Many small business owners struggle to find a return on investment from blogging. It is standard advice in the search engine optimization industry to maintain a blog and update it regularly. Yet many small business owners don’t see traffic gains for new customers as a result of this digital marketing activity.
Why exactly are so many business owners struggling to dominate the Google search results with their blog?
In this article, we will cover five ways to make your business blog perform well in Google. Each was well researched based on the latest thinking in search engine optimization strategy, which has changed dramatically in the last few years.
The reality is that over 2 million blog posts are created each day while there still only remains 10 positions on a page one search result in Google.
To win against these odds, business owners need to adjust the length of their post, understand the continued importance of backlinking, coordinate their blog publications with social media and email marketing, and build strong community relationships via a process known as guest posting.
The first strategy that every business owner needs to understand is that length requirements have shifted. This will not be welcome news to busy professionals; you barely have time to blog as it is. But Google has been very clear over the last year, and the data reveals that the length of your blog post is a major predictor of how well it will rank in the search engines.
Position one rankings typically have between 15,00 and 2,000 words on the pages.
This does not, however, mean you can fill your blog with fluff. As Google has evolved its algorithm to prefer longer-form content, it has also become much sharper at identifying content that is fluffy or thin.
SEO professionals talk a great deal about “searcher intent.” This is jargon which is used to describe content that deeply satisfies the reason a search was executed in Google. Said more plainly, does your blog post answer the question the searcher set out to resolve?
Long-form content can take many forms that satisfy the searcher’s intent. The top five list is a very common format that has proven successful for both users and search engines.
Studies and statistics are also extremely popular, especially when it is unique data that cannot be found anywhere else. If you are struggling to come up with how to write a long-form blog post that will really hit the mark, consider doing a quick survey on a topic you know readers will be interested in.
Links Still Matter
While there has been an immense focus on content quality and content length, there is also no doubt in the search engine optimization community that backlinks still matter greatly. Again, the data suggest that to hold a top-ranking position, a blog post will need to have individual links to that page.
Google has a long history of adjusting its algorithm to try and sort out which links were placed with manipulative intent versus those that signal high-quality content. Starting in 2013 with the Penguin algorithm update, they explicitly started to target spammy link building techniques using anchor text analysis.
While you need to acquire links for every single blog post, you also need to be very cognizant that certain methods of link building will set off warning bells at Google and actually hurt your cause.
A general rule of thumb analyzing whether a backlink will be helpful is to look at the strength of the site linking to you, often described as Page Authority or Domain Authority. The anchor text in the link to your blog post will also be incredibly important as well as the other places that one post links to, which is known as Co-citation.
Most business owners understand that social media is a critical component of modern customer service. Many customers prefer to contact a company via social media versus traditional methods such as email or phone.
Companies also understand that having an active social media presence is a critical ingredient of their PR. As such, they tend to keep their profiles updated and engaging as part of mediating the brand’s image.
What is not as well understood is that social media platforms are an excellent avenue for blog content dissemination. Use your social media presence to promote your new blog post and bring it immediate audience. These are community members who are likely to be interested in your topic and perhaps will share it with other members on the social platform.
Email marketing offers a similar opportunity for cross-promotion if a coordinated email blast accompanies your blog post-publication. A well-maintained list of opt-in users will welcome an email on a topic that interests them.
Monitor your open rates and click-through rates on these emails to ensure that the list is of high quality. This will help you avoid problems with Internet service providers who monitor complaints and blacklist email servers when they push the limits.
As your email list grows you should find that each blog post is met with a warm reception that generates several comments and, hopefully, a few backlinks as members of your community share your content.
The fifth method for improving your blog SEO is to engage in a practice known as guest posting. There are two methods to engage in a guest blog posting: posting on other people’s websites and accepting guest posts on your domain. Both are beneficial for building relationships and your network within your vertical.
Allowing guest post on your own domain may not seem at first blush to benefit your rankings as you are giving out shop space and outbound links to others. However, when people do a guest blog post that includes a backlink they are very likely to promote it across various channels, which can generate positive signals for your website. Additionally, they are likely to engage in comments and build a community around your post, which is also extremely helpful for your brand.
Guest posting on other people’s websites has the obvious benefit of earning a backlink in return for a thoughtful contribution. In addition, you will engage their community and help build their brand. This relationship-building can be very beneficial and long-lasting, and you are likely to remember the people you have cross-promoted with.
Many small business owners are baffled that their blogging practice has not generated the traffic and customers that they had hoped. They were probably advised by a search engine optimization professional that they need to blog at a regular frequency and that Google would reward their content with traffic.
In this article, we’ve outlined five ways you can help your blog perform better. Writing longer-form content has been demonstrated to help to rank. We discussed the continued emphasis on backlink building, though earning the right backlinks is also critical. Coordinating blog post launches with social media and email marketing is an excellent way to prime your audience for sharing. Finally, building a community around a practice of both allowing guest posts and writing guest posts for others will build bridges to other influencers.