For many businesses, blogging is a reliable source of traffic and leads. Customers make their way from a Google search, to a blog post, and ultimately, to a purchase. Is it possible for a blog to be a consistent, long-term lead generation machine?
The short answer is YES. When you blog about topics that are relevant to your audience, you will:
- Rank #1 on google or at least on the first page for more search term and
- Position yourself as an authority on those topics
Blogging helps you to build relevance, authority, and ultimately higher SEO rankings. Every blog post becomes an indexed page on your site which can appear on search results and give you organic traffic.
This tells search engines that the website is current and up to date, makes them check in more often.
Blogging also helps improve SEO through social sharing. Every blog post can be shared on social sites like Twitter, Facebook, Whatsapp, Linkedin, Tumbler, and Telegram. These shares build your SEO and make more people aware of your brand.
a business with a blogging team will work hard to make sure that your content ranks high in search engines. There are three things to work on consistently to improve your ranking:
- Working on Topical Relevance
- Optimizing your content for Google’s featured snippets
- Working to Published Blog posts – Historical Optimization
How to Build Topical Relevance
Topics are slowly taking over from keywords. This is because many searchers are entering complete questions instead of halted keyword queries into search engines.
Algorithms are evolving to meet the needs of searchers to have their questions answered. Algorithms are also sophisticated enough to see how topical context connects different queries. They offer searchers accurate results, even when they use different words to ask for the same thing.
Build content around topics instead of keywords. A topic is a group of keywords. For example, the topic SEO could cover a variety of keywords, like link building, mobile search, and blog relevance among others.
To cover a topic adequately, you need multiple blog posts that collectively answer all the questions under a topic. Regularly covering your topic draws relevant traffic. Add link building to compound your efforts and boost your SEO ranking.
Internal links connect your blogs and show search engines that the posts are all under one topic. This gives you greater authority and better rankings.
How to Establish Topical Relevance
Search engine marketing has evolved, and we must evolve our tactics in response. By creating content to cover broad topics, we maintain topical relevance. Do this not just for your current offers, but also for your products you may offer in the future. It is an investment that will pay off well if done consistently.
One company started building content around the broad topic of Customer Service long before they had any Customer Service offers available. Because building relevance takes time, the earliest you begin the better. The company targeted 10 topics and moved from obscurity to the front page of Google for five of them. This progress took only a few months.
To achieve this, the company started by identifying the topics. They built content around the topics, starting with the ones with high purchase intent and moving on to the rest of the topics.
Prelaunch SEO tactic:
A long-form content piece on the topic linked to your product page can suffice. Visitors to the page can sign up with their emails. Break down the topic into further questions that your target customers might ask. Create a blog post out of every single question. Start by tackling the ones with higher search volumes and move on to the others.
Add things like images, charts, research, quotes and soundbites, and infographics to encourage people to link to your content.
Start reaching out to build links to your posts. Identify the most relevant communities and blogs and offer to guest posts. Reach out to companies related to your topic. These backlinks might be easier to get when the company is not a direct competitor.
This strategy yields dramatic results within months. It is a simple and straightforward process and one that works with long-term thinking.
How to Optimize for Featured Snippets
Google is refining its ability to discern search intent and wants to leverage this understanding to offer instant answers to their questions. These immediate answers that do not require clicking through search results are called featured snippets because they appear on the results page.
According to Google, a featured snippet is “a summary of an answer to a user’s query, which is displayed on top of Google search results. It’s extracted from a webpage and includes the page’s title and URL.”
Featured snippets are so good because they appear at the very top – even above the #1 organic result. The page that appears in the snippet isn’t always the #1 ranked search result. This means that you must optimize your content for search as well as for featured snippets and other search features.
Many of your would-be customers may find what they are looking for in featured snippets. Snippets that answer 5Ws and H (Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How) queries are more prominent.
SEO strategies must reflect the fact that customers are searching in new ways.
Here is how to optimize your blog for featured snippets:
- Identify your blogs that already rank as #1 and make it a priority to optimize them. These are the easier option.
- List your highest-ranking blogs and what they rank for.
- Check whether there are featured snippets featuring on their search result pages. If there are no snippets, you still want to optimize because new snippets are added all the time.
- Optimize each of the blog posts you have chosen for the featured snippet you saw. Your blog should have a simple and brief format. Without a clean format, Google’s algorithm might skip it.
- If you notice that the snippet is in a list format, change your blog to include a properly labeled list with clear headers. A shorter list at the top of the page makes it even easier for Google to find. It should not go beyond seven points.
If the featured snippet appears in paragraph form, prepare a brief paragraph that answers the query and place it above the rest of your blog. Google likes snippets of 50 words or less.
Look at the content that is already there and instead of copying or rewriting it, improve it. Find ways to pack more value in the same number of words. Provide more current information, for instance.
