Business Blogging and SEO – How Strong is the Bond?

SEO and blogs

One of the points Carol Tice lists in comparing blog posts to articles is that blog posts are “built around SEO keywords”.

Does blogging help SEO?  To be sure.  Kristen Hicks of HostGator lists six reasons why:

 

  1. Blogging keeps your website fresh and current.
  2. A blog keeps people on your website for longer.
  3. Blogging helps target long-tail keywords (half of all searches are for terms four words or longer).
  4. A blog offers opportunities for internal linking.
  5. A quality blog gives other sites more reasons to link back to your site.
  6. A blog helps you connect with your audience (which encourages sharing and driving traffic to the site).

All true, but…. Are blogs – should blogs – be “built around” SEO keywords? “ Every successful blog is built on a solid foundation of content, but it’s consistency that’s the real key to successful search engine rank,” offers top web infuencer Neil Patel. “Using your keywords in a natural way in your post isn’t a bad SEO practice,” Patel says,” “but don’t overdo it”. .

 

SEO is the practice of optimizing content to clearly define what your webpage is and what information it is providing, explains Elena Terenteva in the SEMrush Blog. Some areas that need to be optimized, Terenteva explains, include:
  • page titles
  • meta descriptions
  • alt-text
  • internal links
  • anchor text
  • URLs

“Above all, your blog post has to be a good piece of writing!” cautions yoast.com ( The Yoast SEO WordPress plugin is the guide our blog content writers at Say It For You rely on).

 

So, no, Carol Tice, blog posts should not be “built around” SEO keywords. As the Yoast article so aptly concludes – “The days when a few SEO tricks were enough to get your website to rank well in Google are long gone.  Nowadays, quality content is king.”

 

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Informational Blogging and Academic Writing – What’s the Diff?

academic writing vs. blog posts
Informational blogging and academic writing – is there a difference? It depends, observes blogger Yvonne McQuarrrie in Quora. “Blogs have a specific circle of readers, ‘your fellows’, ”McQuarrie says. “You can communicate with them like friends.”  An academic paper, on the other hand, she adds, will be read by someone in the context of an educational institution. A second contributor to Quora, Raina Du Trieux, emphasizes audience as well: “Formal writing is used in academic and scientific settings whenever you want to convey your ideas to a wide audience with many possible backgrounds and assumptions.”
Requirements differ from one discipline to the next, says Michel Clasquin-Johnson, weighing in on Quora as well, “but some tell you never to use the word ‘I’”. “In academic writing, there is the requirement of backing up claims and arguments with noted and verifiable evidence,” adds Virginia Badeuax.

 “Essays are for a specific audience (your professors) to show what you’ve learned. They expect an in-depth analysis of the assigned books and perhaps from secondary sources as well. Blog posts are for a more general public to entertain them or educate them in a brief and engaging, is careerpathwriting solutions.com’s take.

Career Path Writing Solutions goes on to offer a number of guidelines for blog content writers:

  • Short paragraphs are encouraged.
  • Be intelligent without being technical.
  • Explain concepts briefly, touching on important details only.
  • Personal touches are allowed and encouraged.

While every one of these Quora and Career Path Writing Solutions observations are very much in keeping with the way we train blog content writers at Say It For You, two of the points Carol Tice lists in comparing blog posts and articles are definitely not. In blog posts, Tice says:

  • Good spelling and grammar optional.
  • Posts are mostly your own opinion – no interviews or research.
  • Posts are built around SEO keywords.

Beg to differ, Tice. Good spelling and grammar are hardly optional. As a corporate blogging trainer, my favorite recommendation to both business owners and the freelance blog content writers they hire to bring their message to customers is this: Prevent blog content writing “wardrobe malfunctions”, including grammar errors, run-on sentences, and spelling errors. Blogs are, in fact, more personal and more informal than academic pieces, but they shouldn’t be sloppy.

What’s more, I believe, interviews are one very effective format for blog posts. In a face-to-face (or Skype) interview with a business owner or executive (or professional practitioner), I am able to capture their ideas and some of their words, then add “framing” with my own questions and introductions, to create a blog post more compelling and “real” than the typical narrative text.

Are there differences between informational blogging and academic writing? To be sure. But the two will always have a common goal – engaging and informing readers.
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Blogging Helps FNU LNUs Get Found

 

FNU LNU (acronym for First Name Unknown, Last Name Unknown) is a term used by authorities to identify unknown suspects. When you’re selecting keyword phrases to use in your website and blog content, it’s useful to remember that the business owner or the professional practitioner is actually the FNU LNU in the equation. Nine out of ten, I explain to newbie blog content writers, at stage #1 of their search, online readers don’t know the name of the individual, the business, or the practice. What most consumers are likely to type into the search bar are words describing:
  • their need
  • their problem
  • their idea of the solution to their problem
  • a question

Blogging for business, I teach at Say It For You, essentially consists of introducing yourself to strangers.  Not that it isn’t a good idea to email links to your blog posts to existing customers and clients, but, for developing new relationships, your blog will be your central prospecting tool. In order to convert those “strangers” to friends and customers, address your blog posts to them, and write about them.  Fact is, they’re going to care about your name only if and when they know you care about their problems and needs, and when they are reassured that you have just the means to take care of them.

