Blogging for business is a smart strategy – not only for SEO, but also for increased visibility, authority, and attracting new customers.
But it’s no good investing time into your blog if your mum and best friends are the only people who read it!
So how do you create a blog that attracts lots of new visitors and is alive with social sharing and comments?
Let me explain…
Part 1: How to get your blog indexed
Blogging attracts new visitors because fresh content increases the likelihood of getting found in the organic search.
Here are some simple, proactive things that attract the Googlebot to your website so indexing can take place…
- Install a Sitemap to your website.
First up, make sure you have a Sitemap for your website. This is simply an XML document that’s stored on your website’s server and lists all your website’s pages. The sitemap tells search engines when new pages have been published, alerting the Googlebot that there’s new content to crawl and index. Your web developer will be able to do this for you (if they haven’t already done so). And if your website is built on WordPress, you’ll find the Google XML Sitemap plugin is a quick and easy way to tick off this job. If your website is new, you should also submit your ULR to Google via your Webmaster account. Here’s the link. Whilst Google is continually crawling and indexing, by submitting your URL, you could find your website gets found quicker (although there’s no guarantee).
- Exploit social.
Because Google also spots new content through links; social media platforms provide a powerful route to get fresh content quickly indexed by Google.For starters, include your blog’s URL within the profiles of your social media accounts. In addition, use social to share any fresh content. This can help your content get discovered by Google more quickly. Google+ could be especially useful for this. That’s because Google+ posts are searched and indexed just like other content.
- Secure quality backlinks – with caution
Backlinks are still an indicator of authority, which means securing links to your content from other websites and blogs around the web can be an advantage. However, you must treat this strategy with caution. Poor quality links – particularly since the Penguin and Panda algorithm updates – have got a lot of websites into serious trouble. You don’t want links for linking sake. Spammy links will only harm your website and are a sure-fire way to get your website penalised by Google.Instead, aim to write content for quality, niche sites where your target audience will hang out. Remember, guest blogging isn’t just about getting the link; it’s also about raising your authority and credibility and getting you and your ideas in front of a new audience. So when deciding who to approach think about the bigger picture – not just your SEO.
Outreach is also worth considering. That’s because connecting with the right influencers and building relationships with key people could boost your visibility. Influencers may be persuaded to link to your website and blogs through their own content. But again, quality and relevancy overrides quantity on this strategy too.
Part 2: How to get your blog found
To do this, you’ll want to give some thought to the search phrases and words that your target customer may be typing into Google when they want some information. Gone are the days of keyword stuffing – Google is a lot smarter than that and is moving closer towards semantic search results. What this means is when you’re writing content, don’t get hung up on writing to get found. Instead, write naturally – for your audience. When you do this, you’ll find you naturally incorporate keywords anyway.
Blogs should be created to be useful and interesting to your readers – and help position your authority and expertise. So always write with your ideal customer in mind. This means that you want to write about the problems your customers are looking to answer.
Then, gently tweak for Google before you hit publish to increase your chances of a good ranking. For example, you can:
- Use a descriptive title tag. With a blog, the title has a HUGE influence on your CTR. The title needs to pique your reader’s curiosity and compel them to WANT to discover what you have to say.
- Focus on just one keyword per page: Keep it simple. Don’t try to weave in tons of different keyword because it’s not effective. Instead, focus on one keyword theme per blog and you’ll enjoy better results
- Attract attention with your Meta description. Whilst no longer a ranking indicator, these short pockets of text can influence whether your content is read over a competitor’s.
Part 3: How to get your blog shared
But that’s not the only way you can use your blog to stimulate the flow of visitors.
Social media is a hugely important traffic generator – and is becoming more so. Firstly, social media allows OTHER people to share your content. This means that if you create blog posts that engage, inspire and move your readers, the changes of them sharing with their wider social circle increases. In turn, you reach a much wider audience.
So what strategies can you use to encourage people to actively engage with your blog and create the momentum needed to spread the word on your behalf?
- Create outstanding content! Yes, we’re back to this fundamental again. I can’t stress enough that a successful blogging strategy relies on quality content at its heart. You don’t need to be the best writer in the world. Instead, you need to create content that your intended audience can connect with. Content that they find valuable and that helps solve a specific problem. Do this, and they’ll be back for more!
- Add social share buttons: If a reader has discovered content that they love, make it super easy for them to share. Add social share buttons to each and every blog post. You can add buttons under the title, in the sidebar, or at the footer of each post – experiment to see what converts best for your audience. In addition, ensure the buttons show how many times a post has been shared. This is seriously good news for social proof – especially when you start attracting double or even triple digit figures.
- Encourage active engagement: Finally, you shouldn’t view your blog as a one-way information share. One of the most valuable features of a blog is that it promotes two-way conversations with your audience – through comments. This is effective because it helps to establish you as an authority. In addition, if you can get into conversations with your audience, you can extract more information about what they really think, and start building a trusted relationship, which could turn into a sale.
- Make it easy for readers to comment: Just like the number of social shares your blog attracts, comments are a sign of an active blog that’s worth reading. So do think about HOW you will encourage your audience to comment.
- Ensure the tech side is sorted. For example, make sure you activate commenting capability and don’t expect people to jump through lots of hoops before they can say their piece. WordPress’s default commenting function works fine.
- Use the call to action at the end of your blog to invite people to leave a comment. In short, ASK people to leave a comment.
- Respond to comments: Although this may sound obvious, do take the time to respond to comments that your audience leaves. This can keep the conversation going and shows that you are reading and responding to the thoughts of your followers.
What do you think?
Blogging is a powerful business strategy on lots of levels. From enhancing your SEO, to establishing your authority, to attracting new customers, blogging can help with all of these.
But you’re only going to reap the rewards of your hard work if your blog content is found and responded to. This means in addition to planning content, you also need to give time to the strategies that will increase the visibility of each new article.
How do you ensure your blog content gets indexed, discovered and shared? I’d love to know what you think so, please leave your comments and questions below. And if you’ve found this blog useful, please share on your social circles – thank you.