After making your changes, re-submit your URLs to Google. Google will re-crawl them and register the improvements. You can monitor any increase in clicks from a search result page, any improvement in click-through rates, and an increase in organic traffic for the blog post.
These snippets are produced by Google’s algorithm and they may not be the same every day. Tracking snippets daily over four weeks for reliable information.
Off-Page SEO for Featured Snippets
Sometimes you might find that your organic traffic has stalled or gone down. Such a negative trend might be caused by featured snippets stealing clicks from your popular web page. Google is introducing featured snippets for more and more queries.
Queries with phrases like ‘how does,’ and ‘how to’ are more likely to appear on featured snippets. Armed with a list of queries that have featured snippets and the content of each featured snippet, as well as its URL, you can now optimize each blog.
This means that even if your page is on page 1 of the Google search results, you still have to optimize it for Google’s featured snippets.
Clean formatting with h2s and h3s will give you a much higher chance of winning. A cleaner format helps Google’s algorithm to comprehend what your page is about. Even a list format blog without a clean format may still not get picked.
Your article should have h1 as the main title for the page, h2 sub-header, and list items as h3. If there is no h2, add one.
Delete any extra tags on your headers. This change in HTML tags alone is enough to make a difference.
Why Historical Optimization Makes Such a Difference?
Optimizing content is not just about creating content around keywords, topics, and questions. One of the most overlooked aspects of on-page SEO is working on your old blog posts.
If your blog is a couple of years old, you can get more juice out of your old content in this way to grow organic traffic. For maximum results, choose older blogs that already did reasonably well and resonated with your audience.
Historical optimization means taking an old blog post and making it more current so that it can rank well on search. This will give you more traffic. The best old post is six to 12 months old. No older.
Some of the pages on your blog have the potential to hit page one but they are not quite there because they need a little more work. These are the blogs you need to target with historical optimization.
A blog that already has a good ranking can make it to page one. You want to be on page one of Google search results for your key phrases because that is where 71% of clicks go. It is a huge boost for organic traffic.
Your Old Content Matters!
- Google likes fresh content. Mostly because searchers love up-to-date content. Freshness has been a factor in Google’s algorithm for 10 years now. Freshness keeps your content on page one.
- Your blog has already gained search authority. Enhancing your old content helps you to enhance that already built search authority. You are not starting from zero.
- The new visitors to your blog will result in more social shares and inbound links.
Historical optimization is only part of your blogging strategy. As you work on your old content, continue to publish new content that will build your SEO.
How to Start the Process of Historical Optimization?
Historical optimization offers myriad benefits. Here is how to start the process of taking advantage of them. Start by going through your blog posts and identifying the ones worth a second look.
These are popular but dated posts with some room for improvement. They could rank higher for valuable keywords and topics.
One way to identify these posts is to list all your blogs by how much organic volume they pull. Use Google Search Console to check the rank of the leading posts. The posts on the second and third page of the list probably have a better potential for page one.
If you need help deciding the best posts, to begin with, start by looking at the monthly search volume for the topics. The topics covered by your posts should ideally cover topics with 1,000 or more monthly searches and should not be older than twelve months.
Update the post’s content in three ways:
- Update information for accuracy
- Update the article for freshness
- Update the article to provide more comprehensive information
If it is a list post, you may want to add or remove some items from the list. You may also want to add more details, change some information, make statistics more up-to-date, or add sections.
Use on-page SEO tactics like making sure that the keyword is included in the title, within the post, and using internal links with anchor text based on the keyword. This boosts the post’s keyword rankings.
Add an editor’s note to let people know that you have updated the post. When it is time to publish your blog, update the publish date so that the blog gets featured as a new post.
Promote it the same way you promote new posts – use your newsletter, social media, and any other channel for promotion available.
How One Company Went about Historical Optimization
Historical optimization has been part of their blogging strategy for many years. It is a strategy for boosting traffic and generating leads using content. The results have been impressive, to say the least.
Within 9 months, the blog was generating double the initial number of leads. Old posts enjoyed double the initial volume of organic traffic.
When the company realized that 76% of their blog views came from older blog posts, their trip down the rabbit hole of historical optimization had begun.
They decided to zero in on the search terms responsible for that traffic.
- Identify the blog posts pulling in the most organic traffic
- Identify the keywords that may be pulling in the traffic using keyword research
At first, they updated a few posts every week. This required a lot less labor than creating a new post. Organic search traffic was the KPI used to measure results. Organic search views are easier to track than keyword ranking.
The success of historical optimization which was evident within the first month cemented the tactic as part of their blogging strategy. Every week, their blogging team updates two blogs.
They update and republish old posts by replacing some blogs and redoing the on-page SEO for old posts. When the article is too recent to update and republish, they update but don’t promote it as a new blog. This still boosts organic traffic, even without the extra promotion.
Any blog post that is on page 2 or 3 of search results deserves some TLC aka historical optimization.