πŸ“» β€” How You Really Win the SEO Battle as an Early-Stage Project, Business, and Community

Reading Time: ~ 5 min.

Good morning yeniverse!

It’s hump-day!

  1. Guilty. The race is on. Landing pages for newsletters. Titan raises $12M.
  2. Twitter networking tool?! Fun things with remote teams. Synthetic defi.
  3. Axios writing / researching tool. Niches. Twitter management tool.
  4. Surf GitHub. Virtual biz bot for entrepreneurs? Voting portal!
  5. TikTok hangouts. What I worked on. Writing tiny, useful books. Get paid.
  6. Day in the life of a community manager. Creator loop. Casey Neistat.
  7. Creator economy 101. Strategic bifurcation. Commsor raises $16M.
  8. Moving a developer community from Slack to Discord. Adidas failed.
  9. Lessons via Peloton. Future of gig-work?!

And in case you missed it, I shared a few new screenshots on the “create channels” views and workflows that we’re considering! It’s so cool.

To infinity & community,

β€” john


One of the benefits of having been a writer on the internet for more than 20+ years is that I know through hard-earned experience (and a ton of scar tissue to show for it!) that there is nothing more important to “mastering” and leveraging the value of SEO (search engine optimized content) than simple doing one thing: Publishing content.

In other words, how you “win” the SEO-war, in the short and long-run, is to commit to a publishing content in a publicly-accessible place on a consistent schedule (calendaring really works folks) and creating system(s) that allow you to do this in a repeatable way.

And folks, I’ll show you how!

But, before I do, I just want to speak to all the folks who are spending too much time trying to (over) “optimize” their content and who are not doing the more important and fundamental task: Hitting the publish button!

TL;DR: You can’t win with SEO if you don’t have anything for the search engines to optimize!

Okay, so now that you’ve gotten over that mental and psychological hump, let’s talk tactics, shall we? Here’s how I know that I’m currently winning the growing battle (and war) for attention and how I’m building the brand (and community) around this newsletter, YEN.FM.

Create a Goal, Build a System, Go.

One of the things that I do every single time I start a new project, business, or community is I boot up a set of Google Alerts related to the brand so I can track mentions of the project around the web.

I have a step-by-step guide of how to set it up here via Indie Hackers which we use as a product blog for the business.

This is also the goal, by the way! The goal is that you will eventually (inevitably?!) get a Google Alert on the unique keywords related to your new project, business, brand, and community.

And recently β€” this past week β€” we succeeded as a project to get not just one but two Google Alerts on our brand and community!

We got the first alert for the term “community saas” and the second was a direct hit on our project’s brand name, “yenfm“:

And all of this has transpired in just 3-4 months!

Now, as some of you know, I have committed a serious amount of time and energy on delivering you all the very best in curated and unique content, every single business day; I love it and it is some of my very best that I have to offer my amazing community, the YENIVERSE.

But that commitment was effectively the “heart” and the “engine” to the system that I had designed and built when we first launched β€” this is what I shared publicly with some of you back then (the original text):

  • 5 issues per week covering a very specific topical cadence which you can find on the About Page.
  • Since I am writing every single business day I have calendared in dedicated writing time in the morning and early-afternoons. Monday and Friday take 1-3 hours as they are longer-form while Tuesday-Thursdays require less than 60 minutes (is the goal). Just think about this for a moment: I’m willing to commit up to 25% of my working week (10+ hours) to this experiment! But, that’s how much I believe in it’s effectiveness!
  • I’ve committed to do this for 6 months and my goals are 100 subscribers by November 1, 300 subscribers by December 1, and 1,000+ by January 1, 2021. I will adjust these goals by mid-experiment.

Now, I few points to note about this original system and the results thus far:

  1. I have continued to publish 5 days a week and have not missed a single day! I’m proud of my ability to produce meaningful, well-read content that many of you have enjoyed! It’s an absolute joy.
  2. I underestimated the daily commitment and it’s more like 3-4 hours on average per day which may consume up to (and sometimes more) than 40-50% of my operational week (hours). But, the results are important and the connections and relationships that I’ve developed are invaluable to the project and community’s survival.
  3. We did not reach the 1,000 subscriber goal a few weeks ago; in fact, we’re just below 700 and the growth-rate has slowed down considerably in the last few weeks.

Here’s a view of the dashboard snapshot last night:

This doesn’t bother me much because I’m still within the 6-month time-frame for the entire experiment as a whole and I won’t harshly judge the results thus far because we technically have until the 3rd week of March to decide whether to continue this publication or not!

(But do let me know what you think of the content, the publication as a whole, and any feedback… anytime!!)

So, the system was:

  1. Create a goal via Google Alerts
  2. Set a schedule for publishing; a timed experiment (ex: 6 months)
  3. Publish. Publish. Publish.

Then, in time, you may wake up one morning with an email in your inbox that lets you know that your project, business, and/or community is now being indexed more highly in the largest search engine on the planet and that you’ve done your part: Give the engine content to index by publishing and not stopping.

And this is how you “win” the SEO battle as an early project, business, and community β€” you execute over and over and over again.

Hitting the publish button β€” even and especially when the content isn’t “perfect” or amazing β€” is always better than search-engine-“optimized” content 10 out of 10 times.

You see, where most folks will waste time, money, and resources on over-optimization, a full-stack founder will put their head down and get to work.

Bonus Goal: Set a subscriber goal if you go the newsletter route!

Let me know if you have any thoughts or need any further advice!

And if you’re actively building a new project, biz, or community I’d love to learn more and, if it makes sense, invite you to join us in our early-alpha!

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