Blogging is a great way to connect with your customers online, especially if you have a small or medium-sized business. It gives you the chance to educate and inform your customers about what it is your business does, how you do it, and – importantly – how you can help them solve a problem.
Whether you’re a cosmetic dentist who wants to help people regain their confidence through their smile, a security specialist wanting to help people keep their homes and businesses safe, or a photographer wanting to perfectly capture a client’s wedding day, a blog gives you a voice and platform to share your vision.
However, a blog is even more powerful content marketing tool than you might realise. It also plays a vital role in SEO (Search Engine Optimisation), positioning your website as a relevant answer to your customer’s searches on Google. By using a few easy SEO tactics, your website can rank better, increasing the flow of visitors to your website.
Pick A Keyword or Two
Keywords are common phrases that your customers would use to find services or products like yours. For example, someone looking for a plumber might type in words or phrases like “leaking sink” or “emergency plumber”. Think about the products and services you offer and make a list of phrases that people might use to find them. This can also give you some inspiration for your blog content itself.
Placing Keyword Phrases in Your Blog
Now that you have a keyword list, pick one or two that are relevant to what you want to write about. The most important thing to remember is not to overdo keywords in your content. This is important for two reasons:
- Google doesn’t like it, so it works against you for SEO if you try stuff keywords into every sentence or paragraph of your content.
- Customers don’t like it either, as it makes blogs unpleasant to read and it makes the reader feel like the content is not really there to help them at all.
The right way to place keywords into your blog is to make it look like a natural, flowing sentence. You can also include the keyword in SEO-critical areas, like:
- The title tag: This is the title that appears in a Google search. Try keep the keyword within the first 60 characters, as Google cuts the title off after this point.
- The meta description: This is the small summery paragraph that appears in search results under the tag title. It will be the first line or two of your blogs by default, but you can customise it yourself to make it more informative and SEO-friendly when you are in the process of posting your blog.
- The URL: Give each blog a unique URL that includes the keyword. It’s the first thing Google looks at when searching for a query.
Don’t Forget About Your Images
It’s not just written content that can be optimised for search engines, it’s images too. Add a relevant image to each blog you post, whether one you’ve taken yourself, a stock photo or a royalty-free image. When you are adding your image to your blog, you’ll see a space to add in ‘alt text’. This is what the search engine looks at when sourcing answers to a query. You can edit this text to include your keyword to give your blog a little extra boost in the rankings.
Include Relevant, Quality Links
When a customer reads through a blog and has that “Ah ha” moment when they realise your business is just what they were looking for, it’s ideal if they can click on a link in that content to either get more information on a topic related to your blog, or be directed to the most relevant area of your website so that they can look at your services in detail. The best way to do this is by including links in your blog content. While it’s recommended that you link to any external sources you use (for example, if you’re quoting a survey or study), it’s internal links that will have the most significant impact on your SEO.
The best way to incorporate this easily is to link to a relevant product or service from your chosen keyword the first time you mention it. For example, if you bake cakes and are writing about where to find the best custom birthday cakes in your city, and your chosen keyword is “custom birthday cakes”, then this phrase should have a link to the custom birthday cake or birthday cake page on your website.
Again, you don’t have to do this over and over. A few different links should also be included on other relevant phrases, like a link to your services or products page when you mention your business name, or a link to the contact us page when you invite readers to connect with you for more information. As a general rule, aim for around 4 internal links per blog.
Perform Basic Analytics
Analytics tools are a helpful way to understand how your online customers are reaching you, as well as getting helpful insight into how people are behaving on your website and blog. There are some great free tools out there that are easy to use, like Google’s Search Console, which supplies you with a useful Search Analytics Report.
When looking at these reports, remember that increasing your search rankings through blogs is organic in nature as opposed to paid SEO where you can just pay your way to the top. This means that it takes time to see results, so a long-term perspective is needed. Don’t eliminate keywords or platforms because they don’t perform in the first few months.
Instead, try to combine well-performing keywords with ones that are more specialised, and generate more content using keywords that are doing very well. As you build up your content by publishing frequently and consistently, say once a week, you’ll start to see your traffic improve.
If you would like some professional assistance with optimising your business blog, our friendly SEO team is happy to help. Contact us today and we can talk about what you want to achieve with your digital marketing plan.