Fusing your business blog and SEO can really power up your business.
NOTE from Don: Today I’m excited to have one of the brightest SEO people I know as a contributor on my blog. He is a tremendous communicator and he just has a way of making something that seems complex feel simple.
Thanks for being here today Dennis!
Take it away…
A lot of small businesses do not consider their blogs to represent an integral part of their SEO strategy. Some of these businesses might even be doing “all right” from the SEO standpoint.
That doesn’t mean they’re not missing out on something better.
There’s a misconception that blogging is about posting on a “regular” schedule which means that you will be creating content all the time. That turns off business owners. I mean, who has the time to keep creating content on a regular basis and run a business simultaneously?
There’s also the problem of hearing fellow business owners who say they’re not getting results. It’s all about results right? Why would they keep “creating content” if it doesn’t do anything?
That’s the big problem content-wise, really: for a lot of business blogs out there, their content doesn’t achieve the marketing goals that they set for it.
Their content totally misses the point. Some of it is intrinsically worthless by virtue of saying nothing new/worthwhile, other bits so technical that it turns off the actual consumers by seeming to pander more to industry-members (with all their inside knowledge and jargon) instead.
Furthermore, many of these businesses do not even use a content calendar so they just randomly throw content around to see what sticks.
As you can see, these are the reasons their blogs don’t catch on and it’s why they don’t get found by Google.
Using blogging for your business website doesn’t have to be hard. The same goes for doing SEO for a blog and getting in Google’s results. SEO, in the end, is just a part of the whole internet marketing landscape, and blogging belongs to that landscape too.
Using blogging and SEO together intelligently can deliver outstanding synergistic results… results that, as the word “synergistic” implies, far outdo what you could achieve by simply putting together the sum of what you get from each component individually.
I’ll get to how you can do that later on in this article. For now, we need to go back to the basics and understand why and how your content helps your site’s overall visibility in Google’s search results.
How Business Blogging Benefits Your Website’s SEO
As someone who has done SEO for over 8 years now, I’ve seen all the highs and lows, the crashes, the crazy traffic, the hacking and so much more.
Only by going through those years of practice will you be able to learn some of the things that actually matter versus what you read around the Internet where conflicting views are a dime a dozen.
When it comes to blogging, we all know content is important. It’s the life blood of a website.
As the old saying goes, “content is king” but honestly, it needs to be changed into “smart content is king” because any kind of content won’t do in today’s standards, much like it’s not just about link building nowadays if you want to rank.
Research needs to be done and not just stuffing the content with keywords. By using content topics that are geared towards your audience, you get to build relevancy in Google’s eyes. Google can relate the topics you use in the content and form an overall impression of your brand.
Yeah, that old search engine that you’ve been using since 2000 is so smart now that it can even recognize your brand’s name automatically, without making it a clickable link. It can tell if your brand is about “men’s fashion” or a “solar power installation service” or whatever it is that your brand is about. With the new technology today and with the KnowlegeGraph being used, Google can practically give you data about each website out there and what each is about.
As you grow your blog over time, you gain trust in Google’s eyes. Though we don’t know how this is actually calculated, there is actually a patent for this so this is real.
Sure, some people will roll the dice and bet on increasing indexed pages in Google’s database in order to force Google to think theirs are big sites with 5,000+ pages of content… but honestly, that doesn’t matter.
The number of indexed pages doesn’t make your site, it’s the quality of each of those pages. At the end of the day, you’ll just get hammered with a penalty since they already have an algorithm in place to detect people that want to game the system.
For the myth of “content should be updated regularly” on your site, well, it does give Google a signal that you are still publishing content but in terms of helping your SEO and rankings, it doesn’t. Unless, that is, you are already in a position to go up against bigger sites that target “current” keywords. You know, those keywords that people search for because they heard that something happened an hour ago in Kim Kardashian’s house or that latest announcement by Obama.
Oh, by the way, if you can’t publish weekly or daily like others can, then don’t worry about it.
As long as you get started with a schedule that works for you, then you are on your way. Just focus on what your audience wants.
You will eventually notice that organic search traffic will start to come in because of your relevant and smart content, even without link building yet. That’s a clear sign that you are making progress.
Now, you have to continue to build that authority for your site.
How about social media? It does give you a traffic boost and adds to your chances of being discovered but it has an indirect impact on your SEO, not a direct one so I won’t be talking too much about social media in this post.
As you can see above, I typed some words in boldface, namely:
- Smart Content
Remember them. These are the aspects of your site/brand that will have the most benefit from blogging.
