Blogging is an underrated practice in digital marketing. It’s no longer the trendy practice it once was, but it’s still an important piece of getting your business discovered online. Why do you think GreenMellen actively updates this blog?
Adding new blog posts is a reliable way to educate customers and build thought leadership. However, it’s also a tried-and-true practice for helping your website show up more frequently in online search results. And more search results drive more potential customers your way.
That begs the million-dollar question: how can my blog posts rank better in search engines? There is no one guaranteed method for ranking well in Google or other search engines. These platforms constantly tweak their algorithms intentionally so that no one can game their system.
However, there are still some best practices and processes for writing effective and searchable website content. Because there’s no point in blogging if no one is paying attention.
1. Determine your keyword or phrase
Before you can rank for a keyword, you must know what word or phrase you’ll rank. You cannot hit a target if you don’t know which one to aim for. So what are the right keywords?
Start with a list of terms you think are relevant to your business. For example, some of GreenMellen’s target keywords might be digital marketing, website development, social media management, and WordPress maintenance.
Write down all of your keywords, variations, and phrases you can think of. Include both short-tail (eg. digital marketing) and long-tail (eg. best digital marketing agency in the Atlanta area).
Conduct some research on these keywords for things like how often these terms are searched and how competitive it is to rank for them. Tools like Moz or SEMRush can provide this information. Agencies like GreenMellen also provide keyword research as a service.
2. Search for the keyword
With your list and research complete, select the right one for your blog post. For instance, the key phrase for this blog post would be something like: “ranking for organic search”. It’s short and clear enough that someone might search for it.
That’s what you should do next. Search for your keyword or phrase. Open up your favorite search engine and type in your phrase. Different search engines will serve up different results, but they’re likely following similar content.
If you use Google, we recommend opening an incognito window before searching. Not necessarily for privacy reasons, but so that your personal search history doesn’t impact your results. Using a search engine like DuckDuckGo will automatically provide impartial results.
3. Examine the SERP
SERP stands for Search Engine Results Page—this is the list of links that you’re served up after submitting a query into a search engine.
Google SERPs are especially full of useful information. They include things like paid ads, featured snippets, related videos, and news, as well as suggestions for related searches.
This information is not only helpful for researching your blog content, but it also gives you suggestions for other blog posts to write in the future.
Once you’ve absorbed some information from SERP, it’s time to start clicking links.
4. Open the first page of links
Depending on the search term, you’ll usually have a dozen or two links on the SERP. We recommend opening most of these links in a new window. (You can do this quickly by holding down the Comand key while clicking.)
This array of pages will tell you most of what you need to know in constructing an effectively ranking blog post. Take two to three minutes to examine each of the links. Ask these questions:
- What is the word count for each post or page?
- What is the headline? Do they use subheaders?
- How is the content structured? Are there bullets or numbered lists?
- What do they use as visuals—either graphics, stock photos, or videos?
- How many (if any) external links does the page include?
- How often do they mention the keyword you searched for?
- What’s the structure of the page’s URL?
Take notes of the trends you notice across all of the pages you examined. They’ll likely have a range for each of these questions. But you can hopefully identify clear patterns with what works well for that specific keyword.
5. Make your blog post a better version
By this point, you’ve spent 30-60 minutes researching this keyword and search results. That may seem like a lot, but that’s part of the work required to rank well in search engines. Luckily, that research is about to pay off as you begin writing your blog post.
Your goal (in part) is to create a better version of what you just saw on the SERP. Give your audience a buffet of everything you saw in your research on the SERP. You probably saw some well-structured and well-written blog posts on the page—but you probably also saw some poor examples. Examples that you should easily outrank.
Structure your blog post similarly to the best of those posts. Borrow some of the ideas you picked up from them in your post (but never copy them verbatim). Keep your word count around the average length you saw on the other pages. Mix in some compelling visuals and graphics. You can even link to some of those other pages.
There’s a lot more to writing an effective blog post than this method. But mixing in these research steps will dramatically improve your chances of ranking higher on a search engine.
Ranking for organic website traffic
Boosting your profile in web searches is a moving target and inexact science. It’s something you must constantly adapt to and learn more.
No one outside of Google knows what ranks well, but we understand that creating a good website user experience makes a big difference. Crafting an efficient blog post (and other website pages) based on existing search results is one approach to developing a good UX.
However, it also takes time and digital marketing expertise. If you don’t have either and need help, GreenMellen can provide keyword research, blogging management, and website maintenance services. Reach out to us to tell us how GreenMellen can support your business.