If you have conducted any recent searches on Google lately, and those searches have used long tail keywords (most people use long-tail keyword searches now), you have probably discovered that among the top 8-10 results can easily be blog posts rather than websites. For example, a Google search with the term “tips for increasing conversions” obviously had a huge result.
One of the big mistakes for a business is not to have a blog; one of the bigger mistakes is to have a blog that is not maintained with regularly scheduled content that is both relevant to a niche, engaging to visitors, and optimized for SEO. A recent study demonstrates that about 60% of all businesses that have a web presence have blogs; however, only 65% of that number have been updated in the past year. If this is you, you are leaving a lot of traffic out there – traffic that could be converting, is you commit to two things:
- Post great content regularly
- Use the tactics that will improve SEO – Here are 5 of them.
Do the Keyword Research
Yes, keywords are still critical to SEO. You need to find those that are used the most by your target audience. There are several ways to do this. Of course, the easiest, if you want to go the expensive route is Google AdWords Keyword Tool. But lots of small businesses do not want to spend that kind of money, so here are other tactics to use:
- Perform your own Google search using a common keyword that you know is popular within your niche. Now go to the bottom of the page – you will see the section titled “related searches“. Here you will find long tail keywords that will be good to use.
- Find out what your competitors are using. Read their blog posts regularly and identify those keywords that you may not have thought of.
- Use a tool like Buzzsumo. You can type in certain keywords and find out how popular they were as they appeared in the most highly read posts and articles
- Use a tool like SemRush to find out how related keywords are being used by competitors whose SEO rankings are high
Use Keywords Strategically in Your Blog Posts
Target just 2-3 keywords for your posts – one primary and two secondary, based on your research. Strategic placement will allow search engines to find them. Obviously, your primary keyword goes in your title. Here are other places for primary and secondary keywords:
- In headings and sub-headings
- In anchor text that you use to hyperlink to other posts on your blog
- In title tags and meta descriptions
Your primary keyword should be used 2-3 times in a post of 500-600 words. It can obviously be used more in longer posts.
Keyword stuffing will result in penalties. To avoid these, use your keywords sparingly and only within text in which they will flow naturally.
If you are using WordPress, add the Yoast plugin. You will get an SEO report when you finish each post, along with suggestions for SEO improvement. This may be the most important tool you have for your blog.
Seek Out Valuable Backlinks
Search engines love to see links back to your blog. They do not love to see links back to your blog from other sites and blog posts that are unrelated to your niche. If you sell purses, for example, backlinks from friends or relatives who sell deck stain or wall art will be meaningless and may result in penalties.
If you can set up reciprocal arrangements with businesses related to yours, to add links to each other in your blog posts, to publish each other’s posts (with backlinks imbedded, of course), etc. you will get the kind of backlinks that search engines like to see.
Guest post as often as possible on worthwhile blogs. You will be allowed at least one backlink, if only in your bio.
Remember it is not so much quantity of backlinks (although that is a good thing); it is the quality of those backlinks that will count with search engines. Quality means those backlinks come from reputable, related businesses and/or others who are considered experts in your niche.
This is something that is often forgotten but it is really important. Visuals are very important for your posts. They increase popularity with readers. But, when you upload a photo or other image of some type, put keywords in the file name and provide alt text that services as a caption/description. Put a keyword in that description if you can logically.
Use Social Media
You need to promote your posts all over social media. You can engage followers in a number of ways:
- Get a great creative title or headline and use it as a teaser with the link to your post.
- Have a quiz with the answers available on a blog post.
- Make sure you publicize the problem you are solving if that is the purpose of the post.
- Support a social cause (ASPCA, disease research/prevention, Habitat for Humanity, etc.). Have updates on events and how followers can get involved on your blog. Drive people to those posts through your social media platforms.
- Join in conversations on pages/accounts of related businesses. Once you are an established participant, you can imbed a link to your blog in your comments.
- And it is okay to ask readers/followers to share – you don’t get what you don’t ask for.
A Word About Content
If you use your blog simply to republish content that has been posted elsewhere; if you just re-write other blogs without adding anything new and fresh; if you can’t get your content distributed in the right places (especially on other blogs that have high SEO rankings), you will not be attractive to search engines. Find your own voice, craft unique content and unique methods to present that content, and you will watch your SEO results improve.