Picture the scene… you run the marketing for your business and are sat at your desk, quietly getting on with making your business stand out, when suddenly… your boss walks over to you and says, “Can you get us ranking on page one of Google, all of our competitors are there but we aren’t?”
You look back at your screen, type your business into Google and look at the massive uphill battle in front of you… You are only ranking on page 4 for your business keywords...
To most people this situation can seem daunting, especially given that page one of Google may seem like a magical, elusive place where only the big boys can rank.
Luckily, this isn’t the case and there are ways to kick start your SEO and start ranking your website higher and getting that crucial organic traffic through.
The answer lies within your company blog…
SEO Basics: Your blog is a powerful tool!
There are a number of factors around how Google picks which websites rank for which keywords and it all revolves around the amount of links your website has. Scores called ‘Domain Authority’ and ‘Page Authority’ are a score out of 100 for how reputable and influential your website and individual page is. Authority can be increased through other websites linking to your own website. Websites that have a higher domain authority will carry more weight when they link. For example, a website like ‘Wikipedia’ will often appear on page one for search results, because lots of other websites are linking to it.
So where does a blog come into this? Well, your blog is a great tool for starting to build up links for your website and to try and rank for your industry keywords.
By building up a successful blog, you can start to increase your Domain Authority which will then in turn start to get your website higher in the rankings for your industry keywords.
Create content for your audience
Hopefully you should have an idea of what your target audience and customers are interested in already, and if you don’t… get researching!
Rule #1 of content creation: always create it for your audience. For example, if you are a software company, you shouldn’t be blogging about food and travel - you should be blogging about matters to do with IT, tech and software.
People are more likely to share and link to your blog posts when they have a vested interest in the topic. But remember, these people will have likely read a lot of blogs so it’s crucial that yours stands out and looks and reads ‘fresh’.
Take some time to develop your own tone of voice and writing style that differs from the competition.
Think outside the box with your blog titles
Thousands of blogs are posted every day on pretty much every subject you can think of so trying to cut through all of the noise can be difficult.
A great way to get people clicking onto your blog posts is to create a title which is a little different. It could be provocative, maybe comedic, it might be a niche subject in your industry that people don’t know about. Whatever it is, it needs to instantly grab the attention of the reader but still contain relevant keywords.
For example: ‘how to create a blog’ will have been used thousands of times and the chances of it ranking will be incredibly slim but, ‘don’t create a blog for the sake of it, create a blog to boost your SEO’ is much more engaging and it will probably never have been used as a title before. More importantly, the keyword ‘create a blog’ is prevalent in both titles.
Optimise your blog posts for long-tail keywords
Many marketers can struggle with keywords.
Most people will write a blog post to try and rank for a short-tail keyword that will be impossible to rank for.
Let's take the previous keyword ‘create a blog’ as an example:
‘Creating a blog’ will be very difficult to rank for because of the amount of big domain authority websites that are already on page one for that phrase. But if you change it to ‘Creating a blog for a small business’ you are much more likely to get it ranking because the more keywords in the phrase the less competition there tends to be.
By using long-tail keywords you can appeal directly to your target audience, for example: if you are a travel agent and you only sell cheap flights to Spain, you wouldn’t use the keyword ‘Cheap Flights’, you would use ‘Cheap flights to Spain’.
Make sure your keyword is optimised throughout your blog post
Once you have the keyword you want to target and you have written the content for the blog post, you then need to make sure everything is optimised to give you the best shot at ranking.
So take the following steps:
- Add the keyword to at least one of your headers in the blog
- Add the keyword into the meta description of your post
- Add the keyword into the URL of the page
- Add the keyword into the text of your blog (but don’t overdo it)
- Add the keyword as an Alt tag to any images in your blog
- Add the keyword into the SEO title of the post
By taking these steps, Google will be able to precisely know what the blog post is about and what keywords it should rank for and it gives you the best chance of ranking for your keyword. But remember, at the end of the day it’s all about the links, so you need to keep any eye on your Domain authority and Page Authority.
Again, there are a number of tools, like Moz, you can use that will look at your page and tell you how well optimised your page is and what changes you need to make.
Once you have posted your blogs, you need to make sure Google will have access to it and can index it. You can either wait for Google to do this, which can take days or even weeks, or you can submit it yourself here.
Promote your blog posts to the world
The final step after you have started to produce regular blog posts is to push them out to your audience and start trying to build up some links.
You can do this in a variety of ways.
The easiest and quickest way is to promote it via your social media channels and email it around to your database. As these sorts of audiences are likely to already be interested in your business and industry, you might get some quick wins and quick links.
A more long term form of outreach is to ask other blogs and influencers in your industry to promote or repost your blog on their own website. While this will be largely hit and miss to begin with, it can lead to more links and an increase Domain Authority.
SEO is a long term strategy... But you can start blogging now!
No matter what you do, SEO is a long term strategy and it will take time to really build your blog up and build links for it.
But by starting now and posting regularly (at least once a week), you can start to put in place the structure to get your website ranking on page one for your keywords.