Everyone wants their blog to be read by the masses. However, with around two million posts being published every day, this is no trivial task.
While you may have just written the most articulate piece internet has ever seen, very few people will know it exists if it isn’t optimized for visibility on the search engines.
Blogging and SEO go hand in hand, and performing both of these tasks requires a good deal of research. There are all kinds of factors that come into play when working to boost your traffic. Whether it’s choosing the right keywords, knowing how to attract attention, or simply knowing how to word your sentences, the whole process needs to be approached strategically.
Let’s dive in.
1. Focus on long-tail searches
When it comes to blogging, the value of long-tail keywords cannot be underestimated.
Long-tail keywords refer to search queries with a low individual search volume but have a big search demand when grouped together. You can drive serious traffic to your blog by using longer phrases. In fact, Ahrefs found that the majority of Google searches contain more than three keywords.
With this in mind, your research stage should prioritize long-tail keywords. The terms you choose to include in your blog posts need to cater to visitors who have shown interest in the information you are providing. In other words, you need to be thinking one step ahead to put your content in front of the most susceptible eyes.
For this purpose, the Ahrefs Keyword Explorer is a tool our content manager here at Workzone uses to get an in-depth analysis of keywords and their current popularity, search volume, and web traffic while she’s preparing content for the blog. If you click on “Search suggestions,” you will be provided with a long list of phrases relevant to your niche.
Be sure to strategically incorporate them throughout your content – without “keyword stuffing” your blog posts.
2. Research and use negative keywords
Negative keywords are terms in which you do not want to rank for. In many cases, having a thorough list of negative keywords is just as important as ones you want to rank for. This is especially true if you are using PPC or Google AdWords to promote your content.
For example, if your topics are strictly about “organic recipes,” you may not want to rank for terms like “vegan recipes” or “vegetarian recipes.” By adding these types of irrelevant terms and phrases to your negative keyword list, you are telling the search engines not to rank your content for them.
When researching negative keywords, you will need to look at your post ideas from as many different angles as you can. Once you have a good selection put together, steer clear of using them within your content. Or, if you are running a multi-channel PPC campaign, include them in your negative keywords list for across search and social media.
3. Deliver content that informs and educates
While this may sound obvious, the primary goal of the search engines is to provide users with the most relevant and informative content as possible. Your topics should be well-researched and applicable to what your target audience wants to know. After all, who wants to read posts that don’t relate to them?
In terms of the post itself, you need to make sure that the information is reliable, and more importantly, it is written in a way that is easily-digestible to the crawlers.
When crafting your blog posts, it’s a good idea to think of the search engine crawlers like preschool kids learning how to read. SEO-friendly content should be concise and easy to absorb. With every sentence, you write, try to simplify it as much as possible and eliminate redundancies. Be sure to break up the information into bullet points and shorter paragraphs – the sight of a giant wall of text is enough to turn both humans and robots off.
Lastly, your posts should incorporate a good amount of visual content. This makes your blog more appealing to readers and easier to process. When delivering your articles, you need to do so with the audience in mind. The search engines will notice and reward you appropriately in the rankings.
This is all the more important for ecommerce stores. Retailers need to put out a constant stream of content based on their product lines. This will eventually help them create personalized shopping recommendations and more strategic marketing strategies for their customers. And where better to get this data than from the customers themselves? Ecommerce platforms like Shopify offer retail POS systems that integrate offline and physical transactional data, which you can then turn into user-friendly, personalized content.
4. Understand and create enticing headline tags
Many would argue that blog headlines are the most important piece of the puzzle. While your dedicated readers may consume your posts regardless of the titles, if you want to attract new audiences, they need to be written in a way that grabs attention within seconds.
In terms of the search engines, title tags are a critical factor in determining your post’s ranking. Google normally displays the first 60 characters of a title tag, so try to keep it within that number. It should give the audience (and the crawlers) a good sense as to what your content is all about.
Refer back to your keyword research to help direct potential readers to your platform. However, you’ll want to avoid the terms with incredibly high search volumes, as this will make it much harder to get placed high on the SERPS.
Get creative with it. Most experienced bloggers will tell you they spend about as much time picking headlines as they do writing the actual content!
Sharethrough has a great headline analyzer tool to help give you some pointers in finding the perfect title.
If you’re just starting out, it’s important that you don’t get frustrated if you don’t see results right away. SEO must be viewed as a long-term project. When it comes to blogging, the harsh reality is that a good deal of the pieces you initially write will not be seen by many people at all. As long as you stay consistent with your efforts and do not sacrifice quality, you will gradually begin to see your traffic increase.