Your website’s Google ranking either means you’re found …. or you’re languishing on the second, fourth, or ninth page of search results. Your business blog is a key way to increase your website’s Google ranking. Writing strategic, informative and memorable business blogs can do wonders for improving your website’s Google ranking. Indeed, it’s one of the biggest reasons why participants come to my Blogging for Business courses.
It’s not enough to have a great-looking website. And those ‘About’ and ‘Services’ pages that you slaved so long over, ensuring every word was exactly right? That all counts for naught if nobody’s reading, right?
Blogging for business is a great way to attract people to your site and to demonstrate your expertise, share your knowledge, answer your FAQs, and reveal a little of your particular approach, opinion and personality.
But how do you do it right? How do you avoid the snore-worthy filler content and ensure your business blogging efforts are translating, not only in improving your Google ranking but also with new people through the door? How can you improve your website ranking, while also appealing to your (very human) clients and prospects?
I sat down with two of Australia’s leading SEO experts to discuss just this.
Improve your website ranking with a strong technical foundation
Kate Toon is an SEO trainer from The Recipe for SEO Success, who’s written for a variety of businesses, from big brands and small business. Peter Mead is an SEO WordPress consultant who loves geeking out about technical tweaks that add up to big changes.
Both Kate and Peter agree that the technical side of SEO, from improving your site’s speed to enduring you’ve fixed broken links, cannot be ignored.
“Use Google’s free tools to check and improve site speed,” says Kate. “Sign up to Google Search Console to check for crawlability issues – and ensure your site is responsive and easy to use. No amount of awesome SEO friendly blog content can make up for a technically flawed website.”
Google Search Console, formally known as Google Webmaster Tools, provides plenty of information on website issues, and even grades these issues for you, to help prioritise what needs fixing first.
The next most important thing is search engine research – to better understand what your target audience is searching for. “Developing an understanding of ‘searcher intent’, what problems your target audience is taking to Google to solve, is imperative to effective business blogging,” says Peter. “What kinds of searches are they performing? And what does that say about the different stages of the problem solving process they’re going through?”
In my Blogging for Business course, understanding the problems your business seeks to solve and what stage of the process they’re up to, is central. Ideally, your business blog provides information on a relevant topic for whichever stage of your searcher is at.
Build your expertise through focusing your blog
Similar to all reputation-building endeavours, it’s far more difficult to become known and respected if we’re doing a bit of everything. Honing the focus of your expertise is crucial.
Again, your starting point is search engine research. “First, you need search volume, to tell if there’s enough people searching for your services,” says Peter. “Depending on the type of business you have, you’ll either concentrate on a small set of categories and topics, or go broader.
“If you have a recruitment agency for example, then there’s a broad list of careers and employment topics. However, if you’re blogging for a cattery, you could write about the health and happiness of cats and their owners.”
Adds Kate, “I believe in the idea of creating cornerstone content – so narrowing down a list of topics that you like to write about and creating amazing, rich, engaging blog posts that cover these topics well.”
In my Blogging for Business course, one of the first exercises we do is to choose a list of blogging categories to focus on. From here, we can get creative, not only with problem-solving brainstorming, but also with cornerstone content, epic blog posts, and blog posts that allow us to share more of our background, style or personality.
“Importantly, don’t cannibalise your own content, making your blogs too similar or near duplicate,” adds Peter. This will discredit your work and make it far less likely to rank.
How much of a geek do you need to be to do SEO well?
It’s easy to be intimidated by SEO and relegate it to the ‘too hard’ basket. You may even be tempted to throw business blogging in there too. But it’s important to realise that the geeky aspects of business blogging are just one part of a larger puzzle.
Most importantly, search engines are getting far better at understanding keywords and content. “There’s no need to match search queries exactly to words on your site,” says Peter. “Instead, search engines go through complex processes of algorithms to understand topics and key phrase variations. Use your keywords in an interesting and informative way, answering your audience’s questions on your particular topic.”
“These days we talk less about optimising each blog post for a single keyword phrase, and more about targeting a subject area that covers a focus topic and multiple other phrases and synonyms,” adds Kate.
In my blogging for business course, brainstorming unearths months and months worth of topics that our prospects will find useful, valuable and relevant, they relate to our particular expertise or focus. Then we’re better able to delve deep into the problems our business seeks to solve and what are behind these.
Improving your Google ranking grows your community
Every search in Google is a problem seeking a solution. Right now, people are searching on the exact same problems that your business seeks to solve. Your business blog is a unique opportunity to answer those queries and carry on conversations with hundreds and thousands of people.
From your blog, it’s a short click to your services page, about page and contact page. Blogging for business enables you to convert those queries into new prospects. Most importantly, as your blog and email newsletter builds rapport with people, they enable you to expand your community, reaching new people and converting strangers into prospects into clients.
As Peter puts it, “Ideally, you should aim to become what search engines love – the subject matter expert.”
As a blogger and business owner, you’re able to position yourself as a leader, authority or expert in your field, demonstrating what you know through your business blog. If you’re able to become the “go to” person in your particular field of expertise through consistently producing quality blog post, disseminated through your email newsletter, social media marketing, and Google, then your SEO efforts will translate into new clients through the door who become repeat clients that bring friends.
Are you ready to learn how to do blogging for business to improve your website ranking? Then join me at my upcoming Blogging for Business courses, in Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and Brisbane.