Regular blogging does wonders for a website’s SEO, driving customers at all stages of the buying process to your website. It can boost your website in search results, and it can help you attract customers most likely to buy from you.
But blogging takes time and effort, and an audience won't suddenly materialize overnight. Retailers and interior designers should prepare themselves for an ongoing commitment that has the potential for huge payoffs if done well.
Blog right and blog well with these five easy steps.
Step 1: Research Before Writing
Use a free keyword planner like Google Keyword Planner to look up the search volumes of keywords that are flexible and easy to use in text. For instance: “outdoor lighting” and “outdoor furniture.” If you’re strapped for topics, Nadia Jones, Chief Social Officer/owner at Social Channel Marketing Group, recommends writing posts based on your frequently asked questions and then researching which keywords to use.
Jones says 10 to 15 minutes of keyword research is enough. Once you have a topic, research a few other similar keywords (“outdoor wall sconces” and “outdoor ceiling fans,” for example). You may find one term pulls in a higher search volume per month, so that’s the one you should use in your writing.
Not sure how to use a keyword planner? Check out our upcoming August issue for detailed instructions on how to use Google Keyword Planner.
Step 2: Write Optimized Blog Posts
In layman’s terms, an optimized blog post is just a blog post that is reader-friendly and Google spider-friendly.
If it’s reader-friendly, then it has images with detailed alt tag descriptions, headlines and subheadlines, links to other relevant pages on the website and lists or bullet points. A Google spider-friendly post helps Google categorize the page and deliver it to those searching for it. Keywords used in the headline, deck, meta description, image alt tags, subheadlines and body text are just one component. You also need internal links to other relevant pages on your site as well as external links to other relevant, healthy (read: not spammy) websites mixed throughout the text.
Amanda Churchill, Director of Digital Strategy at digital marketing agency MLCworks, says your keyword(s) should account for 2 to 3 percent of your overall word count. That means if you write 1,500 words, at least 30 of them should be your target keyword. Some terms like “outdoor furniture” may feel stale after a few uses, so mix it up. Use “furniture outdoors” or “patio furniture.”
“Google, Bing and Yahoo are smart enough to know similarities,” Churchill says.
Step 3: Share It and Share It Well
Sharing a blog post on social media is the natural first step, but your followers aren’t your only audience. Create an email blast about your blog and send it to your email subscriber list. Churchill says this audience is perhaps more important because they’ve trusted you with their personal information and therefore are more interested in receiving news from you.
Step 4: Republish
Now you need to take snippets of that same blog post and turn it into content on other mediums. This will help you reach searchers no matter their preferred form of media consumption, and it will drive traffic back to that original blog post.
Video — be it an edited one on YouTube or a 30-second Facebook Live video — provides an easy win. Pick one aspect of your blog and tape yourself discussing it. Churchill says all you need is 30 seconds, so keep it short. At the end, encourage viewers to go to your website and read the full text. Infographics are fodder for Pinterest, so choose one section of your blog and do a deep dive into that one subject.
Step 5: Repurpose
Don’t throw away that blog topic. Jones says adding more blogs related to that topic can help you expand your reach in search results and keep visitors on your page longer. Use those similar keywords to expand on your topic and go into detail. Jones once had a client who was a pediatrician, and she wrote a whole series on potty training and its keywords: potty training, potty training girls, potty training boys, potty training twins. Each post had wholly unique content, but they were related, so users bounced around the site.
“Content is king without a doubt, so once you’ve got a solid strategy, you’ll start to see an uptick in traffic,” Jones says.