Why Blog?

July 20, 2008

When engaging in Internet Marketing, and particularly in Search Engine Optimization, blogs play a pivotal role in the process. They serve as the brand presenters, allow intimate interaction with your customers, offer the best outlet to present search engines with your keywords, and actively engage your blogging employees in a very prolific type of brainstorming.

Ok, first, what is Search Engine Optimization?

Google and Yahoo are widely known search engines. When a user enters a search query into these – and other – search engines, he or she receives in return a web page known as a Search Engine Results Page (SERP for short). A typical SERP contains a long list of websites that correspond to the search query, sorted from the most relevant down to the least relevant. For example, when I type the phrase “US Government” in Google, I would expect to see the official web page of the federal government as the No. 1 result – at the top of the page – since it is the most relevant answer to such a query. (Try it yourself)

Search Engine Optimization (SEO for short) is the process of associating your website with certain keywords, so that search queries that contain these keywords would feature your site high in the Search Engine Results Page. Obviously, the US federal government doesn’t need SEO services, but most websites don’t naturally soar to the top of the SERP; and hence they remain virtually invisible to most web users.

This is where blogs come in very handy.

And what is a blog?

A blog is a certain type of website. It has a URL address – such as http://www.OneJerusalem.com – and therefore it is visible to search engines and humans alike. It is typically viewed via a browser, though most blogs can be read via an RSS reader, which is a software application that serves as a feed aggregator, collecting blog posts from all your favorite blogs onto a single place.

The act of blogging can be compared to writing a web diary. The blog is written piece by piece, allowing the blogger to add any content he wants, whenever he wants to. Each such section is called a post, or an entry.

Some blogs focus on serving the reader with updates on a specific topic – such as politics, environmental news, or celebrity gossip. Others have a more personal theme, exposing intimate thoughts and experiences. Still others operate as a press release mechanism, solely promoting a very narrow agenda. However, most blogs combine all three to a different extent, in an attempt to capture a wide range of audiences.

Just remember, whatever it is you’re blogging about, make sure you have fresh and interesting content. No one would stop and read your blog simply because it exists.

Technically, there are many types of blogging systems out there. For example, you may have come across Google’s Blogger service, which offers free hosting and easy customization of your blog. However, we at Suntrader Networks prefer to work with the WordPress publishing system, which takes advantage of the powerful PHP scripting language. In regard to SEO, WordPress has become an industry standard. It is very powerful and very reader-friendly, not to mention the fact that search engines love to read blogs written via WordPress.

As in most other blogging systems, WordPress allocates each post with a specific URL address, where it can be accessed directly. In addition WordPress is a dynamic content-management system: you can mark each post with a number of different tags, or categories. The system then knows how to generate customized pages for the reader, which consist only of posts that had been labeled with the desired tag. Oh, and simply reading the blog in chronological order is also possible of course.
Putting your name out there – Viral Marketing

Let’s get to the good stuff. Why do blogs help promote your website, product, or service?

First of all, they generate public awareness and interest. It’s that simple. They serve to directly present the customers with first hand description of what you’re trying to promote. It’s your chance to excite your potential customers, pitch your services, and embed your products within a layer of the blog’s engaging content.

In contrast to your relatively static home page – the one you’re trying to promote via SEO – the information presented in your blog should be shorter, more easily read, and more diverse. Remember that older entries migrate away from the spotlight – since most blogs only present the 10 most recent entries in their main page – and therefore the content of each entry you’re posting should always feature your agenda in the most up-to-date manner and perspective. Nobody wants to read old news.

Second, interesting blogs tend to spread in a word of mouth manner. A very specific post may attract a large number of visitors, who may take the time to further explore the rest of your blog. One way to gain such popularity is achieved when readers bookmark your blog – or a specific post – in social bookmarking services, such as Digg or Reddit, which enable other readers to spot the “hottest” trends in today’s blogosphere. A clever blogger would facilitate social bookmarking by placing useful widgets, such as a “Digg Me” button.

Establishing close rapport with your audience

One of the most prominent features of any blog is the comments section at the bottom of each post. This allows the readers to present their talkback, and even to initiate a public conversation with the blog writers.

In fact, a commercial blog is the human face behind your product. It’s a real person, who speaks “real” language, in real time. Through this medium, readers and service-providers establish direct access to each other. It’s needless to say that a human blog better establishes trust and loyalty than a commercial leaflet.

In addition certain blogs invite their readers to send them their own content, to be published on the blog. This collaboration maintains long-term interaction, while fostering a friendly and accessible image.

A blog has a keyword-centered structure

As mentioned before, blog entries are categorized via a system of multiple tags. Each tag is actually a keyword. Furthermore, each post has a title, which also serves to emphasize certain keywords. By having keyword-related posts linking back to the site you’re trying to promote, these keywords are then associated with your website. Remember, this is the heart of SEO.

But even more importantly, blogs are naturally search engine friendly! Search engines use special applications called Spiders or Crawlers to find and index all the information on the web. Most of them ignore pictures and focus solely on text. They also enjoy visiting sites that update frequently, placing them higher in the SERP. Well, a blog is a text-rich, link-rich, frequently-updated webpage – which makes it extremely tasty for search engine crawlers!

The creative process

Finally, the world of blogging has generated numerous job opportunities for creative people. These people promote websites and products while doing something they truly enjoy, thus spreading their motivation to the readers as well. And of course people who enjoy their jobs have higher motivation – it’s scientifically proven.

Being a blogger also means you’re always on the look for fresh content, always scouting the field for the latest news and for the groundbreaking advancements made by your peers. Because you want to present your readers with qualified information and unique insights, it compels you to gather the input you need for your output. In other words, it keeps the blogger “on edge”, preventing stagnation and waning of interest.

In short – Blog, what is it good for?

Blogging is good for your brand, it’s exciting for your readers, great for search engines, and brilliant for your employees.

So have you posted yet?