Blogging: The Best SEO Tool for Small Businesses

Blogging: The Best SEO Tool for Small BusinessesI’m a huge proponent of blogging based first on my own experience as a blogger. My blog essentially launched my career in online marketing and SEO. I learned from it and I have helped businesses large and small benefit from blogging.

But until now I didn’t have current research about a blog’s impact on SEO

Hubspot just came out with research based on their actual customers on how a blog impacts their business. It’s a decent sample size of 1,531 of their customers which are primarily small and mid-sized businesses. Roughly half (795) blog and half don’t (736).

Here’s the data. Those who blog see:

  • 55% more visitors to their website.
  • 97% more links to their website which is a primary factor in where your website shows up in search results. (Want a higher ranking, get quality links to your site).
  • 434% more indexed pages – this is the number of pages that show up in search engines. Just because you have a site doesn’t guarantee it is being indexed (findable). Just because some of your pages are in search engines doesn’t mean all of your pages are.

This is incredible data – who wouldn’t want those kind of results?

However, blogging isn’t for everyone. Think this over:

  • Do you have content to write about? If you don’t have much to say blogging isn’t a good medium for saying it. Sending out a press release every few months would probably be better.
  • Can you commit to writing regularly? Google rewards consistency and consistency builds trust with people. If you can’t maintain a blog then it’s probably better not to.
  • Do you have the technical background to install and maintain a blog (plugins, features, etc)?
  • Would you need help posting on a blog?

Here are some ways to get help posting on a blog. Consider hiring an intern from a local college to create blog posts – take pictures for the posts and get valuable online PR experience. Most of the time this is a free way to go about it, but you must manage them or find someone who can write and learn quickly with little or no supervision.

Another option is to hire a blogger who understands SEO or hire someone to coach your team. While having someone else blog for you who is not as familiar as you are with your business may initially be a drawback, it does at least ensure your blog is being updated.It can fill in some of the gaps. The better information you can supply to the blogger, the better quality your posts will be. As time goes by they will gain knowledge and understanding of your business that will make it easier and easier for them to blog.

If you want to get started, here are some blogging tips. A solution that can work for a small businesses is Yola – it’s free to set up a simple blog or website. You can add Google Maps and you can optimize it for search engines. For a nominal cost you can get your own domain name (it will redirect to your Yola blog). If you have things to write about and want to save on time or choose something less technical it’s a good choice. You can help your SEO and ultimately your business.

* * * * *

Janet Meiners thaelerAbout the Author: Janet Meiners Thaeler is an Evangelist for OrangeSoda Inc. and the principal blogger for their corporate blog and Twitter account. She regularly advises clients on blogging and social media strategies. Her own blog is Newspapergrl.com (and Twitter account @newspapergrl). She is passionate about online marketing and is always looking for new insights, resources and trends to help her clients.

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Janet Meiners Thaeler


Janet Meiners Thaeler Janet Meiners Thaeler is an Evangelist for OrangeSoda Inc. and the principal blogger for their corporate blog and Twitter account. She regularly advises clients on blogging and social media strategies. Her own blog is Newspapergrl.com (and Twitter account @newspapergrl). She is passionate about online marketing and is always looking for new insights, resources and trends to help her clients.

52 Reactions

  1. Thanks for some hard facts, Janet.

    Here is another idea that I use with some clients. It’s the opposite of regular blogging. Instead I lock them in a room and they don’t get out until they have 26 topics – enough for 6 months.

    We then drip-feed these through every week until they are done. It avoids the nag factor of having to think up a new topic every week – this can make people all grumpy from Wednesday onwards.

  2. Interesting results Janet. I have a couple of questions:

    1. Did they breakdown the data to see if certain industries, size of business or those who sell a product versus a service had better or worse results?

    2. Were they able to see if those who blogged had better conversions for whatever their objectives were?

    Finally I could not see any reference to their methodology so it would be interesting to know what criteria they used for the comparisons.

  3. Remember to use key words relevant to the rest of your website and your niche, to further increase your seo rankings. Some other great ideas to drastically increase your traffic and via SEO or direct traiffc with pre-qualified prospects…

    -Submit your blog posts and/or expert articles to ezines
    -Create audio podcasts of your blog posts (just read and record and submit to podcast directories)
    -Turn audio podcasts into video podcasts using a digital video camera… people love seeing a face… and put on video sites
    -Turn audio podcasts into video files with still image backgrounds and put on video sites
    -Turn video files into video casts or video-podcasts and submit them to video-cast directories

    The key is to work less and re-purpose all of your content. Make sure that the content is actually valuable and not sales fluff. Finally remember that, no matter the medium you use, that your call-to-action is driving people back to your blog or website so you can capture their information or get them to subscribe and begin drip marketing on them.

