The Blog-o-Sphere is a popular place full of tasty tidbits, great tips, and insights on your favourite topics, brands and businesses. Having a blog can be super beneficial in bringing traffic to your online business IF it gets read.
And you want to create a well-read blog because…
- On average, companies with blogs produce 67% more leads per month (Source: DemandMetric)
- 60% of all marketers believe blog creation to be their top inbound marketing priority (Source: State of Inbound)
- 60% of consumers feel engaged with, or positive about, a brand after reading custom content on their blog (Source: ContentPlus)
In order direct traffic towards your blogs you need to produce readable, well-researched blogs that are created and optimised with Google’s preferences in mind.
“How does one do that?” you may ask.
Well, my friend, here’s how:
Structure = Readability.
First things first, in order to get people to read your blogs, you need to make them readable. This means making them well structured, succinct, and scannable for your busy readers.
Structure involves the obvious: An introduction, a body and a conclusion. There are also the not-so-obvious elements to a well structured piece of writing: Short, tight sentences, paragraphs of 2-3 sentences, bullet points (when suitable), subheadings, and signal words.
Short sentences get to the point in the best way possible, while short paragraphs stop the skimmer-scanner from getting lost in a mass of words. Bullet points and subheadings offer subjects and pieces of important information up to the reader so they can easily pick and choose the pieces they want. Lastly, signal words indicate the beginning of a point (firstly), the continuation of a point (furthermore) and the conclusion (lastly), making it easy for readers to see what’s going on while scanning the article.
The Word of BLOG
Keywords! We want to see keywords. Let’s say I search for ‘cool blogs’ and your keyword is ‘cool blogs’ (please, no), you and I are now good internet-friends because Google has sent me your way. The keywords are what connect you to your chosen audience, so make sure they are present throughout your blog
Do thorough research on the topic in order to find good keywords that aren’t as lame as ‘cool blogs’. A good way to find hot keywords is to go onto social platforms to examine common phrases and trends. This way you can find the exact phrasing of your key audience. You can also do a keyword search on Google AdWords, or be super sneaky and use a tool like SEMRush, which shows you what keywords your competitors are using. (can i mention this?)
Chill out With Your Keywords Already
Okay, so now you know keyword’s the word (not bluebird), you need to be careful with your keyword usage.
Google is very, very clever. Google is aware of websites, blogs etc. overusing keywords in order to get better rankings. Doing this will result in the page being penalised or banned by Google.
Furthermore (spot the signal word), readers don’t want to look at a blog that has been stuffed full of keywords. It makes sentences and headers awkward to read, it ruins the flow of the blog and it insults the intelligence of your readers. Here are the best places to insert your keywords to ensure a nice even spread:
- Meta description
- A few of your subheadings
- Image alt text (Search engines need the text because they can’t read images)
- Throughout your content, making up only 1-2% of overall the content.
300 words = 3-6 Keywords
Length Does Matter
When it comes to length we have a line to walk. Google likes length because it gives them plenty of opportunity to understand what your content is about, and it allows you to insert more keywords without keyword-stuffing. To keep Google happy, and to help with your search engine rankings, your blog ought to contain a minimum of 300 words.
However, you also have to keep readers happy, and it is very clear that readers don’t like length. In order to maintain harmony between Google and your readers you have to write well-structured blogs that have plenty of content laid out in a scan-friendly manner.
If readers can navigate your long blog quickly and easily, as laid out in the first tip, then you will be on your way to maintaining harmony. Just try to keep the length between 300 and 700 words to best optimise your blog.
Shoutout to your References!
Do not be afraid to link to other blogs. It may seem counter-intuitive, “Hey! Their attention is supposed to be on me!”, but linking to other blogs or influencers within your own blog shows authority, and helps boost your search engine ranking.
The best way to win an argument is to have someone to back you up, so prove to your readers that you’re right by referring to other blogs that agree with you. If you reference powerful influencers, or those that are very well-known, this further establishes with the users that you know what you’re talking about.
Also, if a reader has come to your blog because they're interested in the topic, then they will surely appreciate you providing them with links to other information on the topic. Google favours their users, and as a result, they favour pages that provide a good experience for their users.