words Alexa Wang
Content marketing is arguably the most affordable way to build an online presence and build a brand. Great content can also be repurposed as excellent social media posts, allowing you to create high engagement rates and drive sales across several channels.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is still one of the fundamental digital channels for establishing a brand and driving sales. In this blog post, we will examine how blog posts fit into SEO and how to write and optimize them to rank as high as possible on search engines such as Google.
How is Google Utilizing AI?
AI is changing the world, and Google is at the forefront. Google has stated that its mission is to “organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful”.
Google’s BERT (Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers) algorithm update was rolled out in October 2019. Described as the “biggest leap forward in 5 years”
BERT is a form of natural language processing, that
If you want to optimize for BERT and Google’s AI – optimize for the user! Know what your target market is asking. Ensure that you research to find out exactly what keywords your target market is using and what they discuss online.
You should also look at the results that Google is serving for specific keywords and see if you can create a more relevant blog post or article. Since Google utilized AI with its RankBrain update, it is believed that search queries are passed through an interpretation model that looks at the user’s previous searches, web history, location and other personalization factors. Identifying and optimizing for these factors will help your content rank as high as possible.
Target Audience Problems
If you haven’t done so already, you need to identify your target market and audience before you begin to plan your content and blog strategy. Once you know who you want to reach, in terms of demographic details and interests, find out where they hang out online. Small business owners, for example, often discuss issues and pain points on Reddit’s small business forums, on Facebook groups and on websites such as Quora. Make a note of any regular topics that appear to crop up on these websites. You can use the Reddit keyword tool to quickly see the common themes that are discussed. Just enter the “subreddit” name and press “get keywords.”
You can also go to Amazon and search for books related to your niche or the pain points you have identified. For example, small business owners ask a lot of questions regarding social media marketing. Type “social media marketing” into Amazon’s bookstore search and see which are the bestselling books. Take a look at the feedback and reviews, too – they might be able to tell you what exactly was good about each book and what it was missing.
When you have a good idea of what your target market is discussing online, plan out your blog post titles. For example, social media marketing could be broken down into different blog posts for different platforms, like Facebook and LinkedIn, as well as by channel – organic and paid.
Finally, head over to AnswerthePublic.com and enter any relevant one or two-word keywords. Make a note of any relevant questions that are shown on the results page. These titles might be edited slightly later on when you do your keyword research.
Plan & Spy
Every business that wants to do well in the game of SEO should have a marketing plan and strategy. A great way to get started is to head over to an online SEO tool such as Ubersuggest.com, Ahrefs.com or SEMRush.com and enter a competitor’s web address.
There are some restrictions of the free versions of these tools, but they will tell you approximately how much traffic each of your competitor’s gets, which keywords they rank for which pages get the most visitors. Make note of the blog post titles which drive the most traffic.
If you think you can create better content, add blog titles to target the relevant keywords to your plan. Make a note of the blog’ URL and what the blog posts is missing – i.e. how you could create a better version.
Keywords, are also known as “search terms”. These are the words and phrases that people type into the search engine search box, or ask their Siri, Alexa or Google Home device to search for them.
Ideally, you want to write blog posts with titles that are relevant, have a high amount of traffic and are not too competitive. In an ideal world, the keywords would also have commercial intent, but that’s more of a bonus thanthan a must-have.
To start with, you can make a list of words that you might search for to find your product or service. For example, if you are a selling marketing services to small businesses, make a list of keywords small business owners are likely to search for:
“small business marketing agency”
“marketing agency for small business”
When you have a complete list, head over to Google and enter the keyword. Make a note of what auto-suggest searches Google predicts or suggests for you.
Next, type your keyword and and “a” at the end of it. For example:
“small business marketing agency a”
“marketing agency for small business a”
And then add “b” at the end of the original keywords, then “c”, all the way up to “z”.
You can also take the blog post ideas from your competitor and target audience research and enter those into Google’s search bar. Again see what Google auto-suggest comes up with and if relevant, add “a” up to “z” at the end of the search terms.
You can also search for each keyword, and scroll to the bottom of the results page and make a note of any relevant “related searches”.
After this process is completed, you should have a comprehensive list of blog post titles. See which titles are similar and consider using just one title for those that crossover in terms of the user’s intent.
In 2021, more search queries than ever, have featured-snippets at the top of the relevant Google results page.
Snippets are answers and summaries that are pulled through from websites, directly onto the top of the search engine results page.
Research shows that the results that show the snippets get the majority of the click-through compared to any of the listings shown below it on the results pages.
A good way to get started with “snippet optimization” is to make a note, or highlight the keywords, that are actually questions, with the list you already created.
The key to winning snippets, according to the Income School YouTube channel, is to write “Answer Targets”. These answer targets are specific sections of your blog post, that directly answer the keywords you have that are actually questions.
A great way to make these answer targets, more, well-targeted, is to search for each question. You can then make a note of which type of snippet is showing on the search engine results page. For example, is the snippet bullet points, a paragraph or a video?
When you know what type of snippet is showing, make a note or highlight any that don’t have a specific and relevant answer in the snippet. For example, at the time of writing, the search term “what is an AI answering service?” has a snippet with information regarding answering machines.
This could be an opportunity to create a blog post, with the same snippet format, that answers the question directly.
Make sure that the Answer Targets stand out, for example, are in bold and are stand-alone, in that they can be read in isolation to answer the keyword-question. Providing “yes” or “no” answers or referencing another part of the blog post is not ideal for a snippet result.
Don’t Forget to EAT
Google’s EAT update relates to Expertise, Authority and Trust. It is a term that comes from Google’s Search Quality Guidelines. To optimize for EAT, it is a good idea to be transparent and humanize your content as much as possible. There have been lots of “fake bloggers” with made up names and stolen images. To show that you are actually a real author, on a real business’s website, add author profiles, including credentials and social media handles.
Show the authority of the blog and the organization too. If your blog or your business has won any awards, list them on the “about us” page. To show that you are a real, trustworthy business, you can also add review plugins or widgets and include a telephone number and address. If you business is actually a bit of a side hustle, consider using a telephone answering service if you do list your contact information.
Google will look at the authority of the website, as well as the author. If your blog is about dogs and your authors are listed as “dog enthusiasts,” then you probably won’t rank too well for blog posts are clinical psychiatry, for example!
Review Search Console
Once you have several blog posts published, you can use the search console to see what keywords the posts rank for. These keywords can then give you ideas for new posts. If, for example, you have a blog post entitled “The Benefits of Yoga”, and it ranks 41st on Google for the keyword “What Does Namaste Mean?”, then it is probably worth writing a blog post about what namaste means.
If you can rank 41st for a keyword that is not directly relevant to your current blog post, then you can probably rank in the top 10 for that keyword, with a post specific to the keyword.