How to Ensure Your Blog Content Doesn’t Damage Your Site
It has been well-known for many years that one of the most important aspects of digital marketing and SEO is the content on your website. The well-known term ‘content is king’ stands testament to the ongoing importance of having great content on your site. This is something that has only grown in importance in recent years.
It is easy to understand why great content is so sought after. Regularly adding new content to your site is seen by Google and other search engines as a sign that your website is active – and of course, when that content is of high quality, it helps to establish your website as having subject area expertise in the eyes of the search engines.
However, sometimes when publishing new blog content on a regular basis, it can actually turn out to be negative from the perspective of your site.
How can blog content damage your site?
When blog content is low quality or is not relevant to your website, it can actually end up being a negative rather than a positive. Duplicated content – text that appears verbatim on other websites – is one of the most obvious problems, and Google has been taking the stance of simply not listing pages when it reads identical content it has seen elsewhere before. However, other forms of poor content are more subtle. For example, blogs with lots of links – especially links to poor quality content.
Many writers and content creators are happy to create content for others on the proviso that they receive a link back to their site in return. In principle, there is nothing wrong with this arrangement. Indeed, doing so can generally be hugely beneficial for both sides. The site gets a fantastic piece of content for free, while the writer achieves a link pointing to their own site (or the site of their client) which in turn promotes that site on Google.
However, it is important to remember that your site is still responsible for the quality of the content it puts out. Some pieces on guest blogs can have the appearance of quality content, but when analysed, actually have an excessive number of external links or badly written copy. It is always your decision whether or not to publish content, and poor quality content can be negative for your site.
Why publish guest posts?
The topic of guest posts is sometimes controversial. Google has become more suspicious of guest posts over the years – primarily because these posts were so often low-quality content that the writer had paid to get on the site with no intention other than achieving a link back to their site. This was considered the shady side of the link-building practice.
Today, however, there is a better understanding of what Google wants or doesn’t want to see from guest posts. Ultimately, it wants to see that the quality of content is very good and that the link is not purely and obviously the reason for the blog. Guest posts provide the opportunity to publish fantastic quality writing and interesting articles on your subject matter. Subject matter experts and professional writers can do a great job creating the kind of content that Google loves to see.
It should be noted, however, that you do need to be careful when publishing your guest posts. While this can be a great way to get new content on your site, it is still used by some purely as link building. Every piece that you consider should be analysed on its merit to understand whether it will be beneficial or negative to your site.
Guest blog tips – what Google wants to see
Quality is still the most important word when it comes to what Google is looking for from great pieces of content. But what do we really mean when we talk about ‘high-quality content’? The fact is there are some things that Google loves to see in content, and some things that it really doesn’t like to see (unfortunately those things can sometimes earn you a penalty).
Some tips for publishing high-quality blog content include:
- Avoid direct use of keywords in links – links for links’ sake are one of the cardinal sins in Google’s algorithm. If your site has too many of them, Google starts to look negatively at you. If in the middle of an article about places to visit in Greece, there is suddenly an unrelated sentence and a link to the phrase “cheap holidays” or even to a direct brand name, Google sees this as a cynical attempt to shoehorn a link in where it doesn’t belong.
- Content written by a human – there is a growing trend for some content creators to use software to produce guest blogs. As AI has become more advanced, writing software has gotten to the point where it can mimic human writing, often effectively rehashing other articles. Google doesn’t like to see content that has been excessively automated as this won’t contain fresh and interesting information. Make sure the content was written by a human, not a machine.
- Be relevant – too many sites will publish content that simply isn’t relevant to their subject matter. It’s fine to be tangential, but there’s no reason that content about asbestos removal should be published if your website focuses on children’s birthday parties. Make sure any blog post that you are considering publishing is something that your readers would definitely be interested in. Likewise, make sure any links in the articles are pointing at genuinely relevant sites; links to unrelated websites in articles can be a red flag.
- An appropriate length – Google doesn’t have a set word count it is looking for in articles and blogs, but you should be thinking about what an appropriate amount of content is for the topic. It is true, Google does love to see in-depth articles that explore subjects widely. If your ‘ultimate guide to interior decoration’ is 350 words, Google might not be particularly impressed. Conversely, you shouldn’t just write for the sake of it. If a blog has covered everything it needs to say in 500 words, it is not a good idea to extend it with filler simply with the target of reaching 1,000 words.
- Always read it thoroughly – you need to establish whether the content is genuinely well-written and insightful, or whether it simply has the appearance of being so. Think about your readers and what is likely to impress them – this is the way that Google wants you to think about content – think of human readers first, not what algorithms want.
Google’s content updates
It is important to remember that Google is always looking to provide the best possible results to its users. This means it wants to present them with high-quality information from sources that can be trusted.
Google’s most recent content-related update is known as the Helpful Content Update. The update contained a range of guidelines for creating and publishing high-quality content, and it contained some very telling remarks such as “content created primarily for search engine traffic is strongly correlated with content that searchers find unsatisfying”.
It also warned against “writing about things simply because they seem trending and not because you’d write about them otherwise for your existing audience”.
Ultimately, blog content can be very powerful for improving your site, as long as you do the right things and follow best practices. If you aren’t careful with the quality of your content, or you post a lot of non-relevant blogs, Google can start to see it as a negative, even if you had previously had a very strong site.
At Artemis, we specialise in all aspects of digital marketing and SEO content. If you are interested in learning more, please don’t hesitate to get in contact with our experienced team today.