Small business owners often feel the pressure to become experts in everything related to their business, including SEO. Optimizing your site gives you the best chance of driving organic traffic to your site and bringing in leads passively. You may have heard that blogging is a good way to boost your rankings on search engine results pages (SERPs). Blogging can seem like a big commitment if it’s not already part of your workflow, though. You may be wondering if it’s worth the work. Does a blog help SEO?
7 Ways a Blog Helps SEO
The short answer is: Yes, a blog does help SEO. To set realistic goals and expectations around blogging, it helps to understand exactly what it can do. Here are seven ways a blog helps SEO for your website.
Start ranking for “smaller” keywords.
In many ways, keywords are the foundations of SEO. They help search engines know whether your page is relevant for an inquiry. For example, you need the keyword “Jackson wedding photographer” on your home or about page to show up on SERPs for that search term. Hopefully, your website’s main pages are optimized for your most important keywords.
So how does a blog help with SEO keywords? We always tell people to think of keywords like a cloud. At the center, you have your main keywords that are typically harder to rank for. Surrounding it, you have less significant but related keywords. These tend to be easier to rank for faster.
The strategy here is twofold. Firstly, these related keywords are often easier to rank for and serve as a sort of back door to connecting with potential clients. Secondly, Google wants to see that you’re providing information that supports your main keywords. If your goal is to rank for “Jackson wedding photographer,” you might blog about Jackson wedding venues or florists. As you publish on your blog, you’ll build authority over all while showing up for potential clients in other searches.
Choosing a Keyword
There are two things you should keep in mind when choosing a keyword for your blog: user intent and keyword research. As a service provider, consider what concerns your potential clients might have when they come to you. Maybe they’re planning a wedding. They might want information about venues, vendors, decor, or traditions. These are all great starting points for your keyword research.
The next step is to use a tool like Ubersuggest to figure out which keywords are worth blogging about. There are a few reasons to do keyword research. Firstly, your potential clients might not be using the search terms you think they are. You also want to make sure that you’re targeting keywords that aren’t too difficult to rank for.
Let’s look at the example of our Jackson wedding photographer. Someone planning a wedding probably would want to find a ceremony location. If you type “Jackson wedding ceremony location” into Ubersuggest’s keyword tool, though, you’ll see that no one has searched for this term. Instead “Jackson MS wedding venues” is a much more popular search term with 720 searches a month. A venue roundup would be a great way to target this keyword.
As you do your keyword research, be mindful that you only use each keyword once. Your blog does help your SEO as long as the pages don’t compete with each other. If two pages are optimized for the same keyword, a phenomenon called keyword cannibalization can cause your pages to compete and completely knock each other off SERPs.
Publishing regularly matters.
When people talk about SEO, they often use Google as shorthand for all search engines. It’s the most popular search engine with 70% of the market share, though, so it’s honestly a smart strategy to focus your SEO strategy around it. Google’s algorithm is complex with over 200 variables. The frequent publication of high quality content makes up a surprisingly large portion of that pie – as much as 26% in some estimations. Several case studies have shown that, in general, the more often you post, the more traffic you generate. Regular blogging supported by keyword research is one of the most straightforward ways to improve your SEO over time.
Many small business owners hear that a blog helps SEO and assume that they have to start from scratch with completely new content. While it is important to generate publications on new (and related!) topics, updates to old blogs do count for something in Google’s view. If you add copy to an old list-style article, for example, Google will consider that more updated and, therefore, more relevant information. The result: It will rank better and help your SEO overall.
Demonstrate your expertise and build authority.
In addition to publishing regularly to get Google’s attention, your blog helps SEO by building your authority. You do this by demonstrating your expertise and proving your trustworthiness. Authority is a major factor in how well your website ranks, and, fortunately, it’s something you can improve over time. Google’s algorithm gives preference to websites that show the author is trustworthy. Backlinks, organization memberships, and awards are a few ways to show this. You can demonstrate expertise by listing certifications and publishing content on relevant topics (a.k.a. blogging).
The link between expertise and authority is one reason it’s so important for your blog posts to be related to your overall field, not just random topics. If you’re a wedding photographer, a blog post on your favorite tofu recipe isn’t going to build authority. (You could use it to build your brand if you’re strategic, though.) To build authority, you’d be better off publishing blog posts on wedding venues, photo locations, and other keywords related to your home page keyword.
