Posted on June 28, 2016
Why Blogs Matter, and Why You Should Write Them Correctly
In the ever-changing world of SEO, one fundamental principle has remained constant – the need for new, fresh content on your website. While it’s neither practical nor advisable to rewrite the site’s main content on a regular basis, there is a safer and much more effective tool at your disposal to accomplish this goal: the humble blog. It’s a tool that almost everyone is aware of and yet one which most people don’t use correctly, if at all. Let’s start with the basics:
What is a Blog?
For those who don’t know, a blog is basically an online journal that is hosted on your site. Its purpose is to showcase candid observations, informational articles, official announcements and more.
What Purpose does a Blog Serve?
In a nutshell, the purpose of a blog is to increase your website’s SEO, page rank and domain rank. To this end, it fulfills three primary functions:
- one, it generates interest and interactivity from your visitors;
- two, if used properly, it gets more targeted keywords and relevant information onto your website, and
- finally, three – and most importantly – it provides an opportunity to provide fresh, new content to the site which Google can then index on a regular basis. As we’ve already established, this is a major ranking factor when it comes to Google’s assessment of your site’s value.
Now that we’ve established the importance of having a blog on your site, let’s dig into the really important stuff: why is it vital to write and format blog articles correctly, and how do you go about making sure that you do?
Write Simply but Correctly
As previously stated, blogs can and occasionally should be written candidly, meaning that a friendly, conversational tone utilizing simple, every-day language is something that Google both recognizes and rewards. On that same token, however, Google also recognizes – and detracts points for – things such as poor grammar, incorrect spelling, confusing sentence structure and broken formatting. Therefore, it’s a good idea to write the way you speak – just don’t be afraid to have someone proofread your work, and be sure to make use of that spell check.
Write About Things That Matter
Again, the main purpose of writing blogs is to get more content on your site, but keep it relevant – when Google evaluates the content of your site, it takes into account everything on the site, including your blogs, and if they determine that some areas of your site have nothing to do with the rest of the site, they’ll consider that to be “keyword stuffing” and will penalize the site accordingly. Therefore, make sure that you’re writing about things that are both important and relevant. Having said that, however, be creative! You could, for example, write about something like your office’s upcoming holiday party – just be sure to work in references to the services you offer as well as the name of the practice.
Duplicate content is one of the biggest no-no’s in the SEO world, and that applies to blogs just as much as it does to the rest of your website. Therefore, don’t copy your articles from other sites, and don’t repost them elsewhere. There are times when it’s okay to do this, but it has to be done very carefully to avoid penalty. If you find yourself needing to do this, the SEO team here at Glacial will be more than happy to assist you in doing so – contact us at [email protected] or me directly at [email protected].
Another thing that Google loves to see is a solid linking strategy, and that means not only linking out to (and preferably obtaining reciprocal links from) relevant high-ranking external websites, but also placing links from your blog articles back to the main sections of your main site. For example, you might have a paragraph like this on your blog:
If someone told you that you could get cataracts or skin cancer just from driving your car, would you be shocked? We were. JAMA Ophthalmology has published a new study that analyzed car windows and the lack of protection from UV-A light on the driver’s side windows…if you drive a car, it is worth a read! The highlights and conclusions are included here below, but click on this_link to read the full study.
In this example, the highlighted words are links. The first one, “cataracts,” would be linked back to the main cataract page of your website (i.e. www.yourdomain.com/cataracts.html), and the second one, “this link,” would link out to the page containing the study. In both cases, it is vitally important to add a relevant title attribute (“cataracts,” “cataract study”) to the links. Whichever blog system you’re using should provide a simple way to do this with a single click, but again, it’s very important not to skip this step, so if you have any questions on how to do it, please don’t hesitate to contact us and we’ll be more than happy to explain in greater detail.
Incidentally, don’t be afraid to err on the side of caution and refrain from including external links – if the site you’re linking to is not relevant, or is not ranked highly enough, it can be harmful rather than helpful. In short, if there’s any doubt, skip it.
It’s a great idea to use one or two images in a single blog article. Again, these images should be relevant to the subject matter of the article, and like links, they should be tagged properly, Images require what we call “alt: tags, and these can likewise be applied with the click of a button in your blog system.
Who Should Write Blog Articles?
In short, anyone! As long as the preceding rules are followed, anyone can write your articles – in fact, many of our clients utilize their employees, interns and even family members to write content. Having said that, however, it’s never a bad idea to have a more authoritative voice when creating blog entries, so whenever possible, having a doctor’s or administrator’s name attached to a blog article can be hugely beneficial. Not only does it lend weight to the contents of the article, but it also provides an opportunity to include some biographical information on the author and even provide another link to the author’s bio page on the website, if applicable.
All blog systems give you the option to use “tags” as a way to help categorize the content of your articles. Tags are basically important keywords that you list in a separate field, separated by commas. This gives Google yet another way to index and prioritize the content of not only your articles but your website as a whole. As with everything else, though, exercise caution – you want to make sure that your tags are relevant and concise. Using the example above, you would want to use the following tags:
cataracts, skin cancer, ophthalmology
What you wouldn’t want to do is over-use extra terms that may be relevant to the article but not necessarily to the website as a whole. For example, you would not want to say:
Cataracts, skin cancer, driving, car, studies, JAMA
When utilized properly, blogs can be very powerful tools in bolstering your site’s SEO – but the opposite is also true when they’re done incorrectly. Following these basic guidelines will ensure that you’re on the right track, but we here at Glacial Multimedia are always available to answer any questions you might have or offer more in-depth assistance. Don’t hesitate to contact us at any time, and happy blogging!