How, When & Why to use
Blogs typically should combine verifiable facts with credible opinion. While blogs are often used as an outlet for people to rant online, over time those rants tend form a consistent perspective. However for legitimate businesses, blogs give a company something that is truly amazing. Blogs are a vehicle that allow you to create a massive multi media channel with the ability to consistently reach a massive audience. Blogs are the cornerstone of a good social strategy. For many companies, a few blogs a week is a sufficient amount of new content to show search engines that you have an active web presence and to maintain “top of mind” with your audience. However, businesses that are more informational in nature should blog daily. Blogs should be used to present information and perspective, and also to establish a person or an organization as a thought leader in their industry.
Features and Functions
- Blogs are typically 500 – 1,200 words in length.
- Blogs should have a catchy, bold, even controversial headline to get users to click.
- Blogs should make a clear point and present their case in a well structured manner.
- Blogs should utilize headings and sub-headings to make the content easy to skim. Many readers will tend to skip to the sections that most interest them instead of reading the entire piece.
- At minimum each blog should include a main image that reinforces the content. Additional images, videos and infographics can greatly enhance both the user experience and likelihood that the reader will bookmark and share the blog.
- Contextual links to the more important core pages of your website such as categories, sub-categories, products and services.
- Social features to make the blog easy to like and share.
- A comments section to allow readers to offer additional content (although comments should be screened for appropriateness and to filter out spam).
- No follow any links within the comments section. Otherwise your blog comments will be overrun with spammers. Make sure to leave a notice that comment links are NO FOLLOWED.
- Links to related/suggested posts.
Everything we reviewed at the beginning of this course in the lessons on the basics of content optimization should be applied, along with the following:
- The SEO Checklist for Static Content should be applied to any written content on the page.
- Make sure any images or video are optimized according to their respective optimization checklists.
- Emphasize citations and resources with links to appropriate resources.
- Include an emphasis on social sharing.
- Include and encourage comments, also participate in the comments section by replying to people when they leave valuable or constructive comments.
- Include the blog in your standard XML sitemap
- Include any images or video in their respective sitemaps
- Consider including a survey to gather additional original data that can lead to a follow up post, or that would allow you to update the post later with more information. This would give you a great reason to remarket the same post giving your work additional life.
- Include contextual links to other pages on your site wherever appropriate (no more than 1 link per 100 words).
Marketing, Syndication, Distribution, Social Engagement
Use each of the following activities to ensure that your blog gets the greatest exposure possible and gives your site the boost you need.
- Post your blog to all of your social profiles and social groups and ask for feedback, opinions and other peoples stories related to the subject matter.
- Give each blog a budget of $10-$20 for promotion on Facebook. Target the promoted post to the demographic audience that best fits your target market.
- Call out key influencers that you are linked to / following on social networks and get them to take notice of / share any particularly interesting blogs. A key influencer sharing your blog can give you a great traffic spike.
- Make sure that your blog has an RSS feed and that the RSS feed is being syndicated everywhere.
- Any questions that are answered in your blog can give you great cut and paste info to use on Q&A sites like Yahoo Answers, Quora and Yahoo Answers, make sure to include links back to your blog.
- Link building. It is important to start building links to your blog post as soon as it goes live as blog posts get the benefit of Google’s freshness algorithm, so by building links as soon as the post goes live you will give your blog the best chance of getting to the top of the rankings within the first few days of it being posted.
- In Google Webmaster Tools, use Fetch as Google bot to get the new post indexed once you have built 10 good links to it.
- Consider building a few links to the pages that are linking to your blog. This type of chain linking can give the links pointing to your blog a big boost in strength, and because the links are not pointing directly to your site, you can go after higher quantities of lower quality links using link building tools and services.