Not taking the time to learn SEO I truly believe cost me over $300,000! I know saying that is a bit dramatic but honestly, it’s true – at least knowing what I know now and looking at the numbers I believe it to be true. Let me explain.
In the last few months I’ve been working on updating old posts on my blog Organize Yourself Skinny. As you might know (or maybe you don’t) I started OYS way back in 2011, quit my “real job” in 2014, and have worked as a professional blogger ever since.
Anyway, I have over 1400 blog posts on Organize Yourself Skinny and the more I go through them the more I realize I’ve made 1 pretty big mistake, a mistake that likely cost me 100s of thousands of dollars over the years. Not only has this mistake cost me money but the time I’m spending now recovering from this mishap is definitely time I could be doing something else.
Of course, I do make over 6-figures as a professional blogger so clearly I’ve done something right. However, when I think about the money I left on the table because of my own doing that does not sit well with me.
Anyway, I can’t go back in time. All I can do is learn from my mistake, fix it, and do better now that I know better.
So, regardless of where you’re at in your blogging journey, listen up because I don’t want you making this same mistake.
I didn’t take the time to learn SEO.
Basically, I didn’t take SEO seriously.
As Julia Roberts says in Pretty Woman “Big Mistake, HUGE”
I’m actually embarrassed how bad the SEO is on Organize Yourself Skinny. I’d say about 80% of my posts ARE NOT optimized for Google. Ugh!
My saving grace is I do have a handful of posts that rank high on google and those make me a lot of money in affiliate sales. By handful I mean like 10.
10 blog posts out of 1400!!
And get this…about 5 of those posts brought me in over 60k in affiliate income this year – only because I took the time to learn SEO and finally took it seriously! I’ll talk more about that in a second.
Just in case you didn’t pick up on this —> This means out of 1400 posts only 5 posts are my money makers!
Let me put things a little bit more in perspective.
In 2016, I made just over $700 in affiliate sales.
In 2017, I made just over $12,00o affiliate sales.
By the end of 2018, I’m going to make just over $70,000 in affiliate sales.
How the heck did I do that?
Starting in the beginning of 2018 I did two things…
First, I chose affiliate companies that were a great match for my blog. This money is not coming from blog hosting companies or anything like that. Nope, these are products and services that help people create a healthier lifestyle.
Second, I took the time to really learn SEO. More importantly, I took action. Before I published any blog posts I researched keywords and then wrote valuable quality content around those keywords. I also wrote LONG posts and went into detail. People go to google to find answers and solutions to their pain points. That’s what I gave them. It paid off!
Now let’s imagine if all my blog posts were correctly optimized? Not even all of them – maybe just 30% of them. By correctly optimized I mean showing up on the first page of Google. So when someone types in “how to meal prep”, or something like that, Organize Yourself Skinny shows up.
I’ll tell you what my imagination says… it says CHA CHING! If I had 30% (or more) of my blog posts ranking on the first page of Google and they all had appropriate affiliate links included then I’d be bring in more money every single day! A lot more money!
Imagine if I took the time to learn SEO 5 years ago and actually put those tips into action? If I go by the number above I could’ve easily brought in over $300,000. I could’ve paid off my student loans, car, and part of my house with that money. This ain’t no joke!!
Okay, let’s not dwell. Let’s learn from my mistakes.
This is where I made my big SEO mistake.
When I started to write…. I just wrote. I knew about SEO but, like I said, I didn’t take it seriously at all. In the beginning, I had a little SEO knowledge from random blog posts I’d read. So I knew the basics, although now that I’m going through all my old posts I didn’t even do the basics.
Then, a few years ago, I added the Yoast SEO plugin. I thought that’s all I needed to do. Embarrassingly, I ignored all the warnings and suggestions it gave me. BIG MISTAKE.
Even though, SEO was everywhere I didn’t think it mattered. I just thought if I wrote, shared it on Facebook, and some other basic promotion that was enough. In a way, it was…I guess. I do make a good living from blogging but, again, if I took SEO seriously from the start my blog income would be more passive and most likely higher.
Keep this in mind, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter share your posts for a very short window of time. After it goes off the newsfeed it’s gone. Those platforms are not search engines so people don’t search Facebook for answers to their problems.
SEO is a longterm strategy. It does take longer to rank on Google but a well optimized post can bring in search traffic for YEARS. People do search Google for answers to their problems.
When did the SEO lightbulb go off?
A couple years ago I had one of my review blog posts rank on the first page of google. I started making 1-2k a month off one post!
At first, I was confused. Where was that money coming from?! It didn’t take long for the lightbulb to go off. This post was making that kind of money not because I shared it on Facebook or sent it to my email list. Nope, it started making over $1000 a month because it was on the first page of Google! Some months I made $5000 off that one post. It was amazing!
Obviously, this got my attention.
Prior to that I thought I knew keywords. Of course, I really didn’t. I wasn’t researching anything. All I did was write and hope for the best.
However, once I saw the power of SEO I decided to learn SEO and take it seriously.
How did I figure SEO out?
There’s a lot of SEO information out there – it can be quite overwhelming. I really didn’t know where to start.
I’m part of a few blogging Facebook groups and asked for some SEO direction. A few people pointed me in the direction of the ecourse Sticky SEO.
Anyway, I figured it was time to learn SEO and take it seriously – ya know, 6 years after the fact. So I signed up and dove in.
Well….it only took one lesson for me to realize I had no clue what I was doing with SEO and my one post that did well was really dumb luck and not any type of strategy.
But then I got to work.
I started to research keywords, wrote quality content around those keywords, and linked between articles on my blog. I also paid attention to the YOAST SEO suggestions. I took the time to put into the practice everything I was learning.
I wrote with purpose and strategy.
If you’re wondering how I do keyword research I use the website KWfinder. I spend $40 a month on this service and it’s some of the best money I spend on my blog. I’ve more than made up for this blogging expense every month in affiliate sales. I find KWfinder easier to use than any other one out there, including google.
People if there’s one thing I want you learn from me is you need a strategy for everything, especially SEO. Don’t just throw spaghetti at the wall and hope something sticks. Sure, you might get lucky once in a while but you’re more likely to make serious money when you take SEO seriously!
Don’t leave money on the table (like I did) by not optimizing your blog posts for Google!!
I plan to write more SEO posts in the future so go ahead and ask your questions below, I’d love to help!