Blogging is a crucial piece of online marketing. Blogging is very important to grow your website for some very important reasons:
- Expresses news and opinions about your company to your target market. Better educating your target market about your business is critical for consumers to make better buying decisions. The successful business knows that their product/service isn't for everyone; it's for a specific group of buyers and the better you can communicate your business's message to that group the higher your market share will be in your given market.
- Gives Google, Yahoo, and Bing a better idea of what your business's website is about. The biggest flaw with search engines is that they are based off of computer algorithms. The best a computer can do is "make decisions" based off it's programming. So a search engine can only rank your website higher if you're giving it what it is looking for and what search engines look for is content about specific keywords. This is where business blogging comes in.
- Increases the opportunity that the online community will spread your marketing for you. Having your blog's content spread across the online landscape is a two-fold benefit. Obviously, the more people that read your content are going to learn about your business, expanding your marketing region. But when your content is really good and useful, other websites with relevent themes will possibly link to your website. This process, called back-linking, is the number one way that you can increase and hold your position at the top of the search engine rankings.
So how do you write a blog with SEO in mind? You don't....you write with quality and useful material in mind. This is according to Google, who's firm answer whenever asked about how to get ranked higher is "Write for readers, not for search engines." Remember, you're not in business to be a bigger business. You're in business to provide something for your customers and by doing that you'll become a bigger business.
Going beyond blogging for the reader
There are still some things you can do beyond being a "customer-minded" author that can help get your message out.
- Now as with all pieces of SEO, you must realize that there is no piece that is the SEO solution to getting ranked higher. SEO is a combination of many tools used over a period of time. Use all the tools at your disposal and be patient!
- Know what your keywords are! This seems like its easier than it is, but alot of business have a hard time describing what their business is and narrowing that down to 5 key phrases is especially tough. So I tell my customers to think of one keyword and then use keyword tools to expand that. For instance, try Googles Adword Keyword Tool (don't worry it's free and you don't have to have an Adwords account to use it). For instance, entering Pocatello Website Design into the tool gives me a list of potential other keywords, how many searches a month those keywords have, how stiff the competition is and if the keywords demand is shrinking or increasing. Wow! This isn't just a great SEO tool, it's a great marketing tool! So based off of my keyword choice I can see that Best Web Design, Good Web Design, Web Design Tips,and HTML Web Design all have relatively low competition, a good amount of local searches and increasing popularity. I've found four other great keywords to describe my website in just a matter of minutes.
- Use bolds, italics, underlines and <emp> tags in your content to highlight keywords. Most content management systems (Joomla!, Wordpress, Drupal...etc.) will have an editor with very similar controls to familiar word processing programs, making bold, italics, and underlines easy to use. However, a new tag called "Emphasis" and written in html as <em> is pretty cool. Using this tag, you can "highlight" a keyword without changing it's look. So using your editor enter your html source (it's usually a button that has two red <> over a document for an icon) and type <em>your keyword</em> where your keyword is located. The search engines will see this and give extra concern to that keyword but your readers won't see anything unusual.
- Enter keywords in alt-text, anchor tags, article titles, header tags, and metadata information. Alt-text is the little text that displays when you mouse-over an image or displays if the image isn't visible. If using a CMS, you'll need to learn how to enter this in but it's usually an option when adding a new image. Anchor tags are similar to alt-text but they are the optional information that displays in a link when moused-over. For instance, hover over the Google Adwords link above. You'll see "Find great keywords for SEO blogging". Article titles usually available when using a CMS and usually become the title of the html page that is displayed. However, some website owners don't use a CMS and enter in the article title into the article itself, usually surrounded by <h1> tags. These are header tags and are very useful in blogging. The words "Going beyond blogging for the reader" above are in an <h2> tag, for instance. Last but not least is the meta information. Many SEOphiles will tell you that these don't matter anymore but I beg to differ. Your metadescription is what appears underneath your webpage title in a search result, which can be the difference between a searcher visiting your site and not and meta-keywords are just one last place to explain what your webpage is about to the search engine.
- Last but not least is to mix up your keywords when using them. Try to change the verbage for them frequently and try avoid repeating the same phrases over and over. Instead of Pocatello Website Design I might use Eastern Idaho Website Building, or Website Design in Pocatello, Idaho. Using the same keyword phrase over and over is considered to be spamming by the search engines...even if you aren't spamming. So mix it up. Besides by doing so you give yourself a higher chance of ranking higher for searches entering these new keyword phrases.
Once again, SEO is about using all the tools at your disposal over a period of time. By being patient, savvy, and diligent your website will continue to grow, continue to climb the rankings, and most importantly, convert visitors into sales.
What do you think? Do you agree or disagree? Have other great tips for getting found online? Please share them! Let's continue the conversation.