Why should you start a blog?
So, you don’t have an optimized blog—yet. Maybe you’re considering starting one, maybe you even have some posts written up. Maybe you aren’t even sure you need one. No matter what point you’re starting at, I can tell you this. Having a blog that is optimized for SEO will help increase your site traffic, bring in relevant views, and ultimately, help to improve the quality and quantity of leads flowing to your business. If you have a website, you should have a blog. Let’s discuss why.
Having a blog can help you become a voice of authority within your niche.
Say you own a yarn business. There are a ton of yarn shops out there, from nationwide sellers who can be found in craft stores to small independent shops who sell at craft fairs. In such a competitive niche, customers often look toward the ‘experts.’ Having a blog full of how-to guides, knitting advice, reviews of knitting trends, etc can put you in a position to become a trusted expert to people interested in yarn and knitting. This can take your brand to a new level as a source people turn to first, not just for advice and ideas, but for products and services as well.
Having a blog can also help your target audience find you.
Your target market is out there, and you are trying to find them through your site, social media, email marketing and more. A blog can help your target audience find you on their own. Your blog is a space where you can answer frequently asked questions or address a prominent industry need. Potential customers who look into those topics will find your blog and spend more time on your site reading about the topic. This is a huge factor in Google’s algorithm, and can help your site to be considered a valuable resource by the search platform.
So now you know WHY you should have a blog, but there are many questions that still remain. How can you optimize your blog for SEO? What should you talk about? What keywords should you be using, and how can you find them? How should you market your blog to make sure you’re reaching the right people? We’ll cover this and more below.
What should I talk about?
Finding a topic for your blog post.
Ultimately, what you talk about on your blog is your choice. However, you can maximize your ROI (either your time or money if you’re hiring someone to write your posts) using the following strategies.
Identify The Competition:
In today’s world, you will likely have at least a few competitors. Whether those competitors are local mom and pop shops, big box stores, or somewhere in between, you want to stand out from the crowd, but that doesn’t mean you can’t look to them for inspiration. See what the competition is talking about!
Having a general sense of topics that they discuss is useful, but be sure to specifically look out for posts with lots of engagement or comments. Are people interacting with some topics more than others? Highlight those as potential jumping off points in the future. Don’t be afraid to look at a broad range of blogs. You may find inspiration anywhere you look.
Checking out industry blogs, companies you admire, and social media can also generate great ideas. One thing to note is though this inspiration may help you to generate ideas, your copy should be all your own. Make sure to write in a voice that feels true to the brand while still engaging the audience. Your intention is to write a better article than your competition!
Answer Some FAQs:
You know who your target audience is better than anyone, so you likely know their needs, wants, and more importantly, any questions that they might have regarding your products or services. Take the proactive approach, and use your blog to answer those questions now. Customers will be able to get the answers they need, even if customer service isn’t available at that moment, and this can create a sense of trust and authority from your brand.
Think of Your Ideal Client and Go From There:
What do you wish your ideal clients knew before they made a purchase? How about the process during the purchase or delivery of services? And after? Well great news: your blog is the perfect space to teach them everything there is to know about your business, while simultaneously establishing yourself as a trustworthy expert in your niche.
In addition to helping with your EAT (expertise, authority, trust) writing articles for your target audience about relevant topics will contribute to your site’s overall SEO. However, strategically choosing blog post topics is important to ensure that you are ranking as highly as possible on that first page of the search results.
Finding the right words: Keywords and SEO
One of the most common iterations of SEO involves the strategic use of keywords to appear higher in relevant search results. Though there are many other aspects that go into rankings, this is one of the key steps along the way. There are many tools that can help you optimize your blog posts for SEO. Often, they will show you relevant keywords and frequent searches on different platforms that you should incorporate into your posts.
This process can be overwhelming at first, so here are a couple of tools to get you started.
Answer The Public: With both free and paid options, this site organizes popular searches from Google and Bing into easily digestible ‘search clouds’ based on inputted topics. This site will present relevant questions that you can use both within your blog and to generate topic ideas.
Google Ads: Formerly known as Google Ad Words, this site offers insight on which keywords bring in the most traffic (and thus, the highest cost per click). You don’t actually have to pay for ads to utilize this – just sign up for a Google Ads account, type in your chosen topic, and capture the suggested supporting keywords in your own spreadsheet.
How should you structure your blog?
Once you have your initial topic or question identified, think of some supporting topics the reader may be thinking of. For example, if your article is titled “Best Beaches in New England” your outline could be:
Our Favorite Beaches by State
- New Hampshire
Best New England Beaches for Kids & Families
Best Beaches with Boardwalks
Be sure to use this structure as a guide, but be creative with it as well. Starting with an outline ensures that all of the information is covered in a smooth, logical manner. Successful posts are typically 1500+ words for optimal results.
Already have a blog? Here’s how you can optimize your existing posts:
If you already have a blog, but you aren’t getting the results that you want, you might need to make some tweaks. The good news is you’ll be prepared to create engaging and effective content moving forward, but is there anything that you do about your existing posts?
Yes there is!
If you have existing articles up, check what keywords you are already ranking for. You can use Google Search Console to do this for free! How are people finding you right now? Take those keywords and phrases, and add in some relevant variations and similar words to build off of that success. Be sure to update your article titles and meta tags as well to be relevant and interesting. These often overlooked aspects can be both attention-grabbing and effective SEO tools.
Another strategy that you should consider is to edit your blog infrastructure, adding in links to other pages on your own website, which will help search platforms understand the hierarchy of your site. You can also link to relevant pieces on other websites.
How to share your article
Once your articles are up on your site, it’s time to spread the word! Post on social media about your article. Create an email newsletter to share each new blog alongside insights, highlights, and any other news or new offers.
Be sure to submit the new URL to Google Search Console, a free resource from Google which allows you to check indexing status and optimize visibility of your website. Doing so will allow you to monitor and manage various aspects of your site and its visibility. You will also be able to gather important insights about which searches you are appearing in, how often you are getting clickthrough, and more.
In general, it is a good idea to keep up an active presence on social media. Doing so will help you get out in front of your target market on social as well as on search platforms. Posting frequently will keep their algorithms happy—and keep them promoting you. It’s also a great way to repurpose content-creating a social post about each new blog will fill your calendar up fast and make your social media posting schedule easier to maintain. Plus, it helps people find you–whenever their friends share your posts, or they themselves decide to share those posts to a wider audience.
Blogging can help you level up
Having a blog keeps your site current and fresh and can help you to bring in traffic organically. Not only will your blog optimize your SEO, it can also improve your reputation with the general public and with your target audience. Help your audience find you easily with relevant, interesting information, updated keywords, and an optimized structure, and watch your business take off.