Today there are more than 500 million blogs on the internet. With so many available, how do you ensure that your posts will rank high in the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages)? This guide will take you through the key areas to keep in mind when writing and publishing your blog posts so they actually rank.
No matter how well written a piece of content is, if nobody is interested in reading it then all that work is wasted. That’s why industry research is so important; it helps to frame not only how you write your blog, but also which subjects to focus on. When doing this research we recommend following these 3 simple steps.
1. What is trending?
This will vary from industry to industry. Both external and internal industry factors can play a role in these trends. During the COVID-19 pandemic there were a high number of search queries around fostering a dog and how to bake bread. While ethical and sustainable fashion has become an increasingly important focus in the retail clothing industry.
There are a few methods to recognise industry trends. The first is to check what has been happening most recently in the news related to your industry. There are a wide number of sites dedicated to providing updates on new stories happening within specific industries. Be sure to subscribe and frequently check them to see any patterns or new subjects gaining traction.
The second method is based on keywords. These are the words or phrases that users type into search engines like Google. The key is to look for keywords with high search volume. These can be deduced through a variety of different tools such as Google Ads Keyword Planner, Neil Patel’s Ubersuggest & SEM Rush’s Keyword Magic Tool.
Finally, use your own first party data. Nobody knows your customers better than you do, note their behaviours in real life and on your website. Are they focused on particular pages? Have you been receiving the same questions/feedback from customers/clients? Use a mixture of all of these different methods to gain a strong understanding of the industry trends.
2. What are your competitors doing?
Competitors will always try to outperform you, which means they will be making sure they can provide the best quality content for potential customers. Take a look at your competitors’ blog content and see what areas they are focusing on and how high they are ranking in the search results. Compare this to top ranking results and be sure to scrutinise the differences between the two. Is one blog longer than the other? Does one use more media within the blog (images, gifs, etc)? Does one have a more eye-catching title? All of these factors can play a key role in separating a 1st position blog from a 6th position blog in the search engine results.
3. Where are the knowledge gaps?
After all this research around trends and your competition, it is now down to determining what has been missed. For example, a competitor may have not touched enough upon an area of interest that has a high search volume. The more that businesses can determine these knowledge gaps and look to fill them in early, the much higher chance of increasing traffic and ranking higher in the search engines.
Structure & Backend Optimisation
Once you have determined what to write about, the next steps involve making sure that the blog is structured in a way that is easily digestible for readers and search engines.
1. Blog layout & length
Blog length and layout will vary depending on the industry and the subject being written about. For instance, users may be less likely to read a 2,000 word blog on the top ten hairstyles for 2021, whereas a blog on how to disassemble and reassemble a computer from scratch will most likely need more than 500 words. This is where research can come in handy as you are able to see the top ranking blogs and their typical lengths. When it comes to layout, this is not only in terms of how you structure your blog but also what text or media you use. Infographics and other imagery can be highly effective at providing a lot of information in an easy to read format and can be equally advantageous when building links for your blog.
2. Linking to high authority external sources
Authority is a well known ranking factor and refers to how trusted a web page is. Linking is one of the ways to build authority and there are two types of linking; internal and external linking. As the names suggest, internal linking involves linking to pages within your website, while external linking involves linking to external (3rd party) websites. By linking to high authority external websites with relevant content to your own blog, you can grow your authority in the eyes of search engines and users who can see where your content is coming from.
3. Utilise keywords
Keywords are highly important when it comes down to writing seo friendly blog articles. Including phrases that users are likely to be searching for can aid in boosting traffic to your blog page and can also provide insights into what the content is about for search engines. It’s important to avoid keyword stuffing though, which involves using key terms and phrases as many times as possible in content. Search engines are able to pick up on this practice and they can actually penalize the content causing a negative impact on ranking performance.
4. Alternative Text (Alt Text) & Meta Titles & Descriptions
Alt Text & Meta Titles/Descriptions are the backend work that should be undertaken on any blog and are the final pieces of the puzzle before publishing your piece. Alt text refers to text that describes an image on a webpage. This alt text is placed in the html code and is highly effective with ranking, as it aids search engines in understanding what an image is and what the page is discussing. This means that the search engine has an easier job for ranking the article for relevant searches.
Meta Titles & Descriptions play a similar role, but in this case they provide information on what a page or blog is about. These are again shown within the html code of the webpage and follow a similar function to alt text by aiding with the page’s SEO performance by improving crawlability for search engines. It is also recommended to utilise some keywords in your alt text, meta titles and meta descriptions to aid with ranking, but be sure to avoid keyword stuffing.
If you follow these various steps when writing a blog post you can ensure you supply consistently high quality blog posts that will rank regardless of your industry. To find out more about blog posts for your business, contact the content gurus at Redline Digital today.