The Coronavirus has pushed the world into a new digital era. The number of remote workers has exploded, and more time is being spent online by consumers and business owners. It makes sense many businesses are now transitioning digitally and adapting their products and services to stay afloat.
Whilst everyone still remains in the grip of COVID-19, there are options to ensure your business stays workable today and on the other side of the crisis.
One of the best ways to drive online success is through a small business blog. Regular content on your website brings more readers and potential customers to you. But not just any blog will do. To encourage people to find your content, you must create SEO-friendly articles. After all, if it can’t be found, what’s the point in writing it?
If you want to hit the ‘publish’ button on the next stage of your business, it’s important to keep a regular blog. Businesses with active blogs produce 67% more leads and get 55% more website visitors than those without.
Learn how to get the most from yours with these tips and grab your free checklist below.
This article will cover:
1. Strategy and Keyword Research
Before you create, you need to plan.
Part of a successful content strategy is keyword research, which is the process of finding what keyword phrases your audience is searching for, so Google can measure relevance for each search query and you can target content to what readers want.
Before writing any website content, invest time into SEO keyword research and topic research.
Your chosen keyword phrases should consider:
- Relevancy (how relevant the keyword phrases are to your products or services)
- Frequency (number of searches)
- Competition (how many websites are trying to rank for them, the higher the competition, the more time and effort you’ll need to put in)
- Search intent (what web content people expect to see, for example; if someone searches ‘Thai food’ they may want anything to do with Thai food, but, if they search ‘takeaway Thai food near me’ or ‘Thai food recipes’ it’s very clear what they’re after
Keyword phrases are crucial indicators of how people search. Once chosen, they should be strategically placed (not stuffed) in your article title, content body, Meta descriptions and image ALT text.
For a small business blog to bring results, there also needs to be a consistent flow of articles. Plan content in advance with a schedule you can stick to. A three-month plan is a good starting point and allows for seasonal blog content, industry news and articles around the search terms your audience are using.
2. SEO-Friendly Formatting
A coherent blog structure is an integral part of SEO to improve readability and climb organic rankings.
To create an SEO-friendly blog format include these key elements:
- Use correct headings and subheadings (h1 for your main title followed by h2, h3 or h4)
- Make your content skimmable with small blocks of text, bullet points and whitespace
- Break text up with images and blockquotes
- Use transition words and clear paragraphs
- Include an introduction, content body and conclusion
- Have a distinct focus (1 niche or topic per blog post)
Format your content using the readability analysis in the Yoast SEO WordPress plugin. Both the free and paid versions offer insights into how user-friendly your blog post is. Don’t forget to check how your article looks from desktop, tablet and mobile before publishing.
Bonus Tip: Run your title heading (h1) through CoSchedule, a free tool that teaches you to write better headlines by balancing the essential factors needed for an attention-grabbing title. The Hemmingway app will also help refine your text and give a readability score. I like to keep mine above 70.
3. Data and Detail
Readers love data. Use facts and statistics from trustworthy sources to build trust with your audience and back up what you’re saying.
Quality content also has enough detail to satisfy readers and is optimised for an appropriate blog length. Web content should be at least 400 words to perform. Generally, longer blog posts rank better. But not if it’s full of fluff. The aim is to meet the searcher’s needs with comprehensive content that offers value. A mix of short and long-form content will help your business blog perform.
4. Internal and External Links
Relevant internal and external links within your blog content are good for SEO.
- They establish hierarchy, giving the most important articles or pages more link value than others
- Encourages good linking structure on your site
- Creates relationships between content, which helps users and Google follow links and find other pages/posts that cover similar subject matter
- Points your readers to other relevant content where they can find more information
- Spreads your ‘link juice’
- Increases time spent on your website and pages per visit
Use internal links to connect posts or pages on your own website and external links to connect your content to other websites. The Yoast SEO plugin will recommend popular or relevant posts and pages you could link to in the right-hand sidebar in WordPress too.
Bonus tip: Make sure external links open in a new window and internal links open in the same window.
Avoid badly written content by proofreading posts before you publish.
Even the best writers need to edit. After I write a blog article, I find it better to let it breathe for a few hours before editing. Then I sleep on it. Writing is more concise when it’s left to simmer. The fresh perspective of moving away and coming back allows you to see your content differently and find things you would otherwise miss. Edit multiple times and read it aloud. Better yet – have another set of eyes look over it for you.
The snippets of text that show up in the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) tell people what your content is about. In particular, Google looks at the title tags to determine where to show your site in the results.
How to optimise Meta titles
- Accurately reflect what your post is about in 50-60 characters
- Include the keyword phrase you’re trying to rank for (preferably at the beginning)
- Add your business name at the end
How to optimise Meta descriptions
Meta descriptions are keyword searchable. Whilst they aren’t a ranking factor, they do entice readers to click through and visit your site. Be creative and transparent.
- Accurately reflect the content on the page in 50-160 characters
- Include the target keyword phrase
- Add a unique call to action
- Use an actionable, active voice
Bonus Tip: Write unique Metadata for every web page and post. I use SEOMofo which previews how the title, description and URL will look.
7. Image ALT Text
Use at least two images in your blog article to break up text, illustrate points and ensure your content is visually appealing. Ideally, your copy, graphics and branding colours will work together to encourage your audience to stick around. Eye-catching images also help when promoting the post. See point 9.
Adding ALT text to images allows the visually impaired to understand your graphics using a screen reader. They’re also necessary for Google to crawl and display them under Google’s image search.
Make sure you:
- Use the ALT text to clearly describe what each image is about (under 125 characters + separated with hyphens)
- Add ALT text to every image
- Include your targeted keyword phrase in at least one relevant image
- Name the image file before uploading
- Aim for small file sizes, without losing image quality (under 100KB is ideal)
Bonus Tip: Optimise images to avoid slowing down your website. Free tools like Optimizilla and Website Planet will help.
8. Clear Call to Action
A powerful call to action tells your readers what you’d like them to do after they finish reading.
It’s not used to sell – the purpose of a small business blog is to direct readers to valuable information and connect further with your brand, not bombard them with sales talk. Instead, use your call to action to tempt people to read more of your blog articles or see how your services may help them. You could also ask for their email address in exchange for exclusive content or a free downloadable document.
Bonus Tip: Stick to one call to action as multiple choices confuse and lose readers.
9. Promotion Plan
After you hit the publish button, tell your audience you have new content with a promotion strategy. To help blog articles rank higher, Google wants to be sure readers will love it – and this requires traffic and clicks.
- Share on social media
- Add the new article to your email signature
- Include social sharing buttons (I use Social Warfare)
- Create Pinterest-worthy images
- Add to your newsletter
- Encourage other websites to link to your content by reaching out to anyone you think may be interested – the more relevant links back to your article, the more popular it is in Google’s eyes
10. Ongoing Optimisation
Now your article is live and shared, it doesn’t mean the work stops there. SEO is an ongoing task to monitor and improve your content for the best results. Use tools such as Google Analytics and Google Search Console to analyse, optimise and tweak blog content monthly.
Business blogs are an effective tool to attract a wider audience, establish trust, gain credibility and increase engagement.
If you want to tap into the daily 3.5 billion Google searches, a well-written article isn’t enough – you need to optimise it for user search and publish consistently.
Need help managing your business blog? I’m a Perth copywriter and creative storyteller who specialises in digital content. Contact me today to find out how my experience supports you.