Learning how to search engine optimize your blog content now is much more challenging than it was in the early days of SEO.
There are 2 million blogs published every day, according to Marketing Profs, and all of these pieces of content are competing for visibility on the web. To separate the wheat from the chaff, search engines have developed sophisticated algorithms to find the most authoritative, relevant, and useful content. Ask yourself these five questions to find out if your blog content is actually on par with the latest SEO techniques:
1. Are you writing about topics that are close to your core business offerings?
If you’re writing about topics at the heart of your business, you’ll establish yourself as an authority on the subject, build an archive of content optimized for the questions that bring prospects to your website and use keywords naturally. For example:
- A business that offers outsourced account services should write posts about the importance of having a qualified accountant, the selection process used to find skilled staff members, the scope of the work virtual accounts do.
- A solar panel company should write about the technology behind its products, the cost savings its customers realize, and the positive impact solar users have on the environment.
These posts may not appeal to the masses, but they’ll appeal to your target audience. It’s a better approach than covering popular or trending topics, and then attempting to make loose connections back to your business with keywords forced in.
2. Are you thinking about customers’ questions and not just keywords?
Your blog content shouldn’t just be a place to plug keywords. It should be an opportunity to answer FAQs about your business, and cover topics important to your customers.
When Google introduced the Hummingbird algorithm, it started a slow move away from strings of keywords and toward semantic search. It recognized that people are less likely to type keyword strings into search, like:
- “Outsourced account services”
They’re asking questions, or searching with long-tail phrases to find specific information, such as:
- “Should I outsource accounting for my small business?”
- “Cost of virtual accounting services.”
By creating content that answers these questions, rather than just plugging in keywords, you’re optimizing your site to show up first in search when people look for this information.
However, keyword research is still a cornerstone of any effective SEO strategy. It helps you identify the phrases that competitors are targeting, the phrases that customers are using, and the phrases that are actually bringing people to your website.
To learn more about how quality keyword research can help you improve your online marketing strategy, check out this blog post.
3. Are you adding visuals where they enhance the story?
Articles with relevant images or graphics get 94 percent more views, according to a study by Skyword.
The Internet has been inundated by visual content, and images are becoming critical for online marketing. Not only are images people pleasers, but they can improve your SEO by increasing dwell-times and reducing bounce rates (people tend to flee when they see block text). These are two factors that Google considers when ranking content in search results.
Pro-tip: Optimize images for search with custom titles, alt descriptions, and descriptions to make them crawlable. Google Bots can’t tell what the image contains unless it’s accompanied by text they can ‘read.’ It’s also useful for viewers. In case the picture doesn’t load, they’ll see a description of what should be there rather than just a broken link.
4. Are you creating unique meta descriptions?
While many old-school SEO tactics have fallen out of favor, meta descriptions are more important than ever. To perform well in search, you need to create unique meta descriptions that:
- Summarize the content in a sentence or two (150 to 160 characters)
- Include a keyword or long-tail keyword, if possible
- Provide some kind of call to action (e.g. Learn about the 5 questions you need to ask yourself… )
Remember that when Google shows your content in search results, users only see the headline and meta description. These two snippets need to be compelling enough to get readers to click your content rather than the ones that rank above or below them in results.
5. Are you adding internal links to your posts?
Internal linking strategies are an important, and often overlooked, part of SEO. This is when you add links to a blog that point to other related content on your website, such as:
- A landing page with more details about a product or service
- A resource page where readers can find additional information
- Another blog post that provides complementary insights
Internal linking is good for SEO because it gives crawlers a direct pathway to other pages on your website. This flows PageRank and promotes indexing.
Plus, it gives readers a reason to click deeper into your website, reducing bounce rates and exit rates. Google considers these engagement metrics as a signal that the information on the page was useful to visitors, and is more likely to push that content to the top of rankings.
Optimizing blog content for search engines today is not easy. It’s part art and science. It requires a deep understanding of the technical aspects of SEO as well as an understanding of what’s going to resonate with readers.
If you want to learn how to search engine optimize your blog content for better real-world results, contact us.