I just wasted 2.5 healthy, productive workdays researching and writing SEO-friendly index page content for people who wasted my time instead of being honest about what they felt about my potential contributions.
When I suggested the site needed SEO-friendly content to go on the index pages and topic pages for Google searchers to find, the owner said I should go ahead. I did.
After putting in about two and a half days of work into it, I stopped back to the site's page on facebook and asked for clarification of exactly which genres would be included as earlier discussions had been more broad regarding what types of material would be included. I wanted to be certain I'd included everything and created at least a few paragraphs to attract search engine traffic for each genre and topic.
Their patronizing response was to say thank you for being interested, but we don't want anything from you and have everything we need already.
I'm frankly quite upset and feeling betrayed because I'd thought the owner was more honest than to say my contribution was welcome when it really wasn't wanted.
What a waste of time! Why do people feel the need to waste other peoples' time like that?
I feel your pain.
This morning I saw a mail carrier walking in the rain, poncho and all. And the bronco in front of me hit the puddle so hard it almost knocked the mail carrier over. The mail carrier was waving their arms and I felt so bad for him.
That bronco was in the same lane as me and all he had to was slow down just a little.
I know that doesn't help but I completely understand in more ways than you know.
So sad...I am truly sorry for you.
Best of luck my friend. Keep the faith!
Oh, and they also kicked me off the facebook group when I pointed out it was rude to waste my time like that and that Google needs SEO friendly content on index pages to return search results by genre and topic for their website.
They believe that tagging and a well-organized website will bring all the Google visitors they want. That may work for content that is SEO-friendly, but not for content like recipes, poems, and artwork without additional search engine friendly text.
It's not a waste of time for them. The info you provided via your hard work could likely prove to be very profitable for them. Well! I'm not a mind reader but I can't think of another plausible why they would do it. Can you? Some people are very sneaky!
No. I didn't hand anything over after the reaction I got.
I was doing it for free, which makes it even more insulting than if it had been for a client. So there was no intent to steal on their part, just a patronizing tone and a lack of consideration for others.
Sorry to hear about your experience. I can't say that I've had that happen to me. But if it did I'd be as disgusted as you are! To quote Alanis Morisette: "You live. You learn."
I'm just flabbergasted. I've donated my writing skills to dozens of charities and to about a dozen other websites whose concepts I felt deserved support and I've never gotten a reaction like this one. I've had my offers to help rejected before, but never after I was already given the go-ahead and never so rudely.
Sorry to say, but if you were doing it for free then you lost nothing and if you're a freelancer then you can turn that research into something productive that another site (competitor) would appreciate and pay for. Find the competition and pitch them your ideas.... Never freelance for free unless you are receiving a reciprocal link or exposure in exchange... and only then if it is coming from a site that gets at least 50,000 monthly visitors.
When you do work on spec there's always the possibility the customer or client decides not to buy it, or take it for free in your case. I'm not totally sure what the issue is here without seeing the entire exchange verbatim. Are you sure you didn't misinterpret something? Was the response after you submitted the article out-right rude, or just cold and business-like?
Personally, over the years I've decreased the amount of spec work I do. It's so annoying when you have a good feeling the client is going to buy and then they don't.
Kylyssa, you're talking about the new CreativeExiles site and I can only say, I hope you won't let a conversation with just one member of the team dissuade you from helping.
If I remember right, it was Jodah who welcomed your offer. Have you spoken to him since? I'm creating the site framework and I think your pages could be a very useful addition, but I'm not really part of the management team.
+1 Absolutely. I think going ahead and doing that much work is commendable and valuable. I was impressed that Kylyssa took it upon herself to do the the hard work (well, for me that's the hard work). I am aware that Kylyssa knows how to drive traffic with SEO.
I don't have anything to do with that site, but what might have begun as a simple misunderstanding has now become something completely different.
Seems to me you could have handled the problem differently. Why didn't you just write back and remind them you'd had earlier contact and been invited to participate? If they are suddenly swamped with potential new members, they could well have decided to start responding with 'thanks, but no thanks' while they concentrate on getting their new site sorted out.
The decision to quickly write posts on their facebook page (and here) when you were upset probably means you have, in fact, wasted 2.5 days. That's sad. But I'm not sure you can really blame them for that.
Others chose to out the website; I didn't.
Their response wasn't a misunderstanding. There can be no misunderstanding that my contribution was unwanted from the first response and then that I was seen as an ignorant nuisance to be brushed off from later responses. The evidence that I'd been invited and had been given the go ahead were the words a few inches lower on the same page and the fact that I had been invited to the secret group. If they couldn't be bothered to scroll down the same page to see evidence that I'd been given the go ahead, why should I beg them to take something they say they don't want or need? When someone throws a gift back in your face saying it's useless and they don't want it, you don't chase them down and force them to accept it.
