There are many benefits that come with blogging for your farm, ranch or rural small town business, but there’s one that far outweighs the others: search engine optimization. SEO is without a doubt the #1 reason to carve out the time it takes to consistently create high quality content for your blog.
Blogs Aren’t Dead
You may have heard that “blogs are dead.” Friend, that simply isn’t true. Have blogs changed since WordPress (the premiere blogging platform) was released in 2003? Sure they have. What about the Internet hasn’t changed at little… or a lot?
Blogs have certainly changed and evolved, but they’re definitely not dead.
If you are looking for ways to drive content to your farm, ranch or rural small town business website, your blog is your “Ace in the Hole.”
Your Website vs Your Blog
Most visitors don’t (or can’t) distinguish the difference between your website and your blog; to them it’s all one entity. And as a single entity, your “website” will benefit greatly from any traffic that is driven to your “blog.” The big difference and one of the reasons blogs are such a good source of traffic is that they show your brand is alive (in a digital sense).
While you might occasionally make updates to your main website content, more than likely you aren’t updating it regularly. You want your website content to be a strong, solid reflection of your brand and the products and services you offer. So naturally, this core website content does’t change much.
Your blog is different, it builds upon itself and can (and should) be changed frequently. When you update your blog regularly with high quality content, you signal to search engines like Google that you have an active, valuable source of information for users who are searching for the keyword terms included in your content.
From a technical standpoint your website and blog content shares much of the same formatting and structure. This includes elements like headlines, headings, body text, links, alt text and more. It’s important to format your content correct, both for user usability and for Google.
If your wondering if you need both a website and a blog… yes, you do. Both matter to your brand. Both help to create a strong online presence for your small rural business.
What Makes Blogs So Powerful?
Blogs are powerful because they are alive. But like anything, they only stay alive when you “feed” them.
The primary goal of any search engine is to successfully match their users with the content they are looking for. Think of it like “match making.” A match maker couldn’t have a successful business if they continually set the wrong people up on dates and none of those dates resulted in marriages. The “match maker” must first carefully consider if two potential people are right for one another. While this process might take a long time in the real world of dating and match making, it’s practically instantaneous when it comes to Google’s search engine.
But just like the “match maker” has to have a pool of clients to pull from to make those matches that hopefully end in happily-ever-afters, Google has to first find the relevant content to pull from. It does this by “crawling” and indexing every single page of a website.
Indexing is similar to the way a librarian creates a catalog card for every new book the library puts on it’s shelf. The catalog card includes key information about the book so that it can easily be found later whether a library visitor is looking for a book based on the author, title, category, theme, etc. The major difference is that the catalog card can only hold so much information, but Google uses every word on a page to make a determination as to what the page is about.
When a user types in a keyword, phrase or question into their Chrome browser, Google’s algorithm is typically able to return relevant results in the blink of an eye. This is because Google has already indexed the pages of millions and millions of websites and has determined what content is contained within those pages.
The Google algorithm makes your small business blog a powerful tool for driving organic search traffic when you “feed” your blog with consistent, high quality, relevant content that includes specific short, short-tail or long-tail keywords people are searching for.
It becomes especially powerful when you have created content that specifically appeals to your ideal ICA profile. Your ICA is more likely to dig through your blog and your website for more content when they connect with you at that super special niche level.
Every time you add a new blog post, you are essentially creating a new page on your website. As you do this consistently, your website gets deeper and deeper (just like a match makers list of potential matches gets longer and longer). The deeper your website is, the more likely your ideal ICA is going to be able to find additional content that resonates with them on your site. No matter what product or service you sell, the ability to get your visitors to resonate with you is powerful and will eventually lead to increased sales conversions.
Using Short, Short-tail and Long-tail Keywords for SEO
There is an art and a science to blogging. The art is about finding your voice and honing your delivery. The science is about using the right amount of keywords (short, short-tail and long-tail) in your content, so Google knows what a page (like a blog post) of your website is about.
What you don’t want to do is “keyword” stuff your content to the point that it is illiterate, confusing or frustrating for the user. What you do want to do is find that sweet spot and hit it over and over again on multiple pages (posts) of your site. A good rule of thumb is that your keywords should appear once or twice in every 100 words. In other words your keywords should make up about 1-2% of your content. Otherwise you can fall into the keyword stuffing barrel and Google will ding you for bad user experience.
Short keywords are words single words while short-tail keywords are no more than three words strung together and long-tail keywords are a series of words (often phrases) that users will type into Google when searching for something. Because specificity matters, long-tail keywords are actually much more powerful. Short keywords and short-tail keywords are used more commonly when a user is looking more broadly for something.
