Make Your Blogs as Effective as Possible – The Mistakes to Avoid When Optimising Blog Content
A good blog post becomes great when you know how to optimise it properly.
Many business owners use blogging to improve their websites.
This is a good idea!
Blog posts provide you with a consistent source of fresh content. They allow you to dig deeper into the problems your customers have. Plus, they give you a way to provide more value to people considering your service.
Your blog posts are also useful from a search engine optimisation (SEO) perspective.
In addition to providing fresh content, blog posts allow you to offer more depth related to the subjects you cover on your website. And when used correctly, the keywords in your blog posts will enable them to climb search rankings, so customers are more likely to find your website.
Notice we said “correctly” there.
Blog post optimisation is something that many business owners struggle with. Some take it too far, with others not doing enough to ensure their posts are search engine friendly. This article covers some of the critical optimisation mistakes you may be making with your blog posts.
The Optimisation Mistakes You Have to Avoid
Optimisation is a tricky subject. Not going far enough means that search engines can’t tell what terms you’re trying to optimise for. Going too far means you trigger search engine algorithms, resulting in them flagging your post and potentially delisting it. By avoiding these mistakes, you ensure your posts strike the right balance.
Mistake No. 1 – Buying Links to Your Blog Posts
Backlinks are essential for SEO.
That’s as true today as when search engines were first created.
However, the quality of your backlinks matters to search engines. All major search engines have algorithms in place to spot unnatural link building. If they see a brand-new blog post suddenly getting hundreds of links from random websites, that’s a red flag that could lead to a penalty. As a result, buying backlinks to give your blog post a bump in search results often ends poorly.
When building backlinks, focus on quality over quantity.
Ask yourself if the site linking to you is relevant to the content in your blog post. Does it have authority in your industry? Is it a site where your clients would expect to find a link to your business?
These simple questions ensure you only place links on relevant websites. Remember that one backlink from an authoritative site is more powerful than hundreds of links from websites nobody visits.
Mistake No. 2 – Duplicating Content (Be It Your Own or Other People’s)
What are search engine algorithms look for in a new blog post?
They’re looking for fresh ideas. They want to see that you can contribute something that hasn’t been shared before or has a unique take on a common topic.
They’re not looking for blogs that pump out content copied and pasted from other sources.
Why would they?
They’ve already ranked the websites that hosted the copied content. By duplicating what somebody else writes precisely, you’re showing search engines that your blog post is a pale imitation that doesn’t deserve a ranking.
All of that time you saved by copying somebody else’s work means nothing because the post never ranks.
Furthermore, duplication from other websites isn’t the only issue to think about here.
Duplicating your own content is just as dangerous!
For example, some business owners may write a solid and original blog post. Then, they’ll take that post and tweak it several times, perhaps with different locations, to target different keywords. Then, they republish the same post several times with the most minor of changes.
If you’re lucky, search engines just rank the original post and ignore the rest. If you’re unlucky, they penalise you for trying to game the system.
Simply put, duplication is a bad idea.
You can quote other articles and use them as sources. But if you’re lifting content from them, or yourself, wholesale, your blog post won’t succeed in search engines.
Mistake No. 3 – Only Focusing on Ideas That You’re Interested In
It’s your blog, so you should write about whatever you want to talk about, right?
Not so much.
Your blog serves a business purpose. It’s where you get to go into depth about your audience’s problems. If you’re only writing about the subjects you’re interested in, you’re likely missing out on posts about things that your audience actually cares about.
Your business blog isn’t about you or your business.
It’s about the people you help.
Talk to your potential customers. Find them on social media and in forums. Dedicate some time to figuring out what challenges they face and how those issues affect their lives. With this information, you can optimise your blog posts to ensure they’re confronting the problems that your potential customers turn to search engines to solve.
Mistake No. 4 – Only Writing for SEO
Writing for SEO is usually where the problem of over-optimisation comes in.
For example, let’s say you have a keyword that you want to target with your blog post. You know that you need to use that keyword a few times in the body of the post. The problem is that you don’t know exactly how often to use it. You end up with a 1,000-word post that may repeat the same keyword over a dozen times.
