Woman on laptop examining SEO results
blogging, seo

SEO For a Business Blog

One excellent way to increase both brand awareness and traffic to a site is deploying a business blog. It allows a company to demonstrate expertise in a field, engage existing and potential customers in thought provoking discussions and serves as an avenue for traffic to find your business website.

Probably the biggest challenge any company has with a blog is keeping it loaded with fresh content. I can say from experience, the only real way to succeed at that is to include blogging in employee job descriptions. Make sure they are not only responsible for producing content, but are also incentivized to produce a lot of (good) content.

Once you’ve taken that approach…BAM!…you have your content and everything should be looking up.

However, an equally challenging aspect of successful blogging is getting traffic. And that means being search engine optimized (SEO) with bait that Google should be eager to gobble up.

Here’s a couple quick tips and tricks that will help you optimize your business blog for search:

1. Don’t Forget Keywords

This is the first failure point of a business blog. Everyone is so happy to have content, they forget to include appropriate keywords, and every post is an opportunity to get noticed by Google for a new group of keywords.

Choosing the right keywords could be a whole discussion unto itself, but the easiest way to approach this is thinking long-tail. Long-tail means using keywords and keyword phrases that are less vague and more specific. For example, if I am a law office, I will get more (ready to convert) traffic if I utilize keyword phrases like “choosing a family lawyer” or “family law legal services.”   While this approach may bring in less traffic in general, the traffic I do get will be looking for a family law firm–my area of expertise.

2. Backlinks – the Seal of Approval

Google loves backlinks. It’s like people writing a letter of recommendation for your site and having a whole bunch of high quality, relevant sites linking back to your page telling Google that your blog is also high quality. The key here is, high quality. You don’t want miscellaneous and irrelevant sites linking to your blog. You want, as the saying goes, “to marry up.”

One way to easily accomplish this backlink challenge is to visit relevant blogs and websites and post something in their forum or comments section. Make sure you can include a link to your blog, and make sure to post a useful comment. If you just write any old thing or post garbage your comment will most likely never get approved or caught up in a comment filter (like the one used on this site).

3. Include the Social Buttons

Don’t forget to include the Facebook and Twitter buttons. It makes it super easy for people to share (or like) your page and those links from Facebook back to your site actually play a big role in how sites are prioritized by Google.

Make sure to read up on how to write posts that get noticed…and shared. Here are a couple resources on that topic:

The Key to Writing Blog Posts That Get Noticed

5 Tips to Write Blog Posts

4. Design with Clicks in Mind

People don’t think the design of their site will have a direct impact on SEO, but it does. Multi-layer sites with deep dig navigation are going to perform much worse than sites where content is limited to three levels or less. Always think of the 3 click rule — from the home page it should be 3 clicks or less to get to the lowest content. It is also extremely important to use a lot of internal links, that is, links to other pages within your site. This not only creates a better customer experience, as they can easily navigate to additional relevant information or similar topics, but it helps Google find pages on your site that might have been overlooked.

5. Clean House and Keep it Clean

Never post duplicate content on your blog. When your site has duplicate content there’s a giant risk that Google may not only display one page of similar content, but might even skip your content altogether. For best results, rewrite duplicate content to make pages truly different from each other. And keep it that way. Always.

6. Don’t Worry…Be Happy

If you are reading this before starting a business blog, you’re in a good position. Follow these tips and you will be on good footing for business blogging success.

If you already have a blog, and it has a ton of content, then you have some work ahead of you. Take it a day at a time as it’s just not possible to employ all of these tactics at once. Start with step #5 and work backwards. Clean up the duplicates, redesign and get those social buttons on there. Then, if it’s feasible, edit your content for proper keyword placement.

Following these tips for your business blog will take time and some concentrated effort, but if you include SEO in your overall blogging strategy it’ll become second nature after awhile. Plus, you should soon see a jump in traffic from Google (or the other search engines).

blogging, social media

Could I Be a Social Spammer?

A colleague of mine, whose insight I respect, told me the other day that he thought I was spamming my followers. At the very least, he said, I was treating them without dignity and as if they were idiots.

Here’s the backstory:

When I publish blogs postings, such as this one, I like to release them to the social channels I am participating. Namely, Twitter and Linkedin. Of course there’s also the RSS feed. Feeds are automatically created when an article or posting is published. That’s one of the many nice things about blogging on WordPress.

In theory, that means there’s five different ways someone could come across my ramblings. Seems like a good strategy, right? After all, I’ve done a lot of research on blogging and social media over the last several years, and just about every opinion (I’ve seen) adheres to the idea that it’s just plain smart to promote yourself in any way possible. And, because I’m in the business, as one might say, I know by staying on top of my audience that there’s little duplication of followers across the different social networks.

However, as my colleague pointed out, what if someone is following my blog though the RSS feed…and they follow me on Twitter? What if they’re also following on Google+?

If that’s the case, they would get my new posting notice three times, and as he asserts, they’re getting spammed. Not only that, he says they’re being treated disrespectfully, as if I think they’re so stupid they won’t realize I’m feeding them the same stuff over different mediums.

I’m not entirely sure how I feel about that.

A counter argument I posed with him went like this:

What if on my drive home I hear a BMW ad on the radio? Then, as I’m watching TV that evening I see a BMW ad with a similar message. Later, I’m on my iPad reading news on a site like CNN and encounter another BMW ad. Is BMW spamming me? Or, is that just the nature of modern day marketing?

Wouldn’t the process I go through to promote this blog be the same? Wouldn’t my followers simply ignore something they’ve seen already?

What do you think?

Should a blogger limit or restrict the avenues they use to distribute their blog so they don’t overfeed or spam their audience?

blogging, personal branding

I Encourage Comments

What’s a blog without comments? It might just be the ramblings of a lunatic! 🙂

But, seriously: I won’t lie, I’d love to increase traffic — and search standings — for this blog.

Therefore I am encouraging you to leave comments.

Let me know what you think. I really would love to know.

I will also take this opportunity to mention my Twitter page (http://twitter.com/tonykelsey), which I think is a really informative mix of links pertaining to SEO, digital marketing, design and social media. I try to keep it focused and useful. Check it out and give me a follow.

Okay, wouldn’t you say that is enough shameless self-promotion for one Sunday morning?!


Does the Number of Subscribers Indicate Importance?

In a previous engagement, we (the marketing folks) found ourselves frequently debating the success of the company’s blog. The problem was, the blog just didn’t have a whole lot of subscribers. Trying to explain that upstairs in the C-suite was definitely a challenge. Why, after all, would they want to put time, effort and possibly incentives in place to encourage blogging when we had such a minimal subscriber base?

The fact of the matter is, however, that subscribers may demonstrate the popularity of a particular blog, but it doesn’t mean a thing when it comes to measuring importance.

What if a blog had four subscribers? Three of them are the bloggers parents and sister. But the fourth subscriber is a journalist with the New York Times. Would that be considered a failing blog?

That is why relying solely on the number of subscribers to measure a blog’s success is a bad marketing strategy. It would be much more prudent for companies to look at:

  • Activity on a blog
  • How often content is posted
  • Google page rank
  • Technorati rank
  • Search engine ranking for specific keywords