We all learn to crawl before we can walk, and the same goes for this profession, which is why I’ve decided to bring you a beginner’s guide full of blogging best practices.
You can find all kinds of complex guides out there, including some awesome plugins that allow you to customize your blog from the ground up.
Even those wizard programmers were once starry-eyed bloggers sitting at their computer screens with nothing but a default WordPress theme, and a dream.
So, how do we go from a blank canvas to the promised land of blogging?
Well it all starts with knowing how to build a blog, and once you have it up and running, you can utilize this guide to cement yourself in some good habits and set up a bright future for yourself and your ongoing endeavor.
Haven’t started a blog just yet? Not to worry because I have you covered in this guide on what to know before you start a blog
Blogging Best Practices: The Ultimate List + Infographic
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Blogging can be a hobby, but for most people it quickly becomes a lifestyle, a career, and a primary means of income. If that sounds exciting to you, then you’re absolutely in the right place.
Here at On Blast Blog, I believe that everyone and their grandmother has the potential to make blogging a huge part of their lives.
You’re probably shaking your head, thinking that blogging is one of those things that five people do in their spare time and one of them actually makes money.
Uh huh, well, this infographic I found shows things a little different. For starters, it shows that there are 31 million bloggers in the United States alone.
Yeah, so it’s safe to say that this isn’t some fad or passing trend. Still, many people aren’t aware of how versatile blogs can be.
People use them for more than just personal journals, although that is still part of the fold. Here are some common uses for a blog:
- Support Your Business With a Corporate Blog
More and more companies are creating their own blogs for the purpose of keeping their investors and customers in the know. These blogs play host to news stories, product announcements, and related topics
If you already own a business, this is something you can do today. In fact, setting up a blog takes only ten minutes or even less if you have that super Bright House internet.
- Write an Online Journal/Diary
If you’re thinking about being a little more open, or you want to use blogging as a hobby, you’re not alone. Many people have blogs that are used to share moments from their lives.
These types of blogs usually evolve into something else as time goes forward. Still, if you want to talk about your daily life, you’ll have a lot more space to work with on a blog than, say, Facebook.
Setting up your blog today will empower you to do this. You can always try out a free one, which removes any and all reasons not to do it today.
Writing your first post is pretty easy, just talk about your day. See how you feel about it, how things go, and take it from there.
If you’re life is just that interesting (or it sounds that way) then skip the free and go straight to a self-hosted blog on your own domain.
- Maintain a Themed/Professional Blog
For people who are looking to make money in this field, there are blogs that focus on a topic or niche and obtain a profit through advertising, and other forms of monetization.
Some people do this as their main job and make enough to live comfortably, while others just scrape by. It’s not a get rich quick scheme, but blogging has a lot of potential regardless.
Find a topic that you’re knowledgeable about, then find a place where it’s lacking. A niche, a tiny piece of the overall pie that hasn’t been taken yet.
It’s there, and if you can turn it into a blog that helps people, that provides answers to their questions, then it can easily turn into something profitable for you.
Best practices are one of those things that come in a lot of different forms. As we dive into the specific practices of online blogs, it’s important to remember that this isn’t going to be a catwalk. In fact, it’s going to be extremely difficult.
Or is it?
I’m not saying that to scare you, on the contrary, I want to instill courage. You can do this, I know it, and you know it.
Here are some characteristics you should strive for in the early days of your blog and long into its successful future.
- Show Your Expertise
Whatever you decide to blog about, make sure it’s something that you’re knowledgeable about. When people search for a blog, they want to read something that sounds like it was written by a guru of the subject.
They should have no question in their minds whether or not you’re a master of the craft.
For example, I am a master of blogging; otherwise, I wouldn’t have the authority to showcase the most common mistakes that rookie bloggers make.
If you’re not the expert on something, have a guest blogger write a post for you, but never try put out information that isn’t accurate.
For more information on the sensitivity when it comes to guest blogging, check out this HubSpot piece on the matter by Rebecca Churt.
Your credibility is one of the most powerful assets you possess, so choose something you know a lot about, and stick to what you know. Luckily, we never run out of brain power to learn more, so you can always do your research ahead of time.
