In the SEO and digital marketing world, it’s relatively common knowledge that producing quality content will help your organic ranking strategy. Because of this, many sites choose to start a blog. But, there is a lot to consider when starting up a blog.
What’s the strategy or purpose?
Your first consideration should be your motivations and purpose behind the blog itself. One of your primary goals in creating a blog may be to improve overall search rankings and drive more traffic to your site, but there are more things to consider.
Who do you plan on targeting with the content on the blog? – Who is your primary audience, and what does their online behavior look like? Where are they spending their time online, and where can you reach them? What do their search habits look like? An SEO agency can help you answer some of these questions, in collaboration with your Branding or Marketing team.
What do you want your users to do? – When a user arrives on your blog, what do you want them to do? Are you trying to increase email newsletter sign-ups? Do you want to direct them to product or category pages as soon as possible to help conversions? Do you just want them to view as many pages as possible to increase ad revenue?
What are your success metrics? – Similar to the last question, you should think about how you will be measuring the success of your blog. Traffic landing on blog pages? Domain authority? User time on site? Your SEO agency can help you determine which metrics would best track the success of your blog, and they can report on those for you.
How do you want to speak to your audience?
Before creating large amounts of blog content, you need to have a clear sense of your brand voice and tone. This can be driven, in part, by information on your target demographics as well as keyword research. Keyword research can help you find a way of talking about your brand that will drive organic search traffic to your site.
Keyword research for blogs is often quite different from the keyword research done for a main site. Blog posts tend to focus on long tail keyword (i.e. lower search volume keyword phrases that are more specific). Blog posts also tend to answer questions more than main pages, so their keyword research reflects that. This is especially important in the growing age of conversational search queries through digital assistants—like Siri and Alexa—where queries are often phrased in the form of a full question.
Once you’ve established an appropriate voice and done some keyword research, start building a content calendar to plan what your blog will look like.
Where will the blog live?
Now that you’ve established a sense of purpose and strategy, you can consider the logistics of developing a new blog. You have a few different options for where to put your blog, and you should have a clear sense of which you want before the development starts.
Separate Domain – In this case, your blog will live on a completely different domain from your main site. For instance, if you’re site is yoursite.com, your blog may be on yourblog.com. Starting a new blog this way will mean your blog is starting from scratch when building domain authority, so you’ll likely have trouble gaining traction in search results. In addition, linking heavily between your site and your blog could start to resemble a kind of link building scheme, which could hurt your rankings to your main site.
Subdomain – You could choose to place your blog on a subdomain of your current site (e.g. blog.yoursite.com). From a technical or developmental perspective, this is sometimes easier, but from an SEO perspective, it’s not ideal. Google representatives have noted that the algorithm has gotten better at associating subdomain content with your main site, but tests show that this isn’t always the case.
Subfolder – The preferred home for your blog from an SEO standpoint is a subfolder of your site (e.g. yoursite.com/blog). Links between subfolders on your site pass page authority more smoothly than links between subdomains, so search engines can easily associate your quality content with your brand, helping your overall ranking. Rand Fishkin covered this topic in one of his Whiteboard Friday videos, and his words still hold true today.
What is the best platform to use?
There are a number of popular blogging platforms out there to help you start producing content, like WordPress, Blogger, and Drupal. Even if the rest of your site is hosted elsewhere, you can still put your blog on one of these platforms and make it appear as if it is in a subfolder of your site, using a reverse proxy.
Our general recommendation for a blogging platform is WordPress, as it has a robust plug-in environment to help with any SEO or security issues that arise. Drupal is sometimes considered more secure than WordPress, due to the fact that WordPress is known to get more security attacks (likely as a result of the platform’s popularity and the potential for poorly-coded plugins in the community), but the WordPress community responds quickly to any potential threats.
Who will be maintaining and updating the blog?
This question concerns the real-world logistics of implementing a blog and keeping it from becoming stale. Before your blog goes live, you should decide who will be responsible for creating and implementing content and strategy. Will this responsibility live with the Marketing team? The eCommerce team? A contracted copywriter? How will you be involving the Social Media or PR teams in the promotion of this blog?
Successful blog implementation that has a positive impact on SEO requires consistent, quality content to be produced. Implementing a blog without a strong idea of how that content will be consistently produced and who will be creating it will result in a stagnant blog that doesn’t do anything to help the rankings on your site.
Work with your SEO agency to optimize blog posts on an ongoing basis
Before blog posts go live, they should be optimized for search engines. This may involve some additional keyword research, depending on the situation. On-page optimization usually includes touching the following:
- Title tags
- Meta description tags
- H1 tags
- Image alt text
It is also worth checking on internal links within the content on the blog post. These links could point to the main site to encourage shopping, or they could direct to other blog posts.
Have questions? We’re here to help. Contact Blue Moon Digital to learn more about optimizing your new blog or establishing a content strategy.