These days, the Internet is where you find most of your business’s customers. Sure, word of mouth is still a powerful thing, and if you’re running a brick-and-mortar business, the decorations in the window make a huge difference when someone’s walking down Main Street and thinks your store looks interesting. But generally speaking, your online presence is what matters most. That’s why you’ve spent so much time perfecting your website, and why you’re connecting with customers on social media. And why you care about having the best blog possible, one that’s going to draw readers in and make you a trustworthy business in your industry.
When it comes to blogging, there are lots of aspects that matter. The writing has to be good and written in a tone that will both entertain and inform your customers. The font has to be easy to read on a variety of devices. But most importantly, you need to draw in as many readers as possible with the right SEO strategies. And here’s how.
Use the right tools
In the past, simply imagining an ideal reader and brainstorming the keywords that would draw them in was enough to get lots of new readers. But it’s 2018 now, and there are lots of blogs out there doing the same as yours. Especially if you’re in a popular business that isn’t super-niche–for example, a hair salon–lots of blogs are going to be using the same keywords and writing about the same things. So you need to refocus on your customer base, understand them even better.
This is most easily done by using the right analytics tools. According to SEO guru Neil Patel, the best free analytics tools include: Google Analytics, Google Webmaster Tool, SEMRush (where you can monitor both your site and your competitors’, and “see how many organic search visitors I get per month, a visual chart of keyword rankings, and information on matching competitor keywords”), Yoast, and the SEO Analyzer Tool. If you’re more of a literary-minded person (like most bloggers), this might be a challenge at first, but as you get used to using these tools, they’ll make your content more powerful than ever.
The average time spent writing a blog post has increased significantly over the years–from 2 hours and 24 minutes in 2014 to 3 hours and 20 minutes in 2017–and in large part, it’s because of increased competition. So it’s time to use the right tools and get ahead of the game.
According to WeLove2Blog4U, “More than half of web traffic now comes from mobile devices, and Google gives mobile-friendly sites priority in SERPs. Therefore your website must be responsive, i.e., it scales to fit the device it’s being viewed on. Short paragraphs, photos, bullet points and headers can all help readers digest your content and stay on your post or website for longer.” Load time is huge, too. If your blog takes even slightly longer than most to load on a phone, the person reading it will get impatient and go back to Google for other results.
But if you’re serious about improving your SEO, it’s important to not only optimize for mobile but to go mobile-first. As we spend more time on our phones than on our desktops, Google is going to start prioritizing the content of sites that have been built with mobile in mind. So if you want to have an advantage over your competitors that will improve as time goes on, designing your blog site mobile-first is a great move.
Be smart about your external links
Anyone with a little SEO knowledge knows how important it is to include links in your articles, not only to your website’s content but other sites, too. But if you’re not double-checking old links to make sure they don’t end up leading to 404 pages, or you’re accidentally linking to low-quality websites that aren’t that reputable, your SEO is going to be affected negatively. Google algorithms are getting smarter, which means you have to be more careful with your content.
If you can, use trusted sources. This includes legitimate web sources, and, even better, academic journals or government sites. Additionally, don’t put in too many links; you want it to be balanced. As a general rule of thumb, each different section of a blog post can have a link in it. That way, Google knows your article is well-researched, but that you aren’t over-doing it just for SEO (the same can be said for overstuffing keywords). Considering that 92.59 percent of searches on phones are completed on Google, doing what you can to get a high ranking on this search engine makes a huge difference.