Create a post, today. You don’t need to publish it unless it fits in your schedule, but at least make a draft. Pick something that fits into your blog, something you know like the back of your hand. Write a whole post about it and really let you experience shine.
You’ll be surprised how good you feel about yourself, and your readers will find it refreshing as well.
- Write Mind-Blowing Content
The thing that most people forget, is that content is written for their followers, not for search engines like Google and Yahoo. We’ll get to optimization techniques in a moment, but for now, you need to focus on making content that serves your followers.
Think about your topic and what people in that circle would like to see from the blogs they read online. Write for the people who are reading, not for yourself, and not for robot nano-machines that work for search engines.
You want to be found and noticed, but not at the cost of well written posts.
Looking into other competitors and examining their approach is another way to drum up some content ideas.
Of course, if you have plenty of topic ideas and trouble come up with blog post ideas, well, there’s a cure for that too.
For today, you can make this change on your next post by approaching as you. No one else, not some persona you’ve created and not in a style that’s not your own, make it yours.
Obviously you don’t want to throw caution to the wind and start writing about any old thing, so keep it classy, but unleash the inner you and let the content shine.
- Write Posts that are Oozing With Style
Whether your blog is associated with a company or corporation doesn’t change the fact that it has a brand. You may not have a product that people can buy in the store, but you do have a whole lot of posts that represent the brand of your blog.
Yeah, you can pick up the pieces of you blown mind now. Blogs should be packed with information written with confidence and structure concisely so as not to waste your reader’s time.
But, don’t be like Rico Suave… please.
Blogs shouldn’t feel like someone scanned a chapter from your high school art history textbook either.
They need to have style, jokes, the occasional existential question that leaves your readers scratching their heads and rethinking their lives; those are the kinds of posts people want to read.
Do they want information? Yes, but they can get information from a library, you’re giving them what they want, in a way that doesn’t feel like work.
A final note on style: don’t stray from your voice.
When you’ve decided on an approach to your blog, the worst thing you can do is suddenly change the way you write. Experimentation is always encouraged, but when you’ve become cemented in your niche, don’t throw your followers a curve ball and start writing like a different person.
Much like my point above, don’t let yourself turn into Rico Suave, but something you can alter today, is finding ways to increase the power and strength of your posts by letting the style shine through.
Memes, funny images, or some jokes to keep the mood light are all great ways of doing this.
- Consistency in Published Post Dates/Times
Blogging is a race that once you start, you can’t stop. You can change the pace, spring, jog, but you can’t stand still. As you begin posting, people are going to become accustomed to how much you post and when you publish.
We are creatures of habit, so decide on a post schedule, even if it’s just once a week, and stick to it. Keep your readers informed and once you’ve set expectations, don’t stray from them, lest you lose readers in the process.
Here’s a way to do this right now, create a post and tell your readers the plan you have in place for the schedule going forward. Something simple like Hey guys, so going forward you can expect to see a post once a week or something like that.
This way you and your readers are on the same page and you have a schedule you can be confident in.
- Engage With Your Readers
Your blog doesn’t exist in a vacuum and while you may have heard me say that a thousand times, it’s not any less true.
You are creating an ecosystem of readers, contributors, and possible influencer outreaches. You can’t just publish a post and walk away, that’s not going to bring you success.
Dropping the mic is not encouraged here, let’s put it that way. Publishing a post is only the beginning, from there you have to encourage reader feedback and participate in the growing discussion.
You’re going to get spammers and trolls in the comments, but these can easily be moderated by a blogger who keeps their ear to the heartbeat of the blog.
Some authors will opt to have an approval process for comments, but this can become increasingly difficult as time goes on and more people start commenting.
Other bloggers will require people to make an account before they can comment, but this will turn away a lot of legitimate comments because those people would rather not create an account.
When people compliment you, ask questions, or seek your advice, answer them like you would someone who was standing right in front of you.
A lot of people treat the internet like some unchecked battleground without social norms, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Your followers deserve respect and prompt response times.
A great practice is to lay down a set of rules for both yourself and your community. You can publish these, or keep them to yourself and your respective authors.
Either way, engaging your readers is an absolute necessity. A final note on this subject, remember those trolls I mentioned? Just like the signs at the zoo that encourage you not to feed the bears, don’t feed the trolls either.
