Hey there, welcome to another installment in the Branding by Nicki blog, and today we’re gonna’ be going a bit Inception-y (love that film by the way!) with this post. And what do I mean by that? Well, it’s because this blog is all about blogging of course! And specifically it’s about how your blog can boost that all important SEO.
Before we get into my 5 key areas to consider I just wanted to chat to you briefly about the basics behind how your blog can affect your visibility in search results.
So here’s how it works:
- Whenever someone searches on Google, it returns results in order of relevance
- It determines relevance by what it defines as the very best websites on the subject
- The definition is based on being established, up-to-date, and packed with unique info
- The more you blog, the more you meet those requirements
- The more you meet them, the higher your SEO will be, and the easier you’ll be found
Now just like social media algorithms, the SEO system is always being tweaked and updated, and of course there are a few golden rules to consider – like not directly replicating copy from another website. This isn’t a good idea for two reasons. Firstly, Google will penalize you, and secondly you won’t be sharing your opinion on the subject, which is bad because your expert opinion is one of the reasons why your ideal client will start to trust you! It’s also worth noting that
Google will penalize copy that’s replicated WITHIN your website.
SO HERE’S A TOP TIP:
IF YOU WANT TO INCLUDE A TESTIMONIAL IN ONE OF YOUR BLOG POSTS WHY NOT BUILD IT INTO AN IMAGE INSTEAD – THAT WAY YOU WON’T BE AFFECTED.
Now let’s get into my top tips for using your blog to boost your SEO…
1. KEYWORDS ARE KEY
It sounds like an obvious one, but it’s so, so important to know your keywords and use them as much as possible. BUT always in a natural way. If you just repeat the same word over and over again, not only will you be penalized but your blog probably won’t make sense, meaning lower engagement – which I’ll come onto later.
So how do you build your keywords into your posts naturally? Well, there’s one super simple way to do that, which is to always write about your specialist subject. By doing this you’ll stay on brand and you’ll also always be sharing your expert opinion on your subject. That’s so important for your ideal client to read, because that’s how they start to trust you and what you stand for.
Another great way to understand your keywords is to always use similar words to talk about what you do. There will probably be a variety of words to describe yourself, and you have to think what people may be searching for out there on Google so a consistent mix will boost your ranking as well as prevent your blogs from sounding too repetitive.
So how early do you need to start using your key words? That’s a simple one, immediately. You should always feature them in the title of your post, and then again in the first 100 words of your blog. Doing this will help you always stay consistent and relevant to your specialist subject, which again will boost your ideal client’s opinion of how much an expert you are.
It’s not all about the words you’re writing down though…
ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS CHECK YOUR HOMEPAGE AND WEB DESCRIPTION CONTENT. YOU CAN USE YOUR KEY WORDS TO TAG BOTH POSTS AND IMAGES, WHICH WILL MAKE YOU SEEM EVEN MORE RELEVANT TO THE GOOGLE ALGORITHM.
Most blog platforms have this functionality built in, but if not I would recommend a tag plug-in to make sure you have the best chance possible.
Finally on this section, make sure you pay attention to the URL for your post. Again, it sounds like a simple one, but always make it relevant to the specific post – ideally the title itself if it’s not too long…
2. KNOW WHAT YOUR CLIENTS ARE THINKING
If you follow me on social media, or you’ve read some of my other posts, then you’ll know how much emphasis I put on knowing and understanding your ideal client. It’s super relevant for the visual elements of your branding, but it’s also critical to the success of your blog.
By knowing the sort of searches they’re keying into Google, you’ll be able to tailor your posts to deliver the answers they’re looking for. And by doing that you’ll absolutely nail your keywords at the same time – WINNER!
BUT SERIOUSLY, BY PROVIDING THE SOLUTIONS YOUR IDEAL CLIENT ARE LOOKING FOR, BEFORE THEY EVEN KNOW THEY NEED THEM, THEY’LL LOVE YOU FOREVER. SO ALWAYS KEEP YOUR AUDIENCE IN MIND WHEN YOU’RE CHOOSING YOUR BLOG SUBJECTS.
For example, you could base your subjects on key questions like ‘Why X can help’, or ‘How Y can improve your business.’ The things that your ideal client will ask themselves (and Google) every day. Or, why not base some topics on questions your clients ask you directly? If the same question keeps coming up, you can guarantee all of these people, and others out there will be typing it into search engines every day. Now if you have a unique answer, that’s your brand’s angle on the subject, you’ll have the chance to reach all of these potential new clients.
