In 2011 we saw more taming of the Wild West that is internet and every before. Google and Bing updates that really pushed web developers and copy writers and marketers to reevaluate how they showcase their content on the Internet. Gone are the days of trying to trick the search engines to rank you higher than others, and in are the days of quality content reigning supremely. Blogs are no different so here are 10 new best practices for 2012 to help you frame how you write your blog posts to get the search engines' attention.
- Know your Audience
Before you write your article know and understand who exactly will read your post and try to understand your content from their perspective. Be sure to keep things like length, media, reading levels, etc. in perspective.
Pick one topic per blog post. Write about that one topic try not to stray too far; if you need to write about a connected broader subject consider writing an additional post or turning it into a series. Give your reader some handles; make it easy for them to choose to read your article. A great way to accommodate this is a numbered list post (kind of like this one 10 ways to , 5 things that , 3 easy steps ). Make your titles stand out and short enough for Social Mediums.
- Post Structure
Articles should be 300 400 words at minimum. They should include a beginning, middle, and an end. The search engines used to look just the first 100 words on a page, but theyve gotten smarter and have now started looking at websites to understand exactly what is in different parts of your article. They can decide not to look at some things like the navigation and to look at others like the article title, or the middle two paragraphs for example. The key here is to write good quality articles.
- Semantic Connections
Every word is related to other words and phrases, think about the word dog its related to the word canine and the words pet, training, hunting, and so on. The search engines have confirmed that they look at the words used in an article to understand its breadth and depth. When searching for a dog trainer they might show a website on dog obedience for example. Use this information not as a keyword sprinkler tactic, but as a guide to help you write better and more succinct posts.
Dont underestimate the power of a good ask, you never know what could happen, but many times people do what you ask. Ask for comments and discussion in the last paragraph of your article. Email the article to an industry insider you met at a conference and ask them to read it and if they like it to share it in their social circles. Ask and keep asking.
Use your authors, they have credibility, notoriety and authority in their respective fields and they can drive traffic back to your blog, by simply sharing their article themselves. They can also attract readership based on their influence.
- External Links
Thats right send traffic to other sites. It might seem counter intuitive, but you want your content to be relevant and its almost always relevant send links out to other sites. Search engines have confirmed that they reward websites who link out to other quality content.
- Be a Marketer without Selling
Dont be QVC, it wont work. Hard-sell style blogs are really niche, most blogs arent and shouldnt try to sell things in blog posts, but inform readers. Take a soft-sell approach to your posts. Its one thing to announce a new product or service every once in a while its another thing to constantly be hawking your wears.
- Use Media
Get a picture for every post that somehow connects to your content. Find a video (or make one) that relates to the content youre posting. Use media, it will add tremendous value to your content.
- Reinforce Your Company Values
Take this opportunity to show who you are as a company. Reinforce your companys mission, vision, and values. Do what you can to show your readers that your message isnt just scrawled across your letterhead, but you actually do what you say.
2012 will be a great year for blogging. It still remains one of the best opportunities a company can use to spread its message. Use these best practices as best practices youll obviously have your own and not all of these will work for all companies and in all situations. What are some of your blogging best practices?