The 'Write For Readers (Only) For A Month' Challenge

Donovan Nagel
Written by Donovan Nagel

Google finished rolling out their 'Helpful Content' update just a few days ago.

There are a lot of reports from people on Reddit and Twitter that their sites lost up to 50% of their traffic overnight.

Thankfully, these are the same people who run the garbage mills that Google is rightly cracking down on.

I thought I took a hit myself on most sites until I closely inspected the traffic and realized that what I lost was Seychelles (Africa) spam traffic, while my US-based traffic actually went up (as did my sales across all sites).

Overall, there was a lot of hype leading up to it but nothing major eventuated as far as I’m concerned.

The Helpful Content update has forced careful reflection

I haven’t produced creatively on my main sites for several years.

Like so many others, scaling has meant outsourcing, and SEO has sucked the soul out of my content.

While organic traffic has risen, direct traffic has dropped (these are the return visitors who subscribe to follow).

This has bothered me for quite some time (since I don’t just blog to make money), and the Helpful Content update has only reinforced my concerns.

I love being a creative. I love writing, making video content and the engagement that follows.

I don’t want to churn out article after article, outsourced by a freelancer, that adds absolutely no additional value to anybody. It just feels utterly desperate, like we’re all scrambling to win the crumbs on Google’s first page.

I set myself a personal challenge this month: Disregard Google and SEO

I’ve decided to challenge myself this month to write for my blogs the way I did before Google mattered.

  • If something interests me or is a burning topic, write about it.
  • Don’t SEO-optimize headings, intros, or worry about wording.
  • Forget word length.
  • Don’t keyword research beforehand or analyze competitors to see what’s ranking.
  • Just produce content with human readers in mind.

Of course, I still have my team of writers working in the background on other content, but for myself personally, I want to try this as a little experiment.

An experiment in personal satisfaction, engagement, social shares and also SEO (how well will completely unoptimized content perform over time in search if I just disregard it and focus on people).