One of the biggest recommendations many SEO specialists offer to their clients is to add a blog to their website. That’s because it offers great SEO benefits if done right, as well as helps your potential customers see you as an expert in your field. You might not always have someone tell you the reasons why it works, so here are 5 reasons that blogging helps your website’s SEO.
Search engines send bots out through the internet looking to see if your website has made any changes in awhile. If there’s none for a long time, they stop sending the bots and your web presence declines. With some kind of consistent content, even if you only write once or twice a month, your website keeps some kind of relevance.
2. You get to reinforce your expertise in what you do.
No matter what your industry is or if you sell products, being able to write about either on a consistent basis helps the search engines definitely show everyone what you’re about. Sometimes all it takes is having more niched content than the next person to help you stand above the crowd.
3. You have multiple opportunities for internal linking.
Something you don’t hear a lot of SEO specialists talking about is linking to your own content, whether it’s other blog posts or pages on your website. One of the best optimized sites on the internet is the W3C Organization, which has almost no external links but internal links like you wouldn’t believe. Not only does it help your SEO but it encourages your visitors to check out other pages of your website.
4. It’s easier to gear your content towards multiple keyword phrases.
With just a website you can only cover so many keywords and keyword phrases unless you have hundreds of pages. By adding a blog you can write multiple posts with multiple keywords and phrases that helps you compete with all of your competitors.
5. If others like your content, they’ll share it.
They could share it on their own blogs or through social media, which not only drives more visitors to your site but ends up creating backlinks to your site without your having to do anything except have exceptional content on your blog. It’s always great with others promote you because they think you’re content is awesome.
Almost 4 years ago I approached the subject of looking up your own name on search engines to see how you rank, if you come up, and to see what people might be saying about you. Probably every six months or so I hit Google and look up my name, in quotation marks, to see where I come up and with whom I’m competing against. I’m being killed by Jimi Hendrix’s former drummer, but otherwise I do pretty well with my name.
Last night I decided to try something different. I decided to see what I came across if I looked up the name of one of my blogs to see what else was out there. Luckily, there doesn’t seem to be any other blogs that I could find with the name I’m Just Sharing, so instead I decided to look up my eponymously named blog, Mitch’s Blog, my business blog on leadership & other business topics. I knew there would be some out there by that name, so it was a nice test.
The best thing is that my blog comes in #2; the worst thing is that my blog comes in #2. Come on now, #2? With over 1,100 posts and for it being live 8 years, and attached to my business website that I’ve had for 11 years, it only comes in at #2?!?!? And the other guy’s link doesn’t even have the name “Mitchell” in it? And he doesn’t write nearly as often as I do? And finally, it’s ranked lower than my site on both Alexa and Google’s page rank?
Well, I’ll let that go for the moment… I’ll try at least. lol There are lots of blogs called Mitch’s Blog it seems, so I took a look at 9 others so I could have a great round number of 10 to view. What I saw wasn’t great overall yet it’s still interesting.
Two of the blogs have a line or two, then links to either videos or sounds; that’s it. A couple other blogs are associated with universities, and don’t have a lot of posts on them. Many of them don’t have a new post for the last 3 months or more; sigh… One guy has his blog as part of an acne forum; I kid you not. One was on Tumblr; that doesn’t count, but he sketches and they weren’t bad, but he hasn’t put anything up in way over a year.
I did find one that I thought was intriguing enough to link back to. The guy’s name is Mitch Matthews, and I guess he’s a professional motivational speaker with a weekly radio show. It looks like he only writes once a month in his blog, his Alexa rank is over 13 million, and it’s attached to his business site. I actually hope you drop by and take a look and maybe find something to comment on because he seems like the kind of guy many of us might like to know.
