Blogging for SEO: The secrets you need to know

Half the struggle of establishing higher rankings on Google is ensuring all aspects of your website are optimised for the best possible success. And that’s a hard thing to do, especially when the sneaky team at the Google HQ in Silicon Valley are constantly changing their algorithms. What you know today is likely to be outdated by the time you wake up tomorrow – but that’s what keeps us on our toes as digital marketers.

The best way to approach this is one step at a time. While your search engine optimisation campaign needs to be holistic in nature and cover all bases, the best way to get started is by focusing on one aspect at a time. If you’re new to the field of SEO and have never dabbled with it before, the best way to go about this is by opting for an expert to manage it for you – like our SEO experts on the Gold Coast. Beyond that, though, there are ways you can optimise your site yourself, in between an agency taking over the reins for you.

How marketers choose to tackle these influences comes down to skill, experience and knowledge. No campaign is shaped out of thin air, just as buildings aren’t constructed without in-depth blueprints. We don’t create results out of nothing and that’s how it should be: based on data, driven by influence and formed on insight.

For example, one of the biggest ways to ensure your site is continuously optimised for ranking potential is by including SEO essentials in blog content that you frequently publish. If you haven’t jumped on the bandwagon of blogging just yet, well, you’re slightly behind – but there’s never a bad time to start. (Hint: start right now.)

So in this article, we’re going to walk the talk and show you how to optimise your blog content, so you can kickstart your brand’s rank-worthy publishing powerhouse.

Okay, but first – does blogging help with SEO?

Oh boy, does it ever. Blogging boosts your SEO authority by placing your website as an authority. In the eyes of Google’s army of robots, you’re a God of your industry if you can frequently publish high-quality, relevant, unique and substantial content. That means putting in plenty of effort and time into creating something that offers value to your audience.

Think about this post as an example. We frequently get asked if blogging really has all that much of an effect (Que: “Do I really need to blog?”)

The truth is, no – you don’t have to blog if you don’t want to, but you’ll see the difference it makes when you avoid it. Competitors who take the time to create articles that answer their target audience’s questions will rank better and higher above you. Competing with that when you don’t contribute to this kind of audience need is going to be a tough time for you as a brand, and for the digital marketer trying to encourage you otherwise.

The problem with Google’s algorithms is that they are made to blur the lines. That being that we never really know what those masterminds are thinking. We don’t have a set-in-stone formula of what ranks content over others, but we have very solid theories backed by years and years of experimentation. We know what works, what doesn’t and what can cause you to be penalised from the search engine overall.

So, that being said, the rest of this piece will tackle what goes into optimising a blog post to get traction on search engines (because we know you’re not going to avoid blogging now, are you?)

Long-tail keywords are your best friend when blogging for SEO

Gone are the days where, as Google users, we search one or two words for what we need answers to. For example, we were known to type in things like “plumber” or “content” into the query box and hope for the best. But these days, our search intentions are far more evolved. As internet users, we’ve become far smarter at using this kind of technology to fulfil our demands. And Google has kept up.

You’re more likely to type in “where is a plumber near me?” into Google these days, or “what content ranks best?” As consumers of content, we now want more high-quality answers to the questions we are asking, and that means we’ve developed our search behaviour to be more specific.

These longer search queries are called long-tail keywords and they’re about to become your best friend.

The trick with using long-tail keywords in your blog content is not to spam as many as possible within your words. Do this and you’ll be transporting your brand back to 2010 when this was still ‘acceptable’. This era of Google is all about making sure your content is as quality-orientated as possible, keywords aside.

A great way to think about this is by using Neil Patel’s explanation as a good guideline. The SEO mogul himself says:

Question: How much does Google care about long-tail keywords?
Answer: Not as much as they care about users.”

In reality, including these long-tail keywords in your content will give you plenty of benefits, but you need to balance that with user experience and readability. A.K.A Quality.

So how exactly do you do that?

Our rule of thumb is to use one or two long-tail keywords as the basis of your optimisation for one blog post. Let’s use this article as an example.

Firstly, a good way to research long-tail keywords is by using a tool like Google Keyword Planner. It’s free and lets you customise your keyword ideas according to your needs. Create a draft ad campaign and type in a few keyword ideas relating to the content you are publishing.

Here’s what we put in for this post:

What we get as a result is a list of keywords that offer the rate of competition to rank for them, as well as how many searches they pull per month. However, you’ll notice these phrases aren’t long-tail. So we need to go one more step beyond this.

Choose a couple of these keywords to use as the basis of your research. Open up good, old Neil’s tool (yes, we love him) Ubersuggest and drop these ideas into the search box.

Boom. Now we have a better idea of some long-tail keywords we can use when blogging for SEO. One tip, though: make sure you observe the metrics carefully. Some of them may not be worth your time – e.g. highly competitive keywords or low-volume ones.

Okay – test time. Did you notice a sneaky thing we slipped in, in the last paragraph. You’ll get brownie points if you can pick it out.

Alright, here’s a hint.

That lovely highlighted bit is a long-tail keyword we discovered after scrolling through the Ubersuggest recommendations. If you head up to the other subheadings in this post, you’ll notice they’re in there too. Sneaky, huh?

Blogging for SEO isn’t all about keywords, though

Beyond keyword optimisation, more goes into SEO optimisation when you’re writing up a blog post. Like we mentioned before, you’ll really need to put in the hard yards to create substance and value. We think we’ve done a good job so far of demonstrating these two qualities in this article. We’re answering common questions and giving direction.

How do we know people are raising these questions, you ask?

Well, speaking of optimisation, this is another way you can optimise the blog post you're writing by monitoring common questions across the web. An easy way to do this is by using Google’s native feature ‘People May Ask’.

Try this: type in literally anything that’s on your mind and see what the Google Gods serve up to you. If you scroll down enough, you’ll see something like this:

These are questions people are often asking in relation to the topic we are writing on. We know these are popular queries, so we may as well answer them. They also make great subheadings for your piece, if you want to go the extra mile.

Quick tips to keep in mind

Mobile-friendly optimisation
A few other considerations when it comes to publishing content include making sure your blog layout is mobile-friendly. Trust us when we say this is one of the most crucial parts of becoming a favourable authority in Google’s eyes. Fail to do this and you’ll quickly drop off the virtual map.

Meta description
When you’re ready to click the publish button, make sure you’ve put in a meta description. If you’re using a CMS like WordPress, this is easy enough to do with a plugin like Yoast. This tool also highlights any other essentials you might need to include before you go live.

Optimise images
If you’re using pictures in your content, optimise them by using the alt text space to include the keyword you researched. This is because Google can’t see the images you’re putting in there so you need to give it some kind of indication towards what they’re about.

Keep content unique
We don’t need to tell you not to copy and paste content, but just in case – keep it all unique. Make a post of your own and make it personal. Create something no one else has or offer a personal, fresh viewpoint on the topic. Quality content is all about giving readers something they don’t already know or can easily find elsewhere.

Oh, and copying content will only land you in the bad books with Google.

Bringing it all together

These are just a few ways you can get started in blogging for SEO, but there’s always far more you can do. The challenge with optimising any content is that the rules constantly change, so you’ll need to keep on your toes and constantly review older content that might need another look at.

Give it a shot and you won’t look back. We promise.