5 easy ways to fix an underperforming blog
Updated: Jan 27, 2021
So you’ve got a blogging strategy going, high on the promise of magnificent SEO performance and a surge in lead generation – but what if the results aren’t coming through? Don’t panic, there are a few simple steps you can take to get back on track and make sure that your content is compelling and credible. Here are five easy ways to fix an underperforming blog...
1. Make sure Google is indexing your blog posts
The first thing to check is whether or not Google is indexing your blog posts. In other words, can they be found via the search engine? If your response to that is ‘Eh?’ then you probably need to go and check (or ask a digitally savvy colleague), as this could be at the root of your problem.
You may have assumed that once your blog content goes live, Google will be all over it. Not necessarily so. There’s a chance that Google hasn’t even found and crawled some, or all, of your blog posts. No crawling, no indexing – which means that your blog content is very unlike to be discovered organically through non-branded searches. Organic search traffic is really important for growing your site’s authority.
Luckily, there’s a simple way to check if your blogs are in the Google wilderness by taking a look at your website’s performance in Google Search Console. Within the Coverage tab, you’ll be able to see how many pages it lists as ‘valid’ (crawled and indexed) or ‘excluded’ (not indexed). You can then click through for a list of excluded pages and drill down into whether anything specific is causing the issue. From here, you can put right any problems and request to have the pages recrawled. Recrawl requests aren’t guaranteed to be fulfilled and may take several weeks or longer, but at least you’ll be able to keep checking back and find out if the issue’s resolved.
2. Keep it regular
If your publishing schedule is all over the place, Google will treat you like an unreliable friend – it won’t take you seriously. So keep your posts regular and frequent, and make sure that you update older posts to keep them fresh. Publishing fresh content weekly is an excellent idea if you’re taking inbound marketing seriously – think about whether you need to develop a more comprehensive content strategy if you’re struggling for fresh ideas. Be honest about whether your content is actually answering your target audience’s pain points. If the answer’s no and you have some spare budget, jump on it now (this is our number 1 suggestion for using up spare marketing budget before year-end).
3. Link your content
Google likes content that sits in a cohesive mass, which means making sure that blog posts contain internal and external links. Connect each blog post to other relevant content on your site, and include links to authoritative content on other sites to increase performance (interesting research that backs up your point, for instance). Depending on what content management system (CMS) you’re using, it may even remind you to make sure you’ve got both internal and external links as you set up a new blog post ready to publish.
4. Topic clusters and pillar pages
Google likes content that sits in a cohesive mass – it’s easier to crawl and make sense of. Think about creating topic clusters linked to a central pillar page for each topic. Picture each topic as a bicycle wheel with a hub and spokes – the pillar page is the hub, and you can keep adding more spokes (blogs!) to strengthen it.
The key here is to link to each blog within a topic cluster from the pillar page and vice versa, as well as linking between blogs. This has the added benefit of making it easier for readers to explore a topic further because you’ve done the hard work for them in directing them to extra appropriate content via each blog post. The goal is to avoid random ‘floating’ content that has no connection to anything else.
5. Optimise existing blog content
Often, lots of different people are involved in producing blog content, which makes quality control all the more critical. Take the time to check whether or not each blog post was optimised for SEO first time round. Look at the following and finetune your content so that it makes the grade:
• Content is well written and mistake-free
• Content sounds natural
• Blog posts are well structured with headings and subheadings for readability (this is where heading tags come in)
• Blog titles aren’t overly long and contain your keyword. Aim for 55 characters or less.
• The meta description accurately describes the blog’s content and includes a call to action so that the reader knows what to do next.
• Images include alt-text (if there are no images, add some! Google loves relevant multimedia content, so while you’re there, can you add an infographic, some audio or a video?)
If you found this advice useful and you need some help with evolving your content strategy or optimising your blog, why not get in touch? We’re always happy to talk!