So you’ve done a tonne of research into business blogging, and you’ve published some awesome content that you really think will elevate your brand and user experience. You’ve linked your new blog post to your audience on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, and you’ve included the link in the newsletter you send to your customers.
But, your metrics are heartbreaking. Your blog post isn’t bringing in anywhere near the number of people you expected, your search engine rankings are unmoving, you're running out of ideas and the algorithm is seemingly forever against you. And, honestly, you’re probably wondering if you should pack it all in, move to Nepal, and live out the rest of your life as a mountain goat.
Hold your horses (or, goats). Before you do anything rash, it’s time you learned about blog optimisation and how it can take your business blog from ignored to adored!
What is Blog Optimisation?
Blog optimisation is really just a less technical way of talking about Search engine optimisation, or SEO. Just like creating awesome content and knowing where to share it, blog optimisation is a major part of your blog marketing strategy and needs to be something you plan for from the beginning.
Optimising your blog post means using the tools you have available to make it as user-friendly and search engine friendly as possible. Saying that, if you’ve already worked to make your blog user-friendly, then chances are that its SEO quality is already pretty decent. After all, Google loves what users love.
Please don’t worry, though; we’re not saying that if you go into blogging without understanding SEO practices you’re going to fall flat on your face. Blog optimisation is vital, sure, but it’s thankfully something that you can fix and improve on over time.
It’s important to remember that blog optimisation isn’t a one-time thing. Yep, just like that houseplant you impulse bought, it’s an ongoing commitment that will only thrive if you remember to give it enough attention.
Search engine optimisation is a powerful part of any blogging strategy because it’s not just a way to get more eyeballs on your business or the blog content itself. It’s a hugely important marketing tool, and it can even be a way to generate additional revenue from your blog post.
Why Does SEO Matter?
Search engine optimisation isn’t just vital for blog marketing strategies, but for any business that operates to some degree over the Internet. We’re not saying that SEO is some kind of miracle cure - far from it. But it offers so many benefits for your business. Put it this way, splitting up from your group of friends when you’re in a horror movie is only a marginally worse thought than neglecting your blogs and SEO.
I mean, no-one’s going to die if you don’t keep on top of your SEO - but it’s still not a great idea.
Okay, I think I’ve spent enough time hyping up SEO. Now, it’s probably time I told you why it’s so darn important.
If you don’t have customers, you don’t have a business. And, while you might have grown your customer base so far through social media, word of mouth, or your mate Dave handing out flyers at your local supermarket, it’s not always going to be enough.
Sorry, Dave. You're doing great though.
SEO helps customers to find your business. Not only that, but a well-structured blogging strategy can even guide new customers through the buyer’s journey without them even realising it.
With research showing that 68% of online activity starts with a search engine, businesses like yours need blog optimisation to get products or services in front of their target audience.
Yes, you could chuck a tonne of money into digital advertising, and that’s certainly an easy way to get your content in front of people. However, the difference between that and SEO is that advertising, typically, focuses on the product. SEO and content marketing helps customers find solutions. It’s a subtle difference, but one that has huge implications for your marketing.
Here’s the funky thing about driving more traffic to your blog post - you can use this traffic as an extra revenue stream for your business. And, there’s a tonne of different options depending on what your business is.
You can host affiliate links to other businesses (non-competing ones, of course!) in blog posts about products and services that complement your own. Major retailers like Amazon and Etsy have affiliate schemes where, if a customer follows your link and makes a purchase, you earn a small commission. So, if your friend has an Etsy side hustle or you want to recommend some birdseed brands to go alongside the handmade bird feeders you sell, affiliate marketing is a good way to make a bit of extra income.
If that’s not up your alley, then you can turn to hosting adverts yourself. You can do this in one of two ways, which will depend on how much control you want over your website content.
The first way is to use an advertising platform like Google AdSense, which will deliver ads to your viewers depending on their browsing activity. The bonus is with this approach, you don’t have to hunt down ad clients for your website. But, it also means you can’t control what ads your viewers see, and you can end up with competing products or services being advertised.
The second is to hunt for ad clients yourself, but this is a trickier method. We like it because it gives you more control over how much you charge and what pricing structure you use, but you need to have the time to keep on top of updating everything.
But why does better Search engine optimisation mean more dollars in your pocket?
Better SEO means you’ll get more traffic to your website. And, as you already know, other businesses are willing to spend money to distribute their content, with some being more than ready to pay top dollar for the right audience. So, if you have that audience - and an increasing number of those people visiting your website - you can make a little extra cash from very little extra effort.
I mean, if you’re going to be working on your SEO anyway, it’s worth a shot, right?
Top Tips for Blog Optimisation
With all of that in mind, you need to know how to optimise your blog post for search engines; and as a result rankings, so here are the key areas you need to cover.
