1. Get the title right
Your blog’s title is also the link that will show up in Google, so it’s important to make sure it’s not too long. Try not to make your title longer than 70 characters. But it’s not just about length. It’s important your title includes a ‘hook’ – something to draw people’s attention. For example, for this article we chose ‘16 Tips To Improve Your Blog For Beginners In 2019’ as opposed to simply ‘How To Improve Your Blog’ – this article has a couple of hooks, the first being the 16 tips, and the second highlighting beginners. These can help bring in more traffic, and also the title includes more keywords in it than before.
2. Write in a good meta description
The meta description is the text that appears right under the title. Again, make sure this is not too long. Your best bet across the board is to keep it under 160 characters, because this is roughly the amount which will show up in Google. Longer meta descriptions will be cut short and this can be off-putting. With regards to the content of your meta description, put some expertise into advertising your content correctly. Don’t be too boring and try to hook in customers by being precise but also slightly tantalising. Say what the article is about, but don’t reveal too much, and try to subtly ‘invite’ the reader to click on the link.
3. Keep your article length at roughly 600-1200 words
Google likes to index pages with a certain amount of words on them, so longer posts tend to rank more easily than short ones. It’s often been cited to include at least 600 per article, but also not to stray too far above 1200 or 1400 words if you can help it. The idea with 1200 words as a guideline upper limit is that it’s seven minutes of reading. Longer articles, unless they’re fiendishly interesting, can fail to hold people’s attention for long enough. As some bloggers like to put a ‘call-to-action’ which encourages sales at the bottom, getting the reader through the whole article is crucial.
4. Focus on your keywords of choice
When you write a blog it’s important to improve the amount of keywords on the page, especially if you’re looking to go up the SEO rankings. But try to find a natural balance between not using your keywords enough, and ‘keyword stuffing’ – using them too much. Your keywords should come naturally and not feel forced, so selecting appropriate language in the writing style is a really efficient tip for beginners.
But it’s more than just making sure the keywords appear in the content – using SEO tools like Yoast on WordPress, you’ll be able to select a focus keyword in their search tool and it will evaluate how well that keyword appears in the article. Pay attention to tools like these, they’re really helpful!
5. Use images to your advantage
Images are an important way to make your article stand out, but picking the right ones is important. High quality images with limited compression and a pertinent theme are best in most cases. It’s good to include images which fit the best with the article. The other thing to remember with images is the size and cropping. If you use an image, save it, rename it and consider compressing it so it takes up less space.
Compression tools can easily be found online, but if you can get photoshop and save as a lossy JPEG that’s really useful. Be sure to use the image ALT tags and captions too, and if your image is borrowed remember to ask permission on give credit where it’s due – even if it’s just adding another link to the site it originated.
6. Use internal links to show more content
Once someone is on your site you have the unique opportunity to guide them from one blog post to another by linking internally. This has a twofold advantage of promoting more of your content, but also making more links between your internal pages for indexing purposes. It’s good practice to include one or more internal links per article if you can. You can explain why you are including them before you link them – ‘If you want to know more about SEO check our article here’. This is a great way to keep your captive audience captive, and a great way to increase traffic.
7. Use tags to organise your content
Tagging your articles is another great way to add internal links, and this time you’re not just linking to a specific article you’ve done before, but a whole range of articles on the topic. When your visitor clicks a tag at the top they’re going to be able to browse through your mighty fleet of articles and choose the one that appeals to them most.
It’s in this way that you not only add multiple indexing opportunities, but also make your content appear in groups en masse in the tags page. Remember to not go too overboard or niche with tags, because the idea is to have categories which are broad enough to have a lot of articles on them, but also narrow enough to provide relevant content in the tag. A few tags per article is ideal.
8. External links in articles
This part is somewhat of a fine art because of the way SEO works. In order to index your page more, every blog needs to have multiple outgoing links in order to thrive. However, on the flip side, linking to someone else’s blog will boost theirs. See how it gets a little tricky? In order to keep your blog’s SEO healthy, don’t link to your competitors. You want to maximise your exposure, not give other people who will compete with you for customers a bonus.
For this site we link a lot to HubSpot, because they are a source that a lot of people use and trust, which provides a lot of analysis, plus they aren’t directly in competition with us as they don’t provide the exact same services.
