Blogging and SEO aren’t separate aspects of your business’s online strategy. There’s a major crossover between the two – your blog can boost your site’s overall SEO and SEO principles can boost the exposure and traffic that your blog gets. By creating SEO friendly content for your blog you significantly increase the likelihood of people finding your blog content through search engines, which are the biggest source of traffic there is. To make your blog posts search engine friendly isn’t difficult. It essentially comes down to doing two things – creating content based on keywords that people are searching for and then including those keywords in the title and content of your blog posts.
Those who have blogs consider it good practice to help other bloggers when possible, and the help that most bloggers want comes in the form of backlinks. The blog on your company’s website is the ideal place to reference quality content that you find on other people’s sites that you think visitors to your blog would also find useful. Those who run blogs typically keep a keen eye on where traffic is coming from and who is linking to them, so it won’t go unnoticed if you reference content on their sites. The more links and traffic you give others, the more you will receive back.
No matter how great and shareable the content on your business’s blog is, if you don’t have connections and influence in the social sphere then you’ll struggle to attract visitors from social media websites. You need to use those sites not just as a tool to promote your own content, but also to make connection with others in your industry and to help them promote their content. As with linking out, as mentioned above, other blog owners will know if you’ve taken action on social sites to help them, and if they see that you’ve helped them, the chances of them helping you out in return are much higher. Spending just 10-15 minutes a day on sharing content and messaging people via social media sites is all it takes.
The content that you publish on your main business website will mostly likely be commercial in nature, as its primary purpose is to directly influence visitors to buy products or services from you. Commercial orientated content has almost no chance of being shared on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc. Your blog allows you to be more creative when creating content. The purpose of that content isn’t to directly make a sale, but to increase traffic, brand awareness and online authority. By creating content in formats (top 10 lists, infographics, videos, etc.) and styles (humourous, controversial, passionate, etc.) that are popular on social media sites, your blog posts will be shared more and will attract more traffic.
It’s easier to build relationships online, to reach out to people and make new connections, if your name is familiar in groups and communities that are relevant to your industry. As well as groups and communities within Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn, online forums provide good opportunities to link to your own content, comment on other people’s content, discuss trends and developments, and generally show your expertise and authority. If your peers and potential customers see you making interesting points and comments on 3rd party sites then they’ll be intrigued as to what content you’ve been saving for your own site, and will want to check it out for themselves.
Commenting on other blogs is another way to make others familiar with you and to show your expertise and authority. When commenting you’re typically allowed to link back to your own blog, and if you take the time to leave a thoughtful and interesting comment, there’s a good chance that the owner of that blog will be curious as to who you are and what your site is about, and will click the link to visit your blog. Some of the other readers of that blog, who, if the blog is relevant to your own, are exactly the type of traffic you want, will also follow the link to your blog. The more unique, creative and valuable the comments that you make are, the more effective this approach to increasing traffic to your blog is.
There will almost certainly be other blogs in the same, or a related, niche as you that have a regular and loyal readership. Readers of those blogs are prime candidates to be readers of your business’s blog. The ideal way to convince those people to visit your blog is to demonstrate your expertise on those blogs that they’re already regularly visiting. It can be hard to convince other blog owners to publish your content (with a link to your site) on their site, so you need to make sure you’re providing them with something of value in return. That value could come from giving them a piece of content that’s of outstanding quality, having a good social media following that will visit their site to check out your content, offering to publish their content on your blog in return, or even a financial payment.
There are so many interesting blogs and websites on the web that it’s unrealistic to expect every visitor to yours to remember the name and url of yours and to make a return visit. Even if they visit once and think that your content is good, unless they subscribe to updates, through either email or RSS, they’ll probably never find their way back again. Therefore, set-up a subscription system (using, for example, FeedBurner), make subscribing as simple as entering an email address and/or clicking a button, and position the subscription area in a prominent position on your blog, such as directly below each blog post or at the very top of your blog’s sidebar.
Some content that you publish will get linked to, shared on social sites and generally increase traffic to your blog, and some won’t. Using Google Analytics you can track exactly what types and formats of content work best and then tailor your future output along those lines. You can also review data (such as viewing time and bounce rate) on old blog posts to highlight under-performers. If a blog post is having a negative effect by driving people away from your site then you can rewrite it or, as a worst case scenario, even delete it. Additionally, you can see in Analytics where visitors to your site are coming from, which means that you can focus your efforts on the traffic sources that are providing the most visitors to your blog.