They don’t deserve your attention, only a one-way-ticket to the trash can and the farthest place from your mind.
Your homework assignment for tonight is to go to your blog and find any comments or emails that have yet to be addressed.
These are opportunities waiting for you to seize them, so seize away! Respond, thank people for reading and commenting, and you’ll already be on the path towards a great community.
9. Look For Opportunities to Fill Gaps in Your Niche
Whatever the topic or niche you specialize in, the best way to truly target a solid lead is to look at your competitors.
You can do this by searching top keywords related to what you’re writing about. If you writing a cooking blog, try searching “best cooking blogs” or “top 10 cooking blogs” to see what your competitors look like.
Most of my blog posts are based off of what has worked well for my competitors.
When you find a few you like, look carefully at their posts. Check out the word count, the amount of data and statistics they included, the type and number of images they have, how actionable their points are, and how well-written the post is.
These are all great things to look at, and you’ll soon find yourself spotting gaps or opportunities where you think “hey, I could that way better!”
Two words my friends: do it today. How to do it is a little more involved, but don’t worry. You just need to do some keyword searches on Google for your topic and find see what’s out there.
You’ll quickly build a mental image of what the network that is currently present, and that’s where you’ll find the gaps you need. Take that gap, and make a post around it. Even if you don’t publish it today, write it today.
10. Back Up Your Points With Real Data and Statistics
You can throw out opinions like they’re going out of style but if these opinions are just broad statements like most people like pie, you’re really not driving your points home, and therefore people won’t take your content seriously.
Earlier I had mentioned expertise, but this is something different. This requires a little legwork and research, but it pays off in spades.
You can say something like a study performed by Google in 2012 stated…and that would work. You can also place a hyperlink to the study on that text to provide additional credibility and prove the validity of your source.
Always reference your source, don’t just say that research told you so, or a study said it. Evidence, proof, and citation are the tools are strong researcher and they help to drive your points home.
Back up your claims and your readers will thank you for it.
This is something that’s easy to implement. Simply do your research ahead of time and when you’re writing, mention where your claims came from and drop in a quick highlight to the source.
This covers your bases and it shows that your using information from a credible location, which always adds to the validity of your content.
11. Tailor Your Posts to Increase Traffic
There’s a lot of ways to write a post, but there’s also a lot of ways that work. Case and point, the posts that see the most love tend to be longer with more words packed in.
Not just any words, but the right words.
Anywhere between 1,500 to 3,000 words is usually smart. More than just length though, the best way to optimize your posts is to structure them with short paragraphs and plenty of sub-headers to organize your information.
Don’t forget the point I made above either, using real data and providing links to sources will greatly improve your credibility and increase the perception of your expertise.
Lists, bullet points, and pictures are always welcome as well. In addition, you should equip your blog with social media plugins that allow readers to post your content on their profiles.
Reaching out to other bloggers or offering to publish guest posts is another great way to bring more content and traffic to your site. Remember that everything you post should be valuable and useful to your readers.
When you finish reading this article and you go on to write a post, take these pointers into consideration and constantly ask yourself “how can I make this better?”
You can also get your thoughts down on paper and go back through to add images and other things to increase the potential of your post.
12. Create an Expectation of When Posts go Live
The rate at which you publish content is up to you and your schedule of course. That being said, you need to create an expectation of when posts go live for your readers.
If you decide to post once a week, then stick to it, or if you post every three days, stick to that as well. Don’t let a significant amount of time go by without putting out content, otherwise you’re bound to lose readers.
You can even make this information public, in fact I would encourage it. Ask people what schedule works for them. Encourage readers to make their voice heard in the comments and tell you when they want to see posts go live.
If you listen to your readers, you’ll feel good about the schedule of content because it meets their needs.
Your traffic numbers and your incoming page views are tied directly to the content you have.
That being said, don’t set a pace that you can’t maintain for the long-term. If you start posting once a day and slowly taper off, people won’t know what to expect from you, and they’ll find another blog that is easier to count on.
As I mentioned earlier, an easy way to create this expectation is to write it down somewhere. Your “About Me” page is a good place to mention how often you publish posts. You can also announce it on the blog itself.
