Every blog post is an opportunity to boost SEO for your small business.
Is blogging really worth it? On the plus side, it’s been shown that businesses that blog have been shown to see up to 55% more traffic than companies that don’t blog. On the other hand, for marketers at small B2B businesses, all the time and energy spent writing articles can just seem like an obstacle to completing critical and time-sensitive projects. This is especially true if your company doesn’t have a dedicated in-house writer.
However, if one of your main jobs as a marketer is to drive qualified leads to your website, it’s important to keep in mind that helping you get found in search results is one of blogging’s main benefits—and the primary reason you need to make close friends with your B2B blog, rather than view it as an annoying office mate. By blogging wisely, you can give your search rankings a huge boost, making it well worth your time and resources.
Attune yourself to SEO factors to build the power of your blog.
While blogging can improve search rankings, there’s a very real possibility that your blog will be fruitless if there’s no strategy behind it. So, the next question to ask is how can you create a successful blog that helps build website traffic and convert qualified leads? The answer to this is not so simple. Google’s search algorithms are famously elusive and ever-changing. This can leave marketers, especially those who aren’t digital mavens, scratching their heads about how to stay ahead of the game.
Understanding the nature of how your blog impacts SEO matters.
While we can’t know the nitty-gritty details of Google’s formulas at any specific time, experts and analysts pay close attention to Google updates—so they can make highly educated, well-founded guesses about the importance and trends of various SEO factors over time. Those who aren’t experts can follow their findings and advice on their social media channels to stay up-to-date on how to leverage their blogs for SEO. Small businesses can also avail themselves of top-ranked SEO tools, such as SpyFu, SEMrush, and Moz, as well as Google Analytics, to make our SEO efforts as effective as possible. The key is to make your blog count so that it won’t be a waste of your valuable time and resources.
At the root of this discussion is understanding why your blog is so critical to improving your search results. Here are eight reasons, along with some basic tips to help you get on the right path:
1. Blogposts increase pages on your website.
A bigger website is likely to have more information and resources, making page count one of the ways that Google ranks your website. Blogposts add new urls (pages) to your website, giving it greater value. And the numbers are big: blogs can result in a 434% increase in indexed pages.
2. Your website benefits from the fresh content delivered through blog articles.
Google rewards new content that is relevant, credible, and useful. Googlebot, the generic name for Google’s web crawler, is constantly scouring the internet for pages with these qualities to include in search results. Regularly publishing new content signals to Google that your website resources are fresh and will be more valuable to users than other websites with older, unchanged content. Concurrently, static content may cause your website’s search ranking to drop over time. Since most of your web content probably doesn’t change very often, blogging provides a way to consistently provide the new content that Google craves.
3. Blogging makes it easier to get inbound links to your website.
One of the most important factors in boosting your website’s search rankings are inbound links (also known as backlinks), which are links from other websites to your own. Inbound links are a sign to Google that your site is authoritative and valuable enough for other websites to share it on their own. You can increase your chances of building credible backlinks by adding interesting, useful, and high-quality blog articles on your website. This strategy includes ensuring that backlinks are directed to your most valuable pages. This will create the greatest opportunity for traffic, conversions, and engagement.
Some useful tips when looking for ways to increase inbound links include:
- Guest blogging: Arranging to be a guest blogger on a high-ranking site, and then having that site link back to yours, is often effective for gaining quality backlinks—as explained in this video by digital marketing expert Neil Patel.
- Longer blogs: While thoughts on how long a blog should vary, the current opinion trends toward writing longer, comprehensive, high-quality blog articles of about 1,500-2000 words, although this may depend on the type of blog, industry, and audience.
- Original research: Blogposts that report on research provide facts that people use in their own content and have a high likelihood of being shared. Original content is your best bet, although a roundup of information from multiple sources can also be valuable (make sure to give proper attribution for any data you include).
- Sharability: An article that is shared on social media and industry websites is evidence of its value to others and can lead to inbound links.
4. Blogging creates opportunities for internal link building.
Not to be confused with inbound links, internal linking is when you hyperlink from one page on your website to another page on your website. In addition to helping users find useful content on your website, internal links are important to search engines in several ways:
- Internal links help search engines like Google determine the hierarchy and structure of your website.
- Google uses links to help navigate and understand the content.
- Internal links show the relationship between pieces of content.
- Search engines assign a higher value to pages that receive more links.
While the inbound links discussed early can increase the authority of your entire website (“domain authority”), using a smart internal linking strategy can increase the “page authority” of the urls that are most valuable to you. Blog articles are a great opportunity to create these internal links, supporting the pages you most want to appear in searches. While not as high-performing as some other SEO techniques, internal links are fast and easy to create, help improve the performance of high-value pages, and will appear in website navigation and content.
