(updated 1/18/18) Blogs and SEO go together like peanut butter and jelly:
But it's not often that SEO strategy and the benefits of blogging are highlighted together even though SEO is one of the most compelling reasons why a robust blog strategy is so ridiculously important to your organic marketing efforts. Search engines love it when you have fresh content on your website, and the more unique pages you can index, the more opportunities you have for showing up in a Google search.
What's not to love about this marriage?
Blogging can help you educate the public about why the problem you solve exists while (correctly) positioning you as a thought leader and the obvious best solution. But what excites me most about blogging is that it helps you attract new visitors to your website who are searching for answers... These people are motivated to find a solution to an existing problem. which happens to be a very tasty quality.
What this is about is how to create blog topics that feed off and INTO your SEO strategy, so you can attract visitors, and lead them down the first steps of their buyers' journeys.
~ MORE LIKE THIS: Why the Best SEO Services are the Quiet Ones ~
BLOG CONTENT REINS SUPREME - ALWAYS:
You may be thinking about deploying a company blog but want to ensure your budget isn't wasted, and that it can contribute to your overall marketing scheme. But what many people don't realize up front is how important choosing the right blog topics and developing quality content within is to your SEO strategy.
Before we go down this list that will set you off on the right path, let's step back and review what we know about SEO. In fact, let's not even call it that from this point on. Let's call this function, "Search Engine Marketing," or "SEM." Why? Because this is a function of marketing, and SEO sounds like something for IT.
Step 1: Ask yourself, "Why blog?"
I remember when I was originally faced with this question, which was posed by a colleague of mine when we were trying to find the perfect method for distributing my blog. I was completely caught off guard because even though I thought I knew the answer, when the words "to attract attention" came out of my mouth, I realized that I had no clear lead conversion path, and therefore, I had no good reason whatsoever to do it.
As a business owner, I have little time for distractions and I need better reasons for investing resources into something than this embarrasingly unquantifiable and overly-vague goal of wanting to attract attention.
Have a plan when you blog. Understand from the beginning exactly why you do it (ie - attract 500 more visitors to my website every month). And equally importantly, have a system in place that helps you qualify followers and convert them into leads.
Step 2: What to blog - looking inward
Your blog is a gateway to your website, social media channels, and the entire sales process. Your blog ideas should relate to your existing content, so you are able to create opportunities for people to expound upon your articles by going deeper into the website and even downloading premium items such as free ebooks.
(The other elements that tie into this fluid marketing strategy include calls-to-action, landing pages, and thank-you pages. More on that HERE)
So, what awesome free content do you have on your website (or available to upload)? Case studies? Ebooks? Remember, this is about acheiving organic marketing bliss, and there is no better source for ideas than your company's real-life story. Don't stress too much if you don't have any of it though. We're covering this and many other challenges businesses face with digital marketing in our upcoming blogs. Subscribe and we'll help you through it.
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Step 3: Develop a keyword strategy
Go through your content and determine which words and phrases people would likely use to search for answers to the problems your company solves.
Think about how people use Google. (Professional SEO Services)
Put yourself in their shoes, and do some searches. Write down the phrases that successfully bring up solutions, and spend time working on word strings that are 3 or more words in length.
Make your life easier and use a basic marketing software program for tracking and scoring.
We use Hubspot, which is by no means basic, but certainly fulfills this requirement by providing tools that analyze and organize keywords on our website and blogs. Some keywords are going to have a lot of searches every month, but they may also be incredibly competitive and somewhat vague. You're better off playing in the areas that are a little less crowded and more specific so you can rank higher with a more qualified group.
Now, set aside a list of your best keywords, so we can start whittling it down to find your next great blog ideas.
Step 4: Choose your weapon
There are three formats we recommend when blogging:
1) the List - ie, "8 B2B Sales Tactics You Must Change Today"
2) the "how-to" - ie, "4 Ways Your Company Can and SHOULD Get Behind Your Social Media Strategy"
3) the visual- Memes, striking pictures... A visual that doesn't require a bunch of words.
Now, take your keywords and start formulating titles using them as your core focus based on these three formats. How to... (fill in the blank) - Start crossing off the keywords that don't organically mesh with this concept (but don't forget them! use them within your content), and whittle that list down even more.
Step 5: When in doubt, evergreen marketing takes all!
Evergreen means that you don't use fads or loose concepts as your main focus points. I once read a blog that criticized Netflix's new television series because it cost $90 million to make the first season.The blog went off on some idea that the show, which hadn't actually been released or seen by this person, was terrible. They broke MANY rules, but the worst sin was that the business tied to it was a complete afterthought.
They just chose that subject because blasting big name corporations like Netflix draws bigger audiences and they were probably hoping that he subject would become viral through other channels. This is a shallow attempt at riding somebody else's coattails, and it's supremely transparent.
Your audience knows better.
I have no idea what that company did, and when the show is eventually released and its criticism is an afterthought, this blog will draw zero attention. From the title and first 95% of the body, you would never know that it was going to have content that could actually solve legitimate problems.
Choose a topic that will stand the test of time by choosing something relevant to your business. This will allow you to actually use all of those gorgeous keywords we compiled in a manner that is organic and compounding.
Step 6: Analyze, rinse, and repeat... often
After you publish your blogs, go to your keyword analysis and see if it made a difference. Now, it's not going to happen overnight, but you should be able to see somewhat of an impact pretty quickly.
AND REPEAT SOME MORE =
Remember, if people read your blog it's because you did a good job with the topic, but if they come back it's because you did well with the content. So, don't let SEM focus derail your attention from providing real value to your readers. In fact, legit SEO Marketing Experts put your content marketing strategy first EVERY time, which it is why it works.
Interested in learning more about blogging and SEO? Check out this guide to getting started with inbound marketing: