Blogs Are Hard! Five Reasons Why You Should Still Keep Doing Them
Whelp, I fell off of my blog this summer. Whoops! It’s so easy to sub those couple of hours of writing for a White Claw at the pool isn’t it? I blame summer! But really if it were 20 degrees and snowing in December I’d be blaming winter and red wine so let’s just be honest.
Blogs are super hard to keep up.
They’re a pain in the butt and unless you’re a food blogger sharing a recipe at the bottom (seriously have we figured out why it’s at the bottom, is it so we scroll through those annoying pop up ads first?) sometimes it’s easier to be out there doing actual work rather than posting about your work.
I get it, I live it. But look, I’m back on the blog. One thing about my blog specifically is that I’m not using it for the number one reason a blog typically exists – SEO health. As an integrated marketing specialist, having a website that performs correctly with good SEO is very important to me, but search isn’t my main goal right now. So why am I blogging? A couple of reasons. Below I’ve listed five reasons you should keep up your blog that can align with any business goal, including my own.
Let’s start with the big ones, the top three are specifically targeted to help with your placement in the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages), they’re why we started doing blogs back in the caveman days of the interwebs.
1. Fresh Content
A few Google animal algorithms ago it was decided that those of us who keep updating our website must pay attention to it and therefore must be putting valuable information up there. The crawlers (yep creepy crawlers, sometimes referred to as spiders too) explore the website to check out new content and make sure it’s legit and while they’re there they let Google know that they’re paying attention to you. If they’re paying attention to you, Google will too for at least a minute and if you have good content, maybe even longer. And if Google is paying attention to you, your ranking moves up.
What is fresh content? There are a few options for those of you who don’t want to start blogging. A blog is a strong option because it becomes its own page of new words and images, so it’s going to need a lot of crawling. But other things that can trigger attention from Google can be:
· Rewriting copy and adjusting your keyword strategy (see below)
· Event listings on a calendar
· Updating bios and new employees
· News and press clips
· Adding new links (see below)
· Adding new imagery
There are lots of little options that can give your website a fresh feel. But be warned, those of you who have been changing a few words here and there and considering it “fresh” your time has come. Google is now looking for concise and relevant content as well, so you can't just stuff it with jargon anymore. The crawlers are smart.
2. Keyword Strategy
If your business truly relies on online search to drive revenue, please take a minute and understand keyword strategy. (Here’s a beginner’s guide from MOZ to start.) The crawlers that are reading your website are reading all the different levels, your front-facing copy, your headline and your metadata. Most build-your-own sites have a way for you, yes you, to add your meta to a blog post or a page. It’s like a bookmark or a short cut for search engines to direct people to the main topics of your blog or your website. Your keywords are exactly how they sound, the main words you’d use to search for your website, those words have to exist on your site in both the front and the back end for Google to see you as a valid source.
On the back end you’ve got your metadata, on the front end you should also be working in those keywords to make your content relevant and have it match up with the bookmarks you’re inserting for the crawlers. Remember the spiders are smart, they want to be sure that if Google is directing people to your blog or page, that those people are going to get the info that they need. Don't try to implement the switch-a-roo by drawing someone in and then talking about something else, your ranking will go down for sure.
3. Linking Strategy
Here’s another SEO method that continues to gain traction in search engine algorithms. Linking strategy shows validity in your business. Here’s the deal, Google doesn’t know you, but it figures your business partners do. If your website links to a business partner's site, and that business partner has a good strong website as well, Google assumes that you are friends and that you both must be good business people. So that gives you major points.
Blogs let you brag which I’ll talk more about next. In addition to referencing articles that are relevant from credible sources, I use blogs often to reference past work and then link out to a website that is credible, well maintained and has a lot of web strength that my website can build upon. Take, for instance, my work as VP of Brand Integrity and Marketing for Sage Hospitality. I oversaw the creation of that site and its copy, that link I inserted helps give this blog a little boost. (And me a little street cred. Thanks Sage!)
Shifting away from the SEO strategy and more into the front-facing benefits of a blog, I'm sure you noticed my #humblebrag in the last paragraph. Blogs for businesses, consultants, tech companies, non-profits and even food bloggers are like mini white papers that allow you to back up the core content of your website with detailed proof about why you are the expert in something. They can be used as casual case studies to detail initiatives to your visitors, showing that the writer is an experienced resource in whatever they’re selling.
Remember when you’re writing a blog that, in most cases, there’s an abundance of work. Sharing what you know only makes you look like a more reliable resource. Include tips and action items rather than just skimming the top of things in hope that someone will have to rely on you (and pay) to do the work. Remember if the content isn’t relevant to the visitor, the crawlers will take note. And if you’re not giving tips, no one is going to read your blog.
5. Conversation Starters
There are five magic words that anyone who blogs lives for, “I saw your article online”. When organic traffic is flowing and the crawlers have decided your content is valid, a blog or a great webpage can really take off. But in the beginning while things are just getting started, you have to treat your new content like that famous saying:
If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?
If a website drops some new content and no one knows to visit it, does it even exist? Unless you are Martha Stewart and you just reinvented the Apple Pie, the news isn’t going to pick up your fresh content. When launching a blog, new landing page, event listing, any fresh content – make sure to use all of your marketing channels to drive to it. This can include:
· In-house marketing material
· Social media
· Email blasts
· The home page of your website (banner or news section)
Blogs are super hard to keep up on, until you start to see the potential they have when it comes to driving interest to your business. If your business can’t benefit from a blog, could it benefit from some fresh content on your website? Let’s get those creepy crawlers moving, don’t let Google lose track of the great things you’re doing.