Having a blog has long been rumoured to help SEO. Sadly what most people don’t get is that a car is great for travel, if you can drive it well… There are so many bad “blogs” out there now that I wonder if Google is looking for a way to sort the wheat from the chaff in its next parrot update. (I decided to call it the parrot update because I’m sick of hearing about panda update 3.142b etc.!)
When it emerged that Google was looking at fresh content as a ranking consideration people selling SEO rubbed their hands with glee across the world. If Google has said that fresh content is a must it is an easy sell to people who have relatively static websites. “Just post news and events articles on your blog a few times a day containing keywords and the world will be your oyster”.
Now that I am so aware of it I can’t help but notice these crappy blogs everywhere. Post Panda article spinners have new homes.
Having a blog can be a huge asset to an online business, especially when done right. The right way is a truly socially engaging affair aimed at building relationships with potential customers and hopefully a loyal following who will go forth and sing your praises… Well you get the point. If I visit a company blog I expect to see a good mix of product information, guides, company news, offers and reviews which all in all is a generally positive experience.
What I don’t expect or want to read is the same spammy paragraph saying “buy sofas London while seeing the Olympics” or some other shoehorned rubbish surrounded by a loosely related post. What people don’t seem to realise is that this certainly can’t help in the long run. Google might see that the site is regularly updated but the click through and bounce rates could be a huge low quality indicator.
The challenge is how can you classify a blog post as low quality? If I was trying to combat this content I would probably look at factors such as:
- How consistent is the word count? This sounds stupid but lots of companies producing written content do so often to a set word goal so there is a good chance that posts will often be a similar length.
- Linking consistency: If every post has 2 or 3 internal links in could it be classed as truly natural?
- Comments: If there are no comments on the post could this be an indicator of poor engagement?
- Bounce rate: Google already offers you the chance to block a site if you return to search results…
- Prominence of blog in the site hierarchy: If a blog is tucked away in a dark corner of a website is it trying to avoid people?
I’m sure that each point could be argued. I do think that at some point algorithms will try to evaluate blogs using a wide range of factors to give a quality score.
Now you may think that I’m not a fan of blogs after reading this far. I am a huge fan of good blogs. Often if you search for an answer to a question, the answer will be on a blog post, with a wealth of comments supporting the validity of the information. I just thing that a blog is so much more than glorified keyword loaded mega tweets. Good blogs are a home to information, opinions, link bait engaging content and much more. The sad thing that a lot of people miss is it’s the high quality engaging content that is much more likely to lead to a conversion.
What do you think will be the next big thing in the Google Parrot update?
Image credit: Archeia Muriel, thanks!