Everyone is talking about blogs these days as the magic money-making marketing tool. Some of the hype may actually be true, but I suggest you cut through most of what you read about blogs just long enough to understand why every business needs a blog.
Right now, that’s not to say this won’t change, search engines are in love with real blogs. By real blogs I mean blogs that are set-up and run by businesses that offer useful content on them. Like every successful marketing method there are people out there setting up fake blogs and dumping garbage, but keyword rich, content into them in order to trick the search engines into ranking the content highly. [Please resist the urge to add to this form of search engine spam as it may actually get you banned by a search engine.]
When you understand a little about how blog software works you get a better understanding about why search engines love blogs. Here are the top reasons that business blogs and search engines go hand in hand.
Lots of Pages
Each blog entry is shown in chronological order on a blog’s homepage but, each entry is in reality its own web page, with its own unique URL and title. So, an active blogger can create hundreds of keyword rich web pages in a matter of months.
Change Is Good
In order to claim your place at the blogging table you must commit to making posts often – 4 or 5 times a week perhaps. This commitment means that you are creating, updating, changing some portion of your site several times a week. The typical small business web site is lucky to receive an update several times a year. Search engines like change.
Wake Up Call
Because search engines love changing content, they are ever ready to visit a site when it is updated. One feature unique to blog software is something called a pinging. Basically, what you are doing is sending out a message to various blog directories to come and visit you site because it has been updated. Once a search engine has located your site, this is like a personal invitation to come back and get the new stuff. I use a site called Ping-O-Matic to send pings to multiple services. Some blog software can be configured to do this automatically.
Blogs also have a built in distribution method known as RSS. This allows you to push your updated content out to people who subscribe through an RSS reader such as Bloglines or FeedDemon as well as Yahoo and MSN. This ability allows you to communicate directly with subscribers but it can also help get your main site noticed and indexed by the major search engines. Yahoo, for example, allows people (including you) to subscribe to your blog’s RSS feed. On the day you create your blog, you can subscribe to it via a free MyYahoo account and Yahoo will visit and index your blog for free. It has no choice.
Linking Is Key
Part of the blogging culture is the predisposition to link to and from quality content that relates to the subject your are blogging about. In other words, bloggers like to link. Links from other high quality blogs will send traffic and get your blog and web site noticed.
So, your blog marketing strategy a little like this: Set-up a blog and start posting. Ping each time your make a new entry. Submit your blog to the major blog and RSS directories. Start looking for link partners. Repeat
In the last few weeks I set-up blogs for an attorney, a label manufacturer, and a remodeling contractor. In each case, the blogs were indexed and spidered by the major search engines within 48 hours. Traffic to the main web sites for these businesses (although a bit meager to start with) has already doubled or tripled. Traffic from each of the major search engines is now showing up for a large number of important search terms and phrases.
Who knows how long this blog traffic bonanza will last but at this moment a blog has never made more sense.
If you’re convinced that you need a blog but don’t want to hassle with setting it up and learning how to promote it properly, check out my basic blog coaching package. I do the work, you’re up and blogging and promoting your blog in a matter of days.
John Jantsch is a marketing consultant based in Kansas City, Mo. He writes frequently on real world small business marketing tactics and is the creator of “Duct Tape Marketing” a turn-key small business marketing system. Check out his blog at www.bloggingbusiness.com