Blogging has continually evolved since it became a teen fad over a decade ago. Businesses started paying attention to blogs a few years later and you started to see a few business blogs pop up. Fast forward to today, blogs have evolved to become an essential marketing tool for companies of any size in just about any market.
With this continual evolution in blogging, where will it be in a year?
Like many other online forms of content, blogging has had to change with the times. And two areas that are driving these changes are the expectations of the people reading the blog, and the expectations of the search engine bots scanning it.
What Readers Expect
Let’s take the reader angle first.
In the past 10 to 15 years, people have made a complete 180-degree turn when it comes to how they interact with businesses. They have come to realize that they are the ones in control when it comes to businesses and marketing. If they want to buy a product, they don’t just run down to the local mall and find a store that offers it. They can go online and find many stores that offer it. They can compare prices, see reviews, and make informed choices. Sure, they may choose the store at their local mall, but that is no longer their only option.
This change in attitude has greatly affected how companies market to customers. They have had to make their online presence attractive to their target audience. You can see part of this change in their blogs. Instead of using a blog as a showcase for products or innovations, they are using blogs as a way to inform and educate customers. When a customer needs to solve a problem, they can read the blog and get the information they want. This makes them more likely to become a customer.
In the coming year, informative and educational content is going to become even more important to business blogging, which fittingly leads me to my next point: the expectations of search engine bots.
What Search Engines Expect
In September 2013, Google announced Hummingbird, a major update to how the company’s search engine determined rankings. The biggest part of this change was the introduction of semantic searching. Instead of just blindly searching for keywords, the search engine is trying to understand what the user is asking for and to deliver content best suited to that inquiry. Google’s goal is to provide more relevant content to search engine users.
Your blog content needs to provide high-quality and relevant information that your target audience wants to know. When the search engine bots come calling, they look for content that is organic, natural, and that offers quality content, not fluff. Adding informative and educational to that mix only enhances how the search engine bots view the content.
Another way the bots judge the quality of content is by who wrote it. If you write anonymously in your blog, your rankings are going to suffer. Linking your content to your profile on Google+ is essential for claiming authorship over content. When you build a portfolio of related content linked to your profile, the search engine will give it higher rankings because of the ability to verify authorship.
By the end of 2014, blogging is going to have undergone another layer of evolution. Instead of worrying about keyword counts and the number of posts you make, your goals this year should be creating high-quality, informative, educational content that your visitors and the search engine bots will love. And you need to put your name on it.
What do you think? Do you agree with where I think blogging is heading? Leave your comments, opinions, or thoughts below!