There are two problems with this.
The first is that the post doesn’t read naturally. You’ve stuffed the post full of keywords, leading to an awkward and stilted piece. Anybody who understands SEO basics gets turned off because it’s clear that you’ve only written the post to target a keyword rather than to provide value.
The second problem is that search engines algorithms get better at spotting over-optimised posts every year. They’re looking to serve valuable information to their users. If your blog post is filled to the brim with keywords, that’s a red flag to a search engine. Ironically, you end up with a lower ranking because you’ve only focused on SEO.
The solution for this one is simple:
Don’t use a keyword unless it makes sense in the context of the article. Focus on providing value first, with optimisation coming after. Only add keywords when they’re relevant to what a user may search for to find your article.
Mistake No. 5 – Failing to Do Keyword Research
So, you know that you need to be careful about the volume of keywords in your posts.
But you also need to take care regarding the specific keywords you use. An irrelevant keyword won’t provide the results you’re looking for, even if you only use it a couple of times.
For example, let’s say that your business offers pet food and supplies.
You’ve written a blog post about what to look for in healthy cat food. However, your keyword relates to cat toys rather than cat food. Not only is the keyword irrelevant to the post, but it’s also confusing for searchers. If somebody uses the cat’s toy keyword and lands on a post about cat food, they will bounce away from the post as quickly as they found it.
That’s bad news.
Bounced users don’t stick around on your website to learn more about your services. A high bounce rate is also another negative flag for search engine algorithms. Bounces tell the algorithms that your website isn’t serving up the content people are looking for. So, your rankings drop.
Proper keyword research is the solution to this mistake.
Start by coming up with a primary keyword relevant to the post you want to create. Then, plug that primary keyword into tools, such as Google AdWords, to create a list of related keywords that you may be able to use. This should give you a shortlist of terms and questions a user might enter into a search engine to find your blog post.
Incorporate these keywords wherever they make sense, and you have a better chance of getting good rankings and attracting people to the post.
Mistake No. 6 – Going Too Short With Blog Post Length
How long should a blog post be?
The exact answer varies depending on the post’s subject. But we do know that going too short is a major problem. If you’re writing posts that are less than 300 words long, you’re telling search engines that you don’t have a lot to say about a subject. That would be okay if nobody else has anything to say either. But if your competitors all have longer posts covering the same topic, your short post falls by the wayside.
Ideally, your blog posts should fall somewhere between 1,000 and 2,500 words.
Any shorter and you’re demonstrating that you don’t have much to say. Going longer than 2,500 words could lead to readers getting tired of the subject.
Furthermore, writing longer posts also gives you more opportunities to incorporate keywords without them feeling unnatural.
Mistake No. 7 – Having No Personality in Your Posts
We mentioned earlier that search engine algorithms look for fresh content.
Sometimes, it’s not possible to create an innovative blog post that covers a topic that nobody has ever confronted before. You may work in an industry that is so saturated with content that it’s almost impossible to cover something new or different.
That fact can lead to a common mistake.
If there are no new topics, you just write what everybody else is writing. At least then, you have a post to stack up against the many others covering the same topic.
That approach ignores the freshness aspect of optimisation.
Happily, you can avoid this mistake by injecting a little bit of you into your blog posts.
Start with your writing style. You don’t have to be a carbon copy of everybody else to compete. Writing in your own voice allows you to create a fresh spin on subjects that other people have already covered.
Another tactic is to relate what you’re covering to the services you provide. If you can help a customer directly with one of the issues in your blog post, tell them about it and link them to more information.
Proper blog post optimisation means understanding what you need to do and then not taking it too far. Over-optimisation is as dangerous as not optimising at all. In fact, it can even be more dangerous when you take the possibility of search engine penalties into account.
Now that you know the most common mistakes, you know what you need to avoid. And with Automation Agency, you can ensure a regular flow of search engine traffic using regular optimised blog posts. To find out if we’re right for you, take our Right Fit Quiz today.