The general public’s reaction to the word “blog” has changed radically in the last decade and a half. From its humbling beginnings as a cutting-edge way of distributing content and tales of your study abroad semester in Germany to its more nebulous current form, its ubiquity in the modern internet is undeniable. Hey, you’re reading this, right?
At some point, though, blogging lost a bit of its sheen. It ceased being exciting or new and instead became something mainstream – something required. And since every website under the sun has their own blog, well, what’s the point? Why do you even need a blog nowadays? Can’t you succeed without it, pocketing the time and money you would gain by cutting it out of your content strategy for something more useful? Isn’t social media the new frontier, anyway?
The fact of the matter is that, yes, blogging is still important, but not just because everyone seems to be doing it. Blogging helps your website and your business in a myriad of ways. Smart blogging can help you get a leg up on your competition. Here are some reasons why.
Blogging is Evidence You Care About Your Brand
What makes a brand a Brand? Is it the colors? The products or services provided? The fancy logos it might use? Great social media use? Those are definitely factors, but they are not, strictly speaking, the brand itself. A brand isn’t the thing. Rather, it is the perception of the thing. As Forbes puts it, “Your brand name exists objectively; people can see it. It’s fixed. But your brand exists only in someone’s mind.” That’s why phrases like “brand reputation” are so important.
Whether you intend it or not, blogging says something about your brand. Let’s put it this way: you go to a website to hire someone to do a service for your home. Both have similar features, pricings, and websites. One website features a blog that’s up-to-date. The other features a blog that hasn’t had any new content in two years. Which company seems more impressive?
An up-to-date, high quality blog says that your business is committed to providing relevant content to its customer base, even if that’s not what you think your blog says. To frame it differently, like Tan France of Netflix’s Queer Eye fame would say, making an effort truly matters. Regular blogging says that your business is active and that it cares about its appearance and its continued relevance. Remember: your brand is what people think of it. Looking good matters.
Blogs Take Great Advantage of Long Tail Keywords
Of course, blogging serves a purpose beyond mere eye candy and reputation. If your blog is well-constructed, it can be an absolute gold mine in the world of organic search results.
In fact, blogs should be a core part of your search engine optimization (SEO) strategy because of long tail keywords. Long tail keywords are distinguished from normal keywords (or short tail keywords, if you want a quick joke) in specificity and purpose, and they are very lucrative to pursue.
Let’s say you’re visiting Go Local’s headquarters in the greater Kansas City area, and you’re rightfully looking for a BBQ place at which to eat. You could search “BBQ” or “Kansas City BBQ.” You’ll get search results about restaurants across the metro, and you’ll also get information about the cuisine and history. But if you search “BBQ restaurant with burnt ends Overland Park,” you’re more likely to get a relevant search for you because you have included three separate search terms:
- Type of BBQ desired (restaurant, not history)
- Kind of food desired (burnt ends, not pulled pork)
- Area in metro desired (Overland Park, not Blue Springs)
That is a long tail keyword.
By their nature, long-tail keywords aren’t as common as more general searches. But they are extremely specific, and that specificity means that there is less competition for those particular strings of words. Furthermore, those who search long-tail keywords are further to the bottom of the sales funnel. They know what they want, and they are looking for that thing. If you provide them the thing they’re looking for, you don’t need to do as much selling to them.
This shows up in the data: A search with one or two words averages a 1.5% conversion rate, but a search with six words results in a 2.5% conversion rate.
It’s pretty difficult to assemble an SEO strategy for your website proper to be suited for long-tail keywords. If you do, you’re likely going to lose out on the higher volume terms, even if they’re harder to compete for. But blogs let your website compete for these delicious morsels of keywords by focusing on even the niche-est of terms. And via your blogs, you can direct them to your product or service.
Blogs Positively Affect Your Site’s SEO as a Whole
SEO isn’t just about optimization for specific pages. It’s an approach and a mindset. Good SEO practices are about ensuring that your website is relevant and useful to its core audience and equipping search engines to recognize that. Importantly, it’s not the other way around: Content is important because people are important.
Google and other search engines are pretty good at recognizing that, too. If you think about it, it’s in Google’s best interest not to value SEO “shortcuts” like keyword stuffing because, if searchers aren’t getting what they want when they search, they’ll look somewhere else. Doing technical things is important so that your website registers for the keywords you want to rank for, but there’s no real shortcut for being an authoritative voice in your field.
In Google terms, this is called E-A-T, which stands for:
In other words, does your website have expert knowledge in a particular skill? Does your website have a strong reputation? And is your website worthy of trust? While individual pages on a website can and do have different E-A-T scores, there are facets of how Google calculates this that apply to the entire website, and that is where blogs can help.
If your website has high quality blogs about topics relevant to your business, your entire website will enjoy the benefits of that added expertise, authoritativeness, and trust. A rising tide lifts all boats. Well-performing blogs will assist the SEO of the rest of your website, which translates into higher positions in organic searches, which turns into into higher clicks and conversions.
There are other ways that blogs help your SEO, too. A major one is backlinks, which are links from other websites to yours. These are important because better and more informative web pages and sites accrue more links to it than others. They are a way to tell search engines how relevant your site is to others. Backlinks are the hardest part of SEO to do, because you can’t do them on your own – you need someone else to link to your site. Blogs are one of the best ways to get backlinks, and data shows that web sites with blogs are linked to 97% more often than those without them.
You Don’t Have to Go Alone
Blogging is important and should be a vital part of your organic digital marketing efforts. But a good blog and a good blogging strategy isn’t easy. It takes lots of time, effort, and planning in order to make a blog that takes advantage of all the things that blogs can do.
If you’re committed to writing your own blog, go for it! But there is an alternative. At Go Local Interactive, our team of experienced content experts can help you create great blog content and assemble a content strategy that will elevate your business to the next level. Contact us today! We’ll be happy to help.