Tag Archives: SEO

A Perfect Workspace? Ha, Yeah Right…

Hey guys, it’s Kernook here, coming to you with a behind the scenes look at the blogging lifestyle. What you’re about to see lacks polish, and that’s the point. I’m going to show you what one of my workspace areas generally looks like on a day-to-day basis.

No more, no less than that simple reality.

Now, to be clear, this isn’t my gaming set-up for Twitch. I wouldn’t even begin to show off the absolute mess at the moment. There’s a lot of clutter upon that desk currently that isn’t reflective of the gaming sphere. I was doing video editing, and that takes a toll on my surroundings. That entire office looks like a tornado hit it right at this very second.

I was video editing for 12 very long, incredibly tedious hours this weekend. It’s going to look like that after that kind of grind. There’s a soda bottle graveyard and plates set aside because I need to do the dishes. I’ll be doing that later today… the fact I’ve even said that much tells you what I’ll be doing after I’m done writing this post.

However I do have one other “workspace” that’s still far from “perfect” and likely abysmal to many. However, this is where I write a vast majority of these blog posts, so let’s dive into it.

What you can’t see is that I’m sitting in a rocking chair, but the sight in front of me looks like this:

Yes, that really is an end-table.

A common and flat out stupid misconception is that all bloggers have a perfect workspace, neat and tidy all the time. This asinine idea isn’t always true. We don’t all have the perfect haven to work on our posts. That’s just what we want you to think.

Like all things having to do with “buzzwords”, product management, productivity, or anything else going on, it’s just a fallacy to a degree. We want to give you an image that makes us likable. Let’s be really honest here, how do you think of a blogger?

Are they walking around with a five-o-clock shadow, grumbling at their computer in a lackluster space? Are they gritting their teeth as racket and distraction drives them crazy?

I’d hazard a guess, probably not… but, it’s true. We have lives, families, insanity just like everyone else. Daddy bloggers for example (yes, fathers blog about child-rearing too), I do not envy the one I know personally.

I’ve seen the mayhem. He may be trying to write a post, meanwhile he’s got a ten year old being obstinate about homework, a toddler jabbering nonsense in his ear, and a newly adopted set of twins that aren’t even a year old yet. They demand his full and complete attention as a solid care giver and father.

In the face of day-to-day imperfection that children bring with them, he is still a blogger. Somehow, he manages to be a blogger and keep the household from falling to pieces. He gets dinner on the table before his partner gets home, and his family life is very well put together.

As a blogger though, I hate to say this but he doesn’t even have a desk. No, I’m not kidding. He blogs from his smart phone or on his tablet at the kitchen table. It can take days for him to write a single post, because he has a busy life, he’s a full time dad and blogger about all things fatherhood… but I digress.

He’s still a professional blogger, a breadwinner for his family.

See, people have this image of professional bloggers. Unless we live in a perfect world, perfect household, where there’s never a thing out of place and all the chores in life magically do themselves, those images are staged or sugar-coated.

We’ve cleaned up first. We waited until all distractions from the outside world were out of our way. We’ve taken the BEST Instagram worthy photo that you could… because that’s what we’re expected to do.

Sometimes though, we blog in lackluster conditions. Right now my family is blasting the baseball game from two rooms away, and I am sitting here trying to write a post. The particular Gateway laptop in front of me is over 10 years old and I use it to draft concepts. I toy around with ideas when I’m on-the-go.

It’s a small laptop, so it fits in compact spaces. I do all kinds of simple “puttering” and marginal tasks with it, nothing too complicated.

For the beefier stuff, I have a Chromebook… which, yes, is currently sitting on the foot stool for the sake of the next image. Generally, the thing is in my lap… as I type this, it is in my lap, and will stay in my lap.

Yep, you can see WordPress in the background, because I was preparing to type this post when I decided to take the images… and I took them on the fly, no preparation required.

Why did I do this?


I want you to see that you don’t have to be like the other bloggers to be successful. If you can write blog posts consistently despite the occasional absolute ciaos or imperfection of daily life, you can be a blogger.