Either way, put out that message today on your blog and stick to it, that way your readers have an expectation and you are ready to meet it.
13. Be Patient
When you’re first starting out, it’s likely that things will move slowly. This is normal, because blogging like is like raising a dog. There’s going to be lots of frustration, annoyance, and plenty of accidents on your carpet, but in the end, you’ll have something that you love and a website you can be proud of.
You’ll see a pattern start to develop over the first year and beyond. Things will grow, stabilize, grow, then stabilize again.
These bursts are normal, and you’ll most likely start seeing them more when you create a long-term schedule of content publishing that your readers can depend on.
So, how long until I can reap the benefits of my blogging? John Bonini of HubSpot speculates on the anticipation of results.
You may be the new kid on the town, but that’s why it’s important to remain patient and continue persevering, even when it seems like things couldn’t be worse.
Do everything you can with the spare time given to you: post your content on other sites, install widgets and social media plugins, anything that makes your content spreadable and shareable.
All that this requires is a understanding through-and-through of what’s going to happen and how long it could potentially take for things to pick up. This isn’t a get rich overnight type thing, but it can really grow into a sustainable business for you, or a supplement to your current business.
If you own a business and you’ve decided to start a blog around that brand or product, first of all, creating a blog is a very, very smart decision in today’s climate.
More and more Fortune 500 companies are running blogs through WordPress predominantly, but also through other blogging platforms as well.
The goal of a business blog differs slightly from that of a niche blog or personal journal, which is why it has its own set of B.P’s around it.
The primary goal of a business blog is to generate leads for the business. This concept refers to the growth of interest and inquiries into your product or service.
Through a business blog, everything posted revolves around this goal, which is what primarily differentiates it from other types of blogs.
- Think like a Publisher, Not a Blogger
One of the best practices you can adhere to with your business blog is thinking like an online publisher.
You’re not trying to publish a certain number of articles each week, instead you’re seeking to create relevant content that best showcases your product or services through everything you publish.
It’s a form of marketing, but it’s also a resource for your customers to provide them pertinent information.
Next time you write a post, today preferably, ask yourself how you can better market the post and spread it out once you’ve published it.
Start thinking about social media, about linking to other content and how you can outreach to other bloggers. All of these things should be at the forefront of your mind during and directly after you publish your post.
- Don’t Talk About Your Company Constantly
While a business blog is a great way to promote your product or service, it’s also not a giant billboard.
While the subjects you discuss should ultimately tie into your business, you should be focusing on keywords that are not directly tied to your brand.
These keywords represent an untapped potential for you to bring in traffic that isn’t already associated with your brand. This traffic is then converted into leads if you’re content is there and of high quality.
This article is a perfect example. If you’re a publishing company, instead of constantly talking about your company, you should be offering best practices in the publishing industry and other valuable resources to your visitors and leads.
Don’t be afraid to mention your company, but as you move forward with your content, find a way to integrate your product or service into the post without spamming the company name until it rivals the number of words on the page.
There’s a fine line between promotion and overdoing things, so stick to mentioning the company occasionally and when it’s relevant.
- Focus on What Your Readers Want
Earlier I had mentioned engaging the readers of your blog, and here it is doubly important. If you assume that you’re readers want to read about subject A or B when really they’re interested in subject C, you’re going to lose them.
Structure each of your posts with a question at the end, asking the readers what resources they want and need from your blog. If you listen to their requests and supply them with this information, you’ll find yourself with a far stronger community in no time.
Start by adding the aforementioned question into your posts, and once you have some input from your readers about what they want to see, expand upon that and start delivering that content immediately.
You can go the extra mile and do some research about what readers in your niche want to see, but ultimately you’ll gain a lot more respect and viewership by asking them directly as well.
- Intertwine Your Blog and Your Website
When it comes to business blogs, make sure that is it connected to your website via a subdomain or as a page on the site. In either of these scenarios, the precious traffic the blog attracts will give the credit to your domain, thus strengthening the whole. I
In many cases, your blog is going to be the first impression of the company’s brand on a potential lead. Because of this, you want the transition from blog to website to be as smooth and easy as possible.
If your blog is separate from your company, change this immediately with a simple fix. You can include a link on your website now and work to integrate the two moving forward.
