Everyone knows that Google loves fresh content and that blogging is a great way to boost SEO. Unfortunately a lot of folks don’t take the time with the extra details that make the difference between “adding content” and truly having a great post (both your readers’ eyes and in Google’s!).
So, what makes the difference? Whether you’re writing your own posts or getting content written for you, follow these steps and you’ll make the leap from good to great.
Research and Insight
Every good post starts with performing research on what interests your audience.
Google Trends is one great way to find out about current topics of interest to your readers. Sometimes it can be a challenge to be graceful with keyword inclusion in a post.
This awkwardness goes away if you do good research up front to make sure you’re writing a post that touches on an important topic, in the language of your readers. Google Keyword Tool is a great way to uncover what language your readers are using and also gives you a sense how competitive different keywords are.
Also, don’t forget the “insight” part. It’s no good getting traffic to your page if you haven’t covered the reasons your particular topic/keyword are important to your readers. If you include these insights in your content request you’ll be well along the way to a great post.
Effective Keyword Inclusion and Page Optimization
Used to be that your keyword had to have an exact number of inclusions for a certain sized post and that the exact match keyword was included in the page title and header tags. While the principals haven’t changed, Google is much better at identifying “mechanical” text like this and may not give it the love it deserves.
With this in mind, think about making your posts a bit more natural and if a keyword just doesn’t quite fit, don’t hesitate to mix it up a bit. For instance, we still see SEO “pros” writing things like “It can be hard to find Doctors Seattle Washington.” Instead, give your writer the leeway to write something like “Seattle is one of the hardest places in Washington to find Doctors.”
In this second example you don’t have the exact syntax of the keyword phrase you’re trying to optimize, but your readers will be way more likely to respond to the post and Google will be way less likely to decide you’re over-optimizing your copy.
Decide What You Are Optimizing For
Sites with well-established SEO strategies have specific keywords assigned to specific pages on the site (according to relevance and competitiveness). When you add a new blog post and have SEO goals for it, you’ll want to choose whether:
- You want to optimize for a new keyword that isn’t already addressed on your site. This is great if you uncover topics with high reader interest that you haven’t already addressed. In this case, you’ll want to make it a priority to get relevant links from other related content on your sit to this post, OR …
- You want to use the post to “boost” or promote a targeted page/keyword combination that’s already addressed on your site. For instance, you might have a new perspective on a topic already covered on your site. In this case you’ll make it a priority to make sure you’ve written the post in a manner that’s highly relevant to the target page and make sure you include a natural and relevant link to the target page.
Making your choice of strategy clear in your content request will go a long way to ensure your strategic goals are met.
Sharing and Linking
If you’ve done a great job on the above steps, the last step is to make sure you have a plan for sharing your post. This can (and should) obviously include your own social media platforms, but ideally will also include a network of colleagues and bloggers who are have similar interests and would be happy to share your information with their audience. This will get you in front of relevant readers, boost your “social signal” and build ever-important relevant links.
The most important thing of all is to remember that you’re ultimately writing for your audience and NOT writing for an algorithm. If you write something that will delight your readers and also follow the above steps, you’ll end up with much better and longer-lasting value from your content creation efforts and blogging.