I recently read a blog article titled, “Do I Really NEED to Be Using SEO in my Blog Posts?” The conclusion the author made was that you don’t HAVE to use SEO, although she admitted it can be a great way to bring additional traffic to your site.
That’s why you need SEO in your blog posts. Traffic. Without traffic, you have no readers, and without readers, you have no prospects. No prospects = no sales. Period. End of story.
OK. I’m kidding. It’s not the end of the story. This would be a pretty short blog article if it were! Let me get into the nuts and bolts of why your business needs SEO in its blog posts.
If you’re blogging purely for the pleasure of seeing your words online, then you don’t need SEO. It’s helpful, but not a necessity. On the other hand, if you’re in business, optimizing your blog makes sense for two reasons:
#1 – It helps your website’s overall search ranking. #2 – It helps your business connect with its target audience.
Search engines like Google and Bing love new content, so adding a blog to your website is a great way to feed them. Publishing one or two articles a week keeps the search engine spiders satisfied. And the more you write, the more likely it is your prospects will find you via the long-tail keywords that may not be as prominent on the core pages of your website.
Make no mistake, I’m not advocating optimization over content. You can’t just stuff keywords into your blog articles. Content and SEO have to work hand in hand. In this post-Panda and Penguin world, Google has made it clear that content matters. And that content better be unique!
This development has burned many internet marketers who focused on spinning articles to feed the search engine beast. But it actually provides a golden opportunity for B2B and B2C companies to provide useful, engaging content for their prospects and customers.
Follow the Golden Rule of Blogging
Marcus Sheridan, Founder of the Sales Lion and partner at River Pools and Spas, said it best when he explained that the golden rule of blogging is, “They ask. You answer.” He rescued his pool business from near-bankruptcy a few years ago by starting a blog that answered customer questions. He addressed topics like pricing and problems with pools. He wrote articles about the pros and cons of buying a fiberglass pool. And his articles appeared on page one of search results because he included keyword phrases that customers actually used such as, “How much does a fiberglass pool cost?”
When you keep Sheridan’s mantra in mind, you can write useful articles that incorporate keywords in a way that makes sense to the reader. The keyword phrases don’t distract from the article’s overall message; they enhance it. These phrases are the ones people actually use to search for your particular product or service.
Keywords should also be in a blog article’s title and its description meta tag. Some people overlook the description tag, but it’s important because Google may use it in the snippet it displays on the search engine results page (when it matches a particular search query). It’s in your best interest to write a description if Google can’t find a good selection of text to use on its own. The description should give readers a clue about the blog article’s topic, and interest them in reading further.
If that’s as much SEO as you do for your blog, that’s great. You’re well on your way to ensuring your prospects find, read and use the information that you provide in your blog. You can always add SEO techniques later. One strategy you might consider is optimizing images for the blog. This involves adding keywords to an image’s alt tag. Once you’ve mastered that strategy, you can start adding links to related posts on your own website, as well as other industry-related websites.
Keep in mind while SEO is necessary to help your content get found online, it’s still the message that matters most. Each article for your company’s blog must contain compelling and useful information for your readers in order to eventually convert those readers into customers. As stated in the Google Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide, "Organic or word-of-mouth buzz is what helps build your site’s reputation with both users and Google, and it rarely comes without quality content."
Social Sharing and SEO
One way to ensure your blog stimulates that word-of-mouth buzz is to promote social sharing of each article. Adding social sharing widgets enables blog readers to share your articles with their own social networks on sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ and Twitter. Since Google uses social signals and author authority in its ranking, some experts believe social share will have even more impact on your website’s search ranking in coming months than link building.
Here are a few other ways to encourage social sharing of your blog:
- Include blog articles in a company e-newsletter;
- Add eye-catching images to encourage pinning to Pinterest boards;
- Repurpose blog articles into videos; and
- Repurpose blog articles into a podcast.
Delivering high-quality, keyword-rich content to your readers on a regular basis should encourage plenty of likes, comments and shares. But engagement isn’t enough. The ultimate goal of your company’s blog is turning prospects into customers. As long as you focus on answering customer questions and addressing their needs in your articles, your blog should accomplish that goal.
Gloria Rand is an SEO Copywriter & Social Media Consultant, who specializes in helping small businesses achieve online visibility, profits and sales.