In digital marketing, we know a few fundamental facts:
- Content is king.
- People don’t like feeling as if someone is pushing them into something.
- People don’t like being bombarded with ads.
With sponsored postings and clickbait becoming increasingly popular (and consumers becoming increasingly savvy to pushy, salesy content), it’s natural to wonder if blogging is dead. Combine that with the fact that voice search and influencer marketing are quickly gaining steam, and you might wonder if it’s necessary to blog any more at all.
The short answer is yes.
The longer answer is that when a blog post fulfills its original purpose—to entertain and inform—it naturally contributes to search engine optimization (SEO), business visibility, and growth. Let’s explore what makes blogs still relevant and how you can create content that helps your business succeed in a competitive environment.
Proof That People Still Read Blogs
Consider the following: Nearly half the people who make a purchase consume three to five pieces of content before connecting with a sales representative. Additionally, companies that have blogs tend to get 67 percent more leads than those that don’t have blogs, or whose blogs are not adequately updated or optimized.
Search engines play a crucial role in people finding your blog content, and the content you produce is essential for both lead generation and conversion. Here’s why.
Positioning Your Business as a Thought Leader
Google’s primary purpose is to provide people with the most relevant information possible, based on a query a person enters (or speaks into a digital assistant). There is a reason that “to google” has become a verb placed firmly in the American lexicon.
It’s important to note a distinction—Google itself doesn’t provide people with the information they need; it gives the searcher a variety of options that will lead to the data. You, as a business, are the one that can provide the knowledge. Google doesn’t write the content that addresses the search query; it matches people to articles written by thought leaders, who are sharing information on their websites.
Google has long prized quality over quantity, and an informative post will always rank over a salesy, click-bait one. When a business spends time and energy crafting optimized and informative blog posts, then Google will place it higher in the search engine results.
How Do I Know People Still Read Blogs?
HubSpot’s 2020 State of Marketing Report notes that blogging is the third most used form of content marketing, only behind video and infographics. If you’re still blogging, you are certainly not alone: There are currently 600 million active blogs online, and U.S. blogging rose from 22 million to 32 million over five years, 2014 to the beginning of 2020.
Given these realities, it seems likely that people are still reading blogs. Some research shows that over three-quarters of internet users regularly consume blog content. While some people might not actively seek out or subscribe to specific blogs, they often click on blog content when looking for information related to a search engine. So, if you’re wondering whether to hit the brake on content, don’t panic just yet.
Blog Impact on SEO
Even though the internet is filled with sensational headlines claiming blogging is dead, consumer research simply doesn’t support this notion. At the same time, we can count on certain kinds of content to be unsuccessful. Redundant information, poorly written and salesy, will not rank well, and will not have a good effect on SEO. Conversely, creating blog content that answers user questions, provides helpful information, and positions your company as a thought leader can improve authority, increase important metrics such as dwell time, and improve your positioning on Search engine result pages. A blog alone can result in an increase of 434 percent in indexed pages and 97 percent more indexed links—all representing more opportunities for your business to rank.
If you want to help connect readers with useful information and increase your search engine rankings through blogging, try applying some of these tips:
- Optimize your blogs for long-tail keywords and search queries. Make sure you answer all aspects of the query and related queries, which leads to longer-form content, which increases dwell time and ranks better.
- Consider adding other elements to your blog posts, such as embedded videos or infographics.
- Support your central thesis with quotes, statistics, and research.
- Optimize all your content using SEO best practices and by incorporating keyword research.
Back to the original question: Do people read blogs anymore? We think the answer is a resounding yes. While people (and search engines) shy away from content that is thin or overly promotional, well-researched pieces that are supported with other elements will improve your SEO and earn their place as king.