How Blog Post Optimization Has Evolved And What You Can Do to Adapt
When blogging and content marketing really started to pick up momentum, the name of the game was to produce a lot of content frequently. At the time, this made more sense because blogging was still a relatively untapped market. As long as you posted frequently and paid attention to on-page SEO tactics, you were seemingly good to go.
Now, however, as we all know, blogging is no longer an untapped market, and it is becoming more and more difficult for posts to stand out from the competition.
If your clients are sticking to the original SEO best practices for blogging, it’s your job as a consultant to educate them on the evolved best practices to ensure they are doing everything they can to optimize these posts for search.
Unclear as to what these new best practices are? I’ve discussed them below.
Write for readers first
Not too long ago, people had it in their minds that the content they produced should cater to search engines first and audiences second, but today, that simply isn’t true.
Google is all about providing the best user experience possible and they will reward companies via search rank for providing these types of experiences.
Instead of plugging keywords in throughout your post just to get found online (more on keywords below), you need to actually speak your reader’s language and write about topics that will solve their problems.
Focus on quality, not quantity
I recently stopped accepting guest posts on both my Duct Tape Marketing and Duct Tape Marketing Consultant websites. I realized I wanted more control over the things written on my platforms and decided to take a step back, blogging less often and focusing on posts like content upgrades with extensive research into the Duct Tape Marketing fundamentals.
Why did I make this shift? While the quantity of content has increased since I began blogging long ago, the quality has not, and what people really need these days are the quality answers they’re looking for.
I’m not suggesting everybody stop accepting guest posts, as I do believe there is value there, but it’s the best thing for our content strategy at this time.
When you write posts now, be thorough and go into depth about your focus topic. I read somewhere that posts between 500-2500 words perform bests. I realize this is quite the range, so test the waters and see what works best for you. Bottom line, however, is to dive deep into a topic. Don’t just skim the surface.
Create content hubs
This has been my topic of choice to discuss recently, and for good reason.
I’ve talked about the Total Content System for years and it’s really driven by what I’m starting to call “hub themes.” These themes take a deeper dive into core topics while at the same time creating an efficient information structure.
Historically, blogs posts have revolved around a keyword and have been posted to the blog with other content that may not be related. It was every blog post for itself and a bit disorganized and difficult to find a lot of content around a similar topic.
With content hubs, you can find all of that content in one location.
So let’s say I want to talk about local marketing this month. I would drive all the attention I have to this topic, so one of the main tabs on my website has become “The Ultimate Guide to Local Marketing.”
Instead of it just having one blog post that talks about local marketing services, it becomes a foundational page that has a tremendous amount of value about what local marketing is, with blogs and other resources that people can click through to for further information.
I not only have all of these internal pages driving back to this one hub page, I also include links to external, high-quality content on the page that can also be linked back to the hub page.
It’s a great way to organize existing blog posts and other content, as well as to create a place for new content to live.
With so many pages driving to one another, you’ll start to gain a lot of trust and authority from Google.
Think about the topics you want to be known for and get started.
Understand the importance of keywords
You didn’t actually think I was going to get through a blog post about content without mentioning keywords, did you?
The importance of keyword research hasn’t changed over the years, but the way we use them has.
As most of you know, keyword stuffing is now a big red flag to Google, yet that used to be a common practice. Today, keywords are used to identify user intent and search behavior. What a person types into Google has become much more conversational because the quality of results you’re looking for are now available. We search the way we talk and get what we want by doing so.
Focusing your posts around a long-tail keyword gives you a better chance to match the intent of the person searching for you. So, instead of looking at keywords as a stuffing mechanism, use them to direct your content strategy.
Now, with all that being said, there are still some areas related to keywords that haven’t changed, and that is where to include them. Be sure to include keywords in your:
- Meta description – Google has recently bumped the character limit to roughly 300 characters so be sure to use that space to fully describe what it is your business does and how you can help your audience.
- Page title
- Body – Again, be sure to not keyword stuff. The inclusion of the keyword should flow within the post naturally.
- H1 – There should only be one H1 tag on a page, so make sure there are relevant keywords within it.
- Alt text – Since Google can’t actually see the images, you need to be able to explain what it is to help with SEO efforts.
To help with your keyword efforts, I’d recommend looking at the Google Search Console.
I’m finding myself advising consultants to bring this up more and more with their clients. The Google Search Console “allows webmasters to check indexing status and optimize visibility of their websites.”
In it, there’s a section called the Search Analytics Report that analyzes clicks from search. This is especially useful in identifying keywords people are using to find your blog posts.
Ensure your posts are mobile optimized
I basically dedicated all of the content I’ve written over the past month to mobile optimization because frankly, I still don’t think people understand the importance of it. Google is now prioritizing mobile optimization over desktop optimization when it comes to search rank.
To ensure you are set up for success, I’d recommend implementing a responsive design on your website so that it adapts to any devices that visit the site.
There you have it! Were you aware of these updates and are you informing your clients about them?
Need more tips on search engine optimization? Check out our entire Guide to SEO.