Blogging is more than just a good way to interact with customers and create a following: it’s also one of the strongest SEO tools you can put on your website to optimize it for search engines. A regularly updated blog can have a very significant impact your rankings in Google and other search engines — it’s not uncommon to see small and medium-sized sites move up entire pages in search engine ranks within a couple of months of regular blogging.
Blogging is not just something that consumer sites do — it’s is an equally valuable tool in the B2B world. Remember — your blog exists not just to communicate with and educate your customers (though it certainly does that as well) — you are using your blog to enhance your site’s rankings in search engines. Whether you’re B2B or B2C, you always want to rank well in Google.
Blogging is particularly valuable for smaller sites. Once the blog is set up, nearly anyone in your company can generate content, or you can hire a SEO firm to blog for you.
So why does Google love blogs so much? Simply because by their nature blogs automatically do several of the things that enhance Google’s perception of your site’s strength. Let’s take a look.
Blogging creates more relevant content
Google likes sites with lots and lots of original content, preferably content that’s related to the same cluster of keyword phrases that you’re targeting on your B2B site. Thus a site with a hundred pages about apple pie (making apple pie, history of apple pie, various apple pie recipes, apple pie contests, etc) is probably going to rank better than a site with only 4 pages — even if that 4 page site is better optimized.
Blogs create a great and informal way for you to continually add content to your site. Even if you’re just blogging about the behind-the-scenes life at your company, odds are good that you’ll be pinging those relevant keywords. If your company makes apple pies, it’s hard to blog very often without talking about apple pie.
As long as you adhere to a blogging schedule, you will end up filling your site with more and more tasty Google-bait.
And you know what else? Every time someone comments on one of your blog posts, that’s yet more content that was just created for that page! And speaking of comments, that leads us into the other huge thing that blogs do for your site optimization.
Blogging creates regular updates
Google likes sites that are regularly updated. In its eternal quest to return the most relevant possible sites to search queries, Google tends to think that a site that was updated more recently is more likely to be relevant (for most situations). So even though Google likes sites that have been around for a long time, they don’t want the content on those sites to be stale.
You could have a site that ranks well in several keywords, but if nothing on your site is updated for a year, you’ll likely see your rankings slip compared to other sites that are updating regularly.
Blogs are probably the single best way to produce regular updates for your B2B site.
It’s not just that you’re coming out with a new blog post every week, or month, or day — but you can also set up the RSS feed from your blog to automatically post excerpts or summaries of your blog posts on the home page of your site. Thus your home page might be generally static, but beneath all that carefully crafted and optimized text, you’ll have an excerpt of your three most recent blog posts, with links to the full article. That text on the page will then change every time you post a new blog, and Google now sees your home page as constantly changing and updating.
Best of all, every time someone comments on any one of your posts, that comment is considered an update to that post, and Google re-indexes it with the comments. For this reason I prefer to leave comments turned on indefinitely, unless there’s a compelling reason to turn them off.
Blogging attracts longtail searches
Blogs are like targeted missiles that mercilessly hunt down longtail searches and bring them to your site. Blogs give you the opportunity to talk about a wide range of topics, and address them in detail. While it probably doesn’t make sense for your apple pie website to have a page dedicated to exactly how you chose what oven to cook them in, that could make an interesting blog topic.
And while there probably aren’t many people searching for “apple pie oven choices for best flavored crust” if you have a blog post remotely about that, you’re probably going to rank first for that phrase.
I know on the surface this doesn’t sound like a big deal, but in fact it is huge. As an example, I have a blog that received 506,000 visits in the last month. Only the top 27 keyword phrases were over 1,000 visits per phrase, and by the 100th I’m only seeing 300 visits. But overall the blog attracted traffic from 107,111 different keyword phrases — the vast majority of them only bringing 1 to 5 visits per phrase.
That is the power a regularly updated blog has to attract massive traffic from longtail searches. Some of these searches aren’t potential customers, but many of them are people looking for your B2B products or services — and right now they aren’t finding you.
How to blog for B2B businesses
For many B2B businesses, a blog is a strange new thing demanding too much attention from an already busy day. Here are some key things to remember to get the most SEO benefit out of your blogging:
- Keep a regular blogging schedule. Whether it’s once a week, twice a month, or every day, choose when you will update and stick to it. Blogging gets easier when you do it regularly — it quickly falls to the wayside if your plan is to update it “whenever I have time.”
- Keep a regular blogging schedule!
- Keep it casual. A blog is not a press release, or the content of your site. By its nature, a blog is expected to be less formal. Don’t worry about making each post perfect, and let your voice come out. Often when B2B companies complain that they don’t have time to update their blog, it’s because they are putting too much effort into each post.
- 300 – 500 words is the ideal length of a blog post. They don’t need to be long, but don’t make them too short — at least not too often.
- Don’t be afraid to go over that count when you’ve got a lot to say on a topic. Note that if you’re going over 1,000 words, you probably want to split your subject into multiple, smaller posts.
- Use keywords important to your site in the title, if it’s relevant to the post. So if you’re talking about a new spice added to your apple pies, don’t title the post “Awesome New Spice!” Instead call it” Awesome New Apple Pie Spice!”
- Make use of the description meta tag, again with keyword phrases in mind. You will need a WordPress addon to make this easily available to you.
- If you get comments, respond to them! Interacting in the comments encourages more people to comment, and every comment response you post is yet another update to the page.
- Keep a regular blogging schedule!