It’s human nature to want quick results and expect to see instant improvements. The seemingly endless promotion of exercise equipment and diets that promise ‘dramatic results in just 7 days’ is testament to this. Not surprisingly, people expect that there is also a magic SEO bullet that will propel them to the top of Google’s search results.
The truth is that there is no quick-fire, guaranteed way to appear at the top of Google search – unless you pay for Google adwords. Increasingly, local SEO is about conducting ongoing, consistent promotional activities. That’s where blogging comes in.
Blogging will require some effort (if you do it yourself) or some cost if you outsource it. But it is proven to be effective and is something that virtually everyone is capable of doing to some degree.
Why blogging is often underutilised for SEO
In spite of the huge benefits to be gained, many businesses have not committed themselves to a regular schedule of blogging. If you choose to use it as a search engine optimisation tactic then you will gain an advantage over businesses that don’t.
Many local businesses in highly competitive industries have already done the basics of search optimisation to appear locally. They may have optimised their site, obtained customer reviews and backlinks, and fine tuned and optimised their Google+ page.
As all these businesses are doing pretty similar things, all that ends up happening is you remain on a level playing field. Your website appears in roughly the same place in relation to your competitors month after month.
The business which starts to add fresh, relevant content to their website (and continues to do so on a regular basis) will gain a distinct advantage over its non-blogging business rivals. The questions is not should you blog, but how soon can you start. The longer you leave it the greater the likelihood that others will start using this technique to their advantage.
How blogging assists local SEO
- Google loves to see fresh, timely, high quality content appear on websites. It will rapidly discover and index your blog posts and show these in the SERPs (search engine results pages).
- It attracts an audience that may interact with you. Google uses interaction signals when determining the ranking of your website. A good blog can develop regular readers or subscribers and make your business appear friendlier and customer focused.
- It provides you with a forum to talk about industry news. If this is of interest to the media then you may get identified as a spokesperson / expert in your field, boosting your profile further.
- Blogging provides a solid foundation for your social media presence. Your blog posts can be fed out to Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and other sites. You can use it to reduce your workload by adding content in one place and having it show on social media pages.
Setting up your blog
- Integrate your blog as part of your existing site. The great thing about having a WordPress based website is it has blogging capability built in.
- Avoid menu navigation systems that do not use SEO-friendly links.
- If you have several blog contributors consider whether author pages are appropriate. It’s often good to show who is contributing to the blog, their background and experience. This could be as simple as having a staff member page.
- Incorporate authorship markup. Setting up ‘real people’ and acknowledging their blog posts with a by-line will be more trustworthy for readers and give you some advantage with Google. Using the author tag markup can make your pages more visible in search results and generate a higher clickthrough rate.
- Target blog posts to include keywords that you want to be found for. Ensure page titles, meta-descriptions and URLs are optimised for the keyword whenever possible.
- Determine what blog categories and tags you will use to organise your posts. These will also assist with SEO if they contain keywords.
Tips on writing blog posts
- Post frequently. The more often you can post the better – providing you have good, original news to write about. Find a frequency that is suitable for you and your industry and stick to it.
- Write an interesting mix of articles. People often think “I’m in a boring industry, what would I write about?” Try to mix it up and push the boundaries a little. If you think you may be short of content, look to the outside world and see what’s happening that may have some sort of a link to your industry. If you fix computers it doesn’t have to just be about computer faults and problems. Add some technology news that your audience may like, something humorous, or a story that has the wow factor.
- Engage with other blogs. There is nothing wrong with finding an interesting post someone else has written and writing a blog post referencing it and giving your opinion.
- Posts don’t need to be overly long. Not every post needs to be as long as this one. It depends on how much detail you need to get across to readers and how long you think you can retain their attention for. For SEO purposes we do recommend a minimum of 300 words.
Regular blogging is not a shortcut that will allow to you rank higher overnight – these things take some work. However as a medium to long-term plan, blogging is an excellent way to engage with online consumers and boost your rankings in a way that will produce sustainable results.
Done correctly it could help you get ahead of your competitors in terms of SEO and social media.
By Aaron Enright