Here’s an example:
Tracy searches Google using a single keyword “gift.” She gets more than 6 billion results. It’s going to take Tracy awhile to find what she’s looking for.
Theo searches Google using a short-tail keyword (three words or less) “gifts for girls.” His search returns a much smaller number of results and Google even suggests he narrow his search down further by adding an age range, like “gifts for girls age 6.”
Talia knows exactly what her six year old niece wants for her birthday, she just needs to find it online. She searches Google for the long-tail keyword: “sequin flippy cowboy boots for girls.” Immediately Google returns a much more specific set of results. The first result (at the time of this writing) was an Amazon result from my friend Amber’s company Riding Free Tack.
Amber has a much better chance of making the sale to Talia (via Amazon) for the “sequin flippy cowboy boots for girls” than she does of Tracy or Theo ever finding her product in a sea of results for the generic search term “gift” or the slightly more specific short-tail keyword “gifts for girls.”
If you want to learn more about keywords, I highly recommend checking out this resource from Yoast, Keyword research for SEO.
For the Best Results, Get Really Specific.
When you sit down to write a blog post, the more specific you can get, the better. I’m sure you already know that attention spans are short. The first hurdle is getting visitors to your site, the next hurdle is getting them to actually stay long enough to engage with and consume your content.
There’s a lot of content available on the Internet, users will very quickly move on if they don’t find what they’re looking for. Start by writing a good headline that pulls the user in and gives them a sense of what your content is about. Use section headers to divide ideas and for heaven’s sake get to the point!
Just like a speaker who drolls on at a conference (and makes your start looking for the nearest exit); when blog posts start to ramble, you significantly increase the risk of losing your audience.
The more specific you can be with your content, the more likely a user is to consume the entire piece and walk away with the answer they were searching for in the first place and hopefully you’ll have made a sale or added them to your email list!
Plus, Google loves specificity.
For example, an article or post titled the Struggles of Being a Veterinarian might be of interest to some readers, but a more specific article about the Struggles of Being a Female Large Animal Veterinarian in a Rural Area will likely have a better chance of connecting with the audience that is actually looking for it. Being specific in your headlines and body copy will have a much higher success rate than being vague ever will.
Will Anyone Really Read My Blog?
You’re not alone if you’re sitting there weighing the benefits of blogging against the reality that trying to fit another item onto your to-do list seems impossible. Friend, I get it. You might also question whether anyone wants to read about your farm (or ranch, or small town business)? The answer is, you won’t know until you try.
This is one of the many reasons why developing and keeping your ideal customer in mind when you create content is so important. Your ideal customer might be just like you… but then again, they might not be. You might think that writing a blog post about your generational farm isn’t interesting, because you live it every day. You might worry that sharing your farming practices will be boring, because everyone you know is a farmer. But what if your ideal client isn’t?
What if your ideal client is a suburban soccer mom who wants to feed her family healthier meals including your naturally grown farm stand vegetables instead of fast food on busy Tuesday nights? She might really appreciate reading your farm blog because it’s different from her day-to-day life. And your ICA will probably become invested in your success if they stick around long enough.
Your best customers are your raving fans. The ones that can’t stop talking about your products and services. The ones that want to buy everything you have for sale. The ones that want to see you succeed are also the ones that want to consume your content.
Yes, it will take time to create your blog content. Yes, it is another item on your to-do list. Yes, there can be a learning curve to it. No, it won’t immediately increase your sales overnight. No, you might not stick with it. But if you can form the discipline (and skill) to produce content consistently that is of high value to your ideal customer, Google will take notice and you will see the benefit of increased traffic to your domain over time.
Other Benefits of Blogging for Your Small Business
In addition to the massive SEO injection a blog can provide, there are other benefits of blogging for your small business.
Some benefits for your farm, ranch or rural small town business might include:
- Increased opportunity to connect with existing customers
- Avoid putting all your “eggs” in social media baskets
- Historical value of logging what is happening in your business
- Content can be repurposed and used on other platforms
- Gives other content creators, vendors and businesses an opportunity to link to you in their content
Hopefully I’ve convinced you blogs aren’t dead and maybe even persuaded you to make the effort to start (or revive) your small business blog. Whether you decide that blogging is right or wrong for your small business, it’s worth it to consider the longterm benefits of producing quality content and delivering it consistently. For many successful entrepreneurs, they’ll freely tell you that “content is still king” and a blog is a great way to market your small business.
SEO is the Biggest Benefit of Blogging for Your Small Business
May 12, 2022