Your Blog post will look at six steps that can be applied to the blog to give it some extra traction and bring large amounts of traffic from Google Search Engine optimization (SEO).
1. Keyword research
While keywords aren’t quite as important as they used to be, they’re still a necessary element of SEO. Doing some basic keyword research will help you find keywords that your target market is searching for, and words that you have a chance of ranking for.
Using your favorite keyword research tool (like Google Keyword Planner, KeywordTool.io or SEO Book’s Keyword Tool), compile a list of possible keywords you can target. In particular, look for longer phrases (3+ words) that are highly-relevant to your business, but that don’t seem very competitive.
In general, it’s better to pick a main topic for your post, than to choose a variety of words and phrases that will help you flesh out that topic. This is preferable to simply choosing one or two keywords and then using them over and over again. This practice could even hurt your ranking.
Once you’ve chosen some possible phrases, go to Google and search for those keywords. What does the competition look like? Are they big, well-known sites? Or are they small blogs you could potentially outrank? Whenever possible, go with keywords that you have a good chance of ranking for in the short term.
Here is a guide on how to do this as a business.
2. On-page SEO
The most important aspect of on-page SEO is simply using your chosen keywords in strategic areas of your post. A plugin like Yoast SEO or the All in One SEO Pack can help with this.
The most important places to use your keywords and phrases are in your:
- Title tag
- URL (e.g., www.yourdomain.com/your-keywords-here)
- Header tags (H2, H3, etc.)
- Alt image tags and image captions (where relevant)
- Throughout your content
Again, remember that it’s preferable to target a topicrather than a precise keyword. This is because Google has gotten better at determining the topic of a page based on the entire context of that page. This is why it’s important to find and use a variety of relevant words and phrases.
3. Choose a format that has the best chance of getting links and shares
Research has shown that certain blog post formats tend to get more links and social shares. We know that links and shares both go a long way toward improving rankings.
According to research from BuzzSumo and Moz, the content-types that usually proves to be most popular are “opinion forming, authoritative content on current topics or well researched and evidenced content.”
In other words, blog posts that take a strong side on an issue, blogs that are in-depth and those which are based on solid research tend to get the most links and shares.
In terms of blog post formats, list posts, “why” posts and “how to” posts tend to do the best, with list posts generating the most links and shares overall (e.g., “Top 10 Ways To Get Your First Customer”).
4. Word count
First off, it’s important to note there’s no precise, “optimal” word count. Extremely short content (e.g., 50 words) has been known to outrank 1,000-word blog posts, which suggests that any length can work if it’s written well.
That said, research has shown that high-ranking posts tend to be longer and more in depth. Searchmetrics, for instance, found that the top 10 pages contained an average of 1,285 words. serpIQ, on the other hand, has found 1,500 words to be a good target length.
What’s more important is focusing on the quality of your content. Ask yourself, “Does this content do the best possible job of covering this specific topic?”
Google’s John Mueller has confirmed that there is no minimum length, and that quality is key. He writes, “There’s no minimum length, and there’s no minimum number of articles a day that you have to post, nor even a minimum number of pages on a website. In most cases, quality is better than quantity. Our algorithms explicitly try to find and recommend websites that provide content that’s of high quality, unique, and compelling to users. Don’t fill your site with low-quality content, instead work on making sure that your site is the absolute best of its kind.”
Here is a content marketing guide I put together to help knowing the best way for you.
5. Promote it on social media
Unfortunately, research tells us that most content never gets much traction online. One reason may be that many business owners don’t have a plan in place for promoting and distributing their blog posts.
One of the best ways to get your posts seen is to share them on social media. Assuming you’ve already built up your audience on various platforms, you should be sharing your posts with your own fans and followers. If you don’t yet have an audience, you can invest in some inexpensive social ads to get more click-throughs and to build your follower base.
Industry Facebook or LinkedIn groups and online forums can also be great places to promote your posts. Just be clear on the group’s promotion policies so you don’t get into trouble for self-promotion.
6. Get links to your blog posts
The final step to getting your blog post ranking in Google is to build links to that post. While most business owners spend time acquiring links to their home page and other high-value pages, many forget to build links to specific posts.
Getting these very targeted links can be difficult unless your blog posts are extremely useful, practical and/or unique. However, as mentioned above, if you create “link worthy” content, you stand the best chance of naturally accumulating links from other bloggers and journalists.
Some other ways you can get these links include:
- Linking internally to your blog posts on your own site.
- Linking to your blog posts when you guest posts on other sites.
- Letting bloggers and journalists know about specific posts that would be relevant to them. Research-backed posts tend to work best for this, particularly if you include your own original research.