The main role of a small business website is to attract more qualified visitors and convert them into paying customers.
This is why, as a small business owner who takes digital marketing seriously, you’re always on the lookout for promising strategies that might help your site pull in more organic traffic and generate new leads.
One such strategy is blogging. You’ve seen other businesses use it as part of their search engine optimization (SEO) strategies, and now you’re wondering if it makes sense for you to follow suit.
Our goal in this post is to convince you that blogging can indeed transform your SEO efforts for the better. We'll present a few examples demonstrating just how effectively a blog can boost your website's organic visibility, attract more traffic, and help your business grow.
But first, a quick reminder of why SEO should be at the heart of your online marketing strategy.
Why Does Search Engine Optimization Matter?
SEO is the process of making your website more search-friendly so that it ranks higher for queries related to your business on Google and other search engines.
But why is appearing high up in the search engine rankings such a big deal?
Well, the simple reason is that around 68% of all organic traffic goes to one of the top three results for any given query. In other words, you have a lot to gain by ranking well and a lot to lose if you don’t.
But besides driving more traffic to your website, SEO can benefit your small business in other ways too, such as:
- Free promotion: Unlike other forms of advertising, you don’t need to pay search engines to appear in their organic listings. This is especially valuable for smaller businesses with more limited marketing budgets. As long as search engines can crawl and index your site, and you publish high-quality content that satisfies user queries, you have a good shot at ranking well in the search results.
- Brand authority: As you start to rank for the queries your target audience is searching for, you get to prove to new visitors that your brand is a helpful and credible source of information on the topics that matter to them. This makes it more likely your visitors will spread the word about your company at the same time as creating the level of trust needed for them to become your customers.
- Local SEO: Small businesses can also use SEO to promote their products and services to location-specific customers. This is especially useful for brick-and-mortar stores or any other business that serves customers in a specific area. The most recent data suggests that as much as 46% of all Google searches are looking for local information, which is why local SEO plays such a central role in many small business marketing strategies.
How Blogging Helps SEO
Now that we're up-to-speed on how SEO can help your business, let's see how blogging can help your SEO.
Here are some of the top SEO benefits of blogging:
Engaging Blog Content May Improve Dwell Time
A high-quality blog post that satisfies the user’s search intent will often correlate with a longer dwell time.
Dwell time is a metric that measures how long a visitor spends on a web page they discovered through search before returning to the search results. You can think of dwell time as an indirect ranking factor in that it gives search engines a hint of how satisfied users are with your content.
For example, if users who click through to your 2000-word blog post return to the search results after just 30 seconds in search for a better alternative (a practice known as “pogo-sticking”), it’s reasonable to assume that your content isn’t satisfying their needs. As a result, Google may see it fit to lower your page’s ranking.
All else being equal, the better your blog content, the more likely it is that readers will hang around, and the better your chances will be of ranking well.
Blogging Creates More Indexed Pages
When a user enters a query into a search engine, the search engine determines the best results by consulting its index – a central database of all the web pages it has crawled on the internet that allows for quick and accurate information retrieval.
The more blog posts you publish, the more pages you’ll have indexed. This can strengthen your SEO efforts by increasing the number of potential searches your website can rank for.
Great Blog Posts Attract Inbound Links
As you start regularly publishing high-value blog posts, you’ll notice that other blogs and publications will start linking to your content for the benefit of their own audiences. At the same time, your readers will increasingly share your posts with their peers.
Generating high-quality backlinks (also known as “link building”) is the key component of off-page SEO. Essentially, the more external links that point to your website from high-quality sources, the more likely it is that search engines will deem your content to be credible and authoritative. This, in turn, will increase your content’s ranking potential.
Relevant Content Helps To Engage Your Target Audience
To build a great blog that achieves sustainable SEO results, you'll need to cater your content to your target audience's specific needs and interests.
By consistently publishing posts relevant to your ideal prospects, you’ll steadily build authority within your niche, generate repeat visitors, and improve key engagement metrics like bounce rate and time on page.
Blog Pages Offer Internal Linking Opportunities
The more blog posts you publish, the more opportunities you’ll create for internal links to other pages within your website.
An internal link serves two purposes: First, it provides readers with a convenient way to learn more about other topics they might find interesting (thereby keeping them on your site for longer), and second, it makes it much easier for search engine crawlers to navigate and understand the structure of your site.
Each Blog Post Can Target Long Tail Keywords
Another benefit of creating a blog is using individual posts to target different long-tail keywords.