People should be able to move back and forth between your blog and your website with ease because this will make the entire process smoother.
- Always Include a CTA (Call to Action)
Let’s just say that Wix has it right.
It might be an extreme example, but you get the point.
A business blog is meant to provide a resource to potential leads. A customer asked a question via a search engine and clicked on your post in the hopes of finding the answer they were looking for. If you WOW them, then don’t let them leave.
Always include calls-to-action that lead them to other parts of the site to learn more and possibly discover more about your brand and what you offer.
Focus on the value of proceeding, not just the action itself.
In that Wix example, you get the girl if you click on “get started”
— you wish
The first time I heard the concept of SEO seems like ages ago, but I still remember that daunting feeling in the pit of my stomach that sounded like “grrrrowl.” What I thought was me being hungry was actually my stomach saying “this sounds horrifying and complicated.”
Don’t let all the funny jargon and weird terms scare you, because SEO is something anyone can learn.
Is it difficult to master? Oh yeah, but learning the basics is an easy first-step. So, starting with the name: SEO stands for “Search Engine Optimization.”
It governs the way we structure and write our content and the goal is to do these things in such a way that search engines like Google and Yahoo can’t keep their hands off of it.
It seems simple, and it used to be, but the algorithms and formulas that govern these search engines have grown up a lot over the years.
What used to be as simple as plugging in some keywords has become a complex set of ever changing rules and shifting norms.
Again, all truth, but not something to be afraid of. Here are some best practices that will get you on the road to a SEO optimized blog.
- Provide Quality and Quantity
I know in most cases people say you can’t have your cake and eat it, but in this scenario, it’s what needs to happen.
Your content that you write should use the same voice as the buyers or readers you’re targeting.
If you aren’t already doing this… bummer cat is bummed again
If you’re writing for thespians aspiring to be the next Shakespeare, well then by all means craft thy twine of a post with the moonlit strands of Mother Nature’s hair.
If you’re not writing for that crowd though, don’t write like that. A major part of SEO is keywords, which we’ll get to next, but writing in the same style and voice as your target audience is going to organically create keywords that target the traffic you’re looking for.
Furthermore, if your content is consistent and relevant, then you’ll find yourself more exposed on search engines.
In the end, quality trumps quantity, but that doesn’t mean you only have to write one amazing post a month. You need to be consistent with your timing and with your quality. Easier said than done, I know, but that’s the goal.
How do you find this balance? Take more time before publishing your next post to really look it over and see if everything is where it needs to be.
If you need to adjust your posting schedule to provide more time for crafting high quality optimized posts, don’t be afraid to change things for the better.
When you have a decision made, keep your readers in the know and tell them what’s changing and what’s different.
- Use the Right Words in the Right Places
The best way to make yourself known is to use the right keywords in your content. There’s a fine line here between sprinkling them in like a fine dish, and stuffing them like your post is a Thanksgiving turkey.
You want the former, not the latter.
The goal is to have your blog ranking the highest when it comes to keywords that are related to your topic or niche. At a basic level, you want to use the same words your readers are using when they search for a site like yours.
On a higher level, you can use tools to find out what keywords your audience is searching on places like Google and Yahoo. These keywords should be incorporated but not forced into your content in everything you do.
This takes practice, but today’s the best time to start. When you write your next post, have a list of your keywords handy and institute a “main keyword” that you use once in the beginning and once in the content.
Sprinkle the other keywords through but remember to keep it natural and never sacrifice the flow of your content.
- Remember That Organization is Huge
Beyond an easy to utilize layout, organizing your site is an absolute must for SEO purposes.
On a basic level, this looks like organizing your pages and posts into categories or sub-folders to make them easier to locate for both users and search engines.
Website hierarchy is key in the planning phases of a website. This will help ensure your blog is optimized for crawling. A poorly designed blog will make it more difficult for Google to crawl and read your offerings.
It should be fast and easy to find any specific post on your site. A more hands-on approach is to modify your URLS or your permalinks to make them short and sweet.
Your URL should be composed of your domain and a few keywords separated by hyphens. Nothing too long and nothing complicated. You can accomplish this by going into your permalink settings and enabling the option for customized links.
