Many people think that social media networks have completely replaced the old-school blog; that websites such as Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, and Pinterest have made blogging obsolete.
While it’s true that online content is posted and consumed in many more formats (vertical short-form videos, podcasts, 24-hour stories, etc.) than it was just a few years ago, this doesn’t mean blogging has lost its place and purpose on the internet.
Quite on the contrary, if you’re looking to bring more users to your website through SEO (search engine optimization), creating a blog on your website is one of the best ways to start.
Long story short: When people have a question or are looking for something specific on the internet, where do they go? 99 times out of 100, they’ll turn to their favorite search engine.
A blog will help search engines find your website, and will show search engines that your website is worth ranking at the top of the SERP (search engine results page).
Your killer blog posts will demonstrate your site’s value to search engine bots that crawl your pages, and it will deliver that value to visitors, who in turn will be “wowed.”
These positive experiences will help build momentum for your business in a variety of ways: increased traffic, shares, conversions, etc.
Now that we’ve got an overview of how blogging and SEO are connected, let’s dig into some specific benefits a blog will bring to your website and business.
You’ll find that blogging improves not only the user experience of a site (which in turn benefits your SEO), but multiple technical SEO aspects as well.
If you have a website and a business within a certain industry, then you must have achieved a certain level of expertise in that field
Blogging is the perfect format to show off your advanced level of knowledge, and help spread that education to your users.
Not only will site visitors benefit from this learning and come back time and time again for your content, this reputation as a reliable thought-leader will be detected by search engines.
So don’t be shy about your knowledge, in order to reap the benefits and gain authority for your website, be loud and proud about the topics you know inside and out!
Create content that you can provide a unique take on or present in a new format, and don’t be afraid to include references to your own professional experience as it relates to the industry.
Blogging is a great medium to humanize your business and create meaningful connections with your target users.
Most other landing pages on your website will be succinct, information-heavy and conversion focused, but blog content is free from the strict confines that landing pages often have.
While it’s important to maintain your sales message throughout all of your content and include CTAs where applicable in your blog content-with blogging, you have the freedom and flexibility to explore relevant topics and important issues that your target audience cares about within your industry.
In a blog, users can pick up on the unique voice of your business. Rather than a strictly transactional relationship, you can be informative, entertaining, and engaging.
Let your audience get to know your brand’s personality, and give your content a unique flair that will make your website memorable.
In an entirely over-crowded online environment, this will give your business a leg up among the competition.
If your business’s offerings do not vary over the course of the year, or even many years, then it may be easy for a website to go weeks and months without an update to any of its pages.
The problem is, if your site never gets refreshed, it may signal to users and search engines that your website is inactive or that its information is outdated, and therefore, inaccurate.
Even if your business is alive and well, a website that doesn’t reflect this is likely to drive promising leads away.
Users aren’t as likely to trust information on a page that is 5 years old as opposed to what’s written on a page that’s 5 months old.
Remember: the goal of search engines is to serve the user, to provide them with the results they want.
Search engines know that users don’t like outdated content, so they are less likely to rank old content higher.
However, it doesn’t make sense to constantly update your homepage-that may confuse visitors and bots on what your website’s all about.
That’s where blogging comes in. You can use a blog to keep your website fresh with new content that is relevant to current hot topics in your industry, and you won’t have to worry about making drastic changes to your homepage all the time.
Providing new content on a consistent basis will encourage users to return to the site, increasing your traffic and your chances of converting that user!
In addition to signaling that your website is active and chock-full of industry expertise, blogs can do even more to improve your site’s user experience.
You can create blog posts directly answering common questions you receive from leads and customers. This will help visitors get the clarification they need, before they may even need it.
This creates a more seamless journey down the marketing funnel, which is a key to driving more conversions through your site.
You can also produce content that explains industry jargon and other background information that visitors may need to fully understand your products and offerings.
By hosting this context right on your blog, you prevent users from needing to go somewhere else to gain this understanding.
For example, if you mention how one of your products solves a niche problem or improves a certain step in a complicated process, you can link to a blog post that gives a further explanation on that problem or process.
That way, you can help users get the understanding they need, without making a product or landing page overly wordy.
You can’t talk about SEO without talking about keywords.
