Blogging for Business
In the SEO world, content is king, a phrase first coined in an essay of the same name by Bill Gates in 1996. Search engines have become very advanced technologically and are now better able to understand human language in regards to search intent. This creates opportunities for content creators to expand their ideas online with the knowledge that Google will understand what they are saying.
Blogging for business is a great way to create this type of content while also increasing traffic and improving search rankings. We’ll tell you how.
- Blogging Explained
- Why Content is Important
- How a Business Blog is Different From a Personal Blog
- Purposes of Business Blogging
- Creating a Business Blogging Content Plan
- Writing Business Blog Content
- After Publishing Your Blog Post
- Wrapping Up
The editorial style of blogging, in its current form, is just another way of saying that content is added to a website using an online Content Management System (CMS). The most popular blogging platform is WordPress, but other popular online website platforms such as Shopify, Wix, and Showit (via WordPress) also have blog modules that can be enabled.
The first iterations of blogs, or “weblogs,” were very simple collections of posts that were generally used to show the creator’s personal viewpoints. This method of creating content quickly became the foundation for such sites as Huffington Post and Gizmodo. Huffington Post, in particular, was very savvy in the early days for creating content targeted for keywords such as “what time is the Super Bowl?”
Blogging is currently used in a variety of ways. There are still personal blogs, allowing people with very limited technical knowledge to share longer posts (which exceed normal social media limitations) with others. Help blogs are very popular, where advice is given on a certain topic or collection of topics. What we are focused on here is blogging for business, where a business entity consistently produces content that is shared with its current and prospective customers.
Why Content is Important
For search engines, Google in particular, the more useful a website is for its visitors, the higher the site should rank. Creating fresh content is a key way to provide value for your visitors, whether through information, entertainment, or inspiration. Content can be anything from text to multimedia, and the best practice is to use a combination of both. A blog is an excellent way to publish that content quickly.
Fresh and consistent content is very important to search engines. So-called “pillar pages,” pages on your website that cover the topics or services of main importance, are valuable to the structure of your site, but they need to expand into additional content so that Google sees you are constantly adding more value to your customers.
Google makes it very clear that they judge the quality of your content as well as the amount, so do not think that you can just post non-relevant rants on your website to increase the quantity of content and improve your rankings. Business blogging should adhere to the same quality standards as business marketing, since the two work hand in hand.
How a Business Blog is Different From a Personal Blog
While it should be fairly obvious that terms have changed, people still have a preconception that bloggers are either small media outlets or everyday people trying to share with a broader audience. Blogging as a tool has expanded into the business and marketing industries, becoming the go-to method of quickly producing focused content for users and search engines alike.
Business blogging is published in a specific section of the main business website, generally titled “blog.” The content in this area should be focused toward both gaining organic traffic and increasing brand awareness. Consider the business blog as another marketing channel. It can be used at any stage of the funnel cycle, whether at the top to introduce visitors to your services, or at the end to give additional information to close a deal.
Purposes of Business Blogging
The main areas of a corporate website generally consist of a collection of static pages that advertise the company’s services. Since you are trying to provide the most impactful content immediately on the page load, these pages are often very short, with highly visual elements. It is difficult to expand in detail on pages that are designed like advertisements, so blogging can be a way to get around that.
In the extra space allowed with the blogging format, it is possible (and recommended) to focus on more keywords for that particular page. As long as the keywords are relevant to the topic, they give you a higher possibility of showing up on Google for those search terms. Your potential customers may also have different ideas on how to use your services or products. With research, you may be able to optimize for different keywords that point to the same page.
While focusing on keywords is important, remember that the keywords should be based on queries that are of interest to your readers. If you are optimizing for keywords that are not relevant to your services or ways in which your customers may try to find you on the internet, you are just wasting your time and money.
Blogging is not only a way to drive traffic, but can also increase brand awareness. By adding a voice to your company, you increase the trust factor when reading your blog posts. When they think of what they have read in your blog, they will associate that with your brand. This is also very important to keep in mind when considering what content to publish. Negative articles can also create a negative impact on your brand awareness.
Increased visibility will come with continual blog posting, getting more exposure for the website and brand. This goes hand in hand with organic traffic, but brand awareness based posts should focus more on the overall scope of the company instead of targeted facets.
Driving Traffic With Online Visibility
Each and every page on your blog creates a new opportunity to drive traffic to your website. When adding new content on a regular basis, the potential appearances in search engines increase at a high rate.
Static content will only get you so far in the marketing world. The same pages will eventually seem stale to potential customers who are searching for your services, and search engines may degrade your rankings, viewing it as old content. An active blog is an excellent way to keep the marketing possibilities rolling, and improve search engine rankings.
When a new blog post is written, it will be displayed on the main blog page of the website, but should also be promoted through other channels. Social media is one way to promote both in sharing from your business page and also allowing for friends and followers to share as well.
Email is another way to promote new content. If you have an established mailing list, including fresh topics in your email blasts can increase viewership tremendously, in turn creating new options for those viewers to share via social media.
With the additional traffic gained from your new blog posts, you can include lead generating elements like a Call to Action (CTA) to those posts. If the subject of the article is about a new product or service, be sure to give readers an actionable event that they can click to generate a lead.
A mailing list signup is a lead generation method that works well with blog posts. Posts are often shared on social media from existing customers to potential customers. When those new readers visit your site, make sure you present them with a way to interact with your company in the future, whether it is a mailing list or a discount offer. These leads can add up very quickly when the CTA is placed on a popular post.
