Does More Blog Content Work Anymore? Research Results…

I have long been someone who’s believed that the more one writes on their blog, the more traffic they’ll get, the higher their blogs will rank, and the better opportunity they’ll have to be more popular across the board. That certainly used to be true; back in the days where I was writing more than 300 posts a year on this blog it was very highly ranked. Once I slowed down, my ranking dropped, which has happened to all my long time blogging friends who have reduced how much they put out.

it´s not the style ...
ifranz via Compfight

What I didn’t know was whether this was still true. I’ve certainly said it was, the last time being in July when I said that “the more you write the more traffic you’ll get and the higher you’ll rank…“. I didn’t have any information telling me that wasn’t true.

However, what I did have was a lot of evidence that maybe there were other ways of getting higher rankings and better traffic. This is post #1,673 on this blog, which shows you that I have a lot of articles here. One would think all those articles would help this blog be ranked higher than it is; certainly higher than a blog that has fewer than 100 articles.

That’s not the case anymore. I’m not going to specifically point out any blogs here, but there are a lot of them ranked higher than me with a lot less content. Even if some of them are writing extremely long posts, one would think sheer volume might mean something.

Yet, I know someone else who’s been writing for a long time, and almost every day. Jack Steiner, who write the blog The Jack B, has been writing his blog for 12 years, sometimes pretty lengthy articles, yet his Alexa ranking (don’t start with me on that one lol) is still in the 2 million range. His blog is very entertaining, so one would think his ranking and traffic would be off the roof; what gives?

I decided to do a research project to test my long standing belief, which was hanging by a thread. For 31 straight days, I had a new blog post on my 3 Bad Management Processes and it went live, on a Thursday… and that was that. For the rest of the month only one day beat that one in traffic, and that one had dropped a bunch from what I’d had going on. It was also the shortest post to that point, just over 500 words, but it was on point, about leadership, which is the main topic on that blog. It should have been an easy read after all the other articles I’ve been sharing… but it wasn’t.

After that… dud city. My Star Trek article got a lot of shares on Twitter but it didn’t generate in a lot more visits overall; that says something that in its own way supports what I’d wondered about Twitter sharing and traffic to one’s blog. I thought about attributing some of the drop-off to the holiday season and could get behind that theory except the issue started a week before Christmas; freaky.

It leaves me with an unsatisfied conclusion, that being… the research study is inconclusive. If it was working then suddenly stops, does that mean it does or doesn’t work? That traffic has started going back up, slowly though, mean anything? Inconclusive; sigh…

A recommendation… write; just write. That’s the best I’ve got at this point. I’ll add promote, which I’ve talked about as it concerns Twitter, where it seems to work better than in other social media spaces. I’ll continue researching and testing things from time to time and then writing about them it’s what I do after all. 🙂

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How Important Is SEO In Your Blogging Content?

I hear a lot of excuses from people when it comes to why they don’t blog all that often. Although I tend to believe that people have more to say than they think they do, I can understand how someone might think they’ll run out of things to say.

How to seo a website
Creative Commons License SEOPlanter via Compfight

What I also hear is that people have no idea how to write for search engines, or the all-important SEO. I thought it was time to address the question of just how important SEO is to your blogging content.

Is SEO important? Yes, it’s absolutely important. How important it is in one’s blogging content is a different question entirely.

There are times when making sure that certain keywords are prominent in a blog post. One of the benefits of blogging is the fact that you’re actually building up prominence for your topics, or keywords that you want to be known for, by having a lot of content rather than having to keep drilling down on specific keywords or keyword phrases. So you shouldn’t have to go out of your way to create those keywords or keyword phrases if you know what you’re talking about.

For instance, even though I’m using the term SEO often in this particular post, if I decided to only use it once in any other post and linked that one time to something else on either my blog or my website, it would have as much power for my website as mentioning it in one post multiple times. The fact is that I have written on the topic multiple times on this blog throughout the years, so I should be covered, especially if someone’s wondering how it might relate to blogging.

In other words, the SEO properties of a blog don’t have to occur all in one post. One can spread out the process via multiple posts. That also means that your content can read naturally for both your visitors and the search engines, which is what everyone wants to see anyway.

Of course you will probably go somewhere else and read where someone has said how important it is to make sure that every single post you write is perfectly optimized. I’ve read lots of blog posts where they’ll tell you how many times you need to use certain phrases, that you need to add H1, H2, H-etc tags, and a whole lot of other tricks. Go find some of the big time blogs and check to see how often they’re employing these tricks within the articles; almost never!

