Recently, I got the following comment on Lorelle on WordPress:
I just set up my blog and I am still trying to get everything in line. When I write original content, does it have to be about the subject of my blog? Will it hurt to have content not related to the title and keywords of my blog? Any input would be greatly appreciated!
My first thought was “whose going to hurt whom?” Honestly, who are you hurting if you don’t blog right? You.
If you don’t care about monetization, getting found, establishing a reputation or expertise, and your blog is not your resume, then who cares? No one is hurt because your blog is all for you and no one else that influences your ability to pay your rent.
If your blog’s purpose is to make money and establish your professional online reputation, by not blogging with search term, keyword-rich content in a consistent form within your blog’s purpose and intent that puts the reader first, you are the only one hurting you.
There are two answers I can give to this person.
The key to developing your blog’s content is getting found.
PageRank and a lot of the mysteries surrounding how you get included and how high your posts rate within Google and other search engines is a mix of good keyword usage, popularity of incoming links, and how much you are willing to pay. There are a few more ingredients to the mix, and it’s not much of a secret any more, nor does PageRank rule the web as it once did. It’s been tarnished a lot lately.
The more specific the keywords you use are related to the words people use to search for your content, the more likely they are to find you, no matter what other SEO games you play with your blog. It isn’t even a matter of PageRank any more, though it does help raise you in the search results findings. It’s a matter of being found when searchers search.
A lot of people give me credit for playing the PageRank game well. I don’t. I write for the readers. I call things by their right name. I use the words they use to search. And I keep related search terms close together since they are most likely to search for those phrases. I write for my readers, helping them find the information I have that they need, and then writing to make getting that information easier.
For instance, if you have a Plugin called “WordPress Whopping Whizbang Great Plugin”, people searching for “WordPress Plugin” might not see that Plugin as it:
- Doesn’t say what it does in the title
- Has too many words between WordPress and Plugin
The posts with “WordPress Plugin” will rise up the ranks automatically just because the words are close to each other. Look at Google’s search result pages. The further apart the search terms are, the lower they are listed in the page. “Related Posts WordPress Plugin” tells you what it does, contains search terms, and WordPress and Plugin are next to each other, making it rise naturally in the list.
The further apart the search terms are, the lower they will be in the list, such as these examples.
Call it “Word Press Whopping Whizbang Great plug-in” and you also lose as WordPress is spelled as one word and Plugin is Plugin not something you stick into the wall for electricity. The right words will make your Plugin rise in the search engine results naturally.
Do you play the “it” game with your blog content? I find a lot of blog posts begin with “I’m going to write about WordPress…” and then use the pronoun “it” to describe WordPress through the rest of the post.
It’s a great program to use for blogging. Millions of people have downloaded it, making it one of the most popular free blogging programs around. You can also add Plugins to extend its capabilities…
While abusing a noun or keyword can make reading difficult, and looks spammy, the natural use of the proper name makes reading on the web easier and faster, and gets keywords into the search engine database.
“WordPress is a great program for blogging. Millions of people have downloaded it, making WordPress one of the most popular free blogging programs around. You can also add WordPress Plugins to extend its capabilities…”
This isn’t a keyword game. Which one was easier and faster to read?
This is common sense, not SEO magic. I write with common sense.
The key to blog traffic is to keep readers coming back for more, and telling their friends about you.
I really like the idea of writing for the “like-minded reader” who visits your blog. You have something they want, and they want what you have. It’s a mutual self-interest.
The more you have what they want, and the more you give them, the more they like returning for more. And the more likely they are to tell their friends about you and your blog.
I have long enjoyed being called a “resource” and a “source” for my blog. I want to be known and respected for my blog content, don’t you? I often call it my “body of work” as it serves as a portfolio for my expertise, and in turn, keeps clients coming my way.
If you blog off-topic, you are diluting the keyword content on your blog, but more importantly, you are distracting your readers with off-topic content. You are risking their “like-minded” interest with off-topic subjects. The more varied and diverse your content, the less likely people are to stick around, unless your goal is to serve that varied and diverse content. Then finding commonality admit the chaos can separate your blog from the online clutter.
When I look at Mashable, I often wonder what the thread is that keeps this wild content together and interesting. Don’t you? When I don’t check my feed reader for a few days, I look at the pile of posts piled up on Mashable and I find the connection. It’s there, covering tech and web publishing and social networking – the whole virtual neighborhood of the web represented like some community newspaper.
The same holds true for other sites that report on a wide variety of subjects. There is something that ties the content together and makes it interesting. For the rest of us unskilled at the powerful subtleties of such efforts, we blog on only a couple of related subjects, finding the joy in our simple and focused expertise.
Give your readers content worthy of returning for more, and give them content worth bragging about. Make it educational, controversial, entertaining – stuff worthy of the virtual water cooler.
If you aren’t serving up these two answers to that commenter’s question, how do you expect your blog to succeed?
The author of Lorelle on WordPress and the fast-selling book, Blogging Tips: What Bloggers Won't Tell You About Blogging, as well as several other blogs, Lorelle VanFossen has been blogging for over 15 years, covering blogging, WordPress, travel, nature and travel photography, web design, web theory and development extensively as web technologies developed.