Blogging and SEO

Every person I talk to wants to be top 10 in Google.

Ranking well, however, is just the means to an end. And the best SEO gurus will tell you that SERP rankings are a poor measure of success.

What Web site owners really want, or course, is more traffic, more leads, more customers and, let’s be honest, more payola.

But how do you get there?

Social media provides one of the easiest ways to kick start your online marketing. While there are literally thousands, if not millions, of sites and tools out there that fit the “social media” definition, there are only three that matter: blogging, Facebook and Twitter. (Tumblr, so sayeth The Times, may soon make it four.)

A blog is the closest thing to an online marketing panacea that the interwebs have to offer. A good blog guarantees your Web site has fresh content. (That alone is worth two gallons of Google juice.) Blog posts filter out through social media channels like Facebook and Twitter, and posts can be effortlessly pushed out to blog trackers such as Technorati, Google Blog Search and IceRocket.

A blog guarantees your site gets an RSS feed. And a good blog improves your site’s chances of reaching people interested in knowing more about your offerings and your industry. A really good blog can establish you as an expert in your field, or define you and your organization as thought leaders. And a blog gives people who reach your Web site something worthwhile to view, instead of lamo stock images or worse, completely irrelevant content used simply to take up space.

With a little focus, keyword rich blog posts can also improve your visibility in the rankings.

All of that and more from a single, regularly updated blog. And there’s a whole cottage industry of site-makers out there developing tools to make it all one-click simple. Twitterfeed automatically publishes your blog posts to Facebook and Twitter. Ping-o-matic updates more than 20 search engines. That means blog once and hit Facebook, Twitter and dozens of other smaller players with a single click.

A recent blog post (what else?) from Marketing Sherpa titled “Blogs are Becoming the New Front Door for Prospects: Is Yours Open?” highlights the skyrocketing importance of the blog. Although the story is aimed at business-to-business marketers, the same concepts hold just as true, if not more so, for B2C sites.

In Marketing Sherpa’s research, many businesses reported that their blog page had overtaken their home page as their site’s No. 1 entry point. One company reported a 4x increase in traffic, a 3x-4x increase in the amount of time viewers spent on the site, a huge jump on Google rankings and a 70% increase in inbound leads.