To be successful in digital marketing you have to blog. If you think, “I’m not a blogger,” you can easily become one. Here’s how to do it and do it right.
What is the Purpose of a Blog?
An effective blog has two main purposes:
- To attract potential customers to your website.
- To lead them to a call-to-action (CTA) to convert them into a lead or a sale.
Given that, how do you optimize a blog post/article so that it’s found by the search engine and it’s attractive enough so that the searcher will click on it?
How to Optimize a Headline for Search Yet, be Enticing to Your Target
The trick is to craft a headline for your target market with the search engine in mind. First, you need to do a keyword search. If you haven’t done this already, you’re website probably isn’t optimized. Everything centers around what your target audience is going to enter into the search box to find what you have to offer.
Using the Google Keyword Tool you can discover keywords and phrases that people are searching for that you may not have thought of. That list will give you topics for your blog.
Now that you have your topic, the next step is to come up with an irresistible headline. This is for when your blog article comes up in the Search Engine Results Page (SERP). You want your searching, potential customer to click on YOUR article, not the other dozen or so that come up.
Google brings up the most relevant, yet most recent article that matches what the person entered into the search box. However, you’re competing with everyone else who has an article on the subject. To craft the best headline, I like CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer. It’s free to use, but there’s an upgrade. Play with it until you get a score above 70. Sometimes just changing one word will boost the score. I also use a thesaurus to find other ways to say something.
The Meta Description
The meta description is what comes up under the headline and URL of your post on the Google SERP. Shown here is the meta description for this article. This is using the SEO by Yoast free plugin for WordPress. It guides you to optimize each blog post and static page on your website.
How to Use the Yoast SEO Plugin for WordPress
First you need a keyword phrase. This could be one or two words that is the topic of the blog post. This keyword is what the plugin will use to guide you to optimization. It has to be exactly in…
- the title
- URL (slug / web address)
- the Meta Description
- one or more headings or sub-headings
- used several times throughout the text of the article
- the “alt text” area of images
The plugin will tell you if you’ve got it too often or not enough. Here is the SEO for this article:
Getting Your Prospect to the Call-to-Action (CTA)
It’s great to attract visitors to your site, but it’s even better if they actually read the article and then do something like contact you, download your giveaway, and/or buy something. The Yoast SEO plugin has another cool feature. This is like having your high school English teacher grade your writing. Don’t freak out. This will only help you become a better writer. Again, the best topic and content won’t help you if people won’t read it!
Improving Your Readability
These are words or phrases that help connect sentences, like…
- Having said that
- Yoast has a list. Write them down to have handy.
Here are some other items that help your readability score…
- Short sentences and paragraphs
- Bullet points
- Dividing up the text with headings and sub-headings (H2, H3, H4 tags)
- Using the active voice instead of passive voice
Write for an 11-year-old. That might sound weird, but you have to. You’re the expert. Your target audience isn’t — at least not usually. And that’s the problem. Writing at the MBA level might impress some old classmates, but it will instantly turn off your average small business owner, who probably doesn’t have an advanced degree. That’s where really knowing who your audience is comes in.
If you do use big, industry-related words, explain what it means right away.
Other Tips to Make You a Better Blogger & Boost SEO
In addition, you want to keep your visitor on your site for as long as possible. You do this by linking relevant text in you article to other related articles within your site. For instance, “SEO” in the heading just above is linked to an article called “What is SEO”. Another trick is to have widgets on your sidebar with blog categories, tags (keywords), recent posts, and most popular posts, to catch your visitor’s attention to click to another article. This will lower your bounce rate and help with SEO.
Note, too, that you want your SEO and your Readability scores to be green. The plugin will give you additional tips to improve. Nevertheless, don’t break your brain over it. It’s better to be grammatically correct for the human reader than incorrect for the plugin. For example, it’s telling me that to improve, I need to have the key phrase ‘blogger” in more headings. Well, it doesn’t make sense and will look funny. Tough. It’s green. I’m going with it.
How can You be a Better Blogger on other Platforms besides WordPress?
That’s all fine and good, but what if you’re not on WordPress? Ideally, you should be on WordPress. It’s the best, and most popular, website and blogging platform. However, sometimes you’re stuck with what you’ve got. Most ecommerce sites have the ability to add blogs — do it. If you use the tips here, even if you don’t have the plugin to guide you, it will improve your blogs.
Make sure you have Google Analytics installed before you start blogging and marketing so you can track where your traffic is coming from. That way, you can see what’s working and what’s not working. Another free tool is Ubersuggest. Once you’ve been blogging for a while, you can use this tool to see how you’re ranking in the search engine for the keywords and phrases you’ve blogged about. In addition, it may tell you of keywords and phrases that you’re ranking for and you didn’t even know it!
The Final Touch: The Call-to-Action (CTA)
Whichever platform your on, at the end of the article, ALWAYS put in your CTA. It could be a linked line to your free download or an image linked to a service or product (like mine!). You’ve got the visitor’s attention. Now, tell them what you want them to do. Hopefully, your article convinced them that you can help them or you offer what they want or need.
Don’t feel overwhelmed. Like anything new, there’s a learning curve. But once you’ve got a few blog articles under your belt, you’ll find that it will take you less time to get it done. Remember….
The more often you blog, the more traffic you’ll drive to your website!