It’s harder than ever to be a successful blogger. That’s a fact.
So the question then becomes – are we seeing the beginning of the end for blogging as a profession?
In this post, I take a hard look at the industry and share my thoughts. Keep reading.
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Change is Inevitable
A few weeks ago, I did a post about Social Media and Blogging in 2019. The premise of that post was that Social Media is changing and bloggers need to adapt accordingly.
Facebook has made huge changes resulting in less organic exposure for publishers. And other social networks have followed suit. The word algorithm has been the thing that so many bloggers fear.
It’s easy to point the finger at social media and blame them for the decline in traffic many bloggers have seen.
But it’s unfair to do so. As someone whose livelihood has been teaching people to blog, it would be dishonest of me not to point out the other changes that continue to happen.
Change is inevitable. And the first part of adapting to change is fully acknowledging what those changes are.
My Responsibility to You
As someone who has been teaching people how to blog, my sense of responsibility has been awakened.
My online business is 100% responsible for the financial state of my family, and that’s something I take seriously. If blogging dies, that part of my business dies with it.
But more than that, I have a responsibility to you. You follow me for information about blogging. And while I have been focused primarily on educating you, it’s also my responsibility to keep you informed.
By keeping you informed, I’m also equipping you to be better at what you do. And I want to rise to the occasion to help you make better decisions.
So what has changed with blogging?
One word – Google!
Google is such a great resource when it comes to finding info online. Whenever I want to know how to do something I go to one of two places – both owned by Google.
The Google search engine and YouTube. With those two powers combined, I can take on the world.
But have you noticed anything different with Google over the years? Especially on mobile devices?
In the past, when you do a search in Google, you used to see a bunch of links to sites and a few ads. That was all.
Now, when you go to Google and search for something, a lot has changed. Let’s look at an example.
I generally rank second on the Search Engine Results Page for “how to vlog with a smartphone”.
But now number two means something different. Here’s what you see before you see the regular old sites.
A Video Featured Snippet
This is often the case when someone searches for “how to” content. If there’s a relevant video, Google often displays this front and center in the first position.
People also ask
Just in case you didn’t find what you’re looking for, Google often shows other questions that people are asking.
The idea is that if many people are asking these other questions, you may be interested in the answers.
In addition to showing one big video featured snippet at the top of the results, it also shows other recommended YouTube videos.
This shows a list of some of the top recommended products related to your search.
Good ‘ol fashioned search results
FINALLY, after showing all that, you see the regular links to websites, including a blog post from my blog.
But to get to my #2-ranked site, there’s a whole lot of scrolling that needs to be done.
Other Featured Snippets
The featured snippets referred to above are only some of the ones that show up. It varies depending on your search. You can also see lists, definitions, tables and others.
The Other Side of Google
To add to everything covered so far, there’s another side of Google search that’s growing. I see it every day because it happens in our home.
Even my 6-year-old son is using it, and it’s called – Google home.
A popular question my son loves to ask is – “Can we ask Google?”
And no – he doesn’t mean going to the browser and typing in a query. He literally means “ask Google”.
Ok Google, how far is Michigan from Florida? And our Google Home device responds with an answer from a website.
Now we have the answer and we never had to visit the site. Yay for us, boo for the site.
What is Google’s Goal?
The answer to this question should be obvious – to make money. How do they make money? The more useful they are, the more money they make from advertising.
And in the last few months and years, Google has been scraping content more to display directly in the Search Engine Results Page.
What this means is that in some cases, even though the content of your site shows up in search, people won’t click through.
They get the result and move on. Or they ask Google assistant and never even have to see the results.
So is Blogging Dead?
This is something I’ve been wrestling with recently, and my answer is no, but . . .
It is changing for sure. With every move a major corporation that determines our traffic makes, there are signals.
In the case with Google, there’s a lot that we can learn from looking at what they are doing. Google used to be just an index of mostly written content.
That’s no longer the case. Now the Google Search Results is way more dynamic. It includes video, images and other snippets.
And with the Google assistant growing in popularity, bloggers will live more and more in a world where people get their content without getting to their blogs.
Leslie, What Should We do?
With all that said, where do we go from here? What should we, as bloggers, do?
My answer – Let’s do what Google is doing!
They have redefined what it is to be a search engine. It’s time for us to redefine what it means to be a blogger.
In the past, a blogger was seen as a writer. Someone who creates written content for a blog.
But blogging is way more than that. A blogger is someone who creates content to help others.
A blogger writes. A blogger creates videos. A blogger is a podcaster. A blogger is an educator. A blogger builds a community. A blogger builds a business. A blogger builds a brand. A blogger builds a media company. A blogger is a thought-leader.
Will the real bloggers please stand up? Because if we don’t, we’re gonna fall by the wayside as Google continues its mood swings.
Will there be a day when bloggers no longer write? I don’t think so. But will writing be enough? I definitely don’t think so.
Should we be concerned about the changes Google continues to make? Absolutely! We need to pay attention and adapt accordingly.
I’m more excited today about what it means to Become a Blogger. Because for those of us who stick around, we get to be a part of what I believe will make for a better internet.
- Social Media and Blogging in 2019 – Become a Blogger