Content, content content. Cram your blog post with text. Never miss a day, never miss a post. Pour words into poorly organized paragraphs and cram it full of links. This is the mantra of many social media managers, and they’re dead wrong for two key reasons:
- Your reader doesn’t have time to sift through a long-winded spiel
- Google rewards optimized content
Optimizing and streamlining your blog content reaps vast rewards (higher page rankings on search engines, more exposure for your company/brand/etc., and, of course, the likelihood of visitors wandering to other pages in your site, to name a few). But this takes work and time.
There are a few different ways you can optimize your blog content – you can hire a dedicated social media manager, or a digital-centric marketing firm (we like these guys) to handle the duties. If you want to take it all on yourself, though, here are some tips to live by for higher search engine rankings.
Features of an Optimized Blog
Build Your Page Structure and Appropriately
Headings (H1’s, H2’s, etc.) are critical for how a page is crawled, putting specific focus on certain keywords or sections of your blog. Don’t neglect using heading tags when they make sense to help organize your blog posts.
Use Meta Descriptions to Highlight Keywords and Phrases
One reason why we continue to use ExpressionEngine for our clients is because including meta descriptions for their blog post and website content is an extremely easy process. Meta descriptions aren’t meant to bolt your page up the ranks – in fact, they won’t do that at all in Google – but keywords will be in bold when your visitor searches for those terms or phrases in Google.
Inbound Links Improve Blog Traffic
Links to your content that are posted around the web that bring visitors to your site are key for climbing up the ranks. In an ideal world, the rest of your industry is going to find your content so compelling that they share it on their blog and drive traffic to your site for you. That might not always be the case. Your best bet is to write an article worth sharing and be your own cheerleader to disperse the content to other avenues.
A good way to start getting inbound links to your site is by applying The Golden Rule. If somebody else can say it better, link to that content on your site. It’s a good way to start a relationship, expose your readers to something new and it can even help improve the ranking of your own page.
Don’t forget to include links to other (relevant!) content on your site in the blog post, too.
Sharing content on social networking sites like Twitter, Google+ and Facebook are surefire ways to improve traffic and put your blog in the spotlight. We know that social media can help improve your SEO because +1’s, Tweets and Likes add weight to your page’s value.
You can help users share your blog content by adding an RSS feed, Facebook “Like” buttons, Twitter “Tweet” buttons, a mechanism for comments like Disqus.
Perhaps the most important item on this list, your blog post will not reach its full potential if you don’t perform the proper keyword research. Rushing into a blog post without sizing up the competition is how you can ensure that organic traffic will be minimal and that new visitors will be as common as a Dodo bird. Google has a few tools that can aid you in your pursuit of the perfect keywords, like Insights for Search and AdWords.
You’ll want to focus on keywords with which you can be competitive. Writing a blog post in an overly crowded field can mean that your post – and your efforts – will be in vain. To get the most mileage out of your blog post, simply search for the topic on Google and see what you’re up against. If you think you have a chance for some premiere real estate on Google, go forth and conquer.
Use Your Keywords, Repeat
Being vague or not including keywords when necessary can prevent your content from being seen as valuable by the powers that be at Google. Having said that, Google is intuitive enough to understand when a keyword or keyphrase is being repeated ad nauseum – to the point detrimental to usability. To combat this, mix it up a bit. An overwhelming amount of searches are unique, meaning that odds are that no two visitors are using the same keywords to find similar content. Make sure that they are all landing on your content instead of your competitors content by maximizing keyword variation.
BONUS: Don’t Use Google Ads to Prop Up Bad Content – Use Them To Augment Your Traffic To Good Content
AdWords can be an extremely beneficial tool to create leads, build awareness and drive in new traffic. Beware, though: abusing AdWords is an expensive and risky gamble. Sending visitors to a page with a low Quality Score is a surefire way to pay more for an ad that will end up frustrating a potential visitor, boosting bounces and lowering Quality Score even further. Optimizing your content is a great way to start building a more AdWords-friendly site. To talk more about implementing a well-planned AdWords strategy into your marketing plan, contact The Sutter Group.
No, I’m not promising a 1,000,000% ROI overnight, a thousand Facebook fans or off-the-charts site visits from new folks or that your blog will jump to the top of the results page, but by following these tips, you can effectively and successfully improve your SEO like a pro.