How to get more out of your blog content

How to get more out of your blog content.png

One of the most frustrating things about writing a long piece of content is feeling like only a few people saw it and hours of your time writing had almost no impact.

There are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to blog content that will help you feel like it was well worth the time invested. It’s as simple as making sure that nobody (including you!) thinks of your blog post as a “one and done” piece of content.

1)   SEO juice

Quality content on your website will help you rank higher in search engines (otherwise known as search engine optimization or SEO). Even if you just think of SEO as being there to help you rank higher in search - that alone is still not a bad reason to create good content for your website (some businesses get most of their leads through search!).

Every time you create new content, your website is crawled by the search engine bots. So, when you create new blogs posts, make sure you’re using the kinds of words you want to be found for. You should also keep your blog posts to a minimum of 300-500 words for them to be considered quality, and whenever possible, link to other pieces of your content within your site and try to get other people to link to your content from their web sites.

2)   You’re giving people a reason to visit

Without new blog posts, there isn’t much of a reason for people to keep coming back to your website. How many times can you promote your ‘About’ and ‘Sales’ pages and expect people to take the time to come and visit again?

By consistently creating new content that you know is of interest to your audience, you have an opportunity to entice them to return and make them feel like they’re getting value out of what they’re reading.

Once you have posted new content, make sure you tell your audience you created the content. Post it on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and on Pinterest. Also send an email to your mailing list letting them know you created the new content.

If you don’t tell people you created new content, they won’t know to go and look – so, promote, promote, promote!

I once heard you should spend as much time promoting a post as you spend writing it, if not more. Keeping that in mind will help you figure out just how much effort you have to put into getting people to see it for you to feel like it was worth writing.

A few other tips for promoting:

  • Share it multiple times – on Twitter you can share it 5-6 times over 48 hours easily. On Facebook you can share it again 24-48 hours later.

  • If you’re worried about seeming repetitive, use ICYMI. It stands for “In case you missed it” and recognizes you’ve posted it before, but that you know not everyone will have seen it.

This next piece is really critical:

3)   Don’t forget about it.

Once you’ve promoted the content, plan to share it again over time. Not all of your content may be evergreen, but if it is it, plan to share it again in two weeks, six weeks and nine weeks later. You may even want to schedule it to share again in those time frames while you’re posting it the first time. It will save you time and make sure you don’t forget to keep re-sharing it.

4)   Reuse pieces

Don’t think of your blog post as just a blog post. Take pieces of it and do different things with it.

Reuse it as a script for a short video, take quotes out and share as tips on Twitter or create visuals and share on Instagram. 

Creating great content can be time consuming, but if you make that time well worth the investment then you will see results - results that make it easier to keep doing. By making sure the content is being properly promoted and shared on a regular basis, you’re going to see far more results with one piece of content than you did before.

Spend some time thinking about the content you’ve written in the past – how can you apply these things to it now?

The low-down on anchor text and referencing other people's content

Remember the days when you had to format footnotes and endnotes and a bibliography at school? The thought of it makes me shudder. Writing for the web allows me to reference sources in a much cleaner, user-friendly way - no card catalogue and page-flipping required.

When you’re writing a blog post, linking to supporting content is a must (your own and others), particularly if you want to work at establishing your expertise. Showing that you are an expert doesn’t mean linking exclusively to your own content. In fact, I’ve seen “experts” that do this and won’t link to them. A true expert is open to learning from others and they don’t shy away from showing it.

There are a few things you’ll want to consider when linking to supporting content or reference material for your web audience. While there’s absolutely nothing wrong with using more formal endnotes, footnotes, MLA or APA citations in your content, these methods of referencing material aren’t widely used on the Internet.

Thoughts flow seemlessly with good anchor text

Image Source: stock.xchngAnchor text is the text you select to link to within a post. The anchor part refers to coding a link in HTML because the HTML tag for creating links - <a></a> - are called anchor tags. 

In this article on anchor text, Moz writes:

Link relevancy is determined by both the content of the source page and the content of the anchor text. It is a natural phenomenon that occurs when people link out to other content on the web.

The text you select for your anchor matters:

Natural anchor text is not stuffed with keywords, but is instead useful for the reader while accurately describing what the text links to.

If you want a full tutorial without some of the more complex SEO principles, you might find this anchor text tutorial useful. Or just keep reading blogs and take note of how links are set up and what text the writer uses. It’s not hard to get a feel for what anchor text makes sense.

How to create links in your text

Different platforms have different interfaces, but this list of tutorials for some of the more common website platforms should give you a good idea of how to create a link even if your platform isn’t listed here.

If you’re really struggling, do a Google search for “how to add a hyperlink to <insert your platform name>”.

Or if you’re really adventurous, here’s the code (please note: all links past this point are fake):

It’s easy to add links manually to <a href=””>the text you want to link to</a>.

Don’t you think this:

It’s easy to add links manually to the text you want to link to.

Looks better than this:

Just make sure your code (all the bits inside of the <>) is all lowercase.

Do you think this will help you choose more strategically when you need to link to other articles on the Internet? 

Making a case for Google+

For many small business owners, staying on top of social media can be challenging at times so the thought of adding one more social network to the mix may seem like a daunting task. However, the benefits of having a Google+ business page and community may outweigh the drawbacks of having to set one up (which really isn’t that hard anyway).