A successful one…

So what else is on that end-table? Beyond the simple technology, you can see my soda glass and my cigarettes with ashes having littered it. Oh, yeah and I should tell you that the Chromebook is the cheap one by the way, not one of the exorbitantly expensive monstrosities.

However, I hope this illustrates the point.

When we see “professional” bloggers online, we like to think all of them have it figured out. A perfect workspace, top of the line gadgets and gizmos, a monogrammed mug, because why not!

What do I have?

Cigarette ashes on the table, and cat hair currently clinging to the outside of my soda glass because Sabin was just trying to get into it. I can look out into my front yard. It’s not a glorious yard, just a normal one.

My backdrop is the racket outside, the neighborhood kids look like they’re trying to figure out how to use skateboards in the subdivision. Meanwhile, my family members are watching a baseball game. It isn’t perfect… it is so antithetical to what we want to see from a “blogger”.

However I am a blogger… more than that I’m a freelance blogger, I make my living this way using freelancing mills under other pen names I’m not supposed to disclose, as writing mills typically don’t like when you do that. Either way, the point stands.

Yes, you can make a living this way without having all of the high-end tech in the world. Yes, you can do the grind it takes to reach success despite that. As long as you come to grips with the “have nots” you too, can be a blogger.

There’s only a few things you actually NEED to be a good blogger, and they’re all low cost to start off, they just take effort. Here’s all you really need:

  1. Some way to access the internet, and something that can let you work with wordpress.com (free site is just fine for a newbie).
  2. A few social media accounts (also free).
  3. Regular access to a computer that can function on the internet well enough to type on (it doesn’t even have to be yours).
    1. Tip: Fresh out of high school I would go to other houses to blog. If you have family or friends, ask around. Do something nice for them in return.
    2. Tip: Use your mobile phone or tablet if it’s powerful enough.
  4. Search up the tools to educate yourself about how to be a blogger; SEO, Keywords, niches, things like that.

That’s it, that’s all you need to start off. Read other blogs, use social media, network often, and even on a free website you’ll start to get the hang of things. That’s the way you want it to be… invest and upgrade when you feel confident enough to do so.

If you can be consistent, start up at a few mills. Yeah, they’ll pay low, it isn’t a get rich quick scheme. Even so, blogging for mills will teach you about the kind of client you want to work for.

I would love it if The Demented Ferrets could become my main source of income. I’d like to spend my time here, full-time… perfecting this space and all that it has to offer. For now that’s just not the case, and I have to pay my bills elsewhere. However, I am a blogger and I do it for a living. A little support goes a long way. If you’d like to help me attain that, you can.

It takes a fair bit of time, but you can be a blogger too. However you need to start slow. If you’re on a budget, get your own free blog. Post up content two or three times a week. Get work at a mill, that way you aren’t tied down to “set hours” in the same way a 9-to-5 is.

Take a client here and there, earn a little pocket change. That will help you to hone your craft, believe it or not. It’ll give you a better taste of the industry at large, and what it takes to be a blogger.

That’s the reality… you don’t need bells and whistles early on. You need hard work and the gumption to try. That’s about it.

This has been Kernook of The Demented Ferrets, where stupidity is at its finest and level grinds are par for the course. I’ll see you next time.

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Before You Worry About “SEO”, Build Alliances – Here’s How

Hey everyone, it’s Kernook here. I’ve spoken about readability before, and discussed a few thoughts about numbered review scores for and how they can hinder the process. It’s about time to dive into big buzz words.

To be clear though, fancy nonsense like “SEO” and “niches” sound nice. However, they don’t mean a damn thing if you can’t write to be understood.

Go here, learn about readability first.

Assuming you’ve done that, let’s move on. By now I’m going to assume that you’ve got a firm command of the written word. Failing that, at least you know what REI means, and how it should be used. Now, it is time to talk about SEO, or “search engine optimization”, and why newbies need to go slow with it.

