Blogging - provided the content is relevant, interesting and helpful - just might be the most talked about local search marketing tactic for 2013. With the new iteration of Penguin (2.0), Google has been cracking down on spammy SEO practices and has recently shown preference for putting social elements back into the local search by giving a ranking boost to content that claims authority and expertise through Google Plus authorship. Bing has shown similar preference for local expertise by pairing up with Klout to showcase Klout Expert answers to some queries.
Helpful, interesting content through expertise blogging might be picking up steam. According to a May 2013 report by Social Media Examiner, 14 percent of marketers would choose blogging if they were allowed to use only one social media marketing platform, and 58 percent of marketers surveyed were currently blogging. Though nearly 50 percent of marketers chose Facebook, blogging followed closely behind LinkedIn (16 percent) and was followed by Twitter (12 percent). Also, of social content types that marketers wanted to learn more about in 2013, blogging took the lead, with 62 percent of marketers interested in exploring further how blogging could contribute to their local SEO tactics and 66 percent actually planning to increase their use of blogging.
It appears blogging is here to stay, for now at least, as marketers realize that Internet users want good content and major search engines recognize this in their SEO rankings. Here are two top tips for taking your blog to the next level and hopefully increasing site traffic:
Web design is key
In this day and age, it's critical that your blog is user-friendly and visually appealing - stunning, even. The Internet is rife with content, so if your blog takes too long to load or is not professional and engaging, users (and potential customers) will leave your site quickly and search for something better. According to Search Engine Watch, pagination should be numbered (think Google) rather than labeled with words like "previous entries." This is more appealing to users and also provides easier access to search engines' "crawlers." Also, blogs should have easy access to previous and next posts and should show related posts. This boosts SEO and increases user click-through rates.
Blogs should have sharing buttons so blog posts can be easily shared on readers' various social media sites, if they so choose. Also, Search Engine Journal encourages bloggers to share their content on sites aside from Google Plus, Twitter and Facebook, such as Pinterest, LinkedIn, Goodreads and Tumblr, depending on what is relevant for each business.