Every blog post you write is another web page that has the opportunity to rank well for a specific online search of your ideal clients.
Quality, on-topic, strategic blogging will attract people to your website years into the future, allowing you to cultivate these leads online, and grow your business.
Improve your website ranking with blogging
Google is biased towards fresh, recently-created content rather than older content. So websites that are being regularly updated with regular blog posts (I recommend once a week) rank higher than older websites which are rarely updated year-to-year.
How blogs and social media work together
Blogs and social media are like ebony and ivory – they grew up together and work beautifully hand-in-hand. Some social media channels are called ‘micro blogging platforms’ and business owners often make the mistake of thinking blogging is too hard and concentrate on social media marketing instead.
Here’s why that’s misguided:
- You have little real control over social media channels. They change at a rapid pace, as evidenced by Facebook’s move forcing business page owners to pay to reach their fans. You own and control your blog.
- Social media activity, no matter how frequent and engaged, has next-to-no search engine benefit to your website if there’s not enough links between them.
- Blogging makes social media marketing so much easier by giving it a focus. Cute and funny pictures will only get you so far. Publishing regular blogs will give you natural fodder for your social media channels, to encourage fans and followers back to your site, where they’ll hopefully read more than one post, look around at your sales page and, with any luck, sign up to your email list.
- For social media marketing to improve your website ranking, you need to have lots of activity (ie: web traffic) between your site and your social media channels. There’s only so many times you can invite your Facebook fans to view your sales pages or list of services. However, a punchy, provocative, informative and topical blog post? Now that’s a reason to invite people ‘round.
- As well as improving your search engine ranking, blogging allows you to educate and inform people on what you do and why you do it, to illustrate your expertise, explain your point of difference, position yourself as an expert and authority in your field, attract press and joint venture opportunities, and start your product creation (whether a book, DVD, e-course, or other).
The golden, unbreakable rule
Among less tech-savvy audiences, blogs still suffer under the misconception that they are low-quality. When blogging was still fairly new on the scene, SEO professionals realised that they could manipulate rankings by writing lots of content stuffed with key words and phrases that they wanted to rank for.
So we had countless crappy blogs with low-quality, bleedingly obvious information that, for a time, ranked well before Google and other search engines got wise to it and changed their algorithm.
But all the fancy (or graceless key-word stuffing) SEO manipulation in the world can’t trick Google forever. Google’s job is to serve people the information they are seeking as quickly as possible. If too many searchers arrive on your blog, attracted by a captivating title,you’re your blogs have no real substance or value, people will quickly recognise this, leave your site, and Google will move your blog post down the ranking accordingly.
Your web visitors help, or hinder, your website ranking, by staying on your page to read it and move on to your other captivating web pages, or bounce away quickly and reenter their search terms to help improve the results.
Always blog for people, not search engines. Remember, search engines’ clients are people, not robots.
The cost of blogging
I’m continually amazed that so many tiny businesses with miniscule budgets continue to pursue marketing that has little or no return on their investment, while overlooking channels such as blogging which are free and easy.
If you’ve spent months attended boring networking events for next-to-no benefit, or investing in expensive advertising seen only by your competitors, stop wasting your time and money and consider this:
- Some 91 per cent of online adults use search engines to find information online (Source).
- Among search users, 91% always or most of the time find the information they are looking for (Source).
- What do you do with your yellow pages or white pages paper directories? I take them from the kerb directly to the recycling bin.
Stop thinking about social media as a means to increase new clients. Yes, it does this too, but it has many more valuable uses – digital word-of-mouth and social validation, being just two.
The case of two types of people
Let’s pretend that two people are searching for a health retreat-style holiday in Bali. Both have decided that some relaxation and pampering is in order and Bali’s the place.
Person one is details oriented, conscientious and a bit of a geek. She spends considerable time on Google collecting information from different Bali retreats, which she transfers into a spreadsheet, comparing location, inclusions, cost and other key factors.
Person two is considerably more happy-go-lucky (or, as person one might put it, lazy and haphazard). She gets on Facebook and asks friends and family for suggestions on any recommended Bali retreats.
Both searchers go about things differently but Bali retreats with an active blog and social media community around them are at a distinct advantage. Why?
Person one finds only some of the Bali retreats websites, not all, because those with blogs rank far higher and some, with no blog and badly set up, don’t rank at all.
Blogging gives social media community something to talk about, so person two is inadvertently indirectly by this as their friends and family have heard about one retreat more than others.
No matter how details-oriented, people one is still likely to be influenced by word-of-mouth recommendations. Having decided on the top two retreats, person one returns to their websites to look for signs of which one is superior. Guess who wins? The one with plenty of social media activity, blog posts with lush detail of what to expect and highlights of Balinese culture.
What to blog about
- Google has a great, free Adwords Keyword Tool that shows you what phrases people use to search for your business. Put any search phrases you think people are using into the tool and it’ll show you better opportunities. You’re looking for phrases which are relatively high in popularity while relatively competition.
- How do you do things differently to other, similar businesses? Why?
- Are you part of any online like-minded communities, like private Facebook or Google Plus groups? These are great sources of blog inspiration – whatever common questions and topics are being discussed are great blog fodder.
- What do you clients ask you about all the time?
- What do clients struggle with?
- What interesting questions do your inquiries ask you?
Time to start blogging? Or perhaps you’ve lost that blogging feeling? Join me at my upcoming Blogging for Business course.