Blogs are a key component of a website’s overall SEO. A blog can be an integral component for link building, helpful when establishing authority and trust with Google and your website visitors, and can serve as a platform to discuss company products, provide company or industry updates, and serve as a company’s voice.
Yet how can an inexperienced writer create a blog that provides SEO value? Training in proper SEO techniques can take years. The good news is that with some SEO knowledge, a writer can generate blogs that improve the website’s search value.
SEO Blogging 101
1a. Keywords, Phrases, and Questions
Keywords remain an important factor for SEO, and Google searches became smarter and more intuitive when the update known as BERT dropped on October 19, 2019. Google stated that BERT was “oriented around improving language understanding, particularly for more natural language/conversational queries, as BERT is able to help Search better understand the nuance and context of words in Searches and better match those queries with helpful results.”
What does this mean for your blogging efforts? Simply put, use keywords and phrases in your writing that you would use when researching your topic. If your site is focused on pet food, include keywords and questions that you would naturally mention when doing your research such as “best pet food,” “what is the best pet food,” and “quality pet food.” These keywords belong in your blog’s title, headers, and copy.
Plenty of free keyword tools are available to help you determine which terms to use, based on volume, seasonality, and other factors specific to your industry. Google’s native keyword tool is one of these, and it’s free to use.
1b. Keep It Relevant with LSI Keywords
No, LSI is not a crime TV drama. LSI, or latent semantic indexing, is a system used by search engines to provide relevant results when a keyword search is conducted. If your blog is about cars, LSI means that you don’t have to agonize over whether to use “car” or “auto” in your blog post. Google understands the difference and that contextually, they are the same thing. LSI keywords offer many opportunities to find new variations on the main search query and should be used in the title, headers, and body copy of your blog to help increase its potential visibility.
How can you determine LSI keywords? Type a keyword such as “pet food” into Google. The results at the bottom of the page under the heading “Searches Related to Pet Food” are LSI keywords. Sites including LSIgraph and Ubersuggest provide LSI keyword lists.
2. How Long is Too Long?
This is a common question among content writers. How many words are optimal for blog SEO? The answer is simple – as long as it needs to be. While the minimum word count should be around 350 words, adding fluff for the sake of word count isn’t going to help. If your content has too much fluff and not enough substantial content, website visitors will leave. That will hurt your website’s bounce rate.
Google announced that beginning in 2021, user experience will be incorporated into the core algorithm so get into the habit of providing it now. Users who don’t find useful content on your blog won’t be likely to share your blog on social media sites or bookmark your site, and these are two quality ranking signals for Google.
3. Be a Good Neighbor and Link Out
While the purpose of a blog for many websites is to gain links for your site, it is just as important to link to other quality sites for several reasons. Linking is a notable ranking factor for SEO and link quality can have a significant impact on your site.
First, you never want to be accused of plagiarizing your content. Cite your sources and quantify your information. Did you get a great statistic or quote from a government or educational site? Even better. Linking to a high-ranking site lends credence to your blog in your reader’s eyes and from Google’s perspective.
Second, Google rewards high quality, natural links. Linking is both inherent and vital to the very nature of the Internet. Some webmasters don’t link to other sites, citing fears that their link value will decrease. When you link to external sites, you control the link. You can prevent negative link juice to your site, but if the site is that disreputable, you shouldn’t link to it anyway. Linking to external sites signifies that you are willing to be part of and contribute to the overall natural link network.
Third, Google penalizes sites for poor links. As the saying goes, “A man is known by the company he keeps,” so too is your website. Google will penalize low-ranking sites and if you have links to them, your site is risking penalties by association. Google’s Penguin algorithm update, introduced in 2012 and integrated into the core as a ranking factor since September 2016, penalized sites that engaged in spammy link schemes designed to artificially boost rankings. Don’t risk associative penalties with poor links.
4. E-A-T Well to Stay Healthy
Much like users who visit your website, Google likes to see you E-A-T. In this case, E-A-T stands for expertise, authority, and trustworthiness. To sum up what could be a lengthy blog post itself, Google added a substantial amount of information about E-A-T to its Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines shortly after the August 2018 “Medic” broad core algorithm update. The Medic update targeted poor quality content on YMYL (Your Money or Your Life) sites or sites which have an impact on a user’s health, happiness, or money. What E-A-T did was define parameters for content.
When evaluating the main content author, what are their credentials? Do they have sufficient knowledge and experience regarding the topic? For non-YMYL sites, do they have demonstrable proficiency or experience to qualify as an expert?
Do the main content author and the website have demonstrated influence and clout within their field? Are the site and author acknowledged as thought leaders?
Is the site trusted by others? Do users go to the site as a trusted source of information? While the level of trust doesn’t need to be as great as ESPN or CNN, it needs to be a trusted source within its industry.
If you aren’t a noted expert in the field that you’re writing about, don’t worry. It doesn’t mean that your blog has no SEO or E-A-T value. Google openly acknowledges that non-YMYL sites, including forums and gossip sites, can have quality, authoritative content written by non-industry authors who have everyday expertise.
5. Stay Regular
Google loves fresh, quality content. If you can post well-written, informative blogs regularly, that would be ideal. Unfortunately, not every business has time to create new content due to time constraints… but it is worthwhile. By adding a new blog post to your site once or twice a month, and scheduling it for consistent publication, Google will be prompted to scan your site more often. If you are working with an SEO company, they will know how to get your site index refreshed. Don’t have the time to create fresh, consistent blog content for your site? We can help.
Get Help from the SEO Content Experts
SEO blog writing is a task that can seem daunting since SEO is a complex combination of elements that takes time to fully understand. It is certainly worth the effort, as blogging is an excellent way to improve website traffic, establish your authority within your industry, and build your relationship with potential customers. If you need blog writing services or general SEO services, call Efferent Media’s SEO content experts at (631) 867-0900 to get started.