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May 29, 2009

Blogging Your Way to the Top

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It is no real secret that a well written topical blog can significantly help out your website – so why aren’t you doing it?

The most common reasons I hear for not starting a blog involve a lack of time to write posts, and limited ideas to write about, but taking that extra time to get some useful content out there can do wonders for your search rankings among other things.

An established blog that is updated regularly gets spidered by Google often, and increases the chances of new search rankings considerably. I have seen multiple situations where regularly updated blogs wind up ranking #1 in Google for relevant phrases literally within a couple hours of posting. It usually takes a well established website and blog to make this happen, but there is big potential if you do things the right way.

While blogs work best if updated multiple times per week, even those with a new post every week or two have advantages. Blogs don’t have to be a major undertaking, spending only an hour or so a week on posting can have you seeing results in no time.

There are many advantages to adding a blog to your website. Here are a few.

Increased Rankings
By boosting your topical content, you increase the value and relevance of your site. The more new stuff you add, the more of an authority you make your site, and this helps to improve your overall search rankings. It can also help you obtain rankings for “long tailed search phrases”.

Long tailed search phrases are those that are less commonly searched, and usually exceed 3 or 4 words in length – they are also very targeted to your product or service. Blogs are great for getting rankings on long tailed search phrases. If you see a long tailed search phrase you want to rank for, use the phrase as the post title (if it makes sense to do so) and write a good, content rich post about it and your ranking potential for this phrase will rise.

By writing blog posts with your target phrases in mind, you can often help improve your overall rankings by increasing the relevance of the site to that search phrase. Consider also linking to other relevant pages within your site from the post.

Increased Traffic
Blogs are great for increasing traffic. Aside from the added traffic you may see from search ranking improvements, if your blog is interesting and topical, you will get some repeat visitors to your site as readers check back for new posts. If people really like your blog, they will spread the word, resulting in even more visitors. Just think, have you ever emailed or instant messaged a friend with a link to an article you have read? Don’t you want your link to be the one passed around?

Credibility
By blogging regularly about your industry you will help to establish yourself as an expert. Many of your potential customers will see your blog and notice that you know what you’re talking about and be more likely to utilize your services. By sharing your knowledge it can help to instill trust onto your visitors which can actually result in increased conversions. There are a lot of faceless, anonymous websites out there – an active blog can help people relate to you and trust you.

Links
A good, well written blog can result in free one way links to your site. Sometimes it is as simple as a fan adding your link to their blog roll, and other times it may be RSS working its magic. Try to squeeze in a link or two into your posts and direct them to other internal pages on your website. If anyone then republishes or syndicates your posts on their sites, you will also end up with a relevant back link. (If you would like some other ideas on link building be sure to check out Ways to Increase Link Density & Building Links with Directory Submissions)

A blog is not a magic bullet used to skyrocket your inbound link counts, but it can certainly help.

What Platform To Use
I am a firm believer in the power of WordPress and the seemingly unlimited plug-ins available to help you. That said, just about any blog platform will work. It is probably best to stick with the main stream providers as they tend to have more options available and better support forums in case you get stuck with customization issues. In the end however, any search friendly blog platform will ultimately do the trick.

Blog Post Ideas
If after reading this you are sitting there thinking, “What should I write about?” here are some ideas to help you get going:

  • New product launches
  • Press releases
  • Industry relevant news
  • How to’s related to your product or service
  • Answers to reader comments
  • Posts revolving around relevant long tailed phrases
  • In depth product descriptions or tutorials
  • Company history or interesting stories
  • Reviews of related products, services or online tools

Blogs are relevant for pretty much all industries, and they don’t have to take a lot of your time. A little creativity can help you come up with ideas for posts, just try to think outside the proverbial box.

If you’ve been putting off the blogging idea for some time, consider getting started now. There is much to gain and very little to lose.

