Should my Business Website have a Blog?
This is a question we get asked over and over again, and it has a very simple answer. Yes. However when asked why they think they should have a blog as part of their website, many businesses aren’t completely sure of their answer. “Because we heard it’s good for our website,” we commonly hear. Or, “Karen in HR said we need a blog for our social media promotion.” While both of these answer are technically correct, they don’t completely address why (and how) you should blog on your business website.
How blogging benefits your website’s search engine optimization.
There are many reasons and benefits to having a well maintained blog on your website, but for the purpose of this post we’ll focus on one of the first things that comes to people’s minds when they think about online marketing, search engine optimization or SEO. SEO isn’t just one thing, it has many branches that help make up your overall search engine marketing (SEM) strategy. The term branch is used deliberately, as it is very much like a tree with the largest branch being the biggest strategy - content.
Content SEO is what will drive traffic to your website & increases its visibility.
Google has around 200 ranking signals that they examine, however there are three major ones at the top. By now you have probably guessed that content is in one of the top two spots (Google won’t say which one). Although long suspected by SEO experts, Google (in a rare announcement of this type), confirmed this in early 2016.
Great, you say. Let’s add more content to our website. We only have five pages promoting our business, there’s loads of room to add items to our menu. People will be able to surf our website all day! Well, you’re on the right track, but not quite. Although the number of pages (along with menu items) will differ greatly from site to site depending on their type of business, they should never expand beyond the core offerings. A large eCommerce site for example, will generally have a mega menu with many product departments and sub-departments on it which can already be overwhelming. Even then there’s a good chance that menu will never be seen with more than a glance, as 55% of users spend less than 15 seconds on a website.
Google is your website's navigation.
The Search Engine Results Page (SERP) is your website's navigation. People’s attention spans are short, and they don’t want to take the time to learn something new, even if it is something as simple as a menu or finding and using your site search (because it probably sucks, sorry). Google search they are familiar with, and Google has mastered search beyond anything your developers can come up with. Chance are if they don’t see what they want after landing on a page they will hit the browser’s back button and pick a different link, or change their search term instead of digging through your site for the answer/product/service they are looking for. This is where blogging come in.
A blog allows you to add as much related content to your site as you can write, without overwhelming or cluttering it’s main focus.
Your posts should be 90% informative content, and 10% selling.
This is one one the more common mistakes with new business bloggers. No one likes an aggressive salesman, so what makes you think that people will willingly sit there and read your five paragraph sales pitch that just reiterates information that is already available on your website? They won’t, and Google knows this. As Google’s algorithms get more intelligent, they are able to identify what your content’s context really is. Your well crafted sales pitch will ensure your post never make it to the first few pages of search results. Your really well crafted sales pitch could very well make it to the first page. That’s because you didn’t have to sell at all. Your post was so informative with the absence of any “hard-sell”, that it made you look like an authority on the contents topic (which you are, right?). And (content) authorities is what Google and other search engines like, and will tend to give higher rankings to.
Blogging helps you establish authority with search engines.
Content is one big way to help establish authority, but there's more. One of Google’s original methods of determining how authoritative your website was, was counting the number of inbound links it had. The more links pointing to it, the more authoritative the site most likely is. This is no longer the case. It was highly abused, and Google moved onto more advanced site-ranking algorithms.
So why should you care about getting linked to? Well for one, it’s simply good for business. Common sense says the more access points to your site, the more visitors you’re likely to have. But more importantly, as Google updated their algorithms and moved more towards content as one of it’s main ranking factors, they never abandoned backlinks (contrary to what many experts predicted). Remember back at the beginning of this post when I mentioned that content was one of the top two confirmed ranking factors from Google? I’m sure by now you can guess what the other one is.
Websites with blogs are up to 97% more likely to get linked to
The exact methods of Google’s modern inbound link algorithm is anyone’s guess. What is known is that sheer numbers don’t count (and can in fact harm you if overdone). Google wants to see “votes” for your site. A vote is a link from another website’s page containing similar content who has a higher content authority (or PageRank, as many still refer to it). If you have 97% more links than your competitor with no blog, there’s a good chance that a few of those links are from highly authoritative sources.
Great, so how do I accomplish all of this?
Gathering ideas and writing great content is a post all on it’s own. Same as inbound link strategies, lead generation, promotion, and tying everything together. As you may have guessed again, this is the first post of an ongoing series on blogging, content strategy and website promotion.
If you’re ready to get a start now, and need some help getting rolling (here comes our 10%), feel free to drop us a line about our new online marketing services.
Want to add a Blog to your SiteCM site? Need to learn more about web marketing?