An active blog is one of the best ways to increase your search rankings. Ranking is a huge element of digital marketing, and the entire purpose of SEO is to increase your rankings and drive sales.
But how is blogging for SEO different from blogging in general?
What can a good blog do for your business and how can you achieve results? We’re going to discuss these questions and more today, giving you a deep dive into what makes an excellent blog.
Hopefully, the information below will inspire you to create an amazing blog of your own. Let’s take a look.
The Basics of Blogging for SEO
To understand how to create an effective blog, you need to have a little knowledge about how optimization works.
Search engine optimization is the approach to digital marketing where a business crafts its website to do well in search rankings. This isn’t something that comes from a few tweaks.
Good optimization requires a sustained effort to create content, improving user experience, and more. These efforts are what can draw your rankings all the way up to the top of the search and keep them there.
When the foundation is laid with a well-optimized website, your blog content is what drives your rankings. It seems simple when you put it like that, but running an effective blog isn’t always easy.
You have to remember that there are dozens, if not hundreds of other websites in your niche that are competing for good rankings. With that in mind, it’s important to follow a pretty strict regimen.
Let’s take a look at how search engines rank websites to get a better idea of what to do with your blog.
Bots, Ranking Factors, and the Algorithm
Search engines like Google scour the internet for new pages with things called “bots.”
You can think of these however you’d like to. Whether you imagine them like little spiders, crawling through links to find sites, or just an artificial intelligence working its magic, so be it. Bots crawl through the internet via links, landing upon websites and gathering all of the pertinent information that the algorithm uses to rank sites.
They typically make the rounds around every two weeks, so the changes you make to your site will be noticed by Google in a short amount of time. Bots gather somewhere around 200 factors from your site.
Things like the subject matter, keyword relevance, quality of content, link structure, link quality, domain authority, and 90-odd other factors play a part. Google’s main objective is to figure out which sites pose the most benefit to any given keyword search.
If they can provide better search results than any other search engine, users will keep coming back. The thing is, users aren’t looking for content that’s optimized the best.
They’re looking for content that will meet their needs. People don’t care whether you have the appropriate amount of keywords or a good set of links, they want to find what they’re looking for and get on with their day.
The algorithm is designed to seek out these websites, rank them accordingly, and keep doing so for every user search that comes along.
Choosing SEO Keywords
Because rankings depend directly upon the keyword search at hand, it’s important that you’re optimizing your blog content for a particular keyword.
There are certain primary keywords that you’ll optimize your main pages for. These are the ones that get consistent traffic and can be expected to stay popular for a long period of time.
When it comes to spreading your reach, though, you’ll use new blog content to optimize for terms that are less popular but will still bring you traffic. Finding these keywords can be a little tricky.
The goal is to find keywords that have a high volume of traffic but don’t compete with other businesses that have a higher domain authority than you do. Domain authority is essentially a website’s strength in competition for rankings.
Sites that harbor a lot of traffic that engages and follows through to make purchases hold a stronger position in the rankings. The good thing is that there are enough keywords to go around.
Long and Short-Tail Keywords
There are several keyword research tools that help you identify popular keywords in your niche. Google Analytics is a great place to start, and you can trust the information because it comes straight from the source.
You’ll notice that there’s usually one dominant keyword in the bunch of terms that you’re looking at. For example, a popular term in the shoe sales niche might be “2021 running shoes”.
That term probably has a lot of search traffic, but a quick search on your own computer will show you that those rankings are stuffed with companies like Nike and Reebok.
If you’re a smaller company, you hold very little chance of competing with those giants. A closer look, though, will reveal a kind of bell curve.
“2021 running shoes” might fall at the top of the stack, but there are many variations on those terms that have fewer user searches but reach the same audience.
People don’t innately search the same keywords when they’re looking for something. Most people might search “2021 running shoes”, but others might search “best running shoes in 2021” or “great running shoes for the summer”.
All of these searches address the same products, but the latter two have fewer user searches and weaker competition. Big companies won’t bother optimizing for smaller terms because they have a hold on the main source of traffic.
Short keywords tend to be more competitive, while long-tail keywords are more specific and have fewer user searches. So, if you feel like there’s no hope for your small business to rank in such a big pool of users, know that there are enough users and keywords for you.
