Many in the industry have started saying that Content isn’t a King. But I beg to differ. Why? Because I have ranked blogs for the bottom of the funnel informational queries, and visitors resulting from those search queries have gone ahead and became solid leads for the business many even converted from that.
Every business out there is striving to accomplish this very goal. Every business wants to blog and generate business and sales out of it.
But over the course of years, I have observed business websites making some of the very basic silly blogging mistakes that cost them their business, and what’s more? They also end up spending a great deal of money on content curation most of which never sees the day to reach page 1 of Google and remains as an unreported dead body on pages that Googlers never go deep down to.
Is it really that difficult to rank blog posts on Google? Not really, it is these common and some uncommon mistakes that these business sites are making which is preventing them from growing and achieving their business goals.
20 Common (& uncommon) Blogging Mistakes Businesses are Making
- Horrible URL Structure Mistakes
- Choosing the wrong blog topics
- Treating the business blog as a journal to pen thoughts
- Writing short content on pillar topics
- Either focusing only on Bots or focusing only on Humans
- Not paying attention to heading structure
- Horrible Blog Post User Interface
- Lack of internal linking strategy
- Poorly formatted content
- Putting too many embeds in the article
- Not having a concept of Brand Guidelines
- Not leveraging Silos
- Not heeding to Mobile Optimization
- Using Stock Photos in the blog post (this is the worst)
- Not updating the content
- Outbound linking in a way that jeopardizes their own SEO efforts
- Ignoring the unexplored power of primary research data that they have in their possession
- Not leveraging copywriting in the blog posts and sounding almost like a robot
- Not leveraging the power of storytelling
- Not leveraging correct Schema types
I have identified this blogging mistake business websites making very often. There are numerous ways to make slug mistakes in blogging that are costly in the long run.
- Having no blog silo strategy in place, you will come across a lot of business websites that don’t even have /blog/ silo for their blog posts. Why is this important?
This is important for a number of reasons, for number 1 the subfolder could have its authority which it can pass it on to other connected pages, secondly, the business website looks like a business website if it has a blog silo otherwise it can easily be confused for a blog site.
Thirdly, it helps a great deal with organic insights analysis in the later stages, you can easily see on Google Search Console & Google Analytics how have URLs containing /blog/ has performed which quickly gives you insights on top-performing blog posts.
- Lengthy self-sabotaging slugs, ever came across a business website blog URL where they add everything that’s in the title in the slug? Pretty common right? Suppose if the post title is the importance of small business loans for small businesses in 2021? Then guess what? That would be their entire slug.
Now there have been studies that have proven that shorter slugs have an advantage of ranking better and it’s not just about the length, they jam the year in the slug too, which dilutes the ranking potential for the forthcoming year.
If there is 2021 in URL and 2022 in the title then that’s a conflict, and that conflict will make the rankings suffer for the (+next year) keyword in the forthcoming years.
The right strategy here could have been to keep the slug “importance of business loans for small business” and now every year you can just keep changing the year on the title tag.
This is another horrible blogging mistake that businesses make. Choosing the wrong blog topics hurts the blogging strategy overall because that wrong blog topic is a piece in the puzzle that is not gonna fit and be outcasted.
The organic traffic deriving from it is going to be irrelevant which will affect the bounce rate, lead generation rates, and conversion rates.
You have to create blogs that are relevant to the product or service your business sells. A quick fix can be talking to the sales teams and getting the pain points they feel your customers face which you haven’t covered.
The more relevant content your website has the more is the probability of moving customers down the funnel of lead generation and sales conversions.
To break it down simply, if you are an e-commerce site selling fabric at wholesale then you have to write blogs inspiring people to start a clothing line explaining how buying fabric at bulk from you makes their business more profitable than ever for them.
On the other hand, writing blogs like Winter Clothing Trends wouldn’t help much because that is more tailored towards B2C as opposed to B2B.
If you are a business owner and you want to share your thoughts on entrepreneurship, work-life balance, spirituality, personal finance, and anything that is unrelated to what your business does. It would be best that you pen these thoughts on a different platform like Substack or Medium.
Don’t write random musings on your business blog. That has a lesser likelihood of ever ranking for any keyword because it more or less had a flair of hobby blogging.
When we are penning our thoughts on something we do it out of self-interest which means we don’t necessarily make it an SEO thing where we do keyword research for the objective of increasing organic traffic.
Such kinds of blogs on a business website would lie rampant, consuming crawl budget, lacking intent optimizing probability, no scope of internal linking to pass the PageRank. Basically, this again acts like the piece of a puzzle that doesn’t fit in.
Isn’t this blogging mistake quite common across business websites? I am sure all SEOs have come across this issue while managing SEO for clientele.
