I often get asked ‘what can I do to boost the SEO of my website?’ or ‘how can I rank for our main industry keywords?’
For a business lead generation website, the answer is simple: create more content.
Creating more content really means blogging.
Sure, you can make more service pages and other landing pages. You can even make more content about specific areas you serve to hit those keywords or create more content specific to your company’s culture, values and team. However, the most impact will probably come from the blogs you write.
The reason for this is also pretty simple: each piece of content (page or post) you write and publish gives you a chance to rank for a new main keyword or set of similar keywords.
Google will also see your website as being less static and more dynamic, the more content you publish regularly.
Looking at a list of clients, the top SME websites for organic traffic all have one thing in common: prolific blogging at the heart of them. Examples include:
- Futurist Speaker Nikolas Badminton who has written over 750 blogs in the last few years
- Brands for the Heart who create articles that explain tagline ideas or explain how companies successfully rebrand
- Turnfit Trainers who create blogs, guides and training tips to dominate local ‘personal trainer’ keywords in Vancouver
The owners of these businesses are all content machines and committed bloggers. It really does make a difference in terms of ranking for your main keywords that your target audience are using.
So, if you’re a business owner and you’re focused on your product or service, or managing a team… Or just running your business with your head barely above water and…
You’re not an expert in blogging (maybe not even marketing), what are some strategy tips for blogging that might help?
Here is the info I emphasize to our online growth and SEO clients:
1. Write for your target audience not for SEO bots
This first point is about being a human.
Don’t try and game the system and write just to rank for keywords. Think about your target audience.
You know who you want to target for your different services and products.
Use your marketing personas or specialist knowledge about your business…
What are some questions your customers always ask?
How can you help them with useful information.
Here are some examples for North Shore Digital as a company doing online marketing for trades, health and wellness and financial services businesses:
- Best Tips to Write a Blog for my Business (you’re reading it!)
- 15 Minute Checklist to Promote a Blog Article
- What Makes a Good Business Website to Get More Leads?
- How to Measure Success for Your Website/Online Marketing?
- Top Reasons to Use Google Ads for Your (Trades/Health & Wellness/Financial Services) Business
- Why Use WordPress as Your CMS for a Business Lead Generation Website?
- What Type of Hosting is Best for Business/WordPress?
- What’s the Best Way to Prevent a WordPress Site from Being Hacked?
These are just some ideas from conversations with clients I’ve had over the last month or two.
The list could go on and on… but this is where I’d start…
You are the expert in your own business and your own clients. Use this as a source of content ideas.
Brainstorm what your clients need answered.
This has multiple benefits:
- It helps clients understand your benefits and why they should work with you
- It helps you get clear on your messaging and what works best in answering common client questions
- It helps you communicate internally with your staff and stakeholders about your benefits
If you have a guide on how to do something that you share via email already with clients or with your staff, make a blog out of it.
We did this recently with a post on how to launch your WordPress website from draft to live. It’s pretty nerdy/techie and probably won’t get much traffic but I wanted to publish it so we can share with clients about what we have to do when we publish a dev site.
I can also share with our team as to what the steps are so that they can dive in at some point in the future or simply so that we have more knowledge about what we do internally for different processes.
Or maybe you have a series of posts on social media?
Bring them into a website blog.
Ideally, you’d create the blog on your site first and then repurpose it for a multi-channel marketing approach. This would include publishing the blog article first and then posting to social media with a link back to the article, sending out an email blast to relevant audiences and potentially making a video or webinar from the blog.
This may sound exhausting but it’s really all about getting the most out of your content. Related to this is number 2 below.
2. Don’t let great be the enemy of good
We’ve written some average blogs.
Every website has some that were hit and miss.
Don’t worry about them… Life is about iterating.
You can always delete the poor ones later or revamp them into fresher better newer versions. If you do delete them be sure to redirect them to a relevant article for SEO purposes.
Everyone starts somewhere. Websites are never the finished article. They are all a work-in-progress.
It’s about creating momentum and building blog writing into your company’s culture.
We have four of us currently working at the heart of North Shore Digital and between us we aim to write at least 2 blogs each per month… That adds up to 96 per year… Not quite the 750+ that Nik’s got going on but not too shabby…
You don’t have to be quite so gung-ho and maybe you just need to write one per month or one every two weeks. The key is to get going on it.
Okay so now we’ve got that hang-up out of the way, what about the nuts and bolts of writing and publishing the blog?
3. Don’t be lazy. Add relevant media, links, info about author
This may seem at odds with the last point but it’s really not.
Once you’ve got an article that’s pretty much written even though it might be a bit rough (like this blog post), don’t be shy with adding nice images, relevant videos, other media e.g. slides, internal and external links, info about you as an author etc.
This is where the SEO magic happens…
Google will put you at the heart of the Internet within which you place the article. This might sound like non-technical hippy sorcery but without getting into technical details, is pretty much the best explanation for why to do this.
John Mueller of Google says ‘think about what’s best for the user’ when writing/developing content. Not what is best for Google or SEO.
