Where Does Your Content Belong – Your Site or Others? (Part 1)
In the past few weeks, I’ve participated in an informative dialogue with some other pros in the search engine optimization (SEO) game. The subject under debate has been the proper place for your site’s promotional content. Does it belong on your own site, or should you send it out into the wilds of the internet?
Is the answer immediately obvious to you? It was to a lot of my colleagues. By a slight majority, I think, the most popular opinion on this subject is that your best content belongs on your own site.
But the dissenting voices in our dialogue raised a lot of excellent points. There are some surprisingly strong arguments in favor of producing premium content for sites other than your own. Webmasters who are operating on a shoestring, without the funds available for a full-time writing staff, like the idea of soliciting guest bloggers. And to match them, a lot of hungry bloggers are looking to publicize themselves and score some quality links by writing for sites owned by other people. Some webmasters look for seasoned writers to contribute content so that their site gets a little credibility boost.
In point of fact, I myself tend to come down on the “send your content out into the world” side of the fence. It’s not that I don’t see the value of posting great content to your own site – that’s really not arguable. But I like the idea of all the extra benefits my content can unlock when I place it on other sites. It scares me more traffic and creates new leads that I might be able to turn into clients.
I’m thoroughly comfortable with placing my content on someone else’s site. I’m an advocate for this strategy for the best possible reason: It works for me.
My Search Engine Land column generates a steady supply of leads on its own. It also gets me a fair amount of online exposure, interviews, roundups, and guest posts.
To tell the honest truth, my rankings have fallen off considerably from where they used to be. Want to know the surprising thing? I haven’t had a corresponding dip in inbound traffic. Admittedly, my traffic is a lot more up-and-down. I get a lot more attention when I publish and a lot less when I haven’t. The average is about the same, though. And the flow of leads has done more than hold steady; I’m actually getting more than I used to.
This is a big advantage worth considering: The way I publish content now, I’d still be generating traffic and leads even if my site went “poof.” The amount would probably fall off, though. Right now I still get 30 percent of my traffic via organic search results. Referrals come in third.
What’s my takeaway from the numbers: My own site is still the place to publish my very best content. I’m willing to send good stuff off to someone else, but I remain selfish with the content I’ve really sweated bullets over.
Offsite Content Placement: The Pros And Cons
When we leave the hypotheticals and talk about where YOU should be publishing, I advise you to use your current traffic numbers as your foremost guidepost. If referrals are paying big dividends, you should consider moving more of your content offsite. If organic search is still your bread and butter, your site deserves the lion’s share of your attention.
Let’s break down the advantages and drawbacks of placing content on other sites:
- Exposure to a different audience unlocks the potential for new leads.
- Spreading your expertise around gains you authority in a wider community.
- Getting your content into newsletters and roundups broadens your reach even further.
- The more you publish offsite, the better-protected you are against a catastrophic failure of your own site.