I’m here to tell you that it’s much more important having consistent content than worrying about how you’re writing something. As long issue make it readable for your visitors, make it compelling, and have a style worth reading, your content and your search engine optimization processes will take care of themselves.

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Marketing When Your SEO Seems To Be Failing You

Back last April Google put through a couple of corrections in their search engine protocols that seemed to hurt a lot of websites in some fashion. Their intention was to clean up their algorithms so that their search results were not only more accurate, but to penalize those websites that they somehow deemed as having a lot of keywords or spam-like characteristics. They also took a look at links back to websites and started taking away some authority from websites based on the quality of who was linking in to them.

tres claves para un buen SEO
Carlos García Torrado via Compfight

Whenever something like this happens, the crowd goes on a lemming rampage and starts decrying SEO tactics as something that won’t work anymore and some people even start saying that people who say they do SEO services are taking advantage of everyone else.

I’m here to tell you that’s not true across the board. In reality, some people are either always sneaky or always honest; the only middle ground is being somewhat incompetent, recommending things that search engines don’t even look at anymore as major SEO components.

Here’s some truths.

First, the basic principles of SEO will always be valid. I’m not mentioning them again because the tips are in the article I linked to.

Second, if you purchased links you knew whether they were good or not, so that’s on you. If you didn’t purchase links that’s a different story. I know that my main business website has more than 8,500 links from sources that I never submitted that site to, and a lot of them are questionable. However, I don’t have the time to reach out to that many sites, so if Google decides they’re lousy sites, there’s really not much I can do about it.

Third, if you’ve written your content well, and you’ve made sure that you haven’t overused your keywords and keyword phrases on all pages, then you should be fine. However, if you have, and you’ll know if you have, then you need to put some corrections through to fix that.

Fourth, and this is an interesting one. If your website or blog has a lot of links, you might have to perform some maintenance and check for broken links. Turns out that a lot of blogs got hit badly because of that one.

The rest of your marketing, if it’s solid stuff, will still do you well. I look at my main website and even though traffic has dropped to the blog after the updates, I’m still ranked highly for the keywords on the site that I’ve worked hard to get there. Other keyword phrases have fallen, but as long as the main ones still work, it shows that my marketing campaign for them was legitimate.

Unless your traffic drops in half, don’t panic. Just put some time into looking at your sites, maybe fix a few things, add a little bit of new content if you can, and you’ll be heading in the right direction in no times.

By the way, last Wednesday I interviewed a friend of mine, my oldest friend, Chuck Price of Measurable SEO on many topics, the biggest two being entrepreneurship and SEO; how timely. Here’s that video; you should check it out:



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Having Guest Posts On Other Blogs As A Traffic Strategy

Guest posting is a strategy that you might have read about on some blogs or in other online spaces as a way to drive traffic to your website or blog. It can be, but I’m not one of those people who thinks it’s as good as having great content on your own site. Still, with the right type of guest post on the right blog in front of the right audience, it might not be a bad idea across the board.

Wind farm and greenhouse gas farm, together
via Compfight

To guest post, you have to be willing to follow the rules of the site owner. I used to allow guest posts on my finance blog, Top Finance Blog, and when I did I had some rules. Unfortunately, so many people weren’t following the rules and I didn’t have time to keep up with what I was seeing that I had to stop taking them.

Anyway, here were the main rules: one, if someone requests a guest post, they had to put my name in the email so I know they saw the guest posting policy; two, the topic had to be financial; three, the post couldn’t be blatant advertising; four, I got to decide if the post would be free or had to be paid for based on my criteria; five, all guest posters must respond to comments within 2 weeks, otherwise any links in their posts would be deleted.

My rules were tough, but that blog made money for me and I set the standards for its use. I think every person allowing guest posts needs to have standards; otherwise, you end up with a lot of junk and a blog no one ever wants to visit.

You need to be ready to really give your all. A guest post isn’t a reason to write a throwaway post that you’d never put on your site If you’re hoping to drive people back to your site it needs to be top quality.

If you have someone else writing for you, that’s fine as long as you look at what they’re submitting in your name. If you trust your writer it’s all good. What I see happening most of the time is the person reaching out to a site to submit a guest post isn’t actually the writer but a marketer for a content company of some sort. They almost never read the posts either; if they did I’d never have to edit anything. Those guest posts are a reflection on your business so be careful.

If your website isn’t up to snuff, or your blog’s content is weak, then you’re just wasting your time linking back to it. I’ve seen some horrid sites that people want to link back to and sometimes I just said no without even allowing someone to send me an article.

