Following on from last week’s post, this week I want to answer a question a lot of business owners are still asking:
“Yes, SEO. My web dev guys keep going on about it. But what do blogging and SEO have to do with each other? How much can a blog really improve my site’s SEO?”
In order to explain this, let’s make another analogy regarding how search engines work.
We mentioned last week about the little robot spiders that crawl on the trunks of your website tree, sampling the fruit to see if it’s any good. The next part of the story is that they store this information in a database.
Imagine this database is a fishing pond.
A potential customer comes along, their web browser is the fishing rod, the line and hook is their search term, and they cast the hook into the search engine pond to see what they will catch. The difference with this pond is that it looks at the hook and knows what type of fish the amateur angler is after, and knows which part of the pond the most fish of this type are.
Let’s say you’re a fish vendor who makes money by how many of your fish are caught from this pond. There are a thousand individual fish that match what the angler is looking for, and you own fifty of them. You’re relying on chance that the angler will hook one of your fish, and chances are they will probably not, because your share of the fish pool is relatively small.
Therefore, you say to yourself “I need to improve the chances that the pond will present one of my fish to the angler”. But how exactly do you do it?
As mentioned last week, there are several ways of improving your search engine rankings, but where blogging can have a significant impact is in content expansion.
The average business website may have a landing page as well as a home page, an “about us” page, a “contact us” page, a “products” page, a “testimonials” page, and potentially some support or FAQ-style pages. Each of these main pages may have sub-pages, but in reality most business websites won’t have more than thirty pages of indexable content. Especially if some of the information is repeated, which it necessarily will be to some degree, this is not a lot of content for search engines to index.
However, adding a blog, and posting to it one or more times a week, will increase both the amount and variety (or richness) of your content.
So the amateur angler throws their hook into the data-dense waters looking for a trout. The pond looks at its pool of fish. There is one vendor with fifty brown trout. There is another vendor with one hundred brown trout, fifty flathead trout and a handful of marble trout. But then there is a vendor with four hundred brown trout, two hundred flathead trout, fifty rainbow trout, roughly one hundred lake trout and a mixture of golden and silver trout making up the remainder. If you were the pond, whose trout would you present to the angler first? You would select the vendor with the most number and variety of trout to the angler first, because the angler is far more likely to find exactly what they are looking for more quickly.
Straining the analogy even further, the angler may have thrown a hook in the water that said “I want trout”. But the pond knows that the angler may want a specific breed of trout at a specific weight and age which they haven’t specified. Therefore, once again, it will present the fish from the vendor who has provided the most variety, because they are far more likely to have the specific trout the angler wants.
Most potential customers will use search engines the same way. They will type “best [product] for [situation]” or “cheapest [product] in [region]” into their search bar. The search engine needs to take this blunt snippet and produce results that will be instantly relevant and most likely be what the searcher is after, even if the search engine, or even the searcher, doesn’t know exactly what that is.
The search may be “best trout for barbecues”.
Website A says: “We have trout. Please buy some.”
Website B says: “We have brown trout, flathead trout and marble trout. They are all good, especially for barbecues. Please buy some.”
Website C says: “We have brown trout, flathead trout, rainbow trout, lake trout, golden trout, silver trout. Here is a blog post about the differences between them. Here is a blog post about which ones taste better on a barbecue. Here is a blog post about how to barbecue them. And here is another blog post with different barbecue recipes for all our trout, along with wine suggestions and feedback from other customers who have tried them. Please buy some”.
No prizes for guessing which website the search engine will display to the searcher – the one that has a lot of content, and a lot of rich content, because this is the most likely website to answer all of the searcher’s unspoken questions.
Blogs are the simplest and most effective way of expanding and enriching your web content without bloating your website. As we mentioned in this blog post, in a recent survey more than half of consumers made a purchase decision after reading a blog post. If you are serious about sales, it’s time to get serious about blogging!