Over 2 million blog posts are created each day on the internet. Whether you’re a startup or an established business, you are probably relying upon your blog as a digital marketing channel in the hopes that well-written blog posts will generate new customer leads.
In this article, we will outline five reasons you are losing the content marketing war if you are using a blogging strategy that is not incredibly up-to-date and modified with the latest trends.
The truth is that Google has changed their preferences for which blogs they like to rank over the last several years. Blogging and content marketing are largely becoming indistinguishable as the practices have merged.
According to Adam Stetzer. Ph.D., CEO of HubShout: “The importance of backlinks to every single page on your website has never been more critical.”
Here are creative ways to coordinate efforts between SEO, blogging, email, and social media that many marketers are missing. And finally, the way you allocate your resources has a big impact on whether your blogging will lead to great SEO or fall flat.
1. Google has changed its blog length preferences
Many years ago, a typical blog was about 300 to 500 words in length. This trend has been changing rapidly, driven by Google’s updates to their ranking algorithm. If you’re not familiar with the Google algorithm as a blogger, there’s no doubt you’re struggling to capture the traffic volumes that you could.
Google makes over 200 updates to its algorithm each year and attempts to predict what will best satisfy their searchers’ queries. In the end, Google is an advertising platform that reuses other people’s content, organized in an extremely efficient database, as a means for making money from ads. Bloggers need to understand the latest preferences in order to position their content for maximum exposure. Simple keyword research doesn’t cut it anymore.
Typical long-form content for modern blogs is between 1,500 to 2,000 words. And there have been extensive studies demonstrating that page one ranking tends to be in the neighborhood of this length. Adjust your blogging style to be longer than it is currently, but don’t fill it with fluff.
2. Blogging and content marketing have merged
While you may be tempted to become extremely long-winded in your writing style simply to satisfy Google’s new length requirements, this is a bad strategy. One of the other adjustments Google has made is to bring an increased emphasis on actually answering the user’s question. Many SEO experts call this “understanding the user intent” of any specific search query.
If you are really satisfying the searcher’s intent, your content will be highly targeted and well-researched. Users will find the webpage extremely useful and tend to have a longer time on site, a statistical factor that many claim Google is able to see through the bounce back to their search page.
In a sense, what we considered blogging a few years ago now needs to be full on content marketing to gain traction with readers and the search engines. Ninety-two percent of marketers claim that content creation is important in their SEO strategy. This trend is similar to how native advertising is bending the definitions of content and advertising.
3. Every post must have backlinks
Another piece of surprising SEO data is that almost every blog post you see in a position, one ranking has backlinks to that specific page. This was not the case several years ago when a strong domain with high authority might have been enough to carry a blog post on a sub feed without backlinks.
As you consider your editorial calendar for your blog, you need to simultaneously consider the effort that will go into the backlink building for that content. It’s wise to conduct a competitive analysis and see how many backlinks other blogs on page one already have. To knock one of these people out of a page one position, you should expect to need the same number of links or better quality links with more relevance.
Bloggers who are not considering their backlinking strategy are at a serious disadvantage.
4. Email and social are now part of SEO
A fourth reason your blog may be underperforming in the search engines is that you have not effectively integrated your email marketing and social media strategies as part of your SEO ranking. Many marketers know that email and social produce relatively little revenue for them, so they tend to de-emphasize these tactics. Big mistake.
Once separate disciplines, it is best to think of blogging, email, and social as part of a combined strategy centered around your content marketing. An excellent content marketing project plan will include the production of well-researched, long-form topics the readers actually want to read about. Each post will be visually appealing and have an excellent user experience so that the traffic that does land on the page remains on the page.
Once the content is ready for launch, a well-coordinated effort that leverages an email list and social presence will be used to boost the initial audience.
Email lists are in constant need of address acquisition. Marketers know there is immense value in a targeted list of opted-in users who are eager for the content that you create. A well-maintained social media profile on several of the main social media outlets will serve in a similar fashion to a strong email list. Followers of these profiles are eager for the content you’re producing; this can be leveraged each time excellent content is released.
5. Your resource allocation is wrong
If you’re reading all the above and thinking “man, that seems like a lot of work for just a simple blog post”, then your resource allocation is clearly out of balance. It is true that launching an excellent piece of content is labor intensive. For this reason, many experts recommend that 20% of the allocated effort be geared toward content production and another 80% toward content promotion.
Email marketing and social media may aid in promotional efforts, but leveraging your personal network, employees, and potentially direct link outreach will also boost your blog SEO.
The world of search engine optimization has changed immensely in the last few years. Competition is fierce and Google has been shifting their preferences towards longer-form content that is well-researched and satisfies specific searcher intent.
To perform well in such a competitive SEO environment, business owners need to recognize that blogging and content marketing have largely merged. Their efforts across large production search engine optimization, email marketing, and social media need to be well-coordinated for successful launches of content that bring readers quickly. This will increase the odds of natural backlink acquisition, which can be augmented with direct link outreach to produce extremely high performing website SEO.