8 Keys to Maximizing Your Blog’s Potential

November 10th, 2016

8-keys-to-maximizing-your-blogs-potential

A blog isn’t just a nice addition to an organization’s online presence. It’s a must-have—a familiar and expected interface to engage your brand, with more flexibility and innovation than many traditional marketing formats.

Businesses know it. A survey earlier this year found that more than 80 percent of marketers used blogging as part of their online approach. Surprisingly, only about half were clear on how that blog fit into their overall strategy. But getting clear about how to optimize your blog for success is vital.

A critical aspect of that preparation is SEO and related content management. After all, if no one can find your blog—or wants to click on it—all that brilliant content will be wasted.

Creating Cravings for Your Content

Seems like a no-brainer, right? Doesn’t everyone know to appease the ancient gods of Google?

The problem stems from getting lost in the complexity. Blogging is such a wide-open canvas that marketers are often eager to get content online without investing in the necessary planning.

Those oversights can take several classic forms. Focusing on the quantity of posts instead of the quality is a common blunder. Blogs also sometimes lack the fundamental ingredients for building great SEO: a clear plan, focused subject matter, an editorial calendar, quantifiable goals, and understanding customers. Combine these with a failure to adhere to Google’s quality guidelines, and a gung-ho blogging campaign ends up lost in the internet wilderness.

The result? Big losses in search engine rankings—but also in traffic, engagement, visibility, brand awareness, user trust, and click appeal in results pages.

Instead, let’s look at eight key actions that will give blogs the exposure they need.

1. Be Mobile-Friendly

post on this blog recently discussed a survey of 1,000 users that showed nearly 70 percent used mobile as their primary internet portal. It’s no wonder that Google updated its algorithms to take this into account, completing a rollout of its second update to its mobile-friendly algorithm in May.

2. Create User-Engaging Content

Internet marketing is a competition for eyeballs. Users must not click away without a fight.

What can you do? Focus on easy readability and sustaining interest. Huge paragraphs—also known as “walls of text”—are turnoffs. There’s a reason “tl;dr” is a favorite meme of online forums.

Fortunately, it’s easy to manage. Remember to work with small chunks of content. Use big headings and bulleted lists. For subheaders, don’t bold the text—use the <h2> or <h3> tags.

Start with a clear and orienting introduction. Then, with short sentences (of 15–20 words) embedded in compact paragraphs, develop. Keep the message unified and straight to the point. Remember that your content should be accurate and trustworthy.

3. Check Your Content’s SEO Quality

Of course you’ve got high-quality content—gorgeous images and witty writing, right? But “quality” from the point of view of search algorithms means something specific. That’s because they reject pages just as much as find them. When you’re planning or publishing new content, always ask yourself the following questions:

  • Does it have spelling, grammar, or reading-level mistakes?
  • Does it fail to cover the topic relative to the search query?
  • Is it merely a warmed-over stew of information found elsewhere?
  • Does it have negative signals, like an extreme repetition of keywords?

Don’t forget to create content that matches Google’s expectations for “EAT“: expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness. Although it’s useful to be clear on what triggers search engines, good content should fulfill all these checklist items, anyway. And, just as importantly, this content will engage visitors (to do things such as leave comments and explore the page) and put the best face on your branding.

4. Optimize for Your Keywords

While the AI era is looming, we’re not quite there yet. Search engines still run largely on keywords. Choosing the best ones will help with ranking your blog in a well-targeted way.

You can hone in on that target with Google’s keyword tool, which shows keyword volume, related words, and relevance. These targeted keywords must show up in:

  • Title tags.
  • Meta descriptions.
  • Anchor text.

Not only will these keywords help with your rankings, but they may also help you tap into users’ emotions. Certain keywords, especially in headlines, can cause emotional triggers that make it more likely for a user to click on a particular page.

5. Optimize Images

Images capture the attention of visitors—and search engines. By using keywords as file names and including them in the alt text, you enhance SEO. Of course, proper sizing of media to fit posts nicely is also a must.

6. Use Meta Tags

These are brief paragraphs (about 150 words) that show up on search engines’ result pages. Though not related to SEO, they can make all the difference in whether a potential visitor clicks through to your blog because they advertise its content with eye-catching keywords and inviting descriptions. This is important because click-through rates have been proven to indirectly influence rankings.

7. Include Interlinks

Links within your content to other pages of your website, using your primary and secondary keywords, encourage visitors to explore and clue search engines to page priorities. Be sure to never include the same link and anchor text multiple times from one page; keep it natural for the reader.

8. Encourage Comments and Subscriptions

Encourage readers to comment, and respond to them substantively. Interaction creates rapport—and provides opportunities to include long-tail keywords, engagement, and fresh content. One way to prompt comments is to end blog posts with a question or an invitation to respond.

Make sure your blog has prominent buttons for subscribing through email if possible. Subscribers will feel in touch with your blog without having to remember to visit it.

Don’t Let Your Blog Get Lost!

Sure, optimizing content through these eight steps will boost your rankings, visibility, and traffic. But high-quality content will also position you as an authority in your space and enliven visitor interactions. Those interactions foster community and strengthen customer relationships.

Nowadays, with more visits from mobile than anywhere else, customer rapport is unleashed in subways and coffee shops, giving a presence to your brand that older forms of marketing just couldn’t achieve.

Don’t let your blog languish in the hinterlands. Put these eight steps to work today!

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