In general, big bloggers tell you to test out all kinds of “SEO” concepts on your own. They give you vague hints, but that’s about it. Why do they do this? Well, there’s two main reasons:

  1. Optimizing content for the search engines dynamically changes constantly. We never quite know when the next shift will occur.
  2. They’ve built up strong habits and know how to play the optimization game in the first place.

Guides about SEO that you see on the top page are “updated”, and I use that term very loosely on a regular basis. Yet, to attract the most readers they need to be intentionally vague. It’s kind of like the “catch all” horoscopes you find online. It can apply to anyone… and it’s vague enough to be relevant.

Even when they leave the post alone for a year by accident, that doesn’t matter. As long as they remain on top and you’re the fool clicking on it, they benefit from that click, even when you don’t.

A distant, yet often true third detail is that they don’t want the competition. Here’s the deal, if more bloggers know how to battle against the search engines, that means there are more bloggers they have to compete against.

When people complain that blogging tends to be an over-saturated market, we’re not joking. I don’t care about the competition. In my eyes, if more anime and gaming fans get into blogging, the more we can discuss these rich and diverse forms of media. If you want to be a blogger that’s fine with me.

That being said, I’m going to assume you have absolutely no idea what the major aspects of “SEO” happen to be, or how they’re used. This guide truly is intended for absolute beginners, so let’s dive into this thing.

So, What is SEO?

The acronym stands for Search Engine Optimization. This is a big stupid “buzz phrase” that confounds some of us, and pisses off a vast majority of others. However, it also encapsulates the core foundations required to be noticed on the internet. This includes things like “keywords” that drive traffic to your website.

To put this simply; if you’re optimized in the search engines, that means the little crawlers searching the web for content will like you. You want them to like you. If they do like you, then you’ll trend towards the top pages of search engines.

We focus so heavily on that detail because bloggers want eyes on their work, and they want eyes quickly.

That is the first mistake every blogger makes… battling the search engines fails to look at blogging from a more cohesive standard. You do need to do that, it’s true, but at first you need to start slow.

The simplest thing you can do is use social media. I assume you know what social media is; use it. Post up links when you have them, chat a little, chill out a little. If you’ve got buddies, have them share it on their timelines or re-tweet that link out.

Share your stuff on Reddit too. A lot of bloggers tell you not to do this, but again if you’re small, you want to get your links out there. Just don’t be a jerk about it… there are plenty of places you can toss up a link or two daily without being offensive. r/TellThePeople is a good place to start, and r/Promote is another one that’s much larger. That second one is also pretty full of spam, though.

I do have readers that come over from Reddit so I do know this tactic works. You’ll notice I write blog posts about RWBY, and you can be sure that I share those posts in the Reddit communities that allow me to do so. The key thing is to be social in the wider communities you’re part of.

This is part of good SEO practices, and early on that is what you need to bank on. Chances are good that your keywords aren’t perfected yet and you may not have completely discovered yourself as a blogger.

For the absolute novice, SEO will mean one thing, getting your name out there, and that’s it.

Don’t just optimize for Google!

Stop doing that. Bad blogger, no cookie. Do you want to know why you’re struggling to get thirty or so hits a day? Everyone and their mother optimizes for Google. The fact is, there are several search engines out there. They don’t all work in exactly the same way. Some pick up keywords differently, others rate a website and its authority on the internet more loosely.

Bing, Baidu, Yahoo, DuckDuckGo…

Those are all search engines that can and will display your content on the top page. If you know how they work, you’ll get eyes on your site. That list was just off the top of my head. There are plenty more where that came from. If you want to get eyes on your work, don’t follow the mindless masses… play around and find the engine that works best for you.

You need to understand something. If you’re only optimizing all of your content for one engine (Google), you’re missing out on the possibility of what other smaller engines can offer. Everyone goes for Google, that’s the big one.

If you’re a little-known blogger, aim for the top of a lesser used engine, because you’ll just have an easier time. Learn about each of them. They’re not all mindless Google clones, don’t pretend they are. People use Google as a baseline, but if you find that you struggle to hit a top page in a Google search, check around.

