1. Go Narrow and Deep
This really should go without saying, but it’s SO important that I’m going to say it anyway: your article needs to be something relevant to your audience that people want to read. Writing a quality blog post takes time, and consistency is important for building trust in your audience, so go for quality over quantity here, and establish a blog posting schedule that’s reasonable for your life.
Be kind to yourself: if writing deep blog posts 2-3x/week isn’t going to work for you (seriously…who has time for that?), the create a schedule that does, and stick with it.
Create an editorial calendar so you get ahead of the game and bypass the last minute pit of doom feeling, then find a bunch of great guest posters so you can fill in the gaps of your writing schedule.
You’ll feel more in control by planning ahead, have a steady stream of great content while building relationships and the all-important coveted links.
PS–did you know that we create editorial calendars for our clients based on our SEO strategy? If you need a guide to tell you what to write about and to keep you on schedule, then let us know. We’ll create magic together, dear!
2. Write for your Audience first, then Google
Have you ever heard anyone say “I write for people, not for robots!”….?
Well, they’re right…and kind of wrong.
The thing is, Google is the most human-like robot out there (step aside Rosie from the Jetsons!)
So, when you’re writing for your audience, you’re writing for Google at the same time. Because Google wants to read content that is quality (so, not thin or spammy), and that people want to read.
Remember: Good SEO is good business. So, when you use good business practices, you’re also doing good SEO practices. Hooray for an updated Google, right?
So, how does Google determine if content is quality?
Time spent on the page and relevant backlinks are two big indicators that people like your content because you’ll naturally get more of both with truly great content.
So write content that your audience wants, and the SEO mojo will flow naturally from there.
3. Use Compelling Headlines (and only use one!)
We’ve written before about headlines, and we’ll do it again because they are just so crucial to getting people to read your content.
If there’s one thing you learn about headlines today, let it be this:
Only use one. (We’re not talking about A/B testing–that’s a different topic)
“Huh? How can you have more than one headline?”
What Google sees as a headline and what you see as a headline may not be the same thing. Google sees your headline as anything labeled “H1”. And you’d be surprised how often people have multiple “H1”s on their site.
Be sure that the way you format your post in WordPress, Squarespace, or whatever you use only has one H1. If Google sees more than one, it will get confused and not know what you’re talking about, and then you’ll get low-quality ranking for that page. So let’s not waste your hard work, ok love?
4. Put the Main Idea in the First Paragraph
Your readers (and Google) usually read the first paragraph, so put the main idea there. Remember, if it’s good for your readers, then it’s usually good for Google.
SEO research shows that you only have 8 seconds to win over your readers and keep them interested, and the best way to do that in a business blog post is to show them that your content is worth their time. Don’t keep your readers guessing–show them it’s valuable right up front, and you’ll gain readership.
5. Make the Text Scannable
Your text needs lots of sub headings so that your readers (and Google) can scan quickly and know what’s happening. (This post is a great example, BTW).
Here’s a quick test to see if your post is scannable:
Take out all the ‘normal text’ (aka, everything BUT the headline and subheadings). Does your article still make sense and provide value?
6. Maximize Yoast
Do you use WordPress? If so, then you need to have Yoast installed. WordPress is clunky, but being able to use Yoast is the #1 reason that I use WordPress.
Have a Squarespace site or some other tool? Then you’ll have to do this a little more manually, but you’ll still be able to maximize things like your title tags.
7. Make it Searchable within your website
- Use Tags and Categories
- Make sure you use relevant keywords
- Does your website have a search bar?
8. Target ONE keyword per post
Google may be smart, but he can only pay attention to one thing at a time (why “he”? Have you ever tried to ask a man a question while he’s working on something?). So, keep it simple for our friend Google, and be sure to focus on one keyword per post. You can include this focus keyword into Yoast for this post.
Bear in mind that this post may naturally show up in Google for other keywords, and that’s ok. Just be sure to intentionally target one keyword by staying on topic.
9. Link to your own content, and to others’ content
Did you know that internal links help your SEO? An internal link is when you link to a page within your own website, an external link is linking to someone else’s content. External links are the golden nuggets, but internal links are also really helpful for showing Google what’s most important on your site.
If you use WordPress and have the Yoast plugin installed, you can select a few pages to be “cornerstone” content. This is a recently added feature, and is a way to tell Google what pages are most important. This might be your services page or your most popular blog post. Internal links build SEO strength for these important pages.
10. Make it easy to share
People aren’t going to do what isn’t easy, even if they want to. So if you want people to share, make it easy! Include pinnable links, an easy way to tweet out key lines of your content, and email and Facebook buttons.
These will all make a difference in increasing your shares. More Shares = More SEO. Booyah.
11. Great Images
Yes, images matter to Google! Use images that have great alt tags (we wrote up a handy post for you all about it!) to show Google what you’re all about, and use beautiful images to show your readers what you’re all about!
We get it–maybe you’re not a photographer and don’t have a terabyte of stunning imagery sitting around.
Our favorite stock resources, both paid and free are:
- SC Stockshop
- Bloguettes Stock that Rocks
- Creative Market Weekly Freebies (and huge selection of paid stock)
- Adobe Stock Photos
- The Stock Gallery
Sprinkle those images strategically into your post to break up all the words, and show your beautiful self off to your audience!
12. Check the Data
And finally, the best way to blog your way to great SEO is through data. Meg’s quarterly reports will tell you if the content you’re writing is working to boost SEO for desired keywords, and give you strategies to adapt what you’re currently doing to boost your desired keywords.
Friends, that’s it in our blogging series!