BtoB:It’s well established that a savvy search marketing strategy has to include an organic component. What trends are you seeing in organic search?
Baggott: Most marketers believe the only way to target hundreds or thousands of terms reliably is to invest in pay-per-click (PPC), which is easily measured, controlled and can provide ROI results quickly. Less attention—and far fewer resources—are spent on organic search, simply because most marketers believe there is no reliable and scalable way to target the same volume of keywords. But independent studies show that most all clicks on a search engine results page happen on the organic side.
Typically, a search engine optimization (SEO) effort will bring in good results for a much smaller number of keywords than might be targeted with PPC. This creates a big gap but represents a big opportunity for smart marketers.
BtoB:How does blogging fit in?
Baggott: Much of the talk about corporate blogging has focused on benefits that are intangible, with terms like “community” and “engagement” used to justify a blogging effort with no real accounting for how they impact the bottom line. But, in fact, blogs make great, targeted search-marketing tools.
The vast majority of business blog readers are first-time visitors, and most of these people find the blogs through search. Once this reality is embraced by the organization, blogs can get a new focus and renewed energy [with an emphasis on SEO].
BtoB:How can blogging support an SEO program?
Baggott: Blogs can be focused and delivered almost with the precision of an e-mail. Search engines are looking for the most relevant result to the searcher's query. As SEO expert Vanessa Fox said: “Relevance means keeping to a topic, helping the search engine understand what your site is about and, ideally, about one thing in particular.”
This causes a rethinking of business blogging strategy away from a few, authorcentric blogs and toward many blogs that are narrowly targeted to individual topics based on the potential customers keywords.
BtoB:How can a corporate blog be found most readily through organic search?
Baggott: The most important piece of writing on a blog page is the page title, because search engines consider page titles to be indicative of what’s on the page. It sounds obvious, yet so often this advice isn’t followed.
Because people don't search for blogs by their name, but rather by their topic, title your blogs with the keywords you are targeting. And if you want to target lots of keywords, you should consider having your company author numerous blogs, all titled with specific keywords that you are targeting.
BtoB:Search is driven by keywords within the blog content as well, right?
Baggott: Yes, you want to think ahead about what searchers are going to query for, and then talk about that in your corporate blog. Actually write those words in your post. The point is, searchers only care about one thing—their search.
If you are trying to solve problems in your blog, use the language of the people who have those problems. Not only does this help the search engine understand what this specific blog is about, it leads to significantly higher engagement and conversion.
BtoB:Sounds like the typical corporate blogger may have to write a lot in order to be found?
Baggott: Yes, the more competitive you want your organization to be in search, the more content you will need to create.
BtoB:How can companies achieve this scale?
Baggott: Consider engaging a great many of the employees in the company as corporate bloggers. You can assume that your company has hired many smart people who like the company, believe in its products or services, and think they are doing important work. In fact, these individuals are usually a lot closer to the real solutions and user case studies than many others within a typical company, including top executives.
Stories make great blogging. Free the people who know those stories, and set them blogging. Organize that content stream to the appropriately titled blogs and you create a system that not only drives organic traffic but also traffic is more qualified and much more engaged.