Myth: the office intern can knock up some great blog posts for us
Want to appear higher up in internet search results? Google has stated repeatedly and emphatically that if you want to rise up Google PageRank - the algorithm that determines the order of search results - you need high-quality content.
In a major algorithm update in April 2017, Google stated, ‘We’ve adjusted our signals to help surface more authoritative pages and demote low-quality content.’
But how do you create that irresistible, high-quality content? Not by asking your office intern, graduate trainee or IT manager to write it, that's for sure.
After all, when you read articles or blogposts in your spare time, do you chose the ones authored by office juniors – or experienced writers? It's almost certainly the latter. The most popular informational websites are the BBC, online national newspapers, Huffington Post and Buzzfeed – and they’re all (yes, even Buzzfeed) written by trained journalists with many years’ experience.
But what is the ‘low-quality content’ so despised by Google? The internet giant uses a frequently updated algorithm to analyse what’s on your website and, crucially, how long people are spending on each page. The longer people spend reading your blogpost, the higher you’ll climb up search results.
If you manage to attract 10,000 people to your blogpost, but they only spend a few seconds on it, you’ll be seen as low-quality, and will drop down the results of Google search. Even more importantly, you’ll have tarnished your brand in your target audience’s mind.
Conversely, if only a few hundred visit your blog, but spend a long time reading the content, bookmarking it and sharing it, you’re going to rise higher in search – leading to a higher ROI.
So the solution isn’t to ask the office intern to knock up some blogposts for you. It’s to employ trained writers to do it. It might cost you more in the short-term, but it’ll reap much greater rewards in the long-term.
Myth: our blog’s quality doesn't matter as long as the SEO is right
Think of your company blog as a successful shop, such as Selfridges. This landmark London department store has a gorgeous Art Nouveau sign, dazzling window displays and a prime address. That’s the SEO. But it's also backed up by well-organised interiors and irresistible products. That's the blogpost. If Selfridges offered anything less, the customers would spin on their heels and walk straight out again.
If your blog is poor, you’ll have wasted money. Better to invest wisely, joining the dots between the two, to create a killer blog with appropriate SEO to help people find it. In fact, blogging itself is an SEO strategy. In research by Ascend2, 72% of marketers said relevant content creation was the most effective SEO tactic.
Myth: if I build it, they will come
Until recently, only a few companies had blogs. Companies built static websites and managed to compete fairly well. But now, not having a blog – or a similar section with frequently updated content – sees you languish at the bottom of Google PageRank (see above) and behind your competition. Even Google has a blog.
However, in an increasingly competitive world - where everyone now knows how important blogging is - simply having a great blog is no longer enough.
The longer a blog is active and the better the quality, the higher it will appear in search results. But until you’ve reached that halcyon stage of the top spot in your keyword category, few people will find it by chance. You’ll need to push people to your blog via email newsletters, social media, and ad campaigns. In other words, you've stocked the shelves with premium goods you know your audience will love. But unless you tell them how to find it, they’re never going to know it’s there.
Myth: old blogs should be binned
The reality is that, when you first put up a blogpost, it’s likely to receive some hits, then languish for a while. Received wisdom can be that it hurts your website to have pages that aren’t being read. I’ve worked at companies where they systematically deleted all articles after a certain period of time for that very reason.
Yet the reality is that this couldn’t be further from the truth. In research by HubSpot, 10% of blogposts saw organic search increase over time. The longer it’s on your website, the more likely people are to find it – particularly if you optimise it by occasionally revisiting it to see if it needs an update, and by pushing it out to social media regularly. Plan your blog strategy right, ensure it’s well-written and genuinely insightful, and the posts won’t feel dated for years, meaning you can continue to promote it regularly, drawing new traffic with the same old content.
Want to improve your company blog? Inscribe Content offers a full range of blogging services, from strategy to content creation. Contact us for more details.