Why is Blogging Important for SEO?
Small businesses should always be looking for ways to improve their SEO (Search Engine Optimisation), jump up the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages), and get their pages more views.
There are paid ways to do this of course, with PPC (Pay Per Click) ads letting you bid for Google’s top spots, but what if you don’t have the budget for paid ads? Are there other ways to get your business’ website moving up the results?
For those asking this question, you’re in luck! Blogging and article writing is one way to help get to the top. And what’s more, we’re going to show you exactly how blogging helps improve your SEO.
- Ranking for specific keywords
- More chances for backlinks
- Longer dwell time on your site
But first, for those of you raising your eyebrows at ‘SEO’ and ‘SERP’, let’s get some definitions out of the way, starting with the most important:
What is SEO?
SEO stands for ‘Search Engine Optimisation’. It’s all about improving the quality and quantity of traffic to your website from search engines like Google and Bing.
Essentially, improving your SEO means improving your visibility to potential customers when they search for something related to your business or industry.
The better your SEO > the higher you’ll appear in SERPs > the greater your visibility > the increased likelihood of someone clicking to your website > the more likely it is that you’ll attract new customers.
Search engines want to ensure the user experience is the best it can be, i.e. the site is optimised for the people conducting the searches. The search engines use bots to crawl websites and their various pages, collecting information and putting them into an index. Their algorithms then examine the indexed pages, considering lots of ranking factors and aspects, to determine what order these pages should appear in the search results for a query. The aim of this is to give the user exactly what they’re looking for.
SEO is therefore hugely important for businesses, as improving it helps the search engines understand your site and, if it starts to see it as relevant and authoritative, will show you to the relevant users. Businesses should therefore be doing everything they can to ensure theirs is better than their competitors and thus they’re appearing higher in the SERPs.
What Are SERPs?
We’ve used this term a few times now, but what does it mean?
SERP stands for Search Engine Results Page - the page of results that a search engine returns after a user searches for something. You want to appear as high as possible on the SERP in order to increase the likelihood of a potential customer clicking.
And Finally… What is Blogging?
Some websites are purely personal blogs, but that’s not what we’re talking about here.
What we mean by blogging, or article writing, is the regular uploading of blogs and posts to a section of your website dedicated to these articles. This ‘regularity’ could be once a week, once a month, once a quarter, or whenever you can, but, ideally, the more regular the posts, the better (as we’ll get on to).
These articles could be around specific topics and areas of your industry, and perhaps address certain pain points of your customers. They’re designed to spread and exhibit your expert knowledge of this area, answering questions your customers might have, and perhaps resulting in them buying a service or product from you because you’ve shown them you know what you’re talking about (but this shouldn’t be your primary goal!).
Need help getting started with your company’s blog? We’ve created a handy 10 step guide for writing amazing articles with SEO in mind, including great tips for coming up with ideas.
The Importance of Blogging for SEO
So, now that you’re an expert on Search Engine Optimisation and Search Engine Results Pages, how does blogging help you achieve better SEO and appear higher on SERPs?
1. Increased Visibility
Simply put, blogging creates more pages on your website, and therefore presents more opportunities to appear in SERPs.
This means you can cast a wider net of search terms you appear for, including search terms your other pages (such as your home page or your product pages) wouldn’t rank for. What’s more, the more pages you have, the more varied opportunities you have to appear - so get blogging! Think of it like fishing: the more hooks you have in the water, the better chance you have of getting a bite.
This increased visibility will hopefully then lead to more traffic, which should lead to more conversions and customers (as long as your content is strong!).
2. Rank Higher For Your Desired Keywords
On a similar note, there may be specific keywords and search terms that are really relevant to your business or industry that you want to appear for. Article writing can help with that too!
When writing a blog post, you can focus on a few keywords that you think will help people find your business. Pepper these throughout the article enough and the search engines will pay attention. This will make it easier for them to infer what the article is about and rank you higher for those keywords and searches.
