You do have a blog, don’t you?
We always recommend that our clients host a blog on their own website. Google loves fresh content, and a blog is the perfect place to add new content on a continuing basis. Blogs are perfect for answering long-tail keyword searches. Keywords are the search phrases people type or speak into a search engine. Long tail keyword searches are typically at least four or five words and are thus quite specific. They are also easier to rank for than broader keywords.
Start with keyword research
You want to base your blog posts around keyword phrases that represent questions your customers or potential customers are likely to be asking. Blog posts that introduce a totally new idea are unlikely to show up in search because very few people will know to be searching about that. But if your blog answers a question that lots of people have, it’s more likely people will be searching for it.
That doesn’t mean you can’t introduce new subjects in your blog, just that those posts are unlikely to bring in readers from Google or other search engines. Those posts will need to be promulgated through things like your email newsletter, your Facebook page, or other social media.
How does a small business do keyword research?
If you’re one of our clients, we’ll do the hard work for you. But if you’re not, that doesn’t mean it’s out of reach.
One place a lot of people use is the Google Keyword Planner. It’s actually designed for Google Ads, but doesn’t have to be limited to that. You can also search for a good keyword planning tool. In tools like this you can enter sample keyword phrases and see what related phrases are searched for frequently.
Be careful to avoid using keyword phrases that are jargon — terms that are common to you but may not be common to your target market. Google used to have a rule to help identify potential keywords; they called it “Ask Ten Taxi Drivers”.
What that means is to ask a number of people who might become customers or clients but who are not in your line of work. They’re likely to use terms you wouldn’t think of because they’re not as close to your business terminology as you are. What questions do they have? Are those questions lots of people might ask? If so, those are good questions to build a blog post around.
Check the search volume
Your keyword research should indicate roughly how many times a month each variation on your keyword phrase is searched. You don’t automatically want to pick the one that is searched most frequently. That’s because you need to balance that with relevance to your customers and your business. A good keyword phrase is searched often enough to make it worthwhile and is also focused enough to be of interest to your target market.
Use your keyword in your blog post
Long gone are the days when the key to showing up for a search phrase was to repeat that search phrase multiple times throughout your blog post. Don’t do that; Google abhors keyword stuffing.
Instead, use variations on the keyword and linguistically related terms. For example if your post is about how to pick the best running shoe, you might explain the difference between running shoes and sneakers, tennis shoes, and jogging shoes.
Make sure your primary focus is on answering the question. Chances are you will almost automatically use related terms that will help Google understand how related your blog post is to that question.
Check out your competition and be better
Take a look at other material online that tries to answer your question or is all about your chosen keyword phrase. Figure out how you can answer the question better or more thoroughly. Identify what they didn’t explain well, and do a better job than they did. See what they left out and include it.
Google is getting better and better at identifying the best answer for a question. Make sure it’s yours.
If people can comment or ask questions at the bottom of your blog post, you can engage with them and leverage the value of your blog post in terms of converting readers into customers.
Promote your blog post
Share your blog post where you think it will find interest. I like to promote every new blog post I write on social media and in my email newsletter. It’s always helpful to jump start visibility of your content.