One of the most frequently asked questions in regards to SEO is about blogging. “Is blogging really that important for SEO? I don’t have anything to talk about.” It is rather a two-fold answer, since it is much more complicated than a resounding ‘YES!’. Then come the sub-questions:
- What is the best blogging platform?
- How often to publish content?
- How much to write in each post?
- Is there an easy way to create content?
The Secret Equation To Blogging
First things first, blogging is an absolute must for getting your website to rank in any competitive searches. For certain, if someone were to search ‘your business name’ they are bound to get a couple pages of your site in the results, but what about if they were to search ‘what your business offers’. Odds are the answer is no if you have not optimized your website. Heck, your site might not even show up when your business name is searched if you haven’t set it up properly. Before you read any further, please go read this article on how to show up in google immediately. Once you’ve followed those steps, you’re in the clear to keep improving your rankings.
What is the best blogging platform?
As far as ‘the best blogging platform’ goes, there are technically many that get the bare minimum job done, but for doing the job well with opportunity for automation–I highly recommend setting up a self-hosted* WordPress.org website for a few different reasons:
- The software is free, but you have control over your content (wordpress.com can shut down at any time and take your content with it–and so can any other free blogging site for that matter).
- The customization and SEO opportunities on the platform are worth it in itself.
- The software within a WP site allows for automation, and integration with other free or paid programs like Google Analytics and MailChimp and social media accounts like Facebook and Instagram.
- You can place ads on a self hosted site, and get your hosting paid for by placing relevant, useful, and trustworthy ads on your content pages (free sites don’t allow you to, and often post THEIR ads).
*If you are in the market for a website host, I recommend 1and1 because they have a Canadian database, and offer hosting+email+domain for as little as 5$ per month, taxes in. Use my affiliate link for a one-year trial for 1$/month.
How often to publish content?
As for how much to write, this is very subjective. Google actually says “quality over quantity” so there is no minimum number of words, BUT in order to be considered an “article” instead of just a post, it needs to have a minimum of 300 words. I personally recommend 700-1500 words for the sheer fact that it takes the average human about 5 minutes to read it, and that’s a good amount of time for them to spend on your page (lower bounce rate). It can also be broken up with a respectable amount of images, for a fully engaged read. More than 2500 words and you risk losing visitors because there is so much to read, UNLESS that is the reason they are coming to your post, to read a research paper or a short story or novella etc.
How much to write in each post?
How often you post is subjective to your topic, but the rate at which you do so is important. The key is consistency. Once per month, per week or per day is up to you, but the best thing you can do is post at the same time on the same day each time. It teaches the search engine bots to come back and crawl your site that often for new content, and it serves as a customer service aspect as well since your followers know when to expect to hear from you.
Is there an easy way to create content?
While there is not one magical way for content to appear out of thin air, there are a few ways to do it that are easy and require little effort on your part.
- Transcribe your social videos into written blog posts.
- Use your contributing comments in forums and business Facebook groups to elaborate into a blog post, or to create a FAQ page.
- Still think you’re not a writer? Pay someone to do it for you. You get great, relevant content to publish from a copywriter, and if it’s a guest-post vs ghost-writer from someone in your field, you will even get some extra shares to their readers!
STILL FEEL LIKE YOU DON’T KNOW WHERE TO START? Make your first post a mini introduction to yourself and how you will be helping your readers. Writing about yourself is hard, so my advice is to list off 5 things about yourself that makes you unique yet relatable. Don’t be afraid to share your love for dogs or Netflix binges of Grey’s or baked goods. Be sure to post a great professional photo of yourself at work, and optionally a cell-snap or two of you enjoying those things you love. BUT don’t forget to give them a reason to subscribe –> tell them what you will be posting about. Is it recipes, or website tips, or graphic design freebies, or parenting hacks? Whatever it is, tell them so they know what to expect from you and look forward to receiving it in their inbox. Be sure to follow this blogging etiquette checklist before hitting ‘publish’.
NEED MORE TOPICS FOR GETTING STARTED FROM SCRATCH? Here are a few fun topics to get started and/or throw into the mix:
- The story about how your business came to be.
- Spotlight of your favourite product (that you sell), including testimonials from clients about why THEY love it. Bonus if you have photos of your clients using the product!
- That fun local thing you did this weekend, that allows you to boast about a local event or shop and create community buzz. Make sure you include a few optimized photos!
- Already have a Frequently Asked Questions page? Elaborate on each of those questions in either their own individual blog post (one per week is a good cadence for these), where you can include concrete detailed examples or case-studies, relevant photos and infographics, and hopefully incorporate some testimonials. Then you can link from your FAQ page to each post as they are published.
- Look up any fun International Days / Weeks / Months throughout the year that are relevant to your business, and write up a fun personal story, a great caption to accompany a coordinating image, and have them ready-to-publish on those days. For example, National Pizza Day, Mother’s Day, International Doula Week, Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, World Rhino Day, etc. [For example, did you know that today, September 19th is “Talk like a Pirate Day”?]
BONUS! You can post the same caption on Instagram with a different relevant photo!
So now that you have the means for blogging in the best way to help your rankings and your readers, you can take the first step of many and get that blog started!
WANT TO LEARN MORE? Register for the upcoming SEO Workshop in Ottawa, October 2017
STEPHANIE DE MONTIGNY
Local SEO Strategy & Implementation