I find this mistake a waste of time and effort because Google or any search engine for that matter would never rank thin content on a topic that demands content depth & length.
And if it’s not gonna rank then who are you writing this for? This kind of content lies dormant of the website and remains undiscovered.
Even if visitors are to arrive on such a page they are soon to leave reaffirming Google’s hunch that this piece delivers a poor user experience.
For a blog on topic X blogging mistakes, would you be satisfied if I enlist just 3 blogging mistakes from all the blogging mistakes that there could be? You would want to see more right?
And that’s how blogging works.
If you are a business selling Data Science courses then go ahead and publish an exhaustive guide on how to get started with a Data Science career.
But please! Please! Please! Don’t write a 300-word snippet article on the topic it does no good to your prospective customers either. Your goal should be to writing the best guide on getting started with data science from all over the internet.
When you write short content on a pillar topic you suck out its chance of ever ranking and flooding your website with relevant high-quality organic traffic that has the potential of becoming qualified leads or sales.
No matter how expert of an SEO you hire, he can’t rank that article even if you build expensive backlinks it still wouldn’t help.
Don’t just go for the length for the sake of it, cover additional interrelated aspects you think someone reading this article would want to uncover.
Write for humans is a great strategy but I will be a little blunt here and ask you to optimize for both.
If you are optimizing only for bots that means you are not heeding for humans at all who are going to take an action to make you money.
And that would affect your conversion rates even if the bot ranks it higher.
On the other hand if you are optimizing only for humans and not considering what Google bot is looking for then plenty of your articles are not gonna rank and that is again a big trouble for you.
You need to maintain a proper mix of both to get the optimum results.
I kid you not, but across audits, I have come across business blogs having up to 6 heading 1 tag on a blog post.
Here’s why it happens, a lot of blog post templates when they are built the developer for some reason appends H1 & H2 tags on sidebar widget labels and Footer labels.
This mistake overall affects the heading structure of the blog post. Because now your post title is in H1 (which it should be) and unnecessary parts of text in labels i.e. share this post, related articles, subscribe, etc are also in Heading 1 Tag.
Now this affects the On-page SEO badly because you aren’t contextualizing things properly.
Your main focus is your blog post, that is it. That is what you want to rank on Google. So focus on that.
Remove all sorts of heading tags from other sections of the page template.
Another heading structure mistake made within the blog post is not using the sequence of heading structure strategically.
1 key thing to understand here is the understanding of the importance of the hierarchy of content. As a rule of thumb, you use the H1 tag only once (not a rule by Google though) you can use the remaining headings tags multiple times.
But understanding that H2 & H3 are more important; from H4 leading up to H6 and so it losses the importance.
So the headlines that are secondary has to be in H2 and the headlines that fall right below secondary can be in H3
Just to state an example,
Types of Social Media Marketing Platforms? H1
How to market on Facebook H3
This is generally how the hierarchy follows the one that is a bit apart from the main topic; for that, you use H3 and not H2.
To understand the workings behind the heading tags chronology I highly encourage you to explore Wikipedia articles they implement the heading structure really well; one that logically makes sense.
Just take a look at the amazing job BestReviews.com does with heading structure in their blog posts. They append heading tags to only those parts of text that are in the content.
So you wrote an incredible piece of content, your content carries authority and is relevant too, but!!!!
The user interface of the blog post is screaming I don’t care about the visitors coming here.
Now that’s a bummer a big one.
The User Interface of the blog post plays a big role in determining whether visitors are gonna scroll, consume the content, and share the content or not.
Even if your content is fantastic but if the UI & UX are horrible, then people are probably gonna bounce back.
And Google absolutely hates that.
So there are some basic things that aren’t paid attention to at times, things like selection of the font, the color of fonts that are being used (Pro Tip: Don’t use neon fonts, people can go blind trying to decipher the text ) the sidebar; it’s the width in the blog layout, whitespace.
I am not suggesting that you keep this super glittery. Keep it simple and yet elegant. It would be a plus if your blog design stands apart rather than blending with all your competitors.
Think about the iconic blog post user interface provided by Drift & HubSpot.
When you come across their blog posts it makes you wanna read the content because the UI is intuitive and makes you feel calm.
I have personally observed business sites not paying attention to this element which ruins a lot of things because the content is bringing you, organic visitors.
Take for instance this blog UI design, it looks simple yet elegant.
Image source: collectui.com
You can always look for inspiration on some amazing UI sites like Collectui, Envato and more.
The untapped power of internal linking is unparalleled for driving organic growth. In fact, it’s better to build topical content around the main content and strategically internally link those to the main content doing this is more valuable than building a high authority external backlink to that page that you wanna rank.
A lot of business sites don’t pay attention to internal linking altogether.
