When publishing articles on your business blog (or any web site) your task doesn’t end with writing your blog post, you should also concentrate on optimizing it for search engines.
Actually, to get the benefit of search engine traffic, even before starting a blog post, do some keyword research. First, compile a list of keywords (and, more importantly, keyword phrases) you think your business should rank for. Then, use the free Google Keyword tool and type in those phrases to find out how many actual searches are done per month. You would be surprised how different Google’s list may turn out from your own. Use the list Google suggest as your starting point.
You want to find keyword phrases with low competition and high search volume.
If your site or blog is promoting a business with a local focus, such as a beauty salon, or carpet cleaning, pay attention to the local search volume, rather than global.
Then, when you’ve decided on the overall keyword phrases for your site (or home page), use the same Google Keyword tool to generate ideas for sub page titles, post headlines and subheads.
Specifically, pay attention to and hand craft the following three meta tags:
Meta title: This may be different, or a variation of the post title, and ideally not longer than 60-70 characters. If your post title is longer than 70 characters, made sure you condense it to less than that for the title meta tag.
Meta description: If you’re using an SEO plugin for your WordPress-based blog, it will most likely be able to generate a description tag for you, but I advise against it. Instead, you should write your own description, ideally not more than 150 characters long, and making sure you use at least one keyword phrase as suggested by the Google Keyword tool. If you can also include a call to action, such as “Visit my site for more,” that would be great. Think of the description as the summary of your blog post, or page.
1-5 meta keyword phrases: As per this video, Google ignores meta keywords, but some search engines still read them, so it won’t hurt to add them. Add only those keywords that are actually used on the page. Resist the temptation of “keyword stuffing” as some search engines may punish your page for it.
When I teach my clients how to come up with content ideas for their small business blogs I always emphasize: Your business blog should be mainly about your business, but you can also publish an occasional post unrelated to your business.
Writing about your area of expertise should come easy and naturally because you’re writing about stuff you know lots about. Even so, you can get stuck for ideas so I suggest you write article ideas down as soon as you come up with them. Use Post-it notes, napkins or open a Word document, whatever works for you.
One thing you should always remember: write as if you’re telling a story to a friend, so use a casual tone, without big words, as a matter of fact, try to throw in non-business words like “stuff” and “cool.” You’re not writing your blog to impress your peers, but to establish yourself as a likable person who is also an expert in the field of (insert your expertise here).
The trick in making a small business blog successful is writing about your field of expertise but adding your own personal touch to the stories. I emphasize the word stories as compared to articles or blog posts.
Telling stories about your clients’ problems and how you solve them will not only bring out the you in your writing but will also make it easier for you to come up with content. Simply listen to your clients’ needs, problems, complaints, etc. and you’ll have an unlimited source of content ideas.
People love to relate to stories. If you can find a way to package your knowledge into interesting stories you will have no trouble getting your audience to get to know, like and trust you. And what better way to start a client-provider relationship!
Many small business web site owners make a mistake of not paying attention to basic Search Engine Optimization (SEO) of their web pages. This usually happens because of two reasons: one, they create the web site themselves and have no idea about what SEO is and why they should pay attention to it, or two, they hired a “trusted, knowledgeable web designer” to design their site, and s/he has not included SEO in the project proposal.
For a solo professional, small business owner or a non-profit organization on a limited budget, applying these simple SEO strategies will do wonders for your organic search engine results on Google and other search engines.
Each page should have a descriptive file name.
In other words don’t name the files just services.html, or even worse page02.html, but try something like email-marketing-services-consulting.html. This will help the search engines index your pages more thoroughly if you use keywords that are relevant to the content of that page.
Give each page a unique title.
This goes under the <meta title> tag. You have about 60-70 characters, or about 10 words. The page title is like a summary of the content. Again use the relevant keywords and phrases, or you can make it a call to action, for example a “Contact Us” page could have this title: Receive a free email marketing consultation – Call 905-844-4247 now!
Write a meaningful description for each page.
This goes under the tag. For this you have about 25 words, or 150-160 characters. Write this paragraph of 2-3 sentences so that it sounds like a classified ad for the page. Each page should have its own unique meta tag description, relevant to the content of the page, using relevant keywords people are likely to use to find you.
Compile a list of keywords for each page.
This goes under the <meta keywords> tag. Some experts say that you should keep the keyword meta tag under 1,000 characters, some say 256. I’d suggest keep it as short as possible but make sure you cover everything you need. Make sure you only pick the keywords that appear on the page. By the way, by “keywords” I mean single words and phrases, such as “website design” and “web marketing services.”
Use relevant keywords when you write copy for your pages.
Don’t stuff your page with keywords, search engines will penalize your page for it, and secondly, and more importantly, the humans reading your pages would most likely see through your tactic and abandon the page as quickly as you can say SEO.