Big Mistake: Neglecting Your Corporate Blog
While the original intent behind a corporate blog is to share news and timely information with visitors, the sharing platform also provides a substantial SEO impact and marketing value when properly utilized. Here are four reasons to stop neglecting your corporate blog today:
Search engines like to see sites updated regularly
Since your corporate blog is used to communicate recent news and upcoming events, it's a great way to leverage two very important freshness factors that speak to search engine spiders:
1. Search queries for recent events or hot topics that are trending on the web will favor fresher pages over older pages (e.g. "occupy Oakland protest" or "NBA lockout").
2. For queries on regularly recurring events such as annual conferences or presidential elections, Google returns the most recent content on the assumption that the user is planning for the upcoming event. This also applies to short-term repeat occurrences such as "NFL scores," "Dancing with the Stars," or "Exxon earnings."
It's important to remember that a blog post's "freshness" score is based on its inception date (the date it was discovered by Google), which fades in value over time. So, if you're blogging in anticipation of a large conference months in advance, you'll need to revisit that topic on your blog multiple times in order to continue being seen in queries for that event.
The takeaway: publish frequently on topics relevant to your organization and industry.
Enhance rapport with your site visitors (a.k.a. potential clients) by helping them
Think about the last time you Googled for a "how to" document or some other kind of advice from the Internet. Since you weren't shopping for a tangible product, you completely skipped over the sponsored links to e-commerce sites. If, by chance, you landed on an organic search result that was also selling products, you bounced shortly after landing there. But if you found the piece of information you were looking for, you probably stayed to read for a few minutes or more.
It is human nature to reciprocate, so once a website has satisfied a user's need without requiring any compensation (money, personal information, etc.), the user subconsciously "owes" that organization. They may share the article with their networks, leave a comment, browse the site for more information, or even make a purchase from the e-commerce store.
The takeaway: write about topics that users will find helpful and actionable, initiating the desire to reciprocate by recommending you to friends or by doing business with you.
Provide a great opportunity for organic links to your site
Building on the concept of enhancing rapport, sometimes users are so moved by an article, they are inspired to re-blog it or write their own blog post in response. Either way, they're going to link back to the original source of their inspiration--your corporate blog.
This natural link is the poster child of organic SEO: an independent, third-party backlink to a site that has created meaningful content and deserves to be recognized for thought leadership (more on that in a second). SEO companies around the world spend hundreds of hours utilizing countless resources in an effort to replicate this type of linking activity on a scalable level. You can do it on your own by creating stellar, authoritative content that people want to link to.
For example, HCC Medical Insurance Services supplies international medical insurance for people traveling outside the country, including business people, students studying abroad, humanitarians on mission trips and more. An article on their corporate blog about traveling in a country with a travel alert explains why an alert may be issued, where to find out if an alert has been issued and other helpful tips to consider when preparing to visit a country with conditions that could lead to a travel alert.
The takeaway: create content that inspires users to socially react to it.
Increase your brand's presence as a thought leader in your industry
If you follow through on providing an opportunity for organic linking, increasing brand awareness happens naturally. By sharing your knowledge with information-hungry trailblazers in your industry, your social presence will begin to naturally elevate. There's a catch, though: your writing has to be truly innovative, not a concept that belongs to someone else and recycled into your own words. Thought leadership is a product of a hunch, an idea or a thesis that's either proven or disproven by cold, hard facts. You may even need to engage R&D to test a notion or experiment with a new process. If your brand can develop a reputation for creating intelligence, then your organization's thought leaders will soon be writing guest blog posts (hello, backlink!), speaking at conferences and establishing new relationships in all four corners of your industry.
The takeaway: use your specialized knowledge and experience to create intelligence and share it with the world, which can lead to increased brand presence and an industry thought leader.
By keeping your readers updated with a regular flow of information that's pertinent to your industry, you'll grab the attention of search engine spiders, strengthen your relationship with current (and future) clients and increase your organization's reputation as a thought leader. So what are you waiting for? Start corporate blogging today!
JEREMY DEARRINGER | Columnist | Co-founder of Slingshot SEO
Jeremy Dearringer is co-founder and Chief Research Officer at Indianapolis-based Slingshot SEO, a national leader in online marketing, planning and execution.