There is a lot to be said about the benefits of having a business blog on your website. One of the most important is how it helps you protect your online reputation. When someone searches online for your business the SERP (search engine results page) will display your website, and maybe some social media accounts and properly tagged images, which is great because you have control over all that information. But those first pages of results will also show reviews, comments, complaints, mentions and a whole host of information put on the internet by other people if you are not populating the web with positive webpages and links for the search engines to index and file away for search results. Effective blogging ensures that content, images and web pages you control occupy the valuable space of the first pages of search results.
Maintaining a business blog that reflects your brand and standards helps to establish a positive online reputation and builds up your web presence which supports your legitimacy as a respected business and establishes your expertise in your industry. Consistency and relevance are important, but proper search engine optimization is key. Blogs are easy to set up, become more powerful for you the longer and more you use it, and they rank well in Google – all at little to no costs. There can be little argument that blogging is an underused online reputation tool that every business can and should invest in.
How to Blog to Protect Your Online Reputation
Setup up your blog. Most of even the simplest of websites are designed with the capability to blog. If not, get a new website. Many bloggers use WordPress or Blogger platforms which make blogging an easier and manageable task but whichever platform you choose, get your new blog set up on a subdomain or page on your business’ website. The small amount of time and money spent setting up your blog is well spent.
Consider your audience and think like your ideal online visitor. People search the internet to solve problems. The same way your customers are asking you questions in person, on the phone, or over email, billions of consumers are internet searching for answers to their questions. Think about this: What customer pain points do your services address? What problems does your business solve for its customers? What questions are your customers asking?
Now think of what words the consumer would use to search online for solutions and answers? These will be your keywords and the words that need to be in your blog post titles to increase how high and how often you appear in SERPs. For example: Someone with a chipped tooth in San Francisco might search “chipped tooth dentist San Francisco” and while there are hundreds of dentist in San Francisco who can fix a chipped tooth there are only 10 San Francisco dentist who have blogged about “chipped” teeth so they will show up very high in search results.
Develop relevant and authentic content that supports your brand. Provide useful information, solve people’s problems and people will find you and share that information. Think about what your company does best and share your insight, advice, how-to’s, and trend forecasts. You’re the expert, and your blog should reflect that. Search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing want to give the users of their search engines the best possible results and they consistently crawl the web looking for new and original content. They love authentic content so much that properly optimized websites that consistently provide quality content are rewarded with high rankings in internet search results. This provides you with wide-ranging exposure, and results in more traffic on your site.
Post content to your blog one or two times a week to start. Optimally you will routinely post new content two or three times a week and use keywords in your titles that you want to be found for when people are searching online. Notice I said content, and not articles. All blog post have their own titles and keywords but the actual post does not have 500 word essays. Actually, the best posts contain more than words. Find a way to incorporate images, photos, infographics, surveys, survey results, interviews, lists, resource links, reviews, videos, and guest posts from other experts to fill up your blogging calendar. Over time, consistent blogging gets you found online and more traffic to your site. It also ensures that search results for your business name are stuffed with links you created.
SEO your website and every single blog posts. Learn about SEO (search engine optimization) and how to use it to ensure that people looking for the information you have and the services you provide find their way to your website. At a minimum optimize your blog headlines and URL’s. This means putting your keywords closer to the start of the headline and editing your URL’s to make sure your keywords are in there and separated by dashes. Also put your keywords, business name and location where it will be found by the spiders search engines send out every day to collect information: headlines (H1), subheaders (H2, H3), image alt-text (image descriptors you can edit) and anchor text (clickable text where a hyperlink is anchored).
Consistent blogging on its own won’t completely protect your reputation, but it definitely handles the job of building up your web presence and generating more traffic. You will still need to actively monitor your reputation and promote favorable reviews to holistically protect your online reputation and outrank competitors in online searches.
Go the extra mile and integrate Call-To-Actions and internal linking within your blog posts for lead generation and in a short time your little business blog is not only helping build your web presence and protect your online reputation – it is also generating new business. As with any investment, you are going to want to do it correctly from the start and commit to a schedule. Find the time, or you can even outsource your blog content creation and management, but your business needs to be blogging.
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