Over the past few years, there has been a lot of discussion about the value of online businesses setting up blogs. There is now no question about the value of blogs, but, rather, how to optimize the blog for maximum marketing impact. At the onset, it is important to state that, beginning in 2014, content became far more important than keywords in gaining visibility and better SEO rankings, and that will impact a lot of site-based eCommerce blogs that have been dependent upon keyword “stuffing” rather than content.
There are Drawbacks
- With the critical emphasis on high quality content for SEO upticks and penalties for low quality (think Panda and Penguin), a business owner who is not an excellent writer will need to hire others to keep his/her blog filled with current and relevant information.
- New posts need to occur on a frequent and regular basis. Again e-commerce entrepreneurs are not particularly skilled in providing lots of content, and, as well, do not usually have the time and know-how to do it right! Contracting with an off-site individual or blog writing service will help a smaller business owner compete with the “big guys” who have in-house content marketing staff. These pros can set up a calendar of postings and give you the right of “review” before anything is posted.
- Content is king now – blogs must contain rich content that is educational and valuable to readers. Gone are the days of just posting old, re-hashed information, just to get a bunch of tags imbedded. All major search engines now have “content police” (think Panda and Penguin again!) that check for high quality and keywords that flow naturally within the content, meting out rewards and penalties as they crawl.
- Blog posts must be longer now (1,000-plus words is now optimal) and it is difficult to find enough rich topic content to post two to three times a week.
Making Your Blog Market for You
If you are confident in your ability to create great content, and if you have the time to launch a number of activities that will drive visitors to your blog, and thus your site, consider all of the following strategies:
- Submit your blog to all major search engines – Google, Yahoo, Bing, Technorati, and MSN/live – you get the idea. You may have to set up an account, but it’s free.
- Backlinks are still effective but, if used to excess, penalties will be the consequence. Still, you can find popular blogs related to your business but not the same. Guest post and add a link if you are allowed – sometimes a reciprocal arrangement can be negotiated. If you own a property management company, for example, find home décor or remodeling blogs. Your posts must be content-rich, however.
- Establish a profile on all social media sites, and, using the automatic capability on most blog platforms, your blog will be connected to your profiles.
- Submit articles to directories (E-zine) and write great educational and informational articles – no more than a single backlink please.
- Here’s one that’s a bit unusual – write book reviews on Amazon (books related to your business) and provide a link to your blog.
- Allow readers to comment on your blog posts (turn on your approval function first.) – Sometimes several readers will participate and good discussions are always valuable.
- Add media to your blog – makes it more interesting and fun to visit!
- Invite guests to post on your blogs and post on theirs.
- Join online communities related to your business for sharing and discussion – you can mention specific blog posts that you have written on various subjects.
- By all means use a good blogging platform, like WordPress. The automatic functions that have been mentioned are all available. But, more important, you will get suggestions for improving your post; there is a built-in grammar and spell-check feature; you can add media easily, including animation and videos. Probably the most important function, however, is an SEO analysis.
Blogs are a critical marketing piece now. But they can be deadly if not done well, so move carefully and thoughtfully!