Bing or DuckDuckGo might be easier for you… and here’s the thing, the more traffic you get, the more Google’s little crawlers will like you more by default…

No, sadly I’m not joking.

That’s what makes Google the dominant search engine for so many people. It truly is the “catch-all” of searching… and that also makes it a complete and total pain in the ass. If you are getting frustrated trying to hit the top page in google, you’re not alone. That’s just the nature of the beast.

If you optimize for the others, Google will eventually pick you up, and as you learn that process, you’ll learn how to win the Google search too. You do have to be willing to play around with your keywords a little bit early on. The pros aren’t lying, that’s a cold, hard fact.

Don’t sweat it, though.

Depending on your content, the other engines may be better off for you anyway. You’ve got to understand that the pros you’re battling are SEO masters, and they play for keeps. They may also have a team or a network they partner up with.

They know how to play more than one of these systems.

Find out what your keywords are, and how easy it is to get them to trigger in the search results. Then play around with that. The truth is, search engine optimization is very complex and ever-changing, but if you know the bare minimum you can get by.

The Foremost Rule: Community

SEO helps you to get readers… but, you know, there’s other ways to do this. Frankly, these habits have fallen out of practice. I feel it is because of pure laziness.

We’re so focused on engines, we forget what other details help us to be “searchable”. I have two words for you; little and local.

Friends matter. Make them. Point blank, just make them. Building your community ensures readers come back. That’s always going to help you kick ass in the SEO sphere. Before you worry about search engines that we can’t completely predict, worry about what you can predict.

Invest time into your communities, both local and online. If you’re unknown, don’t hit the big places expecting success right away. Go to the small ones first, make a few friends, get a small following. That should be your first step. When you start to advertise your brand, go to the places where people already know you.

If you’re silent and anti-social, you’ve dropped the ball and you need to get started. Backlinking begets backlinking. References earn references. Ping-backs get you ping-backs.

Catch my drift yet?

You want your niche community talking. You want them talking both to you and about you in a positive and pleasant way. I don’t just mean online either. Hit your local community too.

Get yourself a halfway decent printer and use it.

Get yourself a business card template or just print out a series of simple rectangles on printer paper if you have to. Put the name of your website and a QR code on them. Cut them out and pass them around in conversation.

Ask your friends if they’d be willing to stick one in the corner of their car window. You do the same. Also ask to put a few of them in locations where your target audience likes to hang out. Before you put any hard money on getting clicks online, go get them yourself offline.

Some parks have bulletin boards, community centers have them too. Ask around, stick one up.

If you’re a food blogger, write a great blog review of a few small “mom and pop” places you frequent. After you’ve posted it, print that baby out. You’ll offer that review to the restaurant manager as a gift. Compliment the staff. If you’ve done your job right, they’ll take the free promotion.

Anime fan? Gamer? Collector? Do the same thing for shops and hobby places in your area. Going to a convention? Chat in lines, bring up a blog post you’ve done when it suits the conversation.

Write reviews on places you frequent. Give those reviews to the owners. Build that reputation. Small and local places want true and honest advertising. They love the shout-outs.

If they have a website and you’ve befriended the owner, go a step further. Ask the owner if they’ll link your review on their website. That’s a direct reference for them, and possible traffic for you.

Trust me, this works. If you’ve written an awesome review for them, they’ll hang it on their window because they WANT that promotion. Don’t ask for anything in return, just be kind and graceful.

Hint: A lot of people still like to read and hear about things they have a passion for. Confirmation Bias is a real thing in this world, and affirming the enjoyment of a particular topic puts you in good standing if you’re honest about it.

The point is, great word-of-mouth begets great word-of-mouth. That’s always going to be your strongest way to advertise. If people talk about you, they pass you around. You get noticed and you get known.

With the advancement of QR codes, there’s absolutely no reason why you shouldn’t be doing this… bypass the search engines when you can, and in your local communities that isn’t too difficult.

