If blogging were dead simple my cat could do it. But the fact is that blogging takes a bit of time, some effort, and most of all the knowledge of what actually works. The last part is the missing piece of the puzzle for most businesses. In this post, I’m going to share what some experts say and add a bit more home-spun wisdom about what you can do to make your business blog a successful part of your marketing effort.

Four blogging tactics to live by

210 Consulting Social Media Advisors out of Myrtle Beach South Carolina posted “How to Optimize Blogs on a Budget” on their blog site. Jeremy Blanton, one of the firm’s founders, gives four smart tips to bloggers hoping to increase their traffic and visibility, and he includes a video from Google Webmaster Matt Cutts to seal the deal. The four points include picking a niche target, researching keywords using the Google Keyword tool, getting incoming links (but being cautious about Black Hat techniques and paying for links) and thinking outside the box to provide a unique user experience for your site visitors. All of these steps can be done by a site owner who budgets some time and energy.

SEO isn’t magic or rocket science

Hearing Google’s Matt Cutts confirm the effectiveness of these tactics is validation that Google rewards smart bloggers who play by the rules–the rules that Google sets out. Committing the time to fulfill your own blogging strategy is the most difficult part of the proposition. You need to know how much time you can devote to your blogging activities, and how much effort is required to do more than your competition. If you can devote an hour each week to creating a new blog and your competition doesn’t even have a blog, you’ll proabably surpass them in no time. As I research keywords and competition for clients, over and over again what I find is that the top search results for relevant keywords are either WordPress bizblogs or expensive corporate sites that are spending a lot on SEO. A useful tool for uncovering what your competition is up to is the SEO Quake extension for Firefox. By peeking under the metaphorical hood of your competition’s website, you can see what keywords they are optimizing for, and that can help you plan and implement your bloggging strategy.

It won’t happen overnight

Finally, I’d like to add one further note. Even with the best keyword research, captivating content and a winning blogging strategy, it’s unlikely that you’re site will rocket to the top of the search results. Give it time, and keep in mind that most of your competitors probably don’t have a clue that blogging and social media can help them compete. You can do a lot or a little, but as long as you do more than the other guy you will succeed…that is assuming that your competition doesn’t have a really smart cat blogging for him.