Carry out some keyword research, come up with some keywords, and write content around these keywords.
Furthermore, try to think of the sort of things your potential customers might be searching for, perhaps a question you think they might have. When writing an article around this question, make sure you include that question in the article (or even the title if possible).
This makes it even easier for search engines to learn what the article is about and show it for the appropriate queries. The better you do this, the higher you will appear in the rankings for the keywords you’re aiming for. This ‘question’-based approach could greatly increase your visibility, as 14% of Google searches are questions (FYI, “how” keywords are the most common type of question keyword, followed by “what”, “where” and “who”).
Before you get thinking about keywords, we have two words of warning:
- Only base an entire article on specific keywords if you can write enough content around that keyword, otherwise, your reader may feel shortchanged.
- Don’t just spam your keywords throughout the article at the expense of the article’s quality and readability. Search engines are wise to this, and it may hurt your rankings as a result
Read our blog on how to avoid keyword stuffing to learn about spamming keywords in articles.
3. More Indexed Pages
A major factor when search engines are deciding on a page’s rank is its credibility - they want their users to get the best experience possible, and that includes showing them trustworthy websites.
As mentioned above, search engines crawl web pages, collect the information, and put those into their index. Typically, the more indexed pages you have, the more credible the search engine thinks your site is. Having a larger website often correlates with being a better source of information.
You may be thinking you could just create loads of new pages with no content, or repeated content, upping your indexed pages and improving your credibility that way. However, as with many SEO tricks, the search engines are wise to this and, again, this spamming tactic could harm your SEO.
Blogging is the way to go! Writing regular articles adds a new page to your website with each entry, increasing the amount of indexed pages your site has, and thus increasing your website’s credibility in the search engines’ eyes.
And fret not those of you with smaller or newer websites. Google and other search engines know that this ‘more pages, better credibility’ rule doesn’t always apply, meaning smaller pages can still outrank larger ones.
All the same, increasing your page count through blogging is a great natural way to improve your credibility and SEO.
4. Search Engines Love Fresh Content
So, you can’t spam repetitive pages to improve your SEO and it could even be detrimental. Need more incentive to make your blog posts fresh? Search engines love fresh content.
Have you ever found yourself on a website that clearly hasn’t been updated in a long time? Chances are, your trust in this site and the information on it quickly diminished. This business could have closed down or maybe the website is presenting information that is out of date. Google and other search engines feel the same.
As mentioned throughout this article, a search engine’s main focus is a good user experience. They don’t want to be putting out of date information in front of their users. Therefore, regularly updating your site is a must.
These updates tell search engines that your business is not only still active, but is offering new and fresh information for users. It’s quite likely that you don’t have much cause to regularly change your homepage or product pages, and it probably wouldn’t be good for your brand image’s consistency if you did. Blogging is again the answer!
Blogging is a natural way to regularly add fresh content to your site, showing that your business is alive and updated. Furthermore, not only will it keep Google (other search engines are available) happy, but it will keep your customers happy too. They’ll love that they can rely on your business for up-to-date industry content.
5. Longer Dwell Time
Another factor that influences your SEO is dwell time, and blogging is a great way to increase the dwell time on your website.
What is dwell time?
Dwell time is the amount of time a user spends on a page of a website after they’ve clicked a link on a search engine results page, before clicking away from the site.
Often, visitors to pages will swiftly evaluate if they are going to receive the information they’re looking for from this page. If they decide they aren’t going to, they will quickly click ‘back’ to the SERP.
In this instance, the dwell time will be short, and will reflect badly on that page’s SEO. Google will see that, for that search term, the user didn’t get what they were looking for, so could potentially then be less likely to show that page the next time someone searches that query.
Conversely, a person spending a long time looking at a page will have a positive effect on that page’s SEO, as that dwell time shows the search engine that the user has found what they were looking for with the search term they used, and therefore that page’s authority for that search term will start to increase.