Creating Cornerstone Content
One great strategy for demonstrating expertise is to publish cornerstone content on your blog. Cornerstone content lays the foundations for your blog. Pick a topic that’s relevant to your field and you know a lot about. Then write a long, well-researched blog post about it. Add to or revise it at least twice a year to show that the information is up to date. For example, a florist might write a cornerstone blog post about the best flowers for wedding bouquets. They could update it quarterly to reflect what’s available each season or to add information about related topics, such as venue decor. Ideally, cornerstone articles are a couple thousand words long, and you should be able to link to them from your other blog posts to signal their importance to Google.
Improve your chances of getting found on Image Search.
For most small businesses, their goal is to create blog posts that gets ranked on Google’s “All” tab. There’s no reason your blog post can’t work for you on the Image Search feature as well! It’s all a matter of optimizing your images with the same keywords as the rest of your blog post. Remember that some users will start with Google Image Search to find helpful information. If you’re a designer, photographer, or other visual creative, consider which showstopping images you’d like to show up for your chosen keyword. Spend your energy optimizing those images to give them the best chance of ranking.
A lot of small business owners find blog images helpful for another popular search engine – Pinterest! Millions of people use Pinterest each month for inspiration and education. Using an app like Tailwind, you can promote your blog post on Pinterest to drive traffic to your site. Visitors coming to your blog through Pinterest can still boost your SEO with Google if they stay on your site and interact with it.
Keep visitors on your page longer.
What does it mean for visitors to interact with your website? User engagement refers to the amount of time your site is in the foreground on a visitor’s screen. As of 2022, it’s the fifth most heavily weighted factor in Google’s algorithm. Ultimately, the longer you keep people on your site with interesting images and copy, the better for your SEO. Quality blog content, which also demonstrates your expertise and builds authority, should do this.
A blog does help your SEO by keeping visitors on your page longer, and it also reminds us that the point of blogging is to connect with potential customers. One study found that businesses that blog received around 67% more leads per month than those that didn’t. While this study focused on larger businesses, we can say from our own experience blogging for our businesses and our clients that regular blogging will drive leads for a small business if you’re patient and persistent.
Create opportunities for internal linking.
I referenced internal linking as it relates to cornerstone content earlier. Internal links connect one of your web pages to another on your site. Although this doesn’t account for a large portion of Google’s algorithm, it’s an easy way to give your SEO some juice. By linking blog posts to other blog posts or to your contact page, for example, you signal to Google that you are providing a library of related content. This gives you more authority in Google’s view.
Think of internal linking as an opportunity to be that much more useful to visitors. Blogging is content marketing, so you should provide something of value. If you write a blog post about a wedding venue, link to posts about similar venues. If you have an advice article to which you can refer people for further reading, do it! Regardless of your industry, if you’re a service provider, your goal should be to educate your visitors in meaningful ways that hopefully also generate leads.
Give other sites more reasons to give you backlinks.
While internal links connect your web pages to one another, backlinks link from external websites to yours. This accounts for a bigger portion of Google’s algorithm, and they can be trickier to get. Others need to have a reason to link to your website. This is where a blog helps SEO. You can generate content that people want to link to their own. This will increase your authority and rankings overall. You can also guest write for someone else’s blog. (Just make sure they’re giving you a backlink as part of the deal.)
How the Right Copywriter Can Help
A blog can be a powerful tool to help your SEO, but there are some things you need to know for your blog to be effective. Unfortunately, telling a client story or posting a personal reflection is not enough in itself. For example, we mentioned keyword research earlier. A keyword is what tells search engines when to show your post to users. If you don’t optimize your post for a keyword, search engines won’t include it in any SERPs. Once you have a keyword, it helps to know the nuances of where to place it in headings, body text, and alt text for maximum effect without over optimizing.
Learning the ins and outs of how to make the most of your blog to help your SEO takes time. Combining that knowledge with on-brand copy that connects with your dream clients? That’s another thing altogether. We’ve designed our blog copywriting services to balance on-brand storytelling with SEO expertise so that your blog helps your SEO, gets in front of potential clients, and drives leads. Learn more about how we can help you improve your SEO and connect with your dream clients!