Benefits of a Blog | May 2nd, 2011

A few months back I touched on the value of having a blog, but I think it’s worth taking a more in depth look at the hows and whys.

The goal of any search engine is to provide the best user experience possible. When someone enters a set of keywords, they should receive the highest quality information in return. There are several key factors that influence a website’s ranking, and a blog can integrate many of these factors more easily than a standard website.

The more information you provide, the better you rank.
The average website is probably going to have 8 to 10 pages of content at most. A blog can provide several pages of content. Write useful or entertaining articles once a week, and you can easily have over 50 pages of content within a year. Assuming that you are writing articles that tie closely to your industry, you will likely have keywords in your content that also appear on your regular website. It gives you more online exposure. A word of advice, though. Don’t write your articles with the single intention of filling them with keywords. It will most likely backfire on you. Your goal should always be to provide an enhanced user experience.

Search engines like frequently changing content.
A large percentage of businesses will never change the content on their site. Once the website is launched, it becomes easy to sit back and assume it’s doing its job. However, it may develop “forgotten website syndrome”. If the search engines don’t see new pages on your website, they’ll assume there is no need to take a second look at it. As a result they may rank sites with more recent changes higher than yours. A blog helps to keep your site on the radar. A properly maintained blog allows you the freedom to post fresh information on a regular basis. In addition, you can use services such as Ping-O-Matic to send notice to the search engines that you’ve made updates.

Search engines want original content.
It wouldn’t take long for an internet user to give up if they entered a keyword search and came up with a list of websites all featuring the exact same content. Original content is important. You must write the articles yourself. Do the research and read other articles, but write the article in your own words. There may be occasions when you’ll want to repost an entire article that you feel will be valuable to your customers, and there is nothing wrong with this provided you get the author’s permission. Just keep in mind that reposts will not rank as high, so don’t do it often. Don’t like writing? You could try soliciting articles from experts in similar, but non-competitive businesses in exchange for a link back to their website. If you have the budget, you may also be able to hire a copywriter to piece together content for you.

Search engines like links.
You can easily link to your website from your blog, which may help draw a search engine’s attention to those pages. It may also be beneficial to provide links to other websites (provided they are useful, quality links). This indicates your intention to provide quality information, and it enhances your visitor’s experience as well. Most blogs provide a sidebar for links, but you can also link keywords within your content to another page or site. As with everything, use a little restraint. If you’ve got 20 links in a paragraph of text, the search engines may think you’re just plain up to no good.

Never forget the humans.
Sometimes we get lost in the how-do-I-get-more-people-to-visit-my-website mindset, and we forget that a blog is really a vehicle for human interaction. Have a conversation with your clients and potential customers. Offer them something that is educational or enlightening, and never forget to be genuine. Ultimately it is not about the search engines, but how people view you and your business.

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