We recently conducted a study to see if blogging really impacted search engine rankings. We searched for highly-competitive terms in some of the America's largest cities and reviewed the top three natural rankings. Aside from blog activity, we also looked at the overall number of pages on the sites and social activity.
The results were mixed, but we found some interesting similarities. We looked at five key practice areas in 20 major metro areas and reviewed the top 3 sites in each search, totaling approximately 300 websites.
- Blog entries per month – 4 – 12
- Firms with more than 100 pages – 87%
- Firms with social profiles – 98%
- Number of social profiles updates (per month) 15 – 20
Some firms (a small percentage) did not have blogs at all, but the majority of firms in the top three rankings had blogs with at least one weekly blog post. Some of these firms were not routine updaters. We saw several sites that were blog bingers, posting a lot of blogs one month, then showing no activity for two to three months.
The two most important factors to take away from this study? The number of pages and social activity.
1) Content counts. The overwhelming majority of top 3 ranking firms (87%) have more than 100 pages of content – that includes sub-pages and blog entries.
2) Social profiles and activity matter. If your firm does not have a Facebook page, a Twitter account, and a Google+ profile, set up those profiles today. Most of these firms do a combination of both direct social posts and blogs from their site being posted to the social profiles. The combined effort gives them an average number of between 15 and 20 social updates per month.
Does blogging pay off? Yes. The key similarity we found was the number of total pages on these high-ranking websites. Ultimately, it doesn't really matter if you are adding blog entries, “frequently asked questions,” articles, or informational pieces. What matters is that the website keeps getting new content.
Blogging is the easiest way to grow your site's page count and it helps with your social activity. However, if deciding between FAQ pages or blog entries, either one will help your ranking, because it's the number of quality pages that really matters. Quality is, of course, the key.