Years ago, someone told you that the best way you could generate more traffic, and ultimately, more leads was to start blogging. They said to you that you needed to create fresh new content, Google likes fresh new content. You thought to yourself, "I know my industry, my customers, I can write blogs." So that's what you did. You spent the next couple of years writing and posting blogs to your website. You wrote about successful solutions you've implemented, new product launches, "how-to" series, and much more. You built an extensive library of great articles, but unlike Field of Dreams, they never came. Now you're at the point where you are questioning why you did any of this. Was it just a waste of time? Was that "someone" lying to you about blogging?
The problem most companies have when they decide to write their own blogs is they don't understand the search engine optimization (SEO) process. Guess what? All that keyword research, meta descriptions, header tags, etc. that you had someone do for your core web pages? You need to do that for every blog you create as well. If you don't, no one will ever see it. So this my friend, is precisely why your blog isn't generating any leads.
So, was all the time you invested in blogging over the past few years a complete waste of time? Kind of. Well, let's say 50/50.
You wrote some great content, and chances are if people saw it they would find it helpful. If you used those articles in your email marketing campaigns, I'm sure you saw an increase in open rates and click-through rates, so it wasn't all in vain. However, if there wasn't a real SEO strategy in place for each blog article you wrote, then you're not much closer to generating new leads than you were 2-3 years ago. I know that stings, but it's the truth.
All is not lost though; you can still go back and apply SEO best practices to the blogs you've written and bring them back into the light. And that's precisely what we're here to help with today.
Blog articles have to be written with a purpose. They should be supportive of your core product/services pages and provide a way for visitors to educate themselves about the challenges they are having, leading them to possible solutions. In my opinion, blogs should be written to inform, answer a question, or shine a light on an obstacle your prospect is having.
Once you know what you want to write about, you need to do some keyword research; because what you refer to your product as prospects may not. Doing keyword research allows you to evaluate search volume, competition, and much more. You want to make sure the keyword or phrase you're targetting will indeed drive traffic to your website. I can't overstate this enough, having a keyword strategy for every blog is critical, because it is going to build the base for everything we discuss from here on out.
One of the best tools for keyword research (and a whole lot of other great stuff) is SEMRush. It allows you to type in keywords or phrases and it provides you data about that phrase as well as related keywords.
Next comes creating the actual content of your post. I find it easier to write your article first, then go back and address the following SEO best practices:
- The <h1> tag (the main title at the top of your blog post) contains target keyword
- <title> tag (the title that shows up in the web browser tab) includes the target keyword
- <meta> tag (the description field that shows in Google search results) contains target keyword
- <body> tag (the actual text of your blog article) includes the target keyword
- Avoid keyword stuffing (overusing the keyword throughout the document)
- Semantically related keywords (using related keywords and phrases throughout the blog post)
Once the content of your post is optimized for your keyword, you then have to make sure these technical issues are addressed:
- You haven't used the same title before
- There are internal links within the blog pointing to other areas of your website
- The content is unique and not copied verbatim from another area of your site (or someone else's)
- Image tags are used
- The page is not blocked from being crawled by search engines
The "someone" who told you blogging would lead to new business was right, the problem is they didn't arm you with the tools to do it correctly. As you can see, a lot more goes into blogging than most people realize. To do it properly requires a lot of knowledge and planning but as you get used to the process it will flow naturally, and you'll be able to create exceptional new articles that will drive new business.