    See how I’ve begun to set all of this up on my small biz blog. It’s really easy to do. Good luck.

    -Ryan Mettee
    BizGrowthNation.com

  4. Content Is King.
    Google has not ended it’s blog love affair by any stretch of the imagination, nor does it look to be something that might happen in the near future. Like web hosting, blogging has become a standard for doing business online.

  5. Janet,

    I didn’t know that SynthaSite had changed named to Yola.

    I think it could be a good idea to get external help with your blogging in order to start your social media journey. The important thing is to create the right atmosphere of the blog and write in a natural way. You must find the voice of the company. The company owners should be involved and they should understand the impact this type of new media could have for future business.

  6. Good post with good stats from Hubspot. I also agree with several of the commenters. Especially with John – Christchurch SEO, I suggested this with on of my clients and it worked great. Before we launched the blog, she wrote tons of content, and also sketched out ideas for future posts. That got her into the rhythm of writing and posting on a weekly basis, and the process was not so foreign anymore, she knew she could do it.

    I agree that hiring an intern or a blogger to blog for your company can be tempting, but definitely be aware of the pitfalls as noted. Better to find someone or several people in-house for whom writing is easy, and train them. Also ghost blogging, someone else writing in the voice of the CEO, can really backfire once it is uncovered. Instead of that, explain up front that this is a multi-author blog with various voices from the company, or give the name of the person writing – this blog is written by our online community manager. The CEO is not neccessarily the one to write the blog – for some, like Zappos, that has worked out, but it’s not for everyomapny.

    Getting someone with blogging experience, who is also a good teacher/trainer/coach can be helpful to both help map out a blogging strategy for a business, and to guide a company on what tools (software, plugins etc.) should be used to flesh out the blog and help make useof this robust platform/tool.

    Agree with Ryan Mettee – make sure the content is valuable, not PR fluff or corporate speak. Define your audience and goals for your blogging and grow from there with strong, relevant content.

    Agree with Susan Oakes as well. The key to using blogs for SEO, is incorporating relevant keywords in the page titles, on-page anchor text (categories etc), in post titles and in subheads within the posts, and inside the content itself. Not “keyword stuffing,” but really think about what words your potential readers might be typing into a search engine in order to find this content. If those words make sense for the post, use them. Balance writing for search engines with writing for people as well.

  7. While blogging can help your business in the long run, it’s difficult for someone not computer savvy to get up and running. I would say hire someone to get you set up and started. Posts should primarily come from you though. You want to connect personally with readers and quickly answer their questions or concerns. Another writer can fill in occasionally when you just can’t get to it.

  8. Excellent stats and very encouraging. I am new to blogging and I appreciate the point about consistency. Thanks so much.

  9. The bottom line is for effective search engine visibility, ranking and optimization CONTENT has to entertain, inform and engage people. It does help to have on-page SEO features, but in the end the interaction and satisfaction of visitors is key.

    Google isn’t stupid; they monitor click position and bounce rates and adjust results accordingly. The best thing a small business can do is to put their content, ideas and creativity forward and update it on a regular basis.

    When it boils down to it, yes, a Blog help, but a blog with no interesting content or frequency in posts does no one any good. So good blogging habits follow form with a good blog. Small businesses who don’t blog, should probably consult with someone who knows how to blog well (ask their friends, co-workers, etc) and get the assistance they need to grow their branding via blogging.

    ~Joe

  10. John
    Sounds a little like torture ;)

    Great tips. For one client I interviewed them for an hour a month. Then I used their answers to create posts which they approved. Like you, I scheduled them out every few days.

    My client wasn’t grouchy and I was happy because I got my work for the month done in a few hours.

    Janet

  11. Susan
    I don’t believe they broke down their data any more than I presented it. However, I’ll ask and see if they’ll provide more insight.
    Thanks for commenting
    Janet

  12. Ryan Mettee – Sounds like you could do a great follow-up post about your system. I haven’t done podcasts or a lot of video. While blogging and blog coaching come easy to me I have to admit that I could use some coaching on that.
    Going to check out your site…
    Janet

  13. Don’t let the technological issues stop you. A WordPress deployment is very manageable for even a novice and the accompanying interface is very easy to use.

