This article was written by Alex Sixt, a member of the Entrepreneur NEXT powered by Assemble content team. Entrepreneur NEXT is our Expert solutions division leading the future of work and skills-based economy. If you’re struggling to find, vet, and hire the right Experts for your business, Entrepreneur NEXT is a platform to help you hire the experts you need, exactly when you need them. From business to marketing, sales, design, finance, and technology, we have the top 3 percent of Experts ready to work for you.
Social media. Newsletters. Video. You name it. When it comes to marketing a brand, there are seemingly thousands of options to choose from. Although every digital channel has something unique to offer, the first option brands should consider when enhancing their marketing strategy is a blog. Believe it or not, a blog is one of the most effective ways to boost brand awareness and reach your target audiences by authoring content that is relevant to their searches.
Before you race to your computer to click that “get started” button in WordPress, you’ll need to outline a few things, starting with finalizing your topic and focus. Establishing a topic will help you to determine the niche your blog will fit into, and showcase your brand as a market leader within the industry. To set your blog up for success from the beginning, consider your brand’s purpose and audience; this will help you identify the right keywords and phrases to ensure your blog will drive readers toward your website.
Even with the right blog positioning, Search engine optimization (SEO) is a tough topic for many entrepreneurs and business owners due to constantly shifting trends and algorithms. Regardless of your SEO experience, blogging is an excellent, user-friendly step to take toward driving more organic website traffic.
If you’re still skeptical about how blogging can contribute to your SEO, here are the top ways that a blog can be valuable to your brand:
Keep your website fresh.
If you’re like most of the population, when you stumble on a website that hasn’t been updated in years, you’re likely to exit immediately and never return. Google is the same way; when a website or its content hasn’t been updated for a while, it will move on past it to find the next best search result for the user. Therefore, websites that are updated have a much higher chance of ranking higher as a search result than pages that are stale.
Keeping an updated website doesn’t mean you’ll need to implement 24/7 content coverage, but it’s a best practice to release content at least once per week, if possible. By publishing fresh content, users will be more likely to trust that your brand is up-to-date on the latest in the industry and, therefore, more trustworthy. When a user feels your content is credible, they’re also more likely to share it across digital channels, greatly improving your SEO by generating more views for your post.
Increases ‘dwell time.’
Dwell time is defined as the length of time a user spends looking at a webpage after they’ve clicked a link on a search engine results page (SERP), before returning back to the SERP results. It’s a key metric in determining how well your website is performing and can provide valuable insight related to what your audience seems to be most interested in. However, dwell time doesn’t only provide you with feedback; Google likely uses this metric in its algorithm to decide where a website ranks (this is not confirmed, but highly speculated by SEO Experts). The longer the dwell time, the more likely it is that your website ranking will rise.
The content you publish to your website plays a large role in increasing dwell time, as users are much less likely to spend any amount of time on a page they deem to be stale or outdated. It takes approximately 50 milliseconds (0.05 seconds) for users to form an opinion about your website that determines whether they like your site or not, whether they’ll stay or leave. What can you do to make the best impression in such a short amount of time? Publish content that is relevant and tailored to your specific audience. Most users will arrive at your website via some form of content, likely a blog post, and will stay if they feel the content answers a specific question or peaks an interest they have.
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Identifies long-tail keywords.
For those just starting out with SEO, it can be tempting to only target the most relevant, obvious keywords for your industry. For example, a hair salon would likely use the keyword “hair salon” to show up in related results. However, this technique neglects the value of using more specific keywords that can benefit smaller businesses that may not rank as first in general searches, known as long-tail keywords.
Long-tail keywords are keywords that are more specific and gain less traffic but have a higher conversion rate due to fitting within more of a niche. Although relevant keywords should be included in blog posts, long-tail keywords that are more specific to an individual brand, rather than an industry, are incredibly valuable. Due to the incredibly competitive nature of SEO, your content has a higher chance of reaching your target audience with more specific keywords than those that are more general.
Although content that contains long-tail keywords may not attract as much traffic as opposed to more general keywords, the users who do land on your site should be much more likely to convert. Long-tail keywords can help you to identify specifically what your audience is interested in and pinpoint their needs by targeting more specific searches.
Learn about your audience.
So, you’ve done your research and created a blog that will cater content to your audience’s interests. That’s awesome, but the learning doesn’t stop once you hit “publish” on your blog page. As you begin to create content, it’s important to resist the urge to “set it and forget it.” Even after content is published, you’ll need to pay attention to which blogs are getting the most traffic and shares, as these topics are huge hints toward what topics are likely to drive your SEO and earn more conversions.
The more you’re able to improve your SEO with blog content, the higher your website will rank, as well (after all, that is the goal of SEO). As you begin to hone in on topics that perform well, more users will land on your website and become followers, increasing overall traffic. Bonus points: creating stellar, SEO-driven content will also help you to build a loyal brand following (*cue happy dance).
Get expert help.
This all sounds amazing, but let’s be honest: running a business is difficult, and finding the time to create SEO-focused content doesn’t always make the cut on the to-do list. If the thought of creating and maintaining a blog still feels like a massive undertaking, then there’s good news: you can hire someone to take care of it for you.
As the business landscape continues to shift and evolve rapidly, there are several platforms that can help you find the Expertise you need without the burden (and high cost) of hiring a full-time employee. Platforms such as Assemble can match you with perfect Expert to help you with blogging needs and improve SEO.
No matter your industry, a blog is a powerful tool to help your website reach higher rankings and earn more organic traffic. Whether you take on the task of blogging yourself or hire an Expert to help, you’ll quickly begin to reap the benefits that quality content can bring to your business.
To hire the Experts you need, exactly when you need them, visit next.entrepreneur.com to schedule a meeting with our Expert solutions team.