Is it better to blog on your website or off-site and direct links back?
Google has certainly given us a run for our money over the last few years as SEO professionals scramble to keep up with the latest algorithm shifts and changes. First it was link building then its quality link building then it’s content link building then its content marketing then it’s content blogging etc. etc. etc.… It goes on and on and we are constantly trying to figure out what’s best for our clients and still stay legitimate and above board with all of our tactics and strategies. So is it more important to blog on your website and keep all the information there or should you blog off-site with valuable and relevant links back to the website?
The challenge, I feel, is that we have to do a combination of both, and do them both well. We can’t just blog somewhere for the sake of having content off in la la land and hope that Google will pick up this random link that has nothing to do with the content and bring it back to the website. Many of these links will be deemed irrelevant and therefore won’t be counted anyway so what’s the point?
The challenge for website developers and webmasters is to create relevant content that’s unique in that someone will actually search for not only on the website but off-site as well. Because I do this for a lot of different websites I maintain and aim to keep the quality of the content that I put out at its highest. Taking the same information and spinning it 10 different ways, putting 10 different links back to my customers in each post does nothing for them and it’s a waste of my time and can actually penalize their sites.
Creating quality content that someone will actually want to read with a link that they would possibly click on is what Google’s really after.
Another challenge comes with clients that have websites that are not conducive to blogging. WordPress sites are very easy to add more content and relevant information on a consistent basis but there are many websites where I need to contact the Webmaster, have them add the information, alter the metadata etc. can be such a hassle that adding on-site content becomes more of a painful chore than a beneficial activity done every few days or every couple weeks. In this case I need to put quality links that are not necessarily keyword anchor text links into my content with deep linking into their website. Anyone can link to the homepage but not everyone is going to link to internal pages. Google may find some value in linking to internal pages that have relevance to what I’m talking about in whatever blog post I write wherever that may be. If I’m writing an article about moving and relocation I’m going to link to my client’s moving and packing resource page etc. There has to be some sort of common ground with what I’m talking about and what I’m linking to. A few resources at the end of a post may not work anymore and blog comments are not always ‘do follow’. It’s those in-content links that are hard to get unless you’re doing them yourself or blogging for someone else.
For example: one of the best ways to get a link back to your website in quality content is to write that content yourself and then ask a colleague or peer if you can post your information on their website. You’ll want to make sure that the content on their website meets the standards that you would want on your own website before you agree to put your content and your link on their site. Joe Haden who is a Realtor in Louisville Kentucky blogs every day on selling real estate, buying real estate, local events, activities and venues, and all sorts of information about Louisville Kentucky but he also puts links to valuable resources such as the venue for the activity is going to take place, other blogs that may have more information, and community and city resources. He has a great platform to blog on site but he may not be able to get a lot of off-site link back unless he’s putting himself out there and either blogging on someone else’s platform, posting blog comments, or have multiple blogs where he can link back to himself.
Is it smart to have multiple blogs linking back to yourself?
So this brings up the question; is it okay to open several different blogging platforms with the sole intent of linking back to your website? I think this is okay to a point and I say the word “think” carefully because there’s very little evidence that this works for or against us at this point. Google does see where the different IP addresses are coming from and if you do everything from one computer in one spot Google may think that you’re working in a bubble and really trying to game the system. This is why guest blogging works so well. You can have a variety of IP addresses with multiple links coming into your site from a variety of places.
This is not to say that these types of blogs are worthless. Having and off-site blog that focuses on staging a home or landscaping might be beneficial and gains certain leads from that blog versus your main website. If you have a connection with a mortgage broker you may have them blog on the mortgage and finance website while you blog linking back to them about real estate. You’re basically creating an actual web of connections all across the Internet through social media, blog posts and links allowing your website to carry more weight across the Internet. Not only do you simply want to blog on your website but offer blog posts of valuable content to related websites and then promote that. Google wants to see that you can promote not only your own website but other websites as well and they will find value in that as a whole.
So all this being said which is the better way to go? I feel it’s a balance between the two and yes, it is a challenge to keep up and to simply find the time and the resources to blog different places. But it certainly can be well worth your while if you take the time to write unique and valuable content not only for your site but for others as well.