Blogs are an integral part of your content marketing system and are considered top of the funnel or research stage information pages. Customers are trying to find a solution to their problem, and they are Googling to find it. You need to increase your blog traffic and your position in the search results.
Your blog posts need to address their problems and solutions. You want your blog to be the one they find and learn from.
Once you have a content strategy for your blogs, where are you going to publish? How do you get blog traffic growth?
Before we discuss building traffic, let’s address the basics of your blog.
What is a blog, and why do I need one?
A blog is an online journal or website information page. It provides readers with information from the writer’s point of view on a particular subject. It should be about them, your customer, NOT you.
What are your customers searching for? Your blogs need to answer those search queries, be easy to read and be informative and conversational. Don’t use blogs to write about you, your company news and events or sales pitches.
Blogs can build your authority in your industry so you become known as one of the go-to experts with the answers.
Blogs will increase your organic website traffic, provide leads and build brand awareness.
Is there a point in doing a blog in 2020?
Yes. And here are some stats to show why:
1. Websites that also have a blog are shown to have 434% more indexed pages.
2. Companies who blog get 97% more links to their websites.
3. Blogs have been rated as the 5th most trustworthy source for gathering online information.
4. 77% of internet users read blogs.
5. Internet users in the US spend 3X more time on blogs than they do on email.
6. 72% of online marketers describe content creation as their most effective SEO tactic.
7. Businesses that blog experience twice as much email traffic as businesses who don’t.
(according to Optinmonster)
So, now that you know this information, what do you do with it?
At this point, I still see blogging as relevant and steadily rising in 2021. When it may peak is hard to predict, but as the stats show, it doesn’t appear to be anytime soon.
Format your Blog for Publication
There are many steps involved in formatting your Blog after writing it.
You should do keyword research before or while writing your blog, but if you didn’t, then do it now to ensure that your content has some.
Do keyword research for your field to see what search queries people are making, and your competition ranking for. Tailor your blog articles to answer those queries.
Google processes over 3.5 billion searches per day. That’s over 40,000 search queries every second on average. (according to Internet Live Stats)
Google doesn’t write the content for those search queries. They crawl the internet looking for the best answer. Your business should be the one providing it.
Title Tags and Meta Descriptions
You need to include Title Tags and Meta Descriptions to your blog for SEO. This is an essential step that a lot of businesses miss.
A Title Tag is the displayed, clickable web page title shown in Google search results based on the search query.
A Meta Description is the short description under the Title Tag that describes what the page is about. You want the narrative to grab their attention.
You can also use Google. Search your top competitors and see what title tags and meta descriptions they are using to rank for and tailor yours.
Take the time to learn how to do the right blog SEO strategies and best practices. There’s a lot to learn, and it can seem overwhelming at first, but using the plugins mentioned above will help. They have great on-page wizards and FAQ resources to learn how to use them correctly and get the best results.
SEO plugins like Yoast will automatically generate an XML sitemap of your content for search engines to crawl your site and locate your blogs properly.
Length of Your Blog
Your blog should be between 1,000 to 10,000 words. You want to help people and provide quality content on your chosen subject matter. Google will rank it higher in the organic search because it’s longer, in-depth and provides value.
If this is the one thing you take away from this article, its honestly the most important. Creating meaningful content for your target audience is the single biggest traffic driver.
Once you’ve written your blog, get someone to proofread it. You don’t want your blog to have grammar or spelling errors in it. We’ve seen too many blogs that were hastily put up with glaring errors in it. It doesn’t inspire trust in your brand. If you don’t have a proofread buddy, you can use a program like Grammarly. I use it for all my writing.
You’ve written and formatted your blog, now what?
You need to publish your blog to your website and all your social media accounts. Don’t forget to post it on your Google My Business page as well. We see too many businesses forget that step. You can use programs to publish like Hootsuite, Buffer or Content Studio.
You can also publish on Medium, Flipboard and other blog publishing sites to attract new readers. Medium requires you to upload your blog posts to their site manually, but Flipboard will automatically pull it from your website RSS feed.
You need to start building your email list. Create a sign-up widget on your posts and website for your blogs/newsletters. Keep your readers excited to hear from you and to learn more. Use an email program to manage your lists. There are a lot out there to choose from like Mailchimp, Mailerlite, AWeber or ConvertKit.