Unlike short-tail keywords – which tend to have a broader scope and are usually highly competitive – a long-tail keyword is a more precise term that a user will search for when seeking the answer to a specific query.
For a small business, it’s generally better to focus on identifying long-tail keywords when conducting keyword research since these terms have a lower organic search volume and are easier to rank for.
Blog posts are the perfect medium for targeting long-tail keywords, providing more than enough room to address the relevant topic in sufficient detail.
High-Quality Content Can Help Increase Blog Traffic
It’s important to realize that Google’s mission is “to get you the most relevant and reliable information that we can find.”
For this reason, you’ll need to create content that’s original and packed with value to boost your chances of ranking well and attracting more traffic.
At a minimum, a great blog post should satisfy the user’s search intent, contain only substantiated claims, have a clear and coherent structure, and be free from spelling and grammatical errors. You should also have a zero-tolerance policy toward plagiarism – not only is it unethical to pass off somebody else’s work as your own, but it can also lead to a Google penalty.
Consistent Blogging Builds Trust and Authority
As we mentioned earlier, regularly publishing high-quality content relevant to your target market is one of the surest ways to position yourself as a trustworthy authority within your niche.
As readers continue to derive value from your blog posts, they’ll naturally come to think of your brand as credible and professional, making them more willing to do business with you.
Target Keywords in Blog Titles Help SEO Rankings
Page titles are a crucial part of on-page SEO because they provide search engines with a strong indication of what your page is about. Since page titles are a known ranking factor, you should populate your blog title tags with whatever focus keywords you're targeting.
Bear in mind that the title tag doesn’t actually appear on the page from the user’s point of view. Instead, it’s displayed in the search results as the clickable element of the search listing and also shows up in the browser tab once the user clicks through.
Blog H1 Tags Can Target Specific Keywords
The H1 tag is another crucial on-page element, appearing as the title of your content when a user clicks through to your page.
As with page titles, you should ensure that your H1 tag contains the primary keyword you’re targeting on that page.
Just be sure to avoid keyword stuffing when optimizing either of these elements. Overpopulating the title and header tags with keywords (or any other part of your content, for that matter) won’t improve your rankings and may even result in a manual penalty.
Fresh Content for Search Engines
The so-called “freshness factor” refers to the way Google’s algorithm preferentially ranks recently-updated content for certain keywords, particularly for queries relating to current affairs and recurring events.
You can use your blog to make the most of the freshness factor by frequently posting about new and trending topics and updating older posts to ensure they remain relevant. It’s also worth revisiting posts that you consider to be evergreen content from time to time, just to check whether there may be any elements that need updating.
Blogging Helps Improve Topical Relevance
Another important SEO factor that blogging caters to is topical relevance.
Topical relevance is the degree to which Google deems your site a suitable source of information for searches around a given topic. The greater your topical relevance, the better your chances of ranking for topically-related terms.
Many businesses adopt blogging as part of their content strategy precisely because it boosts their topical relevance. A blog can cover a topic in significant breadth and depth, touching on all its subtopics and cousin topics.
Compressed Blog Images Can Improve Page Speed
An SEO-friendly blog post is one that loads quickly.
This is because Google relies on user experience indicators like page speed to figure out where to rank different content. All else being equal, faster pages rank better.
Page speed is also an integral part of mobile responsiveness. Since mobile devices account for roughly 63% of all organic traffic, it’s essential to ensure your blog posts load quickly and cleanly on handheld devices.
One of the most efficient ways to speed up your load times is to ensure that you compress any images contained in your blog. And don’t forget to populate your images with descriptive, keyword-rich alt text so you can further signal to search engines what your page is about.
Blog Posts Help Improve Search Visibility
Finally, blog posts are an excellent way to increase your site’s visibility in Google Search.
You can think of search visibility in terms of the number of distinct queries your content appears for. The more posts you publish across various brand-related topics, the likelier it is that members of your target audience will discover you.
Just remember to write enticing meta descriptions for each of your blog posts. A well-crafted meta description can make your page stand out in the search results even if it doesn’t rank at the very top.
Optimize Your Blog for People and Search Engine Algorithms
We’ve seen that building a business blog can positively affect your website’s SEO performance in several ways. Whether by increasing backlinks, improving user engagement, or helping you rank for more long-tail keywords, building a blog is one of the most effective tactics for attracting more traffic from search engines.
While it’s true that blogging can do wonders for your SEO strategy, you should always remember to write for your readers first and foremost and only then optimize your posts for search engines.
However, striking this balance can be tricky, so if you’re looking to outsource your blog writing to the pros, check out our blog post writing service.