Developing a blog on your website is one of the best ways to increase your ranking power in organic search results for key terms in your industry. In this article, we will take an in-depth look at some of the most important ranking factors for websites in 2021 and how you can develop a blog content strategy that actually works. These general strategy tips can be applied to almost any industry, so what are the most important things for you to consider for your blog content strategy?
- Blog Structure
- Technical SEO
- Content Formatting
Hubspot blogs are structured around pillar pages and topic clusters. Your blog architecture will affect its performance, from a user perspective and in terms of search engine optimization. Your pillar pages provide the foundation for you to build out your blog content. Pillar pages provide a broad overview of the subject matter with links to each sub-topic.
Centering the content of your blog around primary topics helps users know what to expect from your blog and allows for better internal navigation on your website via internal links. Think of it like this; imagine that your website blog is a forest, then your pillar page would be the tree, and the topic clusters are the branches.
As your blog grows over time, these pillar pages will grow too. Every time you publish content on a topic, it's important to go back to edit your pillar page and update it with a brief synopsis of the content on the new post. Maintaining this structure is time-consuming but it will help ensure that each page on your site is accessible with an internal linking strategy. Over time, your pillar page will grow into an invaluable navigation tool that helps users find relevant content and boost your SEO rank.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) knows no limits. There are countless contributing factors to your websites' ability to rank for organic search traffic. SEO best practices are always changing but here are a few basic takeaways that you need to know for blog content strategy in 2021. So if your only aim is to write content for website blogs, these are the four most important technical SEO factors for content marketing:
- Headings (H1, H2, H3, etc.)
- Meta Descriptions
- Internal Links
- External Links
Your blog needs to be broken down into sections with clear subject headings to provide structure to the content. The title of your blog post will always need the H1 tag. All website pages should only have one H1 tag. The main subheadings need H2 tags, and any other key topics that you have nested under the subheadings will need H3 tags. These heading tags are used by Google to scan your blog content for the key topics. Including keywords in your header tags is a great way to improve your ranking.
Search engines aren't the only ones scanning your website. Most readers online today don't start reading at the top and work their way down. The first thing people do is quickly scroll down and up the blog just to read the subject headings before they decide to start reading the content. Your subject headings need to be clear and concise to convince people that reading your article will bring them value, otherwise they will bounce and continue their search elsewhere.
Each one of your blog posts needs a 150 word meta description summarizing the contents of your article. This meta description will be displayed in the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) and also helps communicate to search engines what information is available on your page. The meta description can also influence the click through rate on your page. Including keywords in your meta descriptions can help improve your ranking.
Your blog should contain links to other pages on your website whenever relevant. Google loves effective navigation tools on websites. Internal links will help users to access relevant content on your site more easily. Whenever possible, aim to include one or two internal links somewhere in your body content under each subheading. Be thoughtful about your internal links and try not to include any irrelevant links or too many links because you can be punished by Google for black hat SEO. The best way to include a link is to integrate it within your content.
Your link must be applied to text that correlates exactly what the link destination is about. One big mistake that beginners make is to attach a link with the text "click here:" Google really does not like this practice because your users do not clearly know where the link destination leads. It can negatively impact search engine optimization if done incorrectly.
Link to other websites that are highly trusted, for example, any opportunities that you have to link to specific pages on a government policy website can contribute to your ranking. External links to high value websites are useful because it shows that your website will provide users with the best possible information. Make sure that all of your internal links are set to open in a new tab to make sure that the user will come back to your website after they open the link.
The structure of your content is very important for blogging. Content on your website needs to pass the 'blink test' which means that a user on your website needs to be able to understand the purpose of your page before they can blink because that's how fast users decide whether or not they will continue reading or bounce. These are 9 of the most impactful aspects to consider before you publish content for your blogs:
- Headings & Subheadings
- Bullet Points & Lists
- Call to Action
Your blog titles need to instantly communicate the value that the article will provide to the reader. Titles need to be easy to understand, make it clear what the reader can expect, and tease the answers to their questions. It's important that the reader knows how they can benefit from the article from the title.
Before you jump into the content of your article, having an introduction that outlines the general theme of the article will help provide an overview to the reader. A really basic, short paragraph (2 - 4 sentences), about the contents of the article, helps ease readers into the article. Your intro should highlight the key points in your article so they know what to expect to get out of the blog post should they decide to continue reading.
Create an agenda with an index in point form with each subheading (H2) listed and linked to their respective sections. Making your index with clickable anchor links will help users navigate your blog more easily. Users often land on a blog post with a very specific question or search intent related to one of your subheadings. Providing this kind of agenda will help users find what they are looking for faster and helping people find answers is Google's sole purpose so this will impact SEO rankings.
Headings & Subheadings
Organizing your content under headings will make it easier for users to find the content that interests them; it will improve readability, and make your blog easier to navigate. Use keywords in your headings to improve your chances of ranking for these search terms.
Lists & Bullet Points
Structuring your content with lists is a really great way to improve the readability of your page. Large blocks of text are very hard to read online, so it helps to break up your content with lists. This also helps create a sense of continuity in your content and sets clear expectations for the user. If your blog title says "5 things you need to know about…" then the user is more willing to commit to reading all 5 points to find a resolution rather than reading big blocks of text without a clear result in mind. Lists help people know what to expect.
Bullet points are the next best thing for breaking up content in situations where lists don't easily apply. Break down your content with bullet points to make your content more readable. Highlight a few of the key takeaways for your readers. Bullet points are especially valuable for highlighting your value propositions or reviewing content that you have already covered. For example, so far in this article we've covered:
- What on-page SEO factors should you consider before publishing your blog?
- How can internal and external links benefit your blog?
- What's the best way to organize content for blogs?
Breaking up your content with images is essential to keep users engaged. There is nothing more intimidating online than facing down a huge wall of text without images. Media and visuals are necessary to help communicate the purpose of your blog without words. Consider how your blog post looks and feels to new visitors. First impressions are instantaneous. So although your written content might be great, you will need the visuals to match. Your image content can also help you rank for image search. Images require alt-text, which is a brief description of the image that only appears if there is an error with the image loading. Include your keywords in the alt-text to improve your SEO ranking.
Closing your article with a brief 2 - 4 sentence paragraph reviewing the key points that you've covered in the blog will help to provide resolution to the page. Users often scan the page for the conclusion to see the key takeaways from the article. Your conclusion and introduction should make it very clear what is the purpose of the page and attempt to provide answers to whatever questions led them to the page in the first place.
For example, in this article we've covered the most important ranking factors for blogs in 2021. Including technical SEO factors, like header tags, meta descriptions, and link strategy. You will have learned the basics on how to format your blog posts to optimize your content for SEO. If you have any questions about how to improve your blog content strategy, please don't hesitate to reach out to our team at Loop Strategic Marketing and we will be happy to help.
Call to Action
A clear call to action at the end of your article should encourage the reader to learn more about your company. It can be as simple as one sentence. For example, "If you have any questions about how to improve your blog content strategy, please don't hesitate to reach out to our team at Loop Strategic Marketing and we will be happy to help." This is arguably the most basic call to action that you can have on a website; simply contact us for more information. Consider your audience, what would you like your audience to do next after they finish reading your blog post?
If you enjoyed reading this blog post and found it useful, please share this article with your friends; and don't hesitate to reach out to us with any further questions that you have on best practices for blog content strategy in 2021.