With recent updates to Google’s Panda, Penguin and Hummingbird algorithms, fresh quality content has become the centerpiece of the modern SEO strategy. As a result, every business (small,medium or large) should seriously consider creating a blog.
First things first
Every business needs to determine what they hope to achieve by setting up a blog:
- Are they trying to establish thought leadership for their company/brand?
- Are they trying to build a channel to deep link to other content on their site?
- Are they trying to increase organic web traffic by targeting long-tail keywords?
- Do theywant to use the blog as a vehicle for reputation management?
- Are they looking to use a blog as a lead generation mechanism?
- Is the blog used purely for SEO purposes – fresh, unique content?
As one can see there are many purposes for starting a blog. Regardless of the end goal, if managed correctly, blogging can strengthen a business’ ranking in the search results.
5 Ways A Blog Can Boost SEO
1. Link bait: The quantity, quality and diversity of a website’s backlink profile is one of the top three SEO ranking factors. Creating fresh quality content and amplifying it across social channels is a great to attract backlinks from credible sources in one’s industry. Check and make sure that the websites linking to the content have high domain and page authority as these sites are the ones that will pass the most page rank, indicating the website is a valuable resource and should rank highly in the SERPs.
2. Social signals: Blog content should be amplified across a business’ social networks. This increases brand visibility, and will get content in front of a larger segment of your target audience. Search engines also use ‘behavioral signals’ as a ranking factor. Behavioral elements often refer to forms of user engagement, and will help search engines determine how relevant content is to a given search query. Social signals such as likes, comments, shares, retweets, mentions and +1’s are now weighed as strong behavioral signals. If people are engaging with content, Google views this behavior as a signal of value and relevancy, and will rank content higher in the search engines.
Tip: Don’t be afraid to share content multiple times over social networks as this will increase reach and engagement.
3. Traffic: Blogs are a great way to capture long-tail keyword traffic. Long tail keywords usually consist of targeted search phrases with five or more words. For example, a Boise law firm trying to rank for the search term “how to file for bankruptcy in Boise” might write a detailed blog post that outlines the legal steps and pricing for bankruptcy filing in Ada county. Long-tail keyword traffic doesn’t have the highest search volume, but it converts much better than broad search terms. People typing long-tail keywords are often closer to converting. For example, someone typing “running shoes” (head term) is probably in the research stage whereas someone typing “buy red Nike air running shoes in Boise” has decided what they want, and where they are trying to find it.
Google’s recent Hummingbird update demands long tail optimization. Today, 46% of consumers use mobile exclusively when performing research online, and voice search has facilitated the growth of complex long-tail mobile search queries. In order to capture this traffic, a business needs to ensure that they are creating ultra-targeted content.
4. Markup: There are two types of authorship markup.
Publisher (rel=”publisher”) markup is a rich snippet schema that can be used to provide visibility for companies and brands in the search results. Essentially, it connects websites (not people) to the Google + business page of the publisher. The Rel=publisher markup will show a link to the company’s Google + business page and recent activity (as seen below).
Authorship (rel=author) markup is another rich snippet that Google uses to develop a richer search experience. By associating real people with real content we are beginning to see more personalized search results based on social connections and user preference.
Articles written by verified authors will rank higher in the SERPs. Those authors with the greatest content engagement, and who have been placed in the most Google Plus circles (by other trusted authors) will rank the highest in organic search results.
“Within search results, information tied to verified online profiles will be ranked higher than content without such verification, which will result in most users naturally clicking on the top (verified) results. The true cost of remaining anonymous, then, might be irrelevance.” – Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt
Authorship markup can increase CTR by as much as 15-30%. Increased CTRs equate to more page views, and higher on site engagement, both behavioral signals indicating relevancy and credibility in the search engines. Be sure to send web traffic to relevant landing pages as this will reduce bounce rate and increase time on site (and conversions).
Finally, authorship markup adds credibility and context to the search results. Naturally, people like to experience a human element when sourcing content. Often, being able to put a face with the content is enough to build trust.
5. Keep it Fresh. Back in the day, Google only crawled and re-indexed pages a hand full of times a year. Today, they crawl websites almost every single day. Why? Because the search engine wants to deliver the latest (fresh) and most relevant (quality) content to users. This is where having a killer blog comes in. By regularly posting fresh quality content on your site, you are encouraging Google to come out and crawl your website.
Tip: Posting blog content onto Google Plus will get that content indexed immediately, and also get your website crawled regularly.
This is great for SEO because the more frequently a website is crawled the greater chance is that Google and other search spiders will find new content, social signals and backlinks, all of which will propel a website’s search ranking.
Finally, regular blogging gives you the opportunity to incorporate more of your targeted keywords into content, and deep link into other related on-site content or conversion pages. Internal linking passes page rank around your site, an often overlooked aspect on on-page optimization.
Tip: Instead of keyword stuffing content (this will get you penalized), focus on keyword proximity to internal anchor text. This is now a much more natural indicator of content relevancy, and will help keep the evil Penguin at bay.
Blogs are a powerful tool for generating quality backlinks, building social signals, increasing inbound web traffic and brand visibility. Blogging not only empowers businesses to improve their search ranking, it also helps businesses grow their brand and generate more leads. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a small local business or large national brand, having a blog that is regularly updated with quality content is critical for SEO success.
Is blogging part of your SEO strategy?
By Robbie Richards.