I get these questions all the time: “Should I be blogging?” “Will blogging help my SEO?” “Is that something I should be investing in?”
I’ll cut to the chase: probably not (wincing, waiting for the internet to strike me down).
Disclaimer: The intended audience here is your average, busy, local business owner.
But don’t stop reading here! 🙂
The better question is: How can I know if I should be blogging or not?
Knowing how to answer that question will make you a better business owner — overnight.
I’m going to give you the tools here as to how I would answer that question in just a couple of minutes of research. But first, let’s brush up on a few basics. Scroll down if you already know this.
What is a blog?
A blog is just a page of a website that has some neat code elements that make it really useful for “publishing” content. It can easily be added to feeds…etc. Blogging is regarded as a staple for improving SEO results. More info here if you need more details on a typical blog structure.
But, truly, a blog is like any other web page that can rank. Its content is indexed and weighed for its value by Google. There’s very little other “magic” to a blog post than that.
How do blogs actually help SEO?
The ONLY way that blogging (typically) helps your SEO is in one of four ways:
- One: It ranks for keywords in traffic-relevant positions in Google. People search those keywords on Google and find your content, therefore bringing your website traffic.
- Two: The post is promoted on another website. Typically, we call this a “backlink” — aka, a link on someone else’s site back to yours. These are still very important for SEO and build your site’s “Authority” or “Page Rank” or “Link Equity”. It goes by many names. This “Authority” is what Google uses to place trust in your site’s content, even if it’s not as high-quality as someone else’s website.
- Three: It gets traffic from other sites. The blog is interesting and it sends traffic from places with people — even though the link to your blog isn’t driving any ranking authority. Posts on social media sites most often fall into this category. You might call them “social signals”, but they do little to raise your website’s “Authority” in the traditional backlink sense. The key value is the traffic. Traffic is natural and natural is good.
- Four: It assists the total content/keyword volume of your website. Indirectly, blogs give you an option, sometimes by sheer luck, to broaden out the number of keywords that Google can rank your website for. Some of these will find their way into high rankings on Google that can send some unexpected traffic. This is the classic use and method of blogs for SEO value.
The problem with most blogs is that they don’t accomplish any of these things — mostly because most bloggers don’t understand how to write for SEO. (I totally understand that others will be able to point out some other ways that blogs can be helpful for SEO, as this isn’t the depth of this blog — I’m focusing on the surface of this topic on purpose.)
So, should you start blogging?
Let’s take a look at how I would answer this question for my own business or niche. We need to start by answering a couple of questions:
- One: Are your competitors blogging?
- Two: Are your blogs written in a way that will target keywords and get traffic for your website?
- Three: Will your blogs get backlinks to it?
- Four: Have you completed most other basic SEO tasks for your site? (Adding Meta Titles and Meta Descriptions, for example).
Chances are that you probably answered “No” to at least two of the questions above.
If that’s the case, then no, you probably shouldn’t spend your time/money blogging — FOR SEO REASONS. For some better ideas on what to do, skip down to “Instead, you could:” at the bottom.
That said, there are some awesome reasons you should start blogging for non-SEO reasons:
- Do you have value to add to the marketplace?
- Do you have an existing audience that will benefit from it?
- Would including content on your site build your expertise or diminish it?
- Are you creating content for other channels? (Podcasts, Youtube) These are really easy to transcribe and upload as blog content on the cheap.
If you answered “yes” to any of those questions — you absolutely can start blogging — but it’s probably not the fastest or best way to grow your SEO.
Instead, you could:
- Roll through your website and make sure your keywords are in your meta titles and meta descriptions.
- Comment on blogs within your industry — anything you find interesting in your niche. When you comment, leave a backlink/hyperlink from their site to yours. (This isn’t nearly as effective as before — but for most beginners, it represents 5 -10 minutes of work per link and it’s crazy natural when it’s legit and not spammed or done quickly — aka leaving 100 comments on 100 blogs in 3 days).
- Email a friend or family member and ask them to possibly link to your site from theirs, preferably in the footer of their site or their homepage, if possible.
Thanks for reading, I hope this helps!
– Tyler Krause, Owner of Conversion First Marketing