When our company began publishing websites, there were only about 1 million web pages on the internet – sounded like a lot then. But not when you consider that today there are over 47 billion published web pages. It is easy to see why getting found online is not as easy as it once was.
But that is only half the story. Customers have changed – or at least their buying habits have. There was a time when people walked into a store or called a service provider, expecting them to provide the answers to their problems. Today, by the time any contact is made, most consumers have already done at least some research online. They may have looked at a few websites, read a few blogs, followed a company on Facebook or Twitter, or (for business to business people) made some connections on LinkedIn. Today we truly are dealing with an educated consumer.
Today’s consumer is also quite wary of outright selling tactics. While it has become a hackneyed phrase, consumers want to do business with people they know, like and trust. They also want to know that a company not only understands their own business and industry, but also the needs of their customers.
What does this have to do with SEO?
The reality is that most of the initial contacts – the ones that help consumers decide which company will get their business – are made online. This happens before anyone speaks in person. The golden-tongued salesman with the great haircut and expensive suit has been replaced by a mobile-friendly website, an interesting Facebook Page and an informative blog. And that’s what makes competition from 47 billion websites daunting, and explains why SEO is even more important than it once was.
But SEO has changed
In the beginning, web developers (and search engines) concentrated on meta tags for keywords and descriptions. Registering a local company on Local Google and Local Yahoo all but guaranteed First Page results. We concentrated our efforts on adding key words to our meta tags and our websites. We added inks to directories and asked for back links from others. And for a time, that seemed to work.
However, search engines – and Internet visitors — have evolved. Everyone knows that meta tags are no longer used, and the key words that used to guarantee success are no longer helpful. Today, consumers use search boxes to ask questions. And search engines have responded by trying to provide the best answers. It follows that companies providing the best and most abundant content will attract more visitors and achieve higher search engine results.
Search engines want to provide the best user experience; they do that by scanning for fresh, up-to-date content. Their new algorithms now not only search websites, but blogs, on-line articles and even social media posts.
Why a blog?
A blog is an excellent content and SEO tactic. It allows companies not only to establish themselves as the people with the answers, but expands their digital footprint, giving search engines more indexed web pages to review and display to visitors. A regularly updated blog provides the “fresh” content that Google loves. It is also an excellent platform to expand on information a company would like customers to know. Each segment of a business can be explained and explored in detail. This “high value” content will not only give Google more pages to index, but will keep visitors on the pages longer, bossing their engagement and website rank.
Here are five really good reasons to have a blog – and post to it regularly.
- A Larger “Digital Footprint”
Every blog post becomes an indexed web page. Each new blog post gives you the opportunity to rank for a key word. Your links and back links increase as each page of a blog provides links to other blog posts, Once a visitor finds one post, there is a chance that they will continue reading other posts, giving you more SEO “juice.” Blog posts can also be sliced, diced and repurposed for Facebook, Twitter and other social sites. Google indexes Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter posts, which enlarges that footprint even more, and introduces our company to new audiences.
- Fresh Content
Google and other search engines seem obsessed with fresh content today. The reason may be that they understand that the world is moving quickly. They know that people are looking for the latest and most up-to-date information they can find; and no one wants to make a decision based on outdated information. Search engines interpret new blog posts as providing more current and relevant information. They admit that they give more weight to content that has been recently added, rather than the dated information that on a website that has not been updated in months (or even years!). Google even provides a search tool that gives only results from content posted within the past year, month, week, day and even within the past hour.
- Key Words!
Although search engine algorithms seem to change almost daily, the fact is that the search engine has to rely on words people type into their search boxes. These words become the “key” words. While people used to type one or two words into the search box and companies went to great lengths to “stuff” those words into their websites, Google and other search engines have gotten wise to key word “stuffing” and penalize that practice. They are now able to better interpret longer phrases. At the same time, searchers have become more adept at using longer phrases to find the exact information they are looking for. Blogs give companies the opportunity to focus on the words their customers are using to find what they are looking for.
- Social Media
The average American today spends nine hours a day engaging with digital media; 40 of those minutes are spent on Facebook. Blogs provide companies with the opportunities to engage with their “fans.” Information from blogs can be repackaged as Facebook posts, added to Google Plus pages and – with the right images – but turned into Pinterest posts. Tweeting a link to a blog post often results on “retweets” and “favorites.” This gives all of the “tweeter’s” connections a chance to read the blog. Also, as mentioned above, Google now indexes social media posts, giving your blog an even greater chance of being found.
Still not convinced?
According to Hubspot:
- Companies who blog receive 97% more links to their website.
- B2B companies that blog receive 67% more leads that companies that do not.
- By 2020, customers will manage 85% of their relationships without talking to a human.
This article was syndicated from Business 2 Community: Blogs and SEO – A Marriage Made in Heaven
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