Smart content will help your users/readers/clients with their problems and gives your site a solid foundation for the other items on the list. The quality of that will make them stay, learn and remember you. The content’s topic will build relevance to your website’s brand and in turn, the user will trust you and that builds your authority because they will share you around.
Google acts practically the same way as your users so it’s no joke when they say that you need to create content for your audience and not for Google.
Add them all up and that makes up your brand’s online identity. That will help your SEO.
Confusing? It shouldn’t be. Doesn’t content marketing sound more terrifying? In all seriousness, they just look like BIG words, but they can be easily applied and they can bring in results for you. I’ll show you how, in a bit.
One last thing. Probably the biggest advantage of blogging on your business website is that you get to be one of the first in your niche, especially for small businesses or local businesses. With the head start, you have less competition and you will be more visible. That will make it harder for the rest to catch up!
At the end of the day, by keeping those in mind and continuing to put in the work, you’ll put yourself into a position to get found in Google. You’ll be surprised at the results.
Beyond SEO – What Your Content Should Be Doing
Blogging isn’t always about SEO or rankings even though a good chunk of it does have an effect on it.
Don always talks about knowing what business you are “really in” and he is right.
You only have a few seconds to capture someone’s attention in today’s world. You need to make an impact, quickly. You don’t want them to click on your result in Google and just click the “Back” button after 2 seconds because your content doesn’t fit what they are looking for. You want them to know exactly what you are and what you stand for right when they land on your page.
So before or during the creation of your smartly crafted content, you should always have marketing goals. Always be asking what it is that you want to accomplish with this piece. You have to treat it as part of your sales funnel.
It can be used to catch a user’s attention, promote a new product, it can be used to sell or acquire emails. There are a bunch of things you can do. You need to treat your blog as a conversion tool. People often neglect these and just focus on the “benefits” for SEO.
Your content should do as much for you as possible.
Look at it this way, people that need your service won’t find you easily because your site will never rank for every keyword out there. That’s where long tail keywords come in and these babies convert at the highest rate because you are solving someone’s problem directly.
No matter how much traffic you get from Google, no matter how many #1’s you rank, if you can’t convert these people, then you are failing.
So if you are already running a blog and you seem to get traffic but no sales are coming in, then audit each of those pages and improve them.
You’d be amazed what a smaller but more focused search traffic can do for your website.
Before I start on the next part, I just like to say that you need to have an open mind. Don’t be overwhelmed by what you will be reading from hereon out.
I will limit the usage of industry terms but if I do mention terms that you do not understand, then you can check it out here.
How to Optimize Your Blog – Small Business SEO Tips
As entrepreneurs, we all have the superhero syndrome and we want to be able to do it all by ourselves. That’s OK! I’m not here to sell any services. I’m here to help you out.
For many of you, doing DIY SEO for your small business is the only way to go right now.
For those new to SEO, the first questions are always “How do I do SEO for my small business? What bare basic things do I need to know?”
The quick answer, you need to do these two:
- On-page SEO – This basically means that you need to optimize each page of your website in order to tell Google what the page is about.
- Off-page SEO – You want other sites to mention you and link to your website. We call these backlinks. The process is often called link building.
But as in all endeavors, people will always want to take shortcuts. Over the years, people have abused this but Google has stepped up its game and can now detect most of these users.
So here’s a rule of thumb for you, don’t buy link packages that will send you 50–10,000 links for $50. That doesn’t sound legitimate at all right? You want to build links the right way and attract links from others, organically.
Let’s get to work!
SEO Basics – Always Do The Following
When it comes to SEO, stick with the basics and do them well.
Research Your Keywords – You start by understanding what your readers are looking for. What keywords are “relevant” to your brand and website? For each page you create you need to start by researching keywords. The easiest way to do this is to use the Keyword Planner from Google. Sign up there and simply enter a few keywords about your website. You’ll get a ton of keywords with estimates of how many people are looking for them.
You can also use a free tool such as KeywordTool.IO so you can come up with long tail keyword topics that your target audience is looking for.
From here, you can create your content around the keywords you found. Please do not even consider keyword density, just create the content naturally.
With the list of keywords I have, I then pick relevant keywords to my website that has searchers and start checking out the competition.
As a rule of thumb, I simply imagine that I was the person typing that keyword into Google.
“What would I be looking for?”
If I can answer that, then I’d know what content I need to work on and I make sure that its quality is the best that’s out there.
That’s the simplest way to approach this.
Meta Details – You need to have a Meta Title and a Meta Description for each page on your website.
You are telling Google what your page is about so be sure to use the keyword you are targeting in the title and the description. If you are targeting grammatically wrong keyword phrases, then do not hesitate to use them the right way. Google can still understand your topic even if you alter them a bit for the sake of sounding less inept with the language.
