Over the past several years, a robust blog has become a necessary digital marketing weapon. It’s a great way for a business of any size to draw website traffic and build value for their audience. But, you can’t just create content for content’s sake. Before you blog, it is important to understand the strategy behind creating blog articles that are both relevant and impactful from an SEO standpoint. To help you out, we’ve put together a list of some of the top blogging tips that will help your content perform better by ranking higher in search engine result pages (SERPs).
So, let’s dive in!
Make Sure There Is a Search Volume
A blog is only strong if it is relevant. You may have an idea for a blog post that you feel is clever or compelling. But in reality, if no one is searching for it, it will never be seen.
So instead of backing yourself into your article’s title or subject, we recommend first deciding on a focal area and conducting keyword research. By using tools like Google AdWords, you can determine if there is a search volume behind the topic you selected. If people are searching for information you can provide, it’s a very good indicator that you can give them something of value.
It’s also relevant to note that you will see a lot of competitive content when you do your keyword research. Don’t let this intimidate you! Competing blogs can be great resources — not only for inspiration but to provide your audience with answers to questions that may have been left by competitors.
Be Sure Keywords You’re Targeting Are Within Your Competitive Range
We’ve all heard the quote “the best place to hide a dead body is on page 2 of Google search results.”
Okay, maybe that’s just us marketers.
But the point is that the majority of people don’t make it past the first page of search engine results. If you want people to see your content, you have to make sure the keywords you are targeting are within your competitive range.
Luckily, there are several online tools that can help you determine how competitive a keyword is, so you know your chances of ranking are higher. We like to use Moz’s Keyword Explorer look at keyword difficulty. This provides insights into how hard it may be to compete with existing search engine results that rank highest for that keyword. Generally speaking, anything within 10 points of your domain authority is considered within your competitive range. We also use the Moz Toolbar to check the domain authority of our clients’ websites compared to other URLs currently ranking in the top 10.
Make Your Content Long Enough
Gone are the days when Google qualified search results based solely on keywords. Today’s search algorithms are much more advanced. They are looking past just words and favor content with a lot of substance. That said, the length and quality of your blog article matters.
When you provide Google with a lot of information to crawl, it deems you as authoritative and rewards you in rankings. The longer and more detailed your content, the more likely you can answer readers’ questions. Detailed, engaging information also provides your reader with more value, leading to better chances of ranking high in search results.
We generally recommend a 2,000-word minimum per article for an SEO-based strategy. However, it is important to note that this only applies if the topic at hand warrants a 2,000-word explanation. Your content needs to be strong, so just adding fluff for length’s sake is not likely to help your rankings.
Optimize for Google’s Algorithm
As we mentioned in the previous section, Google looks way beyond keywords when it comes to ranking search results.
Once you’ve successfully implemented pointers 1-3, it’s time to run your content through a semantic search software to look at your content the way Google would.
Software such as Market Muse can look at things on a topic level and score how your content stacks up to the top-ranking competition in real time. It also provides suggestions of other information you can include in order to increase your score. The higher your score, the more likely you can potentially out-rank your competition on Google.
Don’t Forget Internal Linking
If you have content already on your website or blog that relates to the post at hand, make sure you are linking to it! Not only does it show that you are an authority on the subject matter, but it helps with your Google ranking. Linking internally with descriptive anchor text to transactional and informational pages on your site helps Google to understand your “web” and index your site properly.
Of course, your readers may also be interested in learning more. So being able to provide them with links to additional related information means they can engage more while building trust in your brand.
Use Keywords, But Don’t Abuse Them
As we mentioned earlier, Google looks beyond just keywords when ranking content. However, that doesn’t mean that you should try to avoid them. But, they should feel organic. In other words, use keywords that feel natural within your content — and don’t keyword stuff!
Google crawls all of your content, so it is wise to include relevant keywords throughout your article. This includes the title, headings, subheadings, meta description, image alt text, article body, and even the URL.
Share Your Content
Sharing your content and creating relevant backlinks is a great way to draw traffic to your blog and to maintain it. If you reference another blogger or article, be sure they are aware as well, as they might share your content back (and this could potentially lead to guest-blogging opportunities or a lasting professional relationship).
Optimize Your Theme and/or Website
Although you might think this sounds like SEO 101, it’s worth mentioning: your blog must be optimized! Be sure your website and/or blog theme is responsive, so readers can view it from any device. Check that your coding is clean, and your site has no glitches. Ensure that load times are quick. Not only does all of this help with SEO rankings, but it gives your audience a better brand experience, reflecting positively on you.
Create New Content Consistently
Last but certainly not least, update your blog regularly! Not only does Google crawl active websites more often, but consistent updates give readers more reasons to visit. The more content you create, the more opportunities you have to show up in search results, drawing both new and repeat visitors.
Be sure your readers also have a way to subscribe to your blog, so your brand is kept top-of-mind while drawing repeat traffic. Again, the more valuable the content you can provide to potential readers, the better.
While this list of blogging tips for SEO is not exhaustive, it’s a great place to start to improve your SERP rankings. With the pointers outlined above to create and optimize your content, you are ready to execute an SEO-based content strategy for your blog!