It’s All About the Tails
You’ve probably already heard how important keyword research is to your blogging strategy (and how keyword stuffing can negatively affect your blog content to an equal measure), but it’s really important to understand the different benefits that long tail and short tail keywords bring.
Short tail keywords are typically three or fewer words long, and they’re super general. This makes them great for pillar posts or content focusing on a general topic, like “vegan food benefits” or “conservation charities”.
Long-tail keywords, in comparison, are over three words long and a lot more specific. The beauty of this is that you can expand on a topic with variations of your short-tail keywords, or you can choose phrases or questions that your customers are searching for. So, you could go with something like “conservation charities in Adelaide” or “the benefits of tofu in a vegan diet”.
Of course, you’ll only know this information if you spend a good amount of time on your keyword research. We recommend using AnswerThePublic, as they’ll recommend a good balance of short and long-tail keywords. Otherwise, Google’s autocompleting function is a surprisingly helpful tool for this.
Mobile-Friendly or Bust
Do you remember what we said earlier about how Google loves the same things people do? Yep, mobile-friendly design is one of those things.
Now that we’ve all got smartphones practically glued to our hands, it’s no surprise that an increasing number of searches and purchases are being made on mobile devices. That’s why, in 2015, a major Google update made sure that mobile-friendly websites were shown first in the rankings for users on mobile devices.
So, with it now being an essential ranking factor - you’ll want to make sure that your website uses responsive design, which is where it scales page elements based on the browser size. We know it sounds complicated, but thankfully, quite a few website builders use it as standard. So, if you’re running your article through something like WordPress or Hubspot, chances are you’ve already got a mobile-friendly website.
Give It Everything You’ve Got
A big thing that a lot of people don’t consider with business blogs is that there’s a lot more to SEO than using keywords in your content. Sure, that’s important, but there’s just as much going off behind the scenes as there is on your content editor.
These parts of your content are often forgotten about, but vital for blog optimisation and improving your overall SEO strategy:
- Page URL
- Meta description
- Image alt text
- Image file size
- Anchor text (or, the text you embed a link on)
- Content layout and length
- Page loading speed
- Internal and external links
When you’re optimising your blog post, you need to make sure that you’re using everything at your disposal. After all, the literal definition of optimisation is making the most effective use of a resource, which you can’t do if all you’re doing is writing content and hoping the SEO gods shine favour on you without doing anything to appease them.
More Links Than a Nintendo Franchise
Links are the lifeblood of the Internet, which is why they’re so important to blog optimisation. But, not every link is created equal. For example, you have:
- Outbound links, which either point to your website or an external one
- Inbound links, which are links hosted on other websites that point back towards your own
All of them serve different purposes for SEO, too
If you imagine your website as a theme park, outbound links are like a monorail that takes visitors from one area of the park to another or signposts that help visitors find the nearest food kiosk, restrooms, or picnic area. This helps to keep visitors in your website/park as long as possible, and it also gives them a better experience while they’re there.
Yeah, the analogy is going to get away from me a little when I say that internal links are also fantastic for SEO crawlers because it makes it easier for them to find every page on your website and index it. More pages being indexed means you’ve got a greater chance of ranking well for your chosen keywords, so consistently linking to other pages on your website is great for blog post optimisation.
Okay, so this is arguably the most important part of your blogging strategy that - and I hate to say this - you don’t have tonnes of control over. If you want to build your Domain Authority or DA, it’s vital.
Search engine crawlers treat links like a vote of confidence in a particular website. And, if a website ranks particularly well, then their links carry more of a vote than smaller websites. It’s not particularly democratic, but it’s the best thing that search engines have to judge authority with an algorithm, so we don’t ask too many questions.
The goal is to build links on authoritative, popular, and trustworthy websites while avoiding links from spammy or low-authority ones. It is, unfortunately, easier said than done.
Thankfully, as a blog owner, you can stop Google from counting backlinks from low-authority websites, as often you’ll find a potentially spammy website has linked back to your own for no apparent reason. Given that this can actually reduce your DA, and your chances of ranking, you can disavow them through Google Search Console.
To build quality backlinks, we recommend guest posting for trusted publications in your industry. Sure, it might not be paid, but it’ll help your website rank - and it’ll gain you the respect of that publication’s audience. You could also contribute to collaborative pieces, where you give your opinion to a publication in return for a backlink.
Optimise Your Blogs with Neighbourhood
Blog optimisation is one of the most important things you can do to make your blogging strategy a success. But, we know that a lot of the time, it’s easier said than done. That’s where we come in.
It’s our mission to help you find, sell, and keep your people online. We want to help you to build a community of passionate and dedicated users, which is why we offer a blog service to suit anyone and everyone - to build search authority, search rankings and provide extra reasons for people to want to buy from your company. Whether your formatting looks squiffy and it needs freshening up, or your bounce rate makes you cry yourself to sleep at night, we’ve got you covered. Just get in touch with us and we’ll help you build the blog of your dreams.