9. Linking correctly is so important
We’ve just said it, but we’ve got to say it again – do not link to bad or useless content!
Linking to stuff that’s dubious can and will give you a negative ranking, rendering all your SEO efforts meaningless. Some pages really are bad to link to. They may have violated Google’s rules in some way, or the algorithm just won’t like the taste of them. Be sure to link to professional good quality sites which aren’t in direct competition with your own.
Don’t forget to make sure your link’s anchor text is useful and attractive. The anchor text is the part that will show up in blue. Don’t go too long, or too short, and use the words that stand out when you set the hyperlink.
10. Blogging is more than just self-promotion
Your blog has so much more potential than just being used to talk about how great you are and how great your products and services are. This is a bit of a learning process but as you progress you will discover a blog is a place for content.
Content is your biggest asset with a blog, you can and will gain ground by making attractive content as opposed to writing a marketing blurb about yourself over and over. Use it well and your blog can start to be seen not only as a selling point, but as an experience in of itself.
11. Video content for all!
This is where the fun begins – video content is absolutely the most popular way to get seen, and at the very least, one of the best ways to keep those potential buyer eyeballs fixed on your page once they’ve clicked that juicy hook link and read your well written meta description. Video marketing isn’t easy but it can pay you back double when done right!
Make videos that blur the lines between fun and educational, and you will have an audience who just can’t help sticking around, sometimes even for longer than a seven minute read time. Holding people’s engagement is one of your main goals.
12. Avoid being ‘boring’
This one’s a bit of a no brainer but keep things short and sweet. At some point you may need to trim articles down a bit to reduce the read time. Don’t get too complex and you should keep your readers on board, instead of just bored. Stay away from industry jargon unless your article is about a specific industry topic, and try not to overwhelm readers with complicated ideas all at once. As we said above, keep it educational, but don’t hesitate to make it a bit fun and exciting to read.
13. Post consistently
Keep that content coming, there’s nothing stopping you from posting as much or as little as you want people to see your content. Your posting strategy should include specific articles as well as broad ones like this list, and the articles should arrive on a weekly basis if you want to keep up the good work and keep reeling in the customers. Practice scheduling and planning out your articles, and if you use content writers keep them in the loop with your requirements and keep the topics flowing.
14. Consider ‘evergreen’ content
An extremely important part of your content library is content that never goes out of date. It’s all very well to blog about trends, and you absolutely should, but trending articles tend to lose people’s interest after a couple of weeks. The internet is fickle, and the media cycle moves away after a while. But evergreen content is forever. Evergreen content is the content that will never go out of style, such as simple tutorials for basic things. If you’re an accountant, for example, a piece of evergreen content might be a short video and article explaining to young people what ‘balancing the books’ means and how to try it yourself. If you think you have a piece of evergreen content, and it just doesn’t stop getting hits, maintain and improve it.
15. Update successful content
Maintain and improve. This is also really important. As we’ve said above some pieces of content will become your flagship or evergreen pieces, so it’s important to update them. A tweak here, an extra sentence there, more links – even running a Facebook ad on the content to attract even more interest. Your successful content is a resource, it’s a sort of ‘guide’ which shows you the areas where customers are most interested. Pay attention to what that content consists of, keep it updated, and learn why it has worked. This represents a foundation for your future marketing strategy.
16. Use lists
Finally, use lists. People love lists and having ideas set out for them in a row, and if you’re lucky Google will feature the top part of your list in the top result of the keyword search term you’ve targeted. Lists make things simple and help you showcase a lot of easy ideas in long broad articles, and you may have noticed already that you’re already reading one.
Lists have a really good secondary ability – you can have a successful piece of list content and then gradually update it to include links to more specific examples of what you’re talking about. Once the topic is introduced you can say ‘we have a more detailed article here’ and link to it from your list.
So, what will you do next?
Blogging is a world of simple tasks for sure, but there are so many things to remember. For your blog you might need some more in depth help on certain subjects, or just want to learn more about digital marketing in general – so if you’ve arrived here from Google, welcome to our site. Stick around and take a look at some more of our articles, or check out the companion book to the blog, Digital Marketing For Professionals by Nick Bagga. We’re confident we’ll be able to help enhance your skills.