Small Business Support Blog

If you are interested in reading about how to get your business visible online, with regular insights into being an entrepreneur and navigating your way through the business world, then this blog is for you!

We regularly post interesting articles on topics on leadership, management and visibility - with guest articles and features from experts in their field.

If you are interested in collaborating and would like to do a guest feature then please email [email protected] 

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Category: Content Marketing

  1. Why guest blogging is bad for SEO...

    Posted on

    Why guest blogging is bad for SEO...

    Manchester SEO Specialist

     

    Ummm what now?! What are you talking about? Guest blogging to build links is one of the first things you teach Pamela so why are you saying this now?!

    Because it’s true. Guest blogging purely for building links is bad for SEO. Quite simply because Google knows when link building is artificial. It knows when you’ve been artificial and it won’t do you any favours. John Mueller (one of the honchos at Google) has been quoted as saying “if you are guest blogging for links, you had better no follow those links” - and that is because Google wants link building to be natural, not artificial.

    I’ve been really encouraging my SEO membership group to get active with blogging and guest blogging, and it’s been great to see them enthusiastically exchanging details and looking to exchange content. What I need to emphasise even more though is that the quality of the content that they are producing is of upmost importance, and that merely exchanging a few hundred words with a few links thrown in will not actually help them.

    So now you are thinking should I carry on guest blogging for my SEO then?

    Guest blogging for SEO, when you focus on high quality content with natural link references can be a great tool for building up content and authority on your website. You have to think about a number of things however to actually get the benefit of doing this type of SEO activity which all centre on producing high quality content:

    • The structure of the content
    • The volume of the content
    • The relevance of the content
    • The natural references
    • The value add for your audience


    In this post I’ll go into each of these in a bit more detail to help you understand more about guest blogging for SEO, and how if you are careful and considered, focussing on creating high quality content, it can be a benefit for your website ranking.

    guest blogging bad for SEO

    Guest blogging for SEO tip number one - The structure of the content is important

    Poorly written guest blog posts which have very little structure and that are hard to read will not fair well, and you are better off not doing them. This is where you need to be selective about who you choose to collaborate with. If they are producing guest blogs purely to advertise their business rather than add value to your audience, say no. If they are looking to guest blog to generate high quality information which will add to the user experience for your audience, then you can wholeheartedly say yes to this.

    Well structured guest blogs will have a clear outline in their introduction, they will have organised information with relevant headings, sub headings and a good summary to conclude. The information will be clearly laid out and there will be images and graphics to accompany the piece.

    Guest blogging for SEO tip number two - The volume of content really matters.

    I’ll start to sound like a broken record here, but fundamentally if you are blogging for the sake of it just to build links, you would be better off doing something else with your time. If you want to guest blog to produce valuable content to increase your audience then creating a post which actually is useful and comprehensive will take time and effort. I’m often asked how long should a blog post be - well the reality is that pages that rank on the first page of google on average have between 1200-1800 words, and Hubspot say that a blog post should be at least 2000 words! Yes I said 2000. There is an irony to this because if you google "how long should a blog post be?" the rich snippet is from Yoast which says 300 words - which prettty much says everything you need to know about the yoast plugin.

    So do I literally have to write an essay every time I blog I hear you say? Well, if you are serious about creating blog posts that are going to be seen, you’ll need to write something that is pretty comprehensive, yes. The next question is how do I find something to write that much about? The answer to this lies with you, and how much you can go into detail about your topic. The more detail you can go into your topic and give thorough explanations, the more the post will be recognised as a quality post.

     

    Guest blogging for SEO tip number three - the relevance of the content is essential

    Broken record time - blogging for the sake of it and just to build links is useless and could actually be damaging for your SEO because it could get flagged as being Spam if you have loads of low quality blogs with dodgy links which are obviously there just to advertise.

    Being careful and considered when choosing who to partner with when guest blogging is really important, because you want to make sure that the content you produce is going to be relevant to that website and the audience. This is why I always encourage people to collaborate with others in their niche or industry, or at least related industry so that the content they produce is both relevant to the audience and has more likelihood of being interesting to that audience! The moral of the story here - if your business is in finance, there is not a lot of relevance to guest blog on a cake makers website if you are writing about a finance topic.

     

    Guest blogging for SEO tip number four - natural references not artificial link building is the aim of the game

    Stuffing keywords and stuffing links is about as old fashioned as my Aunt Mildred’s wardrobe and should be avoided at all costs (a bit like Aunt Mildred’s wardrobe!). In order for links to be of any use to you for building page authority, you need to make them natural and relevant to the post you are writing.

    Linking to further information on a topic is a good thing for SEO. Linking to a relevant product you’ve been describing is a good thing for SEO. Linking to evidence on something you are discussing is a great thing for SEO. What is not great for SEO:

    • Listing links
    • Links which have no context to the text
    • Links which don’t add value to the text

    Natural references, evidence building and further information are the way to go with incorporating links into your guest blogs to make them effective for SEO.

