Blogs are marketing gold, but this is hardly groundbreaking news.

What is surprising is that many businesses are not capitalizing on these marketing opportunities as often as they should. Beyond the opportunity to get your brand in front of a new audience, there is another important reason to be marketing your product/services on blogs—it can improve your SEO.

The reason: the all mighty backlink.

Backlinks are simply links that point to your website from some other site. They are an important measurement that Search Engines use when determining your websites importance. Backlinks help improve your position in SERP (Search Engine Result Page, the search results that appear when you search any term in Google or Bing, for example). It’s a bit like determining who the popular kid is in school. How many backlinks does a website have? Like the popular kid at school, the more people that like and talk about (or link to) that individual, the more popular that person is. But we all know that not everybody likes the popular kids—so it is not about volume, it’s about the quality of those links.

In essence, what’s important is who is linking to the site—not just how many people. Sites with a higher ranking or popularity (or .edu or .gov websites, which are seen as more valuable) are worth more than your niece’s blog (unless your niece happens to be Joanna Goddard, of Cup of Jo).

There is a huge opportunity to get your product in front of viewers by requesting a blog post about your company or product. And, yes, you will to have to court bloggers. You will have to be nice and let them know why you are the best and why they should be writing about you.

What about just paying for an ad on the blog page, you ask? Here is my take: while advertising your company on a blog can drive traffic to your site for the month or quarter that the advertisement is running, having a sponsored article on the blog lasts forever. (Like diamonds without the shiny).

As long as the blog is still living in the cloud, that link will be there pointing the way to your website. That link to your company will be intact and, considering the blog’s longevity (as well as popularity), that link will prove invaluable as a backlink to your website.

Another good idea? Ask a prominent blogger to write a post on your company blog. This is win-win. Not only will this provide some interesting content on your blog, but it is common practice to have the blogger announce this guest post on her blog. Boom, there’s your link with a prominent blogger and your readers are impressed by your hip, smart business marketing.

And since the blogger’s readers already respect her opinion and, possibly, identify with her, they’re more likely to then identify with your brand as well. Or at least give your services a gander.

Another good option? Offer to write a blog post for a prominent blogger (say what?). Offer your services as a guest blogger. Write an interesting article and send that to a blogger. No money exchanges hands, the blogger gets a break (and an interesting article in the deal) and you gain a valuable backlink that points to your website. Now as tempting as it may be, don’t write about your business, choose something that you would be interested to read or provides some valuable information (consider that your compass when figuring out what to write).

In 2011, Kandace wrote a blog post for Honey Kennedy. She interviewed Amy Tavern, a successful jeweler exhibiting her work in San Francisco that week. The blog post was mutually beneficial, it provided a nice article for Honey Kennedy, introduced Kandace to Honey Kennedy’s readers, and linked back to Needmore Designs. Three birds with one stone.

This proved to be valuable marketing for Needmore Designs, as well as a backlink to the Needmore website. Here are the statistics from the week that the blog post was published and the traffic that initially came to the website as a result.

Honey Kennedy  Referral Stats

Guest blog post - Visitor Chart

Including blogs in your marketing plan is a great way to get your name out there, drive more traffic to your website, and improve your SEO.

Good luck with your backlink building campaign!

This article is part of an ongoing series on SEO. Needmore Designs provides in-depth SEO services for our clients. Let us know if you are interested in personalized reporting for your website. 

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