5. Blogging about the right topic, with the correct search terms, can help boost SEO.
Another way your blog can enhance SEO is by bringing your voice into popular conversations. The trick is to identify the right topic and then figure out the best angle for optimization. Much of this comes down to keyword research, but there are other helpful ways to hone in on your topic.
The basic questions are (1) what your customers are asking Google about, (2) how are they asking, and (3) what Google is suggesting to them. While there are many excellent paid tools to find these things out, some of these answers are in plain sight. First, you can ask your salespeople about the conversations they have with prospective and current customers. Second, you may be able to directly ask some of your trusted customers what they are interested in learning about or what they wanted to know in looking for a company like yours. Third, you can participate in industry groups using LinkedIn to see what people who are interested in your topic are talking about in real time.
In addition, Google itself is a great resource for finding out what your potential customers are querying. For example:
- Study Google Trends to find out the volume of various keywords and which are currently on-trend.
- Put in a potential keyword or keyword phrase into the search bar and see what is returned in the search results.
- When you put your keyword or keyword phrase into the search bar, you can also look at similar queries in the box called, “What People Ask.”
- Look at the metadata of the top-ranked results. Metadata is the title and description text that you see for each item in the search results.
- Another method is to look at the “Searches related to…” items at the bottom of the page.
This type of research can demonstrate what types of content get the best results, what people are looking for, and how to best optimize your own article to make it more likely to rank higher for your target audience.
6. Blog articles are a natural place for long-tail keywords.
Keywords were once seen as the only key to successful SEO, but that’s not the case today. Google’s current algorithm now focuses less on keywords, which previously led to frequent abuses, and more on quality and user experience. Even so, keywords are still an essential part of SEO, with judicious use of long-tail keyword phrases that people are likely to search on. The argument in favor of longer keyword phrases is that unless you’re the top dog in your industry, the competition is too steep to get traction with high-level keywords. In my case, as a small business focusing on creating written content, I might naturally gravitate to search terms such as “writing techniques,” “content creation,” or “SEO.” But since I’m competing against large or better-know marketing and digital agencies, a better performing keyword phrase might be “better SEO techniques for my small technology businesses.” This subtopic will be easier for me to rank on than a main topic such as “writing blogs.”
The best advice is to use keywords in the text only if they serve a purpose. The second piece of advice is to write first for interest and readability, then optimize later. And third, focus your article closely on your keyword phrase, rather than straying too far. You can then link articles you’ve posted about various subtopics to a valuable page on your website that is related to the larger, main topic. This supports your main topic page, making it more likely to rank higher than it would without the boost from your internal links to it.
7. Blogs can attract SEO-boosting social media engagement.
Your blog is a great way to take advantage of your social media channels. Connecting your blog to your Facebook, Twitter, and other social media accounts provides Google with more opportunities to find you in a relevant user search. Plus, high-quality blogposts can help you grow your social media channels by increasing fans, shares, likes, followers, and comments. Probably most important for SEO, great blog articles can result in credible inbound links and click-throughs to your website. While it’s difficult to nail down just how social plays into the Google algorithm, Googlebot does crawl and index social media websites, and research published by Optinmonster in 2019 shows that social helps SEO ranking, because your article being shared indicates that people feel it will be valuable to others. Of course, the only way to make sure your blogs contribute to your website’s popularity is to create valuable content and then share your blogs wherever you can.
8. Leveraging images and videos in your blog provides additional ways to bolster SEO.
Not only do webpages with images receive 94% more views, but they can also give search engines yet another way to find you. There are a multitude of ways to optimize images within your articles. Some key tips include:
- Prepare your images using the right scale, file size, and format.
- Captions, when used appropriately and sensibly, can be used for optimization.
- Give the images names that help search engines find them (“writer-working-on-a-lap” versus “WWL-432a.jpg.”
- Prove keyword-focused alt-text, a tag that is used when the image can’t be displayed, to describe what’s in the image. Even more impressive, blog posts incorporating video attract 3x as many inbound links as blog posts without video.
Blogging should be an integral part of your digital marketing SEO strategy.
The eight items above easily show why the answer to whether blogging is worthwhile is a resounding yes when used as part of an overall digital marketing strategy. While writing articles and managing a blog program takes time, the benefits are too great to pass up. That being said, a blog that fails to provide high-quality content can be an epic fail in terms of lost productivity and even reputational damage. If your company is unable to create the blogs you need for success, outsourcing your blog writing to a professional freelance copywriter or small agency like Westebbe Marketing is an attractive option. No matter who does the writing, make sure they are well versed in how to optimize your blog for the greatest results.