    There was an interesting statistic from Hubspot which indicated that 43% of blog posts are only skim read, which means that links have to stand out and be interesting to a reader to make them click on them. Links to videos or other dynamic content also stand a better chance of being clicked on.

     

    Guest blogging for SEO tip number 5 - You have to focus on adding value to your audience

    Wait for it - blogging for the sake of it just to build links is not worth it. Spend the time working on your social media or upping your meta description game instead. Because honestly, unless you want to add value to the audience you are writing for, with well structured, thorough, detailed content with good natural references, you are not going to glean the results from blogging or guest blogging.

    But people don’t actually read blog posts anymore do they? They do if they are interested in the content! It’s true that people want quick answers to questions nowadays which is why featured snippets have become a popular trend, but at the end of the day people want answers to their search terms, and they want to be entertained. This gives you opportunities to solve those problems or satisfy those desires (I had to get that in or Aunt Mildred would have been unimpressed). For example, you’ve read this post! There are a number of reasons why you have probably read this post: 

    • The headline shocked you because it goes against what you think I’ve been telling you
    • Because you are interested in understanding if guest blogging is worth it
    • You were also probably wondering if you have been doing it wrong and looking for the answers on how to do it right (which I hope that this post is doing!).

    If you focus on adding value to your intended audience then actually you can get your content noticed. This works especially for guest blogging. It’s bad manners to create a guest blog for someone that you haven’t put a lot of time and effort into - and that won’t be of interest to their audience. Really consider the topics you are selecting when you are providing guest blogs, and be really selective about who you choose to publish guest content on on your website.

    So what have we covered in this post? We’ve established that poor quality content (ie blogging for the sake of blogging) and artificial link building is about as useful for your SEO as putting your TV remote in the fridge. We have explored the reasons why - that google can identify low quality and spammy like activity and we’ve made it clear that google is looking for high quality, relevant, thorough and accurate information to give searchers the answers to their search terms. We have dissected the elements of quality content production and discussed whether people even actually read blog posts anymore. After all that, I think we need a cup of tea/Diet Coke/wine! Who’s with me?!

    PRW Wine

  2. Reasons you may be struggling to write a blog... And what to do about it!

    Posted on

    Why I’ve been struggling to write a blog post this month...

     PRW Wine
     
     
    Normally I’m great at blogging. I find inspiration from a question posed in my membership group, or I find something random comes to me at 4am and I tap furiously away on my iPhone pouring out what I hope will be valuable content to my audience. But this month I’ve really struggled and I thought, actually there may be others who are struggling too, and so I thought if I write down reasons why you may be struggling and share some ideas on what to do about it then this may actually be a useful blog post (oh the irony eh?!)
     
    So here goes, reasons why you may be struggling with writing blog posts (there are definitely several that apply to me in this...)
     

    1. Everyone else has already written about it...

     
    This one is a classic - why write a blog on something that a million other people have already written about? I hear and feel you on this one - I mean every single online visibility topic has been done to death (thanks Neil Patel lol) so why write anymore about it?
     
    Here’s the thing - they haven’t written about it from your perspective. Your audience want to hear your opinion on it, your experience and your ideas. If you have a following then you have people interested in you, so don’t think that people aren’t interested. If every topic has been written about before think about what makes your opinion different about a topic and talk about why it’s different.
     
    Top Tip: Write down a topic and then brainstorm all of the perspectives that have been shared on it. Look at what your perspective is. That is your blog post - comparing the different perspectives and giving people your clear opinion...
     
    2. I don’t know how to write a good blog post...
     
    I love this one. There are literally thousands of searches conducted into google on this exact topic. There are two things to consider here - writing good content, and writing discoverable content.
     
    Writing good content means putting the reader at the heart of what you are writing. Think about what question you are looking to answer for them or information are you helping them to discover. I start every post with asking myself the question “what do I want my reader to know, feel and take away from this?” And that normally helps to give me the impetus to write content that will resonate with my audience. Try not to fixate on being the oracle, focus on being helpful or entertaining. My Gran would always say that if people weren’t helping her or amusing her then she wasn’t interested in them and even though this may seem brutal it’s not a bad way to consider things!
     
    On the other hand writing content that is discoverable is something different entirely... There is a knack to writing blog posts for SEO, particularly when there is already a lot of content existing in the webisphere, but for the purposes of this blog post we are focussing on getting you creating content rather than fixating on the discoverability of it (not least because it’s a full on topic that requires its own post entirely, but also because I want you to read this till then end and I fear you may get distracted if it gets too long).
     
    The moral of this question/story - you need to get over yourself. Whether you think you can or you can’t, you are right. And only you can change your mindset on it. Writing a good blog post is about writing for your audience, not for you.
     
