This is the third part of our three-part series that examines the purpose behind blogging and how businesses like law firms can benefit from an established blog. Our third installment will look at setting blogging goals and the effects of search engine optimization (SEO) on content. If you’re looking to learn how and why to write blogs with SEO in mind and gain the traffic you’re looking for, this series is for you.
We’ve talked about determining who you’re writing for and knowing what you’re writing about, but in order to write a successful piece, you also need to understand why you’re writing. Whether you’re being given blog topics or coming up with your own, it’s important to recognize that each piece of content comes with a series of goals.
The two main goals surround the quality of your content and the results of publishing. You’ll want to meet the demands of the topic by providing your audience with the most factual and relevant information, and you should strive to increase website traffic and retaining readers.
Blogging Goals to Consider
In order to successfully achieve the main goals, you’ll need to understand the smaller goals that can help propel you toward success. It’s also important to recognize the relationship between blogging and SEO and how you can optimize your content. We’ll start by going over specific blogging goals you can set as a writer.
You know that, in theory, the more quality content you produce, the more traffic your blogs will see. While there’s no guarantee of traffic, it’s necessary to have content that can rank and drive visitors. In the beginning it can be difficult to determine how often to write. Set up a schedule that works for you. You may find that one blog a week suffices.
As you grow, you may want or need to produce more content. Once you have a few quality pieces published, you can base your schedule off the traffic they receive and your overall traffic goals.
Consider Content Length
Once you’ve got a scheduled down, you’ll want to start looking how long your content is. In general, long-form content tends to do better than shorter pieces. Publishing an epic blog, every once in a while, is a good idea. It can be intimidating to set a 2,000 or 3,000-word count for yourself, but you can work your way up. Most pieces are in the range of 750-1,500 words, but it depends on the topic and depth. News summaries, for example, are likely to be shorter but may garner more traffic.
Start by writing what comes naturally. When you’ve finished, look for areas you can expand. The best way to go about this is to read what you’ve written as though you have no knowledge on the information. If you can come up with questions, keep writing until they’re answered.
Another smaller goal to consider is obtaining links. When you write long-form content, you may have the opportunity to engage with other websites. Outreach is an important part of driving traffic. If you feature a blog, event, or business in a piece you publish, let them know. While there’s no guarantee they’ll respond, odds are that eventually, someone will. This could lead to social media shares or, ideally, backlinks.
The Relationship Between Blogging and SEO
No matter what type of website you have or what kind of content you’re writing, you’ll need it to show up in a search engine if you want people to find it. There are a number of reasons why blogging can help SEO. Understanding the connection between the two can help you grasp why you are writing.
Overall, blogging keeps your website current. When websites aren’t updated, the information isn’t as trustworthy. Google doesn’t want to provide searchers with outdated information. When websites are updated regularly, like with blog content, it’s a sign that the website is being maintained. Regularly publishing content also gives search engine algorithms more reason to crawl and index your site more often.
Blogs also keep visitors on your website for a longer period of time. If someone clicks on a link Google provided and quickly leaves to go back to the search page, Google knows that search result wasn’t as helpful as it could have been. If, however, someone clicks on a result and stays on the website for a while because of quality blog content, Google will recognize the website as useful.
In addition to updating your website and keeping visitors on your site longer, blogging quality content helps you target long-tail keywords. It’s no secret that SEO is competitive. Unless you’re the biggest brand or company in your area or field, you’re going to have to do serious keyword research. Long-tail keywords are those that are four words or longer. When coming up with them, take into consideration how a user might search for your product or service.
When you combine strong SEO strategies with quality content, you’ll likely be on the path toward achieving the rankings and traffic you want. It’s important to remember, however, that this is not an overnight process. It could take weeks, months, or even longer to get the results you want. The important part is persevering through the trial and error process until you find something that works.
Optimizing Your Content to Reach Your Goals
Now that you understand why you’re writing content and how SEO relates, you can start working on optimizing your content to reach your goals. While it’s always important to prioritize your audience over search engines, there are steps you can take to increase your chances of ranking high organically based on what search engines look for.
- Do Keyword Research. Conducting keyword research is a crucial part of developing an SEO-based blog strategy. When you do it properly, you’ll be able to figure out the types of topics your audience is interested in. When you come up with a list of keywords, you’ll want to use them throughout the content where they’re most natural. If you try to put keywords where they feel forced, you could end up stuffing keywords and your rank could suffer.
- Choose a Solid Title. One of the main parts of a piece of content search engines pay attention to is a page’s title. Your title gives you an opportunity to use your primary target keyword, but make sure you use it in a way that makes sense.
- Optimize Your Headings. In addition to picking a good title, you’ll want to focus on your piece’s headings as well. Any <h1>, <h2>, or <h3> tag you use should be written with a purpose. Once again, you’ll want to look for natural opportunities to include your keywords.
- Use Relevant Internal Links. Links are an important ranking signal. While getting other websites to link to you can be a challenge, you have the power to do internal linking. When you write a new blog, think about other pages or blogs that you’ve already published that are relevant. Include a link wherever it makes sense to do so. Every so often you should also review old posts and determine if any new internal links could be included.
Through the Blogging With a Purpose series, we’ve looked at understanding who you’re writing for, determining what to write about, and understanding why writing blogs is important for a successful website. It takes time to learn the fundamentals of blog writing, and it’s important to remember that there’s always something new to learn. But, with this series, we hope you’ve got a better grasp on how to blog and what content like that can do for you and your business.
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