Your blog can be an important lead generation tool if you know how to use it. Producing compelling content can drive relevant traffic to your website and generate sales opportunities. In order for this to happen, your content needs to be optimized to rank well on search engines and be easily found by prospects searching for the value you are offering.
Blogging for SEO will only work if you understand your audience. In this article, we are assuming you have already identified your target customer and have valuable information to offer. Now you only need content that will educate and entertain the audience. Let’s dive into SEO content creation.
Getting Blog Topic Ideas
For your content marketing to work, you need to plan and produce content in advance. Use an editorial calender to guide you and plan at least 3 month’s worth of content. But how will you know what to write about? Here are some tips on where to get topic ideas:
- Ask your customers what they want to know more about
- Get ideas from your social media followers
- Get ideas from user generation content sites like Quora and Yahoo Answers
- Take a look at what your competitors are saying… or not saying.
With your topics in place, it’s time to validate the ideas.
Recommended for YouWebcast: A Week in the Life of an Agile Creative Team
Determine which keywords your audience is likely to type on search engines to get the information they want. Use Google Keyword Tool to see which of your keywords receive substantial searches.
A word of caution on Google AdWords: Do not ignore a keyword because it looks like its gets a small number of searches. Often times, the long-tail keywords are the least difficult to improve rankings for.
Make a list of these target keywords and use them from now on when writing for SEO. Be sure to list the competition and local monthly searches (unless you are a global organization and in that case list the global monthly searches as well).
Note that not every article you write has to be strictly optimized. You still need to produce the information that you feel needs distributed…even if there isn’t a clear SEO rationalization.
Keyword Rich Titles
One of the on page elements that search engines look at is the title tag. Try to use your target keywords in the blog title. Also be sure that your blog uses the blog title in the title tag.
As you optimize the blog title for various keywords, think about your users. When blogging for SEO, your article title should be able to captivate users and still rank well. When you have a choice between pleasing users and search engines, always go for users.
Use Keywords Deep in Copy
Now it’s time to create your article. Write an original compelling blog post that your audience will love. Use a target keyword for each specific article in conjunction with other related keywords in the copy. The keywords should fit naturally and be well spread out in the copy. At most, strive to achieve a target keyword density of about 1 percent. You can check your article’s keyword density using free tools like Live Keyword Analysis.
Interlink your posts to make it easier for search engines bots to crawl your content. Google seems to be favoring long form content especially in industries where competition is high. Strive to make your blog posts more than 400 words when blogging for SEO.
Categories & Tag Pages
When your content is ready to be posted, you have to determine which category it should fall in and the tags to be used. The categories should preferably be your top keywords. This will create a structure that will help those category pages rank well. For example, if you are targeting the weight loss market, some categories that would make sense include weight loss supplements, diet pills, diet programs, exercises and so on.
Be sure that you plan your categories well. You want them to be broad enough so that you do not have to add a new category for every new post. Try to achieve a maximum of 10 categories, unless you have a very good reason to have more. More categories than 10 can result in visual overload for the visitor, which will result in your categories being overlooked.
Linking to both internal (on your site) and external (on other people’s sites) related posts will help search engine bots categorize your topic and can help your users learn more about your topic. Internal linking can also make it easy for users to navigate your site. If you are blogging on WordPress, you can use plugins like YARPP to help readers find related posts quickly.
Bonus: Check Your Content with an SEO Plugin
You can easily optimize your blogging for SEO practices using All in One SEO or WordPress SEO by Yoast plugins. The plugins can help you to fix the structure of page titles, meta data, and meta descriptions.
Blogging for SEO is all about on-page optimization of your content and website. Be conscious to create high-quality content your audience will love, share, and come back to read. Strive to create content so good, that it becomes bookmarked as a reference tool for your audience.