Going forward, keep these things in mind, but you can improve the organization of your site today by checking to see if you need categories or folders for posts, and look to see what your permalink setting is.
If you change anything, you’ll need to reroute the link, so don’t do that unless you have to because it’s a little complicated. Changing the setting for future posts will help you customize and optimize your permalinks prior to publishing.
- Show Your Pretty Face
Your content should have a face to go with the name, and doing this is not hard whatsoever. In fact, you can use a handy tool called Google Authorship.
This guide goes into more depth on how to set it up, but suffice to say the tool allows you to link your content to your Google+ profile.
This opens up the ability for you to appear on everything you do, and promotes awareness of your expertise.
This also opens up the opportunity for people to network with you via your social profile, which is another major way to spread the word of your blog.
You can do this in mere minutes and doing it right now will massively improve your overall appearance and open yourself to increased traffic and more emotional attachment between you and your readers. It’s a small investment of time to make things much better going forward.
- Inserting Pictures is Good, Adding ALT-Text is Better
Pictures are a great practice in general because they add visual flair and style to your blog. On top of this though, they also need something called alt-text to become SEO friendly.
When Google sees your pictures, it doesn’t understand what they are or what they represent.
Your alt-text provides a short description of the elements in the photo.
Just like writing your content, this shouldn’t be stuffed with keywords, but it should be utilized to optimize your pictures that you use.
If you have images on your blog (you should) check and see if they have ALT-Text for them today.
If they don’t it’s easy to modify the post and add it in.
You’ll notice an improvement fairly quickly, and you’ll remember to do it going forward to further optimize each post.
- Utilizing Social Media is a Must
An interesting concept called the six degrees of separation theory posits that we can interact with anyone on the planet by going through six people or less.
In this modern age, we can have these interactions without ever having to leave our home.
The power of social media and networking is stronger than it’s ever been, and we have the power to take advantage of it, as do you, when you publish content on your blog.
Creating and maintaining a Facebook page, a Twitter, a LinkedIn and more will allow for more avenues by which your content can be found and offer your opportunities to engage with your users.
It also spreads your name around the internet, improving your visibility on search engines.
You can also add share widgets to your posts, which makes it easy and accessible for people to post your content on their own social media profiles. All of this contributes to a higher ranking on search engines.
Downloading a social media plugin or buttons takes minutes and putting it on your posts is even easier.
This is another simple investment of time that will open up your content to unlimited exposure across sites like Facebook, Twitter, and more. There are plenty of great plugins that do this, and most are free, so don’t wait to add them in.
- Reach Out and Link to Other Sources
This is immensely important.
When you’re writing your blog posts, be sure to link to other related articles, and to other sites that further contribute to the topic at hand.
This gives you an opportunity to reach out to the authors of those articles and share your work with them. Mentioning their work inclines them to share yours.
This is the basic way to start increasing visibility, but a way to take it a step further is to reach out to other bloggers in your niche and suggest to them to share your content with their audience.
In return, you can offer to link to one of their posts. This kind of interlinking is a major step in improving your SEO and becoming more prevalent in your blogging space.
Caution: Don’t simply exchange a link for a link
Your goal is to essentially add more value to the conversation/topic. All you need to do is find other blogs that are in your niche and see what content they have that could influence you and help you grow.
Try and write something similar, but make it your own and strive to make it better. When it’s done, reach out to them via email and invite them to check out your post. Tell them if they share it, you’ll share their own.
Most websites or blogs will offer you a small bonus tip for reading, but here at On Blast Blog, I bring you an entirely new section of my post.
We may all start out as beginners but imagine most of us here are aspiring for towards great things.
I respect that, and I want that for you, which is why I’m here to give you a little taste of some advanced SEO techniques that you can start thinking about. These will help you transition from beginner to advanced more quickly and with increased efficiency to boot.
KeywordsRelevant Topics will Always Matter
It used to be that you could throw keywords all over the page and call it a day, but now it’s more important to place the keywords in specific areas of your content.
Think of it less as keywords and more as topics within an umbrella. You want to mention/reference all the related keywords that fall under the umbrella of a larger topic.