Keywords are the words and phrases that users type into the search bar when making a query. Your target keywords are the search terms that you want your web page to show up for in the results.
To figure out your page’s target keywords, you’ll need to do some keyword research to figure out the best terms you should aim to rank for.
Finding the right target keyword means striking a balance; it needs to be a term that is relevant to your page and one that your target customer is likely to use in search, and it also needs to be worth competing for.
For newer and smaller websites, extremely popular keywords will be quite difficult to rank for, and it’s more effective to find terms with slightly less competition.
If you don’t have a blog, you’ll rely on your landing pages and product pages to target all the keywords for your site.
This isn’t the best move because you can only target so many keywords on a page, especially when the page is focused on getting conversions for a particular product or service.
With a blog, each piece of content gives you the opportunity to target new keywords. You can experiment with incorporating long tail keywords and LSI keywords into your keyword strategy.
There will often be a few giants in each industry that take up the top few results for many keywords. This can be frustrating, but it doesn’t mean the little guys can’t rank at all, especially if they’re using the right strategy.
Another key topic in SEO is backlinks. And yep, you guessed it-a blog can drastically improve your chances of earning quality backlinks.
A backlink is a link that is located on another website, and when clicked, brings users to a page on your website.
Backlinks are a major ranking factor for search engines because they indicate that your website has domain and authority.
In other words, backlinks show search engines that your website is worth linking to, and has something valuable to offer users within a particular field.
It can be difficult to obtain quality backlinks for your website, though. You can’t buy them-search engines have become sophisticated enough to discern whether a backlink comes from a reputable source or a spammy, untrustworthy site.
So how can you convince other websites to link to your pages?
Creating stellar, unique blog content is the best way to start. Case studies, in-depth guides, and deep dives make for great sources that others can use within your industry for their own purposes, and then link back to you for credit.
Experimenting with other formats such as videos, infographics, lists, and how-to manuals could also drive backlinks, if your piece presents the content in a new, engaging way.
From there, you can reach out to other websites for guest posts on their blogs, or invite them to contribute to your blog. That way, parties can link to one another and the benefits will be mutual. The same goes for industry influencers, or thought leaders in related industries.
Brand mentions will give your website some serious cred; it’s great exposure for your website to be mentioned through a social media post or share.
You’ll be exposed to a new audience, with the potential of going viral. That could be a LOT of new traffic coming to your site at once!
Content posted via a blog is more likely to be shared than a website’s homepage or landing page.
Keep in mind the opportunity for social sharing when developing blog content. Bite-sized, easily digestible pieces of content are more likely to be reposted than a novella on a certain subject.
An internal link is a link on one page of your website that brings users to another page on your site.
Although this may seem like a simple, innocuous concept, internal links can actually help the SEO of your website a great deal.
Internal links help search engines understand the structure of your site better, and how pages are related to one another. They’ll analyze the keywords on each linked page, to then identify the overall subject matter.
The better Google understands what your business is really about, the more the search engine will put you in front of the right audience.
Blogs can help bolster the internal linking structure of a site. You can create topic clusters around the major areas of your website, or another organizational structure-whatever makes most sense for the user’s navigation of your website.
If a user clicks onto your webpage then immediately off, this is bad news for your site.
You want users to spend time viewing your content, and then move onto other pages on your website, hopefully ending with a conversion.
That’s in a perfect world, and it’s completely unrealistic to expect every visitor to your site to convert. But you can start by increasing the amount of time users spend on your site.
According to one study, 52 seconds is the average time spent by a user on a single webpage, across all industries.
However, much more effective than comparing your metrics to this random benchmark is to track how your users’ average time on page changes as you execute your SEO tactics.
To begin increasing this average, you need to give users a reason to stay on your website. And a blog, with a variety of different pieces and topics to peruse, is the perfect way to get visitors to stay a while and poke around.
From there, you can insert your CTAs and really hook ‘em. Just remember, you have to offer users something of value first, before you can expect anything in return.
A web page is indexed after it has been visited by a search engine crawler and analyzed for its content and meaning. The information derived from the analysis is stored in the Google index.
Only web pages that have been indexed and follow Google’s webmaster guidelines will show up on the SERP. So, indexing is a pretty big deal for pages that you want to rank.
