I am one of 31.7 million bloggers in the U.S. That’s a whopping 10 percent of the population. There are many good reasons blogs are so prolific. First, Google loves good content and rewards well-written blog posts with top search engine rankings when keywords are judiciously and intelligently inserted into the text. Second, it gives businesses a chance to exert some editorial control over how they are perceived and how they can differentiate themselves from the competition.
I currently have eight active blogging accounts that range from a New Orleans caterer to personal injury attorneys to a motor home broker. What they all have in common is the way that they are crafted to gain the attention of Google and those browsing the internet for information.
So what is the secret sauce for creating robust blog posts?
Research: Of course, it’s important to know your topic. But you’ll also want to create backlinks to other sources in your blog post. By inserting an outbound link to, say, a major daily newspaper, can also help with Google rankings. You also want inbound links, which are links that direct readers back to your website. Posts should contain two to three outbound and inbound links. A blog post can’t just be all about you, so giving readers a variety of sources to validate your premise is important.
Keywords: Most bloggers have a Search Engine Optimization (SEO) pro that they work with who can give them a list of keywords to work into the text. Some important rules of thumb are to keep multi-word keyword strings together and avoid “keyword stuffing”, which is penalized by Google, Bing, and Yahoo. You want to also make sure keywords are well distributed across the content. Likewise for the title–always include the main keyword in the article title, and use this as the main keyword throughout the post. Above, never link to competitors.
Writing Best Practices: Most blog posts should exceed 600 words. Be sure paragraphs are around 150 words, and sentences shouldn’t have more than 20 words in them. SEO gives priority to writing that includes transition words, such as “like”, “most importantly”, “because”, and “therefore.” Transition words make the text more readable and give direction to your readers. Also, remember that the article needs to be informative and the reader needs to learn something about your company and the topic and how they relate to one another. Whenever possible, write in first person. Use “we” instead of “they.” Be sure to use terms like “top-rated” or “five-star rated” within the post because people often use those terms when searching for information. Lastly, break up blocks of text with subheads that compel the reader to keep going.
Visuals: Always add two to four photos throughout the body of the content that support the story. The SEO pro will also provide links to photos that include a keyword and what the content of the image is. If possible, include a caption as well. People skim content before they dive in, so give them some visual bread crumbs to follow.
Blogging can do wonders for search engine rankings and your bottom line. So, blog away! If you need some help getting started or feel like you’re running out of topics, give me a call. I’d be happy to lend a pen.