As marketers, we know that there are a million things we could be working on at any given time: e-books, white papers, blog posts, webinars, paid advertising, and e-mail marketing.
One of the highest leverage activities you can spend your time on is optimizing your SEO. If you can get even one of your blog posts ranked at the top of Google for a broad keyword, it could drive thousands more visitors to your site every month.
Here are the 20 SEO strategies for your blog to rank
1. Improve What Already Works
The best, most efficient way to make your content stand out isn’t by reinventing the wheel — it’s by building a better version of what has already been proven to work.
Instead of trying to create an epic 10x piece of content from scratch, look for the blog posts or videos that already perform well within your niche and build on it.
2. Link Out to Influencers
An important factor for getting a post to rank high in the search results is having a lot of other influential people link back to it. One easy way to do this is by mentioning your industry’s influencers in your content.
When other people see their name mentioned somewhere on the Internet, they’re much more inclined to share the piece on their own social media, blogs or newsletters. And because industry influencers usually have large audiences, that means more targeted traffic back to your site.
3. Link to Your Lower-Ranked Content within Your Higher-Ranked Content
We all have pages on our blog that perform really well in search, and others that fall on page three, four, or even lower. And the frustrating thing is that some of our low-ranked content may contain amazing material. If only those poor blog posts could get a little push — like a share from an influencer or several more backlinks — they might go viral or rank at the top of SERPs.
One way to give the poor-ranking content a push is by finding the posts on your site that rank higher in Google and adding links within them to the pages that rank lower.
4. Write Emotionally Appealing Content
The best content is the kind that speaks to people’s emotions. Marketers who are able to connect with their audience can build a large audience of loyal readers relatively quickly.
Make sure you understand your market’s deepest hopes, fears and dreams around the subject about which you’re writing. Once you have a good grasp on this, you can weave it into your blog posts to show your audience that you really “get” them.
5. Use Keyword Research to Gauge Demand
Writing long-form content consistently takes a lot of effort. So before you start climbing that mountain, it’s important to ensure that you’re writing content for which people are actually searching.
One easy way to do this is by using the Keyword Planner on Google AdWords. It’s easy to see how many people are searching for a particular keyword, and you can even uncover related keywords to base your articles around.
Or you could use BuzzSumo to see the number of shares that certain types of content get and which keywords are getting a high rate of shares.
6. Leverage Broken Links
Broken link building is one of the most effective white hat strategies you can use to grow your SEO rankings.
The first step is to figure out which websites in your industry have broken links to your own site as well as your competitors’ sites. There are quite a few search term variations you can type into Google to uncover sites with dead links.
Here are some of them:
- Keyword + “resources”
- Keyword + intitle:resources
- Site:.gov keyword + “links”
- Site:.edu keyword + “recommended sites”
- Keyword + “related links”
7. Use the Hub and Spoke Strategy
Relying on standalone blog posts to drive your SEO rankings is a losing battle.
A few individual pieces of content might appear high up on the search results, but there are better ways to get more mileage out of your blog posts. One tried-and-true way is the hub and spoke strategy.
Through this approach, you create one giant piece of content to function as the page that people land on directly from Google (your “hub”), and from that page, you link to a bunch of other relevant pages on your website (the “spokes”).
Your hub should be something that’s highly shareable, like a meaty post that people bookmark because of how informative it is and how many useful resources it contains. This way, your hub will rise in SEO rankings, and as a result your “spokes” will rise as well.
8. Create High-Quality Roundup Posts
Mentioning industry influencers in your content is a great way to help your content get more shares and roundup posts are an efficient way to do this on a larger scale. In a roundup, you curate posts from experts in your niche and share them with your own readers.
This tactic is an easy method to build relationships with the right people in your field, generate a bunch of traffic, and improve your SEO rankings.
these are a few key characteristics that make a high-quality roundup:
- Articles with social proof (highly ranked, linked to, and shared)
- Plural-focus keyword
- An odd-numbered headline
- A short, keyword-only URL
- High-quality images in one format
- Easy readability
9. Dominate Long-Tail Keywords
Long-tail keywords are keywords that are more specific and “narrow” than broader short tail keywords.
For example, “facebook advertising” is very broad search term, but “facebook advertising for SaaS companies” is much more specific.
It’s natural to create content focused on broad, short tail keywords. We think that because there are a lot of people searching for these more general phrases, we should take take advantage of that. But in reality, creating remarkable content that is focused on long-tail keywords can boost your conversions.
People want solutions that are tailored specifically for their situation. If you create a piece of content called “Facebook Advertising Strategies for B2B SaaS Companies,” you’d make B2B companies feel that you understand their specific situation a lot better than someone who wrote an article called “25 Facebook Ad Strategies to Grow Your Business.”
Even though you would be going after a smaller pie, you would dominate a much larger piece of it.
10. Develop an End-to-End Content Marketing Strategy
Whatever strategy you’re pursuing — whether it’s Facebook ads, SEO or anything else — the main point is to drive more prospects along the buyer’s journey to becoming customers.
That’s the main goal of content marketing.
SEO works best when it’s part of that larger content marketing strategy.