Keep these keyword-specific elements in mind:
- Title Tag
- Headline (or H1)
- Alt-Text for Images
- Using LSI keywords (semantically related)
- Main Keyword present in the first 100 words
Don’t forget even the basics! Review these aspects of your current posts today, and strive to hit each one going forward.
Take time to review your posts and check for each of these things prior to publishing.
- Understanding Term Frequency-Inverse Document Frequency (TF-IDF)
Yeah, I’m going to refer to this by the abbreviated form. In a nutshell, TF-IDF is a new way of indexing web pages that has been appearing frequently in Google’s recent patents.
Cyrus from Moz talks more about it here.
This method of searching a web page doesn’t count the number keywords, but instead counts the importance of them based on how often it shows up, compared to other keyword expectations that have been gathered by examining various documents.
It’s easier if we use an example. Say I’m talking about Hair stylists.
Hair is probably used a lot, while stylist is a used less.
This means that the keyword as a whole is important, but the possibility of stylist ranking higher is more plausible than just hair on its own.
This is something to refer to when you write your next post. Keep it in mind as you work through the content and try to recall other methods of utilizing variations of the keyword and how often you see them used in other types of content in the same niche.
- Use Synonyms
Google constantly uses similar words and synonyms to better understand what someone is searching for.
There are billions of different searches that have multiple variations, all of which are relevant when the engine is seeking out results. What this means for you, is using variations of your keywords that are similar in meaning.
Say you’re talking about wedding photos. You can also use keywords like “bridal pictures” and “Groomsmen photos” which all tie back to the original concept. This allows you to be more flexible in your keywords, while also improving your SEO.
Synonyms come to us naturally with some words, but another way to improve your usage of them is to have an online thesaurus handy. You can reference it to gain a lot of synonyms for your keywords very quickly.
- Being Aware of Co-occurrence and Phrasing
Another way to expand on the SEO of your content is to provide additional phrases that relate to your keyword. These are more than simple terms, they are completed sentences.
This is known as phrase-based indexing. These strings of terms provide more relevancy to your content and make it appear that your page is more on-topic than others in the same category.
An example: if your keyword is “Blogging” you can break that down into phrases like “how to start a blog” or “CNN’s News Blog” anything that relates back to your keyword and adds more relevance to your content.
Next time you’re ready to write a post, Google you keywords and see how they fit into phrases, thus expanding your repertoire and stirring the old creative juices as it were. Keep these search results handy and reference them as you work through your post.
Stringing together long-tail keywords and finding these relevant phrases will automatically increase your optimization without you even realizing it.
- Look to the Future: Entity Salience
As Google takes one step closer to becoming SkyNet, we welcome yet another oddly specific and powerful tool in the name of search results.
In a research paper from Google, the concept of entity salience was mentioned. This concept reaches past simple things like keywords and phrase-based indexing and goes straight for the jugular of the matter.
This new ability would allow Google to find additional terms based on the relationships between entities in a given piece of content.
What I mean by “entity” is anything concepts in the document that stand out. If other entities on the page have a solid relationship with each other, this strengthens the SEO of the whole page.
Let’s say we’re talking about Batman. Well, if we mentioned The Joker, Harley Quinn, The Riddler, Bane, and other characters from that universe, we’re linking these entities together and creating a strong bond between them. Yeah, exciting and scary all at once.
As always, it’s recommending that you blog about topics you’re knowledgeable in. Don’t take on a post without knowing it like the back of your hand.
Research is always advised, and doing this before tackling a post will fill your mind with relevant topics that you can reference to expand on your point, like the list of Batman universe characters above.
Some Final Thoughts
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These blogging best practices are sure to help whether you’re doing it for a business, for personal use, or for a specific niche.
Utilizing these basic practices will help you get off the ground, and keeping those advanced SEO strategies in mind will push you toward new heights. For additional food for thought, check out Susan Gunelius’ resource on the matter.
I always enjoy helping others and teaching my fellow bloggers the things I’ve learned in my time. As I always say, we’re in this together and we need to help each other stand tall if we want to succeed.
Bloggers don’t exist in a vacuum, they’re part of a larger community.
To that end, I’m always here to discuss blogging best practices and willing to help you with your questions and concerns, so be sure to leave a comment or contact me at Matt(at)onblastblog(dot)com.