In order to be found in the busy online world, every website needs to be optimized for search engine optimization.
There are so are many ways of doing this, including keyword research, using backlinks and writing website copy for humans instead of search engines. But one of the most overlooked ways to improve your website’s SEO is to build a blog.
Blogs are an excellent way to build an audience, as they're frequently updated and can be shared across social media. In addition, content on a blog is indexed by search engines, which increases the ranking of your content. Over time, a large blog audience will provide links to your website from other websites, which increases the authority of the content on your site.
So, in case you aren't convinced you need a blog, here are 6 reasons why blogs can help dramatically improve your websites SEO:
1. Blogging keeps your website up to date
By regularly posting to a blog on your website, you're keeping your website fresh and current, especially in the eye of search engines. New content shows search engines that your website is active, and leads to your site being indexed more often. Content also gives search engines more context for understanding exactly what your website is about, which aids in their indexing process and helps your website appear in front of the right people.
For site visitors, blogs have a similar effect, adding legitimacy and authority to your website and telling people that they can trust the information they find there. We’ve all been to old websites before that look like they haven’t been updated in years. When you arrive on one of these sites, you might question the validity of the content you find there - are the business hours correct? The prices up to date? Is this business even still in operation?
Google doesn’t want to bring its searchers to out-of-date websites, so blogs give the search engine algorithms assurance that your website is up to date and valuable, and more reason to index your website more often.
But if updating your website is good for SEO, why can't you just regularly make updates to your homepage and other website pages to the same effect? Well, you likely don’t have any reason to constantly be updating your homepage, and in fact doing so may be detrimental to your credibility. A site that is constantly changing does not show stability or build trust with site visitors. A blog is an easy place to add new content regularly that adds value to your website without it seeming ever changing or unreliable.
2. Blogs keep people on your website for longer.
One of the things Google tracks is how long your site visitors stay on your site. If people immediately bounce off your site after arriving, this is bad for SEO because it tells Google that they have not found what they are looking for.
When someone comes to your website and reads a blog, this has the opposite effect. It takes time to read long form content, so they end up sitting on your site for longer than if they had just come to grab a phone number or check on your hours of operation. And this tells Google that your website is useful and valuable.
3. Blogging gives you opportunities to target SEO optimized long-tail keywords
Every website needs to have a keyword strategy to improve SEO, but keywords don’t have to just be one and two words. Long-tail keywords are essential to include in your website - in fact, these days, half of all searches are for terms that are four words or longer.
Long-tail keywords are extremely important for any SEO strategy, but they can be awkward to try to fit into your product pages without sounding contrived. They’re the perfect kind of terms to fit into a blog post though. For example, a store that sells camping gear can use their blog posts to provide information on terms like “best camping gear for cold weather” or “what do you need when you go car camping?”
These searches don’t attract as much traffic as “camping gear” does, but they come from people clearly in your target audience of campers and, if you can get them onto your website, they could explore other blogs or product pages on your site and eventually become customers.
4. A blog gives you more opportunities to link internally.
So much of SEO is about links. Internal links are the easiest ones for you to get since you can create them for yourself. Internal links are those that bring you to other pages on your website. So perhaps on your homepage you have a small blurb about your services linking to you Services page. The Services page discusses staff who do the work, which links internally to the Our Team page. And so on, and so forth. These links help Google have a better idea of what your website is about and how the pages relate to each other. Failing to include internal links on your website that point users from one page on the site to another is one of the simplest SEO mistakes you can make.
While it's certainly possible to create internal links between the main pages on your website, a blog gives ample opportunity to create internal links. You can link each blog post to a related article, add links within each blog to relevant services you offer, and hyperlink key words or phrases in each blog to other blogs or pages on your site that make sense. Not only is this good for SEO, this also keeps people on your site and clicking for longer as they go down a spiral of links that take them deeper and deeper into your website. (Which, coincidentally, is also good for SEO)
5. Blogs give other sites more reason to link back to yours.
Internal links are incredibly important for search engine optimization, but so are external links. But these can be hard to earn. You can't strong-arm people into linking back to your website; you have to provide valuable content that they want to link back to.
But having people link to your site just for product pages or services is a tough sell. They typically have to be other industry specific websites that complement yours, and they're doing you a favour because they're essentially selling for you.
Blogs, on the other hand, can be valuable to anyone. When you write a blog, you continuously populate your website with content that people can use for their own research and knowledge, or that they can link back to from their own websites for reference. They might have no relationship with you at all, aside from having found your blog in a Google Search. But these backlinks are valuable.
It’s not impossible to get external links without a blog, but it’s much, much harder. Statistics show that websites with a blog earn up to 97% more inbound links than those without a blog.
6. A blog helps you connect with your audience.
Blogs give you the opportunity to write content that your audience will love. Answer their questions, address their pain points, show them you understand their perspective and their needs. When your audience reads a blog post they love, they're more likely to share it, link to it, or come back to your website again to read more of your content in the future.
And having a larger, stronger audience is good for SEO because it means regular site visitors who stay for the long haul.
Want to learn tricks on how to optimize your blog posts for SEO? Download our SEO for blogs cheat sheet!