It’s 3pm on a Friday afternoon and my line manager has set me the task of writing a blog. With the weekend right around the corner, it is fair to say that my motivation has hit somewhat of a lull. What even is the point of writing blog posts? What do they even do for a website? Is there not something else I can be doing which is more productive? Wait, come on, Charlie, you’re better than this, you can write this blog! Ok, first things first, what to write it on? What’s hot at the minute? Hang about, why not just write a blog on writing a blog? Yeah, ok, this could work. Actually, this is a pretty good idea, why not write a blog explaining the benefits of writing blog posts for a website? Good on ya, Charlie, I knew you could do it.
Blogging is a phenomenon which has been propelled to stratospheric heights since the turn of the millennium; it seems as though every Tom, Dick and Harry has decided to publish their thoughts and opinions for the world to see. Although blogging as we know it seems to be a fairly modern pastime, the idea of jotting down one’s thoughts and opinions on the ol’ world wide web dates back to 1994. The first web-log (yep, that’s where the phrase blog comes from; clever, right?) was started by Justin Hall on Links.net, and since then there is an estimated 1.97million blog posts shared online every single day. Really, Charlie? 1.97million and you were moaning about writing 1?
Now blogging about sports, politics, fashion and anything in between may be one of the most popular hobbies of modern times, but the art of blogging from a marketing perspective is a world away from the stereotypical “this is how my day went.” Before we delve into the nitty-gritty, technical aspects of blogging, let us first discuss the premise of an SEO blog post. Instead of tailoring your style and your topics for your audience alone, when blogging for a website or company, you must also realise that Google has a front row seat. With that in mind, there are 4 key areas that must be considered when sitting down to blog about your latest product, service or industry news, and they are:
These terms may mean nothing to you at the moment, but they contain the key to writing a blog post which will not only rank for certain keywords, but will also do its bit in converting your readers into customers. So, without further ado, let’s jump straight into it.
Where else were we going to start? As an SEO marketing agency, we love to make everything about these three letters. You will be forgiven for thinking that SEO is simply about crowbarring keywords into every bit of website text, but it is, in fact, much more than that. The same mantra can be applied to blog posts, too; it isn’t just about how many times you can fit a keyword into 300 words of text. Although keywords do play their part, there are a number of other factors to consider.
Creating high quality, engaging content should be the bread and butter of any blog post. Before you mess about with Adwords and other keyword tools, you are going to want to write something that is natural, organic and enjoyable to the reader; without these elements, there is little to no point in writing blog posts. The whole idea is to impress your audience and to keep them gripped, and we know who’s on the front row, don’t we? (It’s Google, in case you forgot.) The better your content is, the more likely people are to link to it and reference it, and links typically correlate to trust. Links also improve rankings, so by generating good, quality links through good, quality content, Google is going to trust your site and show it off to its users.
Step into the shoes of Google for one second – Google puts its users first and wants to provide them with the most relevant search results. So, if they see that users are clicking onto your site and clicking back off after 30 seconds, then your blog post is going to plummet down onto the lower pages. This is what we call ‘bounce rate’ – Google’s way of measuring whether people are clicking on and straight off a page, and deciding whether that page is relevant to a specific search from that data. Google wants to provide its users with relevant searches, and that is where keywords come in.
Let me explain keywords to you; think of your blog post as a maze, with Google as your loved one standing on the outside of the hedges looking for its friends, who are inside the maze. Keywords, in this case, are the ones holding the big red flag up so that Google can see how they are getting on. That is all it is; keywords are a blog post’s way of saying to Google “look, we are here, and we are relevant!” There are ways of making your flag bigger, too. Long-tail SEO is a way of directly answering a user’s query; by targeting the formatting of your blog post and keywords to answer that question directly, the chances are that Google is going to suggest your post to its users.
Getting the fundamentals of SEO right for blog posts ensures that your content cements its place at the top of page 1. Search engine optimisation for blog posts also guarantees that Google recognises your work as the most relevant and the most credible result for a user’s query.
We have already touched on this aspect, but relevance is the key to any blog post. As we’ve mentioned, Google knows if people are hopping on to your site and hopping straight off, and this has bigger consequences than you might think. If your visitors are on your site for only a short while before jumping off, then Google translates this data into your site as not solving the user’s query and subsequently marks your blog post as irrelevant (this is what we meant by bounce rate). Pogo-sticking is also something bloggers now have to contend with. If it wasn’t bad enough that Google could see our readers jumping ship, they can also see our deserters swimming towards another vessel, and this vessel tells them everything they need to know. To keep as many readers on your site as possible, start writing content that is creative, engaging, and, most importantly, relevant. Use your keywords wisely to ensure that these other ships do not become more appealing.
