Want to Dominate Organic Search? How Blogging Can Help

    by Rachel Sprung

    Date

    December 17, 2013 at 8:00 AM

    thank-you-heartWe always hear that blogging is important for our search engine rankings. But like ... why?

    It's one of those things that we often just assume people know, but you know what they say about assuming.

    Since we haven't explained the connection between blogging and SEO in-depth for a long time, we figured it's high time we get to it. So, this post is going to explain how you can use business blogging to improve your SEO, and perhaps show you connections you didn't realize existed between the two disciplines. If you nail all of the stuff on this list, your SEO will thank you!

    How to Improve Your SEO With Your Business Blog

    1) Blog.

    Wait, what?

    I know, it seems obvious, but just ... blogging ... is one of the easiest ways to improve your organic search performance. Why? Because every time you write a new blog post, you create a new URL for your site -- and every new URL is a new opportunity for your website to be ranked in search.

    Now think about it. How many other parts of your website give you the opportunity to create a new page that discusses important terms for which you'd like your business to rank on an ongoing and perpetual basis? Not that many. (How many times can you really update your About page, you know? And how many different About pages could you conceivably make, anyway?)

    If this seems basic, forgive me -- but it's one of those things that's so obvious it bears shouting from the rooftops. Blogging provides endless opportunities for your website to rank in search for content your persona cares about. Don't underestimate how powerful that is.

    2) Create unique content.

    Now that you've bought into the connection between blogging and SEO, let's talk about how not to screw it up. The first rule of thumb is to make sure the content you are creating cannot be found on other blogs -- your own included. This is commonly referred to as "duplicate content," and search engines don't like it.

    Sure, you will probably end up writing about the same topic from time to time, but writing about the same topic from a different perspective is very different from duplicate content -- and actually very important for a well-rounded blog. Why? Because examining important topics from multiple angles allows you to naturally target a variety long tail search terms. Most topics are pretty multi-faceted, and the questions people have will run the gamut. The more unique ways you can address a subject matter, the more likely it is you'll bring in some highly targeted search traffic -- and increase the overall value of your site in the process.

    3) Optimize your blog posts for topics ... and keywords.

    That ellipsis will make sense in a minute.

    When writing blog posts, it's important to use keywords that you want to rank for, especially in your page titles, headlines, and body content. I won't deny that, and you absolutely should optimize your on-page content for important keywords.

    However, you'll get way more SEO bang for your blogging buck if you focus more on choosing good topics. Why? Because topics are reader-oriented; keywords, on the other hand, are search engine-oriented. And you know what? Search engines are in the business of serving readers ... so by extension, they're in the business of promoting the websites that serve readers best. That means the websites that are writing topics that readers want to learn more about are the ones that win -- not the ones trying to write around keywords. Google has even gone so far as to update their search algorithm to better align with topics, not keywords.

    In reality, if you think about reader-friendly topics, you'll probably be naturally optimizing for keywords, anyway. So think of great blog posts that readers would want to ... you know ... read ... and better search rankings will likely follow due to that natural keyword optimization.

    4) Include authorship information.

    Have you ever searched for a topic and seen blog posts appear with an image like this? 

    searchresult

    This is what happens when you utilize Google+ Authorship. Essentially, it makes it easier for the search engines to find the author tag (rel="author") and attribute the content to an individual thought leader. Posts that include this authorship information often benefit from better clickthrough rates, too -- probably because a pretty picture is impossible to resist. ;-)

    Oh, I guess that whole social proof thing -- seeing how many people are in an author's Google+ circles -- might have something to do with it, too.

    5) Design a blog with a fantastic reader experience.

    Believe it or not, search engine algorithms can actually detect if a blog provides a good user experience -- and they factor it into their decision to surface content in the SERPs. And it makes sense; search engines are in the business of surfacing the content that'll make their customers the happiest. Why wouldn't they want a top-notch reader experience for the blog content they choose to surface?

    Being able to navigate around a page, find the blog posts you're looking for, and even utilize the tagging feature to search for other similar articles are all extremely important for a positive user experience on a blog. Let's take a look at TemboStatus' blog as an example:

    tembostatus

    Their design is incredibly simple to digest: You can immediately identify the title, author, and publish date, and on the right you can search for posts by topic or month. You can even click the topic tag directly on the post to bring you to other similar topics. This blog is a prime example of phenomenal user experience because it's easy to use and designed to be visually appealing.

    Note: Search engines also value quick load times -- especially on slower connections like mobile. This should be considered an integral part of your blog's user experience if you really want to knock your SEO out of the park.

    6) Make sure your blog is responsive.

    According to Google, 79% of users who don't like what they find on a mobile site will actually go look for the information they need on another site. How do you prevent that kind of bounce? The kind of bounce that signals to Google that your content ain't so hot? Well, responsive design is a huge part of it.

    Responsive design, if you're unfamiliar with the term, means that your website is built so that it will conform to whichever device you're viewing it from. So if you check out this blog post on your mobile phone, it'll look different than it looks on this desktop -- the content "responds" properly to the device on which it's being viewed.

    People are using their mobile devices more than ever to browse the internet. But if your blog isn't responsive to mobile and tablet devices, readers are more likely to find the same or similar information elsewhere. Check out our free Device Lab if you're unsure whether your website is responsive.

    7) Build your site to be shared through social networks.

    We've been talking about search engines as businesses -- their product is quality search engine results, and their customer is ... all of us. What's one way they can ensure the content they surface is community approved?

    By asking us all to vote on the best content.

    That's exactly where social sharing of content comes into play. You've probably heard that your blog should have social sharing buttons on it, but you might not have known why. If a lot of people share your blog content on social media, it's a pretty good sign to search engine bots that it's a quality piece of content, and they won't look stupid for surfacing it.

    And hey, remember what we said about responsive design? By putting social sharing buttons on your responsive site, it will be easy for your visitors to share your content on multiple devices. After all, you don't want to lose potential shares of your content just because someone is looking at it on mobile, right? Right.

    What other opportunities are there to improve your SEO through blogging? Share your expertise in the comments.

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    Written by Rachel Sprung

    Rachel Sprung is a Product Marketing Associate at HubSpot. She frequently blogs for the HubSpot Inbound Marketing Blog and Social Media Examiner. Connect with her on Twitter @RSprung.

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