I was sat at the office earlier today and had a call from a marketing expert whom I exchange ideas with. He asked me a pretty pertinent question: “should you blog for SEO in 2019?”
The answer is that you should definitely blog for SEO in 2019. With consistent, relevant and valuable content, Google will view your site as valuable relative to the search terms you are trying to rank for.
The same can be said for this year in 2018 and probably 2020 as well. Why would Google not want to support websites that update, offer value and relevant value at that? They would only want to support websites that employ blog tactics like this.
So, barring any major changes to Google’s algorithms, you should definitely look to implement a blog strategy in 2019. If you do not blog for SEO in 2019 and you are trying to rank a website, you are missing out on massive amounts of value for not very much effort invested. With all that said, let’s have a look at HOW you can implement an excellent blog strategy next year.
Has blogging always been effective in boosting Google rankings?
In short, yes. Blogging is an excellent way to boost your ranking power and always has been. All of websites we do SEO in Derby for have blogs. Look at websites like Wikipedia. They are essentially a blogging site about all things. Their domain authority is massively powerful (although they need to work on monetisation!) because of all the content they upload to Google. It is a very clever website.
Just look at your local stagnant websites that haven’t been touched since they were made in 2012. Are these dominating valuable search terms? Absolutely not. They are stagnant. Google does not value them. They do not offer anyone anything. A website like Wikipedia offers the reader a lot of value, so Google wants it to appear high in their search engine.
Over the years, Google’s thoughts on blogging has changed though. There was a time when you could just spam Google up and really push for quantity over quality. This allowed the busy to get ahead of the quality. Eventually Google started to introduce metrics that punished websites with really high bounce rates (caused by poor user experience, ugly websites, poor content etc.), articles lacking relevance and people just pumping out too much content.
However, Google wants to see updates, changes and value if you are to rank highly. Writing a blog is a great way of consistently providing value and keeping your website updated and moving. Again, this is why Wikipedia does well and this is why websites like The Guardian do well.
Now, there are good and bad ways to blog and we see examples of both all the time. Let’s have a look at some of the best and worst blogging practices.
Later on in the article we will distinguish which tactics you might use depending on which kind of result you are trying to get (ranking a Google My Business profile, ranking for local search terms, ranking for national search terms, affiliate sites and so on). But now let’s have a look at general rules.
Good Blogging Techniques
Let’s have a look at ‘good’ blogging techniques. These are tried and tested techniques. You can always verify these methods against Google’s guidelines
Working out how often you should blog
Wondering how often you need to blog and why? Neil Patel has a good long article here and it basically comes down to – what is your sweet spot for adding good posts?
Also, he talks about a lot of article posts being good back between 2005 – 2010. People were doing 5+ a day and seeing great results.
Now Google prefers quality over quantity or you could simply spam your blog page and rank well. Neil usually goes for between 2-4 blog posts a week if that helps you make a decision. We would say that it is worth doing at least 1 and get in 2 a week if you have something worth adding and writing about.
Keep reading to see our blog strategy for different types of websites…
Syndicate your blog posts out to social media profiles
By posting your blog articles onto your social media profiles, you are raising the authority of these properties so that the link back to your website is even stronger.
However, Google explains that you should only syndicate content (blog posts) to your social network that are ‘long form’. It is preferred that you are not syndicating every little update you have.
So, you might want to syndicate one large long form post at the weekend and have a shorter blog post midweek that does not get syndicated out to your social channels. We would consider long form to be in the 1500-2000 words plus range and short to medium to be 500-1000 words long.
Social media channels you could choose are Gravitar, WordPress, Medium, Blogger, Twitter, Facebook and more.
Update old blog posts
Hubspot put a lot of effort into updating old blog posts and found that 70% of traffic was coming from their updated blog posts. We believe this was two-fold. First, the articles are becoming better and therefore people are bouncing less, sharing the article more and responding well to it.
