Not Just For Bloggers: Why You Need a Business Blog
If you think a blog is just for ‘bloggers’, think again. A business blog helps your website stay in the game.
When most people hear the word “blog”, they think of food blogs, travel blogs, mommy blogs, fitness blogs, gossip blogs… but smart B2B and B2C businesses host successful blogs that complement their products and services to build trust, share their human stories, and create loyal customer followings.
They also use them to boost traffic, improve search rankings, and grow their businesses.
Why business blogs matter
There are many, many factors that affect where your business’ site falls in the search engine results pages. Was the site’s content recently updated? Does it contain significant keywords or the entire phrase from the search, and are the words in the right order? Is the content the right length, and high-quality? Does your site contain useful content that answers visitors’ questions? Is your content receiving social traffic?
What if I told you that all of these search ranking factors — and more — can be resolved by having a business blog? Yup, they sure can.
A content-marketing blog (sometimes referred to as “brand journalism”) provides helpful, educational material that answers questions, establishes your brand’s position of industry expertise or subject-matter authority, and encourages specific audience behaviour.
Other variations focus on the story of your business from an insider perspective. They build awareness of your brand, tell your story rather than promote your products or services, and offer glimpses into the daily business that make you feel human and relatable. The Adobe Life blog illustrates a big brand doing this well.
Here are five reasons you really, really, really need a blog.
To quote a Google software engineer, “when you search Google, you’re not searching the live web. Instead you’re searching Google’s index of the web which, like the list in the back of a book, helps you pinpoint exactly the information you need.” Cool, but what does that mean for your site?
The Googlebot crawls the web searching for new information to update its indexing system, Caffeine. Each time it crawls your site and finds new quality content, it sends data back to Caffeine. More frequent indexing means more opportunities to achieve a higher search ranking. Similarly, a site full of old content that hasn’t been updated can actually have a negative impact on search ranking. The simplest way to regularly produce fresh content that scores a shot at elevated ranking is through a blog.
Need help actually creating that content? Read 13 Tips to Improve Your Copywriting for Better Search Rankings.
Keyword stuffing used to be the way to cheat SEO: excessive use of keywords in content to trick search engines into thinking it was relevant.
The good news for consumers is that search engines like Google cracked down and now penalize sites for keyword stuffing in weak copy. The bad news for brands looking for shortcuts is that now there’s a genuine need for well-written copy that, among other quality requirements, contains not only keywords but also long-tail phrases. Bonus points if the copy matches the person’s search intent.
You can try to work all of the keywords and phrases anyone might ever search into your products, services, and other pages, but there’s a pretty good chance it will come across as desperate. With a business blog you have the freedom to write about any topic, and can easily incorporate a small handful of these terms in each blog.
Quality and quantity
Google’s algorithm loves quality content so much that it’s constantly finding new ways to identify it — and to identify weak content: thin content (containing less than 500 words or, worse, less than 300), and duplicate content in which whole chunks of copy appear in multiple pages, are penalized and can even be de-indexed. De-indexed! Your page wouldn’t come up in search results.
You’re also judged on the quality of your images, the time it takes to load a page, and if your site is responsive to mobile visitors. Heck, your content is even judged on the quality of the content you link to. Google search is serious business.
A business blog with eye-catching images, engaging (and useful) text, and encouraging navigation to other parts of your site will keep users hanging around, and assure Google that your site is legit.
Usefulness is pretty straightforward: does your content do something for visitors? After conducting their search and being directed to your site in the results, does it provide the information it promised? Or does the user bounce upon landing due to a slow-loading page, sub-par visuals, or a lack of actual answer to their question?
User behaviour informs page ranking, telling Google that your content is relevant, good quality, and useful. While your products or services might actually be the end solution that would answer someone’s question, few people will Google “why are my brakes squeaking” and book an appointment with the first mechanic that comes up. However, a blog on an auto shop’s website that answers that exact question and provides insight into the business can establish trust and lead to that conversion.
Keyword research can help you understand the paths potential customers are taking to find you, and turn their questions into quality blogs.
Ok, there is no confirmed direct impact on rankings from social signals. That said, think about what social does indirectly for your site, and how pairing it with a blog can achieve awesome results. Social media and SEO are actually a killer dynamic duo.
Inbound social referral traffic from a targeted audience that needs your specific product or service can improve your website performance and user engagement metrics. When people land on quality content, they tend to stick around. Those numbers inform your search ranking. It can also increase credibility through positive reviews, which are in turn are part of brand loyalty and conversions — leading to even more positive reviews that impact your search ranking. Thanks, social!
A business blog is a great way to connect with your audience on a human level, share your expertise, and really win people over. It’s also the simplest way to meet Google quality standards and improve your site’s search ranking. The blog you’re currently reading is a big part of how Forge and Smith connects with our own audience and shares what we’re passionate about.