Ideas for Content Creation
Instead of writing whatever content comes to mind and fitting the keywords in later, it’s important to create content in response to the keyword.
The subject should come naturally from the implied question in the user search. For example, when the keyword is “best running shoes 2021,” you could write an article entitled Shoes to Look Out for This Year, or Features of 2021 Running Shoes.
Create one piece of content for each keyword that you select. When you try to optimize for the same keyword with two pieces of content, you’re just going to compete with yourself and waste time.
One of the pieces will be more successful than the other, but you’ll prevent a single piece from being as successful as it can be.
The goal is then to keep creating content ad-infinitum. People will keep having questions about products in your niche, and you’ll have more and more opportunities to meet their needs. Just remember to identify the keyword, then create an answer to the question that’s implied within it.
Keyword Placement in Blogs
There’s a lot of debate about where the best places to put keywords are. That said, there’s one thing that we know for certain: you shouldn’t overstuff keywords.
Generally speaking, there are a few spots to make sure that you place keywords, then fill in additional keywords when they occur naturally.
There should be a keyword within the first 100 words or so, somewhere in the largest header, a few times within the body of the text, and somewhere in the last 150 words of the text.
The number of keywords you place in the body depends on the size of the blog. The longer the blog, the more keywords you try to fit in. That said, the subject matter you choose to write about should naturally allow the keyword to come up.
If you’re finding that it’s hard to fit natural keywords into the body of your text, it might be time to think about adjusting the subject matter to be closer to the actual keyword itself.
The easy part is fitting keywords into the back end of your blog. On-page SEO is the stuff that occurs in the body of the text. The headers, introductions, conclusions, and body text are all on-page optimization elements.
The back end is the stuff that doesn’t occur on that visible page. Hypertext, image attributions, meta-descriptions, and other opportunities for text should include the keyword when possible, even if the user doesn’t see it.
One massive ranking factor in the algorithm is the network of links that your site exists in. The type of links that you send out from your page matter, but the real importance lies in the links to your pages from other websites.
These are a gesture of appreciation from that site to yours. A link tells Google that your content is useful because other websites are suggesting that their users refer to you.
Naturally, the website that the link is coming from makes a big difference. Sites that aren’t in your niche won’t do too much for you in terms of SEO rankings. That said, the more domain authority that a site has, the more impact that site will have if it links to you.
This is especially true if the site is in your niche.
It’s tough to get links to your content right away, though. As you grow in size and popularity, you’ll find that links start coming your way naturally. People might be writing a blog of their own, search for an idea for reference, and use your link because it’s the first thing to pop up.
Before that happens, though, you might have to do something called guest-posting.
Guest Blogging for SEO
One option that you have to build links is to write a blog post for another website.
The idea is that you write the post for them in exchange for a link back to your site. You also get to spread your name and ideas out to that site’s audience. The links that you get in exchange for guest blogging will help spark some rankings that increase your odds of gaining links naturally.
It’s a win-win. The website gets some SEO-optimized content, and you get a link and exposure.
Writing for Conversions
Another factor that you have to consider is writing your content to lead to your metric of success. Whether it’s subscriptions, sales, followers, or something else, blog content should be written to achieve those metrics.
The content should stand alone and serve a purpose to the user, but it’s possible to slip little ideas or hints back to your main pages. For example, you can suggest that the user goes to your page to learn more about the subject matter in the article.
You could even refer them to reach out to you for your services if they need more help.
Well-written content can bring you a lot of sales, especially if it ranks well in the search engines.
Does This Sound Like Fun?
Blogging is an essential part of a digital marketing campaign. That said, it isn’t as easy as sitting down to write a few sentences every now and then.
When you think about the time and effort that goes into SEO blogging, it starts to seem like a full-time job. In many cases, companies do treat blogging and digital marketing as full-time work.
It’s so important, and the more expertise a person has, the better they can increase rankings. The same goes for the other aspects of digital marketing. Working with the pros is an investment that can pay for itself many times over.
In any case, hiring out digital marketing professionals saves you the time and effort that you could be using to focus on the things you do best.
Want to Improve Your Digital Marketing?
Blogging for SEO is just one of the many elements needed in a successful SEO campaign.
If you’re struggling to make heads or tails of how to optimize well, we’re here to help you move forward. Explore our site or contact us to learn more about how you can move forward with excellent digital marketing.