What If the Blog Outranks the Company Website?

By Daniel Scocco

questions and answersThis post is part of the weekly Q&A section. Just use the contact form if you want to submit a question.

Punchu asks:

Today I suggested to my manager that we should install the All in One SEO pack in our blog. He said fine, but then he told me something really weird. Few months back (before I joined this company) they did some improvements on the blog and it got better ranks for our targeted keywords than our website. The blog was almost getting 1st page results while the website dropped behind. So the CEO got really annoyed with this and now according to what I understand they are not trying to improve the blog anymore. Well my question is: Is this really a bad thing? I suggested to him that getting a good rank should be a good thing. I don’t understand this. Plus if we work on our blog again and get a good rank then how can the website benefit from it? Please let me know. I really need help. I am so confused.

Interesting question. Unfortunately, we are missing some important variables that would be necessary to elaborate a more complete answer. For example, it would be important to know if the blog is located in the same domain as the company website or not, and what exactly were the changes in the search rankings for both the blog pages and for the company website pages.

That being said, we can hypothesize some scenarios.

If the blog is in the same domain, especially if it is in a sub-directory (i.e. domain.com/blog), it would be difficult for the blog itself to outrank the main website for the main keywords. For example, if you have a company offering “red bubble gum,” it would be difficult for the blog of the company rank first for that keyword, because link juice and trust always flow to the homepage. If this is happening, it means that either the homepage is not well optimized for search engines, or the internal link structure is not an efficient one. Both of those issues can easily be solved by someone who understands SEO.

The blog would certainly rank higher for long tail keywords, though, because it would have a wide range of topic specific posts. Those should not represent a direct competition with the company website, though, and therefore should be considered as beneficial.

The real problem would be having the blog on a separate domain name. This would make the competition between the two parts more explicit, and it would also split the link portfolio and overall trust between the two domains, which is not ideal. If that is the case, I would consider moving the blog to an internal sub-directory.

The second aspect that we need to analyze is how the rankings were affected. The only situation where the rankings of the blog could be harmful to the company is if the company homepage was ranking in the first position for its main keyword, and then the blog outplaced it. Since there is a huge difference in the traffic that the first and second positions receive from search engines, such a shift could affect the number of organic visitors going to the company homepage. Those visitors would still visit the blog, but only a fraction of them would make a second click to the homepage.

On all other situations, the improved rankings of the blog would benefit the company. Suppose that the company homepage is ranking in the second page for one of its keywords. Then a new blog entry is published and it starts ranking in the 5th position of Google. This would mean that a blog post is outranking the company homepage for that keyword. But so what? The blog post would bring in organic traffic, and that traffic could still reach the homepage if the internal navigation is well planned.

Even if the company homepage was ranking in the 5th position and thus outplaced by the blog post the company would still be benefited. The organic traffic among the lower end results in the first page of results is very similar, so having a blog post ranked in the 5th position and the company homepage ranked in the 6th position is better than having just the company homepage ranked in the 5th position.

Unless the blog disrupted the first position of the company homepage for its main keyword, therefore, all other rankings should be welcomed.

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21 Responses to “What If the Blog Outranks the Company Website?”

  • Chetan

    A simple solution to all this can be:

    Internal linking both the blog and the site.

    Why do treat the blog and website as 2 different units. Treat them as one, inter link both of them and that would automatically place both of them high in the keywords.

    A good wordpress plugin for this purpose can be: SEO smart links.

  • Daniel Scocco

    @Chetan, if the blog is on a different domain, simply interlinking it with the company website will not produce the same effect as if they were on the same domain. It will help, but it won’t solve the problem.

  • Mr. I

    Corporates don’t want first rank with blog? :-p

    Optimizing the company website can be a good solution. Why break the blog by not improving when website can be improved?

    Daniel, what if blog is on a subdomain? Will the situation be same as internal directory or not?

  • Blog Expert

    The CEO is definitely not doing the right thing. Your still getting people to your site.

  • Daniel Scocco

    @Mr. I, I always prefer subdirectories, because Google used to see subdomains as completely different websites.

