Blogging for business: What are the SEO and brand benefits?
For many, blogging has become shorthand for content marketing – the sum total of their content creation efforts and a core component of online operations. For others, the whole idea of blogging seems somewhat irrelevant, a mistress who once charmed but has long since been kicked to the curb, long-term goals failing to align with tangible deliverables.
No matter which camp you’re in – committed lover or bitter ex-blogger – there’s a good chance you’ve never quite made the most of your digital podium, and with some strategic refinement you could find yourself falling head over heels for the ‘B’ word once again.
For us, there are three main benefits of business blogging, two of which you may be completely oblivious to. However, when combined effectively they can catapult your customer acquisition rate, so here’s a brief guide to rekindling the spark and making your blog blossom.
Blogging words of wisdom
Needless to say, the main purpose of your blog is to engage your audience and frame yourself as a voice of authority in your particular niche. Writing a post should not be seen as an exercise to feed your site with fresh pages or indeed to demonstrate that your business is still alive.
Your blog should be a stage to share your knowledge, experience and expertise, implicitly qualifying you as a trusted service provider, ultimately winning custom off the back of giving away practical advice or telling inspirational stories.
However, where many people go wrong is to treat their blog as a sales platform, boasting about their wares and slamming product benefits down the proverbial throat of readers. Alternatively, some limit their blogging to merely blurting out the latest goings-on at company HQ.
Neither approach bodes particularly well.
In 2017, savvy digital natives don’t like being sold to in the traditional top-down manner. Nowadays, people are much more likely to shop around and look for genuine help when making purchase decisions – in both a B2B and B2C context – so publishing thinly-veiled advertorials will get you nowhere.
Likewise, telling the world that Gary from accounts has got a promotion or that your sales team has been gifted a new fleet of company cars (as they are doing so well) is equally unlikely to be worthy of the webspace it’s published on, or indeed inspire your audience.
At the end of the day, you have to ask yourself why you are producing this article and whether what you’re writing is adding value to the wider context of your niche. Will people find your posts useful, or at least entertaining? Do they answer questions people are actually asking?
If the answer to these questions is no, then you risk undermining your entire content strategy.
Essentially, the aim of the game should be to provide as much insight as possible, taking time to fully research each blog post to ensure your content calendar is in line with the type of material your target audiences are likely to engage with, backed up with reliable facts and information that adds credibility to your brand.
By all means, you can discuss your products and services, but instead of fixating on USP’s, look to explain how they can be applied in a practical sense, or how they might aid your potential clients with innovative solutions to problems they face. Oak Furnitureland, for example, do a great job of turning their blog posts into useful guides, offering advice such as How to Create the Perfect Dressing Room Table in Your Bedroom.
Their own products are occasionally featured and linked to, but so are products from other retailers and high street shops. The emphasis is very much on sharing stylish ideas and explaining how to create the look for yourself. The ‘soft’ sell effect comes into play when loyal readers then look to the retailer when it’s time to freshen up their furniture, associating the brand as an ideas hub that also sells great products.
Helpful blogs boost your reputation, and are therefore integral to long term conversion rate optimisation (CRO).
Blogging for on-page SEO
Regularly publishing high-quality blog content can seriously enhance the authority of your website, seeing you quickly gain traction in organic search. Here’s a brief rundown of the SEO advantages:
The more content you have on your site that directly addresses the questions asked by your potential customers, the greater chance you have of ranking for a variety of relevant search queries. Google loves to return a result that most closely matches the intent of a search query, so provided you undertake keyword research and naturally weave target phrases into your copy (rather than stuffing them in) you’ll be increasing the likelihood of people finding you in organic search.
After analysing one million articles, BuzzSumo found content of 1,000 words or more performed significantly better than shorter posts, so bear that in mind when planning your output.
More really can be more powerful, provided you make quality your policy and create truly engaging resources instead of waffling on for the sake of it.
Internal links also play a huge role in signalling what your most important pages are to the search bots, so blogging allows you to create a content hierarchy of semantically related content that naturally raises the prominence of your best assets.
Search bots read hyperlinks as signposts to other content, allowing them to efficiently crawl your site, so more blog posts means more opportunities to hammer signposts down in the ground.
If you scan back to the top of this page, you’ll notice we’ve linked to our content marketing service page in the opening paragraph with the anchor text “content marketing”, raising its prominence and increasing the chance of it appearing when people search for that term.
Internal links also increase the time people spend on your site, clicking from link to link to browse related content. This reduces your bounce rate (when people immediately navigate away from your site without looking at a second page) and lifts your average session time – both ranking factors which Google take into account.
At the end of the day, the longer people spend on your site, the greater the probability is that you publish quality content that engages your audience and matches searcher intent. Google realises this is a signal of authority and you’ll be rewarded with higher rankings.
Google is on a never-ending mission to deliver the very best user experience, so the search bots will use whatever knowledge they can to ascertain the quality of your site.
Check out our in-depth onsite optimisation guide to learn everything you need to know about making your blogs more SEO-friendly.
Guest blogging for offsite SEO & PR
The majority of online marketers seemingly limit their blogging strategy to beefing up their own little corner of the Internet, but there are multiple benefits to submitting guest posts to high-authority websites.
Firstly, you’ll be extending your reach by putting your content in front of a wider audience, one which is relevant to your business niche. This has the two-pronged effect of raising your authority amongst industry peers, while also potentially opening the door to new customers.
Secondly, it gives you great content to share on social media. Having an article published on Contently, one of the best content marketing websites in the world, was a real feather in our cap, which we proudly tweeted about.
— Bespoke Digital (@Bespoke_Digital) August 8, 2017
Thirdly, and perhaps most importantly, there’s plenty of ‘SEO juice’ to be gained from securing citation links on premium websites relevant to your business. This is because search bots regard links as a form of recommendation, so the more ‘recommendations’ you have from trusted websites with high editorial standards, the more trustworthy your website looks, and the stronger your rankings become.
The key is to research the best websites pertinent to your niche, and look for gaps in their recent posts, highlighting what content you can produce to fill the void, and stating how your expertise promises to keep their audience hooked.
However, there’s no point in approaching tier 1 publications unless your onsite strategy is up to scratch, as high-profile editors will want to check the quality of your work before commissioning an article. You should also be wary of Google’s warning on large-scale article marketing and follow best practice advice on how to do it properly.
Having great onsite blog content also gives you more freedom to link back to your website within the body of your article rather than solely in the author bio. What is more, being consistent with publishing up-to-date, informative material significantly increases the chances of others naturally linking to and ‘recommending’ your content – the most natural and sought after form of link there is.
We’ve successfully overseen outreach campaigns for clients ranging from forklift truck manufacturers to stainless steel urinal suppliers, so there’s no excuse to give up on your blog, no matter how challenging the subject may be.
Publishing insightful, targeted content that matches real world queries will see your rankings soar, especially if you complement your words of wisdom with SEO best practice advice.
If you’d like to discuss the benefits of blogging further, and you’re interested to learn more about our services, please call us on 0117 230 6010 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. We offer a free SEO consultation and will propose a high-quality strategy to get your site firing on all cylinders.