When it comes to increasing web traffic on your blog, you must think equally about how to make your content appealing to your target customers while also being easily discoverable by major search engines such as Google.
There are proven frameworks for writing blog posts that are loved by Google and your ideal customers. Understanding how your writing and formatting are affecting your blog readership is essential for finding success in the blogging industry.
There are several key components to developing a solid blog writing strategy, including search engine optimization and focusing on a target audience’s wants and needs.
This article will discuss how you can begin improving your blog’s performance immediately through a few simple changes and considerations.
Search Engine Optimization is Key
Search engine optimization, or SEO, is a set of processes and tactics employed with the purpose of increasing the quantity of relevant web traffic that visits your website or blog. SEO is a key component when trying to write interesting posts that will perform well with both Google and your audience.
Here are a few examples of SEO practices:
- Using Keywords and Phrases: Specific words and phrases can be associated with a blog topic and knowing and including words that are most commonly searched alongside a target topic is key to getting your blog post noticed by both search engine algorithms and readers.
- Making Content Crawler-Friendly: In order to rank on Google, your blog needs to be found by Google’s crawlers – bots that search through websites for information and data to catalog under specific topics.
This can include everything from front-end formatting techniques to more technical optimization, such as creating a sitemap to submit to the Google Search Console.
- Designing Mobile-Friendly Sites: Many of the searches being sent to Google are coming from mobile devices. As such, it is highly important to have a website and blog that is mobile-friendly in its design and operation – and it’s likely to improve your ranking as well.
Ultimately, SEO helps to bring in what is known as organic traffic – a type of web traffic that comes from Internet users visiting the websites that end up in Google’s search results. This is different from paid traffic, which results from paid advertisements that users bring users to a website.
While using paid traffic is a quick way to gain an audience, organic traffic is arguably more important. In fact, organic traffic accounts for roughly 53 percent of all web traffic, meaning that your blog is more likely to gain readership from being found by appearing within the top search results.
Moreover, approximately 71 percent of search queries resulted in the user clicking on a non-advertised website that appeared within the first page of results. SEO is the most effective way to land your blog on that first page and potentially rank it all the way into the first spot.
SEO can seem like an overwhelming task to those new to the practice. Here are a few great resources to ensure your blog posts are up to par with SEO best practices:
- The Complete SEO Checklist for 2021 by Backlinko
- Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide by Google Search Central
The Audience Should be the Main Focus
SEO may be the key to gaining Google’s favor, but you must also be highly cognizant of your audience’s role in how your blog performs.
Too many businesses fail in content marketing because they write articles that nobody cares about. Even if Google gets the visitor to your blog, it is your responsibility to keep them there.
There are a few considerations for writing posts that attract and keep the audience interested. These include:
- Do Keyword Research: It is good to focus on a specific topic when writing blog posts, but it is even more important to see what content already exists so that you can write blogs that fill in the informational gaps or cover unanswered questions.
- Identify Specific Problems for Your Audience: Make lists of questions or issues you anticipate your target audience to have. If you are unsure, research your audience further and examine comments and reviews of similar blogs to find exactly what the audience is searching for.
- Assume the Role of the Guide: You should never be the main character or hero. Even if you are writing your blogs from the first person point of view, the main protagonist should always be the reader with you as the guide leading them to an answer they are searching for. Blogs should not be focused on you, the writer, but instead on the reader.
- Think of Additional Questions to Answer: There should be the main topic or question you address in each blog post, but you should also consider additional follow-up questions your audience may ask and strive to answer these as well. This way, your content holds extra value to a reader.
- Provide Meaningful Content: It can be easy enough to stuff a blog post with keywords and call it a day – but if you want to bring an audience that will return to your blog again, you’ll have to write well-researched content that provides real value for your audience.
Donald Miller, founder of Business Made Simple and StoryBrand believes that it is important to build trust with your audience and empathize with their frustrations, recognizing that a person’s inner feelings and philosophies matter just as much as their outer problems.
How to Develop a Highly Effective Blog Format
Once you have the basics of SEO in your toolbelt and you have identified what content your audience is looking for, it is time to develop a blog format that meets the SEO requirements while also maintaining a high level of readability.
Here are some of the most important considerations when deciding upon a blog format:
- Understanding Different Blog Post Styles: There are seven main types of blog posts that you can write, and each has its advantages. Determining which type best fits your audience is essential for creating effective blog posts.
- Utilizing Headers and Titles: Headers, sub-headers, and titles are crucially important elements within a blog post. Using keywords and key phrases is key to getting Google crawlers to mark your blog post as relevant information about a topic.
- Creating Meta Descriptions and URLs: Often overlooked but still majorly important, meta descriptions and URL web addresses play a notable role in how well your blog ranks and thereby reaches your target audience. Paying attention to these types of details is an important step.
Applying the StoryBrand Framework to Blog Writing
Donald Miller’s StoryBrand Framework which is effective in marketing and messaging can be applied to blog writing as well. Here are some of the key principles of StoryBrand:
- Clarifying Your Message: You never want your audience to be confused about what the topic of the niche of your blog posts is. The StoryBrand Framework helps to outline clear objectives and identify exactly what customers want to provide clarity within messaging provided through blog content.
- Making Your Customer the Hero: The customer should be the focus of your blog. StoryBrand places a particular emphasis on making the customer the hero and can help to ensure your blog stays focused on providing solutions to its audience’s problems.
- Optimizing Your Blog Website: Your blog web design matters just as much as the content yourself. Making sure you have well-thought site navigation that can be used easily and knowing exactly how to build the StoryBrand Framework website will be really useful.
- Producing Better Marketing: Though organic traffic represents a bigger proportion of overall web traffic, marketing, and advertising campaigns can still greatly boost your blog’s success – especially in the beginning. StoryBrand can help you to develop a clear and concise marketing strategy to bring in viewers to your blog.
Effectively applying principles of the StoryBrand Framework to your writing content can greatly impact your blog’s success.
Final Thoughts: Creating awesome blog posts for Google and readers
Blogging is a lucrative industry and with the right approach, it can be a source of great financial and professional success.
When writing blog posts, it is imperative to keep in mind how the content will be read and analyzed by Google, as well as how relevant the content is to its potential and ideal readers.
The key to writing blog posts loved by both Google and your customers are to be considerate of both SEO and the relevancy of your content to your audience. Following a proven framework can help you to identify what content will be most interesting to your customers, and optimize said content to find not only its target readers but to rank higher on Google as well.
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Moses Mehraban is a StoryBrand Guide who helps businesses clarify their message and create a marketing plan that grows their revenue. Having 15+ years of marketing experience, he has been working with clients from a wide range of industries, including tech start-ups to medium-sized companies.