    Top Tip: Give yourself a structure for writing the post - an introduction of what the topic is about, three main paragraphs to solve the problem or explore the issue, then a conclusion which brings it back to the beginning. 
     
     
    Struggling to write a blog
     
     
    3. Even if it hasn't all been said before, I don’t know what to write about...
     
    If you feel like you  don’t know what’s good to write about, you are in the same boat as a lot of your friends as the song would say!
     
    Content inspiration can be a bitch I’m not going to lie, and it can be a real blocker to creating stuff to put out there, but again this is linked to what I referenced before. People want to hear your perspective, and they want to hear your ideas. I’ve written a whole post on content inspiration which can hopefully help you, but fundamentally think about what questions your audience are asking, or think about ways you can entertain them. Forget that it may have been written about before, no one else is you.
     
    Top Tip: Take a look at Google Trends and see what people are searching for - this can give you inspiration to address what is on peoples minds...
     
    4. It’s not the right time to be putting myself out there...
     
    Ahh this recently-made-popular-chestnut is a goodie! The lockdown paralysis gremlins telling you that you shouldn’t be marketing yourself, or “putting yourself out there” because it’s insensitive in the current climate. Well I call bull on that.
     
    Now more than ever people need to hear that you are there for them, answering their questions, supporting their needs and showing up (when you have something helpful or entertaining to say). I spent 30 minutes searching how to apply eyeliner as an escape the other day - so however “trivial” it may seem (and it’s not) there is space for it, there is a need for it and you are worthy of sharing it.
     
    Just don’t write for the sake of it, and don’t write because you are feeling a pressure to “pivot” or show up because everyone else is. As you’ll see running through this entire post, write to help, or to entertain. If you can’t do that, then yeah it’s not the right time to be showing up...
     
    Top Tip: Sell the sunshine not the sunscreen. Talk about how your business brings results or solutions, or sparks joy and desire. This is far more effective than just talking abot features and benefits.
     
    5. No one reads blog posts anymore do they, so what is the point?
     
    This is a great question that I always love to answer. People read stuff that’s interesting. People read stuff that helps them to answer a question, solve a problem, satisfy a desire (I had to get that in somewhere!) or discover something new. So if you are writing a blog for the sake of writing a blog then chances are no one will read it. If you are writing a blog to stuff a load of keywords into your website then you need to bin off whatever SEO advice you’ve been given.
     
    Write to share good content. Write to help. To entertain, and people will read. I’m starting to sound like a broken record now aren’t I?!
     
    Top Tip: Share your blog on your social media profiles - and dont forget Pinterest! Pinterest is brilliant for being able to share your blog multiple times with different pin titles.
     
    6. I’m terrible at writing, I don’t have the confidence...
     
    I used to fixate on finding the right tone and language for blog posts, convinced that I needed to sound like a bunch of other influencers. Then I realised that a. I wasn’t American and trying to write like one made me sound ridiculous and b. My audience aren’t interested in me sounding like everyone else because they come to me for me, not for me to sound like Oprah (and before you get your pitchforks out Trolls, no I’m not comparing myself to bloody Oprah).
     
    If you write like you act and speak in real life, people will resonate with the content and will respond to it.
     
    Top Tip: Add keywords into your meta data to make your post more discoverable without having to detract away from the tone of your blog post
     
    blogging for small business
     
    7. I can’t find the time to create blog posts...
     
    This one has been a real one for me this month, and I’ll admit that finding time to commit at least a thousand words to a blog post has felt like a monumental chore, so if you are feeling this, I feel you.
     
    My time management is not something that I pride myself on so I’m not about to give you some inspiring nuggets on how to effectively plan your time (I wrote this week on Instagram about needing more time and headspace!) but suffice to say if you can block out an hour to write something helpful or entertaining, this will help your overall online visibility.
     
    Top Tip: Establish a routine to blog once a month minimum for yourself, and once a month minimum to guest for someone else - it will massively help your overall visibility and build up your website quality
     
    8. I just CBA...
     
    Motivation is a true gremlin I’m not going to lie. Week ten billion of lockdown and my motivation for being an inspiration 24/7 has definitely waned, so if you are feeling like you can’t be bothered, then I can totally relate. What is keeping me going at the moment is the momentum of my online visibility challenge which is happening at the end of May. Otherwise I might be completely lost in a sea of wine and snacky snacks somewhere in the recesses of my house!
     
    The thing to think about here though is that you do have influence, however small your audience, you do have the ability to shape someone’s thinking. So if you can help, or entertain, and you can muster some energy, then write it. Then reward yourself with wine. Or gin (I know a good luxury gin if you don’t...)
     
     
    In this post I’ve tried to share some honest challenges and objections that you may be feeling about blogging, and hopefully given you some reassurance and inspiration to get writing again. The important thing to remember is being genuine and authentic is what will engage and build your audience. So if after this you are still struggling with writing a blog post - maybe write about why you are struggling? You never know who it might help...