by Kara Wilson, CEO Rebel Builders, PR Committee
At this point, I think all of us are aware that Google has developed formulas that rank your website. Google reads your website to check for a bunch of factors that determine whether or not your site is valuable to people. Some of the things that Google looks at include:
- links to and from other valuable websites
- how old your domain is
- how much traffic you get to your website
- whether or not you have fresh content
The art of SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is making sure that Google reads all of these indicators on your site, and determines that your website is a valuable asset. If Google looks on your site and sees what it wants to see, it causes Google to prioritize your website above others that don’t looks as good as yours. That way, when someone searches for a word that relates to your product or service, you show up as one of the first results.
Blogging is a way to keep your website content fresh and current, while providing resources that would appeal to your target demographic. A blog keeps people engaged and interested with your content, keeping them on your website for a longer period of time. If you’re sharing really great content, the people reading your blog may link to it from their site or share it to their social media. This widens the amount of people who see both your content and your website, increasing the visibility of your brand. At the same time, it makes Google recognize you as an authority. Blogging helps boost your company website’s visibility on the internet by positioning your website as a relevant answer to a potential customers’ question.
Here’s a short and sweet guide to optimizing your blog for Google:
1.) Keyword Research
The Google Adwords Keyword Tool is a great way to search for and find keywords that are related to your topic. You can select keywords based on the volume of people that are searching for it, as well as how competitive the keyword is (how many other people are trying to use that keyword). Low competition means that you can easily rank on the first page, but if that low-competition word doesn’t have a high search volume, your post won’t be visible to a wide audience. The holy grail is finding a keyword that has low competition and high visibility. You won’t find this often, but select your keywords with care.
Optimizing blog posts for keywords is not about incorporating as many keywords as possible- it’s about choosing one or two closely selected words that appeal to your particular target demographic. Pick a keyword that will yield a search from someone who genuinely wants your content and will interact with it. You want visitors who will convert to money for your company.
2.) Use the keyword(s) in your content!
It is important to put your keywords in the places they will have the most impact for search engines to index your content, but also presented in a way that looks effortless in your copy. If you put too many of them awkwardly into your text, it’s considered “keyword stuffing” and you will actually be penalized for it. Additionally, nobody wants to read that kind of content. Your writing should appeal to both Google and your actual audience.
Here’s a quickstart guide to placing your keyword within your blog post:
Title – the search engine and reader’s first step to figure out whether or not your content is relevant. Make the keyword placement in the first 60 characters of your title.
Headers and Body – include keywords in your copy text, but only in a natural way. Your primary focus should be on what matters to your audience, not how many times you can say your keyword.
First Sentence – include the keyword in your opening sentence.
Last Paragraph – try to include the keyword in your conclusion.
URL – search engines use your URL to determine what your text is about, so incorporating your keyword into your URL and making it unique is important.
Optimize Your Images- make sure your image file names have the keywords in it, and the alt-text is set up wtih a short keyword-rich description of the photo.
Meta Description: your meta description is meant specifically to give search engines and readers information about your page’s content, so be certain to keep it brief, engaging, and mention a keyword. It lets the reader know what they’re clicking on when they search for something. The maximum length of this is around 300 characters.
3.) Give readers the opportunity to subscribe to your blog
If readers enjoy your content, you should be engaging with them to come back for more! Use the blog as an opportunity for readers to subscribe to your email list to receive blogs. This serves as a great way to start marketing to people that are interested in your topic and into your long-term marketing pipeline.
Additionally, they don’t have to remember to come back to your website, because you’ll be reaching out and letting them know when you have new content.
4.) Share your blog! Leverage your network: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, your mailing list, etc.
Maximize the free PR available to you, and share your content to your networks. You can share it on your personal social media, but you should definitely be sharing it on your company’s social media networks as well.
By sharing your blogs individually, you maximize the amount of people that they are being exposed to. I am a great believer in the power of this type of sharing combined with targeted e-blasts to your mailing list as the way to get your content out in the world. I shy away from large aggregate newsletters. I find that singular mailings get higher interaction levels, and they allow me to really gauge the success of the content that I’m sharing.
Additionally, it enables people to share things to their networks that they find interesting or inspiring. This is the start of your potentially viral content.
A final resource:
This report helps you analyze clicks from Google searches, and it can help you understand which keywords people are using to find your blog content.
Keep in mind- blogs are a long-term strategy for SEO. Your blog posts won’t immediately start ranking. It can take 3-6 months for even the best content to start showing results. If you keep posting relevant content, however, you will start to see it bear fruit. A company that I used to create content for had a blog post about the differences between European and American kitchens, and it sat on the blog for about 2 years before it got searched, picked up, and linked to from a prominent University. That blog now provides thousands of clicks of referral traffic for that company, and has for the past few years. This type of link from a reputable source can greatly increase the value that Google places on your website.
Despite the investment it can take to keep a blog going, it can really help the visibility of your website and is totally worth it.
More questions? Reach out to Kara directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
Kara Wilson, CEO Rebel Builders email@example.com rebeldesignbuild.com