Starting a blog is one of the most beneficial steps your company can take to grow its digital presence. Not only does blogging allow your team to share their expertise with the rest of the world via the internet, but it can also drive traffic to your website. Higher website traffic leads to more potential leads, which eventually turn into future customers. But this process doesn’t happen overnight. If you want your blogs to reach the highest number of digital consumers, it’s imperative to understand basic keyword strategy and search engine optimization.
What is Search Engine Optimization?
Search engine optimization (referred to as SEO) is the process of enhancing the content on your website so that you rank high in search engines organically. The most popular search engines in the United States include Google, Bing, and Yahoo – among others.
- Organic Search Results: Where your company ranks naturally in the results page of a search engine, excluding pay-per-click (PPC) ads and other forms of paid advertising.
The most important and widely-practiced SEO strategy is to come up with target keywords for every blog post that you post online. Carefully wording your blog pieces and incorporating keywords will narrow the intent of the piece, make it easier for search engine bots to crawl your site, and ensure that anyone who searches for your content will find it.
Simple as it sounds, keyword research takes a lot of time and dedication. Don’t expect to see results overnight, but remember that every company has to start somewhere to create a habit. Here are a few easy steps to get you started on your blog optimization journey
1. Choose a Topic
This might sound like a no-brainer, but the first step to writing an engaging blog is to research popular topics and conversations happening in the industry related to your product. What are people most confused about? Is that something you could easily explain? Blog readers are looking for answers and new perspectives.
There are millions of blogs on the internet, so either think of a unique topic or create your own spin on subject matter that already exists. You don’t always have to break new ground, but clearly and concisely sharing relevant information will delight your readers and build your company’s credibility.
Some popular marketing topics include, but are not limited to: SEO, branding, graphic design, and finding your niche. There are plenty of other topics to research as well – just know what expertise your company offers!
2. Compile a List of Long-Tail Keywords
Once you come up with the right topic, it’s time to brainstorm different keywords. There are two types of keywords when it comes to optimizing online content: long-tail and short-tail.
- Long-Tail Keywords: A keyword which encompasses several words or an entire phrase
If you need help figuring out what your long-tail keyword should be, think about what your customer would type into Google when they search for your blog. Write down a list of possible search phrases.
A common practice is to make one of the long-tail keywords the title of the blog post, or something close to it. Overall, the long-tail keyword should be specific and encompass the entire message of the blog post.
3. Pick a Few Short-Tail Keywords
Now that you’ve chosen a few long-tail keywords, it’s time to focus on short-tail keywords.
- Short-Tail Keywords: A general keyword or keyphrase that doesn’t exceed one or two words
The short-tail keyword encompasses the general idea of your blog post. Sometimes customers browse the internet without a clear idea of what they’re looking for and only type a few words into the search engine. If your company can pop up on the first results page after someone types in a short-tail keyword, you’ve successfully optimized your posts and established yourself as an authority on the topic.
For example, let’s say the title of your blog post is “Why You Should Craft a Brand Strategy Before You Start Your Business.” The long-tail keyword would be something like “crafting a brand strategy.” However, the short-tail keyword would simply be “brand strategy.” There’s a slight difference, but one is specific and the other is very broad.
4. Use Analytic Tools to Narrow Down Your Keywords
Once you’ve compiled two lists of keywords, it’s time to do a little research. Use platforms like Google Analytics or Moz.com to compare your different keywords and better understand what your customer base is looking for.
Figure out which keywords are the most popular, and which ones may be too specific. It’s important to find a happy medium: make sure that the phrase you choose isn’t so popular that your content will get lost in the mix. On the other hand, try to aim for an element of specificity if possible, so that people searching for your topic can find it quickly and easily.
5. Select Your Keywords and Write the Blog
After your research, you should have narrowed down the long-tail and short-tail keywords you want to focus on. Now that you have a broad and specific umbrella under which you can start to craft your content, it’s time to begin writing your blog post. As you write, keep your keyphrases in mind, but don’t pepper them in the body copy too much. Just finish the post to the best of your ability so you have something to optimize.
6. Make Sure That the Keywords Show Up in the Appropriate Places
It’s not enough to simply choose your keywords and integrate them into the title and overall topic. For search engines to recognize your site as a top resource, you must be purposeful by placing the short-tail keyword in a few strategic places. Here are the places where you should make sure to include your keyword:
- At least one header
- The blog title
- Somewhere in the first paragraph
- Throughout the blog, where appropriate
- In the meta description
- In the alt text of relevant images
If you struggle with figuring out how to properly optimize your posts, we recommend using the Yoast SEO plug-in through WordPress. There are many other plug-ins and resources on the internet to help you as well.
- Do you want a seasoned team of content creators on your side? If so, check out our services at PivotPath
It won’t happen immediately, but the more you make a habit out of following these steps, creating optimized posts will become second nature. Being strategic about choosing the right keywords could be the difference between your blog post being read fifty times or five thousand times. With that in mind, happy writing!