Here is a (unfortunate) rule of digital thumb: Ninety-nine percent of the content on the Internet is, to use a polite phrase, less than stellar. And your writings will become yet another one of the many forgotten, never-read, lost blogs on the Web unless you pursue the right SEO, blog-content, and online-marketing strategy.
In my prior post “5 Ways NOT to Become a Search-Engine Optimization Blogger,” I listed specific reasons why your blog — whether personal or business — will not become successful. At the risk of becoming too pessimistic, I will provide several more. (Do not worry — a future post in this series will offer advice on what writers should do).
Your Content is Generic and Essentially Duplicated. Google’s recent “Panda” update to its algorithm (see here and here) has been much-discussed in online-marketing circles, but this gist is simple: Google wants — with good reason — sites that offer original, researched, quality content to rank higher than so-called content farms that use anything akin to article-marketing automation. One blog post or article of the former is better than ten articles of generic content that insert a keyword into every few sentences. Prose quality is better than keyword-based quantity. (For more information, I recommend the analyses here, here, here, and here.)
The take-away: Why should anyone read your post or article on topic X rather than that by anyone else? Solve this problem, and you will produce quality content and gain better search-engine rankings as well.) I do not mean to toot my own digital horn, but I want to provide evidence that I practice what I preach. At my Considerations journalism group-blog, I wrote a lengthy article two months ago on the differences between how men and women communicate in dating. The post targeted the low-competition and high-traffic keyword “why women lie” (in addition to “women communication.”) According to my latest data, the post now ranks ninth in Google for that keyword despite any further SEM efforts on my part. I merely took the time to research and write quality content, and I do the same for every blog post there and here. Research and write, research and write — the same rules for writing a good doctoral dissertation or journalism article still apply online.
People Are Blocking Your Website. Try this example. Do a search for anything in Google, click on a search result, and then hit the “back” button in your browser. Your cached (saved) search-results will appear — but with this addition:
At the bottom of the organic search-result on which you clicked, the option to “block all [the domain in question] results” will appear (unless you are using one of the few browsers that do not support this Google innovation). The search-engine giant now allows people to block entire domains from future search results. (Google’s blog provides more information, and the company’s Chrome browser has an available blacklisting add-on.)
The take-away (though it should be obvious): Do not do any deceptive, annoying, or malicious. Do not aim to rank highly for a keyword that is entirely irrelevant to your website — for example, getting traffic by targeting a popular TV show to draw people to a forex or gambling website. Do not have so many advertising pop-ups that your website makes people never want to return. And so on. Once a person blocks your website in Google — for any reason — you will lose that person forever. Just imagine this one example multiplied by thousands or millions of online searchers.
You Are Not Using Your Time Efficiently. As I wrote in one of my first posts on this blog on SEM wikipedia, the entire field of Internet marketing can seem complicated and cumbersome — the entire process can involve content creation, on-page SEO optimization, link building, social-media marketing, and so on. Each part is important, and devoting one’s time entirely to just one aspect leads to less-than-optimal results. As an example of how I work each day, I recommend my post on “How to Become a SEO Blogger Over the Social-Media Week.”
Don’t Become One of the Lost Blogs
Still, as I write here to the point of possible redundancy, the goal is simply to write SEO-optimized, quality content on a site that encourages social-media sharing well. The rest — from Facebook “likes” to backlinks from authoritative websites — will then take care of itself. For more information, I recommend my prior posts “More-General Keywords: How NOT to Get Traffic” and “Famous Blogs: How to Work for Yourself With One.” There are many important considerations to know to ensure that your online work does not become regulated to the countless number of lost blogs whom no one reads and which deliver little benefit to your personal website or online business.
Samuel J. Scott, a former journalist in Boston turned Internet marketer in Israel, is the founder and publisher of My SEO Software and Director of Digital Marketing and Communications and SEO Team Leader at The Cline Group. You can follow him at Google+, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. His views here and elsewhere do not necessarily reflect those of his company and clients.