To survive on the internet a small business owner must provide content to their audience, often through a small business blog. The more quality content, using researched key terms, the better a blog will do on search engines.
We are starting to see lots of dedication to business blogs, but what works and what doesn’t?
Why do many small business blogs fail?
How to write a business blog post
There are three all important steps in writing a business blog post.
Firstly, research should be made into subjects searched online, and how the user might pose a question on that subject. Writing about something that no one searches for is ultimately pointless. Small business blogs also often target broad key terms, which they are not likely to rank well for.
Secondly, the writer needs to make the blog post interesting for the user, teaching them something they did not know before. Do not write about daily habits, unless something will be learned from the process. Do not write solely for search engines.
Thirdly, the post needs to be fully optimised for the search engines. This includes the amount of text, the keywords throughout it and images to support the post visually with meaningful alt tags, again containing the key search term.
And most importantly, don’t give up! It takes years to be successful.
The more of us that blog the harder it gets to rank for that all-important spot on the first page of Google, so why should you carry on?
Well, because if you are not providing content you might as well not exist.
Understand the localised search process
Business bloggers should understand that a Google search is often localised. Even if the search does not contain a city name. Google is intelligent enough to provide geographically related search results.
This means that an Estate Agent in the centre of Cambridge will not compete with each and every estate agent in the world for key terms. Competition can be comparable to being on a high street.
An insight to domain authority
Domain authority is MOZ’s reference to how a domain name is ranked based on the age of the site, the content and it’s popularity. It is a way of comparing your site to another site to judge how well it’s doing.
Links back to your site help gain a higher position on Google search results. Why? Because the more external domains that link to your site shows its popularity, meaning a better page authority.
The more truly interesting a post is, the more likely it will be linked to or shared on social media.
Ultimately, the better your domain authority, the better chance a website has at fending off competition.
Check the domain authority of a site using MOZ’s Link Explorer.
How to succeed with a small business blog
Research your questions to find direction
Do the research. Find out what your audience wants from you. Discover which related topics are searched on Google using one of the tools below.
The Moz Keyword Explorer is my favourite tool for researching keywords. Add a couple of keywords into the search box and click TRY FOR FREE. Next to the search box double-check the right search engine is selected.
As a local UK company, select Google en-GB. When a user visits Google from the UK, it defaults to the UK version, unless otherwise set up.
MOZ researches the keywords and provides keyword suggestions with the results. Click the keyword suggestions link to view the search volume for particular key phrases.
Now use the drop-down menu labelled “Display keyword suggestions that” and select “are questions”. MOZ produces questions around a key term.
The Keyword Tool is free up to a point, but search volume is not provided unless you pay for Keyword Tool Pro.
If you are set up with Google AdWords the Google Keyword Planner can be extremely useful in finding key terms. Just click on tools at the top of the page, then Keyword Planner.
While you build your domain authority, go for the search terms that have a little less volume. You will find you succeed better as there is less competition. The MOZ Keyword Explorer shows you difficulty levels on each key phrase.
If you are a local business, why not find out what your competitors are ranking for and try to do a better job?
Write a small business blog for humans and search engines
Now you have a title for your blog post, plan your post then get writing.
Ultimately your post should be written for humans. However using your key phrase in the correct positions on the page will really help Google to recognise the subject, and who it is aimed at.
Optimising pages helps Google to give the best results to the right person.
Write more than 500 words, the more words the better. Make some blog posts really extensive for greater rewards.
Be helpful, interesting, informative and to the point. The more you fluff up a blog post with fancy words, the harder it is for the user to understand and that doesn’t benefit your Google rank.
Many users will scan, rather than read each word, so make the post easy to read and enable users to pick information.
Optimise the blog post
Each post must be optimised for search engines to provide you with good results.
Use the key phrase throughout the post, as part of the post title and add an image that has relevance.
Use alt tags on the image to let Google know what the image contains. Also remember that your image could appear on Google’s image search for keywords, giving the page a rank boost.
Images are not only great for search engines but also a good visual reference when you share your post across social media. Followers are more likely to click a post that is supported by an image.
Reinvent old posts
As a business owner, you’ve already shown dedication to your blog. Do not be disheartened by low ranks. Most bloggers start out by writing freely about subjects that pop into their heads.
I suggest going through old blog posts and improving them. Vamp them up using the tips I provided above.
Do not change the page file name, or slug, unless you know what you are doing. Use a redirect or be prepared to lose search engine juice, before you gain it.
Most important of all – enjoy the time you spend blogging!
verb (used with object), optimised, optimising.
1. to make as effective, perfect, or useful as possible.
2. to make the best of.
3. Computers. to write or rewrite (the instructions in a program) so as to maximize efficiency and speed in retrieval, storage, or execution.
4. Mathematics. to determine the maximum or minimum values of (a specified function that is subject to certain constraints).
verb (used without object), optimised, optimising.
5. to be optimistic.