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Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Blogging to increase traffic for businesses

Blogs can be very powerful assets for people promoting businesses online. They are free to use, very easy to create, and seriously under-utilized. Most people will automatically assume they need a website when they could in fact possibly have used a blog to better effect. See Websites Vs. Blogs for more info on the benefits and downsides of each. Additionally a lot of people that do need and are using coded websites will forego attaching a blog or forum to their site when they should in fact do so. There are numerous ways that this will help increase your business that many people don’t stop to consider.

The biggest factor with any type of website or blog promoting ideas or services is getting traffic to it. If your Google page rank and traffic flow is not going to be a constant focus, you might as well not waste your time making a site at all. Page rank is huge, and determines how far down the list your site will appear in results when someone searches for set keywords and/or locations. Obviously the higher up the list you can get, the more traffic you will draw in. The search engines have a function commonly called a Spider or WebCrawler which does nothing but regularly visit every page and link you have to see what is on your site, and relay that information back to the search provider. A couple of factors that Google weighs in that determine your rankings and can be improved with blogs are how much traffic you get, what they do when they arrive on your site, and if you have any new content.

Blogging to increase Google Page Rank

Blogs can generate new traffic to your site and business. Blogs by nature have more ways of being promoted for free than websites do. There are aggregators and RSS feeds available specifically to blogs. There are also many blog registries where you can be listed for free, which will help bring visitors to your site. Some of these are pretty interactive and can really help expand your readership worldwide. One huge mistake small local businesses can make is to assume they only need local people visiting their site. Let’s use an example and say I am a beautician who lives in Chicago. Writing a blog article about how to create a homemade facial peel which is read by a subscriber to my blog who lives in Europe will not directly help me schedule local appointments for perms and haircuts; because that reader will most likely never be my customer. But the same European reader will indirectly help me keep my shop full of local clients. This is because Google does not care where my traffic comes from when it gives me page rank, and all those additional readers may make the difference between being ranked #1 or #80 when someone searches for the keywords “Chicago Beauty Shop”.

Blogs can help with generating repeat traffic to your site. I will also use an example here to better illustrate this. Picture your favorite clothing store at the mall. Now, let’s imagine that they have been in business for 5 years, and it took them the first year or so to get the store just the way they wanted it. After having done so, they called their displays good and have since carried the exact same merchandise for the past 4 years. Would you continue to shop there if they had the same thing every time you visited? Of course not! Websites are no different; they need a constant flow of new information and ideas to be of ongoing interest to the reading public. If you have a totally static site people rarely re-visit once they get the info they need about your prices and services.

Not only will the return traffic help with rank, the blog content itself helps also. One of the things Google tries to figure out is how valid your information is. If you post a site composed of all static pages and don’t change it for 5 years, the Google engine has a hard time deciding if that means that nothing has changed, or if the information is possibly no longer valid. After all, the site hasn’t been updated in so long you may have lost interest in maintaining it or gone out of business. Some information, especially in technical fields, can also change rapidly. So a site that never changes or changes only rarely will score a lower page rank than one that has a steady stream of new content.

The final factor as far as page rank is what people do when they get to your site. Many small businesses tend to create simple, static websites which have most of the information such as hours and pricing on the main page. So their visitors arrive at the main page, get the info they need right away, and then leave the site. This is not a good thing for your rankings, and will produce what Google views as a high “bounce” rate. “Bounce” is based on Google’s concept that if someone visits one page of your site, stays only briefly, and then leaves; that they did not find anything useful to them there. If enough people do this, your site is viewed as not being particularly useful to anyone who visits. Even if this is not the case and it is just that your information is simple and quickly accessed, Google can’t tell the difference and you will still be penalized.

The more pages people visit on your site the better; and to achieve that you need to offer a lot of related articles that your viewers may find of enough use or interest to read. Just having a lot of articles of any quality, origin or topic is not good enough. To positively affect your page rank they must be original content and must be related to the purpose and keywords associated with your website. This does not mean that you can’t be creative about what’s “related” as long as you can tie it in. A friend of mine works as a Personal Fitness Trainer and is professionally certified at the highest level. Since he has been trained during the certification process on such things as anatomy, proper diet and nutrition, and is also personally interested in natural health products; he can write about a lot more than just exercise in general. Topics like why people who are extremely active need a larger potassium intake to maintain a healthy heart would work, as would the importance of well-made and supportive footwear that fits properly when running. Tying those articles in to the main topic is easy as long as you use an appropriately related keyword in titles like “health”, “exercise”, “training” etc. Off topics that are related like this are good means of content for businesses to use who want to post stuff that would be relevant and interesting without giving away trade secrets.



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