If I had a nickel for every business that hired an "SEO consultant" but doesn't see any value, I'd be rich. Instead, I'm blogging in my pajamas and telling you that your business would be better off blogging (the right way) than putting your money into sometimes-dubious SEO. My own blog has been a constant piece of my marketing plan since the Cluetrain left the station.
Yes, it's time-consuming to blog. Yes, you have to commit to it. Yes, you have to do it at least once a week. And yes, you have to have something to say. But let's assume you, or someone in your company, has information to share. If not, you're probably in the wrong business. And let's also assume you have a limited marketing budget, as every one does. Why should you blog rather than pay for SEO?
1. Because blogging is the most bang for the marketing buck on a limited budget. Regular blog posts, spread through your social media networks, provide the content that gets you inbound links— necessary for SEO.
2. Blogging causes your web site to change, which causes the spiders to crawl it again to note the changes. It will get you more traffic, and more links.
3. Social media sharing of your blog gets you even more traffic and more links, and if you put your social media streams on your own site, provides even more changing content.
4. Blogging isn't difficult. You can post anything to your blog: podcasts, videos, photos, presentations, eBooks, press releases. Just take any content you produce (Flickr, YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest) and post it on your blog as well.
5. A blog can be the backbone of your launch. If you start the blog before you launch, you can chronicle the birth of your company. It's like keeping a scrapbook for the birth of your baby; you can even start with the photos of the baby bump.
6. Use your own domain for the blog. That also gets your domain name out there.
7. People love tips and tricks. If you write them and they are really useful, customers and prospects will read and share them. These lists are my most trafficked posts.
8. If you make a press release into a blog post, it may get more attention than in its original format. Non-journalists love to see press releases. Journalists hate them. A "press release" in your blog may attract customers.
9. You can publish any content you already have on your blog: white papers, case studies, recipes, videos—take this content and "re-putpose" it, and you will find a new audience.
Repeat after me: Blogs and content generate links. Links are the backbone of SEO. You are blogging to get that Google juice. You can check your stats and see if it's working for you.
[Writer Illustration: Hipopotamus_piggy via Shutterstock]