To Blog or not to Blog, that is the Question

The vast majority of companies today realize that writing a corporate blog is another communication channel that can bring a lot of benefit to their business operations.

Of course, there are certain specifics from branch to branch, but in general terms, a well written and optimized blog has proven to be a great communication tool.

However, it often happens that after you've written and published the first few blogs, very often the enthusiasm falls apart because the blog does not bring as much traffic as expected.

Before we start, it is important to emphasize that there are blogs and there are BLOGS. Not all blogs are written to be equal.

The reason why this is so is down to the search engine. Google, Bing or A N Other is not important, because they are actually algorithms that rank the web site according to the quality of a response to a visitor’s query. Each of these search engines will have their own criteria for ranking the content quality, and the problem is that users cannot know exactly which criteria are taken into account, or relevance and interdependence of such.  To make things worse, these algorithms are updated about 500 times per year. The good thing is that there is a whole range of companies who study these algorithms and can predict their behaviour with great precision.

The second important thing to mention here is the SERP or Search Engine Result Page, or where the site is ranked for the result of a query. The position where the result is has crucial importance to digital business including the blog. If you are in the first place you can expect 25-45% of the CTR or 25-45% of those who are looking for the answer to a query will click on your web page. If you are in 10th place and this is still the first Search Engine Result Page you can hope for 1-3%, and below this is the “neglect zone”.

This graph below demonstrates this point. 


Source: https://www.smartinsights.com/search-engine-optimisation-seo/seo-analytics/comparison-of-google-clickthrough-rates-by-position/ 

To quantify the point, if there are 30,000 searches per month for a specific keyword, and if you're in 1st place you can expect 7,500-10,000 clicks, and if you're in 10th place, that number falls to 300-900. Quite a difference, is not it?

There is no need to have a brilliant mind to figure out how much better it is to be in 1st place and how if you cannot be the 1st, then you should aim to be at least in the top 5.

This is why I have always advocated the idea that it is better to write one excellent blog post rather than 10 average ones. Namely, a premium blog will create much more traffic than all of the average or below average blogs put together.

To be clear, if you are not in the top 5, that doesn’t mean you that you will not benefit from a blog and you do not have to write it. In addition to traffic, there is a whole range of benefits from the blog that we will explain later, but traffic is definitely the most important reason to write a corporate blog.

Writing a blog is a very serious thing because content adds value.

There is a new business rule - you must now be a publisher to be competitive. Users expect the site to inform and/or entertain them. Using video, delivering useful guide will make your website worth a repeat visit.

Here I will focus on hotels, restaurants and the hospitality industry in general, and I will try to answer two key questions:

-          Why it's important to write a blog

-          How to write a good blog

Let us go back to the benefits of the blog.

  1. A Blog brings traffic to your site. And the blog is here to stay.


 

In the image above, you can see a HubSpot survey about the relationship between monthly and new content blog looks like.

  1. A Blog is free. Apart from the cost/time for copywriting, there is nothing else to pay.
  2. A Blog improves your overall SEO. Google just loves new, helpful content, and the basis of each Search Engine Optimization is content. If you do not have content, you have nothing to optimize. The figure below shows some of the most important indicators and their value, which Google takes into account when ranking search results. As we have already mentioned, these are the results of research conducted by SEMRush. One of the most important indicators is a time on site, which means that Google takes into account how interesting or useful your blog is and how much time was spent reading it.



Source: https://www.semrush.com/ranking-factors/

4. A Blog improves your position as a brand leader. Much of the content that gives answers to the visitor's questions or is helpful will surely raise the perception of your brand in the eyes of the visitor.

5. A blog will improve communication with users. Readers can comment on the blog and ask questions. In addition to giving you great feedback for your business, the Google Search Engine will most likely reward you with a better position.

6. The blog can be the foundation for social media communication. Nothing better for social media than an interesting blog post, which is also a good promotion for the blog.

7. A Blog builds an audience. Through it, you can drive bookings, enquiries, newsletter subscriptions and stimulate lead generation.

Now I come to the next question, how to write a good blog which will bring traffic to your site.

First and foremost, you need to consider what type of blog you want to write. Is it a guide through the town? Gastronomic advice? Or maybe answers to the everyday questions of your visitors? Think about what you want to achieve. This reminds me of what Abraham Lincoln once said:

 

"If I had eight hours to chop down a tree, I'd spend the first six of them sharpening my axe."

The first and most important thing you need to do is very detailed keyword research. Take as much time as you need, because good keyword research makes a serious difference. Even when using a digital marketing agency or an external content developer, it's important to do keyword research by yourself because in that way you will see which keywords you need to focus on.

From my experience, it is always best to choose those with a good search volume and low competition rate. It's important to point out that the competition rate applies to Google Ads, but it's also an extremely good indicator of organic search.

As an example let’s say that you wanted to promote your hotel in Bristol. This is just a very vague insight into the keywords.


When doing keyword research, it would be ideal if you could see what keywords are being used by your competitors. For that, there is a whole range of tools, but from our experience, we recommend SemRush.

When you have done keyword research, you should have a much more detailed insight from which to build content.

The next step is to research the topic you wish to write about. I cannot stress enough how important research is. The more you know about the subject, the better the end result will be. Keep in mind how thorough research can offer you different angles for handling a topic as well as more opportunities for the tone of voice.

You can actually write about a number of things from different angles, for instance, the most beautiful places in Bristol, the most romantic, places that you can go with children, etc. The choice is almost endless. Bristol is known as a cycling city, and it seems to me a great idea to make a guide through Bristol for cyclists.


The third step is writing. With good keyword research and thorough knowledge of your topic, it should not be a big problem to write a meaningful blog.

When I say writing a blog it means writing a blog. Do not, under any circumstances, be tempted to copy existing content. Search engines do not like it and it is very likely that, in some way, you will be punished by them.

 

When writing a blog, a few things are extremely important:

-          Headlines - I cannot emphasize enough how important well wrote and interesting headlines are. Actually, it is very logical, the headlines are the first thing that visitors see and based on it they make a decision whether to read a blog or not.

-          Images - next to the headline, they are the important factor in arousing and sustaining the reader’s interest. Of course, keep in mind that you should use the best images possible, because no one wants to see amateur shots, except when it comes to humour. In addition to the pictures, you can insert videos, infographics etc.

-          Length of the text - although there is no a universal rule as to how long a blog should be, year after year they are becoming longer, in order to be more meaningful and more helpful to visitors. Most well-ranked blogs today contain more than 1,500 words. There are also considerations which say the blog should be over 2,000 words to be very visible on the SERP. I think the most important thing is context and a 500-600 word blog will be sufficient if it is appropriate for a topic.

-          Refining - Finally refine the text as well as the keywords you want to emphasize. Keep in mind that the keywords around which you build content are reasonably represented and do not repeat them constantly. This is called keyword stuffing and is not recommended, you can be de-indexed for that. Always remember that you are writing content for users not for the search engine, and search engines are smart enough to know how you conceived the content of your blog.

The last recommendation refers to the links in your blog. Be sure to endorse your theory with the inbound link that confirms what you said, and also put deep links on the other pages that you want to emphasize.

Another tip, be sure that your blog incorporates one or sometimes two CTA buttons. I can think of dozens of occasions where I have been reading really good stuff but there were no CTA’s and so no Call To Action. You'd be surprised how common a mistake this is.

Conclusion

Put yourself in your visitor’s shoes and think about what they might be interested in on your website.

I suggest you look at Google‘s John Mueller's responses to questions on how best to rank content.