I was blunt about it, but there is nothing currently on the site that's SEO-friendly and I said so. They don't want any SEO pages and it doesn't get much clearer than how it was put. They believe tagging and having a searchable site is all they need to make every post SEO friendly. They already have all of the non-user pages they want or need. Those pieces of information were stated as facts.
I had no intention of helping after getting those reactions. I was patronized and treated like some interloper wasting their time. If it was a misunderstanding, it was too great a misunderstanding to work with. If the communication is so bad and the editor is unwilling to scroll down the page for evidence she's not in sync with the owner, it's not something I want to work with. If a patronizing attitude is an immediate response to not knowing what other team members have said on the same page, it's not a good sign.
I've donated content to dozens of charities and to about a dozen for-profit websites I felt I could believe in. I've offered my services for free to about a half-dozen other businesses who didn't take me up on it, but they declined immediately rather than having me waste time writing something they didn't want. I've never gotten such a reaction before. It's not any way to treat volunteers.
I can blame them for giving me the go-ahead when it wasn't meant and I can blame them for treating me like my contribution was unwanted and worthless from their very first response to my request for further details. Yes, I blasted them on the secret facebook page because it's darned rude to tell someone to go ahead on something you have no intention of using then to treat them like a nuisance when they're trying to polish it to give to you. Perhaps it's unprofessional to complain about such behavior, but I complained directly to the people responsible before coming here to vent without identifying the website. I don't share your belief that it's wrong to call someone out for being rude.
I saw a lot of creative writing websites that could use some serious help and looked to be on shoestring budgets during my research. I'm sure I can find someone else to give the content to who won't treat me like I'm imposing on them. So I'm just going to finish it up and offer it to a few of them.
Kylyssa, I think you need to go back and look at what "instructions your "client" gave you for this project.
This is the conversation you had:
Kylyssa: "It's a great welcome page. I think we also need a search engine optimized page to bring in Google traffic, but it need not be the "about us" page. Its purpose is to contain words describing what readers will search for that would bring them to a site where they can read assorted genres of poetry and short fiction for free.
I'll give it a try if no one minds."
John Hansen: "Please feel free to give it a go Kylyssa."
I did not see any other conversation where John asked you to write multiple pages. John is not an internet guru and I'm sure he would have no idea of the amount of work involved - "give it a go" is a casual invitation.
Here is some of your offer and my reply. :"I'll give it a try if no one minds. I have a very big reading habit so I've learned to find free reads online. I can start with a list of my own searches plus I can do some keyword research and compose something that should cover a number of common searches.
Like · Reply · 25 March at 23:37
John Hansen: Please feel free to give it a go Kylyssa."
I have been on the road for the last three days and had no other conversation with you until I read a post where you accused me of being rude and inviting you to do all this work with no intention of using it or not wanting it.
To accept something like this has to be voted on by the management team, and although I see Phyllis had doubts that it may be needed, I was unaware of that conversation and I replied to you that I would like to see what you had come up with first. I thought you were rude in your accusation to me, without having had any contact with me about what you had researched.
I have to reiterate, YOU made the offer and I just said "please feel free to give it a go" not that I would use it or not use it either way. I still haven't said we weren't interested in it, just that I want to see it first. As Marisa said, I am no internet guru and wasn't aware this would take a lot of work, valuable time, and many pages. You are most welcome to remain a member of the group but please stop slandering the group and it's members because of a misunderstanding.
I apologize for lashing out in response to what I experienced in the secret group in such a hot-headed manner. I should have worded things better and my replies were impulsive and angry. Please delete anything I ever said on the secret group.
I was so profoundly upset, shaking, in tears when I got those first patronizing and surprising responses after reaching a point where I was so happy with what I'd written and so proud to be a part of your site just moments before. I was so excited and thought I'd made something that could really work well, would really be helpful. I'd composed roughly 8,000 words including several index landing pages and blurbs for each topic, genre, and style including definitions of types of poetry and short stories. My SEO contact had looked over about half of it and had edited and tweaked each of those pieces by the time I posted to make sure I hadn't left anything out. I thought I was so clever to get expert help. I let her finish and I'll pay her with the favors I now owe her.
My post asking for clarity was almost manic because I was so happy to be helping and so sure what I was doing was useful. I went from feeling like I'd done something good for some people who truly deserved it to feeling like complete and total crap when I found out how useless the person who responded felt what I'd done was. It was like getting sucker punched when I was on top of the world. I've been treated like I'm stupid, useless, and a lesser being all my life based on my appearance and my way of speaking. If people press those buttons, I react poorly; I tend to have what's called an autistic meltdown.
I did not identify your website, another hubber chose to. I named no names and I work with many sites so it could have been any site until someone identified it. The group on facebook is secret.
