I have noticed a recent trend of companies creating blogs that aren’t on the main company website. I have heard a large variety of reasons for this separation, ranging from the styling and tone not being consistent with that of the home page (or overall company) to the fear of all articles being seen as promotions. One of the top reasons that are cited for maintaining a blog is the search engine optimization benefit. What are the benefits of blogging on a separate website, and will it hurt SEO?
Benefits of a Separate Blog
All parts of a website should have a cohesive theme and feel. Often times, blog posts are written in a more casual or comical manner than what comes across on the main website. Other times, blogs focus on a small set of the products/services offered by the corporation. This disconnect leads to blog hosting on another domain.
Establishing unbiased thought leadership is another reason that businesses turn to separate domain hosting for their blogs. Web visitors tend to put more stock in product/service insights or recommendations that are independent of the seller. Naturally, many visitors may dismiss the great information on the company blog because of the assumption that is an extension of the sales pitch.
Separate Blog Disadvantages
When viewing a company site, visitors tend to look for the blog in one of the tabs located in the navigation bar. Sometimes they will navigate through the About Us or Company section, or even look through a site map. Most visitors expect to find the company blog on the same website. Many people that can’t find what they want give up on searching, make sure your blog is easily accessible!
Navigating to another page can negatively affect the users engagement. Companies traditionally try to keep visitors on their site as long as possible. Once a user navigates to another page, they are substantially less likely to return and explore the main website.
Any company that is using analytics on their website must consider if the analytics will work on a separate blog domain. Many metrics may not be measurable when your blog is hosted on another domain, such as popularity by author, conversion rate, or search volume.
Search Engine Optimization
Historically, any resource that wasn’t located on the company page wouldn’t help the company site for SEO. After the Google Hummingbird update in 2013, spiders are now able to group related pages together. As long as your blog is clearly related to the main company site, they will be grouped together. This means that you aren’t destined to lose all of your traffic from search engine optimization by hosting your blog on a different site.
As long as the blog is obviously related/linked back to the company website, keeping the blog separate will make little difference for search engine optimization. Keep in mind the original issue, why we work on SEO. The goal of SEO is to drive traffic to your website, we do this to engage the visitor. We hope that the visitors will ultimately become a paying customer. How much sense does it make to drive traffic to your website using a resource that won’t keep visitors on the site? Always consider which process will enable users to explore your website.
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