“To organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”
- Google’s Mission Statement
Organisation, accessibility and usefulness – remember those three keywords, for they are Google’s mantra when it comes to search engine optimisation (SEO).
Following on from our ‘How to make your website attractive to Google?’ series of blogs, having started with Part 1 – Get found, we now move onto content
Why are blogs such a quick win for SEO?
Google likes blogs – here are 5 reasons why:
1. Blogs indicate that a website is ‘alive’
- Google doesn’t want to direct users to ‘dead’ websites.
2. External links
- External Links are hyperlinks that point at (target) any domain other than the domain the link exists on (source). In layman’s terms, if another website links to you, this is considered an external link to your site. Similarly, if you link out to another website, this is also considered an external link.
- An external link is a hyperlink that points at an external domain; i.e. a website other than your own – a 3rd-party website.
- External links can be outbound (you include a hyperlink to a 3rd-party website) or inbound (a 3rd-party website hyperlinks to your website).
- Inbound external links are prized assets. Google (is believed to) rank them highly, since they are independently-sourced and hence a very good indicator of ‘usefulness’.
- The more authoritative the 3rd-party website, the better/more ‘useful’; i.e. many inbound links from poor-quality external sources will be outranked by one inbound link from an excellent source, such as the BBC (http://www.bbc.co.uk)
3. Internal links
- An internal link is used between pages on the same domain.
- Google uses internal links to establish the hierarchy of content within a website, so they are far less highly-prized than external links.
- However, assuming they help readers to navigate around your website they will improve dwell time and encourage repeat visits, so internal links should be considered good housekeeping tools.
4. Long-tail keywords
- Long-tail keywords are longer more specific keyword phrases.
- These can be as long as you wish, but for practical purposes, the majority of people will use less than 6 words, so long-tail phrases shouldn’t be any longer than this.
- Using Kehorne as an example, a long-tail keyword could be ‘corporate microsites for email marketing campaigns’ (directed at a specific service, more focused) or website designer Slough Berkshire (more geographically precise) rather than ‘website designer’ (generic, lots of competition).
5. Blogs improve ‘dwell’ time and user experience
- Back to that keyword ‘usefulness’, blogs give users a reason to return to a website, and to stay there for a length of time.
How to structure a blog for SEO purposes
There are numerous companies out there who will confuse you with weird and wonderful SEO techniques in an effort to 2nd guess Google’s ever-changing ranking algorithms and achieve a higher ranking for your website.
However, for the sake of argument, let’s agree that blogs are useful for SEO purposes and have the advantage of being something which you (the user) can do off your own back.
So, how should we structure a blog to maximise SEO?
1 Identify your keyword…and avoid stuffing!
- Keyword – establish a keyword and include it in the blog title and heading hierarchy
- Headings – from the largest in the title (referred to as 1H) to the next largest (2H) and so on, these provide structure to your blog.
- URL – include the keyword in the page-specific URL (by default, if it’s in the 1H title, it should appear in the URL as well)
- Oh, and by the way, Google has evolved – keyword stuffing in the main body of text doesn’t work anymore…in fact it is negatively penalised, so should be avoided at all costs!
2. Have a blog template
- Cornerstone content – one authoritative blog per subject/service
- Related post section – usually at the bottom of your blog
3. Categories and Alt tags
- Images – reference the keyword in the ALT tag.
- Note that ALT tags should be used, as a matter of good practise, to describe images to the blind.
- The Equalities Act (2010) prohibits discrimination by providers of services, goods and facilities…which effectively means that websites are considered a service, hence should not discriminate, hence need to include ALT tags!
- For further reading on this topic: https://www.out-law.com/page-330 [note: per our earlier discussion, this is an external outbound link].
- Categories – should be intuitive to your readers and relevant to your website in order to help structure your blogs and make them easily accessible.
- A balance needs to be struck here between creating categories which are neither too broad nor too specific; e.g. on a publishing website, ‘Books’ might be too broad, ‘Dragons, Elves, Trolls, Orcs, and Goblins’ might be too specific, but ‘Fantasy Fiction’ might be just right?
- SEO tools such as Yoast are available to check you haven’t overstuffed, have the correct number of words in each meta title, and have addressed the SEO basics described above.
Content is, and always has been king.
Google’s objective is to give people access to the content they really need, and blogs are the easiest and most practical way to achieve this.
The Beginner’s Guide to writing your first blog. Click here to see an article on the subject by a professional copywriter.