It is all well and good telling you to write in a way that makes your content relevant, but what sort of SEO agency would we be if we didn’t tell you how to do that? Well, we’ve already touched on keywords and long-tail SEO as a way of improving your content, but the tone of your content is the secret behind making your content relevant.
It is important to be true to your industry and your line of work. Now, I love an analogy, as you can probably tell, so let me try and explain the importance of writing about your industry and not anything and everything. Imagine you own a cake shop and all you sell is cakes. Your business will, therefore, depend on people wanting to buy cake; if you are shouting about fruit and veg, then nobody is going to realise that you are selling cake. Your content and your keywords need to replicate your products and services; there should be one universal tone coming from your site. This will go a long way in establishing your company as an industry leader in the specific field, and if a potential client sees you are writing about things within that sector, then they are going to trust you and view you as an expert in that line of work.
It may seem as though I am repeating myself, but I promise this will be the last time I mention it: Google wants to provide its users with the most relevant response. I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to shout, but it really is important. Google wants to give its users industry leaders who are experts in their field, so your content needs to demonstrate your knowledge and understanding of a particular industry, and this can be done in a number of ways.
Blog length is one way of asserting yourself as an industry leader. The typical blog length is around 300-500 words and should contain a keyword density (how many times the keyword is mentioned in the copy) of around 1-2 per cent. Although these blogs are good for keeping your news feed active and showing Google you are up to date within that sector (we will come on to this later), 300 words will not make you an industry leader. Take this blog post as an example, we are experts in writing blog posts tailored for SEO, but 300 words will never be enough to convince you that we are incredibly knowledgeable about SEO, and this is where long-form content comes into its own.
If you have content that is well over 1000 words, packed full of relevant multimedia, and has a number of in and outbound links, it will just scream ‘credible’ to Google. Granted, it is not always practical to be writing thousands of words every week, but by setting aside some time to cover a topic in as much detail as possible will help you collect a strong, loyal following and become a trusted brand within your industry.
Although they are important, blog posts are one small piece of a puzzle when it comes to making your site rank and perform well. It’s important to understand that people may not click straight to your blog post – your whole site needs to be relevant and you need to be considered an expert for Google to suggest your content to its users. Uploading a random blog post and hoping that it will rank for a keyword is not going to help.
The performance of your website should not hinge on your blog posts and news section alone. You need to walk the line between ensuring the quality of your website content and off-site material is high, and putting the right amount of time and effort into your blog posts. The performance of your website should, in fact, revolve around the quality of your site as a whole.
We’ve mostly spoken about why a blog post is important to your website and how to write in a style that is tailored for SEO, but we need to talk about the behind the scenes aspects of a blog. The journey of your blog does not just stop as soon as you press ‘publish’. To maximise the benefits of a well-written blog post, there are a number of steps you can take to ensure that your blog post performs as well as it possibly can.
The first thing you can do is capitalise on your social accounts. Sharing your blogs on your Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn profiles are a great way of driving traffic to your website and opening your site up to a new audience. Clearly, the more people that click through to your website, the more chance you have of converting your visitors into customers.
It is all well and good targeting a new audience, but if you have repeat visitors (we’re talking to you, e-commerce sites) then you will need a steady stream of content to keep your site fresh in their mind. This is why Google monitors how often you post; if your website suffers long periods of inactivity, then your posts will just be disregarded, and a website completely submerged in that industry will be prioritised. Blog posts are not only great for improving your rankings and driving new traffic to your site, but they also go a long way in creating a sense of community and togetherness for your readers, which subsequently increases the likelihood of existing customers becoming returning ones.
Hopefully, this blog post has gone some way in furthering your knowledge and understanding of the importance of blogging for your website. If it hasn’t, well, I’m sorry to have wasted your time, so let me rectify it with one last piece of vital information….Google wants to provide its users with the most relevant response (I’m sorry, I couldn’t help myself).
Thanks for reading. Now we’re not ones to blow our own trumpet here at Active Internet Marketing (UK) but we know a thing or two about writing relevant and targeted blogs for clients in any industry. If you want to find out more about what we do or need a hand with your SEO, just pick up the phone and give us a call on 0800 772 0650, or fill out our online contact form and leave us a message.