Content is the lifeblood of successful businesses. Traditionally, this content has been supplied in terms of physical goods and services with which businesses can market. However, as the digital space has explored more and more avenues of entrepreneurship, it in turn has created new ways to which businesses can provide content. An interesting case study of one of these new avenues of content-creation is blog posting.
As of 2017, 65% of business websites have integrated some sort of blog posting system into their framework. With seemingly endless swarms of data constantly streaming in, marketing of one set of blog writing as opposed to another is becoming an exponentially difficult task. One possible method of circumvention to this problem is search engine optimisation (SEO).
In a nutshell, SEO is the process of maximizing visitors by heightening organic result rankings. Here are a few ways in which you can utilize the features of SEO to your benefit in the context of blog posting.
Backlinks & Original Content
Backlinks are defined as a hyperlink from one web page to another. Beyond having the inherent benefit of directing another audience to your webpage, backlinks act as a marker for Google’s search algorithm, as they are a great indicator of website popularity. Google uses backlinks as one of many ways to arbitrate where websites should be ranked organically in a Google Search. Naturally, it would be in a blog writer’s interest to have as many backlinks as possible, as a higher Google search ranking almost universally means a higher number of page visits. It might then seem to behove burgeoning bloggers to pay for as many cheap backlinks to their blog as possible, but there are flaws in this line of thinking.
Google tracks backlink reputability by seeing if the site linking to your own is popular, trusted and shares relevant keywords with yours. Furthermore, your own site has to have a multitude of click-throughs in not just one blog post or landing page, but in multiple pages. This is the death knell in paid backlinks, as even if they are paid for, if the source isn’t reputable (and paid backlink sources rarely are) and the blog isn’t of quality, it will have little effect on SEO. Thus the only true way to surmount this problem is to write as much original content as possible. The best way to maximize backlinks is simply to avoid the use of regurgitated content. If blog posts have the same ideas that are expressed elsewhere, then there is no reason for someone to link to your repetitious ideas over another. If you want genuine backlinks, then only way to achieve this effectively is through constant unique content.
It would also be an intelligent move to use your newer posts to reference older ones. While not technically backlinking as this is occurring within the site itself, it is a mechanism for increasing SEO for older, forgotten posts as they get a new wave of click-throughs to help its organic rankings on Google.
Titles and Keywords
Within Google organic searches, the title is perhaps one of the best predictors of click-through rates, as it is the first line that people see in a Google search term. Google then uses click-through rates as one of the markers to determine how high a particular page ranks organically. It is important therefore for a keyword (or multiple keywords) to exist in your title, as more keywords in titles tend to precipitate in more click-throughs.
To explain this idea further, it is important to have a brief understanding of how keywords work. Keywords are words or characters that people type into Google in order to search for a particular good, service or piece of information. The better a keyword is (i.e. the more searches it has) the more likely that pages which use it will rank high organically. A truly optimised blog post will implement as many high-quality keywords as possible, both in its title and in the body of work itself. However, knowing which keywords are of high quality can be difficult, as applicable keywords are transitory for every subject. It is thus important that keywords be researched prior to each new blog being written, as optimised words can change week to week on the very same subject
Once keywords are found, their placement is just as important. Search engines put a great deal of weight on earlier keywords, so in addition to being in the title itself it would be a wise move to backload them near the title of a page. Furthermore, the little snippet of text under a Google search result often details information found in the first few lines of a page, so it would again be beneficial if these lines had keywords disseminated throughout them, as they are more likely to entice readers to click on them.
Use of Your Own Domain and Hosting
After a business has decided to invest the time and effort involved in writing a blog, it is important to know where said blog should be located. One very easy mistake to make is to link your blogs offsite to some free Webhosting service like Tumblr. Putting SEO aside, there are implicit issues with this as customers who see this layout are less likely to give credence to the business, as it looks amateurish. Customer faith in credibility is of paramount importance, as you are less likely to acquire repeat readers if your website exudes an inexperienced aura. But perhaps more important than customers being unlikely to give credibility is Google being unlikely to give credibility.
As we mentioned before with backlinks, Google is looking for markers to denote whether or not a site is of quality, and that is the criteria for high organic ranking. Hosting blogs through a third party source rather than on-site will give Google search algorithms the proclivity to rank your post particularly low, crippling your readership from the outset.
Though all aforementioned features could fall into place, a generation raised on instant information has ensured speed to be the deciding factor in SEO. As many as 40% of individuals who have to wait longer than 20 seconds for a loading page will click off the site. Consequently, this leads to less click-throughs on that blog and the rest of the site, and results in lower organic rankings. Low speed can be remedied through a few ways.
There is a constant push and pull over site aesthetics and speed for blog posters, but if ever in doubt on which side of that spectrum to fall on, go for speed. It is of more importance for a web page to be faster than to have more adornments. Secondly, installing caching plugins can ensure smoother mobility for the users, even if they have slower Internet connections. Finally, don’t opt for cheap hosting services in order to save money, as any temporary monetary gain will be lost in the long run.
The Benefits of Blogging
Though blog posts remain an ancillary feature of web-based businesses, they are still sources for considerable traffic. It is therefore pertinent to think about SEO before writing them, as the most terrifically written and intelligently conceived piece of writing will never see the light of day if published under ill-conceived SEO tactics.