Your website builds authority as Google indexes more and more pages that it deems as quality. High authority goes a long way in ranking.
However, if you aren’t constantly adding more products and offerings to your site, then you probably don’t have a reason to add net-new pages to your website very often.
A blog can fix that. Each new post will be a reason for search engine bots to visit your site and crawl the new page. Google will index each of these posts, and better understand your site after each one.
By this point, I hope we’ve convinced you that there are plenty of benefits to blogging on your website.
But wait, before you go start drafting your first post, read on to learn our top tips for SEO blogging.
New entrants to the SEO space quickly realize how wide and complex this world is.
From on-page SEO to off-page SEO, the hundreds of technical SEO changes that can be made, and all of the different KPIs and metrics websites can be optimized for, it’s easy for SEO to seem like daunting and endless work.
However, there is an economic principle that can save website owners the scarce and precious resources of time, money, and energy.
The Pareto Principle, commonly referred to as the 80/20 rule, goes like this:
80% of results come from 20% of the effort inputted.
In terms of SEO, this means that just a small portion of your SEO activities, one fifth, will contribute to most of your website’s progress and success.
If you have a small team dedicated to your site’s SEO (maybe even a team of one, you), it will be crucial to focus on the areas that will bring the high returns to your business.
You may not have the bandwidth to dedicate to less impactful projects (and you aren’t alone in that!)
This is where the 80/20 rule can help guide your SEO strategy. The key is figuring out what exact tactics fall into that magic 20%.
For most websites, it will be following the major on-page SEO principles. If you’d like to learn more about on-page SEO, check out our guide here.
If you apply the 80/20 rule to the blog content you consistently post on your website, you’ll be golden.
We talked about how a blog will allow you to target a wider scope of keywords on your site, and how this can benefit you with more rankings and increased traffic.
When choosing keywords for your blog content, be careful not to target the same keywords that you do on your landing pages, otherwise you may commit keyword cannibalization on your site.
Keyword cannibalization occurs when too many pages on your site target the same keywords, thus confusing Google on which page to rank higher. The prioritization of your pages can get pretty skewed in these cases.
To get the most out of your blog, you’ll want to be able to draw people in and provide them value at all points of their customer journey.
Let’s get a quick refresher on the different stages in the marketing funnel.
First up is the “Awareness” stage, when the subject recognizes the problem at hand and the need to find a solution.
Next comes the “Consideration” stage, where the subject is learning about possible solutions and evaluating their options.
Finally, there’s the “Conversion” stage, when the subject has decided which solution is best, and is ready to purchase.
After a lead has converted into a customer, they can then continue their journey to “Loyalty” (being a repeat purchaser) to a particular product or company, and later on even a “Advocate” (someone who promotes the brand via word of mouth or other channels, on their own accord).
A piece of content geared towards someone in the beginning stages of the funnel, when they are still weighing out all options, will look very different from content that is catering to someone who is very close to making a purchase with the company.
Having a variety of pieces on your blog will ensure that you are attracting as many qualified leads as you can, no matter where the individual may be in their purchasing journey.
Once you start your blog, the possibilities are endless!
But that’s also the problem-the possibilities are endless. How are you supposed to decide what to create content about, what format it should be in, and how to make sure your blog isn’t a hodgepodge of disjointed pieces?
A content plan will help you lay out the plan for your blog in a thoughtful, organized manner. The plan should be based on the goals of your blog, and be informed by research of your target market.
Once you know what you want to get out of your blog and what your target audience wants to see, you’ll be able to choose topics to write about and select target keywords to utilize.
Next, you can lay out when these pieces of content will be published on a content calendar. This will allow you to visualize your blog, and help you make it a reality.
To help you get started, download our 4-step SEO strategy guide. In addition to helping you build a content strategy, this guide will also help you develop customer personas, identify your target keywords, and select your KPIs.
If you miss one deadline, that doesn’t mean you have to throw the whole calendar out the window. Remember to be flexible and patient in the beginning, and even a bumpy start will smooth out eventually.
After putting hours of work into your content, it’s just as important to put effort into promoting the amazing content you’ve just made.