Customers go through the following three stages before deciding to buy:
- Interest or Consideration
- Evaluation or Decision
11. Track the Right Metrics
There are a few specific metrics that you can track to measure your overall SEO performance.
For example, one key metric for SEO is the average time that users spend on your content page. If your content is engaging, if it appeals to their emotions, if it’s useful, then readers will stay on the page longer in order to read more of your material. For more on the right metrics to track for your SEO, check out this post by Neil Patel: Quantify Your Results: The 14 Most Important Content Marketing Metrics.
If your website does not provide quality content, visitors will “bounce” off the page and “boomerang” to a competitor’s site.
Keep in mind that there’s no specific number here that can be considered “good” or “bad.” If you’re writing short-form content, for example, then you’re naturally going to have a low average time on your site. Or if you offer a great answer to a reader’s question, you might have a high bounce rate but also a high time on your site.
The number of return visitors is also a good metric to gauge how good your content is. How many readers come back to your site on a regular basis? If you’re sending e-mails to your subscription list regularly, how many people consistently open and click?
This is one of the most useful metrics that you can measure since return visitors are usually the most likely to convert to buyers.
12. Produce Expert Interviews
There are a lot of benefits you can get from associating yourself with experts in your industry.
One of the best ways to leverage that association is by interviewing these experts and repurposing the content into a blog post. That way, you can rank high for the expert’s name and siphon off a large audience that searches for them.
For example, Groove did an interview with Neil Patel and repurposed it into a blog post. Now when anyone searches “Neil Patel interview,” Groove shows up at the top of the results.
interviewing influencers in your industry and turning it into a blog post, you can attract a chunk of that influencer’s audience to your own site through Google search.
13. Always Be Repurposing
Part of maximizing the effectiveness of your content marketing is repurposing your material as much as you can.
There are at least seven different ways to repurpose a single blog post. Turn it into a:
- Whitepaper or guide
- YouTube video
- Slideshare presentation
This could skyrocket the reach of each post that you write.
Let’s say you published a blog post called “How to Leverage Influencers in Your Content Marketing.” There are tons of different formats into which you can repurpose this content to attract a wider audience.
For starters, you could take that content and make it native for different blogging platforms like Quora, Medium or LinkedIn — which allow anyone to reach a targeted audience of tens of thousands of people if the content is good.
Then, using a tool like Visme, you can take that blog post and turn it into infographic.
14. Increase the Length of Your Posts
A simple way to get more reach on your content is just to increase its length.
Longer-form posts are more comprehensive, get shared more frequently, and lead to lower bounce rates — which is why they tend to be ranked higher on Google.
Average length of posts at the top positions on Google are 2450+ words.
Not only does this help with SEO, but more time spent on your page means you’d be cultivating more trust between you and your audience.
15. Create Visually Appealing Content
Content that’s visually appealing allows readers to digest a larger amount of information in a shorter period of time. It’s much easier to look at a graph or an infographic that’s well designed than a huge 5,000-word blog post — and as a result, it’s more likely to get shared.
You don’t need to be a design whiz to create content that’s visually appealing either. You could use a tool like Snapguide to create beautiful how-to guides.
16. Make Sure Your Site Is Mobile Optimized
According to Commonplaces Interactive, both Google and Bing have reported higher search traffic coming from mobile devices than computers.
That’s why these search engines boost content in search rankings that are mobile friendly.
If you’re not sure whether your site is mobile friendly or not, you can just insert the URL into Google’s Mobile Friendly site analyzer.
The easiest way to make sure that your site doesn’t get penalized in search results for this is by making it responsive. That way, it will “respond” to the device on which it’s being viewed, and won’t encounter any problems on any mobile devices.
17. Get Published in Major Media Outlets
By writing original blog posts on major media outlets, you can get a lot more exposure to your own site.
18. Use HARO to Get More Backlinks
Another quick way to get more backlinks for your blog is by using a service called Help a Reporter Out (HARO). This site is aimed at the tons of journalists out there who are writing stories on various topics and need quotes from experts.
When you sign up for HARO, you’ll get notified every time a journalist who is writing about a topic in your field needs a quote. Then you can send in a quick pitch offering a quote along with your business name and website URL.
19. Understand Your Audience at a Deep Level
If you deeply understand your audience’s emotional experience at each stage of the buyer’s journey, you can consistently create high-quality content that not only sits at the top of Google’s SERP, but also drives sales.
The best part is that it’s actually really easy to understand your audience’s emotional pain points.
All you have to do is set up an autoresponder message for everyone who signs up for your e-mail list. As soon as someone subscribes.
20. Invent Your Own Terminology
This isn’t easy to do, but if you can do it, you’ll skyrocket the reach of your blog. People who invent terminology that catches on in their industry can really boost their SEO rankings.
For example, someone invented what he calls the Skyscraper Technique, which is a unique approach to creating content.
Now when anyone searches “skyscraper technique” on Google, his name is all over the web on multiple different sites.
To invent your own term, you don’t need to create some crazy new breakthrough idea in your industry. All you need to do is take existing points of view that are already out there, “repackage” them, and make them your own.