Blogging is enjoying a resurgence in popularity now that it is the darling of SEO strategies. And that’s just it. An SEO strategy “Aint worth a hill of beans” without a plan. Businesses have a hard time allocating staff time for blogging and there generally is some wide-spread fear of publishing written words! Even if you do farm out the writing, you are going to need to be helping the writer write about your business to be sure. Even at a minimum, some regular involvement is going to be necessary.
We do a lot of blog editing around here as well as client coaching. The primary challenge is creating a focus for blogging in a direction that will help the SEO effort. It’s so easy and inevitable to fall out of focus. From these efforts, I’ve developed the following checklist to help stay on the SEO success path:
1) Begin with the end in mind – Brainstorm and research keyword terms that you would like to be found for but are not. We are looking for “long tail” terms that contain several words. Plan a quarter year at a time. A good flow of blog posts is at least three per week X 4 weeks X 3 months, plus some change equals about 40 posts a quarter. This velocity would add 160 new subject pages a year to your web site.
2) The purpose of writing a SEO oriented business blog is to get people to find you off your traditional “cold” business pages. In exercise one, above, we have located 40 new subject/terms For SEO purposes.
This begins the process of “1000 points of light”. In the future, searchers will be landing on these pages; these nuggets of information. What we do with the visitor is very important and totally in our court. An excellent blog post reinforces a product or a piece of information found on your main web site. Linking to that page from the blog post provides bonus points to the effort!
3) Start writing – Once you have created 40 topics for the quarter it’s time to start writing. A key to this strategy is to get in front of the publishing deadline so that you are in charge of the effort instead of vice versa. Do not obsess over keywords when writing. Just write naturally about the predetermined subject. The beauty of blog posts is they are meant to be short. For instance, this is already a VERY long blog post! Write focused, short, easy to read posts. Write customer centrically. They don’t care that much about you! What’s in it for them? Use a call to action. Or several. Click. Join. Subscribe. Buy Now and Save.
4) A good mix in a month of 12 posts would include 6 product/sales oriented, 3 industry oriented and 3 event oriented. But not just any industry or event news. They’ve got to have some sort of direct connection to what it is you do. If you regularly write and are in front of your publishing schedule, when a news or event story presents itself, you can preempt your schedule to drop the story in. Whenever possible you should be announcing events at about a month in advance to give it time for your story to get indexed.
5) Most good blogging software has great SEO tools. So, use them! Write a killer browser title that will both score high for the intended search term and be compelling to click on. Write a headline for the post that compliments the browser title. Force the first paragraph into copy that expands on the title and the headline. Offer up a photo or video that relates to the words. All of these “little nuances” contribute to the congruence of the post. If you can lead people to more info found elsewhere on your site, like I said above, you will get extra points!
With patience, perseverance and a blog that is easily accessible and structured for spidering by the search engines will begin to produce an ever-growing stream of new traffic