Does Blogging Help SEO?
You’re reading this blog, aren’t you? End of blog…
The short answer is, yes is absolutely does. Let’s dive in a little deeper and discuss why it helps and what a website owner should be doing to maximize the impact their blog has on rankings.
What is a blog?
Sometimes there’s confusion about what a blog really is. In reality, it’s just another page on a website. Formally, a blog is an informal “diary style” of information posted in chronological order. Blogs got their start, if you will, from an average person writing about their life or topics that interested them. Some of these writers gained popularity and their content started ranking for competitive keywords. That’s when the industry started to take notice.
A blog is just like any other page on a website. When working with an affiliate marketing client, we once had an advertiser get upset because the were told a “blog” would be written about them. Content was written about the advertiser, but it was placed in the newsroom because the “blog” was for thought leadership pieces about the affiliate industry. This client made such a big deal about being in the newsroom and not the blog that the agency merged their newsroom with the blog. Crazy huh? They rebuilt their site because one client semantically believed a “blog” had more value.
Now, we’ll admit that some blogs do have a great deal of traffic, so appearing in the blog roll may have more value than a different sub-section of a website. In the aforementioned clients case, there was no difference in traffic or exposure. We highlight this example to show the misunderstanding about what a blog is, as it lives on a site.
How does blogging help SEO?
Visibility and Traffic. When blogging, the content should be relevant to the overall purpose of a website. A plumber in Colorado shouldn’t be blogging about the best jelly doughnuts in Wichita. When that blog is optimized, it should gain visibility for the related keywords. Although that might result in an uptick in traffic for the plumber, that traffic isn’t going to convert into anything meaningful for the plumber. Now, if the plumber is writing about how to unclog a drain, that traffic makes sense.
Increasing visibility through blogging can grab potential customers or in the case of a local plumber, might just be used to increase traffic to a site. In the example of our Denver plumber, a blog about unclogging a drain read by a person in Virginia isn’t going to lead to a job. However, the time the Virginia user spends on the site can benefit the site as a whole.
When a user visits a site and finds valuable information, they tend to stick around and move around a site. When they do this, it sends positive signals to search engines that there is something of value for searchers. When page views and time on site increase and bounce rate decreases, those are positive signals to Google. The result may be increased rankings, which results in more traffic to a blog post. This can have a windfall effect on other pages, including the homepage where the most important keywords are being targeted.
So, by targeting keywords in the blog which improve traffic to the site we are simultaneously improving the overall value of a site. In some cases, the keyword targeted in a blog may lead to a client or conversion, in others it may just benefit the traffic and visibility. Furthermore, Google and other search engines prefer to see a website that’s continuously updated with new information and products. By adding weekly to a blog, it’s signals to search engines that the business is active and should be considered am up-to-date resource for searchers.
What should I blog about?
Every industry is different, but it’s important to stay on topic for a websites typical traffic. Branching out too far can confuse bots and may negatively impact a website. In the aforementioned example about the plumber and doughnut shop, if the doughnut blog content was good enough, Google could misinterpret the value of the plumber’s website to be more about doughnuts than plumbing. That interpretation could drag down other plumbing related keywords and although traffic might be up for doughnuts, the plumbing business would suffer.
A qualified SEO, with the right tools, can help identify exact keywords that are being searched by potential customers. Many industry professionals think customers are searching for them in technical ways. However, what we’ve found is that customers often don’t know what they need fixed exactly and search for much broader terms than professionals expect.
We once had an HVAC client who wanted to rank for the keyword “Hot Dog.” It turns out that Hot Dog is a brand of garage heaters well known to HVAC guys. It also turns out that Hot Dog has a ton of search volume, but not for homeowners looking for garage heaters. So, ranking our client for Hot Dog, although entirely possible, wasn’t going to be in their best interest. We settled on “garage heaters” as a keyword and had a lot of high converting traffic.
When should I blog?
Consistency is the key with blogging. In a perfect world, a site should be updated as much as possible. The more valuable and unique content a site is creating, the better it is for SEO, if it’s on topic and doesn’t get too repetitive. Duplicate content on site, or copying content from other sites, can be a problem for SEO. Google likes to see unique content and past algorithm updates have penalized sites for plagiarizing other sites.
That doesn’t mean all site owners need to bring on a writer to crank out new content daily. Some industries might be evolving and writing a few posts a week makes sense. Other industries may have been around forever, and technology or processes may not be evolving at all. In that case, consistent content might not be possible. However, if a content strategy is implemented, articles should be posted around the same time. If a site is fetching a new article weekly on Wednesday at 9 am, then Google starts to learn and may begin crawling the site every Wednesday at 9 am regardless. As long as a site is practicing white-hat SEO strategies, having Google or other search engines crawling the site regularly is a positive thing.
How to get started blogging?
Understanding what searchers are looking for will help determine how to start blogging. The order in which keywords are assembled on a blog ca have a major impact on how many searches occur each month. For example, “blogging guide” has about 40 searches monthly, whereas “guide to blogging” has about 110 searches. The content created either keyword will be the same, but one set of keywords will have a higher likelihood of being seen by more searchers.
Contact a Cardinal SEO for help identifying keywords to write about or talk with us about our content strategies.