If you’re not writing an SEO optimized blog for your business, consider this: a report from EConsultancy found that search engine optimization and content marketing have the second and third highest ROI out of all digital marketing tactics, respectively. In other words, familiarizing yourself with the SEO basics and investing in an SEO-focused content marketing strategy for your company is more than a financially sound decision—it’s a no-brainer.
Search engine rankings aside, writing SEO-optimized blog content can help your company gain invaluable exposure—which can help on both a client level and a talent acquisition level. But, creating a successful content strategy goes far beyond writing about topics you’re interested in—it requires some deep digging into your business, product, and audience.
Why? Because the competition is fierce. According to Search Engine Land, companies will spend roughly $6.5 billion on SEO this year, and that number is only projected to reach $80 billion by 2020. With 5.6 billion Google searches happening a day, there’s a good chance that your selected blog topic has already been written about—and being outranked on search engines. However, by creating a strategic content plan and doing the product, audience, and keyword research necessary, you can write in favor of Google’s algorithm and beat your competitors in the search result rankings. Here are the SEO basics you need to keep in mind when planning and writing a company blog.
Before you even think about writing, take some time to seriously think about what your product is and who you’re selling it to. The purpose of an SEO-optimized blog strategy is to organically appear in front of the people who are searching for terms relating to your product. Your job is to consider a searcher’s intent, and positioning your products as solution to those queries. To start, make a list of questions that someone in your target audience would likely search on Google, and do your keyword research around those questions.
Let’s say you’re marketing a new fitness app that promises consumers a more intuitive, effective way to track workout productivity. In this case, you’d want your blog content to populate for Google searches featuring fitness and workout-related keywords. Start by asking yourself a few questions: What exactly does your product do? How do people use it? What kind of person uses it? What are their interests? How does your product fit within their interest and needs? Knowing your product and audience on a deeper level will give you a holistic understanding of their search intent, better equipping you to write content that will appeal to them.
Once you’ve identified your core consumers, it’s time to turn the tables and identify who your competitors are. Identifying your competitors and checking out the content they’re producing will give you a clearer idea of where you stand in the SEO game. Generally speaking, the popular keywords with high search volumes and competition are hard to rank for. The opportunity is in the keywords with high search volume and low competition, or even untapped topics. For example, the keyword “best fitness app” has a search volume of 27,000 average monthly searches with high competition, but the keyword “best app for runners” has a search volume of 127 with much lower competition. You’ll have a much better chance of ranking on the first page for “running apps” than “fitness apps” and still appeal to people in your target audience.
At this point, you should have a solid understanding of who your core audience is, and what they’re searching for. Now it’s time to do some keyword research to identify the right keywords for your blog content. If you’re an SEO beginner, Google Keyword Planner or Neil Patel’s Ubersuggest engine are great free tools you can use. Enter a keyword from your list of possible search questions into your keyword planner, and it will spit out hundreds of similar keyword ideas people frequently search for. From this list you can pick and choose keywords and keyword phrases you find relevant to the blog content you want to write. To learn more about keyword research, check out our previous blog where we go deeper into the fundamentals of conducting research for SEO.
4. Build your content calendar
Once you have your list of keywords, the fun can really begin. Pick a handful of keywords from that list that you want to start ranking for. With these keywords in mind, brainstorm a list of blog titles that can produce a thoughtful article that naturally incorporates the keyword. From there, create a content calendar that includes post titles, keyword information, and live dates for your site. Aim to publish new content at least once a week, as search engine crawlers favor websites that continuously index new, credible web content. If you use a CMS to host your blog, there are many SEO plugins available, like Yoast for WordPress, that help with on-site optimization. This will help the overall SEO health of your website and improve your chances for ranking.
The operative word in the above paragraph is “naturally.” As Google’s algorithm becomes more sophisticated, crawlers prioritize the quality of the content above all else. Crawlers can now recognize black hat SEO techniques like keyword stuffing and excessive backlinking, and will actually blacklist your site from ranking if used too often. Instead, write content that is thoughtful, flows naturally, and provides real value to your audience so they will continuously come back for more. The more clicks your blog gets, the more search engines will prioritize it in the search results page. Continued interest tells search engines that your site has meaningful content in general, and you’ll continue to move up the ranks and receive more traffic to your website. Remember: avoid forcing a keyword phrase into a title; it should never sound awkward or robotic. Instead, swap out the keyword with LSI keywords, or finesse the keyword into a main heading instead of the article title.
Remember, SEO is a long term strategy, so you won’t see improved search engine rankings for at least three to six months after you start posting your new blog content. In the meantime, it’s a good idea to set up web tools like Google Analytics and Google Search Console to help monitor, maintain, and troubleshoot your site’s presence on Google. As your website starts to creep up in the rankings, keep updating your content plan with new related keywords, and soon you’ll be dominating your organic search—no beginners luck needed.
Interested in producing SEO-optimized blog posts for your company? MSC can help you with that. Fill out this form to get started.