How To Make Money With a Blog
Importance of Writing Search Engine Ready Content
The process of search engine optimization, or SEO, has changed dramatically over time. While once it involved repetitive, often awkward use of exact keyword phrases, today SEO is more focused on intent and information. Search engines have become smart enough to recognize the purpose and type of information offered in a piece of content without having to be told repeatedly. They now recognize not only the exact keyword phrase such as “how to make money with a blog,” but also more user-friendly phrasing such as “your blog can be a wonderful way to make money,” which has the same intent and meaning.
Related: What are the Goals of Content Marketing?
So, what exactly does writing with SEO in mind involve? The most important element is simple: original, high-quality content. Modern search engines use these criteria – originality and quality – as two of the most important elements in how it ranks your page and in turn your overall website. Google, for example, actually has an algorithm that determines how relevant, i.e. valuable, your content is in relation to specific search terms, or keyword phrases. How often people click through to your content when that particular term is typed in and how long they stay on your page are factors that contribute to this ranking over time. In other words, you need to make sure you are providing helpful, easy-to-understand content for those who are looking for answers and information.
Readability is essential for strong SEO ranking.
Another factor that is important when writing with SEO in mind is to provide authority and credibility.
A website or author that has become established over time as an authority on a certain topic or range of topics will have new content from that site or person viewed as more valuable by search engines than will new content from someone or a website that has not yet been established as an authority. If you’re trying to build your authority, then providing links and references to other already highly ranked authorities – both people and websites – helps. Internal linking to other pages on your website or other blog posts you have written that offer more information on your topic or elaborate on a related topic also positively impacts SEO, particularly if people actually click through to read those other pages.
While you no longer have to convince search engines that your content is relevant by repeatedly using the exact keywords or phrases you are hoping to rank for, it is still important to incorporate relevant keywords naturally into your content, and using helpful related titles and headings (h1, h2, and h3) as well as compelling title tags and meta descriptions is also imperative.
Content is King. But Why?
No matter how great your website looks, people go there to get answers and information. A website with an incredible design but no valuable content to provide what the user is looking for won’t rank well – and won’t lead to conversions. On the other hand, even a poorly designed website that offers helpful information and answers to relevant questions may rank well.
An attractive website in itself doesn’t sell things; words are what sell.
Writing authentic, usable content that focuses on the user’s intent incorporates keywords naturally and provides value to the user. Strong titles and headings invariably lead to more Internet traffic to your website from search engine results. This, in turn, leads to more qualified leads and, ultimately, more sales.
Putting Pen To Paper
So, now you’ve decided that writing a blog is valuable for your website because it will draw in more potential customers and increase your website’s overall SEO ranking. How do you get started on actually writing your blog?
Related: Content Marketing Best Practices
The first step should always be keyword research if your goal is to generate traffic through Internet search engines. Doing the research before you begin writing makes it easy to focus on those keywords for which a reasonable amount of search volume already exists; this way you can write on topics that people are actually looking for information about.
Of course, you also need to write about topics that are of interest to your target audience. Ask yourself what terms a person might put in if they wanted what you’re selling or were looking for more information on your type of products and services. Then, plug those terms into a keyword research tool, such as Moz Keyword Explorer, Google Keyword Planner, or WordStream’s Free Keyword Tool, to find out if that particular keyword or any related phrases are actually being searched. This also helps if you plan to create a content cluster of related blog articles.
Another way to find out if a potential keyword will lead to your proposed content is to try typing it into a specific search engine and look at the kind of results that pop up. If the results are for other businesses or companies selling similar products or services, then you know that the keyword is viable for your potential customers.
Once you’ve determined a keyword or group of keywords that you want to cover in your blogs, you can begin to create a schedule or editorial calendar for your post topics and outlines for your blog articles, making certain to incorporate your primary selected keywords as well as any related keywords. Then all you need to do is write the most interesting, informative, and reader-friendly content you can. And don’t be afraid to ask for help from a professional for keyword research and/or the actual content writing. Getting it done right can make all the difference in how effective blogs are in boosting your bottom line.
Optimize Your Content
As you create your content, don’t forget to cover all of the essential elements of SEO. Groups of related topics should be gathered together into content clusters with a central page that links out to all of the related pages, and each of those pages should link back to the main page.
Grouping blog posts into content clusters provide invaluable content organization, which is another of the many elements that search engines use to rank your pages and overall website.
Related: How to Create a Content Cluster
These links should contain relevant hyperlinked anchor text using keywords or related phrases instead of a valueless call to action such as Click Here or Read More. You do, however, want to include an appropriate call to action near the end of your blog post that is conversion focused, such as Contact Us, and leads the readers towards making a purchase or learning more about your company’s actual offerings. And don’t forget the importance of helpful titles and headers that incorporate keyword phrases in a natural way and provide value to the reader by directing them to the part(s) of your blog article that are most relevant to them. Most readers will skim an article initially to decide whether or not it is actually relevant and worth taking the time to read – or irrelevant to their search, which usually leads them to immediately bounce from your website to another search result.
Promote Your Content
Finally, once you have taken the time to write and optimize your content, it’s time to post it on your blog and then begin promoting it. Marketing your new content will enable you to maximize its visibility and impact. One of the quickest and easiest ways to promote new blog content is via social media. Write a quick blurb about your new blog and post it on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, and Google+, including a link to the full blog and voila! Instant promotion.
A slightly slower but more traditional way to promote your blog content is through emails. You can use an email marketing tool to let hundreds or even thousands of subscribers know when you have a new blog post and what topic(s) it covers. A weekly or monthly newsletter can offer a short blurb and link to one or multiple blog articles you have posted, or if you post more often, you can set up an RSS feed that lets readers subscribe automatically to your blog. This also creates a lead magnet, helping you to grow your email marketing list so that you have more potential customers in your database. Other options for creating lead magnets via your blog include creating interactive posts that include quizzes, videos, or contests. This type of content motivates your readers to interact with your content – which not only boosts your SEO and adds to your list of leads but also makes them feel more invested in you and your company.
Creating a blog is an incredibly easy and cost-effective marketing tool for promoting your business, products, and services. People who read your blog and view you as an expert in your field tend to be more interested in your products. Ultimately, the more they feel like they know your brand, the more involved and interested they will be in what you have to offer, and the more likely they will be to trust your company and make a purchase down the line.