Why I No Longer Rely on SEO for My Blog

Last updated on
Jun 11, 2024

Since day one getting into the professional blogging world in 2013, I always relied on SEO to get traffic for my blogs.

Nearly 90 percent of my blog’s traffic (maybe even more) came from Google. So, I can say that Google used to be my best friend.

But it was then. Everything changed in just overnight — OVERNIGHT!

In August 2023, Google rolled out a core algorithm update, which unfortunately impacted one of my blogs, WPPagebuilders.

Before being hit by the Google August 2023 Core Update — which I then called it “The Blib*” — the blog had roughly 60,000 visits per month.

After The Blip, the traffic dropped significantly to only 4,800 visits per month!

The worst part, the keywords which usually generated sales are gone.

Before The Blip, WPPagebuilders managed to generate $1,000 to $2,000 sales per month (affiliate sales more precisely).

The sales are now drop close to only $100’s per month

Throughout my blogging career, this is the first-time ever my blog gets impacted by a Google update — and it’s completely painful.

By the way, here is the screenshot comparing the traffic of WPPagebuilders before and after The Blip.

  • Total clicks between May 1, 2023 – July 31, 2023 (before The Blip): 137K
  • Total impressions between May 1, 2023 – July 31, 2023 (before The Blip): 4.69M
  • Total clicks between March 1, 2024 – May 31, 2024 (after The Blip): 36.1K
  • Total impressions between March 1, 2024 – May 31, 2024 (after The Blip): 1.08M

A Brief Intro About WPPagebuilders

WPPagebuilders is one of blogs that I currently operate under my company, totheweb. I have a dedicated team to produce the content for the blog.

The project was started in 2019 when I first got to know Elementor.

The blog was initially dedicated specifically to cover Elementor, but later I expanded the coverage to other page builders, including Divi, Breakdance, and the similar plugins.

In short, the blog has a very specific coverage area, which often referred to niche.

In other words, WPPagebuilders is a niche blog — which specifically covers WordPress page builder plugins.

Before The Blip, WPPagebuilders ruled most keywords about Elementor, Divi, and some page builder plugins.

When you typed “how to create a popup in Elementor” for instance, you would usually see one of the WPPagebuilders’ content on the first page of the search results page.

This had been happening for years, before The Blip.

Can you guess why?

Because WPPagebuilders is a niche blog.

Before The Blip, niche blogs used to perform very well on Google. That’s why most blogging courses and gurus recommend creating a niche blog to those wanting to start a new blog.

But I can tell you now that niche blogs don’t perform as good as they used to be on Google — like before The Blip.

WPPagebuilders, my blog, is just an example.

There are a ton of websites reporting traffic drop after recent Google updates.

If you notice, today’s Google SERP is dominated by big brands, Reddit, Quora, and YouTube videos.

It is very less likely that small blogs, even with 50+ Domain Rating, show up on the top results of Google.

Domain Rating of WPPagebuilders.

What is Google Algorithm Update, by The Way?

In case you are new to SEO.

Google has a mechanism to determine which web pages to be shown on the top list of the SERP (Search Engine Results Page) on a certain query (keyword).

The mechanism is known as algorithm.

And the process of tweaking the algorithm, with the purpose of making a web page to be shown on the top list of the SERP, is called SEO (Search Engine Optimization).

SEO has been the primary weapon for bloggers to get free, organic traffic for years.

Most blogging courses always include basic SEO knowledge on the blogging courses they sell.

The problem is that SEO is ever-changing. What’s currently working isn’t necessarily working in the future.

No one truly knows the algorithm of Google and other search engines.

Also, search engines always update their algorithm periodically.

You need to always catch up with the algorithm updates to make your SEO technique and knowledge keep relevant.

Over the past years, since the emergence of GenAI, the algorithm update cycle of Google is getting more frequent than before.

Google is working hard to ditch irrelevant content generated by AI.

Is SEO Still Worth It?

I recently asked Gaël Breton on Threads, the co-founder of Authority Hacker, whether SEO is still worth it after Google released AI Overviews.

Here is what he had to said.

View the post.

It’s interesting that someone whose his service is teaching SEO admitted that SEO margin has lowered.

I myself, as the title suggests, no longer rely on SEO to get traffic for my blogs.

Dealing with algorithm updates is so exhausting. Often times, the ROI is not worth it compared to what I have invested: time, effort, and — money.

If you want to start a new blog, I strongly recommend not to rely on SEO.

Here are some of the reasons.

Reasons Not to Rely on SEO

1. SEO is Not a Long-Term Investment (No Longer)

One of the common reasons you are advised to do SEO for your blog is that it’s a long-term investment.

Yes, it was.

As I said above (and you can prove it yourself), today’s Google SERP is dominated by big brands, Reddit, Quora, and YouTube videos.

Not to mention AI Overviews, which contributes to lessen the opportunity for websites from getting traffic from Google.