If you have some standards, don’t accept anything you don’t agree with, even if the other party is willing to pay you. I disagree with the concept of payday loans, so anytime I received a pitch with that as the topic and it wasn’t a negative piece about the subject, I turned it down. I would also turn it down if the subject is fine and the article was well written but it linked back to one of those sites.

Guest posting to drive traffic isn’t a bad strategy but it comes with its own issues. If you have problems writing your own blog or web content, do you really want to spend the time boosting up someone else’s traffic with the hope of getting some residual traffic back? Pick your spots and it can work out; get it wrong and you’ll just be spinning your wheels.

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12 Things You Need To Look At On Your Website

Today is January 12th, 2012, and I decided to have a bit of fun with the number 12 today. And since I’m having fun let’s talk about websites; yay!

Majestic Sunrise from the Summit of Mount Fuji
Spreng Ben via Compfight

If you have a website, you know that it represents your business, whether you put it up or not. You want it to look clean, if not professional. By that, I mean that there are some people who will tell you that your website needs to look like everyone else’s standards of what a professional website should look like. If you look at my website, or even this blog, you notice it has its own unique look. Yet it’s clean and professional because it does what I want it to to, and I feel it represents my business just fine.

In that vein I’m going to give you 12 things you should check on your website or blog that could be giving your visitors a bad impressions.

1. Symmetry. The first thing people see when they get to your website or blog is whether or not it has a smooth look or not. Symmetry doesn’t mean that everything has to mirror itself; it means it has to be pleasant enough so that it doesn’t distract and confuse people so they want to immediately leave.

2. Standard fonts. By this, I’m not saying one of the standard fonts that everyone else says you should use. I mean that, other than your logo and maybe a few highlights here and there, you should use the same font on your entire page, and on all your pages. And if you decide to have a second font, only have a second font; three or more fonts and your page looks like an amateur put it together.

3. Consistency. Whatever your main page looks like, all your other pages should look the same. The only exception to this might be if you have a sales page for certain products that you want to also be able to market independently from your main site, yet still link back to your site. By the way, that’s dicey, but I’ve done it on this site with my product pages looking different than my website.

4. Selecting fonts that are readable. I love wacky fonts. But I only use them when I create flyers. On the web, other than for a logo, you want to make it easy for people to read your content. That lucida calligraphy font might look great if you’re writing a letter to someone, but reading page after page with that as your main font will get on people’s nerves.

5. Have some rhyme and reason for where you place your images. I know that not all images end up being the same size, but having multiple images on a site of different sizes that are all over the place won’t get it done. Coding can resize some of these images up front, and you can set it up so that people can click on those images to see them in a larger size if need be.

6. Overdoing highlights and bolding. We get it; you make pizza. You don’t need to highlight that word over and over on any of your pages. Your visitors will get it and you won’t look like you’re trying to beat people over the head with what you do.

7. Too many colors. If you’re trying to make a point and it takes a lot of colors, that’s okay. But having more than 3 colors on one page is distracting, and if you do it on other pages consistently, it looks like your kid has been coloring.

8. What do you do? Believe it or not, I visit multiple pages and have to sometimes look around to figure out what businesses do. Don’t talk in platitudes or in industry-speak. No one wants to read that your company specialized in changing paradigms and process management to help companies achieve better financial success. They want to know what you do, what your business is about. If you can’t tell them that in 25 words or less, you need to work on your message.

9. How can people contact you? Yeah, I know, you have a contact page with script that people can put all their information in to reach you, but you don’t give anything away. I don’t even talk to any of these people, and I know I’m not alone. If you look at my website you see my phone number on every page, along with “Contact SEOX; click here”, which opens up an email where you can write me. Stop making it hard for potential clients to reach you.

10. Did a song just start playing? Every time you startle someone because you or someone else decided to have music welcome your guest you put off more than 50% of your market. I like music myself, but I don’t want music starting when I go to a website because you don’t know what else I might have going, and I especially get irked if there’s no way for me to turn it off.

11. Colors in general. Are your colors overpowering? Does your background color clash with your font color? Is that computer generated snow I see suddenly falling on my screen? You think it’s cute but if it distracts your potential customers, which it will, people will leave your site quickly.

12. Does your content represent you and your business properly? What I’ve run into here and there is having to write the content for someone’s webpage. That’s fine and dandy, but I need them to step up and tell me if I’ve represented them properly. I don’t know what everyone does or how they do it; I can only research it.

That’s what everyone who does what I do will do as well. But if you’re only looking to coach new women entrepreneurs in health care and the person who wrote your content has set you up as a mentor and coach for every man and woman on the planet, you’re not being represented well. Look at your content, maybe even write it yourself. If you want someone to edit it then do that. But it’s your business; make sure it represents who you are.

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