If people search for your site directly, this will raise your SEO rankings because they are looking for your site, and that tells the engine you must be important. You want that, you need that, and it promises some real traffic, made by real people.

If you’re not doing this, you’re losing views and visitors from your target demographic and your local communities. Take an afternoon, pound the pavement and see what you can do.

Blog Together!

I shouldn’t have to say this last one, but talk shop with other bloggers. Leaving comments and socializing helps, sure enough… but take it a step further. Move outside of your core niche just a little bit.

Yes, that’s unconventional advice. Hear me out before you write me off.

You want to be innovative, and that means doing what other people aren’t. Form a small blogging circle that gets together once a month to share ideas and collaborate on loose-fitting subjects. It doesn’t matter what kind of blogger you are for these circles. Tangential posts can be a good thing, and if you pick the right topic everyone can benefit.

To use an example, pick a topic… say food. Now let’s say you’ve got three bloggers. Assume this group contains a media fan, a bush craft expert and a historian. Those are three vastly different types of writers, but food is a topic they can all talk about. The subject is loose enough for each of them to work with.

The media fan can talk about a cooking show, game or movie. The bush craft expert can discuss something they’ve built to help them make a meal. The historian can talk about food from a set time period.

Make sure all your posts are set to go out on a chosen day across your websites. Link to each other, give a shout out. There you go, you’ve got yourself a tangential collaboration, and the chance to reach out to a group of readers who might not have found out about you any other way.

This is why I say your niche doesn’t matter for your blogging circle, only that you chose an inclusive topic. You should be willing and able to step out of your core niche a little bit. Work with bloggers who are unlike yourself. That way, you’re not in direct competition for readers.

Making it a monthly thing means you’ll have your name brought up regularly. The more that you’re brought up in a positive way, the better it is for you. Allow your collaborations to be a fluid situation and don’t try to control the creative space too heavily.

It can be a very good time to write about topics together, and by the end you’ll have friends who understand the struggles of being a blogger too.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, when you think of SEO, you shouldn’t only be thinking about search engines as your only tool. I hope I’ve proven conclusively “SEO” is by its very name a misnomer. Optimizing your search results needs to be far more fluid than mass media guides would have you believe.

Let’s think about it this way: Search Engine Optimization… how do you get more optimized than people actually searching for your blog directly?

The answer is, you don’t.

It isn’t just about the little search crawlers that tell engines to like you. It’s about networking with others and thinking out of the box.

At the end of the day, easy line-of sight access to your work, QR codes, and tangential posts with those outside of your sphere will give you the edge you need.Those are factors you can predict.

You can continue to work with them, even when the engines themselves remain a mystery.

This has been Kernook of The Demented Ferrets, where stupidity is at its finest and level grinds are par for the course. I’ll see you next time.

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The First Thing Bloggers Need to Know – Readability

You know, it’s funny. When I graduated from high school back in 2007, I knew one thing about my life and only one thing. I was never going to enter a university or higher education. It just wasn’t for me. Then again, it seemed to me that so little in the world could be “for me”.

I was adrift with what to do in my life. I ran through the gambit of jobs that you get right out of high school. Corner store clerk, Yep. I’ve been there. Hamburger flipper, yep, I’ve done that too. I was also the poor unfortunate soul that management crams behind a service desk during peek holiday seasons… the dreaded “temp” worker.

From babysitting to mowing lawns, I drifted through many jobs trying to find my place in this vast world. Eventually though, I found my calling; freelancing. Now, I’m not your typical “gig worker” in the sense that I only write blogs or that I only work for writing mills.

I don’t make my income entirely based on that, and most bloggers don’t. It really is nice when someone can have a mastery and build that following to only be a bloggerI’m going to tell you a little secrete of the trade, something a lot of people don’t want you to know.

We’re jacks of all trades, but we’re rarely masters at any of them. Success is easy to brag about, once you’ve got the clout. What about if you don’t though?

