Estimated Read Time: 6 Minutes
If you are a small business owner and you own a website, you should really consider blogging.
Why? Well before you groan, throw your hands over your face and tell me you really don’t like to write, don’t have time to write, or are a terrible writer, listen to what I have to say.
There are at least three really good reasons why blogging is good for business, none of them because your search engine optimization (SEO) or inbound marketing specialist tells you to. They all have to do with growing your online reputation and rankings.
1. Blogging Increases Your Chances Of Being Eligible To Rank In Search Results
Think about it. What do people do when they search the Internet? They type words into a search engine. When the words on your website match the words in a search query, you’re eligible to rank. The greater the number of unique word combinations and blog posts on your website, the greater the chance you’ll have content that makes you eligible to show up in search results.
It’s simple probability. If you flip a coin, you have a 1 in 2 or 50% chance of seeing George Washington (or, in this case, John F. Kennedy’s) head appear on top. If you buy 1 of 100 lottery tickets, you have a 1 in a 100 or 1% chance of winning. If you buy 2, you have a 2% chance of winning. And so on.
Blogging applies the same principle.
The more you blog, the greater the number of unique word combinations you have on your site. The greater the number of unique word combinations on your site, the greater the chance one of them will match a search query being typed into a search engine and you’ll be considered eligible to rank.
2. Blogging Gets You Past Google’s Quality Filters
Using the same language as your search audience makes you eligible to rank. It doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll rank on top. If you want to rank highly, you have to show Google evidence that you deserve to rank highly by producing fresh, original and well-received content.
Google Likes Fresh Content
Google prefers and gives a slight ranking boost to fresh content for some queries, such as, in the case of news queries. If search engines want to find the freshest content possible, they have to assess the freshness of all content and there’s strong evidence to suggest Google does that.
That doesn’t mean you have to publish fresh content every single day. That is unrealistic for a lot of companies. Decide on a publication frequency and schedule what makes sense for you and your business. More is better (because of probabilities), so aim for at least once a month. Set a discipline, and stick to it.
Google Favors Original, High-Quality Content
Google has a 961-word explanation of what original, high-quality content is on its Webmaster Central Blog. The short of it is, content should be:
- unique – a first-time creation;
- free of spelling, grammatical, stylistic and factual errors;
- credible and verifiable; and
- uncluttered by excessive or distracting advertisements.
Google Penalizes Unoriginal, Poor-Quality Content
Google has come down pretty hard on sites with stale, unoriginal and/or poor quality content.
Starting in February 2011, Google began a series of ranking algorithm updates called Panda. Panda specifically penalizes websites with duplicate and “thin” content. I always remember the name of the update by associating “fat panda” with “thin content”. No offense to pandas, of course.
Google defines duplicate content as “substantive blocks of content within or across domains that either completely match other content or are appreciably similar.” It describes thin content as:
- automatically generated;
- thin affiliate pages;
- content from other sources (such as scraped content or low-quality guest blog posts); and
- doorway pages (pages that immediately send visitors to a different page).
Panda is a site-wide penalty. That means the site will have a hard time ranking for just about anything other than its brand name after a Panda penalty has been applied.
Blogging helps you get past Google’s quality filters because it encourages you to produce fresh, original and high-quality content on a regular and consistent basis.
3. Blogging Builds Exposure, Trust, and Authority
I don’t know about you, but I value content that helps me solve problems and get things done.
If you are writing content that helps someone, there’s a good chance they’ll like it, link to it, bookmark it, or share it with friends and colleagues on the Internet. All those things earn you and your business additional exposure on the Web.
Addthis, a media web-tracking technology company and popular social sharing widget maker, released stats in 2011 showing that over a 5-year time period, their widget exposed content on 10 million sites to 1.2 billion people.
All things being equal, the more likes, links, bookmarks and shares your content earns:
- the more exposure it gets;
- the more traffic it earns;
- the more popular it will be perceived to be by search engines and the public; and
- the higher it will rank.
According to Hubspot, an inbound marketing software platform for businesses, “the average company that blogs generates 55% more website visitors, 97% more inbound links, and 434% more indexed pages”.
Blogging also builds trust. It gives site visitors an opportunity to get to know you on a personal level. It gives them the opportunity to assess your communication style, converse, and ask questions.
People do business with those they know, like and trust. A blog gives visitors the opportunity to discover who you are, learn how you can help them, and trust that you will follow through on your commitments.
So now we’re back to the objections. I gave you three really good reasons why blogging is good for business. If you’re still stuck on “I don’t like to write, don’t have time to write, or am a terrible writer”, I have suggestions for that too.
If you don’t like to write or are a terrible writer, think about hiring help. There are lots of really good content writers for hire, some that even know how to specifically write so you can appeal to both search engines and audiences. You can provide them with a draft, make yourself available for an interview, or let them take a stab at it on their own if they’re already familiar enough with your industry and market.
Same thing if you don’t have time to write. You don’t have to produce huge quantities of content and you certainly don’t have to blog every day. You may also find that blogging takes less time than you think. The more you do, the faster it gets.
So let me quickly reiterate why blogging is good for business.
- Blogging increases the chance your content will show up in search results.
- It gets you past Google’s quality filters.
- It builds exposure, trust, and authority with your intended audience.
All these things grow your online reputation and rankings. They increase the chance that people will remember you and want to do business with you when they’re ready to make a purchase decision.
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