Content marketing has been one of the biggest buzzwords in online marketing in the last couple of years.
But while I’m a huge advocate of small businesses blogging regularly, experience tells me there remains some confusion as to the real ROI of content marketing.
The benefit of providing engaging content that answers a potential customer’s concerns is obvious.
But most mainstream articles fail to address the simple, actionable SEO tips that can help improve the results of your blogging efforts.
First, some truths.
If you run a local business that services local customers (a cleaning company or accountancy springs to mind) your blog posts are not going to be shared and linked to like they would if you were an international marketing guru.
Very few people are inclined to share posts titled “Our 10 step cleaning process” or “how to fill out your tax return.”
And when you’re writing blog posts for a local business, it can seem a little lonely and like you’re sometimes shouting into a black hole.
But aside from the benefits of helping your customers understand your service or product in more detail, blogging has an important role to play in SEO.
Not only can you rank posts for individual long tail search queries that are referenced in the title and text of your articles… your site will also benefit from freshness – which may impact how your overall website and homepage is ranked in Google.
It is important to understand that an intelligent blogging strategy directly impacts the number of visitors and therefore leads that your website generates.
The following 5 SEO blogging tips can play a key role in pushing your site further up the search engines and increase your customer base.
The way some marketers talk solely in terms of creating great content you’d swear that backlinks were no longer important.
But let’s imagine that you wrote 2 blog posts of equal quality and length -one with 50 backlinks from other websites, and one with 2 backlinks.
Which post do you think will rank higher?
Unless those 2 backlinks are from extremely high quality, trusted websites, and the 50 backlinks are from spammy, poor quality sites, the post with the higher number of backlinks will almost always rank higher in Google.
A backlink from a trusted website is seen as a vote of confidence and so it stands to reason this would be the case.
But did you know that you are able to share link equity from a popular to an unpopular web page?
Indeed, using the example above, if you were to link from the page with 50 backlinks to the less popular page that only had 2 backlinks, you would share the equity, thus helping the page rank higher.
If you have been writing blog posts and not including internal links to other pages on your website, now’s the time to go back and link to another page or post from each of your articles.
Stop reciprocal linking
There was a time when web savvy business owners would email other businesses in the same industry -but a different location – and ask them to include a link on their site for their own business.
They would then promise to return the favour and both would live happily ever after with their new, highly relevant backlinks!
Except that these links have no value.
Reciprocal links have no bearing on SEO because they return the exact same value that they receive.
If you’ve taken part in such arrangements purely for ranking purposes, it is worth considering removing the links.
An exception to this would be if you wished the link to act as a genuine recommendation for the business being linked to.
Nofollow irrelevant links
Links make the web go round.
And you definitely should be linking out to other relevant websites.
Outbound links help Google further understand your site from the relevancy of who you’re linking to. Just don’t overdo it and only link to trusted sites that have some sort of relevant association with your business or industry.
Mega sites such as Amazon and Wikipedia will get virtually no benefit from you linking to them (and why would you anyway?) so save your links by making some of them nofollow.
This allows you to tell the search engines not to follow the link but preserves such links that still add value to your website visitor.
To make any of your links nofollow simply add rel=”nofollow” inside the link’s HTML code.
It will look like this: <a href=”http://address.com” rel=”nofollow”>My Site</a>.
Add keywords to the beginning of post title
The title of a blog post needs to include the keyword you’re trying to rank for – preferably at the beginning.
Sometimes this won’t be possible, but do try and tweak your titles before publishing so that you give the best chance of your post ranking for an important keyword. In general, the closer the keyword to the beginning of a title tag, the more weight it will carry with search engines.
DON’T duplicate title tags – every page title tag should be different.
TIP: You can include your company name in the title tag for branding purposes, but this is usually best included at the end of the title.
Your title tags are a very important part of on-page SEO. They tell the search engines what your pages and posts are about.
Adding keywords to your article
If you go back a few years, many websites were ranking for competitive search terms with incredibly spammy pages, riddled with repetitive keywords.
The following example was far from uncommon…
“We are web designers in London, providing professional web design London for customers who want website design services in London.”
But thankfully, the web has moved forward from this dark age and it is no longer necessary to stuff a page full of keywords in such a crude manner.
A far more intelligent approach is to use a variety of phrases with the same meaning as your main keyword, BUT….you should still be including your exact keyword in the first 100-150 words of your article.
Rambling on for several paragraphs before including any keywords whatsoever will only hinder your SEO efforts.
Hopefully, these SEO tips help you understand how you can increase the results of your blogging efforts.
It may seem lonely out there, but the rewards are usually found in getting more leads and customers rather than dozens of shares or likes.