If you've talked to anyone that runs a successful online business they probably mentioned their blog.
Why is it important? How does it help you grow your online business?
Blog = Google Rankings = More sales.
Well, not so fast cowboy, let's clarify.
Why does a blog improve Google rankings?
Google's main product is search, which means the more content it has to search for, the better results it can provide to its users. To be more precise, Google LOVES original content.
If you thought you could just copy someone's content and be successful,
FORGET ABOUT IT!
Isn't the product information enough? Why specifically a blog?
The product information is a good source of content for Google and your customers, but it's not enough. Unless you're the only manufacturer of the products and allow no one else to re-sell them, the product description is not very original content.
Let's take a laptop as an example. If you include a description such as:
- 8GB RAM
- 256GB SSD
A quick Google search for that description returns over 35 million results!
How would Google (or anyone for that matter) choose to show your online shop over anyone else?
Ok, I need a blog, but I still don't understand how this works
When writing your blog, you should focus on "Search Phrases" people might be looking for when searching for your products.
Example: "The most lightweight laptop in the world"
When you regularly post about something, Google will take notice and will start constructing a "profile" about you. This profile will include the most common topics you tend to blog about, so if you blog about laptops, Google will tag your profile with;
"laptop", "mobile device", and "technology".
Now that Google has constructed this profile about your website, it has much more confidence in you. The next time someone searched for laptops you're much more likely to be shown on the first pages of Google.
So I have to do all this work for a machine?
Not exactly. When you write quality articles people tend to start taking notice too. This builds trust over time and in-directly generates sales through brand awareness and brand trust. A blog is also a platform to write about product aspects that you typically wouldn't include in the product's description.
Example: This laptop has been used in the film...
OK, I'm convinced! Are there any guidelines to follow?
Actually, there's plenty! But, as long you stick to the basics you'll do better than most.
1. Keep your blog posts relatively short but not too short
The goal is to go for somewhere between 500 - 1000 words per post, anything longer is good, but you risk being too repetitive. Anything shorter can be considered "thin content" which will do more harm than good.
2. Stick to one topic per post
If your blog post is about "How pet hair can damage electronics", don't go on such a tangent that you end up writing about "how your laptop is waterproof".
3. DO NOT use blog posts as Ads
Don't give in to the temptation.
It's acceptable to mention some aspects of your products, but stay focused. Your audience wants to learn about the cool topic you're blogging about, not being force-fed your advertising material.
4. Encourage engagement
Not everyone is born with the creativity of J.K. Rowling or Danielle Steel, or Agatha Christie, but don't be afraid to spice it up. We at Lifeboat like to keep a very informal tone. In our blog, we allow the reader to sit back and learn with no pressure. Adopting a similar approach is one alternative to your blog becoming the next big thing. You have to find what works best for your style of writing.
5. Have a catchy intro but accurate content
You want to hook on your readers (including Google) with something enticing. A value proposition they simply can't afford to pass on, but don't overdo it. Ultimately your readers want to learn, so make sure that the content is accurate, concise, and interesting.
6. Include plenty of pictures (and/or videos)
Pictures and videos give your readers a chance to breathe and get a better understanding of what you're blogging about. It also shows Google that you care about your readers and not just blogging for rankings.
Going for a home run
So you have a blog, and you can see your ranking improving, customer engagement has also gone up. What's next?
1. Link your blog posts together
By having meaningful links on your blog posts Google and your audience can have a much more emerged experience.
For example, "This laptop comes with a tilting screen enabling it to be used as a tablet."
You could link "tilting screen" to the blog post you did about "What are tilting screens and how are they used on modern laptops".
By doing so, you're passing on what's commonly referred to as Internal Link Juice. This gives your older posts even more credibility in the eyes of Google and thus improves your overall ranking.
You could also link to some of your product pages. Using the same example as above, you could;
"Similar to [PRODUCT_NAME_HERE] has been the first laptop we came across which featured a tilting screen".
Linking the Product Name to its product page on your online shop.
2. Find sources where you could post your blog
This could be someone else's blog, social media, or anywhere (almost anywhere) online. If they agree to share your blog you're getting some of their Link Juice. This increases your trust level significantly.
Just randomly post your blog on any website you come across.
Make sure the websites you post your blog on would be a website which you would personally use.
To summarise, a blog can be a great tool in your digital marketing strategy as long you adhere to the best practices;
- Short but not too short
- Not using it as an advertisement platform
- One topic per blog post
- Accurate and honest
And if you really want it to be an integral part of your marketing strategy; Build links internally and externally to your blog.