Today’s Ask an SEO question comes from Sophia in Australia, who asks:
“Is it better to run a blog that links back to your company website for SEO, or have articles already on your website that contain the same information you would write in a blog?”
Sophia, this is a great question. From a pure SEO perspective, having the blog on your website in a subdirectory is preferred.
That’s not to say that there aren’t some valid reasons for keeping the blog separate, though.
For example, sometimes it is easier to set up a blog on one of the many blogging platforms versus the main website’s CMS. Having the blog separate might also give you more flexibility in the topics you cover and the tone and voice used.
However, as you noticed, these are not SEO reasons to keep the blog separate. Instead, they are all business-focused.
So, why is it better for SEO to keep the blog on the main site? Here are a few reasons.
1. It Builds Links To Your Main Website
Backlinks still matter when it comes to getting pages ranked in search results because links are one of the many ranking factors.
If you’ve spent any time building links, you know that it is not an easy process. However, content has been – and continues to be – one of the best ways to attract links to a website.
You can use your blog to post how-to guides, interviews, expert roundups, case studies, and other long-form content (read 11 Ways to Build Links Through Content Marketing for more ideas).
This type of content attracts links naturally because people like to link to high-quality and value-driven content.
2. Having Your Blog On-Site Supports Internal Linking
Internal linking – meaning you are using anchor text that links to the internal pages of your website – can have big benefits.
To piggyback on my first reason why a blog should be on your main website: When you start attracting links to your blog posts, those posts begin to build up authority or equity.
When you link from those blog posts to other pages within your website, you are sharing that equity.
In essence, you are making those other pages stronger from an SEO perspective, meaning they may perform better in search.
There is also a non-SEO benefit of internal linking from blog posts, and that is that you can lead visitors on a path to conversion.
One of my clients is an ecommerce company. Their blog has become one of the leading sources of organic traffic because their audience tends to search for information-rich content, such as how-to guides.
While we keep the blog posts informational, we embed internal links to product pages to encourage visitors to click through and purchase.
As a result, the blog has become a high source of revenue, which we monitor and track using a custom report in Google Analytics.
3. It Increases Your Opportunities To Rank For More Keywords
Blog posts are a perfect opportunity to go after long-tail and information-focused keywords.
Let’s say I have an ecommerce website that sells Bluetooth earbuds. I’m already going after the keywords that have a “buy” intent with my product pages.
But what about all of the questions and longer phrases associated with Bluetooth earbuds that have a “know” intent, meaning people are simply looking for information and may not be ready to buy?
Those will be harder to get ranked on my product pages. That’s where a blog on my website can really help.
I might write a blog post answering the question, “What are the best Bluetooth earbuds?”
If you look at the search results for that question, the majority are articles. Therefore, to compete for this question, I would write an informative blog post answering the question with internal links to my product pages.
If I was maintaining a separate blog from my website, I could still go after the same question but I wouldn’t be keeping people on my main site where they could purchase my products.
4. Your On-Site Blog Builds Trust and Community
Finally, having a blog as part of your main website builds trust and community. This isn’t necessarily an SEO benefit, but it does lead to engagement and repeat visitors.
You want people to become familiar with your website, its navigation, and the overall feel of your brand experience. Encouraging visitors to come back to your blog by posting regularly will boost trust and hopefully lead to purchases or other conversions.
When deciding whether to incorporate a blog on the main website versus a separate site or subdomain, keep these reasons in mind.
As I wrote earlier on, there may still be perfectly valid reasons for using an external blogging platform. Roger Montti explores some of those in Should You Publish Content on a Company Blog or Medium.com? if you’d like to dig in a bit more.
Best of luck!
Featured Image: Aniwhite/Shutterstock