Content is King! – Blogging Guidelines
After being in the SEO world for 20+ years, it’s as evident today as it has always been in the past that Content is King! Google rewards a site for having relevant content and for steadily increasing that content over time. If I had to choose between content (or blogging) and having SEO work performed on my site, content would win every time. I’m not saying that SEO work on a site is of no value, simply that to enhance search engine rankings, a site must be authoritative and have content worth ranking for.
If you post new content on your site, three interesting things happen:
1. You now have increased the number of pages that Google is able to spider and index.
2. The Google spiders “magically” come out to look at your site faster and more often.
3. Others will choose to link to your site
I could write all day about the effects that blogging have on a site’s Google rankings, but instead I’d simply like to share the Blogging Guidelines that I give to my clients. Please note that the opinions are all mine and that I am always open to discussion. If I’m known for anything, changing my mind has to be at the top of the list.
Blog Writing Guidelines (according to Bernie)
Word Count – The goal in most cases is for the Blog post to index well on Google. Based on the rule that CONTENT IS KING when talking about SEO and Google, there is no way to write too much. Experts agree that 500 – 800 words are the minimum, but more is always better. Depending on the subject matter, it is sometimes “wise” to break a post into two or more smaller posts, but I am not a fan of doing that. If the content is relevant to the subject and a conclusion that you are leading towards, then by all means post one long page. My personal record is a post of 1,544 words. Lastly, I call it the rule of 2,000: if you’re trying to gain a good Google ranking on a keyword or phrase, have a mimimun total of 2,000 words on that word, phrase or subject.
Key Wording –
Make a list of key words that you would like to be found under in a Google search. Then simply include them in your text. Here are the rules on this:
– Remember it is what words your potential customers search for, NOT what you perhaps would search for. This reference is sometimes directed at physicians, attorneys and accountants who must be reminded that other physicians, attorneys and accountants are NOT their target audience in most cases (and that they need to perhaps “tone” down the technical jargon of their profession).
– Can’t determine your Key Words? Simply ask your clients.
It is amazing how educational asking your clients is.
– Many SEO experts talk about key word density, but that strategy is no longer as relevant as it used to be. If you do monitor it, 2 – 3% is about the maximum before Google starts to get “irritated” by “stuffing key words” into your text.
– Write like you would talk. Google is looking for writing that is as close to normal human speech as possible. The point being that if you are talking about a topic, what words would you associate with that topic in conversation? (trust me on this one lol). For the best discussion I’ve ever seen regarding keyword density and SEO key wording in general, watch the Matt Cutts video on YouTube.
This is the most important line of your entire content. It determines if the blog post is of interest to your readers and to Google. Keep it short and to the point while still trying to include relevant keywords. If possible, try to make it unique, distinguishable and attention grabbing. Regarding SEO, make sure it is an H1 tag. Also divide/organize your content with relevant subtitles (and again for SEO, make these H2 tags).
Introductory Paragraph –
This is the hardest paragraph by far! Always keep in mind that you are writing it for both the Google spiders and for your audience. This is where you want your key words to appear initially and as close to the beginning as possible for Google. Yet at the same time you need to make it unique, distinguishable and attention grabbing for the blog visitors.
Create better content by addressing questions and educating site visitors. YOU are the expert and they have a reason for searching you out and visiting your blog. Educating them and giving informative information and answers verifies that you are an expert in your field. Write as you normally would a research paper with your own opinion.
Bullet Points –
Recent studies show that on average users will only read 20% of the content per page. Make your page “scan-able”, using small paragraphs and bullet points. Summarizing your blog content in easy to read highlighted bullet points and/or lists is a key ingredient to increasing the overall quality of your content (and enhances the visitor’s experience).
Keyworded Internal Links –
As you write your content, try to include variations of your “money” keywords and then hyperlink to the most relevant page for that keyword within your website. Note: Don’t over do it. If you are wondering if you are mentioning a certain keyword too much, then you probably are! Just write as you normally would a research paper with your own opinion. Keyword density should be kept at 2 – 3% of the entire content. How many links to include? Just one or two of your keywords should be linked to the most relevant “service area” or “product area” of your website. Rule of thumb, per every 400 words, ideal keyword density is 2% and 2 internal links.
Links to Other Sites –
Don’t make it all about you. Not every link should point to your site. Include at least 2 – 3 links per post to other authoritative pages that you have used for research and/or as a reference in the topic you are writing about. .org, .gov and .edu seem to be the best type of sites you can link to since they usually don’t have commercial purposes and are less likely to be your competition. Links to authoritative external sources will increase the search engine quality of your blog post, while also increasing your credibility by giving proper credit to your sources. Keep in mind that the external link should always open in a new browser tab or window.
Ending Paragraph –
Remind them of the benefits and how they can participate. Be clear that “if they want it”, then they must take an action by clicking something or visiting somewhere. People need to be told exactly what to do, but also why they should do it. Plus, create a sense of urgency. Contact us now online or call us today at xxx-xx-xxxx for a FREE consultation. “Limited Time Offer” or “Internet Only Special” may sound cheesy, but they are CTAs (Calls To Action) that are proven to work.
If you are going to post the Blogs on your site yourself, then you must learn some additional things for Google:
1. How to make search engine friendly URLs
2, How to use SLUGS
3. How to write META descriptions (this is what Google will show in the results, so if you show up in the results people will know why they should click on your site)
4. How to add META tags
5. How to add ALT tags to images with key words
6. How to modify the text by what is called “spinning”
I’m open to discussion and feedback. Please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you agree, disagree or would like to address any points or topics that I missed or screwed up.