SEO gurus (sort of) will say that sites don’t show up on the top list of the Google SERP due to lack of authority.

The problem is that building an authority takes time.

It takes long (can be years) for a website to have a decent “authority”.

Also, domain authority (DA), is not an official metric from Google. Instead, it is a metric introduced by a third-party, Moz.

While many believe that DA is one of the factors determining SEO ranking, only Google knows the real implementation.

2. SEO is a Time Waste

In general, the SEO process is divided into three parts:

  • On-page SEO (content optimization, internal linking, etc.)
  • Off-page SEO (link building)
  • Technical SEO (sitemap, site optimization, SSL, etc.)

Single-handling the entire SEO process can be exhausting and stressing.

What most new bloggers don’t know is that it takes time to get results from SEO. For a new blog, it can be months.

The worst part?

There is no guarantee you will get results from your SEO endeavor.

If your website (or your post) doesn’t show up on Google, how will you get sales?

One thing you should know.

There are three types of traffic when it comes to internet marketing:

  1. Traffic you own: Email list
  2. Traffic you can control: Paid ads
  3. Traffic you earn: Search engine (SEO), social media, online PR.

SEO is just a small part of the entire internet marketing process and you should not just focus on it.

Take a look at the following image and think about it.

If you only focus on SEO, then you are missing other marketing channels to achieve your goals.

You should not overly rely on SEO, which is the mistake many bloggers often made.

Instead, you should treat SEO as only a small part of your marketing process. This way, when your blog is getting hit by a Google algorithm update, it won’t impact your revenue despite your blog traffic slightly drop.

How to Stay Away from SEO Dependence

After The Blip, I read the DotCom Secrets book written by Russell Brunson. The book struck me in the face. That I made a big mistake by relying on SEO too much this far.

As I have just said above, SEO should be a small part of my internet marketing process only.

There are many other traffic channels I can harness to achieve my goals — to increase sales.

For your information, the revenue of this blog came from affiliate products.

That’s the problem.

To apply what I have read from Russell’s book, I need to have an offer — a product.

Wait, isn’t a blog a product?

NO!

Blog is just a grocery store.

And if you are just selling affiliate products on your blog, you are functioning your blog as a display cabinet which sells others’ products. Not yours.

You need to build a product.

As a blogger, two most possible product types you can create are an e-book and membership.

I decided to create a membership product as it is easier to maintain. Also, by creating a membership product, I can force my members to visit my blog everytime they want to read the content.

Once you have a product, you can implement all of the internet marketing techniques to increase your sales instead of just SEO.

If you an affiliate like me, you can place your affiliate links to the product you create.

By placing your affiliate links to your product, you can promote one product to sell multiple products!

If you have no idea about how to create your own product, you can read my post here.

Build Email List to Get Everlasting Traffic

As I stated above. SEO is no longer a good long-term investment to get traffic, especially for a blog.

You will always be haunted by algorithm update, which can ruin your hard work overnight. Just like what I have experienced with WPPagebuilders.

This also apply to other platforms owned by a company, not just search engines. Including social media.

A single algorithm update can lead to a massive traffic drop.

To get everlasting traffic, you need to build email list.

As I said above, email list is a type of traffic that you own.

You can send your email subscribers new emails anytime you want, without worrying about being filtered by the algorithm on the delivery process.

There is no algorithm in email marketing!

Just you and your subscribers.

The best part about email marketing is that you can send different campaigns according to what you want to achieve.

If you want to increase traffic, you can send broadcast emails (newsletters). If you want increase sales, you can send email sequence. And so on.

Most importantly, you can always take your audience with you whenever you want to switch to another email marketing platform.

Recommended Email Marketing Platforms

There are a bunch of email marketing platforms out there. I myself use MailerLite for two reasons: it has a modern editor and clean interface.

Most importantly, it comes with an automation feature to allow me send email sequence.

But if you are not into MailerLite, here are some email marketing platforms you can use:

  • MailPoet (WordPress plugin)
  • weMail (WordPress plugin)
  • ConverKit
  • GetResponse
  • SendFox
  • ActiveCampaign

Summary

Just like most bloggers, I also relied on SEO to get traffic to blogs. And the The Blip happened, which forced me to think hard to keep my business survive.

After the event, I realized that I couldn’t always rely on SEO.

SEO is ever-changing and uncertain.

You need an evergreen marketing technique to grow your blog — your business — and keep it running long-term, regardless of the current trend.

To be able to apply all marketing techniques, you need to build a product.

Lastly, email list is the best long-term investment if you want to build sustainable traffic channel for your blog.


*The Blip is the event where half of the population gone to an extinction when Thanos snapped her fingers in the Marvel Studios’ Avengers: Endgame.

This page may contain affiliate links, which help support the project. Read our affiliate disclosure.

Aliko Sunawang

Aliko is a professional blogger and web creator. He has been blogging with WordPress since 2012. In his spare time, he loves going out to take some photos. More

Want to turn your WordPress knowledge into a passive income machine?