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Where’d Our Blog Go?

Ever since October 20, 2015, we’ve published blog articles on search engine optimization (SEO) and legal content marketing on a rigidly regular basis. Then, last week, there was nothing.

It was not a mistake: Ongoing changes in the SEO world have been reducing the potency of evergreen blogs, which have made up the bulk of our articles. With only limited resources to spend, we’ve decided to shift our focus away from maintaining our own blog and towards creating the undated targeted pages that have become the preferred format for evergreen content.

Myers Freelance blog changing with the times
We also get to check off an inter-office challenge by finally using a picture of this stock photo model.

How Google’s Freshness Update Changed Legal Blogging

This all started way back in 2011, when Google first rolled out its Freshness Update. That update aimed to solve a serious problem for search engines: Their algorithms promoted articles that had lots of backlinks and lots of web traffic. This presented a problem for news articles, though. Older pieces were likely to have accumulated more links and readers since they had been published. However, internet users were far more likely to want to see newer articles.

The Freshness Update tried to solve this by promoting articles that had been published recently and that were actively being shared on social media, while slowly burying older articles in the results pages.

Like lots of algorithm tweaks that search engines make, the initial roll out of the Freshness Update was limited in scope and only slightly altered the results. When Google realized that it was working, though, they slowly increased its power in the algorithm and started expanding its reach, most recently to the featured snippet field that you now see in lots of SERPs.

As Google’s trial proved successful, other search engines like Bing started following suit.

This evolution in the world of online marketing has not come without victims: Legal blogs in particular have been collateral damage. They’re dated just like news articles, so they get promoted in the rankings once they are published and then, more importantly, slowly lose their SEO potency the longer they have been online.

When a legal blog article contains evergreen content that is going to be as relevant next year as it is, today, that slow loss of SEO potency is a serious problem.

How We’re Handling the Situation On Our Website

Because a considerable portion of our blog content is evergreen, we’re shifting away from regular blog posts and towards the targeted pages that are increasingly becoming the preferred medium for topics that don’t get stale. We’re also going to change how we deal with topical content and industry news.

Moving Evergreen Blogging Content Into Standalone or Targeted Pages

Over the next few weeks, you’ll see several new pages that go into extensive depth on:

  • Legal content marketing
  • SEO, focusing on inbound content marketing for the legal field
  • Legal blogging
  • Landing pages
  • Targeted pages
  • Legal writing

Beyond those few weeks, you’ll see new articles that plunge into greater depth on evergreen topics that we have covered in prior blog posts, like:

Some of these existing blog posts go back to 2015, when we first started blogging about legal blogging and online marketing. Any traction they have picked up has been almost completely undercut by Google’s Freshness Update, by now. By repurposing and updating the material in those articles and then republishing them as an undated page, we can bring them back to life and relevance.

Topical Content Split Between Social Media and Blog Posts

For topical content – like industry news and other SEO and online marketing developments – we’re going to use a mixture of social media posts and blog articles for three main reasons:

  1. It lets us break pressing news quickly, rather than hold off for our scheduled blog publication,
  2. There are a lot of relatively minor developments that don’t require an entire blog post to cover, and
  3. It still leaves open the option of covering a major or a complicated SEO development with a dedicated blog post.

Those blog articles are likely to be in the form of weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly posts that list newsworthy developments and how they impact online legal content marketing. We’re still teetering on whether to reformat the blog as a newsletter, though it will still be accessible for the Myers Freelance main page.

The social media posts will go on our Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn pages. While Twitter’s character limit will keep us to minor developments and initial reactions to developments, we’ll be able to go into more depth on Facebook and LinkedIn.