Writing an article is the arrow; developing your blog SEO and readability to maximise reach is the crossbow!
You don’t want an excellent article you’ve spent time on just sit on your website and never get found or read. Maximising its reach and loading your material into a crossbow is the aim of your blog SEO.
Increase traffic to your website by writing articles your potential customers are actively looking for answers to.
Don’t know who your customers are? Then build personas! We’ll be sharing information on how to create a persona in coming articles…
Social Content Reach
It takes time for your website to build up an audience. We’re still small, and when we wrote this, we were just 3 months into our content marketing strategy.
But we’re learning. We’re learning fast. What our readers and followers want and like is apparent, and we react and develop based on analytics and feedback.
We have learned how to improve our articles to make them easier to read, simpler to understand and reach more people. We’ve done this through several steps of blog SEO.
Preparing Your Blog SEO
Here we outline our primary process and work into specifics further down.
- Step 1: Prepare
Identify content, structure and establish a focus keyword for the primary blog SEO search term.
- Step 2: Construct
Write the article (OK, that’s sort of a given…).
- Step 3: Improve
Add your article to Grammarly. Simplify it and correct errors. (You can write within, but if you use content curators they may prefer other methods).
- Step 4: Analyse
Input the article into Yoast within your website and analyse performance.
- Step 5: Embellish
Add relevant images.
- Step 6: Deliver
Build your email campaign (We use Hubspot, but the same goes for Mailchimp etc.). Also, distribute to social channels.
- Step 7: Analyse!
Have a look at the performance from email and social channels for successes.
Writing a Blog is the Quick Part!
We realised very quickly that writing an article takes LESS TIME than improving its performance and building the blog SEO within our website. Even creating the email campaign and social media channels take a long time!
Our Blog SEO Steps in Detail
We’ve outlined our approach above, but now we’ll go into specifics. There are many different ways to do this, and we adopt based on performance and efficiency. Currently, we find this to be an ideal process.
Step 1 Detail: Prepare Your Article
Finding something to write about is not always obvious. We identified that we kept looking for ways to improve and support our entrepreneurship teams. This became the basis for most of our blogs. For instance, this article has come from mentoring several teams on the value of content marketing and where to start.
From the outset, you need to identify your article or blog SEO Focus Keyword.
Using Google Trends is essential for keyword research. By tweaking or changing your keyword or phrase, you’ll improve your blog SEO ranking and reach new audiences! Don’t forget to target your potential customers too. You want to convert your articles into new business opportunities, leads or market position, so you need to speak to them and have a blog SEO keyword or keyphrase that they will search for.
Step 2 Detail: Construct
To write the article, you need structure.
We’ve covered this in our previous post “Speed Up Content Curation With Our How to Write a Blog Post Template“. We use a foundation structure which focuses our approach:
Title: Catchy and meaningful. This should also contain your focus keyword or keyphrase.
Introduction: What the post is about, why is it important, who will it help. Keyphrase needs to be first and foremost to improve the blog SEO reach. Make the reader understand what you’re post is about and what it addresses.
Identify: Introduce the problem, note the main points to discuss and why this is important to solve.
Solve: Provide your own (as well as other) solutions to the problem, discuss the main aspects of the post using linked research and examples. This helps to identify and prove your argument.
Conclusion: Closing statement with your personal summary and expected outcomes.
Call to Action: If you’re promoting someone or if there is further reading that could be relevant then place it here.
Step 3 Detail: Improve
We use Grammarly to improve our writing. Grammarly offers a host of features to make writing articles more efficient. It is also free! We have though now paid for a full version which is about US$140. To begin with, we used the free version until 2 weeks in we received a 50% off email. The paid version does add a suite of improvements and efficiency savings.
You can set goals for your articles for an intended audience. Your articles’ intent, audience, style, emotion and domain can all be established and reported against.
Grammarly scans the article for any mistakes, including grammatical, punctuation, and spelling errors. However, what really makes it efficient is its advanced AI products that deliver better results.
There are specific items in here which you can monitor to improve readability even on the free plan.
With the Flesch Score or readability Score, this identifies how easy the article is to read. The higher the score, the easier it is to scan read. We aim for a score above 60 (out of 100) which means it should be understood by a reader aged above 13 and relatively easy for most adults to read.
You can achieve a better Flesch score using the following methods:
Word Length: Keep words short as they are quicker to read. Typically we focus on an average of 4-5 characters per word.
Sentence Length: Shorter sentences are more comfortable to follow. We aim for under 12 words on average in each, preferably closer to 10.
Rare Words: There are 5,000 commonly used word in the English Language. Using rare words outside of this catalogue may show a depth of language but could also confuse the reader. We attempt to keep rare words under 35%.
Unique Words: In a paragraph, using the same word repeatedly can be cumbersome. Grammarly measures vocabulary diversity as a percentage. We look to achieve above 45% unique words.
