Is it better for SEO to have your blog onsite or offsite?
Today’s Ask an SEO question comes from Sophia in Australia, who asks:
“Is it better to run a blog that links to your company’s website for SEO, or to already have articles on your website with the same information you would write in a blog?”
Sophie, that’s a great question. From a pure SEO perspective, it’s best to have the blog on your website in a subdirectory.
That’s not to say there aren’t valid reasons to keep the blog separate, though.
For example, sometimes it is easier to create a blog on one of the many blogging platforms than on the main website CMS. Having the separate blog can 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’re all business-oriented.
So why is it better for SEO to keep the blog on the main site? Here are some reasons.
1. It links to your main website
Backlinks are always important when it comes to ranking pages in search results because links are one of many ranking factors.
If you’ve spent time building links, you know it’s 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 summaries, case studies, and other long-form content (read 11 Ways to Build Links Through Content Marketing for more ideas).
This type of content naturally attracts links because people like to link to high-quality, value-driven content.
2. Having your blog on site supports internal linking
Internal linking, meaning you use anchor text that links to internal pages of your website, can have great benefits.
To go back to my first reason why a blog should be on your main website: when you start attracting links to your blog posts, those posts start to build their authority or equity.
When you link from these blog posts to other pages on your website, you are sharing that equity.
Essentially, you are strengthening those other pages from an SEO perspective, which means they can perform better in search.
There is also a non-SEO benefit of internal linking from blog posts, which is that you can drive visitors down the path to conversion.
One of my clients is an e-commerce business. Their blog has become one of the main sources of organic traffic because their audience tends to seek out information-rich content, such as how-to guides.
While we keep blog posts informative, we embed internal links to product pages to encourage visitors to click and buy.
As a result, the blog has become a high earner, which we monitor and track using a custom report in Google Analytics.
3. It increases your chances of ranking for more keywords
Blog posts are a perfect opportunity to research long-tail, information-driven keywords.
Let’s say I have an e-commerce website that sells Bluetooth headphones. I already tackle keywords that have “purchase” intent with my product pages.
But what about all the longer questions and phrases associated with Bluetooth headphones that have a “know” intent, meaning people are just looking for information and may not be ready to buy?
These will be harder to rank on my product pages. This is where a blog on my website can really help.
I could write a blog post answering the question “What are the best Bluetooth headphones?” »
If you look at the search results for this 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 maintained a separate blog from my website, I could still answer the same question, but I wouldn’t keep people on my main site where they could buy 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 get familiar with your website, its navigation, and the overall vibe of your brand experience. Encouraging visitors to return to your blog by posting regularly will build trust and hopefully lead to purchases or further conversions.
When deciding to incorporate a blog into the main website rather than a separate site or subdomain, keep these reasons in mind.
As I wrote earlier, there can always be perfectly valid reasons to use an external blogging platform. Roger Montti explores some of them in Should you post content on a corporate blog or on Medium.com? if you want to dig a little deeper.
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