(This article was originally published on July 25th, 2017, and has been updated with the information you need for blogging in 2020.)
Besides helping people learn from your content, the number one reason to keep on writing and creating is to be found on search engines, specifically, Google. But that's not always an easy task, actually, it's getting harder and harder to do each year!
So why shouldn't you just throw in the towel and give up on blogging altogether in 2020? A few reasons, blog articles give you more reasons to connect with your audience, whether it's through a regular email or social media posts - you always have something to share. It also provides you a platform to build trust with your audience by showcasing your skill and knowledge, essentially, why they would want to become a customer of your business! A blog also allows you to keep your website active, no more building an amazing website that isn't touched for 3 years, and slowly goes out of date - there's always something new to see!
My favorite reasoning of all, though, having a blog helps you keep your website as the center and focal point of your business. Unlike brick and mortar locations, it's really easy to get lost in online marketing, sending people from one platform to another with social media and email and different e-commerce solutions. Always coming back to your website creates that a strong presence a physical location provides business owners.
Focusing on the SEO, Search Engine Optimization, of your blog articles only works to enhance the time and effort you've put into your content. I see it like this:
Having a blog without including SEO basics, is like having a high school game but not sharing when it will be. Yeah, some people may show up to cheer you on, but unless you make sure it's posted online, shared in the announcements, and a host of other things, you won't get a crowd!
SEO (pronounce each letter individually: S. E. O.) is how you can optimize your website and the content you share on your website to be found in search engines. You know how when you are looking for something, like a new vacuum, you go to Google and type "top-rated vacuums" and are shown vacuums to buy and articles comparing vacuums? That's SEO at work for you.
When you click on those articles, buy something or act on that website in some way based on a Google or Bing search, that's SEO working for the business.
At its foundation, SEO is keywords, something we actually associate with search engines...but you might not realize. When you go to Google, notice how you don't type sentences but short phrases? You're searching keywords that websites are optimizing for.
When you write articles you don't want to start with a vague topic or title - you want to start with a keyword or phrase.
Start Your Blog With A Focus Keyword
What do you want someone to search on Google and find your blog article for? This is your focus keyword!
It doesn't need to be just one word (keyword is deceptive that way), but instead a key-phrase. You want to start your creative process with your focus keyword so that every aspect of your blog article goes back to the focus.
Most of the time for blog articles you will want a long-tail keyword, something closer to a sentence and further from one or two words. For example, if I am writing an article on yoga poses to increase arm strength then my feature keyword might be yoga poses for strong arms or yoga poses for toned arms.
Once you determine your focus keyword you want to include it in 5 different places (as best you can):
- Title: You want to include your keyword in a natural way, consider putting it into a "How To" or List format.
- URL: on Wavoto you can have a "Friendly URL" where you can add your keyword/title/phrase separated by dashes. Take a look at this article's URL for an example!
- Sub-Headers: When you write an article that is longer and broken up by header text. For an article written about yoga poses for strong arms, one header could be about how yoga builds stronger arms and another can be the keyword followed by the poses.
- Body Text: Throughout your blog article you will want to include the keyword, but naturally. You don't want to say it in every single sentence, but any place it could naturally be brought in.
- Image Alt-Text: Search engines can't see images like we can, so they rely on alt-text to help them determine the relevance of an image to the article and search results (it is also the text that will be read for those who are blind and use screen readers). One example would be for our yoga article, the alt-text should be "Crow pose is a great yoga pose for strong arms,"
While you start with a focus keyword you want to support it with supporting keywords! These are keywords (or long-tail key phrases) that are similar to your focus keyword. So yoga for strong arms could be supported by
- tone your arms with yoga
- how yoga builds arm strength
- arm focused yoga poses
Supporting keywords aren't as widely searched for, but using them can show search engines what your article is focused on and will help searchers.
Lastly, the more traffic to your blog article the better! This may seem counterintuitive, how are you supposed to get blog traffic without it being found easily in search results? This is where social media and linking comes in.
While writing your blog, think about places you can link back to, places that relate to your content, and maybe of further interest to your blog readers. This is called back-linking and it works two ways:
- You want to link to other articles you have or popular articles on other websites that support things you say in your own blog article. The easiest way to do this is linking to facts, quotes, studies, or statistics. You only want to include a handful of these links.
- You want to get other articles to link to this one, this happens after you hit publish and has a greater impact (or weight) on your ability to get found in Google search.
But that's not where you want to get your first wave of traffic from! A huge benefit to blog articles is that they give you endless content to share on social media. As soon as you hit "publish" you need to be promoting your article on social media.
It's not just one and done, either, you want to share it at least 3 times in the following 3 months...and keep sharing it every quarter after - that's a lot of sharing!
If you didn't know, YouTube is owned by Google. Meaning, Google loves when people spend time on it, view ads, and interact.
You can take advantage of this!
Work to embed a video, ideally from your own YouTube channel, into a blog article and then add the link of the blog article in the description of the YouTube video. It creates a cycle like this:
Every view of the embedded video in your blog article make Google happy and wanting to share it more and every view of the video on YouTube helps the blog article get more traffic!
Disguised as a social network, Pinterest is actually a visual search engine. Think about it, you go to Pinterest to peruse, sure, but mainly to search for something. "Short hairstyles," "thirty-minute dinners," "colorful branding," - I could go on and on!
Having a Pinterest business profile is a huge asset in helping your blog article get traffic over time, all you need to do is keep sharing Pins of your blog (which you can schedule directly on Pinterest) to get your article out there and in front of people searching.
As an added bonus, Pinterest is super easy to find the keywords you should be focusing on. Take the image below, where I searched for "blog SEO" - I don't want to copy the other pins, but inspire my own article. I could focus on a blog SEO checklist, tips, keywords, or for a website.
You can get inspired by what people are commonly searching for.
When you go to write your blog articles, you want to set your intention. Following basic SEO principles keeps that intention focused and allows you to strategically use your blog to grow your business, not just have it be a time suck!
We make it really easy to optimize all of these aspects on Wavoto, as well as build your email list in the process so your entire online business is managed from one place. Check it out today with free access for 14-days, click here to get started.