In episode #5 of our Marketing Academy Secrets series, we reveal how you can optimize your blog posts for being discovered via search.
We hear it all the time, “I write blog posts, but I don’t know how to make sure that they’re getting found by my potential customers.” Here’s the thing: When your customers are searching online, they’re typing in specific phrases, and those phrases are important to them. So you really want to focus on writing for your customers and choosing keywords that actually relate to the searches that they do online.
The first thing that I suggest after you’ve created an editorial calendar for your content (or at least have some idea about the topics that you’re going to write about) is doing some keyword research. You want to find out if anybody is actually searching for the thing you’re going to write about. That’s important because if you’re getting zero searches a month or 10 or 15, it may not be the best use of your time to write that piece of content. Unless, and this is the caveat, unless the piece you’re writing answers a question that your customers (or prospective customers) ask all the time. Then it’s less important that it’s discovered via search since it’s already important to your customers.
Researching keywords: it’s a really straightforward endeavor. I use the Google Adwords Keyword Planner (formerly “Keyword Tool”). Let’s say the keyword phrase you want to target is “rental real estate in Boston.” Using the Keyword Planner, you can see — within a specific geographic locality — how many people actually search for that term in a given month. You can also see what the average price is that people are paying to advertise against that keyword. Now, I’m less concerned about the cost per click and more concerned about the traffic: How many people within your market are searching for that term? In aggregate, if you look at the content on your site, you really want to start to be discovered with a lot of keyword searches.
However, you should never write solely for the purpose of highlighting a keyword (that’s called
“keyword-stuffing”). Always choose the topic first and then really write to provide value. That’s the most important thing: Make sure you’re writing something that your potential customers will find valuable and will want to read. A good idea is to have other people read your content and give you some honest feedback.
Once you’ve chosen the topic of your piece and you’ve taken the time to write something that adds value, you’ll want to spend a good amount of time choosing the right title. There are a few things that are important here.The first is that it has to be compelling. It’s like advertising: we read things that drive us to do stuff. And if someone is very good at writing copy or titles, they can get us to click, they can get us to read something, and they can even get us to purchase things. In your case, you just want someone to read your blog post. You want someone to read the title and think, “this is worth me clicking on it and taking the time to read at least the first paragraph.” You also want to make sure that the title that you come up with features the keyword (or keywords) that you researched that are most important for search. Those two things combined will get you a lot further not only in clicks and reads on your page, but also in discovery via Google, Bing, and Yahoo!
The last part is to think about the platform that you’re publishing on. You need a platform that will allow your content to be indexed by the search engines, but that will also give you the ability to control the little bits and pieces that are important to search: SEO title, meta data, etc. If you’re using WordPress, which is what we always recommend, I would make sure that you use a plugin called Yoast’s WordPress SEO plugin. There are some others, but this is one of the best. If you’ve ever searched for something like a blog post or a book, and a result has shown up and it’s had a picture of the author, it’s had a really compelling title, and then it’s had a small description…that’s what you can control with a really good SEO plugin. It basically allows you to transform the search result of your blog post into a mini call-to-action.
To reiterate an earlier point, the title of your blog post needs to be attention-grabbing. You’ve got to stand out above the noise. There’s lots of information out there and lots of choices for consumers. You need to make sure that you’re making it as easy as possible for folks to find your content.