My company has recommended blogging to many of our search engine optimization clients. Some folks jump right on the bandwagon, and still others are something less than enthusiastic about going down this path.
Here’s an actual quote that I recently received from one of our clients, when I asked – once again – if we could consider adding a blog to their corporate website:
Not sure at this time – our customers are a lot like me – blogs bore me – Blogs are just places where people can hear themselves talk about how smart they are and then other people link to it so they can get more people to their blogs so they can hear how smart they are – might as well watch Oprah.
I’m sure that there are many of you who have heard (or perhaps personally believe) something similar.
Today, I’m going to share my opinion of why you might want to consider adding a blog to your corporate website.
As my client mentioned above, “blogs are just places where people can hear themselves talk about how smart they are…” Well, in my opinion, that’s only partially true. Blogs are also places where companies can share their knowledge with their target audience and show them how smart they are. Thought leadership is a good thing. It’s good for branding and, as also mentioned from my client’s quote above, it’s good for links.
When something within your industry changes, you should have a forum so you can quickly post about the change and gain links. As my friend Crispin Sheridan shared recently on ClickZ, targeting these “first mover” items is good for link generation.
Use of Human Language
Blogs are one of the few opportunities that you can use “human language” within the copy of your site. For example, if you’re searching “how to know if you need an ac repair company,” you most likely wouldn’t find this type of content on a corporate website. However, in this example, Service Experts has the forum to provide this type of content (a blog), and it also has the ability to actually rank for these types of phrases. Don’t you think that it makes sense for Service Experts to be exposed to people searching for this? The only caveat here is that you must provide useful, non-promotional copy for this to really work. You want to get people who land here to appreciate the content, and – yes – hopefully link to the content.
Building Depth to Your Website
Many websites struggle with the amount of content they have. Depending on the competitive nature of the keywords that you’re trying to target for your SEO efforts, having a good amount of quality, unique, and resourceful content is a great help in gaining the ability to rank. A little over a year ago, I shared a case study on Search Engine Watch of a client’s website that had fewer than 100 pages of content indexed when we started working with them. If you were to check the number of pages indexed in Yahoo today, you would see that they have over 3,600 pages indexed. If you were to read the case study, you would see that in one year’s time, the site’s traffic increased by 1,700 percent (4,000 visitors from organic search per month to – one year later – 63,000 visitors from organic search per month). People don’t want to get too caught up in building content for “onesy twosy” search traffic. I’m here to tell you that a) this kind of traffic can add up and b) the additional content that you’re adding to your website is worth more than just the value of the traffic that you’re getting to these pages, directly. It’s positioning your site as more of an authority in the eyes of the search engines, and it’s making your site more resourceful. Users like a website to be resourceful, and the search engines like whatever is good for the user.
Let’s be real. Who would really want to link to a corporate website? Unless they’re mentioned in the news, do they really have interesting content that you – as a blogger/journalist – would want to link to? What do people like to link to? White papers? Case studies? Informative how-to blog posts? By creating helpful/resourceful content, you’re giving yourself an opportunity to gain links to your website. I typically recommend that a company set up their blog on a subdirectory of their site (www.sitename.com/blog), so that links are attributed to belong deep within the root domain. If you were to look at my company’s Google Webmaster Tools (screenshot below) you would see that most of the links to our site are to our blog.
I do believe that search engines like to see that people are keeping their website up, and showing it some “love.” I think they like to see press releases added to a website, case studies uploaded on a regular basis, and blog posts showing up on the domain, on a consistent basis (I typically recommend around three new blog posts per week, for those clients who are able to do so).
Once the content is flowing, I like to recommend that our clients add a section to their home page for “Most Recent Blog Posts” with snippets of the post fed to the home page. This is keeping some fresh content coming to the home page, helping to get those posts some links from the home page, and – together – the strategy has proven to work quite well.
Just saying “yes” to blogging is not the only thing that will make you successful. There are a number of things to consider, and every company and every website/competitive landscape is unique. For more thoughts on how you might structure a blog for your efforts, please see an earlier post on blogging for search engine optimization.