It's not slander to tell the truth, which is that you chose to accept my offer of help when you didn't really know if you wanted my help and then didn't bother to inform me when your team came to the decision that everything you needed had already been written.
If it had been physical labor, would you have done the same? Do you think it would have been rude if the thing I'd offered to do for you was to paint your house inside and you'd let me put up masking tape and plastic sheets in your entire home and I'd finished caulking the cracks and painting your kitchen and living room with a helper before I accidentally found out you really weren't interested by being patronized and treated like I was wasting your time?
Yes, I made the offer. In the future if you don't know you'll want or need something, please tell the person who offers it that you don't know if you want or need it or or just say no thank you. I was under the mistaken impression that the secret group was created to discuss the site construction and to coordinate volunteers; I had no idea it was intended as a public space. I thought the very fact that I was invited to the group meant I was considered a volunteer.
People were making all sorts of offers and you were taking them up on them. I didn't know you thought of me on some different and lesser level than you thought of the volunteers whose help you accepted. You should have been upfront that you valued my possible contributions on some lesser level that meant you had to see them before you'd know if you actually needed what every other successful creative writing website has. Or you could have just said no. Or you could have not added me to the group in the first place if you place a lesser value on my potential contributions.
I didn't know go ahead meant go ahead and waste your time and we'll determine whether we want what you've written or not. You weren't clear that you were just curious to see what I might write and weren't necessarily interested in it. If I'd known you didn't know you could use such a thing and would only consider it as a submission, I'd have probably never gone ahead with it and I certainly wouldn't have gotten expert help with it.
I apologize for telling you you were rude in the secret group; I truly would have stuck to telling you in an email if I'd known you thought of the secret group as public. I'm also sorry another hubber decided to out the site.
I'm not interested in anything to do with your site. You have no need or desire for my help, you place no value on anything I have to offer, and I truly consider your cavalier attitude toward even inadvertently wasting my time to be unacceptable, so why on earth would I want to write for your site?
Kylyssa, I have to correct that statement. "The team" did not come to any such decision. You got a response from ONE member of the team who made the comment based on her own personal understanding of what the site needed. John was not aware of her opinion and therefore, obviously, could not possibly inform you.
The person who responded was under the misunderstanding that the Yoast SEO plugin would do all that was needed to provide SEO for the site. That is not correct, as you know, but that was how they understood it.
I can understand you not wishing to have anything further to do with the site but at the same time, you have no right to make inaccurate statements about it.
If it was only her opinion, why did she state it like the team made a decision?
I'm so done with this discussion and the whole misunderstanding or whatever it all is. I've been crying practically non-stop since yesterday, I haven't eaten today because I just can't, and I'm just done. I need to get into a state where I can deliver the favors I promised to the SEO expert.
I sent a message to HubPages asking to delete this thread so people will just leave me alone.
Wow, this all seems very childish. What happened to people simply going to the person they have a problem with, one on one and dealing with it? Why blast people out because you got your feelings hurt?
Not very adult behavior in my opinion.
Sorry you've had to deal with this while on the road Jodah.
Please can we just end this discussion? I get that you think I'm horrible for reacting badly. I get that you see a website owner's momentary embarrassment at having dealt with someone like me as a more awful thing than wasting days of my time and effort needlessly. The waste of my time isn't even done yet as I still owe the SEO expert!
When the staff member treated me like crap, I immediately tried to get her to understand, but it didn't work, she blocked me from the group and unfriended me immediately. You can't really contact people when they cut off contact. It was a done deal that they didn't want what I'd written, possibly even before I'd written it. They just hadn't bothered to say so.
I honestly did not know the secret group wasn't considered secret. I also named no names here.
I'll try to get this thread removed so you and the site can go on feeling it was righteous to waste my time and to then treat me like an imposition for trying to give them what I'd wasted my time on.
I now know better to volunteer to do anything unless I get it in writing that the person or people who benefit aren't just curious and have a need and desire for it.
I never said anything about it being ok that you wasted your time, or that you felt like someone was rude. I just find this way of dealing with it a bit immature, especially considering this is a site for adult writers, who all sort of communicate. So it was bound to come out who/where was involved.
Your opinion and feelings are valid, how you handled them here was not in MY opinion. That is all.
Thank you Annsalo. I was surprised and saddened when I read the discussion and reaction it created. At no time had it been decided by the committee to discard the work Kylyssa had done without perusing it's merits and considering whether to adopt it. Marisa even recommended that it could be helpful to the site so I was anxious to see what she had come up with. If there was a problem I should have been messaged privately to mediate the situation, not sent an email accusing me of being rude for accepting the offer and having no intention of giving it fair consideration. Which is not true. I understand that no one likes to think their hard work has been wasted but if Kylyssa had simply approached me with her concerns it could have been alleviated.
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