This post was originally published on WriterTown.com.
Blogging and SEO Rumors, Busted
Common blogging myths are abundant on the internet, and everyone seems to have their own opinion and version of what works and doesn’t work. In fact, even this very article is somewhat opinionated here and there, as it’s nearly impossible to know absolutely everything with 100% certainty.
Needless to say, I think it’s important to highlight some of the most potentially damaging rumors often discussed among publishers. These range from word count requirements to the very denial of online money-making opportunities.
1: Search Engine Traffic is Highly Important
Most of us grew up with the mentality that search engine traffic is an essential part of our blogging success. After all, organic traffic was king throughout the 90s and beyond, as it was very easy to manipulate search results in your favor.
For better or worse, times have changed – and now the importance of organic traffic is more of a blogging myth than anything.
While you should still try to make your articles relevant to search engines, consider this type of traffic an added bonus rather than a crucial factor in your long-term success.
Engines like Google keep switching things up all the time, potentially sending your once-popular article all the way to the back of the line, even if its quality is top-notch.
Write on popular subjects as usual, but don’t place a high priority on search engine traffic. You have much better ways to obtain a following, including social media and newsletter subscriptions.
2: There is No Money in Blogging
It’s quite common to think blogging doesn’t yield results, particularly with those who have never left a 9-to-5 job or those that “tried” and never made it.
Put it this way: Blogging allows you to do just about anything you want and focus on any topic, in any format. Think about the billions of subjects you can cover, as well as the ways in which you present it all (videos, written content, infographics, and so on).
On top this, then you also have multiple ways of promoting your content. If you think about it, this can all lead to some serious case of analysis paralysis.
So, is there no money in blogging? The only reason most people can’t make money from their blog is due to these things: Poor planning and consistency.
Sit down and come up with a blogging subject you are passionate about (or even better, fill a need/gap in the market).
Any idea can turn into profits – from fetishes to back pain problems to dogs that look like Donald Trump (and trust me, they’re out there).
Once you plan out your blogging topic(s), simply stick to it. That means always posting, always promoting, and always providing value. Rinse and repeat.
Just because blogging is difficult does not mean there is no money there. Always keep that in mind and show others how it’s done.
An entire article could go into this subject alone, so let’s leave that for another occasion (monetization options and how to choose a great promotional approach).
3: Longer is Always Better
The above may be true according to some women and late-night TV ads, but it doesn’t necessarily apply to online content.
Research shows that longer content often performs better in rankings and social shares. However, don’t immediately dismiss short-form content just for the sake of increasing eye balls to your content.
The most common blogging myth here, more specifically, is that short content is automatically penalized by Google. I personally know of a client who told my friend, “We have to write close to 1,000 words to keep Google happy.”
This statement is so, so very flawed.
In this case, Neil Patel said it best: Longer is usually better. Keep in mind, though, that short content also has its place.
Google has stated that they are targeting thin content, but please understand that “short” does not automatically mean “thin” or otherwise low quality. In the end, there are hundreds of factors that the search engine giant uses to determine the fate of your article.
Article length alone (by itself) is not a problem.
Take a look at the millions of short articles based on medical research and other forms of studies and analysis. These are usually short and to the point, and yet provide a world of information to readers. Get my point?
4: Do Not Promote Competitors
A common blogging myth is to never help your competitors in any way. This is actually true in most cases (after all, Comcast wouldn’t want to promote Verizon in any way).
That said, you must also realize that the online world may work slightly different than your typical offline business.
There’s no competition in blogging – only allies.
The best blogging practices revolve around acknowledging other authors in your field, whether by mentioning them casually in your article or by actively asking your readers to go and sign up to their newsletter.
Case in point, bloggers have to work together. Reciprocate and have a mutual desire to see each other succeed, bringing a monumental amount of income, traffic and value over time.
Compile a list of your favorite blogs, preferably ones within your niche, and start networking. Have a genuine desire to connect with them, then multiply those efforts x10.
How would you feel if a high-profile blogger recommends your blog to his readers?
5: SEO is Dead
Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is a bit of a mixed bag when it comes to results. In recent years Google has applied various updates that make optimization and website ranking a bit tougher, leading many to speculate that SEO is effectively dead.
Sure, the SEO we once knew and loved is long gone. That is, the weak and easily-manipulated version we got used to. But rest assured that search engine optimization is still very much alive and well; it’s just gotten pickier, choosing quality over quantity.
Write for your readers first and for the search engines last. While it’s great to insert relevant niche keywords into your articles (and you should) be careful about bombarding your content with them.
Additionally, use related key phrases throughout the article so you can (potentially) rank for those keywords as well, all while keeping the content as natural and useful as possible.
These common blogging myths will likely persist for a long time, but hopefully they will be disregarded one person at a time.
Meanwhile, sign up to the Writer Town blog and enjoy many benefits in the process.
This post was originally published on WriterTown.com.