Maybe you’re launching your first blog for your ecomm site or perhaps you’ve been blogging for a long time — no matter where you are in your content journey, you may realize your content isn’t pulling its SEO weight. Fortunately, making even minor tweaks can set your content down the path towards boosting its SEO. And with additional scrutiny, you’ll find even a properly optimized post can perform better with an update. So let’s take a look at five ways you can boost the SEO value of your blog posts today.
1 | Help the Reader
Assuming you’ve already done your keyword research and planned out your keyword usage, your approach to modern content SEO should be all about writing for the reader. In fact, Google has dedicated a series of algorithm updates, aptly named Helpful Content Updates, to rewarding content that’s helpful to the reader. If you’re struggling to come up with SEO ideas for your blog, you should first think, “How will this help visitors to my site or people interested in topics related to my products?” Helpful content is always the best content to write on any blog.
A great place to start brainstorming ideas to help your readers is looking at the People Also Ask (PAA) questions on Google for topics related to your website.
The PAAs represent questions real humans commonly ask in the Google search box, so they’re great guides to helping readers. Depending on the topic, one PAA query could be the basis for an entire blog post, or you could develop a topic around a collection of PAAs. As you’ll notice, Google provides a top search result for each PAA. If your blog post accurately and efficiently targets a PAA, your website could be one of these answers.
But the PAAs aren’t the only goal: By targeting PAAs you’re also targeting shorter-tail keywords, which can help you rank for those as well. For instance, by creating the article, “How Should Cowboy Boots Fit?” you’ll be targeting related keywords naturally, like “cowboy boot fit,” “cowboy boot fit guide,” and “fitting cowboy boots,” allowing you to rank for each of those individually.
2 | Provide Clear Answers Without Burying Them
One of the more artful challenges in boosting your blog SEO is targeting a PAA answer. While a straightforward list of FAQ-style questions-and-answers in a blog post can work in some cases, bigger ideas often require fleshed-out concepts in paragraph form. Once you get into longer paragraphs, it’s easy to bury your answer in fluff copy. Your answer to a PAA query, or your inclusion of a keyword, can appear anywhere on the page, though towards the top is usually best. And if you doubt that your answer is positioned well, try moving it to the first sentence of the post, or the related section.
3 | Structure Your Content for SEO
It seems like some folks forget that the O in SEO simply stands for optimization. It’s not magic and it doesn’t require shortcuts (which will eventually fail). Optimization is really just about checking the boxes to ensure your content is digestible by the reader. And how do you optimize? By giving your blog posts structure.
We can all agree that a massive wall of text is at best frustrating and at worst impossible to read. So you’ve likely broken out your content into different sections. But are the section headers helpful? And are you using H3s where they’re needed and not choosing header styles because you like the look of the font?
A properly structured blog post should include:
- A meta title and description, and an H1 that accurately describe the content of the post and fall within character limit guidelines.
- Headers that accurately describe the section below, without using so much creative flourish that it hides the intent
- Headers organized correctly with the lowest-order headers nested within high-order headers, i.e., H4s are within H3s which are within H2s
- Ordered (numbered) or unordered (bulleted) lists to break out shorter points or information
4 | Post and Update Content Regularly
A stale blog is not good for readers and therefore not good for SEO. While you don’t need to post a new blog daily, you should create a content calendar with a plan to post new blogs and update old blogs, weekly or even monthly. But how frequently you post will depend on your industry and competition. More competitive industries may require four to five blog posts a week. The key here is consistency. And while you may not immediately see a negative impact to your rankings when you stop blogging for six months, you’re missing out on potentially improved rankings.
This is where updating old content becomes important. Because of the evolving SEO landscape and changes to your own industry, blog content should always be updated with any pertinent new information and improved optimization. What you knew last year, almost certainly can be improved upon this year, and a fresh post date with updated copy and better images, or charts, is seen as one of the single best things you can do to improve your blog’s SEO.
5 | Promote Your Blog Posts on Social Media and in Email Marketing
You’ve spent a lot of time and effort creating your content, and search engines shouldn’t be the only way people can find it. More traffic to a post can help expand its network of readers, thus helping to improve its rankings. To kickstart that traffic, use the tools you have, like your social media followers and email lists.
Posting your content to social media and featuring it in your emails works on two levels. First, you’re distributing your content to potential readers who are already interested in your brand. Second, you’re giving your social feed and emails some more color by breaking up what may be a consistent flow of promotional or image-based content.
To effectively use blog content in social media and email marketing, connect your blog content calendar with your social media and email calendars so you can plan around your new content being part of each channel’s strategy. Whether you’re a single-person marketing department handling all channels or you work with teams managing each different channel, your social media and email managers will be thankful for the additional content resources for their outlets.
Are you looking for more ways to boost your blog’s SEO? At EightOhTwo Marketing we love solving content puzzles and seeing blogs exceed expectations. Shoot us a message and let’s take a look at how your blog can become the SEO star of your site.