Over the past few years, blogging has changed and so have my thoughts on it. Starting my 6th year on this blog, it’s nostalgic to look back and reminisce about the past. Most notably, when comparing blogging best practices.
An exercise used in writing is what you would tell your younger self. Sure, it’s an activity mostly used for diaries or journals but it can also apply to blogs. Why not? Here are 5 things I would tell my younger self about blogging.
1) It’s not all about keywords
Short-tail and broad keywords have been targeted since blogging was first associated with SEO. It was all about using and repeating keywords in a blog post. Nowadays, that is seen as overoptimization.
Instead of pushing certain keywords, it’s a good rule of thumb to target long tail and more “conversational queries”. This includes answering FAQs and common questions. They key here is to focus on content as a whole rather than keywords on their own.
2) Links aren’t everything
Links and keywords used to go hand in hand. As often as you could push desired keywords, it was about getting links. More links with more exact match keywords was once a good thing and the ultimate goal of why blogs were used in SEO. Nowadays, we certainly know better and that this can lead to an unnatural link warning.
Natural links aren’t solicited or paid for. Instead, the idea is to build good content so that people will want to share it naturally.
3) Blogs are an extension of your brand’s personality
In the past, blogs were hardly thought of to convey any human aspect of a business. Blogs were strictly meant for business and part of the SEO process. Today, blogs consist of more than just keywords and links. We want blogs to be found, read and shared. This means posting things that aren’t necessarily just for SEO purposes. Posting about events, company news and just your own personal thoughts are a different way to incorporate a human touch in a business blog.
4) Think about cross promotion
At one time, blogs were seen as a standalone cog in the SEO wheel. It was something you did and left alone once you were finished with writing. Now that social media marketing is growing in importance, we know that blogs can play a crucial role in that strategy – content creation. Social media thrives on sharing content and blogs should provide fresh content that can keep the conversation flowing.
Blogs were once something built to bring in customers, which (trust me) isn’t going to happen with a little pull. Now, blogs give readers a reason to read, research and share. Blog readers aren’t going to just come across a badly written blog. Luckily today, the mentality for blogging and social media helps a great deal of exposure.
5) Google is going to change more than you think!
Over the years, it can be argued that blogs have dwindled in importance. They once counted for and played a huge role in ranking for desired key terms. Because those processes have been abused and spam, it’s time that Google looks at blogs in a different light. This is why Google updates have also targeted unnatural blog strategies (excessive guest blogging, blog/link schemes, and advertorials).
Although this seems like a disparaging way to look at blogs, the twist is in how blogs have changed. Blogs play a different role by helping a business get discovered and are seen as a signal of trust and authority.
Part of growing up is recognizing change and applying that on how to better yourself in the future. Blogs have given us all a lot more to think about in these past few years. And you can expect it to grow again soon. Try this exercise out for yourself and let us know what you came up with. Follow us and Tweet us @emarketed.
Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.