“What type of content should I post on my blog?” is something my customers often ask me. And just like with my last post where I talked about SEO, PPC and Social, the answer is: IT DEPENDS.

It depends on a number of factors such as the very purpose, type and topic of your blog. What is the goal of your blog? Are you trying to make money via adverts and affiliate links or do you perhaps just write for yourself as a hobby for the very pleasure of writing and couldn’t care less for traffic?

Because I work in search marketing and so do most of my readers, I will try to answer this from the organic search engine traffic perspective and share some of my personal opinions on the types of content I see performing well.

Once we have clarified the “depends” bit and know the type and purpose of our blog we would be able to give a better answer. But as a general rule if I were to answer the question in one sentence I’d probably say that the content which performs best IMO (in terms of traffic) is either useful or entertaining.

Now, what do I mean by “useful”? People, or at least some of them, go online to find answers to their questions. You may have heard of a company called Google which made a whole business around it 🙂

blog content

If your blog can provide them with this answer or answers in a satisfactory manner (good, well researched content and presented in a nice way i.e. graphics, layout, font etc.) then I’d say this is a “useful” content. So for example, lets say I have a question, “how to resize a photo on a mac”. OK, let me Google that,

Looking through the results on the first page on Google, I find this post on howtogeek.com

If you take a moment to read it, you’ll quickly see why I find it useful. It clearly answers my question, the text is informative and it has pictures to help me understand.

There would be one problem here when it comes to new blogs – this particular question is being asked very often and there are already many powerful, high authority sites which have already answered it. To make things even more difficult, there is even a Google answer box. All that means that ranking for this query would require a powerful domain and a lot of hard work.

Here is another example on a slightly more specific topic. Which, at least in theory, should be easier to rank for. Let’s say I want to “Embed Twitter Timelines to my Microsoft SharePoint Page”. And here is our example, the number one result I found on Google.

Again, this is a very good, useful page with a clear step by step answer to my question with text and accompanying images/screenshots. I couldn’t have asked for more.

Of course the more specific question the less people will be there looking for an answer. There will be more people trying to figure out how to resize a picture on their Mac than people trying to Embed Twitter Timelines on their Microsoft SharePoint Page. The logic here will be similar to that used with long tail keywords, and there are tools you can use in your research which will help you discover how many people are searching for a particular keyword as well as how strong the competition is for that keyword.  All the SEO’s will already know that, but for all the bloggers without SEO knowledge out there, it is very important that you have a good understanding of how search engines work if you want to attract traffic to your blog. Simply publishing good content is not going to work. Search Engine algorithms are much more complicated.

Another thing people like is when your content is actionable. This is very important as otherwise people will feel as if they just wasted their time. There is nothing worse then reading a post just to realise that there is nothing you can take away and implement.

I have another good example of useful and actionable content, this post on Instant Productivity Hacks. As you can see, all the tips in this post can be easily implemented – this is something I can read and start implementing right away.

The other useful type of content would be guides. These however require a lot more work than regular blog posts. Again, the topic should be well researched in terms of search demand and competition. If there are no people searching for answers on this topic or there are already many strong domains providing these answers then you will most likely struggle to rank and attract traffic from the search engines.

So to sum up, the answer is: it depends on the type of blog you have, and your goals. In my opinion when it comes to attracting organic traffic, the content which performs best is the content which is useful, actionable and provides users with answers to their search queries.