Blogs – the New Queen on the board?
‘Weblogs’ – personal thoughts and stories intended to supply commentary around any given topic – have evolved to become a surprisingly powerful search engine optimisation tool. They’re like the pawn that got to the other end of the board. But was it luck – or skill?
Chronologically they are listed with the most recent at the top, and were often written in diary form. Ultimately they are an opinion piece – and to the search engines, that’s what makes them attractive. For regardless of how they came about, content is king – and that means keyword-rich original content. Blogs then, are written for website rankings – they are the means and not the end. In hunting terms, they are the beaters that herd the game to the hunters. Thus, the role of the blog has shifted. Now, while its content is still valid and determines the outcome of the search engines algorithms, its goal is to direct traffic to the hosting website. If you’re the originator of the blog, then it’s your website that the search engines will get excited about. The interesting thing however, is that your blog doesn’t even have to be relevant to your particular product or service – it only has to be hosted on your site. You might be an engineering company with a passion for chess, so any blogs you host – well written, keyword rich original content – about chess, will drive up your rankings and bring traffic to your site. And from there, you and your marketing consultant do your magic with regard to the range and content of your professional services. Blogs allow a far greater net to be cast – to mix our hunting metaphors – than the narrower opportunities on offer solely from within your own field or industry. You could say that they provide width rather than depth.
Blogs that are intended to be specific about a product or service, are no longer opinion pieces suppling commentary around any given topic – their intent is now to focus on one particular aspect. Instead of a blog about chess, we’ve moved to an article that discusses gambits and how to formulate a strategy based on your opponents opening. This level of expertise requires a writer who is familiar with chess – the blog on the engineering site might have been 500 words on the history of the game – something any competent wordsmith could put together quite quickly. But the pros and cons of gambits, en passant, when to castle, and the promotion of pawns, requires the expertise of a wordsmith with a definite understanding and affinity for ‘the game of Kings.’ The blog on the history of chess brought visitors to your site – now the site itself must keep them. This is where your marketing consultants take over, and their magic begins. The blog has done its job – the articles on offer that inform your visitor, must now come to the fore. They no longer cover such a large area – they don’t have to – rather they must begin to indicate the depth of product, knowledge or service that your organisation offers, and that will maintain the interest of your visitors. These articles will inform, inspire, direct attention, capture interest – they will be referenced, offer method and data, compare and educate – they will determine whether or not your visitors stay, bookmark, refer, or pass over, your site. They are no longer blogs – they are now articles.
These articles act as transition pieces – but what is now needed is a demonstration of the expertise you and your team can offer – and that requires the same level of expertise from your wordsmith. This is the world of the technical writer – the chess master who can debate the 1972 Spassky v Fischer World Chess Championship against the backdrop of the Cold War, or whether Norway’s Magnus Carlsen’s winning strategy is based on attacking his opponents, or simply outplaying them. (And let’s not forget the chess scene in the first Harry Potter movie when all the pawns suddenly transform into defence mode – classic!) Our article is now a technical piece, our wordsmith a career professional in the appropriate profession or field, and our visitors compelled to hit the ‘contact us’ tab because their search is over and their relationship with you is about to begin. If the potential client is lost now, it won’t be because the journey to your ‘contact us’ tab was deficient. The width has given way to depth, but the depth needed the width in order to do its job. A blog on the history of chess has enabled you to land a new client interested in base isolation for a new suburban library.
Blogs then, serve their purpose, one which must be intrinsically understood. Like any tool, they have their place, and when used properly will achieve just what they are designed for – getting the rankings from the search engines, and the clients to your site. That is our job as blog writers – after that it’s the job of your marketing consultants to hold them. We’ve played our part – now it’s your move. Check.