    The fresh content keeps search engines visiting regularly and will keep your readers coming back as well. Just do it!

  14. CathyWebSavvyPR –
    First, thanks for your insights.

    Ideally get someone to blog internally. However, an intern can still be helpful. In other words, they can gather and post content even if it’s by interviewing experts in the company. They can post about press, events, and other news. Then can monitor comments and get responses.

    I have seen SEO blogging work even without the best content. In fact, I’ve seen it work with daily tips or summaries of industry news (I hate reprints). This is essentially what Marketing Pilgrim does well. While it may or may not as effective for building community it can still help rankings.

    Besides an understanding of blogging, writing with personality and being responsive are traits I want in a blogger. I can teach SEO.

    Blogs can be simply publishing tools used to expand content and keyword mentions on a domain. I’ve seen it with my clients.

    I’ve even seen great content never get traction even with consistency because they make these 2 mistakes: no keyword links in their posts and no SEO. We added those two things and numbers more than doubled in a month.

    - Janet

  15. I’m starting to see more and more interest in blogging from my clients – many of whom have no idea how to start a blog. Do you have any personal experience with Yola? Is it relatively simple for new-to-blogging businesses?

  16. Very encouraging statistics to help encourage small and medium businesses in to the world of blogging. However, I would be interested to know how many business of this size still believe having a website presense, a static website that is rarely updated, is enough to attract new customers. I’m sure the percentage would be quite high.

  17. Janet,

    Great tips about blogging, since a lot of blogs and social media sites are free I think there’s not really a loss if a company tries blogging to boost their online traffic. Its so easy, but great ideas about hiring interns or a blogger to help you and your team out. There are so many great tools for entrepreneurs to take advantage and I’m so glad you are encouraging business owners to try out some of these techniques!

    Thanks!

  18. Very nice! Blogging has so many benefits, but as you say people have to plan and be ready to take on the work. I’ve found that sometimes people grow into blogging though. Its great for teaching/learning how to write and interact online. It can also help develop internal staff and foster some healthy competition amongst contributors.

    Thanks for sharing the stats.

    http://twitter.com/franswaa

  19. Hi All. I’ve responded to this great post with the top 7 ways to re-purpose blog content to drive more traffic to any small business website. If you are going to spend time writing blog posts, you might as well maximize their results. Take a look:

    BizGrowthNation.com

  20. Thanks for your tips on blogging it is fast becoming an essential tool in SEM. Its right what you say about making sure that the information a (blagger) blogger conveys about a product or service is useful and also interesting. Seriously joke a-side it is important what ‘we’ say and more importantly how we convey the interests of a business. As a matter of interest why eleven tips and not twelve could be a prime factor in how you think, maybe? Regards

  21. Search engines generate nearly 90% of all Internet traffic and are responsible for 55% of all E-commerce transactions. Today, it is essential for all online businesses to make SEO an integral part of their online business strategy.

    So I would like to recommend one of my client who helps you define, evolve and implement a powerful SEO strategy to leverage your online business potential

  22. I think writing the relevent content is the most important thing. Many people and businesses have are blindly promoting their website with only one mission – 1st page ranking on Google. But hey, don’t forget – there are millions like you who want their site to be clicked more often.
    So, keep your eyes on the prize but don’t forget the basics because that is what will make you different that others.

  23. By far the biggest challenge is keeping your blog updated with fresh content. However, if you can make it a priority and schedule it as something that you must do, it will happen. We’ve defintely seen the benefits of our blog driving traffic and inquiries, plus pagerank, to our main sites.

  24. We have been saying blogging is the best SEO tool for a year. All of our clients have learned what an important tool blogs play in search engine results.

  25. Online marketing is the only place where a small business can compete fairly with their big time competitor. Marketing online is cheaper than putting an ad on tv, magazine, etc.

  26. You’re right about blogging–it has improved our SEO across the board and it helps to have writers who are consistent at producing content for those blogs, as you mentioned. If you haven’t started blogging for business, then it’s time, or else you may not be able to keep up. Also, hire a few writers who can produce good content on a consistent basis–just words of wisdom.

  27. Blogging benefits businesses in the following ways:

    1) More (relevant) website Traffic

    2) More Inbound Leads

    3) You’ll become a knowledge authority

    4) You’ll make New Friends

    5) More Social Presence

    6) Quality Back-links

    Hope this helps! :)

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