The most important rule of blog management and creation: if you aren’t going to regularly update a blog, don’t bother creating one at all. Nothing looks worse than a blog that hasn’t been updated in months. It represents a lack of care for customers and contributes to a negative overall impression. While many companies think they need to jump on the blog bandwagon because everyone else is, many don’t realize exactly why everyone else is.
The truth is, an active blog has many benefits, including:
Google’s Freshness Update
Google’s Freshness Update has shown just how much importance Google is placing on showing up-to-date, fresh information in its search results. This is a major reason for websites to ensure they are continuously updating their existing content as well as publishing new content.
Blog posts also fall under the category of pages that search engines love to crawl and index. Not only should companies be updating their regular website content pages regularly (ie, their About Us and Contact Us pages), blog posts should be the medium through which significant additional value is added to readers, customers, and potential customers. They provide that dose of freshness that search engines are looking for.
Blog Content Mix: Company News & Unique Value
One of the types of content that’s great for SEO and readers alike is company news, which can include new hires, products, services, or new locations. These types of posts are filled with information (such as employee names, product names, and city names) that users might be searching for in search engines. They also reveal what’s been happening in the company recently, which is useful for potential customers, and shows Google that the company takes customer service seriously, making them a better candidate for displaying prominently in search results. Google’s emphasis on fresh content stems from its desire to provide the most up-to-date information available for website visitors, because this gives users a better experience.
In addition to existing readers and customers that can stay updated from these types of news items, new visitors will also appreciate a cohesive view of what the company has been up to recently. This could lead to repeat visits or even a contact that could translate into a sale.
A good mix of blog content includes unique news releases specific to the company as well as articles that offer compelling, actionable value to readers. While writing informational or insightful articles for a blog is excellent, throwing in once-in-a-lifetime news pieces as part of the company blog provides even better variety.
Engaged Readers = More Traffic & Visibility
Search engines are currently building in personalized search to more accurately find the right results for their users. This means that companies need to meet that need by focusing their blog content on what’s most engaging for their readers. This happens by writing content that answers questions or fosters discussion. In other words, it’s important for bloggers to stay updated in their industry and write posts that educate and keep reader interest.
Blog posts that usually do well have a great title (such as those that begin with “How to…” or “## Reasons Why…”), can capture initial interest, while unique opinions or resource round-ups can keep it. To write posts that are engaging to readers, look at what gets most traffic and social shares, and prioritize writing about those topics or in that format. For instance, if video blogs generally yield the highest traffic, replacing one written post with a video equivalent may actually take less time (depending on editing) and could have a higher impact.
And that’s where it all comes full circle: higher reader interest and more engagement results in better overall site and blog traffic. Great content is the best form of natural SEO.
Gain Exposure and Credibility, and Google’s Authorship Effect
Writing great content will naturally lead to better exposure, both through social media and other blogs and websites. Active social media users and bloggers love to share great content with their own audiences that they believe has merit. Because Google and Bing have incorporated personalized social search into results, blog posts written by companies or individuals with an extensive social network are often shown more frequently and prominently in search results, thus leading to more traffic.
In addition, when a blog establishes itself as an authority in its field, it will be more likely to garner inbound links, which are a core factor in the ranking algorithm. More exposure for a company’s blog posts online will indicate to both online readers and search engines that a company’s website (and by extension, the company) is a credible source, building brand loyalty, improving conversion rates, and resulting in better visibility in search engine results pages.
This effect is amplified when Google Authorship is implemented, which causes search results to include authorship markup, placing an image next to links in search results. These images draw the eye and attract more clicks, resulting in higher traffic, more leads, and more sales. Additionally, Authorship has been shown to increase the average ranking of pages on which it is applied, due to the effect of Author Rank.
Being seen as a credible resource in the industry should be the top priority for all companies looking to build an extensive online presence. Luckily, a blog is the first step to becoming an industry resource, while vastly benefiting the overall SEO initiative.