As for this other guy… hmmm… No, I’m not going to share a link because I don’t want to help give him a bounce of any kind. Me being me, I went into his source code to check things out. What did I discover? Nothing! He has no keywords, doesn’t seem to have a specific topic he likes to stick to when he’s writing, he has few comments… In other words, he’s defying everything that convention says about SEO and writing on certain themes and having a domain name that relates to something you do… and he’s got my blog’s name and comes up higher on a Google search than me. And there’s no reason why… hmmm…
Is there a lesson here? Yes, there are a few lessons. One, if you don’t know where you stand then you can’t do anything about it so go check yourself out, even possibly just your name, and see where you stand. Two, Even if you’re not at the very top it doesn’t mean you’re not successful in some fashion. Three, you just might find something you like. And four… following conventional ideas just might not be enough to get you to #1. Now, how am I going to reconcile that one? How would you?
You know, many of us have been griping over the last six weeks about the Google algorithm changes that ended up killing our traffic. Some folks, like our buddy Carl have brought up what Google said the algorithm changes were based on and how they were trying to eliminate bad linking, bad SEO and the like. Some people even speculated that it had to do with bad grammar, something I totally disputed and shot out of the water here.
by Jonathan Assink via Flickr
People have kind of lost their minds. Goodness, I think I lost my mind for a short period there, and obviously I’ve talked about it more than I care to even think. But now I think there’s a new way of talking about this thing, and though I’m not totally sure I agree with everything that I’m going to mention in this post, I do think there’s something to some of it if we look at things with a more critical eye.
For me, this all started by reading a post by a guy named James Hussey, who writes a blog called The Average Genius. He wrote a post titled Why Google Penguin Mauled My Sites and What To DO About It, which I found fascinating and commented on. He wrote back and expressed his opinion on what I said, then he said this: “So stay tuned. The conversation gets really, really interesting.”
That looked good and intriguing, and it then lead to this post which is titled Does Google Really Reward Quality, Original Content? An Interview With AsktheBuilder Tim Carter. This is a seminal post, great post, and one to really make you think. It includes an audio file with a guy named Tim Carter, who has a website called Ask The Builder, which of course you saw above. I’m going to give you some highlights of the audio file, but I think you should both read the post and listen to the file, which is about an hour long, for more detail.
In essence, Tim was the perfect Google guy. He started his site before Google came around, and he’s made tons of money online. When Google came around he added Adsense and made a lot of money off that as well. He’s not a guy who ever got into any of the SEO stuff that many other people did, including me to a certain extent. He was held up as the poster boy for how to do things right by Google. They wrote reports using him as an example. They invited him to seminars to talk about his success in working with them. He even went to Congress on their behalf once, talking about how things worked with him and the fairness of it all.
What happened to the poster boy? Panda and Penguin went through and he lost 70% of his traffic. Bad linking? Nope. Bad content? Nope. Pretty much overnight his website, which means his business, took a major hit. Well now, how does one reconcile that based on what Matt Cutts and company said the update was there to do? How do you crush your poster boy, who never did any of the stuff you said you were going after, in such a convincing fashion?
Now, I had to think about this for a bit, and I want to address a couple of points before I go forward. I wrote a post on April 30th wondering where my web traffic went. I indicated that this blog lost traffic and my business blog lost traffic as well. I mentioned that my finance blog stayed the same and that my SEO blog went up barely.
Well, those aren’t the total truths. Yes, this blog’s traffic suffered, and my business blog’s traffic suffered, which also took down my main business website. But within a couple of weeks traffic on my finance blog started jumping, and my SEO blog traffic almost doubled. My local blog stayed the same, and I hadn’t mentioned that one before.
Here’s the thing. I do the same thing on all the blogs. I do my internal linking, I link to the words that seem to make sense to link to, and I do it on all the blogs. I also link to external sources and, when appropriate, use keywords. Yet out of 4 blogs only 2 suffered; what’s that about?
My theory was actually addressed by Tim in the interview. I thought that there was some kind of adjustment against older websites. Indeed, my business blog has been around since 2002, but then again this blog started in 2007, my SEO website didn’t come around until 2007, and my finance site in 2008. This was and still in my top ranking site, but my business site was actually doing really well at one point. I had talked about my medical billing site, which has only been around since 2009, and traffic there jumped as well; my Adsense money on that site has started to increase since the updates went through.
