Blogging was never a mainstream job till 2005. Blogs were definitely part of blogosphere since its beginning but its importance was revealed in late 2000. Today, everyone reads blog, be it related to traditional news information, niche-based blogs, to learn something new or purely for entertainment, everyone of us has at least one blog to follow.
Today, the market is crowded with abundant information, thousands of bloggers sharing important or not-so-important information from the corner of the world daily. From grabbing likes on social media or increasing search engine results, blogging which was an affair to share personal or informative stories has now turned into a business.
The boom in the blogging world or ‘blogosphere’ came in past five years, which made Google an important part of every research or solving problems.
Did You Know- The first blog was created by Justin Hall called Links.net but at that time it wasn’t a blog, it was just referred as personal homepage.
How & Why Blogging commercialized today? Find your answer-
It was in late 1999, when different blogging platforms came up. LiveJournal and Blogger are one of the few and most recognizable till now. Bloggers contributed to bring blogging to the mainstream world. The 2000 saw growth of blogs and till 2006 there were around 50 million blogs.
Since blogging started growing, it was time for bloggers to actually make use of it and earn profit. With WordPress coming into the picture, the actual commercialization took place. It was after bloggers like John Cow and Darren Rowse who earned his living through sharing their blogging wisdom with followers.
Blogging opened new ways of making money; it was through selling e-books, placing ads, monthly subscription, affiliate marketing and the recent online store trend. By the end of 2010, internet grew with more than 152 million blogs on vivid niche.
When Blogging Started: The Birth of SEO
With rapid increase of blogs and heavy amount of competition, it was time to use internet cheat code to rank higher. Google’s first result-based search engine was the best thing but simple ranking algorithms provided opportunity for coders to take advantage of it.
In the beginning, SEO was not used as a marketing tool, it was just a cheat code to gain rank. It was about adopting few techniques to enhance website search artificially but not in a way Google wanted. Cheaters did everything to get them at the top of the SERPs. If Google rank particular keyword, they kept repeating that keyword multiple times on the blog.
At that time, blogging was no longer only a personal diary or informative journal, Google only showed repetitive content. Blogging was turned into baseless content junk which readers didn’t appreciate much.
But before they could earn dime from this tactic, Google caught on the on-going manipulative practices, and implemented new codes and algorithms update time and again to fight back. Around 2003, Google started putting out regular updates of new and more complex features for ranking in the search engine (such as good links, white hat techniques and quality content), and started pulling new tools to penalize sites believed to be unethical (repeating keywords or duplicate content).
Blogging Practices: Then vs. Now
From personal journal to money-making entity, blogging has come long way. What has changed in blogging so far?
- Google stopped loving blogs that churns out content only for building links. There were times, when bloggers posted five or six posts daily on general topics just to make more links. But Google Panda & Penguin took care of that. Bloggers who relied on roundups, guest blogging, swapping links and other strategies to gain links were penalized. All these equation was removed and blog is left with natural links that Google appreciate.
- Since there was more of link sharing instead of useful content, Google Panda and Penguin changed the way we look at blogging. Google ended duplicate content or article spinning with stricter penalty. All bloggers was writing content to generate links and get higher ranks. These two algorithms changed game for many bloggers.
- Niche is crucial. 10 years back, one particular category has restricted numbers of blogs. However today, you can find 100 of blogs on one specific niche. The blogger’s population has increased hastily and making your mark in the crowd is a tough job. Today the market is wide and audience wider.
- Email marketing is a new way to drive traffic. ‘Sign up for newsletter is the new trend’ and we all are familiar to this one. Bloggers provides hints of their upcoming article, share useful information or generally create an interactive platform, email helps you reach to the real-world audience. You build your email traffic back then, bloggers didn’t had chance to create big hype on email system.
- There are new ways of earning money apart from affiliate or advertising. Free e-books are in demand; you can follow this bandwagon too. Bloggers nowadays shares important tips, unheard information and experienced stuffs, all in a book.
- As time changed and new sites came in the blogosphere, users switched their preference. With social media sites like Twitter, Facebook and Google+ gaining success, this blogging era is about sharing your content with online people. Now, blogging is not limited to content-cum-information journal, it’s a tool to build online brand.
Debate: SEO is King vs. Content is King
Imagine your blog is loaded with good bunch of ‘quality’ articles but you fall short of ‘quality readers,’ don’t you need to implement some good techniques to climb the ladder? Content and SEO goes side by side and it is evident today as well. After Bill Gates article on “Content is King” in 1996, the debate whether who rule the search engine is still abuzz.
Recent article from Darren Rowse added twist to the entire debate. According to him, Content isn’t king, usefulness of your blog is the key. Well, you may or may not agree to this, but he made valid points that will make you ponder.
For beginning 10 years, Blogging was definitely the real king while content caught its richness after it, therefore Content was King and then everybody was moving for community and soon experts chanted ‘Community is King.’
According to him, we missed the core concept which led to this transition-it was usefulness that grabbed attention. Facebook and Twitter did influence major netizens and it won’t be wrong to say that there’s a new king every day.
He portrayed his side brilliantly with this explanation-
“Creating content is just one way of being useful.
Building community is another.
Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn and G+ are just ways of delivering usefulness.
Infographics, videos, podcasts and even blogging… all just different mediums for being useful.”
Is SEO Dying?
Looking at Google’s algorithms history, it’s tough for SEO experts to achieve desire result. And it’s no surprise why people speculated dead end for SEO in near future. With easy stuffing and spamming, SEO techniques have gone complex and Google is not in mood to slow down.
New elements are added to increase search engine quality and these ranking-factors are stricter too. And let’s not forget that every niche is jam-packed with competitors and chances for a new site to rank are probably impossible.
Due to complex Google’s algorithm, experts may find it tough to build strategy to take advantage of it. For some, it means complete eradication of ‘cheat code’ used previously and hence the death of SEO. But few marketers do believe that SEO can never die, it’s a long-time procedure: it’s just another step to SEO evolution. And SEO will continue to evolve and strategy will change but will never die. Undoubtedly, SEO will become more complicated and cheat code style will be tougher. But as Google strict its algorithms, SEO will take shape eventually.
As you improve your SEO strategy, there will be new opportunity to influence the search engine. But instead of you focusing more on Google’s factors, concentrate more on better user experience.
The Future of Blogging
Since blogging evolution took place, blogs were the only source of communication & information online. But things are gradually changing as new methods of sharing knowledge has launched. Blogs only become one portion of online persona.
Podcasts, info graphics and Vlogs have taken bigger space in the blogosphere, with bloggers opting for social networking sites for their primary multimedia content. New online services like Posterous and Tumblr are growing rapidly.
Site like Quora coming in to the market, blogging might shrink in popularity because more people are shifting their focus on other sites to gain information. Quora also do help bloggers to find their audience and users get more insight on specific topic from whole range of blogs.
Hence, we might not see downtime for blogging anytime soon. But there’s always room for more innovation and growth in manner how content is structured, delivered, and accessed.