As a small business, your content strategy is the key to getting yourself seen. It drives traffic to your site, increases conversions, and strengthens your brand.
Creating blogs that rank, and rank well, isn’t easy — but it’s not impossible.
Read on to discover how to write and rank content that customers and search engines will love, and build your brand community in the process.
- Speak directly to the area and community in which you do business. Create content specific to them.
- Don’t focus on text length for SEO. Figure out what works best for you and your readers.
- Keep your content fresh, current, and relevant.
- Enhance the visibility of your images in organic search with image SEO.
- Optimize your blog posts for featured snippets. These can give you quick wins (and traffic) from the SERPs.
Fuel Your SEO With Pure-Value Content Marketing
A study conducted by Moz showed that higher traffic and greater levels of engagement correlate to improved search engine rankings. So regardless of a site’s traffic sources, the more you can improve its visibility, the better it may perform in Google search.
For most professionals engaged in SEO, regular blogging and content marketing has become best practice. However, many SEO-driven content marketing strategies are too focused on keywords and search engine manipulation. To cultivate greater success with content marketing, put human-centric, thought leadership content on the forefront.
What defines “pure-value content?” From a search-first content marketing perspective, instead of writing generic, keyword-optimized articles on topics like How to Hire an ‘Atlanta DUI Lawyer’, a pure-value approach would sound more like Can You Beat DUI Conviction in Georgia?
In essence, you can still make the content keyword-relevant and optimized for SEO, but with an emphasis on being more educational, informative, and solution-oriented. Whether as a video, in-depth article, or infographic, a pure-value piece of content on such a legal topic will most certainly address a common question among many individuals. Further, such content will have greater potential to drive traffic and enduring levels of engagement.
Find the Optimum Length for Your Content
The perfect blog post length is a controversial topic. I’ve done my fair share of guest posting, and I’ve seen guidelines specifying everything from 500 to 2500 words minimum.
Unfortunately, regularly churning out 2500 word, high-quality blog posts is too demanding for most small businesses. Instead, shoot for around 1000 words. This gives you the scope to create a quality blog post, and won’t eat into too much of your time.
The more words, the better of course. But if you can’t manage more, don’t obsess over it. Aim for no less than 500 words as a minimum, and your content will still be readable and rankable.
It’s worth mentioning your title length here too. A clickable blog title drives traffic (e.g. “10 SEO Trends You Need To Know In 2019”), which in turn signals to search engines that it’s worth ranking. Your titles should also be between 50-60 characters long to display fully on SERPs.
Remember, your title tags, meta description, and URL all play a part in improving your content SEO. If that sounds daunting, don’t be put off. The Yoast plugin for WordPress makes it easy to optimize your tags and descriptions with intelligent keyword planning.
Plus, as WordPress integrates with most reliable online store creators, you can start optimizing your blog’s SERP data with whichever ecommerce platform you use. It’s a versatile blogging solution that makes it easy for small businesses to enhance their SEO, perfect for novices or experts.
1000 words is a good rule of thumb, but don’t sweat it too much. Quality is important, and an amazing 500 word blog post is better than a terrible 2500 word one. And don’t be afraid of bulking it out with some images and video either — it’s great for your readers, and great for your SEO too.
Embrace Local SEO
Local SEO is your small business’s secret weapon in the battle of the SERPs. It’s vital in a mobile-first market and will both net you sales and drive traffic.
Of course, local SEO won’t work for every small biz. If you own an online store and your customers come from all over the globe, locality won’t necessarily affect your sales. But for those small businesses that deal with face-to-face transactions, local SEO is an absolute must.
Beyond optimizing your website for local SEO, you should create a blog content strategy that addresses and explores local issues. When you write about regional places and events, search engines pick up on it and increase your ranking in local search queries.
Identify the local keywords that relate to your small biz: your state, town or city, even your borough or street. Next, pick out local issues such as cultural events or news and write blogs about them.
Increase Visibility & Interaction With Social Media Advertising
Even for the businesses and brands with thousands of social media followers, there’s significant value in leveraging social media advertising on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, etc. On these social media platforms, you can get exposure in front of new audiences based on specific interests and pyschographics, demographics, and geographics.
Using on the latter DUI example, an attorney could advertise its content on How Beat DUI Charges in Georgia by targeting individuals located in Atlanta between the ages of 18-45. Not only can the criminal defense lawyer earn new social media followers in the process, but he could drive in-market traffic to his website.
In addition to improving site traffic and engagement, the piece of content can rack-up social signals (i.e. tweets, likes, +1’s, shares, etc.) While Google has yet to confirm any influence of social signals over its rankings, countless search marketers will debate that social signals do have a positive impact on SEO and higher rankings.
This may or may not be a result of the content earning links naturally as result of its popularity on social media platforms. Or it could be an emerging and unannounced ranking signal that has yet to come to publicized. Regardless, social media can dramatically help start-jump SEO, especially when drive by pure-value content marketing and strategic utilization of social advertising platforms.
Keep Generating New Topic Ideas
Struggling for inspiration for a blog post that ranks? Thankfully, there’s a number of useful tools to help you identify relevant blog post topics to write about that let you search for current popular content based on your business keywords and identify trending topics related to your industry.
Simply use these trending topics as inspiration for your own strategy, and you’ll have superb blog content that your customers — and the search engines — will love.
The key to a successful ranking blog strategy is fresh and current content. Update yours regularly with content that addresses trending events and issues. It’s good for your SEO, great for your customers, and it positions your small business as modern and relevant too.
Image SEO Is a Thing
Did you know that the images and videos that you use in your blogs also affect your SEO? Last year, Google updated its image search function, including providing the option to filter results by theme.
For example, an image search for “cats” could be further sorted by categories such as: anime, baby, kitten, white, wallpaper, and so on. Consequently, those blogs that contain search engine optimized-images will be favored by Google’s crawlers.
Beyond that, having images or video in your blog increases your reader’s time on site, and generally enhances their experience of your website. Choose high-quality images and optimize their alt tags with relevant keywords. And avoid massive photos that take too long to load which will negatively impact your SEO.
It goes without saying that original photos will always trump generic stock photos. But as a small biz owner, finding the time to take high-quality original snaps is tricky. So while generic stock photos are a no-no, there are some websites that offer quality free images for download that actually look and feel unique. Use a free online photo editor to give them a creative spin and truly make them your own.
Make the Most of Featured Snippets
Google is increasingly keeping its users on the SERPs through the use of featured snippets. These are the text boxes that appear at the top of results pages, answering queries and often preventing people from clicking through to a website.
For small businesses, this is both good and bad. In many cases, a searcher might get the answer they need and not visit your website as a result. But savvy businesses use featured snippets to pique their visitor’s interest, compelling them to click through.
As with most things, it’s better to swim with the tide than against it, so it’s important that you optimize your blog content for these snippets where appropriate.
If you’re writing a blog that answers a query (think evergreen content and essential guides), make it high-quality and comprehensive. Maybe that’s a given, but you should also format it in a way that works for Google. This is a multi-pronged task, so find out exactly what this entails here.
Over to You
Your small business’s content strategy is a core path to online success. Simply writing blog posts isn’t enough — you have to play the SEO game to get them ranking on the SERPs. Follow these tips for how to write and rank small business content , and you’ll have high-quality optimized content in no time.
What are your tips for creating rankable small business content? Tell us in the comments below!