Why I Gave Up On SEO, And You Should Too

You might have noticed that I haven’t written about SEO in a long time. That’s partly because the last few years have been busy for me (traveling, speaking, writing books, consulting with companies and individuals).

But it’s also because I’ve turned my attention away from SEO. However, I’m still working on improving my traffic. 

And you know what? It’s increased every single year since I stopped focusing on SEO! So why did I give up on search engine optimization? And how can you do the same? Here are some tips:

SEO in 2020: It Hasn’t Changed (Much) – YouTube
1. Shift in Perspective: The author shares insights into their personal experience of moving away from traditional SEO approaches, highlighting the need for a shift in perspective and priorities.
2. Focus on Alternative Strategies: The blog emphasizes the importance of exploring alternative marketing strategies that can be more effective in achieving specific goals beyond just SEO.
3. Understanding Limitations: The author discusses the limitations and challenges they faced with SEO and how these considerations led them to reconsider their approach.
4. Balancing Efforts: The blog suggests finding a balance between SEO and other marketing tactics to create a holistic online presence that resonates with the target audience.
5. Adapting to Change: The takeaway encourages readers to adapt their strategies based on changing trends, audience behaviors, and evolving business goals.

1. Write For People, Not Search Engines

The first step to writing for people, not search engines is to stop thinking about SEO. SEO stands for “search engine optimization” and it’s a term used to describe the process of trying to get your website ranked higher in Google.

The problem is that if you spend too much time thinking about SEO, it will cause you so much stress that your writing suffers. 

The best way to write for people is just to write great content that resonates with your readers and share it on social media, but not worry about all the other stuff too much.

Are you struggling to gain authority in the competitive field of tourism? Learn how to build an expert authority website in 3 months with effective SEO strategies tailored for the tourism industry.

2. Think About What People Want To Know

The second step is to think about what people want to know about your topic. If you’re writing a blog post on SEO, for instance, you probably want it to answer the questions: “What’s SEO?” and “How do I get my website ranked higher in search engines?” 

But other questions come up frequently in discussions around SEO questions like “Is Google evil?” “Does my site need keyword density analysis?” or even just “How can I learn more about SEO?”

To make sure your content addresses these things, start by brainstorming with yourself (or with friends) about all of the most common misconceptions and mistakes people make when they try doing this thing you’re trying to explain (in our case, ranking websites). 

Then look up those topics online so that you have some idea where the gaps are in terms of the existing content on them.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the complexities of SEO, take a page from my experience. Discover why I believe that stopping your focus on SEO might just lead to better results and a more relaxed approach to online success.

3. Be Generous With Information And Resources

It’s not enough for you to be generous with information and resources. You have to be generous in the right way. 

The right way is to give your readers a reason to come back, share your content, comment on it and subscribe to your blog. It’s also important they follow you on social media so they can see any updates or giveaways that might be happening in the future. 

The point is this: if people aren’t coming back because they don’t care what else you have to say (or worse: they aren’t returning because there’s nothing else of value).

Then no matter how much content or value-added material you provide, it will always feel like an uphill battle against Google algorithms and user behavior patterns and ultimately lead nowhere fast!

4. Build Relationships With Other Bloggers

Build relationships with other bloggers. The reason you want to build relationships with other bloggers is that they can help promote your content when it’s relevant, and you can do the same for them. 

Plus, many of them will be interested in developing a relationship with you if they feel like they can trust you as a source of quality content and reliable information and those are two things that people need more than ever these days!

How to find new blogs: There are several ways to find new blogs to connect with. You could use a blog directory tool like BlogCatalog or Technorati, but those sites don’t give any kind of indication as far as quality goes. 

Instead, try searching Google for keywords related to what your blog specializes in (e.g., “SEO tools list”), then follow some links until you reach something interesting enough for deeper exploration into who may have written it (e.g., by looking at who linked back). 

Once there, check out their About page and see if anything jumps out at you if so great! If not just move on to the next one on your list until eventually, something does catch your eye.”