On the other hand, Google is seeing that Hubspot are updating old articles with good, new content. This makes Google want to push the articles up the search rankings for good work on their content within the world of Google.
Link with a purpose
Include outbound links to relevant articles you used to help you research and build your article. This will not only help the reader (more useful information for them) but it will also help Google in telling it which other content online is relevant to what you have written. This will help Google to distinguish what your article is truly about and where it should place you in its search engines.
Make sure you select your link to open in a new tab. When the crawl bots (Google uses these to scan your robot) scan your site, you don’t want them leaving your website. By opening in a new tab, you are keeping both Google and human visitors on your website rather than being taken off it and onto someone else’s website.
Also, use inbound links intelligently. If you are trying to rank a certain page on your website, you can use blog posts to boost that page up. In this case, you might want to just link to that page (especially if this content is relevant to it) rather than ranking to all sorts of pages throughout your website. Both can be okay depending on what you are trying to achieve, but if you are trying to get to the top of Google for a specific search term, you might just want to link to that one search term (like we have in this article!).
Get someone else to blog for you?
This is not an affiliate link, but these search engine guys based over in America have a good scheme. They have a course you can buy called Content Kingpin which teaches you a simple way of creating content quickly, easily and consistently.
Better yet? The main focus is actually on learning how to outsource your blog writing so someone else can do it for you.
You don’t need to employ anyone in an office, there are freelancers waiting to write for you right now on sites like Upwork and Fiverr. Then, when you get the process down, you can offer content creation as a stand alone service for businesses or other search engine professionals and profit from it like clockwork. Good work Semantic Mastery!
Check out their other work for more guides on things like syndication networks and other things relevant to blogging.
Bad Blogging Techniques
Let’s have a look at techniques that people THINK work but actually don’t work. We won’t include obvious spammy black-hat techniques.
Really short blog posts
Posting something that is 300 words or less is very insignificant. Google will view such a short post as not particularly valuable. As Google cannot read like a human, you might have something really valuable but Google will likely assume what you have written is not.
The reason? If Google sees an article that is 1200 words on the same topic, with excellent outbound links, low bounce rate, everyone is finishing the article and spending more time on that article (because it is a longer, yet still engaging read), Google is going to deem the longer article to be better.
So, write more words! Don’t just use filler, find more valuable things you can add to your 300 words to make it relevant and engaging. This will help your reader and Google and help boost your ranking.
Too many posts
In the section above I included a link to Neil Patel’s blog post where he talks about how much you should blog. Give that a read. Basically, Google is not going to think you are providing anything of value if you are finding 30 different blog posts a day. You will be cast aside like a black-hat cheater. Quality not quantity!
Your content has to be on point again, for the reader and Google. Remember, you are always writing for two people. Google and the reader. Anyway, if Google notices that you have posted an article with a title relating to ‘getting to the first page of Google for local search terms’, but you end up talking about dolphins – it is going to pick up on you.
It will compare what you have written to other people in the space and see that you are doing something whacky. Keep it relevant. Obviously, from the human point of view, if they click your ‘getting to the first page of Google’ article and it is all about dolphins, they are going to bounce, quickly. Google will see that people are not interacting with your articles and kick you down the rankings.
You need to know at least a little bit of web design if you are to work with search engines. If your blog takes time to load, no one will read it. We live in a short attention society and we want everything now. Why would I wait to read your blog (it was just the clickbait title that got me anyway…) when I could have Instagram up in the next 5 seconds and endless high quality content to devour? I wouldn’t. You wouldn’t. No one will.
So, don’t be that guy who throws 50 stock pictures in his blog and doesn’t know how to resize and compress them. Your blog will go at snails pace and no one will read it. Google will also instantly detect that your website is slow and will not allow it to rank highly. They already know it will perform badly before anyone has even clicked on it!
As usual, you are writing for two people here. You need to tell Google where they should be putting your article and you need to catch the attention of the human eye. For Google, you need to be making the title as close to or as relevant to what someone would search to find your article as possible. This is key. If your title is cryptic and irrelevant to the title – it will not be found by Google. It does not play cryptic games.