 

It’s reassuring to blog content writers to remember that the only people who are going to be reading the blog posts, are those searching for precisely the kinds oif information, products, and services that relate to what you do, what you have for sale, and what you know about and know how to do. It’s also reassuring to realize that consumers who feel fairly informed are more likely to make buying decisions.

 

Generally speaking, the information consumers seek in the process of online searching falls into three categories:
  1. How to do things
  2. How to find things
  3. How to keep things (and their bodies) in the best condition possible

Once having been “found”, the next step is to get “personal”, Practical eCommerces Paul Chaney emphasizes “Blogging,” he says, “consists of one person – or one company – communicating directly with consumers in an unfettered, unfiltered manner….blogs are a more personal form of communication.”

Marketing blogs may be written about business, but they had better be about people as well, and that includes both the online searchers and the blog content writers. You start out being a FLU LNU, and, ideally, end up being an ally! 

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The Short Tale of Long-Tailing it in Blogging for Business

  1. long tail keywords

In the animal world, fellow Mensan Bob Truett pointed out, there are several purposes for tails, including:

  • balance (as the animal climbs)
  • temperature control (for cover in the cold, for fanning in the heat)
  • defense (to swat enemies o
  • social purposes (dogs wagging their tails)

In the internet world, the concept of the “long tail” is based on the fact that when searchers type in very specific, three-to-four word phrases to describe what they want, those searchers are more likely to convert (to become buyers). The term “long tail keyword” itself comes from the 2006 book The Long Tail by Chris Anderson, which talks about niche marketing. The author explains that in brick and mortar stores, there is only so much shelf space, so marketers need to focus on their most popular products. On the internet, in contrast, where there is unlimited “space”, selling in relatively small quantities to people who want specific products, becomes eminently feasible. In fact, Neil Patel (one of my own go-to authorities) asserts, “The longer the keyword, the easier it is for you to rank well with that keyword.”

Winning search should not be the only goal. Business owners and practitioners who make the commitment to give blog marketing a spot in their overall business strategy stand to reap three types of benefits:

  1. The promotional benefit (the blog helps get customers excited enough to choose you over the competition).
  2. The credibility benefit (the blog demonstrates that you’re interested in using the latest tools to communicate with customers – you’re “in the game”).
  3. The training benefit (as you review the benefits of your own products and services and develop new ideas, you’re constantly learning to talk effectively about your business).

Long-tailing it is no shortcut to success, a thought I often share with blog content writers in this Say It For You blog. But, just as tails serve many functions in the animal world, blogging for business can add balance, grasp, defense, and social purpose in the world of the internet.

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Steering Clear of Duplicate Content in Business Blogging

duplicate blog content

“Blogs are owned media.  Your blog content is yours,” Says Heidi Cohen of SocialMediaExaminer.com. But is it? “They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Yet, on the Internet, some people take this type of compliment way too far,” laments Nick Schafferhoff of torquemag.io, and “copied content runs rampant online.”

Schafferhoff’s referring to duplicate content.  Sure, parts of any blog writer’s content will always be based on what other people have written before, Schafferhoff concedes. But, when using information from someone else, create a link to them, he advises, even if you express the idea in your own words.

The technical problem duplicate content creates is that, when similar content is being shown on multiple URLs (web locations), it’s as if road signs are pointing in different directions for the same destination, Joost de Valk of yoast.com explains. The duplication is no problem for the readers, who are steered to the information they were seeking.  If it’s your content being duplicated, it’s your problem,         de Valk stresses, because that hurts your rankings. Since most duplicate content is caused by technical factors, your web developer can sometimes solve the problem, he says. (A canonical tag tells search engines that a specific url represents the master copy of a page, and using rel canonical prevents duplicate content from appearing on multiple urls.)

What about “rejuvenating” your old blog posts and reposting the new version?  Does that create duplicate content? It does, explains Gretchen Louise in “What Bloggers Need to Know about Duplicate Content”. If you publish a post that is a very close duplicate of another – even your own- Google might consider that content scraping, she says. Better to edit and refresh an old post rather than re-posting it. On WordPress, for example, Gretchen suggests, you can show “last updated” on the original post rather than “posted on…”.

According to the law, the moment a blog post is “created and fixed in a tangible form that is perceptible either directly or with the aid of a machine or a device”, I assure business owners, that work receives copyright protection. Blog marketers do not need to register their blog or even attach a © symbol.

There are no official “laws” specific to providing the kind of fresh, relevant content that helps move your corporate blog higher in search rankings while continuing to engage readers’ interest. Remember, ideas are not copyrightable, and you are free to use someone else’s idea as a jumping-off point for your own expression, which means, of course, others enjoy the same freedom when it comes to your ideas!

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