facade of wealth.
It is a brave few who buck the trend, especially those physicians who belong to a specialty such as plastic surgery, where looks are paramount.
But it is these individuals that are prioritizing life engine optimization, forgoing what society expects of them and instead choosing what makes them happy.
A common conundrum a medical student faces is which specialty to choose.
Too often the main guiding force is the amount of compensation one specialty provides over another.
Choosing a higher paying specialty may, counterintuitively, cause you to have a smaller lifetime earning potential, if you are unhappy in that specialty, than a longer career in a lower paying, better suited, specialty.
The effect is magnified even more when you also factor in the asymmetric tax burden incurred because of our progressive tax code.
Optimizing LEO would have you choose the lower paying specialty if it brings you happiness, allowing you to work longer, accumulate a higher lifetime earning, AND pay less tax to boot.
To master LEO you must first identify what makes you happy and then tailor your life to achieve it.
Yes achieving financial independence and/or early retirement is a great goal, but not if you feel miserable from sacrifices trying to achieve it.
Instead of giving you a timeline of retiring in 3 years, causing you to sacrifice so much that you are miserable the entire time, delay the date so the sacrifices do not have to be as severe and thus more tolerable.
Do what makes you happy.
There is no benefit to be ranked #1 in Google or in society if you have to be miserable to achieve it.
If you are in search of financial help, please consider enlisting the service of any of the sponsors of this blog who I feel are part of the “good guys and gals of finance.”
Even a steadfast DIY’er can sometimes gain benefit from the occasional professional input.
NOTE: The website XRAYVSN contains affiliate links and thus receives compensation whenever a purchase through these links is made (at no further cost to you). As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Although these proceeds help keep this site going they do not have any bearing on the reviews of any products I endorse which are from my own honest experiences. Thank you- XRAYVSN