SEO without the smoke and mirrors By Stewart Roode. August 2, 2017.
Sometimes SEO can seem all smoke, mirrors and moving goalposts. When you’ve tried and your business still hasn’t made it onto the first page of Google results, it can seem hard to know what to think. And when people do it for you, they are racing to keep up with ever changing search conditions set by Google, which has heavy market dominance (over 90 per cent in many countries) and reserves the right to suffocate websites where it thinks people have broken its rules.
We wrote about blogs recently, how they are SEO bread and butter, and how to make yours more appealing to readers. This article sets out to describe what writing a regular blog delivers in terms of SEO, and then gives some tips on how to make sure your blog is the best it can be in terms of boosting your most important business organ; your website.
What would happen if you built a website and just left it, with no fresh content? You’d get less visitors. Blogs bring direct traffic. You can see how much traffic each blog pulls into your site, it’s trackable. A good result from a weekly blog would be an additional 100 website visits a month. But when you get new visitors reading new blogs, something interesting happens. Some of them read your old blogs too. And something else happens: the new readers don’t stop coming. So if you write a post this year, you’ll get hits on it in 2020. We saw a site the other day that had 166 visitors in one month from a blog posted a year earlier.
Some more examples: a client posted a blog in 2016 and had 1,303 users coming in to the page over the next 12 months. That’s 108 visits a month. The average duration was about a minute on site. That was a particularly good example. Another one got 987 hits, so 82 additional visits a month.
To end up with a decent amount of traffic from your blog you can do a few things:
- Check for trending subjects. Anything you see that is being written about a lot means there will be people searching for that topic. Look at social media and news.
- Link the blog content to a specific treatment page. It will have a better chance of converting your blog reader into an enquiry that way.
- Make each blog at least 350 words.
- Try and do a blog a week.
- Check that your content can be shared on social media.
- Always include imagery, and make sure your images are optimised for search and that your title tags are correct.
- Make sure your image sizes are appropriate. Overly large images are unnecessary and slow down your page loading speed.
- Don’t make a habit of linking to other websites. It’s OK to do occasionally, but only to reliable sites like the BBC or other high profile domains. Links simply send the Google crawler off your blog page, and it won’t come back until next time. Use a “no follow” link to avoid this.
- Avoid using the same combination of words on every blog post, for example, if you were in the habit of copy and pasting the same call to action at the end of each article, don’t. Content needs to be unique to bring SEO benefits.
- Try to focus your content on relevant and related key phrases. Use treatment key words like orthodontist and orthodontics, and use as many variants as you can. This is a fine art and a balancing act. Don’t go overboard — keep the reader in mind.
So what is the benefit of all this effort?
- Each page you create is built within the same template as all your other website pages. That means your other pages each get an additional internal link back to the blog post. If you post 100 blogs, you have an extra 100 links to every page on your website. The more internal links there are, the better your site will perform in search rankings.
- A website with regularly updated content will be crawled more frequently by Google. If you update daily, Google will notice and will respond by crawling your website daily. The most recently crawled sites rank higher. Also, this means that every time you make any changes to your site or add new pages, Google will pick them up quickly and index your new pages faster.
If you need in depth guidance on SEO, get in touch.
“A good result from a weekly blog would be an additional 100 website visits a month”
Stewart Roode, online marketing director