You’ll find all kinds of web pages looking around the internet. When you use a search engine, however, most often, you see one of four things:
Among these, blog posts are by far the most popular.
The question is, why do these blog posts rank so well? Do blog posts have some inherent value over other kinds of web pages?
Let’s dig into the subject so you can better understand what we mean.
While you and I might see different page types as distinct, a robot search engine like Google does not. As far as they’re concerned, these different kinds of pages are just web pages.
Google has even said so themselves:
“I don’t think Googlebot would recognize that there’s a difference. So usually that difference between posts and pages is something that is more within your backend within the CMS that you’re using, within WordPress in that case. And it wouldn’t be something that would be visible to us.
So we would look at these as if it’s an HTML page and there’s lots of content here and it’s linked within your website in this way, and based on that we would rank this HTML page.
We would not say oh it’s a blog post, or it’s a page, or it’s an informational article. We would essentially say it’s an HTML page and there’s this content here and it’s interlinked within your website in this specific way.” – John Mueller
That said, a page’s different focus, purpose, and the content will have different connotations and levels of value.
To understand that, you need to understand what Google wants to do with its search results.
Google’s goal with their search results is to give the user searching for a query the content most beneficial to their search. It sounds simple when you say it like that, but it’s a complex and challenging task to accomplish.
The goal of the query determines what kind of web page will rank best for it.
Think again about what you do when you look for something online. When you have a goal to find something, you write your queries differently.
There are several different kinds of search intent:
Each different kind of search intent has different types of web pages that best suit the user’s goals. Blog posts can do most of them, but not all of them.
Still, why do blog posts seem so much more popular?
Website owners are familiar with the sales funnel, but you might not think about it if you’re a casual web user.
A sales funnel is an inverted pyramid where the top, broadest level is something simple like “brand awareness,” and the bottom, narrowest part is “user makes a purchase.” It’s a map of the decrease in the number of users at each step.
Nike might have millions of people aware of them as a brand. Still, only a million are looking for shoes, half a million are considering Nike shoes, and only 50,000 are going to buy Nike shoes this month (or whatever hypothetical numbers you want to use.)
Each step of the process has attrition, making the audience smaller – this all applies to the sales process for a single brand, but it also applies to the whole internet at large.
Google processes somewhere around 5-6 billion searches per day. A vast majority of those searches will be informational, and a decreasing number of them will be tutorials. Less will be a consideration, and even fewer will be transactional. People are much more interested in reading information than they are buying something. If nothing else, most people have more time and attention to spend than money.
You can observe this in your search habits. How many Google searches do you perform during a typical day? How many of those searches are aimed at something that would result in a specific non-blog page, like a transactional search, a navigational search, or a search looking for detailed non-blog information? Compare that to however many searches you make that have more generalized, “a blog post will do” results.
But, that doesn’t mean blog posts are more valuable in and of themselves; more people are making searches where a blog format is beneficial.
Another variable that needs to be considered is how Google works on a mechanical level. They are concerned about a lot of different things — SEO is pretty complicated — but they all tend to boil down to:
Consider different kinds of pages and other types of content.
A small contact page probably doesn’t have many links pointing at it, and the user experience doesn’t much matter, so it has to rely on a few primary keywords, like “contact us” and the brand name you’re looking for. It would be pretty easy to outrank a contact page, but because it’s so narrowly focused on a brand’s information, there’s no real reason to try.
It’s also worth remembering that Google can only get so much information from non-text content. A massive infographic with a ton of helpful information might be blank to Google in most contexts. Likewise, a video can only be a valid result if Google knows what’s in the video, like through a transcript and video metadata.
When they do rank, it’s for more narrowly-focused queries.
One way to counterbalance this is Schema markup. Schema is metadata that helps assign a deeper meaning to website pages, and they are typically pages with specific focuses other than blog posts. Blog posts can use a few kinds of Schema, but non-blog pages have far more, with more value attached to them.
This example is one way Google helps give non-blog pages more weight, makes them easier to find and enables users to get value out of them – this is why so many of the Schema configurations are focused on specific non-blog kinds of content; because those kinds of content need the most help.
The result of the above is the world we see around us.
The internet is packed full of pages, both blogs, and non-blogs. Non-blogs are just as viable as blogs for ranking, and there’s no inherent mechanical difference between them.
The impression that blog posts rank better comes from bias in perception:
Blog posts aren’t necessarily better than non-blogs, not in a general sense. They’re more common in many ways, but it’s more because it’s easier for them to rank for broader queries. If a user is searching for something specific where a blog post isn’t an appropriate answer, blog posts aren’t going to be the top results. It’s simply not as expected that this is the case.
If you’re trying to get your website’s non-blog pages to rank better, you have a few options. You can implement relevant Schema tags. You can fluff up the content or even add blog-like content like a food blog adds a 1,000-word blog post to a recipe. Or, you can allow the pages to rank the way they need to and focus your energies on ways to pull people down your sales funnel.
After all, your product pages don’t need to rank if the only people likely to be landing there are coming from other pages on your site. It would be best to focus your effort on the pages that draw in qualified visitors and work on those pages to outrank the blog pages that you’re competing with.
Do you have any questions for me? Is your company website getting outranked by a blog post, or have you encountered any stubborn competitor blog posts that are difficult to compete with? We’re one of the most effective SEO agencies in the universe and enjoy a complex challenge! Please get in touch with us to see how we can help.