    Late in 2007 some changes were made in the Google algo that changed the way it interpreted subdomains.

    Regardless of that, I still feel that subdirectories are more closely related to the main website, and therefore better for SEO.

    I would consider using a subdomain only if made structural sense. For example, if I wanted to add a job board, which would behave pretty much as a different section of the site.

  • Mr. I

    @ Daniel Thanks for reply. What would you advice for forums? If I launch a forum related to blog’s topic(main domain), should website/forum be better or forum.website.com ? Since forusm tend to have lot of links(and I will add one specificaly for reviews), will it have significant effect on main domain(blog)

  • Daniel Scocco

    @Mr. I, it is a matter of preference. Some sites put the forum in a subdomain, others in a subdirectory.

    I prefer subdirectories even for forums.

  • Rarst

    Heh, recently my Twitter profile outranks my blog for my [nick]name. 🙂 I am torn between “this kinda makes sense” and “I want blog to be first”.

    Shows how Google can disregard hundreds (if not thousands) links in favor of trusted domain.

  • Jaan Kanellis

    Just make sure all blog posts/pages link to the home page with the keyword(s) that you want it to rank for. Make sure you are not doing the same for blog vice versa and then that should help.

  • Daniele

    Good post. What do you think about semantics? It is more semantic blog.sitename.com or sitename.com/blog? I think the first is more semantic.

  • David

    I had a similar issue a few months back. The solution was to move the blog onto the domain name. We used blog.domain.com instead of domain.com/blog. We are still trying to get the new blog to get the search engine relevance that the old blog had but it is getting there with time.

  • Melvin

    well great written explanation… The problem with most companies that started way earlier is that they used to have different domain with their blogs and the business site itself… When Google changed the algo, then thats when the problem started. Again the easy solution is to move the blog to the domain as a subdirectory… I also agree that sometimes keywords would really rank well for the blog more than the site because blogs are well-loved by search engines…

  • Steve Hall

    I think it would be great to have the blog ranking so well in the search engines. Anything that brings targeted traffic to your business has got to be a good thing.
    The important thing then becomes how well do you get the traffic coming from the blog back to the main company website.
    There are then a whole host of other issues depending on what the purpose of the company website is.

  • Tom Bradshaw

    Interesting article, I think it would be good to have a blog perform well in search engines, as it provides traffic to the main site. Though I do see the point, I wouldn’t want it to outrank the main site.

  • Sherrie Mersdorf

    It seems silly to stop improving your blog if you’re seeing good organic search results. Have you thought about adding calls to action to the blog to get conversions? We use a corporate blogging software that has helped us get ranked on keywords we wouldn’t have been able to with our website alone. Our traffic is up and we’re seeing a pretty high conversion rate with our calls to action. Doesn’t seem to make sense giving up a strategy that’s working to fix one that’s not. Keep up the blogging and further optimize the webiste.

  • Laura-Whateverebay

    Great post, as silly as it may seem, many companies are making the same mistake. I had to deal with this mess before. It was not difficult to figure out why the Blog rank better than the website. As you stated the blog had a different URL. Not just different but it was a Blogger Blog. Once we changed it to the website name everything got better.

    Of course, if your blog has a better ranking then link to your homepace, create buttons banner all you can to le your readers know that you have a webiste

  • Hesham

    I agree with chetan on linking to the website on the blog, and solve this problem!

    I won’t mind if I have a biz or a company website getting lower rank than the company blog 🙂

  • Boerne Search

    I don’t see what the big deal. Either way you have ranking and you can always advertise your main page like crazy in your blog.

    My 2 cents

  • Tech @ InkAPoint

    This is what I too experienced before.

  • Retsambew Sulumits @ Cijo

    I have lately seen many web 2.0 websites outranking websites. I was really amazed to see changes happening across the search engine. You have found out some facts why they outrank website. I am currently researching on this topic and your article is a real help to me.

  • Best web Solutions

    I think, Link Building is the most effective solution to survive on the SEs.
    Thanks.

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