Search engine optimization (SEO) and content marketing are a powerful combination that can build your website's authority and drive valuable search engine traffic. Blogging, in particular, is a popular way to drive website traffic and build authority in your niche.
However, many people struggle to get great SEO results from blogging. Here are five common SEO mistakes that content marketers make when creating and promoting blog articles.
1. Optimizing Everything for Keywords
Trying to optimize any and all content for search engine rankings is one big mistakes that marketers make with blogging. Some SEO enthusiasts might be surprised to learn that not all successful blogs are so highly focused on SEO.
I had the opportunity to interview Benji Hyam from Grow and Convert for a virtual summit I hosted. Benji, who grew ThinkApps from zero to 50,000 pageviews a month within six months, said he takes a "content first" approach, by which he means his focus is on creating great content rather than obsessing over SEO.
Even if getting ongoing traffic from SEO is a priority, content that isn't optimized for keywords can help tremendously.
A great example of how content not focused on keywords can build authority is Brian Dean's Skyscraper technique. When Brian first launched the skyscraper technique, the phrase "skyscraper technique" probably had close to zero search volume.
However, he promoted his post heavily; and because the article was well written and innovative, he quickly became one of the most popular experts in the SEO space.
Building his authority and name recognition allowed him to later rank for more competitive terms, like "keyword research," when he launched his keyword research guide.
It's much easier to get people to reply to your email outreach and to obtain natural links to your content when people are familiar with your brand.
2. No Internal Linking
Many content marketers and bloggers are so heavily focused on getting external links that they don't bother to do much internal linking. Once you gain enough authority for your website, you can start ranking for keywords from internal linking alone.
Internal links tell search engines which pages on your website are the most important. This article from Search Engine Watch gives examples of sites that used internal linking to achieve higher website rankings.
Make it a habit to link to at least 1-2 old articles of yours in every new post you write. Linking to old content from new articles will not only help with SEO but also drive real traffic to the best articles that you've already written.
3. Not Promoting Old Posts
Another important bloggers often fail to do is to promote old but evergreen content. Most bloggers will write a blog article and then forget about it (which is totally natural; our minds tend to focus on what we are currently working on).
There are many ways to promote old content. One way is to update and relaunch an old post. Robbie Richards took that approach for his SEO tools blog post, which ended up driving more shares and links to the article, as well as better search engine rankings.
Here are a few other ways to promote old articles and content:
- Autoresponders. If you are successful with blogging, you will attract new subscribers to your blog on an ongoing basis. And many of those subscribers probably haven't seen your older blog articles. You can send new subscribers to old content by scheduling emails into your autoresponder linking to old content.
- Ongoing social promotion. People frequently share blog posts on social media when they first publish them. With social media scheduling tools like Buffer and Crate, you can schedule social sharing for old articles so that you can drive social media traffic to them on an ongoing basis.
- Guest-posting mentions. Mentioning your old articles in guest posts on other blogs or on new articles on your own blog is a good way to drive traffic to old blog posts.
- Updating old articles. Sometimes it makes sense to update old articles, and then promote them. People prefer recently updated content over older articles. You can update old posts by adding new resources to them, removing old links that are no longer relevant, or simply adding more content to make the article better or more up to date.
4. Not Publishing the Right Amount of Content
A lot of blogs are so focused on creating long form content that stands out that they don't create enough content. According to an SEO study, 70% of all search traffic comes from long tail searches.
You can't rank for keywords if you haven't written content to target those keywords. If you aren't writing enough content, then you're missing out on a lot of long-tail SEO traffic.
HubSpot did a study and found that companies that blog 16 or more times a month get on average 3.5 times more traffic than companies that blog 0-2 times per month.
Although it is possible to publish infrequently and still do well, the blogs that generally get the most traffic are those that publish frequently.
5. Obsessing Over Content Length
A lot of articles have been written about how long-form content outperforms short content in SEO and gains more social media shares. And because long-form content has become so popular, some blog editors are requiring minimum word counts for their articles.
However, long-form content does have downsides.
Most people prefer shorter content, and many won't read longer articles. In fact, readers on average spend only 37 seconds on an article.
Long content can also take a lot longer to write, which can make it harder to maintain a consistent publishing schedule, and it can be more expensive to produce.
Finally, just because content is long doesn't mean that it is good or it will perform well. And investing a lot of time and resources into long-form content that doesn't perform well can be discouraging.
Marketing Profs and Entrepreneur are good examples of sites that have done well with shorter content. In fact, these sites have a maximum article length for contributors to prevent people from writing articles that are too long.
Though word counts can be suggested as a guideline, editors should be flexible and consider shorter articles as well—so long as the quality is good.
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