Scott Van Achte is the Senior SEO at StepForth Web Marketing Inc.; based in Victoria, BC, Canada and founded in 1997. You can read more of Scott’s articles and those of the veteran StepForth team at http://news.stepforth.com or contact us at http://www.stepforth.com

20 Responses to “Blogging Your Way to the Top

    avatar Matt Borghi (@mattborghi) says:

    This is a great post, and you make some excellent points. In practice, I’ve found what you’re saying to absolutely true, and it’s nice to have all this info in a single post. Thanks for posting this.

    I agree any business with a website that doesn’t use the power of the blog is their own worst enemy. Not only is it essential to improve your visibility on the web, but it can be a great way to connect with customers. Great article.

    avatar Jaideep Kapur says:

    Good article, I agree!

    Jaideep Singh

    http://www.goarticles.com/cgi-bin/showa.cgi?C=1649957

    avatar Jerry from Gallbladder Symptoms says:

    You made some good points, Scott. Today, a blog is a must for almost any industry, any type of business. The list of advantages is to long.. people must get one pronto !!

    Thanks very much. I’ll put this blog idea into action immediately. Thanks indeed!

    avatar green-energy says:

    good idea. I will try.

    avatar Jose says:

    Very informative. Thanks for the post!

    avatar Wavecrest Ltd says:

    Very interesting article. I agree with everything you say. I have been building my company blog since last Autumn and try to update it at least once a week.

    The results have been an increase in relevant traffic to my main web site and a number of good conversions to actual sales.

    Best regards,
    Glen

    Wavecrest Ltd, Gravesend, UK

    avatar Sharon says:

    Thanks sooooo much. Started 2 blogs and with this inspirational article I will endeavour to keep it up.

    avatar Joanna Poppink, MFT says:

    Thank you for this article. I have five ongoing questions about blogging.

    1. What is the best length for a blog post?

    2. Is it better to break up a long post into several posts? Will the meaning and message get diffused?

    3. What is a reasonable or acceptable bounce rate?

    4. How often should a new post display on a blog? Maximum and minimum?
    .
    5 Do search engines spider the comments?

    Thank you for the opportunity to ask these questions! You are providing a great service!

    best regards,

    Joanna

    avatar Ed says:

    Great Article, about yout blog tips…

    Keep up the great content !

    avatar Mike A. says:

    Couldn’t agree more with your post. I’ve been doing most of your suggestions and it pays off. Not an instant or a painless strategy, but it’s worth the effort.

    avatar sean says:

    Hi,
    I’m curious as to whether it’s the use of blog technology on a site, or simply the fact that content changes, that improves rankings. In other words, If you just manually update a page regularly with blog like content, does it achieve the same effect as actually using blog software?

    avatar Ricard Menor says:

    Wise lines, from theoretics to facts it is hard not to have benefit from the steps you mention, I joined WordPress after carefully selecting provider and after two weeks and a few five articles my http://promocioweb.wordpress.com was ranking right behind my website, rock solid positioned in Google’s top10 since 2003 for SEO and positioning consultancy in Barcelona. Not to mention Google Blog rankings 😀 Amazing!

    Very good Blog. However, I find Blogspot/Blogger (http://rocky4432901.blogspot.com/) to be much easier to set up than WordPress.
    Especially for Adsense type of money making accounts.

    avatar Jaideep Kapur says:

    Thanks a lot for all the help, I know this is my second comment, but really helped with my website/blog – http://www.goarticles.com/cgi-bin/showa.cgi?C=1665111 – and just wanted to thank you for all the useful comments.
    It is nice to see all of the useful information in one place.

    avatar Reverse Phone Lookup says:

    Great advice and I am soing everythinig you said and fortunalty it is working, slowely but effictively. Thanks a lot

    Jaideep

    http://www.goarticles.com/cgi-bin/showa.cgi?C=1665111

    avatar Barbog says:

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    avatar HewMepsy says:

    Very Interesting Post! Thank You For Thi Post!

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