I’ve been a blogger for over eight years and in that time I’ve seen a huge change in the way that blogs are handled by Google. It used to be that a new blog post had a lot of weight and I could see my search rankings soar with a proper use of headlines and keywords. Over the past two iterations of Google updates (Panda and Penguin) my blog traffic has dropped significantly and new posts hardly cause a blip in my SEO radar.
With almost 900 posts on my blog, I get an interesting search mix. I have a few articles that draw moderate traffic, but the rest are very minor with a few hits/day. I haven’t had anything break out since Panda, even though I have optimized most of the posts thoroughly. I’ve experimented with different title formats, keyword optimization, and different SEO tools on my blog, but nothing has worked.
Last year I connected my WordPress site to my Google+ account. This now gives me authority as an author and includes my Gravitar picture on Google search results.
What is even stranger still, is that with 900 posts that include my name, connected to my G+ author account, I don’t rate at all on Google for John Richardson. You can find me on Google with keywords like goal setting toolkit, note taking template, or macbook trackpad problems, but try to locate me by name and you might find a link, five or six pages down. I realize I have a common first and last name, but I’m not anywhere in the picture.
So here is my takeaway…
Blogging used to be a good thing for web traffic and SEO. Now it seems to have been downlisted by Google. It seems like the more I post, the more diluted my results are. Even though I have more content, and update often, my overall traffic is staying the same or dropping over time.
So as a business person, should you create a blog… or something else?
Jeff tested the effects of creating single niche sites, with valuable content, built around Google+ accounts. He found that Google+ added authority and helped the sites rank very fast.
My Take: With the latest Google updates, the search engine giant seems to be tweaking their algorithm towards sites with authority, built around a single niche. What this means is you’ll need to create a Google+ profile for yourself and create a website where you can highlight at least 5 to 10 In-Depth Articles about that particular niche built around selected keywords.
My Thesis: A single web site, full of rich content, connected to an established Google+ profile should give you authority on the subject, without diluting your content with extraneous subject matter, and should rank well in the Google Search Results.
My Test: Like Jeff, I want to test this theory out. I have a website in mind and a niche I want to experiment with. Over the next few months, I want to write the content, launch the authority site, and test the effects of Google+ and author authority. I also want to test this with external Google+ links from other authorities in the niche. I’ll do a complete report on this when I’m done.
What Should a Business Do? Building a single niche blog will probably be OK, a multi niche blog like mine might be a detriment. Google’s Matt Cutts put it this way… “Make sure to write high quality content, content at the level of published books or in popular magazines.” Since Google wants high quality content, it makes sense to focus on In-Depth Articles when building your website. Focusing on a single niche and providing updates to your G+ account will help build your authority.
My Question: If you have a blog, how has your traffic fared over the past year?