You need SEO if you sell online. You need it if you run a business and want customers to find you online. Although good luck standing out among everyone else trying to rank for the same keywords.
Otherwise, search engine optimisation can be a huge time sink. This is even more true if you are not selling anything.
SEO involves a whole string of busywork that has the appearance of being productive without getting you anywhere in practice. There are an endless stream of tasks and tweaks that, in theory, can improve your site’s ranking in Google search.
It’s a moving target. Get on top of one set of algorithm changes and new ones appear to drag you back.
Businesses that need to sell online can spend money on search engine optimisation consultants.
SEO is a task best left to professionals who can stay on top of the constant change. An entire industry exists covering a range of nuanced ideas and concepts that, frankly, are baffling to outsiders.
It has its own jargon, its own myths. The people who work in it would like us to think there is secret knowledge.
Perhaps there is. More likely, it all comes down to a set of basic principles and being in the right place at the right time.
Time, energy, money
For most of us, there are better ways to use that time, energy and money.
A glance at Google Search Console shows this site rises and falls in the various rankings over time. The rises coincide with periods of more writing activity. Falls are in synch with when there are long pauses between posts.
It’s not an exact match. Yet one thing is certain. The less time is spent on SEO, the better this site ranks in Google.
The strangest, non-obvious stories can be runaway successes on Google. Those considered, well researched in-depth explorations of important issues can be sidelined, eclipsed in search by click-bait and trashy opinions. Although sometimes they surface weeks or months later like sleeping giants waking from slumber.
Experience says the best investment of time and energy is building a quality site with interesting posts. Make that plenty of interesting posts.
No money required.