If a blog is published on the internet and no one is around to read it, does it build a brand?
There’s no point writing the best piece of content for your blog if you don’t publish it properly – how will anyone be able to read it if they can’t find it on Google?
Here’s our essential blog checklist to help you optimise your content marketing before it goes online.
When writing a headline for your content marketing, you need to ensure it will attract search engines as well as the type of visitor you desire for your business. A compelling headline can improve your search engine ranking, so putting the necessary time into this part of the content optimisation process is key.
By using the appropriate heading tags (e.g. <h1>Content marketing blog!</h1> for main headings, <h2> and <h3> for minor headings and subheads respectively), you give the search engines something specific to focus on when they are trawling through your content. Essentially, you are telling them what your page is about.
Which brings us to…
The term “keyword” has such a broad description nowadays thanks to the prolific nature of the internet and search engine optimisation in general. However, just because you think you know what it means doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give yourself a refresher course before you start optimising your content marketing.
Keywords are exactly that – key words (or phrases) that are relevant to your business and allow you to not only showcase what your website will provide to customers, but can see your search engine rankings skyrocket when used appropriately. For those just starting out, check out Google’s free AdWords tool to see what sort of keywords you should be using on site your site – as well as what your competition is doing.
Most businesses that blog understand the very basic elements of content optimisation, such as proper headlines and keywords, but the meta description is one that often falls by the wayside. However, a meta description is essential if you are looking to get clickthroughs on search engine results pages (SERPs).
A meta description is often one or two brief sentences that acts as a preview snippet of what your website entails. On something like Google SERPs, it will be displayed in the preview paragraph under the headline and help potential customers understand exactly what your website will provide them with.
Tags are simple, but very useful (and too often forgotten by business bloggers). I could go into specifics about how this type of metadata is used as a key tool in the search process, but in their most simplistic form they are just keywords and terms used as descriptors that will (hopefully) help increase hits on your content.
If you’re using a basic blogging tools like WordPress, you’ll likely already know what tags are. There’s a little box in the CMS that allows you to add as many tags as you like before publishing your latest blog (think of them as the blogging equivalent of adding hashtags to your tweets), so give them a spin next time you publish something for your site.
And finally there’s image optimisation. This one’s a little more complex than the others only because there are several steps you need to adhere to in order to get your images optimised properly.
Start out with size – you obviously don’t want anything massive on your web pages that will slow down loading. Considering how every second counts in the fast-paced world of the web, you need to say goodbye to those high-res, pixel-heavy images and go for a sleeker, smaller image file to accompany your written content. Also be sure to get the format right (no bitmap files, please) and get the proper tags and keywords linked to your images for better search results.
Content optimisation isn’t a walk in the park – if it was, everyone would be doing it perfectly! But with a bit of research and a checklist such as this to guide you through the process, you can see the quality (and quantity) of relevant visitors to your site increase.
Simon Jones – Sub-Editor