The Hard Truths about Growth

Urban Samurai keeps growing. More and more people keep coming to the site. Keep signing up on Facebook. Keep talking about it on other sites. And truth be told, I like it.

To be honest, I think it helps me keep going. Because this is fairly time consuming. But I keep seeing the comments and getting the emails and seeing the stats grow. And that’s a nice reward. It’s like a batch of coins on Super Mario. It makes you want to go forward to get more coins.

The other day, I looked up how to grow blog traffic. And read an article on something called search engine optimization (SEO). For those not in the blogging community like myself until very recently, or marketing community, that means that sites like Google, and Yahoo, and Bing will push more traffic to my site because, will show up in their search results more often. It’s like advertising without having to pay for it. Sounds like a good deal, right?

In order to do that, they want me to have 5% of my words be ‘keywords.’ For this blog, words like samurai, Musashi, Five Rings, Warrior, etc. So if I write a blog of 500 words, which is about my average length, I need to write the word ‘samurai’ 25 times. 25 times. Think about that. Think of how bad that article would have to be for me to force that word in there that many times.

Apparently, this is what everyone who is anyone does with their blog. If you want more traffic, this is what you do. Apparently when they first started with SEO, they wanted key words as much as possible. So people would create entire blog pages that said one keyword. So one day you’d open up my blog and the word s—— would be there a thousand times. (I’m not going to say the ‘s’ word again on this page out of protest.)

Look, I want to grow this blog. I want it to be one of the largest sites on the web. But at what cost? I’m not doing this for traffic. I’m doing this for me. And now I’m doing this for you too. So I was a little torn.

But the answer came quickly, when I thought about the great s—— in history, who are now my teachers. What would they say about it? If Miya—- Musa— were alive today and writing a book about the internet, what do you think he would say about SEO? That’s not a worthy enough question to even ask him. Of course he wouldn’t do it. He would tell me to be true to my words. True to myself. True to you.

So my fellow Samurai, here is the samurai truth, the samurai way, for all the new samurai to follow…Now I feel gross even making the joke. Because this page will now probably come up on more search engines. Never again. It’s just not how I want to feel about this. I’d rather be writing to no audience at all.

Look, I don’t fault people for trying to make money off of their work and what they do. I actually applaud it. And if at some point someone tells me I can make a lot of money from doing the Urban Samurai, then you better believe I will do it. It’s just can’t be about selling yourself out and compromising what means the most to you in order to do that.

Stay true to who you are. Stay true to what you believe. The rest will take care of itself.

This blog entry is 620 words by the way, including this sentence. So, I would have to write s—— thirty-one times. Gross.