The most difficult websites to search optimize are those of small or new companies, in a market with larger and more established players, focused on a highly competitive set of keywords. No matter how well the on-site optimization is done, it is tough to compete with the amount of content and external links that the established players have built up over time.
However, a blog can be a valuable tool in helping smaller, newer players improve their rank and generate search traffic. Here's a real world example of how a blog can both supplement and enhance search position based on a relatively new player in an established market, that has both a corporate site and a blog.
On a test of 12 key search phrases, the website appeared on the first page across Google, Yahoo and MSN for four phrases where the blog barely ranked at all (one 4th-page appearance on MSN).
On five other phrases, the blog consistently showed up on the first page of results across the major search engines while the website appeared on the second page or lower—including two phrases where the blog had a #1 or #2 position and the site didn't appear within the first five pages!
Finally, on three other phrases, both the site and blog appeared on the first results page, in most cases, across all three search engines.
There was also a difference in how the search engines ranked the corporate site relative to the blog; on MSN, in 90% of the instances where either the website or blog appeared on the first page of search results, the website ranked higher. Google and Yahoo were more favorable to the blog: on these engines, while the website was still ranked on the first page more frequently than the blog, the ratio was much lower.
A company blog can also be used to give a (small) SEO boost to the corporate site. For example, it could help the marketing events calendar on WebMarketCentral to appear somewhat more prominently in the search engines by linking the phrase "marketing events calendar" to it here.
And a few additional considerations:
- Due to the dynamic nature of their content, blogs are generally indexed more frequently than corporate sites by the search engines.
- Blog posts are more likely than corporate content to be seen as thought leadership content and linked in other blog posts or tagged on social bookmarking sites like Digg and Del.icio.us.
- Blog RSS feeds can be syndicated across a large number of sites, providing exposure (and links) generally not applicable to a standard company website.
Contact Tom Pick: tomATwebmarketcentralDOTcom