In 2020, almost every website has a blog. But how many blogs actually help their business? What even is the purpose of a blog? All too often it seems a given organization’s explanation for having a blog might be: “Well, it seems like an important thing to have. It’s a nice thing to have on the website.”
I know that at the beginning of my marketing career, this was how I viewed the company blog component. And most of us aren’t like Small Biz Daily that curates top-quality content on a daily basis and has multitudes of articles to choose between. Looking at the opportunity cost of time spent, managing a blog can be quite an expensive endeavor. In this article I’ll give some tips that will hopefully help you get more return on the effort you put into your blog.
Structure Your SEO Strategy
Done right, your blog should serve as a major source of steam power for your website’s SEO approach. As most would agree, organically appearing on Google when people search for things can be a much cheaper and passive way of attracting new customers than amping up a sales, email, or PPC campaign.
As Hubspot explains in their article, the most SEO conducive blog strategy involves a few long-form, high-level blog posts that focus on the main keywords you hope to capture. An array of other sub-category type blog posts should link to each of these pillar blog posts. For example, you hope to compete for the difficult keyword “How to successfully run a blog”. You write a long overview of this topic. And then linking to this blog post, you have various posts such as “Why you should include videos in your blogs” and “The power of storytelling in blogging”. Doing so creates something called a topic cluster, which shows Google you know a lot about a certain subject and ranks you higher in search.
Create SEO-Conducive Blog Posts
My team and I have recently been working on the blog for a company that sells billing software to daycares. We’ve had tremendous success using their blog to increase their sales, and our strong focus on SEO has paid great dividends. When we’re crafting our content calendar, we use Ahrefs’ keyword tool to find valuable and low difficulty keywords to create blog posts around. Ahrefs can cost a little more compared to other keyword analysis tools, but there are many keyword tools out there to choose from. If you don’t use keyword analysis to inform your blogging approach, you’re essentially shooting in the dark as far as SEO goes.
After we’ve identified potential keywords, we then plug the desired query into TF-IDF software that uses AI to generate a list of common words and phrases present in the highest ranking pages. If these pages are performing well in Google and are using these terms, we know that Google likes these terms. So we find natural ways to build out our content with these phrases and words naturally woven in.
Additionally, after looking at those top-performing pages, we model our own page structure from what’s working for them—and then improve upon it. The great thing about competing for SEO is that if you look at the top ranking content you can always see what’s already working. No need to reinvent the wheel.
SEO Done Right Will Connect You With Your Ideal Customers
Rather than finding just any high volume and low difficulty keyword related to our niche, we focus on choosing keywords that are the most interesting and relevant to the target audience—in our case, daycare directors. Unlike targeting consumers interested in very dynamic niches such as makeup or video games, finding and targeting daycare directors has proven quite difficult, so responding to daycare-director-specific queries has been a great way to get in touch with that audience.
If you can think of things that only your specific niche would search for, you’ll have great success using SEO to appeal to that specific demographic. I recently discovered a tool which generates a list of Google’s People Also Ask section and gives some great content ideas for responding to what your target audience might be looking for.
Understandably, a particularly hot Google query for child care centers lately has been the subject of how to properly sanitize and clean a daycare. Using the strategies I previously mentioned we made an effort to produce an online daycare cleaning checklist. We also used outreach to get links and promote this post, and little by little it has been climbing the Google rankings and bringing in more organic traffic. The best part? At this point, this specific blog post is even generating sales. We’ve had more than a few searchers for this topic read the post, see that Smartcare is an authoritative voice on the subject of daycare management, and then schedule a call with a sales rep. That’s the power of using an audience-tailored blogging strategy.
Blog Effectively With Any Budget
I realize that there are a lot of fairly technical tools and techniques mentioned here. The good news is that even if you only lightly apply these practices, you’ll likely start setting yourself apart from some of your competitors, not to mention the relentless thrumming of internet white noise. Good SEO is largely a function of time and consistency, so start making little efforts today on your blog and with time you’ll find yourself harvesting some great results.
Ryan Cook is a marketer and a writer at heart, Ryan loves to use hard data to guide his approach. His latest work has been with Epic Marketing, a marketing agency near Salt Lake City, Utah. He specializes in paid search media, content marketing, and SEO. He also loves working on his novel and going on hikes with his wife.