No matter what type of website you have, if you want people to find it, you need it to show up in the search engine, and that’s both the easiest and hardest part of running any online business.
I say it is the easiest simply because the one thing you can do to improve your chances of ranking high in the search engines is to start a blog.
Does Blogging Really Help SEO?
Yes… that’s the simple answer, but it gets complicated. Blogging is just one small piece of the overall puzzle that is search engine optimization.
A blog is a great tool to optimize your website content because it increases the value of a number of ranking factors including content quality, timeliness, relevance, and keyword saturation. A regularly updated blog can make a big difference in how your website performs on search engines.
Here are the six main reasons why that is true:
1. Keeping it fresh
Information is constantly changing and the older the information, the likelier that information is no longer accurate or relevant. A visitor will want the latest and greatest information he or she can get, especially when it comes to research prior to buying decisions.
Google ranks content based on how recently it was updated and regularly updated content lets google know you haven’t abandoned your website through the addition of fresh content. While the algorithms used by search engines are a well-guarded secret, giving search engines more reasons to index your site should be a priority. A blog is a practical way of keeping your content fresh and search engines happy.
2. Time is On Their Side
Google is a business… and their business is based on the use of their search engine (yep, they make money off your searches). The more you use it, the more money (ad revenue through placed ads) they make. The more results they can give someone on any given search increases the number of impressions they can make. If someone doesn’t find the information they need in the first link on a results page, they go back to the search to choose another link to explore. They measure the time between clicks and the longer someone stays on a page suggested in the results, the higher they rank it for relevance of that search term.
A link to a post in your blog can be the start of a long visit as they get the answer they need, but stay when they realize how much information they can get from your website.
A side note: the longer and more comprehensive the post, the better it will perform (SEO research shows that longform blog posts outperform shorter ones – the average first-page results on Google is nearly 2000 words long).
3. Long-tail Keywords and You
Research shows that 50% of all searches are for terms four words and longer. These longer, multi-word search terms are called long-tail keywords and they can be your greatest tool in your SEO arsenal.
SEO is really competitive and if you are a small business, the chances you’ll be in the top five of general keywords is probably pretty slim. General keywords like “car sales” or “books” are going to be impossible to crack unless you are a major retailer, but something like “affordable car sales in anytown, USA” are well within your reach. Your best bet for high page rank will be to focus on long-tail keywords that are very specific. These long-tail keywords are perfect for blogging because they can specifically target the very customer you want rather than all customers looking for your general keyword. You’ll get less traffic, but the traffic you do get will be incredibly specific.
4. It is What’s Inside that Counts: Internal Linking
If I had to rank SEO tips and tricks in order of inherent value, internal linking would be number 1 and not just because it is the easiest SEO tip you can totally control yourself, but because it is the most helpful to any visitor on your website. It is also the most overlooked item on any SEO checklist.
While you can certainly link from internal page to internal page easily enough, internal linking opportunities are limited. Blogs and blog posts increase your internal linking opportunities by an order of magnitude. As you add more blog posts, you can add more internal links to pages that support your post. If you post new blogs often, every week you can add to your internal linking structure until every nook and cranny of your site is a long chain of internally linked keywords and phrases.
5. Quality is Job One: Reasons to Link to Your Site
Internal links are great, but the hardest aspect of SEO is convincing other websites to link back to your site. Google places a good deal of value to external links (links coming IN to your site) because it means you are an authoritative source of information on any given topic. Research shows that companies with a blog receive 97% more inbound links.
Blogging about the topics that interest you and you can be an “expert” in will greatly increase the opportunities for external links to your website… Search engines will reward you for being trustworthy.
6. Connected to Your Audience
A blog also gives you more opportunities to connect to your audience through Social Media. Writing something worthwhile on a particular topic and then sharing it on social media will prompt other like-minded people to also share that same link to your blog post on their social media feeds, leading to more traffic, which in turn increases the chances they find something else worth sharing on their social media feeds, leading to even more traffic. Blogs are the gift that keeps on giving!
A blog is a great way to organically increase your traffic, but it is also a great way to increase your influence and success.