Remember the days, a few years ago to be exact, when you would hear the common mantra, "We're managing Web 2.0 quite effectively. We have a blog." This was a part of the mentality of "everybody is doing it, so we sure don't want to fall behind."
While some didn't enact a blog on-site for logical reasons, such as the lack of time, resources, proper blog management, or the inability to provide proper content, others ran wild with content thrown to this site section in hopes of catching readers or a viral trend.
The simple fact is that your blog must accurately portray your company and site's message, as well as online intentions, to render it effective and to not cause damage to your search engine optimization (SEO) or other online efforts.
Most often, generating SEO-friendly, keyword-targeted blog posts will draw traffic to your site. These pages often rank well in long tail SERPs.
Also of benefit is the ability to promote blog posts in social bookmarking sites for low value but quick link credibility. With this, you can often captivate readers to the point of receiving inbound links.
However, while all of this seems great, if the content and inbound linking aren't geared toward the overall keyword theme of your site, then search engines will perceive your site as greatly flawed. Is your blog getting off topic? Let's look to Google Webmaster Tools and Google Analytics for some SEO considerations.
If much more site content is housed in your blog posts rather than in your site, this can often lead to an overall keyword relevance for terms other than the top keyword terms desired for the site. You don't want a search engine deciding to rank one of your site's top terms in the SERPs if the majority of the site doesn't speak to your intended keyword theme.
- See how this affects you: Take a moment to review your Google Webmaster Tools account. Using the Assess Your Site on The Web>>Keywords section, analyze the significance of keywords on your site. Are they your site's top terms? Is your overall site content delivering the right content?
Anatomy of Inbound Links Across the Site
In a perfect world, we want to have the greatest amount of links traveling to the home page and then see deep links which follow a hierarchical flow to deeper site pages. Too much attention to your blog and not your main site pages can leave you with blog pages holding more inbound links than important site pages and maybe even gasp! the home page.
Another consideration that must be met is the anchor text of links coming to your site. Are they relevant to your targeted keywords or related more to the random blog post titles you might have?
- See how this affects you: In Google Webmaster tools, analyze Your Site on the Web>>Links to your Site. When viewing link amounts by site page, where does your blog main page or posts sit in comparison to the home page and top-level pages of the site? Is there a deep linking hierarchical flow, or are there more links to the blog section than the home page? Next, within this page, look at the most frequently used anchor text of inbound links. Do they match your targeted keywords?
How Blog Visitors Digested Your Content
This can help you gain a better understanding of how on- or off-topic your blog content can be with the rest of your site and the goals of your site.
- See how this affects you: In Google Analytics, drill down in the Top Content section to filter only visits from /blog (or the name of your blog directory) to assess some key factors. What is the bounce rate overall of organic visitors to the blog section of the site? Is this percentage higher than 60 percent? How many pages per visit? Even with amazing calls to action and proper blog main navigation you still won't pull wanting readers into the rest of your site if it's completely irrelevant to the blog post page they began with.
Assess Your Goal Conversions
What percentage of visits performed a desired action? This information lets you ultimately decide, if not for accurate link building, draw of quality site visits, or a branding effort, what your blog is doing for you. A rogue blog will show up throughout your site analytics, whether it's increasing your overall bounce rate, exit rate, or decreasing your time on site, pages per visit, or simply clouding your ability to gauge the effectiveness of your organic efforts by filling your data with irrelevant keyword referrals and organic landing pages.
While I've tried my best to scare the hell out of you, for the most part the above will likely affect smaller sites instead of large sites. Larger sites usually have a vast amount of links to top site pages as well as a large amount of content to pages outside of the blog section to counter against an overpowering site blog.
Regardless of site size, it's still imperative that you realize the goals and intentions of your blog and not let it take over your site for all the wrong reasons.
Meet Your Favorite Search Engine Watch Contributors
Many of SEW's leading expert contributors will be at ClickZ Live, the new online and digital marketing event kicking off in New York (March 31-April 3). Hear from the likes of: Thom Craver, Josh Braaten, Lisa Barone, Simon Heseltine, Josh McCoy, Lisa Raehsler, Greg Jarboe, Dan Cristo, Joseph Kerschbaum, John Gagnon, Eric Enge and more!