Performance: Grammarly measures your article as a percentage and using all of these above tools together using Grammarly‘s own suggestions, you can reach a high score. With the paid version, it is straightforward to achieve 100%.
Below you can see the performance for this complete blog post before we added it to this website:
Step 4 Detail: Analyse
Following approval of the article in Grammarly and ensuring performance targets have been met, we add it to our website as a post.
At Wesley Clover, we use WordPress for our website content management system (CMS) for its simplicity and ease of use.
To monitor our articles and focus on the blog SEO we use a free plugin called Yoast. This plugin is again free but can also be paid for to release additional options.
In Yoast, we can set our focus keyphrase and then see how it applies throughout our document giving us a visual score.
It offers suggestions of what needs to be done to improve the blog SEO as well as showing you what has been done well.
To get your blog SEO score as high as possible, ensure your keyword is in the main title of the page, the introduction, subheadings and in your meta description. Your keyword is also best if you have not used it on your website before. Writing about similar topics may become tricky to identify unique keywords or phrases that improve your search rankings.
Yoast also helps you establish a Snippet which is how Google will display your page title and excerpt. Keeping it focused and a suitable length means when found through a Google search, your article purpose is identified immediately.
Through this same method, you can set social sharing headings and text as well as suitable images to accompany your post when shared.
Another side of Yoast helps with another aspect of readability that Grammarly falls short on. It does a readability analysis highlighting what is in a passive written voice as well as identifying transition words. Yoast also shows consecutive sentences and subheading distribution to help you build a blog that is easy to scan and/or read thoroughly.
In addition to these, linking to internal pages within your website to related content is essential. If you are talking about a feature or previous article, link to it! This also stands for external companies you refer to. Make it easier for people to follow your suggestions by linking to external websites or articles you are referencing.
Step 5 Detail: Embellish
Here we add in our relevant images to compliment the article. Pictures are much easier to relate to and quicker to interpret than paragraphs. Use images to help prove your point or address an issue.
Images can also enhance your blog SEO levels by including your focus keyword within their alt attributes. These images are also then available to be shared with your post through social channels in support of the content.
There are many places to get relevant images. We have subscriptions to both Shutterstock (https://www.shutterstock.com) and Envato Elements (https://elements.envato.com). Shutterstock however, is now becoming too expensive and much cheaper options like Envato offer a similar catalogue as well as templates at a better value.
Step 6 Detail: Deliver
Your article is complete, and your blog SEO will now be perfect! Everything you can do to improve its search engine rankings you have done.
But now we have to deliver it to our network.
At Wesley Clover, we are fortunate to have an account with Hubspot. Hubspot is a CRM platform for marketing, sales, customer service and management. Within Hubspot, we have built our lists, workflows and automation to keep track of our subscribers and ensure they’re receiving relevant information.
We also build our emails within the Hubspot environment and schedule them to go (usually) every Thursday.
Using an email tool like Hubspot, Adestra, Constant Contact or MailChimp can help with the deliverability of your article. They spend a lot of time ensuring that emails sent through their platforms don’t end up in spam or blacklisted. However, many email providers like Google Mail, Hotmail and Yahoo each have their own algorithms to try and stop spam. It is an art instead of a science and the goal posts for deliverability change weekly…
Step 7 Detail: Analyse!
Monitoring the performance of your website, emails and social channels is essential to work out what content is well received and what could do better.
When to share your article is a trial and error for timings as well. We began sending an email the same day the article was published. At the same time, we’d send out tweets and a LinkedIn post. Looking at our blog SEO analytics, this gave us weekly spikes on our website whenever we published an article.
By changing our strategy to just pushing out the article and email on Thursday and then tweeting about it randomly for the following week, we improved website visits. People who received the email may not have clicked through, and the tweet, therefore, prompted them.
In Hubspot we monitor our open rate, click through rate (CTR) as well as our unsubscribes. We also look into the highest interaction with the email. Often you will find that one person has a massive CTR and open rate. This actually means they have forwarded the email on to colleagues and other people for interest. This is the person you need to contact to follow up with and build an influencer out of. There is a higher than average chance of a sale by identifying these influencers.
From a published article we also monitor new sign-ups and people visiting and landing on our pages from social media or search results.
On our website, we use Google Analytics to monitor performance. Here we specifically do a month on month comparison and look at bounce-rate (people who view one page and then leave, (low bounce is better)), pages viewed, number of users and sessions.
From Google Analytics you can identify what articles performed well and where people then navigated through your website. What was their landing page? What was their exit page? All of these analyses your blog SEO and its effectiveness.
Writing an article is difficult. Revisiting a piece to improve the blog SEO and reach is even harder. Neither is more important, but both must work together and therefore work harder.
We have learned that by following a simple structure, we can streamline the process in creating content and ensure that it is reaching people who are interested in what we have to say.
There are other ways of doing this. Probably even better ways we will learn along the way. Tools are always coming out to improve article creation and advance a blog SEO. Here we have listed our process, and we hope it helps you.