I’m not writing this to get your attention, I’m writing this because I’m going to tell you the truth. You’ll follow me of your own volition, or you won’t. If not, that’s fine, but I promise you this; I’m going to give you good advice.

How many times have you read about finding your niche audience? What about defining keywords? Oh, here’s a good one. How many times do you see bloggers talking about the big traumatizing “algorithm” we all battle on a daily basis?

Now I have real hard hitting question for you. Do you, as an aspiring blogger, know what “REI” stands for? What about just the word readability? Do you know what that means?

This is your first lesson. “REI” stands for Reading Ease Ideal.

To be simple, it is just a tool we use. Reading comprehension is a requirement of a good blog. Reading ease tools measure reading comprehension. It tells you how easy your written word is to understand. That’s all “readability” actually means.

Understanding the reading level of your target audience matters. Your blog will be useless if your target demographic can’t comprehend it. You need to master this before you try to master keywords and algorithms.

If you want to get an edge, begin at the heart and soul of the craft. Master your ability to understand your own writing. There’s all kinds of reading ease measurements out there. You need to learn about them.

You need to have all the tools in your tool belt. You’ll gain an edge over other bloggers. Many don’t understand this concept. If you understand what REI means, and how it needs to be used, you’re going to have a better shot against the competition.

Getting your foot into the big media doors isn’t always easy. If you write effectively from the onset, you’ve got a much better chance. That’s the reality. Major publications have standards for reading comprehension.

For example, Time Magazine has a median reading level of “grade 7”. This means the average 13 year old can read the magazine and understand the content in it. Reader digest aims for a baseline of around 15 years old.

That’s not to say the content will appeal to those ages, mind you. The basic reading level of your blog and your target audience are not the same things. However, they are symbiotically tied together.

Therefore, I repeat: Reading Ease Ideal.

Cram those three words into your heads. Old veterans in blogging can roughly determine these things on their own. We can do this by sight alone. That takes practice. If you don’t have the skill, learn the skill.

Step 1: Before you start digging into keywords and algorithms, make sure you have a good word processor.

Step 2: Figure out what metric for reading ease that processor uses.

Step 3: Then you decide what sort of content you want to make. Find out the target ages and the reading level of that group. Look at what the reading level is for major publications in your niche. You can google this, for a lot of big industries.

Step 4: Make sure ALL of your posts are within the target metrics.

If you are writing for a relaxed reader, you’d better not be posting university level reading material on your blog. If you are writing to be understood by the average reader, keep that in mind. You should not go above the reading level of the average young teenager. Unless you are writing Reader’s Digest level material, don’t toss around “grade 9” blog posts.

The lesson here: write for your readers.

That is the most important detail. Do not deviate from that mindset as a newbie. If you do, your posts feel inconsistent and sloppy. During your editing phase, edit to suit your target demographic directly. How educated is that group? Does your post meet the reading ease required for that group?

Figure that out before you post.

Once you start doing this, you’ll be a better blogger. I say this because it is resoundingly true. Every blogger making the big bucks, knows this is true. Middling bloggers like myself, wishing to compete with the pros, learns this is true.

It will help to improve your SEO rankings. You will have a much easier time defining your keywords later on. If you found this helpful, follow me here on Medium. You’ll be getting more tips and tricks like this soon enough.

I’ll leave you with my scores for this blog post. That way you’ll know I’m not feeding you a bunch of nonsense:

Readability Consensus
Based on (7) readability formulas, we have scored your text:
Grade Level: 5
Reading Level: easy to read.
Reader’s Age: 8–9 yrs. old (Fourth and Fifth graders)

After Post:

See what I mean? A child could read this post if they wanted. It’s not aimed at them, but that doesn’t rightly matter. I just wrote it and tossed it. Sure there may be spelling errors, I’m not going to edit this stupid thing. It isn’t because I don’t care. I just wanted to prove a point, reading ease matters. If you can do it by sight alone, you’re a step ahead of the game.

Follow me for more content, you’ll be glad you did.