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87% of US B2B marketers used content marketing in 2012 and I can only assume that when the 2013 report comes out that number will have crossed the 90% line. Most B2B marketers keenly understand the importance and value of a content marketing strategy and its role in their SEO campaign. And at the heart of most B2B content marketing efforts is the company blog. But “knowing” that blogging works and showing your team, manager, or CEO hard and fast proof that it works is another story. If you’re looking for new ways to show that your business blog is positively impacting your SEO here are two things to look at in your Google Analytics account:
Remember, search engines don’t rank your website as a whole; they rank each page individually in the SERPs. That means a blog post can just as easily rank and attract high-quality traffic as well as any product or service page on your site provided it’s been optimized for SEO. And just like any other page on your site, a well-written and evergreen blog post will continue to attract unique visitors over time. This is one of the great things about having a business blog on your company site (mycompany.com/blog) as opposed to on a separate domain (mycompanyblog.com). Any traffic your blog pulls in can easily be funneled deeper into your site and lead down a path of conversion.
But in order to really show how your business blog is impacting your SEO you need real numbers. It’s easy enough in Google Analytics to drill down and pull up any and all content that has /blog in the URL. The above graph shows that from November 1, 2012 to February 28, 2013 all the URLs on this particular site with a /blog in them led to a combined total of 1,040 entrances (6.47%), meaning those visitors arrived on this site through one of those /blog URLs. This includes organic traffic, social media traffic and direct traffic.
Now 6.47% might not seem like that much, but remember this is only 4 months worth of data. How might that number jump if we looked at data from the past year? And if you look at the graph you’ll notice that traffic from /blog URLs really starts to pick up in January. Perhaps this site found their content marketing rhythm in the New Year, which could explain why January and February show a lot more activity when compared to November and December. If they stick to their business blogging routine I’d bet they’d see a continuing upward trend.
And what does all this mean for your SEO? Again, 6.47% of your site’s overall traffic might not seem like a lot but it’s over a 1000 unique visitors that might not have otherwise found your site. With more time, as those blog posts sit and age, they’ll attract more social signals and natural links, making them even more valuable in the eyes of the search engines. Depending on what this site writes about (and how well those posts are optimized), there is no reason to think that two or three of their evergreen blog posts couldn’t show up in the SERPs at the same time for a search query, enhancing their organic search presence.
Looking at Google Analytics for the same site as above, I found that one long-tail keyword led to 12 unique visitors in that four month period. Again, 12 visitors isn’t really going to blow the doors off any SEO program, but if we dig a little deeper we find that of those 12 visitors, 4 of them found the site through a particular blog post that had been optimized for that keyword while 6 ultimately landed on the homepage.
A quick search in Google (keeping in mind that rankings can fluctuate at any given moment for a wide variety of reasons) shows me that the blog post is currently outranking the homepage for this particular long-tail keyword. Considering that long-tail keyword is actually fairly competitive it’s impressive to see that blog post anywhere in the top 50 search results, especially when it’s competing with content from Forbes, the Huffington Post, and Oracle. Not bad company to be counted among!
This is another great SEO benefit of your business blog—it gives you the opportunity to target long-tail keywords time and time again and to create more pieces of content the SERPs might pull to match a search query, thus growing your online search presence. You can’t possibly target every single keyword that someone might search with on your site without over-optimizing it and crossing the line into spam, so a business blog is the perfect place to build content around those long-tail keywords and round out your SEO program.
You could even flip the data around and start with a particular blog post and then see what keywords led to visitors. That one long-tail keyword I mentioned above was only one of the 16 keywords that drove traffic to that particular blog post in the 4 month period. There’s a lot of information to be had if only you go looking for it!
Content marketing is really what pushes your B2B SEO campaign to the next level and helps you build an even stronger online brand and search presence. But as marketers we are often asked to prove the impact of our efforts. The next time someone within your organization asks for data that shows the impact of your business blog on your SEO program just pull up these numbers!
Shawna Wright is a senior SEO specialist at Brick Marketing, a Boston-based full-service SEO company. She is also Brick Marketing’s SEO instructor for the company’s online and in-person SEO trainings and workshops. Follow Shawna Wright on Twitter.