In Part 2 of this mini-series on small business blogging and using social media for marketing your blog, I covered some basic guidelines and pointers on content writing. As this series is aimed at small business owners, I offered some advice on how you can increase the grade of the content on your blog to better engage readers if they are just getting started or need some help coming up with blog ideas. It’s important to have content that is easy to understand for both the readers’ enjoyment and edification, and that is also compelling enough that they will pass it on. The latter part of that equation is what I will focus on today, because content is the most important part of your entire Search Engine Marketing (SEM) plan. Your content won’t be of much use if you’re only writing for readers, but it imperative for you to write for both your readers and for Google!
Keyword Optimization In some previous posts, ie Checklist for Perfect On-Page SEO, we’ve talked about the importance of conducting keyword research for small business blogging. For your website to be optimized for search engine ranking, you must determine which keywords related your industry are the most favorable for you and use those keywords within the content on your page. This goes for all of the pages on your site (from Home to About Us), but this also applies to your blog. As a small business blogging about your industry, you have an enormous and persistent way for you to generate traffic to your website, because every single time you make a blog post you have the opportunity to direct targeted traffic with a whole new pitch of keywords. Optimize your blog posts just as you would any page, with the proper density and placement of your keywords within your paragraphs, headers, images, etc. In small business blogging, many make the mistake of not including keywords into each and every single post. Use this to your advantage or you will be wasting time–something that is of course precious to any business owner. In Part 2, we suggested the idea of compiling a predetermined list of blog posts. Incorporate keyword research into your planning and you will save yourself even more time and make brainstorming a cinch. Crawling For Content Keyword research isn’t just a “good idea” it is essential to gaining traffic. Google works by having web crawlers (bots that methodically browse the web for new content) literally crawl your page, and when they do they are certainly looking at your content. Google analyzes pages for ranking in their search engine first by the relevancy of content. Of course, Google prefers authoritative websites with well-structured link profiles, but you must tell Google where you want your authority to be directed. When planning your editorial calendar and conducting your keyword research you may have to take a step or few outside of your focused niche within your industry. Small business blogging is about longevity, so stretch out your reach in your industry and cover broader topics in order to create more content. Content Is King But Only If You Promote It Here lies the key elements to fully utilizing the power of small business blogging. Now, your blog can feature the best content in the whole world wide web, but Google has a special definition for what it considers the best. The content of your blog posts must be keyword-rich and relevant to what you wish to rank for, but Google also looks for how authoritative your backlinks are in determining how you should rank. It also looks at how relevant those backlinks are. However, make sure that you are creating a natural mix. Avoid looking spammy by building backlinks from sites that are exclusively relevant to your niche.
There are many ways to gain backlinks to your pages that are both relevant and authoritative. Here are a few of the ways that you can lodge some authority behind your small business blogging efforts:
1. Commenting on other blogs. Find other blogs that are related to your niche and make useful comments on a blog post. Be sure that you leave an actually useful comment, unless you want to risk being flagged as spam.
2. Get listed on other blogs. Ask another blog to list you on their blogroll, especially is they are related to your niche.
3. Guest blog on relevant blogs. This is a very popular method and many of the blogs that rank well in the search engines are ones that allow for guest blogging. Contact the owner of the blog and propose an idea for the guest blog. This is not only helpful for backlinking, but guest blogging increases your credibility as a blogger and expert in your industry.
4. Use directories. Although many blog, RSS, and article directories only offer nofollow links, they are still incredibly useful (you want a mix of nofollow and dofollow in your link profile anyways). When you submit your articles to article directories and your blog and RSS feed to blog collection sites, you are sending a huge indicator to Google that you are relevant. Blog directories are made so that you can find topic-specific blogs more easily, so there are usually categories within these directories. Make sure you are listed in relevant niches so that when people search directories they will find you.
5. Use internal linking. When you make blog posts, recall posts you have made in the past and if they are relevant to your topic, make an internal link (<–psstt! here is an example of a internal link!) within the article to the old one. This adds not only a lot of value to your page rank but this can be very helpful to your readers.
You may have noticed that I’ve left out a great deal of other ways to get backlinks to your blog. Not included in this post are all the ways that you can be using social media websites to gain backlinks and bring more traffic to your blog posts. I have a method to this madness, and that is to break things down easier, I will exclusively be discussing how you can be using social media for marketing your blog in the final and fourth part of this mini-series. Since social media has more benefits than just gaining wonderfully high page rank backlinks, I wanted to fully cover all the ways that social media can help in promoting your blog. Stay tuned for a great finale!