We use Mailerlite here at Zealous Social, and it’s the one we recommend to our clients. It’s free for the first 1,000 subscribers and offers a lot of automation options.
There are several other ways to drive traffic to your blog.
You can try guest blogging. You need to find bloggers in your field and contact them to see if they’ll accept a guest post from you. You’ll get a lot of rejections, but if you can get one yes, you’ll be able to reach a new audience that can pay off.
The easiest way to find them is to type in Google search: industry + “write for us” (for my business, I would type marketing “write for us”). You need to include the quotation marks so that Google does an exact phrase match search.
Another option is to post on sites like Quora, Reddit, Medium, Facebook or LinkedIn Groups. Look for someone asking questions in your niche and provide quality answers with links back to your blog that goes more in-depth on the topic.
When writing your blog, add links to brands, articles or influencers in your field. This provides outbound links to your blog. We try to aim for at least 5-10. If you pull quotes or statistics from them, make sure you quote them (i.e., according to Google).
When you publish your blog with those links, send an email to each letting them know you mentioned them in your blog and ask them to share your blog with their followers on Social Media. This increases your audience base.
Be sure to follow-up with the sites that do share your blog. If they tweet, reply to their tweet thanking them for sharing. If they post it on their Social Media, reply with a comment thanking them. Also, send them a personal message or email to see if they would be interested in a future collaboration or guest blog post.
There are only a few ways to build backlinks to your site safely. You must do this correctly. Google will penalize you if you use the wrong tactics. So be careful. Here are three good ways to do it.
Trade Blogs and Links
You can write a guest post for someone else’s blog that your interested in, and the topic works for your industry. You embed a link back to your site, and they do a guest post for you for your site. You both promote each other’s posts and help drive traffic to each other’s blog. This gets you in front of a larger audience in the same niche.
Another way is to reach out to publications, podcasts and other bloggers that cover your industry with your blog. If you have a unique, in-depth blog subject that you believe should be a resource for anyone in your niche, and it would be a great resource to their audience, ask them if they’d cover it in their publication. Many times, they’ll post it to their audience if they agree.
Look for others in your industry that are posting regularly on Social Media. Pick five or ten to follow. Start commenting on their posts with real comments full of advice or support on the topic. Don’t just post a generic message. Start building a relationship with them. After a few times, contact them to see if they’d be interested in forming a group that helps each other out, promoting everyone’s blog posts. You can start a specific FB messenger group or LinkedIn message group to share your daily blog links.
Many FB groups have one day a week that promotes their members’ posts. Find those groups and take advantage of those post promotion days.
PR For Your Site
One way to get free PR for your company and links back to your website is by providing the answers that reporters are looking for in your niche or expertise.
You can find out what reporters need by going to HARO (Help A Reporter Out) website. Go through the posted questions and see if there are any related to your niche or your expertise. If you can answer a reporter, send the answer with a short bio of who you are. If they like the answer, they’ll post it in their article with a link to their source (you).
There are a lot of news and magazine outlets out there always looking for information. If you do it consistently enough, you’ll get significant traffic, and you’ll start to build relationships with different reporters and become their “go-to” source for more information.
Bad (Black Hat) Links
One thing to avoid is buying backlinks or doing bad link exchanges. There are lousy SEO backlink companies out there that tell you they can provide X number of backlinks for your site for $$. Don’t do it. Google watches for these types of links to sites and will penalize you for it. It’s not worth it.
If you’re continually doing link exchanges with other sites that have nothing to do with your niche, Google will see this and penalize you. The links to your site have to make sense for Google to use them to rank your site.
We’ve seen this type of link building too many times, which is why I’m stressing this point. I want you to succeed, not fail.
You can quickly turn your blog post into a video. You can use a program like Lumen5 if you’re not a video expert. It pulls your blog directly into the program, and you just need to tweak and publish it. It’s a great way to post your blog to YouTube, FB or Instagram Stories. They even have the option to do a voice-over commentary for your videos to make it more personal.
Track your blog traffic growth. After you’ve published 5 to 10 blogs, go back and see which ones are getting traffic. Update the ones that aren’t.
There are many ways to grow traffic to your blogs. Try these tips out and let us know the results you get. If you’d like to get help with your content strategy, contact us.
(Note: We get a small commission from some of the links for referrals, but it doesn’t cost you anything. We never recommend anything we haven’t tried ourselves).