Your search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM) efforts are only as strong as the content you publish. After all, "content" remains "king." However, if it was as easy as simply posting any kind of content, most companies would have SEO & SEM success. But they don't, and that's because while content is important, compelling content is even more important.
So what constitutes "compelling" content? And what are some tips to keep your blog fresh and engaging? This is what we'd like to talk about today.
First and foremost, you need to make sure you content is original. No cutting and pasting or shameless republishing from other sites. People have tried that - it's called "black hat" SEO - and actually some of them realized success in the past. But Google caught on. They recently launched their Penguin and Panda updates - tweaks in algorithms - which essentially punish sites that repurpose content.
That being said, you can of course site other pieces of content - just attribute it and, better yet, add your own personal commentary. Political blogs are great at this. They take an excerpt from a column (we call it the "money quote"), provide a link, and then add their two cents (which, in most cases, may constitute 150 or so words.)
Ultimately, your blog - and the tone and tenor of your blog - needs to reflect both authority and usefulness. You should ask yourself, "Does this post educate people? Do they get something out of it? Is it helpful?"
Notice we didn't say "your blog must sell stuff." Now, don't get us wrong, there's nothing improper about posting commercial blog posts - linking to a specific product or an e-commerce page, for example. But do so with discretion. Readers will get annoyed if your blog is a glorified marketing platform.
All of this is well and good, but there are generally two problems in play. One, small business owners are busy. They are running bakeries, floral shops, and cafes. They didn't sign up to be writers, much less writers who post five to ten compelling blog posts a week. And second, even if they have the time - and again, they rarely do - there's only so much you can write about pertaining to bakeries, floral shops, and cafes, right?
Well, not so fast. Of course, writer's block is a problem for all kinds of writers, whether your a blogging novice or Ernest Hemmingway. But fortunately for you - and unfortunately for Hemmingway - there are tools and strategies at your disposal to help you consistently post content. Here are just a few.
One, the classic customer testimonial. Personalize the reader's experience by profiling a satisfied customer. Two, the guest blog. Get a friend or local business to write an occasional guest post a couple of times a month. Three, search Google News based on your keywords. You'll inevitably find some news that can be spun for blogging purposes. Four, directly address customer concerns or demands and explain how you can help them. (For example, the bankruptcy lawyer whose clients are afraid they'll lose their house.)
The beauty of it all is that, whether you realize it or not, you and you only are the best repository of quality content because you live and breathe your business on a daily basis. You're tuned in to customer demographics, interests, and concerns. You're an expert in your field.
So while creating a consistently compelling blog may be daunting, with a little planning, structure, and ingenuity, it's actually easier than you think.
Preston Blais is a freelance writer and junior designer, who learned the industry with nvision Solutions. If you need a website refresh he recommends contacting nvision.