Internal links are used for two reasons,
- Adding links to supporting content in a page to let the users know that for supporting queries also we have content to support them. That way we are retaining the traffic on the website and not letting them go just after they are satisfied visiting that one page.
- We add internal links to let Google know that we have topical authority on the topic. If Google via internal links discovers that these guys have a lot of supporting content then that helps it determine that it’s worth sending visitors to these pages because their intent will be holistically satisfied and these guys have more subject matter authority.
You should read this guide I published recently that explains how you can leverage Google Search Console for internal linking.
This is again a user experience issue. Poorly formatted content makes the content visually appear bad.
A quick example of poorly formatted content is, clogged up text in paragraphs like having 10-12 lines of content in the paragraph without a single line break.
Seeing accumulated content like that makes users wanna bounce back because they are like, this seems like a lot of work to go through this.
Another example is not having font size guidelines for fonts that are being used.
Like the H1 tag being smaller in size than H2, there is no order of fonts that follow through the page. Like imagine, the main title of the page being shorted than what follows i.e. H2, H3 & H4s.
And likewise, H3 is bigger than H2 and so on.
The formatting of the content needs to be at an utter perfection. Just at first sight user should make up his/her mind that I wanna finish reading this.
Adding embed in an article improved the user experience because essentially you are adding interactive media to the content it will even increase the dwell time of the page.
But! Embeds are pagespeed killers. Your page becomes bulkier in size with every embed that you add to the page.
I am not suggesting that you get rid of embeds altogether.
What I am suggesting is that you use embeds in moderation; use only where its important to use.
For example, don’t use embeds for displaying social media posts. Instead, use a snapshot of those posts and link that image to the location of that post on the platform.
For video, it cannot be helped. You have to add a YouTube video embed so that visitors watch that video on your page. But use that in moderation.
When you are blogging on your business website you have to remember why you are blogging in the first place.
One of the ways blogging helps your business is to get your brand much-needed exposure. Now it wouldn’t help if your brand identity is changing with every blog post, there would not be that brand identity or the brand recall that people visiting your site can resonate with.
Having brand guidelines for your business blog means using a specific kind of font for the respective headlines and paragraphs which should be uniform across all the blog posts, the same goes with the choice of colors.
Think of having brand guidelines for your blog like if a visitor arrives at a blog post from your site and doesn’t see the header, he should still be able to tell what the site is.
Plenty of business websites using free or paid blog themes that just about everyone else is using, now this lets you blend in; if you want to get far then don’t blend in, stand out.
Stand out by putting effort into creating your own blog theme that is unique and representative of your brand image.
Silos essentially means that you play with more subfolder rather than the one and only traditionial blog subfolder.
This is a highly recommended strategy for businesses that are dealing in a broader space rather than a micro or a confined one.
Every distinct Silo creates an authority of its own. This is one of the greatest untapped opportunities for developing topical authority across niches that the business directly serves.
IBM a business website nails at siloing.
IBM has blog content across various micro niches like Analytics, Cloud, Security, Technology, Consulting and more.
They have created silos across these categories and using these silos they serve the content.
Here are the two of their published blog post example to give you a clear picture of what I am trying to say.
One silo they have dedicated to cloud computing and another they have dedicated entirely to AI and each nests a lot of content pertaining specifically to that category.
This is a highly recommended strategy for businesses that serves a broader niche. This strategy will greatly help creating the much needed topical authority and content organization across the site.
Mobile Optimization isn’t just getting a green check on Google Mobile friendly testing that.
I mean that is absolutely important but more than that it’s serving an extraordinary user experience and continuously gauging the user behavior to keep improving it.
We tend to create the landing pages and blog post using our PCs & Laptop and that is the view that we see.
As a result, we make a silly mistake of not factoring in how the UI appears for the mobile visitors.
Though the page is mobile friendly due to the responsive theme that you are using, the UI can still have flaws like having oversized buttons, fonts or having no content in the first fold on the landing page.
The Google Mobile Bot will affect the way it gets ranked if these factors aren’t accounted for.
As a good practice, install Microsoft Clarity and see the recordings of user behavior on the page, see if they are facing any difficulties, see for scroll data.
Here below is a screenshot I pulled from Microsoft Clarity that shows how far people are making it to read the content and this tells me a thing or two about retention.
Using Stock Photos in blog post is one of the most common blogging mistake that business websites make and it is the worst.
There is lot of SERP & Organic Search Opportunity to take if you create your own pictures whether you are designing it or whether you are photographing it.
Because your custom designed or original visual content stands out in image search results amongst the huge pile of stock photos that clutters the web.
And at the point, even your customers know that this is a stock photo.
