I hear a lot about blogs – maybe because I’m a blog writer, but bear with me here. I hear they are great for search engine optimization and I hear they are great for generating brand awareness; but what I rarely hear is exactly how they are good for these things.
“Blogs are good for SEO,” gets thrown around like it’s self-evident – like it belongs in the Declaration of Independence along with life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. “Blogs build brand awareness,” issues forth from the sky like the disembodied voice of James Earl Jones in Field of Dreams – “If you build it, they will come.” But again, there seems to be little in the way of actual explanation. At the end of the day, I’m left with more questions than answers. Today we look at six ways a blog helps your business – three that help your SEO efforts, and three that build brand awareness (with some wiggle room for overlap between the categories).
Blogging for SEO
Everyone knows that blogging is good for search engine optimization. But just how can regular, quality posting to a blog help to increase your online presence? How far can you climb on the back of a blog? While the search algorithms are in a constant state of flux, there are (at least) three ways that a blog will help in the long slog of search engine optimization: increasing your real estate on the SERP, sending fresh content signals, and growing your keyword set.
SERP Real Estate
Every page on your website is an opportunity to make an appearance on the search engine results page (SERP), and blogging is one of the easiest ways to increase your page count. If those pages are keyword focused and provide real value, then every new blog post is another chance to own SERP real estate.
Increasing the number of times your business appears on a given search has two main benefits: it raises the likelihood of earning clicks, and it positions your brand as an expert in the field. As I said above, most of these reasons overlap between SEO and brand awareness; and SERP real estate is no exception.
The internet loves fresh content. But I should define what I mean by fresh – it is not just the same old stuff, re-worked and rearranged to look new; but genuinely fresh and new. It doesn’t need to be ground-breaking, but if your blog posts just mimic ten thousand existing posts Google has little reason to reward with a top SERP position.
If you can create fresh content on a consistent basis, then Google and their friends will reward you with increasing SERP visibility. The internet is a hungry, hungry hippo; and there is never enough fresh content to gobble up. So, producing more new content than the competition will attract attention, and more search engine attention is always a good thing.
Balancing the right keyword density is a difficult task – especially if you are aiming at a wide set of targeted words and phrases. Getting all those keywords and phrases onto your standard pages could easily lead to content that looks keyword stuffed and hurts the UX. By running a blog on your website, it is much easier to expand your keyword set in a natural and organic way.
Blog posts allow you to expand your keyword set in three ways: (1) by targeting niche keywords that aren’t worth the real estate on your main page, but can still contribute to your business; (2) by give a place for specific long-tail keywords that can’t be organically worked into your standard content; and (3) allowing for keywords that are tangential to your industry, but important to your customers.
Blogging for Brand Awareness
Blogging isn’t just for search engine optimization. It is also a powerful tool for generating awareness of your brand and establishing it as an industry leader (even if only in the smallest of niche markets). Brand awareness and SEO have some serious overlap – especially in our increasingly digital landscape; but there are still ways that blogging helps to raise brand awareness outside of search engine optimization: inspiring confidence, building name recognition, and increasing social shares.
Consistent blogging is hard work – and to pull it off successfully you need to have in-depth knowledge about your topic. By regularly posting to your company’s blog, you can show off that hard-won knowledge to the world and position your company as a source of relevant information. Building up confidence in your brand takes time – but more important it requires you to be presenting quality content to your customers and potential customers.
Being the most knowledge company is your field doesn’t help if you never share that knowledge. A blog can be an industry proving ground – a place where you go to flex your knowledge muscles and win over skeptical customers. Building a blog that inspires confidence won’t happen overnight, but through consistent, quality work your blog can be the place where you win customers through your industry expertise.
As argued in the SEO section, blogging will get your name out there; and name recognition is vital to building brand awareness and loyalty. The good thing about name recognition, it that it requires very little effort on the customer’s part. Unlike inspiring confidence and earning social shares, name recognition only requires someone to see your brand name – whether on social media, SERPs, or mentioned on another blog.
The real power in name recognition comes from its cumulative effect – the first and second and tenth exposure don’t do you much good. But by the time someone has noticed (even subconsciously) your brand for the 15th or 20th time, the impact starts to become obvious. Customer’s brains begin the make connections between your name and the industry you operate in. Building name recognition may be one of the subtler benefits of blogging – but over time it is also one of the most powerful.
Social media is all the rage with kids these days, so I don’t think I need to belabor this point. But it is foolish to overlook the value of earned social media shares. If you’re blog is good enough to earn social shares, you are doing something right, and probably already understand the value of a productive blog. Getting the point of earning organic social shares isn’t easy, I’m not going to sugar coat it; but if you put in the hard work you can sit back and watch your brand awareness go through the roof.
Producing content that generates social media buzz is extremely difficult – it’s a crowded field, you must offer real value, and you need to self-promoting like a champion. But you can accomplish it by offering a unique voice, crafting quality content that answers real questions, and effectively getting you content pushed out to consumers.
The Bottom Line on Blogging
So the masses are right. Blogging is good for SEO and it’s good for brand awareness. But at least now we know why – and hopefully have an increased motivation to finally get started. It isn’t easy to consistently produce quality content, but the payoff can be huge. From increased SERP real estate all the way down to social shares, the bottom line on blogging is that it can increase your bottom line.
Fusion Group USA can build you a custom, easy to manage blog as part of an integrated web design package. And if you need additional help we also offer help with all stages of content creation, social media presence, and brand development. If you’re ready to harness the power of blogging for your business, contact us today!