Just a short time ago, the #1 online marketing strategy was Link Building. If you wanted high search engine rankings and to attract new website visitors Link Building was extremely important. The reason being that search engines view links to your website as a vote for the quality and relevance of your site….this gave rise to an industry around building links to websites which meant that people with bigger budgets could buy links, directly or indirectly.
But things have changed dramatically. Google has improved its SEO radar and made it much more difficult to dominate rankings by simply building links. The latest Google Panda and Google Penguin updates, have devalued some of the more shady and low value link building strategies and placed increased importance on quality content. This does not mean that Google does not still recognise quality links to your website, it just means Google’s search algorithm is evolving in line with Google’s #1 priority – QUALITY CONTENT.
That’s why Blogging is now an essential part of an online marketing campaign for any business.
Here are 5 essential components for using blogging in your SEO strategy:
#1 – Know what people are looking for and blog about it
Keywords (or search terms) are the cornerstone of any SEO program. You’ve got to know generally what your potential customers are searching for to build an effective SEO and web marketing campaign. But as search engine giants like Google keep improving their algorithm, you need to have a more subtle approach to targeting your keywords.
Instead of simply making a list of 10, 50, or 100 target keywords and “going after them” with tactics like link building, you need to think more about what people are after in terms of valuable content.
As Google gets smarter, it gets better at figuring out whether your content is really about “Sydney Plumbing” (for example) or if your content is just TRYING to be about “Sydney Plumbing.”
As Google gets smarter and has countless web pages of content to compare against it is recognising what should appear on a web page for a particular keyword versus content that has been “over optimised” for that keyword. When Google looks at a page it determines relevance to a keyword based on what is around it, e.g. references to “apple” will be further categorised by whether other words on the page are based around computing or fruit. That is to say Google knows, based on other competing websites, what should be appearing on your web pages.
Blogging solves this problem by allowing you to publish frequent posts about lots and lots of topics related to your business, your market’s interests, and all the rest. When you’re updating your blog frequently, you can provide lots of valuable content many times over, targeting keywords and their variations with links between relevant pages for what you are blogging about.
#2 – Blog Frequently & Use Internal Links to Make Google Revisit & Index Your Site
The goal of link building is to get the attention of search engine robots and quite literally POINT them to your website. It’s a way of saying, “Hey, look over here! This is my website and it’s about Sydney Plumbing.”
Link building does still work, particularly from content-related web pages with quality content. It still helps search engine robots find their way around the web. But now search engine robots are much much MUCH smarter. They know when you’re giving them too many signs and can recognise natural linking patterns versus spammy linking practices.
Blogging does a much better job of helping search engine robots find you. You can use internal linking to build links from every blog post to your other blog posts and/or website pages to give search engine robots further guidance.
As you post more and more content and your authority rises Google will come back more and more and assign more value to your content.
#3 – Make Your Blog Easy to Share
These days, Social Media is the online marketing superstar. There’s so much emphasis on Facebook fan pages, Twitter updates, and all the rest. Social Media is all about SHARING, but you can’t share effectively (or profitably) unless you have something valuable to share.
When you’re frequently updating your blog, you’ve always got great stuff to share on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and anywhere else you’re trying to build a social presence.
What’s the point of being social inside the vacuum of these social media networks if you NEVER send visitors to your blog or your website? You can still share updates and other’s content, but the idea is to create great content on your own domain and share it so you can attract visitors to your site and business.
Plus, Social Media is organic. That means you need to post lots of great content on your blog so people can organically find your content and then organically share your content.
Blogging opens this door for you. It’s so easy to add widgets and plugins and buttons to your blog. You can make it easy (even encouraged) for your blog visitors to share for you. The more sharing, the more it ties into the new Google changes.
In many ways, blogging was the first form of social media on the web. Social networks are just tools to make sharing and interacting easier. But blogs still take priority in this equation.
#4 – Blog to Add Value
Website conversions aren’t exactly part of SEO but ultimately this is the real reason for doing any online marketing. Blogging is one of the most effective ways to add new visitors to your website sales funnel.
Blogging is great because it simultaneously attracts AND converts website visitors.
It’s a way of offering free information, free resources, and free content to your prospects. If they are reading your blog article it is because they are interested in the topic you are writing about.
Blogging allows you to open the conversation with your prospects in a non-salesy and non-aggressive way. Then, you can easily move blog readers from your blog post to your email sign-up forms or your sales and order pages.
If you blog frequently, you’ll have great content to offer your new visitors as well as your returning customers, enhancing and building relationships.
#5 – Blog to Keep Google Happy
Google is like any other website, if visitors don’t find what they are looking for then they will use another website, so it is in Google’s best interest to keep on providing relevant results. “Google isn’t interested in helping websites, Google is interested in helping searchers.” Google’s goal is to provide VALUE to its web searching customers.
If that’s Google’s goal then providing value needs to be your goal as well. The deal is simple: YOU provide value and GOOGLE will reward you with search engine rankings. Blogging is one of the best ways to do this.
So if you don’t already have a blog or are not blogging frequently, here is your action plan:
Step #1 – Setup Your Blog
We recommend WordPress for your blog. Furthermore, we think it is ideal in most situations to use WordPress for your main website which means the blog is directly integrated. If this is not possible, install your WordPress blog at www.YourWebsite.com/blog (in other words, ON your domain). If that’s not a possiblity, then an off-site blog will work with a little more planning.
Step #2 – Keep Your Blog Simple
Your blog should reflect your main website (if it is not part of your website), but keep the design simple using your main website logo in the header. You really only need 2 key elements on your blog — good content and a conversion element. Your conversion element can be as simple as a place for people to sign-up for your email newsletter.
Step #3 – Blog Frequently
“If you fail to plan, you plan to fail”. The same goes for your blog.
Plan your blogging schedule…you might find it easier to write your blog posts in batches and then schedule their publication date. The key is to stay regualr and consistent with your blogging.
Ideally, you should include an image with every blog post — especially if your business lends itself to the visual (food, travel, retail, etc).
We also recommend hooking up your blog to your Facebook and Twitter profiles and providing social media “buttons” on your blog…..make it easy for people to find and to share your blog through social media.