Why blog for SEO?
Panda, Panda, Panda. Oh, and Panda. Plus, it makes you look good (we’re making grammatical exceptions for emphasis here – do as we say, not as we do!).
Good content – well-written articles, site copy, and blog posts – is extremely important these days. Content that has been written simply for the sake of getting something on the page isn’t going to fly anymore. Everything you put on your site (or release to the public in any way) reflects your business in the eyes of your site’s visitors and in the eyes of Google. Show the search engine that you value high-quality content that has little to no errors (hint: proofread twice) and therefore value your business presence online.
We have talked about why copywriting is so in demand after the Google Panda Update, but we haven’t really discussed why you have to create good, unique and relevant content. Yes, we covered the fact that good grammar and lack of bias are extremely necessary (hint: don’t shamelessly self-promote on your own blog. Save that for other places, like within your website copy or on your Facebook page), but why exactly should you spend some time daily or twice weekly (or however often you choose, as long as it is more than once a week) blogging about something related to your business?
So, why blog?
Not only does blogging provide a platform for creating keyword-rich, informative and relevant content for the Google spiders to eat up, and eat up often – but it also gives you an opportunity to show that you know your stuff when it comes to your niche. For instance, if you are a criminal defense attorney, blogging is a great way to discuss the implications of the outcome of the Casey Anthony trial. You could talk about why Jose Baez won this one, analyze his tactics, and relate them to defense law in general – like how important reasonable doubt is. Or, if you are a restaurant owner, you could talk about recent recalls of certain foods, or even the best foods to eat during the summer. The bottom line is, you need to reach out to your target audience, show that you are knowledgeable about your business, and gain the trust of your readers. Blogging is a wonderful way to engage your potential and existing customers and promote your business in an understated way; blogging says: “I care about what I do and I stay up to date with recent occurrences within my area of expertise.” Don’t you think people want to work with businesses that know their stuff, and that share their expertise with the wide-open Internet? You don’t have to say “My business rocks, here’s why.” You can show that your business goes above and beyond simply by blogging about what you care about- and doing so often.
Since Panda was rolled out, Google has been slowly cracking down on sites with poor content. At first, it seemed like content farms were the true targets of the furry animal inspired update, but since March, legitimate sites have seen their rankings drop for several reasons. One, they had duplicate content (meaning, several of their pages contained the same generic information). Two, they didn’t update their content enough (either what they had on their site was out-of-date, or they simply weren’t keeping their content active. Hello, beauty of blogging!). Or three, they had content, but it was poorly written, difficult to understand, and a grammatical nightmare.
So, if you are (1) trying to move up in the SERPs or (2) seeing your rankings slide (or, if you are afraid they soon will), then content should be your main concern. Though link building is still an important component of your SEO strategy, content is slowly taking over a larger and larger piece of the optimizing pie. It’s a component of SEO that simply cannot be ignored any longer.
But, I’m not a good writer
However, when your expertise lies elsewhere, it can be hard to get into the habit of blogging for your business. If you are an engineer, it can be hard to sit down and write about what you do, especially if writing really isn’t your thing. You have two options: (1) you can hire a copywriter, or (2) you can learn some good writing practices.
If you choose to go with option number two, then you have come to the right place!
Five tips for (awesome) SEO blog writing
1. The first and most important tip is: don’t be afraid to ask for help. If you don’t like writing blog posts, or you don’t have time to do so, outsource. Just make sure that the person you are outsourcing to can write well (ask for samples) and knows his or her grammar. Also, make sure he or she understands that the job requires researching current trends in your particular business. You could even offer a trial period: direct the person to write 3 or 4 posts for you over a period of time. If you like what they’re doing, then hire them.
2. Develop a personality as a blogger. You don’t want to bore your audience with simple facts about your niche, or with an essay-like blog post about all the dangers of electrical equipment. Don’t be afraid to be communicative or colloquial. Chances are, people will be reading your blog to size up your company or simply because they have some time during their lunch break and are interested in your topic. Either way, try to make it worth their while, throw in some humor and be engaging.
3. Use proper grammar. If you don’t remember all of those pesky rules from high school, consult a guidebook or ask a friend (or pay an editor!) to look over your work for grammatical errors. We’re all human and we all have little slip-ups here and there (so don’t drive yourself crazy), but make sure your work reads well, flows, and is generally sophisticated with regard to style. Michelle Lowery of Outspoken Media said it right when she commented: “I’m not saying your blog has to be perfect. Everyone makes mistakes. But there’s a difference between making mistakes and being completely indifferent to their existence. Blog posts can be well written without sounding like dissertations. Casual is not a euphemism for incorrect. There’s really no excuse for poor quality content, especially when there are easy ways to avoid it.” I could not have said it better myself. Which is why I didn’t even try (also, if you think about it, a good philosophy to live by if you are not into blogging and need to hire someone to manage your content).
4. If you are looking to incorporate keywords into your blog post, do your research. Don’t write an entire post about say, the benefits of pasta for weight loss (in your dreams!) and then go back and try to add “weight loss expert California” into the post at random intervals. The best way to integrate keywords is to formulate a topic around them. So, maybe you could look up what the other weight loss experts in San Diego are saying and doing. Then, go ahead and write a blog post about these experts. You’ll find it easier to squeeze your keyword in this way. Also, be tasteful – don’t stuff your content full of keywords. For a 300 word blog post, using 2 keywords, each 2-3 (3 may even be overkill) times, is plenty.
5. Go in-depth. I’m not saying your posts have to be as long as this one, but if you are writing about something related to your business, it is good to get pretty detailed. Not every post has to be lengthy, but it is definitely good to provide enough useful information for your reader. A good rule of thumb is to provide enough information so that if a person found your blog having known nothing about what you do, they could at least walk away with the ability to start or engage in a conversation about your topic.
Take away point
Don’t get overwhelmed at the thought of blogging two, three or four times per week. It is just something you have to do for your site’s SEO, just like link-building and using keywords are things you have to do for SEO. Blogging absolutely does not have to be a burden; chances are, if you are in your certain business, there is something you like about it. So, just rediscover what is interesting to you and blog about it. Show Google that your content is valuable simply by being engaging (and grammatically correct). Who knows, you may even enjoy yourself in the process!
Have any tips for blogging to add to this post? Is there something you like to see when you read a company’s blog? Tell us (something, anything!) on our Facebook page.