Should I blog? How many times a week? Do I need special blog titles? What about images? How do I get Google to find my content? What should I write about? This is just a sample of some of the questions we commonly get asked about blogging.
Blogging has become an increasingly valuable and cost effective marketing tool for small businesses and it continues to grow in importance daily. This is mainly because of Google’s algorithm changes which place great emphasis on quality content that is relevant to your brand or product and helps answer the searchers’ query.
This is where your blogging brilliance comes in. Since you understand your brand and your target audience, it’s simple to create content which educates, entertains and inspires them. The tricky part is actually getting your content seen by your would-be-searcher. Let’s start from the top in creating a blog post which will help drive traffic and generate leads to your website.
First, Create Content Your Audience Needs
If you have a physical retail store, this is a great place to begin capturing some of the consumers questions you get on a daily basis. Jot these down, because more often than not these turn out to be blogging gold. If the question, concern or consumer insight is valid then chances are people are searching for the answer online too.
Take your research online and use tools such as Google AdWords to sort through and nail down questions you could answer or problems your target audience may have. This helps create relevant content and provides you with keywords to use when you publish your blog post.
Next, Get Ready to Optimise Your Blog for SEO
Write Titles for SEO
As more and more brands and businesses start to build their content portfolio, the Internet begins to overflow with a plethora of generically titled content. When supply outweighs demand, the inevitable happens – your well crafted content is pitted against reputable bloggers or high authority brands that dominate page one of search results. Writing generic blog posts titles won’t help get your business noticed. To help avoid this, take a different approach to the broader topics and put your own unique spin on the title. Still include keywords but try a different angle which hasn’t been heavily overused.
Get Your URLs in Order.
Search engines don’t appreciate long and clunky URLs with excess numbers and letters. URLs should be search friendly and people friendly and work best when customised to describe the page purpose or blog post. The URL should easily identify what the page is about. Keywords also help search engines understand what your page or blog is about.
Optimise your Content with Keywords
The key here is to not overdo it. Keywords are still important for search engines to find and rank your content, however stuffing your blog post with irrelevant keywords will do more damage than good. Include keywords which are highly relevant to the content you have written and include them into the natural flow of the copy.
Add Images with Alt Tags
Imagery adds another dimension to your blog and creates a more entertaining experience for the audience. But did you know that by adding alt tags to your images you will also help search engines find your content? The original purpose of alt tags was to help the vision impaired who used screen reading software to surf the web. For example, this was used to describe the image on screen in further detail to assist in their understanding of the context of the web page.
Search engines can’t actually see what the image is about either, so it uses alt tags to help decipher the picture. By including well-written, key-word rich alt tags that describe the image, make it easier for search engines to understand your content. Make sure you describe the image and ensure that it’s relevant to your page.
Meta Descriptions and Title Tags
Often these two can be confused for the same thing, however there are two distinct differences that have an impact on your SEO. Think about the meta description as your sales copy. This is where you can write a short blurb (max 155 characters) about what your blog post is about as this will appear in the search result in Google. Here you are trying to entice searchers to click on your website link.
The title tag on the other hand is more important than the meta description for your SEO. Search engines place a lot of value on these so it’s important to get it right. When writing your title tag make sure there are appropriate keywords included (max 65 characters).
Claim Google Authorship
Google authorship allows online authors to receive credit attribution for the work that they create. It connects authors with their work on the web. If you have Google Authorship set up and publish content, your name and image will appear alongside the search result in Google.
Google’s ultimate goal is to sort through and deliver the most relevant and trustworthy information back to the searcher. Google ranks content tied to authorship higher in search results because it is real, authentic and more human. Google weights the content based on social interactions (+1s, comments and shares) to give it credibility and authority.
Creating an awesome blog, writing witty copy and including beautiful imagery isn’t enough to cut the SEO mustard. When creating a blog remember the importance of SEO when writing and publishing the content, follow these few simple points and your blogs will be more than just pretty words.