I met Chris Baggot at a content marketing summit organized by Joe Pulizzi for OpenView Venture Partners’ portfolio of B2B software companies. Chris was one of the featured presenters and I was impressed by his controversial take on blogging — forget about subscribers and building relationships, the real game is SEO. I followed up with an email question to Chris asking for further explanation, and this is what he had to say:
The overall point for business bloggers is that if you are measuring your success based on subscribers or regular readers you are probably going to be disappointed. And worse, all that focus on the myth of engaging regular readers (as if you are building a community) takes the eye off the ball that the vast majority of people coming to business blogs are first time visitors.
If you look at the sources of that first time visitor traffic you find that most of it comes from either referrals or search. In fact, most consultant-type blogs l get most of their traffic from referring sites. Businesses usually have a higher percentage of traffic coming from search.
My argument is that first time visitors are a gift that is often completely abused by most business bloggers. First time visitors are the one chance you have to make an impression and drive a conversion to expand that relationship. When you think in that context you start to appreciate business blogging as a superior acquisition tool.
The whole case for Compendium (www.compendium.com) is that search is really the only traffic source that you can control. You can “hope” to get lots of referral traffic. You can put up great content that gets passed around and over a period of years if everything goes well, odds are that more people will link to you and maybe people will hit those links and find you. But you can’t “make” this happen.
Search, however, is the one traffic source that is completely in your control. If you want to increase your search traffic (and I’m talking about well qualified traffic) it’s simply a matter of expanding your blogging program to target more relevant terms with additional blogs and writing more content aimed at those terms.
Search marketing is about solving problems. People go to search engines with the intent to find a solution to whatever they are searching on. Businesses exist to solve problems in exchange for money. It’s win-win and the primary reason search is the most important marketing channel of our generation.
The thing to appreciate about search is that for almost every business, potential search volume dwarfs anything that could come from other social network activity. This is easy to research right? It’s easy to see the total number of keywords that your prospects use and at what volume.
Imagine you were in the toaster business. Every single month there are almost 3,000,000 searches for toasters across about 250 different terms. Compare that volume of people actually looking with the intent to buy vs. anything you could do attracting customers via Twitter or Facebook. It’s not even in the same universe.
Think if you were a ski resort. Now sure you could probably build a robust community and run a successful Facebook or Twitter program…but compare that to almost 2.8mm monthly searches on “ski vacations” (plus another 60,000 on “ski vacation”). There are 9mm monthly searches on “ski” and a million more between the two phrases “ski resort” and “ski resorts”: 301,000 searches on “ski resorts,” 823,000 searches on “ski resort,” mountain resort gets “386,000.” In this light, where should the primary focus of your social media strategy be? Well search of course.
If you have a blog targeting each of these terms (title matching keywords) and populate those blogs with the stories that show how you solve the problems the prospect is articulating…well you stand a very good chance of showing up more frequently in search results around those keywords, and more importantly, converting more of those searchers into the most critical asset in any business….happy customers.
Want to hear more from Chris? Visit his blog at: http://blogging.compendiumblog.com/blog/blogging-best-practices/
Think strategically: this content strategy workshop will show you how.