Now that the big ball has fallen in Times Square and polar bears around the globe have plunged bravely into icy waters, it’s time to make resolutions for the upcoming year in an effort to do better at what we resolved to improve last year and in which we failed utterly. Personally, my top resolution is to write shorter sentences. But for all of you business bloggers, I’ll toss out a few blogging resolutions for your consideration. Follow any one of these suggestions and you’ll improve the quality of your blogging content and the experience for your readers. Do all of them and you’ll see improved traffic to your website and a higher search engine result position on Google.
#1. Write timely blogs, seasonal or trending.
The thing about a timely blog is that almost automatically you’ll have to include some high value keywords that can get your content found quickly. If it’s a seasonal post, words such as New Year’s Resolutions can help the post pop up in search results or be shared more frequently by your social media community. Trending topics, like those you can follow using Google Trends, work the same way. Keep in mind that the content still needs to be relevant to your business.
#2. Include a blog image with an entertaining or inspirational caption embedded in it
Angry cats, goofy dogs, double rainbows over Yosemite all make shareable moments when combined with an entertaining or inspirational message. If you can make the caption relevant, say to your accounting business, so that angry cat is thinking how much better life would be if he had a good accountant, your image will be ready for sharing on Facebook and Instagram. So swallow your pride and do it.
#3. Use subheads with heading tags and keywords
A lot of bloggers have figured out the importance of using a keyword in their main title. Not so many have taken the next step, which is to use subheads with keywords enclosed in heading tags. Not only will you create structure in your posts and improve on-page SEO using this tactic, you’ll also help readers scan the content and entice them to read it.
#4. Invite guest bloggers
Writing blog posts takes time, so if you’re already busy, why not let someone else do it? Guest blogging is a win-win scenario; you get relevant content and a fresh voice and the guest blogger gets wider exposure and a valuable link to their website. Just be up front about what you expect from a post.
#5. Find a reader or editor to comment on posts before publishing
Writing may be a solitary endeavor, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get some help. Recruiting a gentle reader to preview your work and make suggestions is the single best thing you can do to improve the quality of your content.
#6. Make a point to link to relevant content on your site using content links and tags
Google finds relevant related content by following links on your website. So why do so few blogs use tags and links in the content? If you’re guilty of this omission, now is the time to correct things. The thing to remember about tags is that they’re only good if multiple articles are tagged. This means that you may have to go back through your posts to retag content when you create a new tag. As for content links, be sure to include a relevant keyword as part of the link’s anchor text.
#7. Expand online outreach by developing your social media communities
Great blog posts need an audience, but audiences don’t materialize simply because you wrote a great post. Building a following takes work, too, so don’t forget to recruit new followers by being active on your social media pages. Deep content belongs on your blog while more casual content builds relationships on social media. It’s all about sharing.
#8. Specialize on a relevant topic where your expertise shines through
As more people take to the Internet to share their expertise, the harder it is to find a niche where you’ll stand out. The trick is to read a lot of blogs with similar content and think about what they’re missing.
#9. Research keywords using the Bing keyword suggestion tool
Ever since Google decided to protect us from useful information about keyword traffic volume, keyword research has become more difficult to come by. Fortunately, the folks at Bing didn’t follow suit with Google. To use the Bing keyword tool you need to have a Bing Webmaster account and you need to paste a verification tag into the head element of your website. Once you’ve done that, you can see analytics and do keyword research based on Bing search results. The traffic numbers are smaller than Google, of course, but if we assume that Google and Bing users tend to use the same search terms, we still get valuable insights into which terms will make the best keywords.
#10. Check the frequency and quality of your competitors’ posts
Spying on the competition is a time-honored tactic in marketing. When spying on the blog of your competitor, first look at how frequently they post, then check the relevance and quality of the posts. Are they using keywords properly? Are they optimizing the content for search engines? If you’re doing better in these areas than the competitor, you have nothing to worry about for the present; just check back in a few months. If they’re doing better than you in these areas, roll up your sleeves and try as many of the resolutions on this list as you can.
Now that you’re prepared, have a happy New Year!