So, was it age? That’s what I thought, which Tim touched upon, but obviously it doesn’t work across the board. But Tim also touched upon something else, that being that Google has made some changes that aren’t necessarily algorithm changes, yet after the algorithm changes helps to enhance what they’d done.
One, they added the G+, which in their way makes websites where your friends, or at least people you know, that have G+’d something takes higher priority than other links used to. Two, they’ve gone out of their way to make local companies and websites come up more than websites that aren’t from the area for many things.
Tim found that many topics he used to be number one for on Google were gone, and often he wasn’t found on the first 5 to 10 pages of a Google search. He also found that some pages that were suddenly ranking higher than him were actually using his content in some fashion; wasn’t that supposed to be something Google was protecting us all from, that someone would rank higher for content we produced first?
If you know what this is you’ll understand the metaphor of why it’s here now
In essence, the “reality” we were given doesn’t seem to real anymore. What some of us were doing for SEO is just fine; it has nothing to do with how we linked, or broken links, or good or bad content. It has to do with supporting some things Google’s been working on in the background. One last thing Tim mentions in the interview is how suddenly more large companies, those that are actually paying Google, are ranking higher than those of us providing pretty good content. I can’t prove this one, as I tested some search terms and didn’t see that.
Anyway, Tim is irked to say the least, and he’s got some other conspiracy theories he talks about. He’s also getting ready to go postal in his own way, as he’s going on a big congressional campaign to get an investigation going into Google. Seems he’s not alone, as James also advocates this on his blog post. Not that there isn’t already someone in Congress that wants to look into this but these guys are serious.
What’s my stand on all of this?
One, I stick by my premise in another post that some companies like Google are getting too big for our own good.
Two, I think there was a different goal in mind that penalizing people for “bad SEO”, which is actually the type of SEO Google themselves told us to do years ago. I believe this as much as I believe Pacquaio beat Bradley Saturday night. By the way, in case you were wondering about the image above, that’s people playing Dodgeball, which I relate to this because I think Google dodged the truth.
Three, I think losing your mind and deciding to write to Congress is a major waste of time for the majority of us. Then again, if I’d lost as much money as Tim I might have a different mindset on this one.
Four, I still think you should read James’ post and listen to the interview he did with Tim because it will get you thinking and maybe you’ll come up with something else.
And five, I think this is proof that we all just need to continue doing what we were doing, especially in producing the best content we can, because in the long run we’re going to still attract traffic and visitors, whether it comes from Google, Bing, Yahoo, or our own efforts in driving traffic to our sites, and it’s imminently more important to spend time producing that worrying about the why’s and how’s of it all.
You know, one of the strangest things about having a blog where you can write about anything is that you’re never sure how people find you. Whereas I specifically sculpt the types of search terms I want to be found for on my business blog and my finance blog, a blog of this type is really all over the place.
So imagine my surprise when I decided to take a look at the keywords that people have found this blog via search engines for over the last 4 months. This is freaky, but I’m going to share the numbers first. Let’s take a look:
Frankly, these are pretty shocking if you ask me. So you know, when it says “not provided” it means that the majority of terms searched didn’t make the top 10 otherwise.
So let’s take a look at the above. You see that #2 on every list is “brendon burchard scams”. I wrote an article last July titled Are Your Views On Money Holding You Back and I highlighted his book Millionaire Messenger in that post, and I mentioned the word “scam” referring to something else, not him. It’s strange how I wrote a positive post, never used what’s coming up as any type of keyword, yet it holds so much weight.
Next, let’s look at “forcefield.exe”. I wrote an article back in May 2010 titled Zone Alarm Issues You Should Know About and I mentioned that term only once in the article. I’m really stunned that it comes up so often in searches, as it was just something I mentioned in passing. I mean, if I was also being found for the term “zone alarm” I might think there was a valid relationship, but no. So strange…
Finally, all the terms about “sexting”; wow. I wrote another article in 2010 titled Should Sexting Be Illegal, nothing close to supporting what kids do so often, and that one article, the only one I’ve ever written on the subject, keeps people coming here on the search engines.