Here are a few pointers on what to do:
- Make sure to use lots of external links in the article, e.g. other articles or sources of info you’ve mentioned. Make sure to open the link in a new tab so users don’t leave your site (=bye bye =bad). Research has shown that (don’t you just love that phrase?), webpages with more external links (to relevant and high authority websites) have better rankings than ones that don’t link out at all. This is interesting as typically you might think external links are distracting or could make people leave your site. Ultimately, it comes down to providing useful content for your user and that magic SEO sorcery I was talking about earlier. You want to be at the heart of the web and place your article within the context of important articles to do with this subject.
- Make sure to place internal links in the article so that users can move to relevant pages on your site and also importantly so Google can understand the structure and hierarchy of your website and rank pages respectively for related keywords. You can see this in the Yoast plugin for WordPress with their suggested internal links tool.
- Don’t be anonymous. Write as a person. You’re not a bot and a company doesn’t write articles. Be a human being. Come out of the shadows and reveal yourself. Take a risk. Fill out the author info and own your writing. Show yourself as the subject matter expert you are. Note – if you get someone to write articles for you, that’s fine. Ghost writing is a thing. Just be sure that the content represents you and then use your info. Or give credit and be transparent about how you create content. I love honesty.
4. Create categories and tags around your products and services
Don’t just add any categories or tags… Make sure to use them but keep the categories as large buckets based around your product/service offerings and main industry keywords and then use tags more extensively. Tags are the things at the end of an article that list out keywords to do with the article in case you’re wondering.
The example categories for North Shore Digital are our service offerings:
- Online Growth
- Web Design
- Google Ads
The above are our main categories we write about. We could stretch a little and add:
- Online Marketing
- Website Tips
But really that’s enough.
For tags you can go to town and add all keywords throughout the article (including brand names, companies, people, industries, products, keywords, places). Add as many as necessary for the article length and what you mentioned.
5. Add keywords to your title, headings and slug
Okay, so now you’ve finished writing your article, you can think more about SEO and keywords. This might seem a little like putting the cart before the horse but this order of writing the content for the user first works well.
This is because you focus on what you should be writing for your clients not gaming the system with keywords first.
However, now I’ve said all that. Don’t ignore keywords. Go through your article and do some research on average monthly volume of searches for your topic or related keywords.
I’d recommend using Google Keyword Planner for this if you have a current live Google Ads campaign running (to get real data straight from the horse’s mouth i.e. Google). You also have the advantage of picking locations for the searches e.g. Vancouver or BC or Toronto and Vancouver combined not just national averages. This is important if your service or business is localized.
Or if you just want to get some general national volumes with a free tool, use Ubersuggest (although you’re limited by number of daily searches). It’s convenient and super easy to use (unlike keyword planner)
Let’s try it for this article.
I picked the keyword ‘blogging tips’ and put it into keyword ideas.
It has 110 volume per month on average in Canada and SEO difficulty of 26%. That sounds okay but is there a better keyword with more potential?
Here are some ideas:
- ‘how to blog’ = 480 searches / SEO difficulty of 30%
- ‘blog strategy’ = 20 / 21
- ‘why blog’ = 30 / 23
SEO difficulty basically means how hard it is to rank on page one of Google for that keyword. Your domain authority and number of backlinks determines how likely you can rank for keywords so if your website isn’t super high authority (ours isn’t yet), you want the SEO difficulty to be 30% and below (Ubersuggest rates that as easy).
Okay so based on this quick research, I’ve come up with the following title:
‘How and Why to Blog: Strategy & Blogging Tips for Business Websites’
I probably won’t hit all of these keywords as there are so many heavy hitters (SEO experts) writing about blogging but why not be brave and go for it? After all, it summarises the article pretty well and any extra traffic is a bonus after sharing it with clients and prospective clients.
6. Measure the success of your blog article
Here’s a question for you…
What’s more successful?
A blog article that gets 1000 views per month but only generates one conversion for the website or a blog article that gets 100 views per month and gets 5 conversions?
We focus on conversions at North Shore Digital to view all your website analytics through because we’re all about growing your business online.
Unless you are a media company or a newspaper, I wouldn’t be concerned with how many people are reading your article; what’s more important is who is reading it and what action do they take after coming to your site and reading it?
Let’s grow your business and get more leads… That’s the focus.
In terms of business lead generation website metrics, I’d judge the success of your blog in descending order of (from most important to least):
- Business leads generated (e.g. calls, consultations, emails, chats)
- Engagement stats (e.g. average time on page, bounce rate, scroll depth)
- Traffic stats (e.g. number of users, new users)
- SEO rankings (e.g. where you rank for your target keywords in your target location)
This is the hierarchy that matters and usually success is built on having strong foundations for all of them.
7. Promote and update your blog article
Once you’ve published your article, that’s not the end. That’s the beginning or that’s the mindset you should have.
If you’ve answered specific client questions, you need to share it with them and get people to pay attention to your expert advice.
You need a promotional checklist of where and how to share, which includes emailing websites/clients you mentioned, ones that need the info, and then sharing across all your social media platforms and linking back to the article.
Blog promotion is so important that I’m going to write the next blog on it. And here it is.
Keep your content up-to-date and don’t let it go stale.
What are some of the best blog tips you’ve used? Let us know in the comments.
Andrew Jackson lives on the North Shore and does SEO and digital marketing for a living. He is passionate about footy, DJing, craft beer, and of course, his family. He is married with 3 lovely daughters.