Whether written to disseminate news and information or carried out perfunctorily for the sake of Search Engine Optimisation, blogging is an important part of cultivating an online presence. Despite this, many blogs you come across online clearly lack focus or direction, thereby severely limiting their ability to influence readers or positively contribute to a website’s SEO. Even those who create content for content’s sake will most likely understand that there is no value in low-quality posts and are probably more likely to have undertaken research in order to ensure their posts appeal to their target audience.
Basically, the intention behind a blog is irrelevant. What matters is the thought that has gone into it.
The most important part of any post comes at the start and that is choosing its subject matter. A post must not only conform to the blog on which it is written but also the website the blog is hosted on. This post about blogging and SEO, for instance, sits on a marketing-orientated blog on a website promoting marketing and design services, so one complements the other. Having said that, I could just as easily write post after post about the various Green Lanterns from DC comics. I could, but I won’t because the post would not be relevant to the blog or the website either in terms of SEO or in appealing to our target audience.
This is a rather extreme example, however, it ought to relay the point. If a post’s subject is Women’s Fashion and Beauty, then it cannot possibly contribute meaningfully to a Men’s Health blog on a Gym’s website. This is not to say the post would not make for an interesting read and appeal to a great many readers, but it would not appeal to the right demographic and it is unlikely that the keywords would align closely enough to provide an SEO benefit. So you see, subject is key.
Once you have determined the subject of a post it is important to stick to it. An adherent H1 followed by unfocused copy is not enough and the only way to make the most of your blog posts is to stay on target. Often, you will come across a blog that starts off about one thing but becomes about another as read further. Using this post as an example once again, it would not have been difficult to focus entirely upon the subject of subjects. There is plenty to say on the …. matter, and if there is one thing I have learned in my years of copywriting it is how to turn tens of characters into hundreds.
In doing so, however, this post would cease to be about ‘How To Make The Most Of Your Blog Posts’ and would instead be something like ‘Why Knowing Your Subject Is Essential for Bloggers’. Not only would I have not made the best use of this particular blogging opportunity, I’d also have squandered another. H1s and meta-titles may inform search engine crawlers and real-life readers as to a blog’s subject matter, but in the end the main body of text must live up to the expectation given by both of the two titles if the benefits of either are to be fully realised.
It is impossible to optimise poor posts, but a blog with well-researched and written content might go unnoticed and unappreciated without proper optimisation. There are many things you can do to make the most of your post, but here are three suggestions that can be easily carried out and might make all the difference.
Include Various Media
Images and videos have been shown time and time again to increase engagement from readers and are also known to provide SEO benefits. If you do not have any of your own to use, videos from YouTube can be easily embedded into a post and images available for commercial use can be found from stock image sites; such as Pixabay, Rawpixel and Shutterstock. On the other hand, if you have the skills, capacity and inclination, you might want to consider building your own stock photo library or even generate your own custom graphics using Adobe Illustrator or similar software.
Many writers are also avid readers and there is a temptation to structure blog posts as one would a novel. Writing for an online audience, however, is much different than writing for print, though you’d be shocked (but probably not surprised) how often you come across 1000-word posts comprised of 4 paragraphs and no sub-headings. Digital audiences read posts on anything from a 20” desktop monitor to a 4” iPhone so even on responsive websites, it is important to consider how written content is laid out on a page.
Our recommendation is to use H2 sub-headings approximately every 400 words and keep most paragraphs between 4 and 6 lines long. These are just rough guidelines, but they seem to have worked well for us in the past.
Create Custom Metadata
Designed to succinctly relay the subject of a page to potential site visitors, metadata is the snippet of text primarily displayed in search engine results. As well as having some SEO benefit, creating custom metadata for blog posts will help to advertise them more effectively on Google, Bing and Yahoo, and it may also be shown on Facebook, Google Plus and other social media platforms when a site link is shared.
Metadata is made up of a meta-title and a meta description, and both have different rules that must be followed if you’re hoping to make the most of them. Award-winning PR agency, Briscoe French, has recently published a post about the Importance Of Metadata on their blog, so be sure to pay them a visit for more information on metadata standards and limitations.