A couple of the search terms do make some sense though. I did write a post comparing Firefox vs Chrome, and my Black Web Friday series fits the black social network searches. I also had a guest post on image copyright rules and talked about the end of Zima (in 2008 no less), and wrote an article highlighting my favorite classical pieces (I didn’t know so many British folks were searching for it).
As I said, I have better control over my business account, and it shows as I mainly write about leadership there and the search terms overwhelming sending people there are related to that term, so I’m doing my job well. But here…
This is eye opening, but I’m not sure how much I can do. I do know this; I can hide that one post on sexting and within a few months that search term won’t be found anymore here. I know that because I removed my one post about cleavage and even though I’ve mentioned it a couple of times here and there, because it’s no longer a post (a post that was innocuous yet got Adsense banned on this site; talk about being duplicitous), I’m not found for that term anymore.
The lesson here is that you might need to check your analytics, see what terms your blog or website might be being found for, and determine if that’s the way you want to be found. Of course, if you have a niche blog you’re going to have a better chance of being found for your terms than I do. Yup, do as I say, not as I do! 😉
Every Wednesday on Twitter there’s something that goes on that originated here in the Syracuse area. It’s called Community Manager Chat, and it’s actually geared towards people who handle the social media processes at their particular companies, or for someone else. I get to be a part of it because social media is my thing, or at least a big part of my thing. If you ever decide to participate it’s at 2PM Eastern time, and you use the hashtag #cmgrchat to follow along.
Last Wednesday the topic of discussion was blogging, which y’all know I thrive on. It was actually the second week on the topic because it seemed like it was very popular and there were so many questions being asked. I answered a bunch of questions, and on that day and the day after I got a bunch of new followers; I could see that a lot of people were interested in what I had to share.
Anyway, what happens is that one of the moderators throws out a question every 15 minutes or so, then the responses fly out. One of the questions asked what people did for SEO on their blogs. I stated that my SEO strategies are to write as much content as I can and to, for the most part, write about certain types of topics more often than going off the grid. I actually do that if you check my centennial stat posts from time to time.
As normal, there were a few people who went into the direction of having to not only write niche blogs, but to make sure to stuff your posts with keywords and keyword phrases so they could be found easier on the search engines. I read that stuff all the time and for the most part I think it’s garbage. After all, if I write 100 posts on roses and suddenly decide to stuff a post with the phrase “brown picture frames”, it’s not really going to mean anything to anyone, including the search engines. Those 100 posts on roses are going to fare way better.
After seeing some of those posts, I wrote the line that this post is based on: SEO is a “practice” like medicine, not a science. It got retweeted a bunch of times; I think people liked that phrase a lot.
And of course I believe it’s true. There are a lot of great SEO practices, which I’ve even talked about on this blog, but the truth is that not every website is going to end up on the first page of Google or any other search engine just because one’s site is optimized well. If you decided today that your goal was to be in the top 10 for the term “shoes” you probably won’t have a chance unless you can produce close to 900 pages of blog posts in a year or so. That’s because there are so many people already writing on that same topic that have beaten you to the punch. You can get creative to find your little niche in that group and that might put you on the first page; otherwise, you just need to be the best you can be and hope to compete in another way.
SEO is like medicine because it’s really a guessing game after a certain point. Doctors guess all the time as to what’s wrong with us. I bet every person who reads this post knows someone who had a doctor tell them “I don’t know what’s wrong with you,” or something to that effect. I’ve heard it myself. And these people go to school for 8 years, then do 2 or 4 years of clinical before they’re allowed to be out on their own; I don’t know anyone who’s truly been doing SEO for more than 7 years or so.
Does this mean one shouldn’t try to be as effective as possible in trying to get their blogs to perform well on the search engines? Absolutely not. What it does mean is that one shouldn’t kill themselves trying to write the perfectly optimized post every time out. To me, based on history, one gets way more juice by trying to put out as much good content as they can. That’s always my goal when I decide to write a post, no matter what the topic is on.
Trust me, there’s really nothing wrong with practicing; you might not end up being a concert pianist like Andre Watts, but you could be Liberace, and he made a lot of money in his lifetime.