So how do you know what people are searching for? Well, why not try googling a few of the questions you’re often asked and see what comes up, then share your unique opinion and angle on the subject. Try to answer the problem in a different, more interesting way, offer actionable advice – the sort of advice you would give your clients, and keep in mind that you want to be the go-to post for that issue.
3. FIND THE BALANCE BETWEEN ATTENTION AND ENGAGEMENT
Now we know that your ideal client is bombarded with posts and images from friends, family and brands across their social channels so to stand out you need to have real cut through. You HAVE to get through the noise and get their attention with your branding, and that’s the same with your blog.
You will do that by offering something they need. Answering a question, or providing a solution to a problem they’ve been experiencing will immediately hook them in. So make sure your title does that clearly, featuring key words and giving your client a taste of what they want to know.
IT’S ALSO CRUCIAL TO SHOUT ABOUT YOUR POSTS ON YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA CHANNELS. IT’S NO USE HAVING AN AMAZING BLOG IF NO-ONE KNOWS IT’S THERE. WHEN YOU’VE GOT THEM INTERESTED, YOU NEED TO ENGAGE THEM.
There have been plenty of studies, with some research showing 55% of users spend less than 15 seconds on a page – crazy! HOWEVER, on the top 10 search results, the average time spent is 3 minutes and 10 seconds – which is great indicator of a post being super relevant and well put together. It’s also good to note this factor, often referred to as dwell time, is becoming one of the most important ranking metrics for Google.
So let’s talk about how to boost dwell time:
- Write long, detailed posts. This doesn’t mean you have to drone on, but aim for 2000 words where possible
- Include stats and facts to showcase your expertise
- Add your special twist to common topics
Now those tips will certainly help put together insightful posts. But don’t forget the most important factor in engaging your ideal client – YOU. Make sure you, or your blog copywriter share your brand’s opinion on the subject and show off your personality. It’s that passion and honesty that makes a great blog, and makes people want to come back for more.
4. KEEP IT UP
Once you’ve started blogging it’s so important to regularly update your posts and find new topics to discuss. It may sound daunting, but it’s all about creating the habit, and having the confidence to share your opinion with the world. Set aside some time each week or every month to research some topics and then include the writing into your daily routine. It could be as simple as 3 hours one day, or a few bursts throughout the week depending on how you like to work. And trust me, once you get into the swing of things you won’t look back.
The other thing to remember is that you need to keep your posts up to date. I’m sure you’ve all been there when you need some information and you think you’ve found the perfect answer, only to find out that the article was written in 2011 and everything’s moved on so far it’s irrelevant!
Google recognizes and rewards websites that are regularly evolving and sharing new content, so remember to update your posts in the future and try to avoid adding dates or times of year in the copy – no one wants to look like they’re stuck in the past do they!
5. BE YOU
I touched on it before but the most important thing to remember is to always be you. And if you do that you’ll always have something to write about.
The world is changing so quickly, new innovations are appearing every day so just keep sharing your opinion and you’ll be onto a winner.
AND AS WITH ALL OF YOUR BRANDING, MAKE SURE THE OPINIONS YOU SHARE AND THE TOPICS YOU DISCUSS ARE CONSISTENT TO YOUR BRAND MISSION STATEMENT. GO OFF PISTE AND YOU’RE LIKELY TO ALIENATE YOUR IDEAL CLIENT, WHO ARE COMING TO YOU FOR THE ANSWER TO A SPECIFIC PROBLEM.
Remember, everyone who reads your blog is a potential client, so target them like they are, and talk to them like they are once you’ve got them hooked in.
I want to finish this blog with one final thing to consider when it comes to your blog. We’ve touched on a lot of the practical elements of blogging and how that can boost your SEO with keywords, topics and how to keep people engaged but this last point goes beyond an individual post. Why? Because it’s all about optimizing for mobile.
You might not think it’s important for your blog, but you couldn’t be any more wrong. Just think about how often you search on your mobile versus your laptop or desktop…
With most searches now performed on the go, Google considers mobile versions of websites when it’s ranking results – so you HAVE to have a slick, mobile site in your back pocket. Make sure you check your site on your phone and get it looking as on point as possible, as quickly as possible. The great thing about this is that when you’ve done it once, you can sit back and start applying my top 5 tips to boost your SEO – but as with everything when it comes to branding, you need that foundation in place to make it happen.