Hi Im Jason Hennessey from Everspark Interactive
You have probably noticed how many websites these days have blogs attached to them. Often they are used to tell users the latest corporate news and for random posts about company activities. In fact, blogs are one of the most under utilized features added to websites particularly when you consider how useful they can be to your SEO efforts.
Aside from the SEO aspect of including a blog on your website, they are a great way of socializing with your prospective customers and presenting a more personal image of your business. Generally speaking, there are a lot of benefits to running a blog on your site, so long as you put some time and effort in to it.
Usually you can create a blog with your existing website fairly easily, and in most instances it can be up and running in just a few hours. However, before you begin adding content it is important to consider what exactly you want to achieve with your blog, especially in terms of SEO. Search engine optimization for blogs is different to that applied to other types of websites. This is largely due to the social nature of blogs and the various sharing elements that are often included. With a blog, your SEO efforts need to be less concerned with search engine rankings and more focused on grabbing the attention of visitors.
So where do you start? It is a good idea to think about the kind of content you will add to your blog and its value to your visitors. Remember your content needs to be relevant to your website and business or search engines may not include it when they rank your site. A blog can really aid your position within the SERPs particularly if many people subscribe to it and post comments which can also count as unique content. So try to ensure your content is attention grabbing and of value.
How can you find inspiration? You may already have lots of ideas for content but it is a good idea to discover what people are looking for right now in the hope that you can grab them and pull them through to your website. Try running searches on trend related tools like Google Trends, Yahoo! Buzz Index and Technorati. All of these will give you an insight into what people have been searching for in the last 24 hours.
What about keywords in your content? If you want your blog to complement your SEO efforts then applying targeted keywords to your content is a must. Be sure to use keyword rich titles and include them and other related phrases within your content a few times in each post. Adding keywords to content is not always an easy task, particularly when it comes to long tail keyword terms, but what you need to remember is that successful optimization of your content relies on it reading naturally to your human visitors, who you want to link to it, rather than simply appeal to the search engines.
What about linking to the blog from the homepage? Many websites add a simple text link or button to their homepage which is often overlooked by visitors. If you want your blog to grab the attention of your visitors then it is worthwhile having a plugin or widget installed to promote your blog content on your homepage. Avoid using ones which shows only your most recent posts. Instead it is a good idea to promote your most popular content especially to people who are new to your business. Why? Because featuring your most popular content will place visitors just one click away from accessing your best content and in turn gives you a better chance of obtaining those all important links. Promoting older content in this manner will also help new visitors to get a better understanding of your business without the need to write similar content over and over again.
What about optimizing your blog pages? One final consideration when it comes to launching your blog is to consider how your blog is optimized and how it will affect your SEO strategy. One of the biggest stumbling blocks is the categories used to sort content. It goes without saying that you category names should be optimized with keywords, but try to limit your number of categories to no more than 20 rather than having literally hundreds of different categories with only a handful of posts in each. Tags are another area that needs to be considered. These too should be keyword orientated and relate to the posts they are attached to as they will help your visitors find the content they are interested in. Also be sure to add anchor text links to previous posts, as not only do they improve usability for visitors they also help the search engines crawl deep within your site and improve your rankings.
There is so much more to utilizing blogs for SEO purposes. What is important however, is ensuring that the content you publish is original, credible and valuable to readers. Blogs represent a great way to tell visitors about new products and services, offers and sales and your latest news, but more importantly — they are invaluable when it comes to SEO, helping to boost your online credibility and creating trust with the search engines.