Although it’s tempting to hit “Publish” and be done with the post forever, you won’t be maximizing the post’s potential.
Share your work out on all social media platforms for the business, and encourage others to do the same. It only takes a few clicks and views to get the ball rolling, and then you’ll see the traffic and engagements that follow.
A successful blog requires creativity and flair, but it also requires data analysis and strategy.
In order to improve your blog’s performance, you’ll need to carefully track how it’s doing.
The best way to do this is through Google Analytics. From this tool, you can figure out what are the exact metrics and KPIs you’d like to track.
To start, we recommend tracking the following metrics:
Page views show you how many people visited your post. This is a great place to start, even though it won’t tell you too much about your post.
You can use page views to judge if the topic was something people were interested in, or if the headline was especially eye-catching.
You can use this metric combined with other metrics to get deeper insights to your post performance.
For example, if your page got a lot of page views but most of those users only visited one page during their session, maybe you were on the right track with the topic of your blog post, but you could improve the CTAs within the post, and place in a few more opportunities for users to visit other parts of your site.
Tracking a user’s time spent on the page will inform you how if users have actually found what they’re looking for once they’ve clicked onto your post.
If a lot of users click off right away, maybe it could be that your headline was misleading, or the formatting of the content could be improved for better formatting, easier readability, or less distractions.
Pay attention to the posts that users stay on for a bit longer. What was different about those posts? How can you bring those aspects to your next post?
Pages per session indicate whether or not users are motivated to keep exploring your site and see what else it offers.
Make it clear what else users can find on your site on each page, without taking away from the actual content of the post. If you signal that there is more value to be found on your site, users will be encouraged to visit more pages.
This metric shows you how many times a person comes back to a particular post or page.
If you get a lot of returning visitors to a page, this is something to pay attention to as it shows that the page is offering continuous value to the user.
While conversion rate optimization is a little different than search engine optimization, the two go hand in hand, and one can never be ignored in favor of the other.
The whole reason you want to bring more traffic to your website through a blog is to drive more conversions, so it is absolutely essential to keep track of which posts successfully execute this strategy, and which posts fall short.
Remember that content will be targeted toward different stages of the marketing funnel, and the goal conversion will look a little different at each stage.
There is no magic threshold you must hit before your blog will start benefiting your site’s SEO.
The general rule of thumb is, more blog posts on your website = more traffic to your site.
There are a few caveats to this rule, of course.
First, you must remember that quality trumps quantity. It is better to post fewer, higher quality blog posts that users actually want to read rather than thin content with clickbait headlines.
Next, you must avoid keyword cannibalization at all costs. As previously discussed, keyword cannibalization hurts your chances of ranking. This is avoidable with a well-planned content strategy.
The amount of time and resources dedicated to a website’s blog will vary based on the company’s size and bandwidth.
To get an idea of how much you need to blog to keep up in your industry, you can take a look at your competitors.
That way, you can get a sense if others in your industry are posting once a day, once a week, or twice a month.
Whatever they’re doing, you can work to post just a little more frequently to win out against them in the SEO space.
To run a successful blog, consistency is more important than frequency.
While posting more often can certainly help to bring in loads more traffic, your efforts will be far less effective if these posts only occur in erratic spurts.
You can show your reliability and professionalism by consistently posting the same number of posts per week or month. You should keep the day of the week and time of day as consistent as possible, for good measure.
You should blog as often as your business needs it. If you have a lot of topics to write about, the need to bolster your website with pages and information, the desire to connect with your audience often, the ability to create high quality content on a frequent basis, then all of these will be great justification to blog more often.
If you have lots of evergreen content on a well-established website, you would probably need to blog less than a new startup that has just started its website, and you would focus on keeping your existing posts updated with the latest information.
It’s important to recognize your limitations when it comes to blogging, and figure out a schedule where you can find consistency within those constraints.
Though blogging has been around for longer than SEO itself has, it remains as one of the core tactics to bring more organic traffic to your website.
Blogging, done well, has the opportunity to bolster your site’s reputation and expand its reach to new, qualified audiences that will delight in what you have to offer.
With careful strategizing and metrics tracking, you’ll be able to use what you know about your customers and your site’s performance to make your business grow through this classic inbound marketing tactic.
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