Google+ is owned by Google, so what happens on G+ can actually impact your standing in search engine ranking and improve your search engine optimization (SEO). The reason for this is that Google gives a great deal of weight to the social behaviors and recommendations from your connections on Google+, especially at the local level.  In fact, Google treats Google+ pages as regular sites. You can check this out yourself by doing a search and see what pages come up. Often, information from G+ pages is ranked higher than other, non-Google sites.

As a small business, having a Google+ Business page and working to increase your connections (circles), by sharing reviews, posting YouTube video, images and posts, you can actually increase your visibility in search results. Another bonus is that by analyzing those in your circles, Google will be able gather more and more targeted information about what your customers are looking for. Google will incorporate recommended and shared sites from people you are connected to on G+, which can go a long way in ensuring that their friends and circles will be more likely to find your business in a search.

For your customer, this is a good thing. It means that they may actually be presented with search results that not only are they more interested in but with endorsements from trusted friends and colleagues who have vouched for the business/product/place etc. 

Let’s look at it this way.  Say you do a search for the best local restaurant.  In your search results, you see that your friend has shared a great review of the restaurant and vouches for the restaurant’s cleanliness. Can you think of better validation than the endorsement from a trusted friend? 

By creating a page and reaching out to other G+ pages to increase visibility and connections, you will not only help establish yourself in the local community where you do business but you can engage with other, complementary businesses to become a local referral source. Using reviews, +1’s and discussions on group pages, you will be able to continue to build your community, and your brand.

So, what are you waiting for? Go claim your spot on Google+! We’d love to connect with you. We could even Hangout!

To follow or "nofollow": How to handle paid links

Last week, I (Karen) posted a link on Facebook about nofollow links and the dangers of not using them. It generated a great deal of confusion and many excellent questions. So, I started doing some additional research into this issue (and indeed it is a hotly debated topic). What I found was that the supporting links in the post I shared were only telling part of the story. 


I started with Wikipedia:

nofollow is a value that can be assigned to the rel attribute of an HTML a element to instruct some search engines that a hyperlink should not influence the link target’s ranking in the search engine’s index. It is intended to reduce the effectiveness of certain types of search engine spam, thereby improving the quality of search engine results and preventing spamdexing from occurring.

The original purpose of the rel=”nofollow” attribute was to prevent comment spam. It didn’t (and doesn’t) work perfectly to solve the original issue and there are a host of issues with the attribute - read more about the issues here

In 2005, Matt Cutts wrote about Google’s stance on paid links, suggesting that using the nofollow attribute would give search bots the heads up that a link was paid (or not recommended):

But for everyone else, let me talk about why we consider it outside our guidelines to get PageRank via buying links. Google (and pretty much every other major search engine) uses hyperlinks to help determine reputation. Links are usually editorial votes given by choice, and link-based analysis has greatly improved the quality of web search. Selling links muddies the quality of link-based reputation and makes it harder for many search engines (not just Google) to return relevant results. 

So, for 7 years, there has been an ongoing and lengthy debate about whether or not to use nofollow and why. This particular quote [emphasis mine] is probably one that would be considered extremely controversial:

But not everyone agrees it’s up to webmasters to help Google figure out how to rank websites. Romanian search blogger Ionut Alex. Chitu told me that webmasters should put paid links on a separated place on the website, and label them in such a way that users don’t think the webmaster is affiliated with them. Other than that, Ionut argues, “Search engines should be smart enough to detect navigation areas, unrelated links or spam.” When asked on whether he thinks webmasters should use the “nofollow” value, Ionut says, “No, they shouldn’t. Unless they care a lot about search engines. Ideally, webmasters should act as if search engines don’t exist.”

It would be interesting to know what that blogger’s views are five years later.


The nofollow attribute is not exclusively a signal to indicate a paid link. It’s also a flag that a link is not being endorsed by the site hosting the link. Why? Nofollow links receive no SEO benefit. That can be a reason to use them if you have a difference of opinion with the site you’re linking to for any reason.

Not All Search Engines are Equal

I’m not referring to market share. I’m talking about how they treat the nofollow attribute. Here’s a breakdown, courtesy of the Wikipedia article:

rel=”nofollow” ActionGoogleYahoo!
Uses the link for ranking No No No ?
Follows the link Yes Yes ? No
Indexes the “linked to” page No Yes No No
Shows the existence of the link Only previously indexed pages Yes Yes Yes
In results pages for anchor text Only previously indexed pages Yes Only previously indexed pages Yes

My Conclusion

Originally, my advice was to nofollow any paid link. My view on this has changed, despite the threat of negative action from Google, which appears to be minimal from what I’ve seen so far.

Whether to use the rel=”nofollow” attribute is a grey area. I know of many bloggers who will add any advertiser to their blog to generate revenue. I know of just as many who carefully vet the advertisers they promote for the express purpose of endorsing their business. 

My personal practice going forward will be to use follow/nofollow as an endorsement method. If I want to endorse even a paid advertiser, I will not use the nofollow attribute. For links to sites I don’t endorse, I’ll determine if it’s appropriate to add nofollow to the link or not. 

Do you understand the nofollow attribute better now? Do you need to know more to decide how you’ll decide to use (or not use) it?