I’ve started a few blogs in the past. I know all about rabbit hole SEO.
You know, the latest hack you learn that you have to try on your author platform. Or the cool plugin that promises to rocket you up the Google search rankings.
I know how one good looking idea can turn into hours (or even days) of tinkering and iterating that never stops.
Somedays are like yesterday though. Yesterday was my journey down the rabbit hole of SEO.
I use Yoast to handle my SEO backend work on my blog posts. I noticed yesterday that you can link Yoast to Google Search Console (the old Webmaster Tools suite), Bing and Yandex.
All I wanted to do was setup Google Search Console. So I went and saw that one of the first things you had to do was confirm ownership of your site. Google gives you a few ways to do this. It seemed easy enough, but now I realize it was the beginning of my latest fall.
I’ll save you the long, drawn out version. Let me show you one of my Google searches after fiddling around with trying to prove ownership of my blog to Google.
“how to add text record to dns configuration in cpanel”
What the hell is that?
Who do I think I am to even begin to think I know what that search even means?
But there I was teaching myself how to create a text file in my dns configuration using the cpanel. The funny thing is I did it. I, indie author and digital newbie, set up that file. My face was positively beaming right before I pressed the “verify” button.
Pride Before the Press
It is at those moments when a little part of you starts to believe. A little voice that says you can figure this techy stuff out. You think, finally, all will be right with the world.
So I pressed the button and nothing happened.
What do you do is this type of situation? You have two options in my opinion.
One, you press the button again and again until something happens.
Or two, you pull out the cartridge, CD, thumb drive, whatever you are working with, and you blow on it.
For all you techies out there, that is how non-techies (or poets, if you wish) fix techy things.
Where in humanity’s timeline it became acceptable to equate a puff of air with technical know-how I do not know. Although if we are honest with ourselves we still believe it works.
Seeing how I couldn’t pull Google Search Console out and blow on it, I chose option one. After no more than half an hour of pushing the verify button and wondering what I did wrong, I took a step back.
Back to Basics
I was frustrated. I was mad. I started to think this is the Universe’s way of telling me I’m not meant to be a writer.
Then I remembered that companies like Yoast know they are dealing with knuckleheads like me so they have to have an easy way of doing this.
Like every male driver who won’t ask for directions, I had a map in front of me of where I needed to go (Google, Yoast, WordPress) and yet I insisted on driving by the stars.
If I was having problems why not check with the company whose job it was to make my problems go away.
So I Googled “yoast + google search console + site ownership” and bam, I was done within 10 minutes. Google now knew I own glrwriter.com
Lessons Learned of Rabbit Hole SEO
Don’t make it harder than it needs to be
I was trying to work with a product made by Yoast and I didn’t think to start with them and go from there. Start with the path of least resistance and work your way up to Google searches about cpanels and dns configurations and txt files.
Use technology to master technology
Memorizing or even printing out a simple list of Google search hacks can make your life so much easier. Begin with the knowledge that the answer is out there, you just have to use your search engine to find it.
Don’t look at the whole journey, just walk for today
A bad day of rabbit hole SEO is still better than doing nothing to build your author platform. The funny thing is I spent enough brainpower to get my site verified by Google Search Console that I’ll never forget how to do it.
It reminds me of the story of the businessman who lost $1M of his company’s money on a deal that went south. Called into the CEO’s office he was ready to be fired. The CEO laughed after the businessman told him of his worries. The CEO says why would we fire you now, we just spent $1M training you.
Going down the SEO rabbit hole may cost us time and attention, but in the end if we can learn and get better it will always be time well spent.