Wait, blogging is still a thing?
While the term ‘blog’ may seem a little dated in 2019 (I don’t think we’ve come up with a better one yet), running an ongoing blog of articles on your website still proves to be a valuable and necessary tool for any local business in Maryland, or anywhere else for that matter. It’s all in the blog posts themselves- every individual blog post (or article) has potential in 3 areas:
- Keeps your website updated with fresh content,
- Provides your audience with information and establishes you as a trusted authority
- Satisfies Google’s ranking system with useful, relevant answers to questions that people might be asking.
So, how can your small Maryland business reach more people in the local area through regular blog posting? Well, that’s just it- it takes regular, consistent posting first and foremost, to start gaining recognition from your audience and Google. Second, to that, it has everything to do with what you’re writing about and who you’re writing to, ensuring that your articles remain relevant to your audience.
So, What does Google want?
Google is the largest search engine in the world, for both broad searches and geographically local searches. They’re constantly working to better their search engine technology, by improving how they view your site in order to better simulate the way human visitors read your site. But in order to rank your business’ website, they have to first recognize it and learn what you are all about.
There are preliminary measures when building your website that your marketing professional or developer can do to get you on the right track with Google, using the digital tools they provide such as Google Analytics, Console, setting up a Google My Business listing, and keyword research. However, what’s really going to keep your business going strong with search engine marketing, is providing fresh content that meets the criteria below. Remember the 3 things that Google is assessing in your website content:
We get into these factors more in-depth in this article by Dan I., but for now let’s focus on how we can incorporate what Google is looking for into your blog and cover the 3 most important reasons for running an ongoing blog on your website to boost your local SEO in Maryland (or wherever you are!)
Writing an ongoing blog keeps your website content fresh and updated
We have all landed on websites that look outdated or even ancient in layout design which may lead us to think that the website’s information is obsolete or irrelevant. Let’s say you’re trying to find a trusty local plumber that you used to hire years ago and had a great relationship with. You found their old website, but wow does it look old. There’s no phone number, no google listing, but before you fill out the contact form or write an email, you want to see if they’re even still fixing kitchen sinks.
This is a good example of where a website blog providing updated content might save that business. By seeing recent articles offering valuable plumbing tips to their website visitors, you can be assured that this company is in business and probably still keen on expertise and will most likely reach out to them. (By the way, this goes for video content too!) Updated content on a regular basis is a great way to establish trust with new or old customers that you are in business, trustworthy, and on top of your game.
By the same token, Google doesn’t want to promote or deliver outdated information. It’s easy to understand why websites that are no longer or scarcely updated get lost in the race and fall behind in search rankings. The Google bots are regularly crawling millions of websites and seeking relevant, new information to promote. By providing fresh content, you give Google a reason to index your website more often too!
Since you’re most likely not going to have a reason to continuously update your home or about pages, a blog post is the most fundamental way to update your website with fresh content.
Build your authority as ‘the Maryland expert”
I used to think it was funny that in the Montgomery county area, it seems that every other utility van driving down the highway claimed to be “the expert in Maryland remodeling”. Then I started working with home remodeling business owners as marketing clients and soon realized just how much work these guys put into specializing in their field. To stay on top in this competitive local industry, these guys are not only proficient in design and building beautiful home interiors, but they also need to be fully certified and knowledgeable enough to teach college classes, and it shows in how they present valuable information constantly on the job! Hang out for a day with these guys and you’ll not only learn a lot about safety measures, building codes and more, but you’ll quickly feel ensured that they are right for the next job- possibly yours. This is how their small business became #1- by earning their customers’ trust in their knowledge and experience in the field, just as much as solid craftmanship. The average local small business in the Montgomery County, Maryland area gains more ongoing business by being an authority in the local industry as well as being good at what they do.
Naturally, this same principle is being taken online (now more than ever) by writing quality blog posts and posting informative videos that are relevant to the audience. Listing the “Top 5” tips or tricks to produce the desired result, at no cost to your future customer, is something that will always go a long way in gaining their trust and building report. It’s true that this can also be done on a FAQ (frequently asked questions) page, and it should, but you can also go into much more depth in a blog post article or video.
Connecting and interacting with your audience
Using a term like “audience” might make it sound like you’re in the entertainment industry, but whether you are a professional comedian or just mildly entertaining 😉, remember EVERY market has an audience and every writer does too. Your marketing audience should be defined before you even start to write- this is something you can work on with your marketing consultant.
For the sake of this topic, I am referring to the visitors of your website and more specifically, the ones you want to keep around. So, if you’re selling hair care services in the area and it’s really important to inform your customers of how keep their hair healthy in-between appointments, then you are writing for the sole purpose of doing just that for just them, right? Well, almost- there’s also those influencers and fellow bloggers with their own audience who may care to share your blog post. Either way, they are probably in the same pool, or audience, of those who sought information and came across your post.
So what’s the end game in reaching this audience? Well, once you defined who your audience is and what you want to communicate to them, you want them to do something, right? That’s called the action. Most likely the action is to contact your business or share your blog post with their audience, which is always going to link to your site. These shares are called linkbacks. In fact, you can even take it a step further and reach out to other businesses or influencers in your market with your latest blog post and see if they will share it in exchange for promoting their business or blog.
Welcome to the proactive side of organic SEO!
You can see that when it comes to organic search engine optimization, the sky is the limit to how much effort you can put into it, and when done right, you will start to see results in no time. In my opinion, blogging is not only the most important way to keep your website updated with relevant, authoritative content in your local industry, but it can be just plain old fun too! Even if writing isn’t your forte, I’m pretty sure like to talk about your business or market and you can always find someone to help you write out your ideas.
Probably the coolest part about every blog post you write is the fact that each article is a unique page about that topic that can be found in its own search query. With the right keyword research, the blog article can be optimized to be a landing page for local Google searches in the area, driving seekers to your business contact form or phone number for more information.
Bring in the pro’s
If you need help getting started in setting up a blog or updating your website with a design that allows for dynamic blog content, we can help you get started. If you have a business in the Montgomery County Maryland area (DC and Virginia too), we’re always happy to consult you with your unique web marketing needs. For a consultation, please fill out our project application or contact us by email or phone if you have any general questions.