Just a short time ago, the #1 online marketing strategy was Link Building. If you wanted to dominate search engines, attract new website visitors, and build a bigger list, Link Building was your ace in the hole. But things have changed dramatically. Google has improved its SEO radar and made it much more difficult to dominate rankings by simply building links. And now, in the wake of Google's latest changes, the new SEO king is blogging. After link building took a few major blows with the Google Panda and Google Penguin updates, blogging has returned to its rightful place at the top of SEO strategy...
A lot of these new Google changes point to exactly where Google is moving in the next few years. More than ever before, Google's #1 concern is QUALITY CONTENT. That's why Blogging is now an essential part of your online marketing campaign.
Here are 5 undeniable reasons that blogging is the new trump card for your SEO strategy:
Reason #1 - Blogging Is About Key Words (NOT Keywords)
Keywords are the cornerstone of any SEO program. You've got to know generally what your potential customers are searching for to build an effective SEO and web marketing campaign. But as search engine giants like Google keep improving their algorithm, keywords are no longer so cut-and-dry.
Instead of simply making a list of 10, 50, or 100 target keywords and "going after them" with tactics like link building, now your strategy has to be more subtle.
Blogging is about Key Words (not Keywords). Instead of looking at your target list of phrases as something that can be nailed down, you have to think more SEMANTICALLY. (In other words, you have to think in terms of VALUABLE CONTENT.
As Google gets smarter, it gets better at figuring out whether your content is really about "New Jersey Plumbing" (for example) or if your content is just TRYING to be about "New Jersey Plumbing."
The difference is subtle but it boils down to Keywords v. Key Words. In this case, the "keywords" are the exact phrase: New Jersey Plumbing. But the "key WORDS" aren't so easy to define. This is exactly how Google is using its SEMANTIC SEARCH methods to sort out valuable content from "overoptimized content."
Blogging solves this problem by allowing you to publish frequent posts about lots and lots of topics related to your business, your market's interests, and all the rest. When you're updating your blog frequently, you can provide lots of valuable content many times over.
Reason #2 - Blogging Is The New Link Building
The goal of link building is to get the attention of search engine robots and quite literally POINT them to your website. It's a way of saying, "Hey, look over here! This is my website and it's about New Jersey Plumbing."
Link building does still work.
It's a way of sort of helping search engine robots find their way. But now search engine robots are much much MUCH smarter. They don't need nearly as many of your little road signs pointing to your website. And, more to the point, (pun intended) search engine robots are now so smart they know when you're giving them too many signs.
Blogging does a much better job of helping search engine robots find you. Then, you can use internal linking to build links from every blog post to your other blog posts and/or website pages to give search engine robots further guidance.
I say blogging is the new link building because link building used to do an exceptional job of getting Google's attention. This was one of the major holes in Google's PageRank and link building formula (and they knew it all along). Now, Google is much smarter at sorting out websites based more on content rather than on links. It's not that links don't matter anymore -- they definitely do matter. It's just that CONTENT has surpassed LINKS in the SEO priority race.
Reason #3 - Blogging Is Social Media Food
These days, Social Media is the online marketing superstar. There's so much emphasis on Facebook fan pages, Twitter updates, and all the rest. But what I see a lot of people completely missing is that Social Media is about SHARING. And you can't share effectively (or profitably) unless you have something valuable to share.
When you're frequently updating your blog, you've always got great stuff to share on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and anywhere else you're trying to build a social presence.
What's the point of being social inside the vacuum of these social media networks if you NEVER send visitors to your blog or your website? The idea is to create anchors of great content on your own domain so you can attract visitors ultimately to your site -- to your business.
Plus, Social Media is most effective (just like SEO) when it's organic. That means you need to post lots of great content on your blog so people can organically find your content and then organically share your content. And voila... You've got buzz!
Blogging opens this door for you. It's so easy to add widgets and plugins and buttons to your blog. You can make it easy (even automatic) for your blog visitors to share for you.
In many ways, blogging was the first form of social media on the web. Social networks are just tools to make sharing and interacting easier. But blogs still take priority in this equation.
Reason #4 - Blogging Converts
Website conversions aren't exactly part of SEO but your ultimate goal should definitely be conversions. That's the whole purpose of doing SEO and Web Marketing in the first place -- to get visitors to your website so you can turn them into leads and ultimately customers.
Blogging is one of the most effective ways to add new visitors to your website sales funnel.
This is one reason why I think more businesses should be investing more marketing dollars into their blogging campaign rather than their link building or even social media campaigns. If you spend so much time and money trying to get people to your website only to find that nothing happens once they arrive, you've got major problems.
Blogging wins again in this category because it simultaneously attracts AND converts website visitors.
First, blogging is "giving." It's a way of offering free information, free resources, and free content to your prospects. When you GIVE, your prospect's guard goes down.
Second, blogging "teases." It allows you to open the conversation with your prospects in a non-salesy and non-aggressive way. Then, you can easily move blog readers from your blog post to your email sign-up forms or your sales and order pages.
Finally, blogging "relates." It keeps building new relationships with new visitors AND enhancing relationships with existing customers. If you blog frequently, you'll have great content to offer your new visitors as well as your returning customers.
Reason #5 - Blogging Adds Value
I saved this reason for last because I want to drive home the true purpose of SEO. As Google has said time and again, "Google isn't interested in helping websites, Google is interested in helping searchers." And what does that mean? Google's goal is to provide VALUE to its web searching customers.
If that's Google's goal and if you view SEO as a valuable part of your online marketing formula, then you'd better hop on board with that same philosophy.
Blogging, of all web marketing strategies, is the absolute best way to ADD VALUE while also reaping major benefits. That's the trade-off Google wants to have with you, Mr. or Mrs. Website Owner. The deal is simple: YOU provide value and GOOGLE will reward you with search engine rankings.
I'm all about action. I want to urge you to put more energy into your blogging campaign immediately.
Step #1 - Setup Your Blog
If you don't already have a blog, get one setup on your domain now. I recommend WordPress, and I recommend installing your blog at www.YourWebsite.com/blog (in other words, ON your domain). If that's not a possiblity, then an off-site blog is a very strong second best.
Step #2 - Keep Your Blog Simple
Your blog should reflect your main website, but keep the design simple. Throw up your main website logo in the header (or something similar) but don't worry about making it all look perfect. You really only need 2 key elements on your blog -- good content and a conversion element. Your conversion element can be as simple as a place for people to sign-up for your email newsletter.
Step #3 - Blog Frequently
This is where most businesses fail. They don't keep their blog updated. It can take months to see major results from your blogging efforts, but once the stream of traffic starts hitting it will all pay off in spades.
I recommend writing 15 or 30 posts at a time and then scheduling them out for a month. Then, rinse and repeat every month.
Ideally, you should include an image with every blog post -- especially if your business lends itself to the visual (food, travel, retail, etc).
I also recommend hooking up your blog to your Facebook and Twitter profiles and providing social media "buttons" on your blog. This is the critical connection for success with leveraging your Social Media Marketing campaigns.