The journey to conquering search engine rankings can be daunting, but with the right tactics, you can succeed. Dive into our comprehensive guide on how to conquer search engine ranking and discover actionable steps to improve your website’s visibility.

5. Use The 80/20 Rule

The 80/20 rule is a great way to keep your SEO efforts on track.

80% of your effort should go into the 20% of your content that generates the most traffic.

Focus on saving time and money by focusing on what matters. The more successful you are with SEO, the more tools you will want to use to find out where your efforts are paying off. 

Before long, this can become overwhelming and messy if you don’t have a strategy for how to determine what works best for your site as an entire entity instead of just individual pages or keywords.

Use tools like Buzzsumo and Moz’s Keyword Explorer tool (which helps determine long-tail phrases related to your topic) so that it takes less time each day but still gives good results at scale over time

6. Hit Publish Even If It Isn’t Perfect

Stop waiting for perfection.

If you are like me, you have probably spent far too much time worrying about the tiniest details of your writing. 

You’re worried that it’s not going to be perfect and that people will see immediately how much effort you put into it and therefore think less of your work in general. The problem is: that no one cares!

You have to accept that publishing content is an iterative process. You write something, then maybe go back and edit it a bit or add more information, reread what you wrote again…and so on. 

But every time you do this, you run the risk of making things worse by overthinking things and changing them more than necessary (although sometimes overthinking can help). 

Eventually, there comes a point where all your edits become too much work for little benefit—you end up with something completely different from what was originally intended because now everything looks different about it! 

Then when all these changes come together at once onscreen, there’s just too much stuff happening at once for anyone to digest properly anyway…

7. Look At Your Competitors

Next, take a look at your competitors. Look at the posts they are producing and see what they are doing well. 

See what they are not doing so well and what you can do better. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel here just take a look at their site and see if there is anything they are doing that you could learn from or apply to your content strategy.

Dreaming of ranking for competitive keywords? It’s possible! Explore our insights on how to rank for that competitive keyword you’ve always wanted and unlock strategies that can propel your content to the top of search engine results.

8. Promote Your Posts Using Social Media And Email

Once you’ve published your post, it’s time to get the word out. Social media is a great way to do this because there are no spam or pay-per-click (PPC) costs involved. 

By sharing your posts with friends and followers on Facebook and Twitter, you’ll be able to reach a new audience and all without breaking the bank.

Not only that, but social media allows your content to spread like wildfire if people find it interesting enough! This is why I suggest creating more than just one piece of content per week: 

While they’re still fresh in readers’ minds, promote them again by posting links back across different networks so they have multiple opportunities for virality.

Another method you should use is emailing bloggers who might be interested in publishing an article about your topic (if applicable). 

It helps if you can hook them with a catchy subject line so they’ll want to read what else you have written about this subject before deciding whether or not it would be worth contacting anyone else about publishing along similar lines as well.

9. Make Sure Your Content Is Readable And Skimmable

If you’re going to make your content readable, you need to do a few things. First, keep it short and sweet long-form content doesn’t work on the web. Second, use bullets as much as possible: they help break up long paragraphs and make reading easier. 

Thirdly, bold text can be used when discussing important points that need emphasis (but don’t overdo it).

Fourthly and this is important: Use subheadings! People love them because they allow them to skim through the page without losing their place in the story or feeling like they missed something important by skimming ahead too fast; 

It also makes search engines happy because they know where each section begins and ends based on its title alone. Finally…

Use images! They provide visual context for what you’re trying to say and break up long blocks of text into easily digestible chunks especially when paired with bullet points or tables!

You should also include links back into your site whenever possible (this is called internal linking).

Which will help improve Google’s understanding of what a “relevant link” would look like if anyone ever searched for anything related to these topics at all…which brings us back around again.”

10. Don’t Obsess On Keyword Research Forever

Keyword research is important to your SEO strategy, but it’s not the only thing. You can’t just pick any old keyword and expect it to work. 

