Friday, December 12, 2008

3 Reasons Why Blogs for SEO Fail

There are many benefits to publishing a business blog and improved search engine visibility is one of the most popular. It’s pretty common advice to hear: start a blog and the fresh content will attract links, improving your search results. Such tactical advice can be very effective.

Unfortunately, the advice gets filtered and distorted, not unlike what happens in the game “telephone” kids play. Pretty soon one or more blogs are implemented for the sole purpose and expectation of improving search engine visibility and nothing else. At least nothing else that’s accountable.

What’s wrong with this picture? Blogs started solely for SEO objectives will inevitably fail.

Here are a few reasons why:

1. Lack of planning and oversight - After the honeymoon of starting a blog wears off, those tasked with writing content often get distracted by their other responsibilities. Bit by bit, posts look less and less like keyword optimized web pages and sink back to the familiar writing styles common to public relations and corporate marketing. Gone are the keywords that consumers are searching on. Gone is the traffic that used to come from search engines.

If SEO efforts persist, they can get sloppy without ongoing oversight either by an outsite SEO consultant or an internal blog champion (more about that in our next post). Keyword usage in blog posts can become disparate or worse, evolve into a keyword stuffing exercise.

2. No passion for the topic - With over 100 million blogs indexed by Technorati, it’s a wonder what happened to the 90% or more than have been abandoned or that don’t post more often than every 4 months. It takes commitment, thought out ideas and a sincere interest in a topic to be able to blog about it on an ongoing basis over the long term.

Can you imagine watching a 30 minute TV show or 2 hour movie you’re not interested in? How long does that last? How about a job you’re not interested in? Do you really excel at it? Do you do the best job possible and and do you stick with it? No, no and no.

As a result, bloggers who are not personally interested in a topic will encounter blogger’s block quickly and with a shallow level of knowledge on what’s being blogged about, readers lose interest quickly and do not return, subscribe or link.

3. SEO as we’ve known it is a dying breed
- The loophole based SEO tactics of yore that brought incremental ranking advantages are being efficiently dealt with by search engines. So are paid links. SEO will always have value of course, because as long as content can be searched on it can be optimized.

However, when it comes to blogs, consumer information discovery trends are involving social networks and social media at an increasing rate. Recommendations are competing with search. When looking at the web analytics of our blog and client blogs, social media traffic is in the top 5 referring sources of traffic. Blogs are social and social media sources will become increasingly important for many business blogging efforts in the coming year.

So, what can a company do to build upon and benefit from, the compounding equity that grows with long term blogging and SEO efforts? I’ll be answering that question specifically in tomorrow’s post on 5 Tips for Successful Blog Optimization efforts.

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