Google is not your ex.
For humans, make the title eye catching. Think about what they would search to find your article and think what they really want to know in relation to their search. This is how you create your title and this is how you create your whole article. Don’t have a vanilla title. Give people a reason to click on your article.
Should your SEO blogging strategy change depending on what you are trying to achieve with your site?
Absolutely, your blogging strategy should change depending on what you are trying to achieve and the audience you are speaking to. Let’s have a look at the most popular kinds of websites and how you would apply your SEO blogging strategy to each type of website.
Blogging for a local business, going for search terms like “tree services in [location]”
With a search time like this you are probably looking at weak competition. They are probably not blogging. Their websites are probably barely mobile optimised. Their on-page SEO is probably all over the place. Their off-page SEO is probably non-existent. As a result, you could get away with one small blog post a week (let’s say 700 words) with a link to the page you want to rank (possibly the home page or another service page like ‘tree stump grinding in [location] and your outbound links to relevant articles that you did your research from. Syndicate the posts. You will likely smoke the competition within 4-6 months and top the search term. Obviously, places like London are going to be more competitive than Derby.
Blogging for a national business like “commercial cleaning UK”
Search terms with a higher difficulty are going to take more than just one post a week. We would recommend the Neil Patel method of throwing one authority style long form article out each week (let’s say, 2,000 words plus), syndicate that out to your social media network as well as a another article that is shorter (let’s say 1,000 words) that doesn’t get syndicated out to your blog network. We feel this is the mix of quality and quantity that readers and Google alike would want. Obviously, adhere to the good article practices above and dodge the bad practices.
Blogging for affiliate websites
Affiliate marketing is basically where you blog or write about products (often people write for Amazon products) whereby you help the reader with information about products they want to know more about. You then include a link to the product. If the person reading the affiliate site clicks on the link, purchases the amazon product or eCommerce product, the affiliate website owner will receive a commission for bringing a lead to the eCommerce website.
We would recommend affiliate websites to write ‘authority blog posts’ for their content strategy. Although this its own can of worms, you will want to be writing blog articles that you can rank highly on Google, get traffic then get people to read your posts. Income school do a good job of showing you how you might pick a niche site idea to create blog posts for. They have a strategy of creating these authority articles and we think it is absolutely the best way to go.
Your article needs to answer questions and he highly relevant to queries. If someone wants to know how much that vacuum costs compared to the new Dyson, then you need this in your latest article. If they are searching for the weight of the hoover, you need the weight, the height and more. Basically, you need to be really specific, offer as much value as possible and give the people a reason to click on the product (but REMAIN HONEST!).
You probably want to blog 2x a week like the national search term approach as described above. You might not even need the social network if you are going for really niche search terms.
Blogging for an eCommerce website
We would think this depends on the difficulty as to weather you employ the national or local technique. Have a play with both and see what works best. We would guess that the search terms are competitive so perhaps national is more likely. Definitely blog about your products like an affiliate website would. Give your consumers as much value as possible about your products.
Write about the good and the bad. People are more likely to trust honesty than just going for completely positive writing. Amazon were the innovators behind online reviews. When they only sold books, authors would start to get bad reviews and implore Amazon to only allow good reviews. Amazon pushed on and allowed the bad reviews to stay. This made the consumer trust Amazon more and helped their sales. Learn from the best!
That’s about it for now on blogging in 2019.
All in all, we will be making a weekly post at least on all of the websites we apply any search engine optimisation to. It is one of our base strategies we will continuously use until Google no longer deems consistent, relevant and valuable content as good for their business. For now and seemingly in the future, it will indefinitely work. We can’t see that changing anytime soon, especially not 2019. Perhaps when voice control and other forms of modern and new blogging comes into play, sure.
Let us know below if you have any thoughts about our approach and what you have found to be successful in your blog articles. We would love to know!
Until then… Happy blogging!
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