Blogs are an increasingly common feature on business websites. If your company doesn’t have a blog that gets updated regularly, it is in the minority. In fact, a recent survey found that 65% of companies had blogs in 2011, and that number has only increased since then.

The reason for their popularity is the fact that blogs work: the same survey also found that 85% of businesses rated their blogs as “useful” and “important,” while 27% rated their company blog as “critical.” It’s this importance that has led companies to adopt blogging as an integral part of their social media and content marketing strategies.


The Benefits of Blogs

You shouldn’t start keeping a blog on your business’s website merely because everyone else is doing it. Instead, you should maintain a blog because of what it can do for your profit margin.

According to Search Engine Watch, some of the benefits of keeping a blog include building brand awareness, establishing your company as a thought leader, demonstrating the expertise of your company, being an active member of the community, and generating relevant leads. But, of course, blogging becomes particularly valuable when it’s coupled with search engine optimization (SEO).


How Blogging and SEO Work Hand in Hand

In layman’s terms, SEO is a type of content marketing that drives people towards your blog through the use of keywords. When people type certain keywords into a search engine, the results they see are indexed according to how relevant each site is to that particular keyword or phrase. SEO is, at its root, a strategic employment of keywords in order to help your site be seen by search engines as more relevant. Using SEO to get your company ranked more highly in search engines is a great way to generate leads, and keeping a frequently updated blog is an excellent way to convert those leads.

By using a blog combined with SEO, you will be better able to attract links from people who like your content and link their own website to yours, which drives more organic traffic to your website and generates even more activity. But, this is all possible only if you blog actively: a stagnant blog isn’t likely to attract traffic much at all. Actively blogging, on the other hand, can attract loads of attention—the more you publish, the more effective your blog will be. On the other hand, make sure you’re not posting content just to update your blog. All the content you produce should be valuable and worth your readers’ time.


Avoiding Common Blogging Mistakes

Still, simply starting a company blog and putting pen to paper (or fingertips to keyboard) isn’t enough; you must also avoid the most common blogging mistakes. The biggest mistake you can make—aside from allowing your blog to grow stale—is to publish material that doesn’t offer the reader something. Posts that are boring or too self-promotional aren’t likely to be noticed as much as those that are useful, informational, and able to engage the reader.

A great way to be sure to post valuable content is by publishing posts that answer some sort of question a reader may have. You could also spend time looking at similar companies to see which of their posts are successfully driving traffic and cover similar topics with your business’s unique twist. Another pro tip: use the Google Adwords Keyword Tool. This service is free and allows you to see what phrases people are searching for most each month. If you can incorporate just one or two of these keywords, your content will likely attract more attention.

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