Writing a blog as a labor of love (like Seth Godin’s marketing blog) requires a lot of creativity and deep thought about the blog’s subject matter.
Writing blog content for search engine optimization to drive traffic and targeted leads to your business also requires a lot of creativity and deep thought about the problems your business solves for its clients.
But that’s not all it takes to make your blog content an effective part of your online marketing strategy. On top of creative writing and thought leadership in your industry, which is a tall order in itself, writing SEO optimized blog content requires a specialized, technical skill set.
Those who are able to do both well wield an enormous amount of power in the digital marketplace, the power of capturing their market’s attention from a massive amount of search engine referrals to their business’s website.
Here are just a few aspects of SEO optimized content with a brief overview of each:
Frequent Content Updates
In 2003 Google filed for a U.S. patent named “Information retrieval based on historical data,” and it shook the SEO world.
The patent filing described ways in which the search giant would used a measure of “freshness” to rank search engine results.
One factor that plays into a website’s “freshness” score with Google is the frequency of new pages added as updates to the site.
So websites that add new content more frequently may score higher (and therefore rank higher) than websites that update less frequently.
Properly Researched Keywords
Researching keywords to target for your content marketing strategy is both a technical skill and requires a certain amount of artful craftiness.
You have to think about your market broadly, draw in as much information as you can about search queries related to your business using tools like Google’s Keyword Planner, and get into the mind of your prospective clients to determine the queries they’re using.
When researching your keywords these steps don’t happen in any order. They happen in a cycle and build off each other into a robust keyword strategy.
It’s a combination of researching and brainstorming.
Considerations to keep in mind when doing keyword research are: keyword volume, long-tail keywords, related keywords, negative keywords, and keyword difficulty or competition.
Page Title, Page Description, and Keyword Tags
Title tags have to most power to make your content page relevant for a keyword you are targeting. Type any query into Google and look at the search engine results page it serves up. What you see in the blue links are the contents of each of those pages’ title tags.
Be sure to use one and only one <title> tag on each page and place it within the <head> tags, not anywhere else such as the <body> tags.
Place the most important keyword you are targeting with that content page within this title tag. Make sure your site’s name comes after your target keyword within the tag. Proper use of SEO factors like these can produce tremendous results when applied correctly.
Layer in Your Target Keyword
Layer your targeted keyword through every level of the content and tag hierarchy on the page. Be sure to include it once in the page description and as one of your keyword tags for the post.
It should be used at least once in your first paragraph as well and another time or two in the rest of the text in the body of your post.
You should also include the keyword in your content page’s headings in your <h1> tags and in one of your <h2> tags.
By layering in the keyword through the content and meta data hierarchy, you signal the keyword’s relevance to search engines, which along with other factors, will increase your page ranking and drive more traffic.
Don’t forget to go long. Studies of the top search engine results consistently find that long-form or “deep” content tends to rank higher than shorter articles or blog posts.
Research has found that the top ten search results on Google for a given query usually have an average of 2,000 words per page.
Why is this the case? SEO experts theorize that content that approaches 2,000 words usually happens to be more useful to readers than shorter content.
A blog post or article of that length is more comprehensive in scope, and it goes deeper into the topic under discussion.
Often enough six or seven hundred words isn’t enough to really lean in to a topic, while 2,000 words is just the right amount to really get to the heart of it.