I met with a client recently who was fed up with her blog. She had written weekly posts for years, and they were full of interior design advice, knowledge and passion.
So why had she fallen out of love with it after all this time?
Because after an expensive session with a website SEO consultant, she had been told to stop including personal stories, cut the external links to helpful websites and internal links to other posts she’d written on a similar subject, and instead of making her titles interesting or intriguing to click on, to make them into search terms. This man had also told her that her blog was terribly written.
As you can imagine, this had the effect of ripping the heart and soul out of her blog, and made her primary concern ticking imaginary SEO boxes, rather than delivering useful content to her readers. It was no wonder she didn’t want to do it anymore.
The ‘advice’ she had been given about links had stemmed from a misreading of the recent ‘Hummingbird algorithm’ changes, meaning that Google is now much more interested in rich content and relevance than in lots of links to bigger sites. Indeed, where once it had been the smart thing to have a lot of links, now Google are penalising some sites for exactly this. I believe the advisor had taken the changes far too literally and failed to see that my client had been making relevant links, rather than cramming them in for SEO purposes, as these penalised sites had been.
When it comes to SEO, the sensible advice remains the same: stop trying to ‘play the game’ and just focus on sharing your enthusiasm and wisdom in a way that makes readers come back for more.
6 ways to get your blog to work for you:
- A blog post (like any web content) will always be most useful for your readers if it is packed with passion and know-how, not unnaturally stuffed with keywords.
- Make your title relevant to what you are writing about and keep on topic throughout the post.
- If you are referring to something you’ve written about before that would interest the reader of this post, then link to it. If you want the reader to look at an external link which is relevant to your topic, link to that too. Link in order to be useful to your readers, not to boost your ranking.
- Know that just writing a blog regularly will give you lots of gold stars from Google, before you’ve even started to think about optimising each post.
- Be clear about what you want each post or page to do for you. Is it to raise your profile? Build your rapport with clients and potential clients? Showcase your expertise? Boost your Google ranking? This will affect the strategies you use to write and spread your words. You may well find social media works better for you than focusing on search engine optimisation.
- Remember that your blog is the part of your website where you can afford to be a bit more informal, opinionated and playful. Don’t be afraid to relax a little and show your personality – readers will warm to you much more quickly that way, and your blog will be more of a pleasure to write too.
After a comprehensive session with my client on how to mind map post ideas, how to plan and how to write concise yet compelling titles and content, her enjoyment of writing – and her confidence – has started to creep back. You can read her blog here – do stop by and leave her a comment or two.
If you want to fall (back) in love with writing your blog and you want a little ‘marriage guidance’ to help you on your way, get in touch. I’d love to help you find your spark.