You’ve heard that blogging is great for search engine rankings. Yes, that’s true. But SEO certainly shouldn’t be the only reason that you’re blogging. A well-developed blog serves many functions. Engaging your visitors and providing compelling content should be your main goal, not just clever SEO. There are virtually so many SEO myths that it’s become difficult to discern truth from fiction.
Are you blogging for SEO? Are you ready for a bit of a lecture? Here we go. Here are a few common mistakes to avoid:
1. Stop Blogging Just for SEO
It’s not as simple as creating a blog and slapping together some content. You can’t just dial it in. Not if you want results. Good content is not only SEO-friendly, but also increases the overall credibility of your brand and website. It showcases thought-leadership. It engages and entertains. It inspires action. Most SEO-friendly content is, frankly, pretty bad. It’s spammy. It’s awkward. It’s boring (yawn). If you’re blogging only for SEO, you’re doing it wrong. A well-developed blog serves many functions, some of which have nothing to do with SEO. Use blog content to populate your social media channels or send out an update to your email list. While a good blog does contribute to SEO, you’d be selling yourself short if you stopped there.
2. Don’t Keyword Stuff
You’ve jammed keywords into your content like stuffing to a turkey. Now what? This is a big no-no, and probably one of the most common SEO (and blogging) mistakes. This won’t earn you points with Google. And it certainly won’t impress your readers. Instead of using hidden or duplicate text (which is useless) and overusing keywords, focus on creating helpful pages for each keyword or phrase that you’d like to place for. You can optimize each page accordingly. Even if you do manage to bring a few visitors in by “keyword stuffing,’ they likely won’t stick around for long. If your content doesn’t speak to their needs, they’ll ditch your site shortly after they arrive.
3. Never Sacrifice Looks for Substance
Sure, a pleasing design is important, but don’t get carried away. Using too many graphics and images will overcrowd your website, slow down load times, and overwhelm your visitors. It’s best to focus on high-quality, original content, showcased within a clean and simple design. Remember: White-space can be a good thing!
4. Always Include a Call to Action
So, you’ve attracted a ton of visitors. Now what? The buck doesn’t stop there. What would you like them to do? Call you? Subscribe to your newsletter? Fill out a form? Do a jig? It’s best to get clear about your goals before you develop content. Without the right call to action, you’ll be missing out on opportunities to engage potential customers. You can SEO and blog until you’re blue in the face, but you’ll get nowhere (and fast) if you aren’t capturing leads.
5. Always Have a Plan
See point #4. Are you clear about what you want visitors to do once they land on your site? Are you committed to a content schedule? Can you commit to a certain timeline? Will you create a blog post every week? Every two weeks? Every day? What audience should your web content appeal to? It’s better to have a consistent approach rather than just winging it.
6. Don’t Post Poor-Quality Content
Many websites post content that’s too short. How helpful can a piece of content less than 300 words really be? Did you get your point across or were you just trying to game the Google algorithm? Writing extremely short posts is just, well, lazy. And it hurts reader loyalty, to boot. A good blog post is generally around 400-600 words, depending on the format and topic.
There you have it. 5 take-home lessons on blogging and SEO. You’re welcome. Do you have anything to add to this list?
About The Author
Content brought to you by Tanya Roberts, a Vancouver-based online marketing consultant that specializes in slick content strategy to rock your website traffic, build your brand, gain leads, and increase sales. Tanya is an experienced marketer, copywriter/editor, freelance writer, internet/online marketing consultant, and social media specialist. You can also find Tanya on Google Plus. Results matter; here are a few of mine.