Now that you are doing this, you can see why it’s called “Optimization.”
Go to Google now and type in my company’s name “LeapFroggr” – the results will show you the Meta Title and the Meta Description. In your case, you want to make sure that they are enticing to click for your target audience. Sometimes, a good title can get more clicks even if you aren’t in the top 3 of the results.
As for character limits, keep the title at around 60 characters and 150 for the description.
Image Optimization – Images will need Alt Tags. Be sure change the image file name as well as add a title for the image. Every little thing adds up.
Internal Links – Basically, you link to other pages on your website. (Plug: Buy Don’s new book!) -See what I did there? I linked to another page within the site. That’s an internal link, but don’t overdo it. It still needs to be relevant to the content you are making. I dropped some tips about this over here.
Framework/Structure of the Site – Be sure to organize your content into categories. It’s like you have files and you want to put the related files into one folder. You need to put your related content together under a category.
Your URL – As an extra factor, you want your keyword to be in the URL. So if your post topic is about the keyword phrase “Small Business Blogging” – then you need to have “small-business-blogging” in the URL.
Speed of Loading – One of the things that is factored into Google’s ranking algorithm is your site’s loading speed. You can use Google’s own tool to check how good your site currently is. I would advise that small business websites be above the 70 mark. If not, then you need to fix the suggestions the Page Speed tool shows you.
Mobile Ready – Your site, since it is a business, should be ready for mobile searchers. A lot of mobile searchers look for nearby businesses so don’t underestimate it. Since Google is rolling out their new update late April, then you better get your site ready.
MicroData & Local SEO Tricks – Microdata will help your business get found easier and more interactive. You can use snippets to tell Google about your organization (contact numbers, address, official logo and more) or you can use them about your products and many more. You can check out their official page here.
Some Best Practices
Keep the content current – Mix up your content. You can dedicate some posts to answering questions sent in by your readers and clients. You can also take industry trends into account and create content around it. It’s a great way to build your community and their trust in you.
Content length doesn’t matter but writing content for the sake of content won’t cut it. Make sure you answer a pain point when you create content instead of worrying about content length.
Create an editorial calendar – This will keep you on track. You can plan your topics ahead of time and you can commit to creating the content when it fits you. You don’t have to pressure yourself to keep creating content daily or weekly. I publish once a month on my blog so that isn’t a big deal. You can increase this as you get the hang of it and eventually, maybe outsource it.
Make the content easy to share – This is a no-brainer. It’s not going to affect SEO directly, but if your target audience likes it, they can easily share it out and someone out there might have a blog and link to it. The free promotion and traffic ain’t too shabby as well.
Analytics – Be sure you have Google Webmaster Tools & Google Analytics activated. That way, you can track your keywords, errors in your site and a host of other things.
Once you have enough practice with content, make sure to get that process ironed out to maximize your time.
Start by looking for local websites and directories. It’s usually very easy to get links from these sites.
Identify quick and easy targets to ask links from, such as your suppliers and even the charity you support.
You can then look for local bloggers that might be interested in your business.
Contact the local news and get a featured story on their website.
For the record, you CAN attract links from other sites organically without lifting a finger but you have to understand that there are websites that attract links and why others just don’t.
Throw that “build it and they will come” attitude out the window when it comes to link building.
I left some actionable SEO tips and tricks over here.
So that’s it.
As you build the blog up, you’ll get more traffic coming in and you’ll earn your reader’s trust.
In the end, you will be considered an authority in the niche and every thing you do will be considered in high regards.
At this point, you’ll be getting consistent search engine traffic and as you continue to grow the blog, you’ll see your growth keep going up.
Congratulations, you made it.
That should do it for now. There’s really no way for me to cover every aspect of SEO in one post. Don’t get me wrong though, the things mentioned above are the things that you can do right now and they are certainly enough to help you dominate your niche. You can add more to your strategy as you go on and exhaust the basics.
SEO (obviously) isn’t the prettiest topic out there, but once you see the fruits of your labor, you’ll think it’s the best thing since P.B. and J.
Keep hustling and you’ll get there!
Do you have a comment or question for Dennis? If so we would love to interact with you in the comments section below. Let’s get the conversation started!
About Dennis Seymour
Dennis is a lot of things, a blogger, a wannabe wrestler, a digital marketer, an SEO, a father but he is always an entrepreneur. He loves helping fellow entrepreneurs out so if you have questions about your website and business, don’t hesitate to leave him a message on this page (this page is only available for UTW readers) or visit his blog at LeapFroggr.com.