There is plenty of bad advice in the online universe about what makes an excellent blog post and how to “win at Google.” The truth is, there is more than one way to excel at content marketing. There are many approaches to utilizing content to increase your company’s leads and conversions through an inbound writing strategy. However, if you’re still at the start of venturing into content marketing, you will make your new SEO life a whole lot easier by sticking to a few simple principles. Read on to learn our top tips for developing blog posts that are informative, engaging, and search optimization-friendly.
Create a Solid Blog Post Skeleton
The first step to a meaningful blog post is a well-defined outline. You probably learned this in high school English, but in case it’s been 10, 20 or 30 years–here is a quick review: introduction, thesis statement, body paragraphs, restatement of your thesis, and conclusion. By following the standard rules of a five-paragraph essay, you will rarely go wrong. For the sake of building out the skeleton a bit more for an online forum, we also recommend these tweaks to the classic five-paragraph essay:
- Catchy Headline
- Memorable Image
- Thesis Statement
- Body Paragraphs
- Restatement of Your Thesis
- Call to Action
- Related Posts (Or Some Other Continuation of the Reader’s Journey)
Clean Up Your URLs
URLs with clear parameters are not only better for the user experience, but Google takes it into consideration as well. Inform your reader what they are about to experience by previewing the content in the URL directly. www.umgagency.com/aa0oiehglrwaawer9rqmod is far more suspicious and unclear than www.umgagency.com/engaging-blog-posts. You get the picture. Readers will appreciate the security and clarity; and, of course, any detail that gets you in Google’s good graces is well worth the extra time.
Keep it Short, Sweet, and Relevant
When in doubt, subheads, lists and bullet points are your friend. An easy pulse check is scrolling over the piece and determining if it is scannable. The majority of your audience will not read the entirety of your 300-600 words, no matter how painstakingly beautiful and well-thought-out the words. If a reader can’t get the jist of your messaging in a 60 second skim, you have done something wrong. And while we’re on the topic, keep it short. There is almost never a time that 800 words+ is appropriate, needed or valuable. No one is going to read that much. Put it in a white paper if you’re really passionate that every word is crucial.
Utilize Keywords…But Don’t Overdo It
We all know keywords incorporated throughout a blog post are an important part of Google crawling the web page and categorizing it. There must be a clear indication of what the content is about and how relevant it is to the reader. Among many other factors, Google’s algorithm will rank according to your keyword use and relevance. There is a careful balancing act here as well. Cloud your message with an excess of keywords cluttered across a poorly written blog without any real “meat” and web crawlers will recognize this and actually lower your organic ranking.
Structure Your Data
Markups in the code of your webpage are great shortcuts for search engines to analyze the content on your site. Many search engines or social media sites will also use that data structure as a guide to previewing the page from Google, Facebook, Bing, and others. With an easy-to-understand preview, your click-through rates will increase and your organic rank will continually improve. Learn more about data structure markups to really take search engine optimization to the next level.
We hope you’ve learned something about building out your site with engaging and SEO-friendly blog posts. With time and practice, you’ll find that even a simple content marketing strategy will improve all of your lead generation efforts and ultimately increase conversions. Speak to a Hometown Media Services representative to find out how we can help you plan and execute an integrated content marketing and lead generation strategy.