The glittery stock photos that you are using on your blog post, 20 other competitors are also using because it is easy.
In fact, if you use stock photos the organic keywords that you are gonna see in your Google Search Console Image results will appear quite irrelevant to you. Almost as if someone was looking for reference image on the web.
This is how the image search results of Drift website looks like
These are more likely to be clicked and leading the visitor to the website.
Recommended: Why you shouldn’t use stock photos on Blog
Blogging is a form of content that doesn’t die up and until the point there is search demand for it.
The guide of social media that I wrote back in 2018 still brings me organic traffic.
But it wasn’t a write it → Publish it & forget it kind of a deal.
I kept updating it and I still do so that the guide remains relevant for the now arriving audience.
Businesses & Startups are usually busy with their blog editorial calendar that they usually forget that their old content that was bomb at one time has died out and needs resurrection.
You are missing out on a huge organic opportunity by not reviving your old content that can still pump relevant organic traffic to your website.
Make use of tools like Surfer SEO, Frase and common sense to revamp the content for today’s performance.
You may not believe me but I have come across business blogs that add dofollow outbound link to an external site on an anchor text that they are themselves striving to rank for.
Which to me seems quite ridiculous.
You are confusing the heck out of Google when you do that. Because when you do that Google is like listen buddy, you have an article on this with exact match title tag are you telling me that this external site you have linked deserves more than you to rank? sure let me just do that.
Never do outbound linking in a way that jeopardizes your own SEO efforts.
The Dofollow anchor text acts as a strong signal and can work against you.
Outbound links are definitely important but use them in a right way.
For example, when you are quoting a stat you would want to add link to the stat using anchor text like “According to Statistista” or “Source” these anchors aren’t sabotaging you in any way.
Here is the deal, STATS GETS LINKS! Period.
Want to earn backlinks naturally? If you are business then to some extent you carry the power to open the box of primary data and leverage it for earning natural backlinks.
To add authority to the content people reference stats and when they do, chances are they will mention the source from where they took the said stat.
You don’t need to be a huge multinational corporation to have primary research data at your disposal.
Even as a small business you can either leverage the dataset of your business (requesting data from the sales and functional team and respurposing a content out of it) Or you can conduct a survey via Google Forms and get qualified expert applicants to take part in the survey and repurpose a data-heavy blog post out of it.
Aira recently undertook a link building survey and everyone was talking about it for months, we still do and just imagine the natural links they scored, actually don’t imaging let me do the heavy-lifting for you.
The survey helped them earn backlinks from 1.34K referring domains.
And guess what the sample size was? it was 250.
With proper planning, strategy and preparation its totally pulloffable.
Businesses can either leverage datasets their business already has or they can conduct surveys like these and earn natural backlinks at scale.
Copywriting is all the rage in the modern SEO world where BERT is ruling the SERP and as Google is getting better and better at understanding content & its context.
If your business isn’t leveraging copywriting in blog post then you are missing out on a lot.
Copywriting helps both users i.e. your prospective customers and also Google Bot in determining the quality of your content.
Just look at the tremendous growth for SEO Copywriter worldwide
Copywriting elements are essential keywords, keyphrases, expressions and CTA’s that you add in a blog post that compels the reader to keep reading further and take the action that you want them to take.
Not every blog post is about educating, some blog post ranks for keywords that signifies an intent of purchase or research; for these blog posts copywriting is highly valuable to get what you want.
Copywriting is an art & science of selling with words without coming across as that annoying salesman that everyone wanna run away from.
When you read a lot of business blogs one feels like taking a yawn in the first paragraph and that’s a sign that the element of storytelling is missing from your blog posts.
There is nothing informal or unprofessional about sprinkling storytelling in business blogs.
Think of storytelling as a means to an end, the end being lead generation or direct sales.
With storytelling there is an anchor for the reader to hold on to which will compel him/her to read till end.
He will read because the storytelling hook creates a bond between the reader the blog writer/the business.
The business is empathizing with the customer’s pain-points.
HBR’s piece on storytelling is worth a read if you wanna dig deeper.
Most business websites do not have a blog schema strategy in place.
A scary number of businesses for their blogs seldom rely on blogposting schema that their SEO plugin automates, be in Yoast or RankMath.
Across my audits, I have come across a lot of sites that has How-To articles but wouldn’t leverage How-To schema, has 7-8 questions answered in the blog post but wouldn’t leverage FAQ Schema, has their original business video in article explaining the exact concept but wouldn’t leverage VIdeoObject Schema.
This mistake is costing your organic SERP real-estate that your competitors are claiming.
Create different schema that your blog posts can leverage. It is very important you do that.
In the age where Google is answering most searches via knowledge panels it is very important that businesses leverage the search features that they can grab on.