How You Can Gain SEO Benefits from Blogging
Posted by Sarah Wai on Jul 14, 2017 9:14:00 AM
Did you know: Search engines like Google LOVE valuable content and reward you for it? Search is not all about keywords anymore; it’s about creatively combining keywords, context, and topic. The more you do this, the more Google will love you and show it through increased rankings and impressions.
So, how do you create search engine optimized content without alienating users entering your site?
Blogging is the Key to User-Friendly SEO
One key way to increase your search engine rankings is to have relevant indexed pages pertaining to your products or services. Having one page for a service (where that’s the only time it’s mentioned) is never enough when it comes to SEO.
An expert at Hubspot said it perfectly: “Every time you write a blog post, it’s one more indexed page on your website, which means it’s one more opportunity for you to show up in search engines and drive traffic to your website in organic search.”
The trick to this, though, is ensuring you don’t create duplicate content in the process. So, you have to get creative. Blogs give you the opportunity to cover all things pertaining to your products and services. However, experts advise: Don’t cover anything unrelated to your products and services. You can answer frequently asked questions, and cover related topics or elaborate on products and services in ways you just can’t on a basic web page. The opportunities abound.
- Do cover anything related to your business that current and potential customers might be interested in
- Don't create content that is NOT related to your business
- Do link between your blog posts and your main product and service pages
- Don't duplicate content—each blog post should offer fresh, new perspectives and information
You may ask: How do I write blog content that appeals to users but also appeals to search engines?
Blog Optimization for Beginners
Now, don’t get me wrong, this is not a piece of cake. It’s tricky to master Google’s algorithms, BUT it can be done. The Keyword is a great resource to get a glimpse into Google’s world, so I suggest bookmarking it and checking in often.
There are many different ways to optimize blog content, but we’ll give you a few specifics to get you started. The key pieces to know first are keywords and topics, image optimization, and link building. Let's take a look at each of these.
Start with a Topic and a Long-Tail Keyword
After you’ve landed on a topic you want to cover in a blog, you need to decide on a long-tail keyword to go with it. Now, the worst thing you could do is to stuff as many keywords into a blog as you could. Google does not reward—and may penalize—keyword stuffing. You have to be strategic about it and incorporate your keywords in a way that doesn’t feel unnatural or forced.
Quick Tip: A long-tail keyword is a specific string (typically around 3-5 words) that someone might search for. For instance "SEO" is a keyword, but "SEO for blogging" is a long-tail keyword.
A big benefit to using long-tail keywords over a bunch of small keywords is that you often draw more qualified visitors to your site. You don’t want everyone and their Mom coming to your website; you want the RIGHT visitors—people who will convert.
Obviously, you'll be including a mix of short keywords and your long-tail keyword (in the example above, "SEO for blogging" includes two keywords in the string), but it's a good idea to focus on your long-tail keyword—and variations of it—when you optimize.
Here’s where you want to include these keywords:
- Page titles (headlines)
- Headers and body
- URL (Hubspot has a great resource on URL structure to get you started)
- Meta descriptions
Optimize Images for Google to Index
Google suggests using these guidelines for optimizing images:
- Stick to Google-supported image formats: This includes BMP, GIF, JPEG, PNG, WebP, and SVG. For blogs, specifically, we recommend JPEG.
- Make the filenames of your images descriptive words related to the image: Don’t use the typical "IMG12345.jpg." Use something like organizing-office-space.jpg. If an image (at some point) doesn’t work for a user, they then have some context as to what the image is. Google likes to use image filenames as snippets in search results if it can’t find text relating to the image.
- Update image alt text: Search engines can’t see images, so you have to help them out. More importantly, though, alt text is necessary for accessibility. The key to optimizing image alt text is to describe it in a way that a human would read and understand it. This is, again, not a place to keyword stuff.
- Page speed has become a crucial part of Google's ranking algorithms. Images can slow down load time, so use the smallest possible image size (while retaining quality) and always compress images before putting them on your site (we like TinyPNG)
- Image alt text should do nothing more than describe the image. Briefly and accurately describe the image for vision-impaired users. and ensure it is no more than 100 characters.
- Always use images with a purpose. The visual presentation of your blog is important, and the featured image should make sense to visitors and shouldn't deter them from reading your post.
Build with the Right Links
Link building is important when you are trying to validate yourself to search engines. The key to doing it successfully is to link to content that supports the content you have written in a blog post.
So, if you’re a pet boarding facility and you’ve written a blog post on why you should board your pet while on vacation, you would link to the services page specific to pet boarding and then to any articles that are also along those lines (as long as they have good authority).
- Your outbound links should always be to high authority sites. Stay away from spammy-looking sites, Blogger pages, or anything that seems suspicious. Google can use links to make sense of your page and your site, so be discerning in who you link out to.
- Internal linking also matters. Link to relevant blog posts for readers to get more information on the topic, and always link to your own relevant product or service pages.
- Always include a call-to-action (CTA). This could be a link to your contact form, or a link to read more on one of your pages. Make it easy for visitors to get in touch or learn more if they are interested in your business (which is kind of the point of blogging!)
Give it Time
The biggest thing to remember in all of this: Give it time. Like all things SEO-related, you have to play a bit of a waiting game. Some of our best blog posts still produce quality traffic every month (we’re talking hundreds of views per month years after these posts were written), but it took time before they gained traction in search engines.
Don’t give up if you don't see immediate results. Post frequently and consistently optimize, and you’ll reap the benefits long-term.
Written by Sarah Wai
Content, Email, and Social Media Marketing Specialist of Tribute Media. Bachelor of Science in Digital Communication Arts and Master in Business Administration. Holds HubSpot Certifications in Inbound Marketing, Social Media Marketing, Email Marketing, and Contextual Marketing.