These days, most business owners know they need to post regularly on their blog to raise their website’s visibility. Publishing helpful, informative content is one of the most important things entrepreneurs can do to enhance their search engine optimization (SEO).
The problem comes in when they try to figure out exactly how much they need to publish.
Once a month?
Once a week?
Look at ten sources online and you’ll get ten answers. In fact, all the answers above are offered by “SEO gurus” on various websites. This leads most Central Florida business owners to one of two conclusions:
- No one actually knows the answer to how much you need to publish to affect your SEO
- The answer really is “15+ times a month” and is out of reach for most business owners
Luckily, neither is the case. While it can be confusing to get the facts about search engine optimization, there are facts. Unfortunately, there are many companies out there more interested in selling a suite of services than giving you the details you need to make an informed decision.
To answer the question above, we need to start by taking a step back.
What Does Blog Content Actually Do for Your Website?
Good SEO is the difference between being highly visible for all kinds of relevant Google searches … and being invisible. The vast majority of search traffic goes to the first page of results in any search. The websites showing up on page three or later get virtually no search traffic for a given term.
Of all the many hundreds of keywords – exact terms your potential customers type in – you don’t need to appear for all of them. On the contrary, a handful of well-chosen keywords will always make the biggest impact. That often means writing “evergreen content.”
Evergreen content appeals to a wide audience and rarely needs to be updated because the facts behind it don’t change. For example, there’ll always be someone out there who’s investigating a symptom and needs to know the basics about gingivitis so they know what they’re actually dealing with.
This is the first place where confusion can creep in when it comes to website content.
If you’re a dentist publishing the 1,000th “What You Need to Know About Gingivitis” article within your local market, you might wonder whether or not it makes any difference. Will people read it? And will it actually influence their decision-making?
Ideally, the answer is yes. But no matter how well-designed your website is, it won’t start with a full audience of its own reading everything you have to say. It’s important to publish content before you have a dedicated audience for it. There are two important reasons for this:
- Your content signals search engines to tell them what your website is about
- When visitors do find your website, having more content keeps them there
Let’s take a closer look at these two issues:
1. Without Content, Search Engines Don’t Know What Your Website Is For
For all the talk about “what Google likes” or “Google reading your website,” Google doesn’t actually read anything. Even the most advanced AI algorithm has no real comprehension of what text means.
Instead of understanding a sentence the way you or I would, the Google algorithm makes associations based on the way people use a search engine. It knows, for example, that if you search for a simple term like “Nike shoes,” your next search will probably be more specific – “Nike shoes VaporMax.”
From there, you’ll probably get even more specific: “Nike Air VaporMax 2021.”
You’ll notice this pattern if you pay attention to the different search terms Google fills in automatically as it tries to “help” you. What exactly is it trying to help you to do? Get more information so you can be precise about what you want. At the end of that process, you’re more likely to make a sale.
The exact same thing happens with business websites in any industry.
The Google algorithm itself has no idea what a dentist is, but it understands that users who put in a certain list of search queries in a certain order will most likely end up making a purchase from one specific kind of business. When you blog, you connect your website to those topics.
That way, Google knows precisely when to show your content to website users along their journey. That becomes even more important when you have a local business where most customers will come from a 30-mile radius around you. Content makes you eligible for those crucial “near me” searches.
2. Content Keeps People on Your Website Longer and Helps You Get Connected
When you start writing content for search engine optimization purposes, it might seem like you’re just talking to yourself. In the long run, though, you’re benefiting all of the people who will visit your site in the future. That can affect thousands of future users and help turn many of them into clients.
Website designers speak with dread of “bounce rate.” Bounce rate is the percentage of users who visit your website for the first time, take a quick glance at it, and leave. A high bounce rate means that many people are arriving onto your website on a page that has no relevance to them or their needs.
By having a full library of helpful, informative content, you can lower your bounce rate and increase your dwell time, the amount of time people spend on a given page. As this metric increases, they are far more likely to find a reason to stick around and visit again.
This helps you guide them through the rest of your sales funnel by getting them on your email marketing or social media. In other words, good content is really the cornerstone of building a relationship instead of a “one and done” encounter where users disappear forever after meeting their initial needs.
So, How Often Do You Need to Publish Content?
The most successful businesses out there today are those that embrace their role as digital publishers. They are consistently more visible online and entice more leads to contact them because they show just how willing they are to put a value on the table before a sale is even made.
When it comes to building trust, nothing works better.
Just what does the data say about blogging frequency?
A 2021 survey from Orbit Media learned the following from 1,000 professional bloggers:
- Most bloggers publish weekly or several times each month.
- Bloggers used to post more frequently, but now post less often with longer content.
- Bloggers who post 2-6 times each week are most likely to self-report strong results.
Back in 2014, when Orbit began studying blogging habits in detail, it wasn’t unusual for professional bloggers to publish 2-6 posts every week. Only 13% of respondents routinely reach that figure now.
By comparison, 22% say they post weekly, while 23% say they post several times per month.
Inbound marketing CRM firm HubSpot recommends small blogs post 3-4 times per week to maximize their organic traffic. On the other hand, large blogs with a consistent audience can aim for 4-5 posts.
What about companies that need to expand their brand awareness? Here, HubSpot claims the sweet spot is 1-2 new posts per week for newcomers and about 3-4 times per week for larger blogs.
On the other hand, search engine optimization expert Neil Patel discovered that many successful blogs with more than 1 million unique visits a day blog very infrequently. However, these were mainly blogs run by a single person, not small businesses or Central Florida firms backed by a marketing team.
All in all, these results suggest you don’t need to be blogging every day to see strong gains in organic search results. But in order to zero in on an exact figure for your monthly blogging, it’s vital to go a step further. Remember: When you blog, you’re creating an asset that could help for years to come!
How to Develop a Publishing Plan for Your Business
“Publish 2-6 times a week” is a great ballpark figure, but it needs more to become a business reality.
Most business leaders can’t sit down and come up with an idea off the top of their head that resonates with their audience … let alone do so about 24 times a month. It all requires planning and research.
Things get even more complex if you don’t really consider yourself much of a writer.
When these and other factors creep into the equation, remember these two simple facts:
- “Done” is better than perfect
- Consistency is the key to a lasting impact
In fact, consistency is even more important than any other factor. That’s because it makes a positive impression on both your audience and search engines.
Search engines are more likely to revisit websites when new content is posted regularly. New content gets a brief “freshness bonus” which may allow it to appear in search placements it otherwise might miss. And it also means your website’s rankings will be parsed and updated more frequently.
Just as significant, however, is what consistency communicates to human beings. When you post on a measurable schedule, they know you are around and here to stay. This can also help you with many other aspects of your digital marketing strategy – you always have new content to share.
That’s why a single figure is only the beginning. It needs to be backed by a whole publishing strategy.
1. Keyword and Topic Research
Keywords represent the exact words and phrases people type into search. While that does tell you a lot about what’s going on in their minds, it doesn’t give you a topic. A topic is the actual focus of an article, something that will help your visitors solve a problem or reach a goal.
To get your publishing strategy off the ground and kick it into high gear, most Central Florida businesses will start by working with a digital marketing agency. A marketing agency can sift through the relevant search results, highlight the opportunities that exist for your brand, and help develop the topics.
Once you have topics, each one is a window into your audience’s world. You have the opportunity to demonstrate your understanding and the depth of your expertise. Even if each article truly connects with only about 10%-15% of your visitors, they will know you have resources they can really use.
2. An Editorial Calendar
No matter if you’re publishing five times a month or five times a week, you need a calendar to keep things on track. A calendar, with specific due dates for each part of the writing process, represents a commitment you can keep with your team or your Central Florida digital marketers.
The actual deadlines for publishing are only the beginning when it comes to a complete editorial calendar. You will need to go a step further and make sure you know how the entire process will unfold. That’s necessary to coordinate writers, editors, designers, and others who might be part of the process.
The complexity of getting things conceived, drafted, designed, edited, and published mean most Central Florida businesses who can afford it look to digital marketers for professional blogging. In cases like this, all you need to do is approve the topics and review the draft so it meets your brand standards.
That said, it is also possible to do the whole thing in-house.
As intimidating as it looks, it can all work smoothly in the end once the right processes are in place.
3. Clear CTAs for Each Blog Post
Any individual blog post can operate within one of the three different parts of your funnel:
- Top: Content helping users who just realized they have a problem understand what it is.
- Middle: Content helping to define buying criteria around a potential solution for the problem.
- Bottom: Content showing that your solution is the best for a user’s specific context or situation.
Every blog should have a purpose, so all of them need a clear call to action. For example, the evergreen content that goes at the top of your funnel probably entices first-time visitors to join your email list.
More detailed and sophisticated content goes at the bottom of the funnel. The purpose here is to get the reader to contact you, whether that’s to set up a discovery call or schedule a product demo.
Even when you find a voice that works for your brand, you also need to be sure you are addressing the right pain points for the right people at the right time. Every piece of writing on your website should have a defined purpose and a clear takeaway within your larger strategy.
Get a Better Return on Investment from Your Blogging with New York Ave
On the surface, blogging is free – you pick a topic, you write, you publish, you promote.
When you have a robust library of content, it can mean thousands more visitors every month.
But do it wrong and the opportunity costs are huge. After all, you probably didn’t go into your line of work to write the next Great American Novel. Even if you’re interested in writing, there are plenty of other priorities you need to navigate every day.
When all you can spare is a “drip, drip, drip” of effort, it can take a long time to deploy the kind of proven processes that will ultimately make blogging easier for you and your team. That, of course, means waiting even longer for the results you want.
But there is a better way.
New York Ave can take the lead on every aspect of your publishing schedule – or we can get you started and make sure you have the right guardrails in place to make it easier for your internal team. No matter what you prefer, we will be there with you every step of the way.
Together, New York Ave’s digital marketing experts and hand-picked writers have helped drive millions of new visits to our clients’ websites. Contact us today to learn more.