Blog posts demonstrating knowledge of a topic help to establish credibility within your industry. If those posts get linked to from other sites, Google will also view the page positively. One of the factors that Google uses to rank sites is based on Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness (E-A-T). Displaying authoritativeness in a topic will increase the probability of a high ranking for that search term.
From a customer perspective, if they have a specific question about a product or service you are offering and that is sufficiently answered in a blog post, they will be more likely to purchase said product. In addition, the more educated your potential customers are from reading your blog posts, the easier they will be to handle throughout the sales process.
Creating a Business Blogging Content Plan
Before you start blogging, it is recommended that you have a plan in place to make sure your posts align with your marketing and SEO intentions. Unfocused blogging, or creating content in any way that does not have a laid-out path in front of it, may be wasting valuable time and potentially damaging your website.
Start with a list of keywords that align with your perceptions of how potential visitors are searching for the services you provide. These are called seed keywords. From there, use a keyword research tool to expand into related keywords that you can focus your articles around. Create a spreadsheet of article topics based on this keyword list, making sure to associate the keyword with the topic.
Pay attention to keywords that are the same, or too similar, and are associated with different planned posts. You do not want to create more than one page that is optimized for the same keyword, since there is a possibility that Google will only give limited ranking to each. You can try to set up A/B testing to give different approaches to the same keyword a try, but be careful that they do not cancel each other out.
Research blogs written by competitors or influencers in your industry and judge what keywords and posts are ranking well for them. Add these to your list of planned blog posts with the intention of creating posts with higher quality, hopefully beating them in search engine rankings.
To save yourself a lot of time from manually entering search terms into Google, give a professional SEO tool like Ahrefs a try. They have an excellent competitor research tutorial and a 10-day trial. The trial may be enough to complete your short-term goals, but paying for the service will provide additional SEO benefits.
Crowdsource for Blog Post Ideas
One of the points of business blogging is to increase customer engagement. Your customers will have a lot of great ideas on blog topics, whether they want to know more about upcoming services, improvements on existing products, or have questions about what you already offer.
You can request ideas directly through a new blog post or social media, but also pay attention to existing comments. Some of the best ideas for new content can start from a simple question based on an existing blog post where the information you gave was incomplete or not clear enough for a customer to understand.
Writing Business Blog Content
With a list of topics ready to go, you have the foundation for a targeted blog campaign. Writing the content can be a difficult task, but just like with everything else in the business world, preparation will make the process smoother.
Understanding how high-ranking blog posts are constructed can help the rank of your own content. The best way to do this is to break down the different aspects of the posts you see on the front page SERPS.
Take a topic from your list, and enter the associated keyword into Google. Look at the first few organic search results and ignore the ads at the top of the page. Figure out the similarities between them in the main content.
- How many words are in the content?
- What keywords do they use the most?
- How many headers do they use?
- What keywords are in the headers?
- How many images are displayed?
These are examples, so look out for other similar factors. While these items seem arbitrary, they can be subtle ranking factors that Google looks at when it ranks content.
Use an Outline
An outline to define the structure and content of your blog posts can help keep you focused on the article intent. We all have different writing styles, and some feel more comfortable just writing off the top of their heads, but the most effective business blog posts are ones that are well organized and targeted.
Start to construct your outline while performing topical research. In the websites you research, look for commonalities in the points that they bring up. Normally those will be in bold type or defined as a section header. You can use derivatives of these to build your article outline.
Note: Do not copy content from another website, it may be illegal! Search engines give very little leeway on this, and if your content looks like it is plagiarized from another page, there is a very strong possibility that it will not rank or be indexed, and your site may be penalized. Taking ideas of page structure from another website is fine, but do not duplicate their content.
Create Your Voice
The style in which you write your blog content will be associated directly with your business brand, so take your writing voice into careful consideration. It is important to know your audience and tailor the way your content is written toward their expectations.
If your website is based around entertainment and influence, an informal voice may register well. This can be highly effective when your target audience is based around a younger demographic, but be careful not to alienate other parts of your audience.
Overall, in a business blog, the best way to go is with a professional voice. Use proper grammar and do your best to sound authoritative, but do not overdo it on fancy words just for the sake of sounding, well…fancy. Common courtesy and manners should be promoted through comment replies and other customer interactions.
Stay on Target
You have taken the time to create tools that focus your writing, so be sure to use them! It is very easy to stretch out into tangents, making your post an unorganized mix of keywords and personal anecdotes. Every so often, compare what you have written to your established outline, and reorganize if necessary.
There may come a point in your writing where you think that your initial research doesn’t reflect your views on the topic. At this point, you have to make a decision whether you want to pursue your original path, or scrap it and start over. Try taking a break or switching gears to another task and coming back to it at a later time where you are less connected to the content.
After Publishing Your Blog Post
When the business blog post is published, the immediate visibility is only apparent to subscribers to your website or repeat visitors. Google will take some time to find and index it, and without any action on your part, it may not rank very well.
Promote your new blog post using whatever means necessary. You can schedule social media announcements and email blasts in advance. It is worth sending out notifications to industry partners when your post mentions them, creating the possibility of them linking to or sharing your new content.
Engage actively with your audience. Respond to comments, using the same voice you have developed for the blog posts, to keep brand identity consistent.
Fresh, quality content will help any website in its search results as well as keeping customers engaged. Business blogging bypasses the normal content generation process, giving you an opportunity to quickly produce targeted content that will benefit your website and your viewers.