How does blogging increase dwell time and improve SEO?
The nature of most blog posts is that they’re longer reads than other web pages. Therefore, a user is more likely to spend longer on a blog post than a page with fewer words and little content, and this extended information may often be what users are looking for. Search engines recognise this too, with the average first-page result on Google being nearly 2000 words long. Having a blog means having more pages that invite users to hang around a bit longer, improving the dwell time of those pages and your site.
However, it is therefore important to grab the user's attention early in the article and make it clear to them what information they will find within the content. Even if you have exactly the information they are after, if it isn’t clear that’s what they’ll get if they read on, then they could well leave the page quickly, with a short dwell time to boot.
6. More Chances for Internal Links
Something else that leads to increased dwell time, and thus improves SEO, is internal links, and blogging gives you more chances to use them.
What are internal links?
Internal links are links from a page on a website to another page on the same website. Often they’ll be used to give the reader a bit more information about a topic without having to go into it in-depth, as you’ve written about it before and you’d just be repeating yourself.
We used one towards the start of this entry, linking to our 10 step guide for writing amazing articles (and I’ll link it again here because it’s relevant to this article!). They should only really be used when it makes sense to do so, i.e. the content in the internal link is relevant to the content in the current article.
How does blogging increase internal links and improve SEO?
Blogging gives you more opportunities to use internal links than if you didn’t have a blog at all. If you’ve written a useful blog with lots of information about one of your products or services, you can easily link to it from your products page without having to take the time and space to write it all out. Similarly, if you’re writing a blog about something the reader needs prior knowledge of, and you’ve previously written an article giving that information, then you can link to it at the start of the article without having to double the length of the entry or restricting what you can write about.
And that’s where dwell time and SEO come in.
Sending a user to another of your blog posts, visit a page for one of your services, or read more about your team means the user is spending more time on your website than if they just read the initial blog post and left. As previously mentioned, this will increase the dwell time on your site and therefore informs the search engines that your site is useful and has good content, so they’ll send more users there in the future.
What’s more, internal links mean the user gets a better experience too: it’s easier for them to find useful and relevant information. To ensure this user experience isn’t disrupted and to help it all run smoothly, make sure you set the internal link to open in a new tab; you don’t want the reader to lose their place in the current article. This way they can easily open it up in a new tab to read later.
7. More Chances for Backlinks
Backlinks are a great way to show search engines you’re a reputable and trustworthy source, improving your SEO and SERP rankings.
What are backlinks?
A backlink (also known as an “incoming link” or “inbound link”) is a link from a page on a website to a page on a different website. These links can occur for many reasons, with a major one being to show your source of information for a fact or statistic, or simply to direct someone to further information from someone else.
For this reason, search engines see backlinks as a “vote of confidence” in specific pages and sites as the original writer believes them to be a credible source. Pages and websites with lots of backlinks leading to them often have high search engine rankings.
How does blogging increase backlinks and improve SEO?
Gaining links from other websites to your blogs is therefore a great strategy for improving SEO, as the ‘link equity’ (sometimes referred to as ‘link juice’) from those sites is passed on to your site. Essentially, if a site with strong authority links to your page, some of that authority rubs off on you.
If you write really strong, well-researched content in your blog, others may use your page as a source for useful information. The more quality blog entries you post, the higher the chances of someone linking to you as a strong source of information. This increase in the number of backlinks to your pages will improve the pages’ SEO and search engine rankings because of the perceived authority.
Search engines will infer that your content is worth linking to, and thus also worth showing to their users on SERPs.
The End of Our Blog Post… and the Start of Yours!
These are just some of the ways blogging can improve your SEO and help you appear higher in the search engines’ rankings. Plus, there are many other benefits to blogging and article writing for your business outside the world of SEO, such as connecting with customers and giving them more value, but that’s a blog for another day…
We hope you’ve found this article useful, and that these great benefits have inspired you to get blogging and improve your SEO.