You need to find a good balance between relevant keywords and high search volume, which is a skill that takes time to learn. I recommend checking out some of these keywords on Google Keyword Planner or SEMRush for inspiration.

11. Have An Idea Of What You Want People To Do Before They Start Reading Your Post

You’ve got to have a goal for your post in mind before you start writing. What is it that makes your blog post unique? Why should anyone care about what you have to say?

What action do you want people to take after reading your post? If there’s no obvious next step, then they won’t take any step at all. You can make this easier by making sure everything on the page is focused on what needs to be done next and nothing else.

Your headline and first paragraph should both be geared towards getting visitors to click through and read more. 

A great way of doing this is by including numbers in headlines or as subtitles: “13 Tips For Making Your Blog Post More Valuable To Readers” is much more interesting than “Tips For Making Your Blog Post More Valuable To Readers (No Matter How Long Or Short It Is).”

Your meta description should tell readers exactly what they will get out of reading the piece without having to click through or even read a single word! You don’t need fancy words here; just tell them what’s inside!

Smaller sites need a focused approach to SEO that yields results. Delve into our guide on the 18-month SEO strategy specifically designed for smaller websites, helping you navigate the intricacies of optimization and improve your online presence over time.

12. Add Plenty Of Strong Images In Your Post

You should use images in your content.

Images are important to your presentation, so make sure they’re relevant to the content and audience you’re targeting. If you’re writing an article about how to make homemade soap, including a graph of the cost savings is helpful. 

If it’s about why you should never buy soda again and everyone loves soda, then obviously an image of a pile of money burning isn’t going to work well!

And now we get into some specific tips:


I hope that you’ve been inspired to give up on all of your SEO worries and just write. I’ve seen many bloggers get caught in the trap of trying to create content for Google, rather than people. That’s a mistake.

You should be writing for humans first, before worrying about search engines. If you focus on creating great content that people want to read, search engine optimization will naturally follow.

Further Reading

Here are some additional resources to further explore the topic of giving up on SEO:

WebmasterWorld – When to Give Up on SEO Short Description: Gain insights from discussions about recognizing the right time to reconsider your SEO strategies and the potential benefits of moving away from traditional SEO techniques.

Moz – Why I Stopped Selling SEO Services (And You Should Too) Short Description: Discover why an SEO professional chose to discontinue offering SEO services and the lessons that can be learned from this decision for both practitioners and clients.

Search Engine Journal – 10 Reasons Why SEO Doesn’t Work Short Description: Explore common challenges and pitfalls that can hinder the effectiveness of SEO efforts, and gain insights into how to navigate these obstacles for better results.


Is giving up on SEO always the right choice?

While giving up on SEO might be a consideration in certain cases, it’s important to thoroughly evaluate the reasons behind this decision. SEO strategies can have a significant impact on online visibility and traffic, so it’s crucial to weigh the potential benefits and drawbacks.

Can alternative marketing strategies replace SEO?

Alternative marketing strategies, such as content marketing or social media marketing, can complement SEO efforts but may not entirely replace them. Each strategy has its own strengths, and a well-rounded approach can yield better results.

What are the signs that SEO might not be working for my website?

Signs that SEO might not be delivering desired results include consistently low organic traffic, stagnant or dropping search rankings, and minimal engagement with your website’s content. Regular monitoring and analysis can help identify these issues.

Are there situations where giving up on SEO is justified?

Yes, there are scenarios where shifting focus from traditional SEO could be justified. For example, if your target audience doesn’t heavily rely on search engines, or if your business model changes significantly, adjusting your strategies might make sense.

How can I determine if my SEO efforts are effective?

Regularly analyzing key performance indicators (KPIs) such as organic traffic, conversion rates, and keyword rankings can help gauge the effectiveness of your SEO efforts. Comparing these metrics over time can provide valuable insights into your strategy’s impact.