Top ranking blogging!!

We all love a good blog! If you’re anything like us at Xcite you probably follow and subscribe to a wide range of different blogs on topics of interest. They have come to your attention in various ways and are now part of your daily life. In a way they are your guilty secret: you don’t necessarily want your friends to know that you sit in bed at night eating ice cream and following the latest shenanigans of someone’s feisty dog or disaster-prone home improvement project or faltering fitness regime!

But when using blogs as part of our digital marketing strategy we don’t want them to be a guilty secret we want them to be out there! We want people to find them easily, enjoy reading them and share them with others. Google uses three factors to determine whether a blog should feature in search results:

  • Content – how relevant is the content to the search query?
  • Links – is your content good enough for other sites to want to link to it?
  • RankBrain – a machine-learning artificial intelligence system used by Google to help sort search results

Content is key and you should always aim to deliver content that is topical, original, interesting and authoritative. But over and above this there are some fundamental ways that you can optimise a blog to improve your chances of it being discovered by search engines. Try these for starters!

Keywords

When planning content it is essential to research the keywords that are being used by the kind of customers you want when they search for products and services like yours. These will change and evolve so it is important to do this regularly. The more “long-tail” (ie specific) you can make your keywords the more likely they are to achieve results. For example if you are selling children’s party clothes and the latest children’s film features a princess in yellow you could use the long tail keywords “girl’s yellow party dress” to attract that sector of the market.

Title and descriptions

These are two different things and it’s important to understand the difference and to make them both work for you.

  • Title tags (or SEO titles) outline what the page is about. Having your keywords in your title tag can help your blog achieve higher rankings in SERPs (search engine results pages). Title tags are also used in SERPs to display snippets about a given page, and are also important or sharing on social media
  • Meta descriptions outline in greater detail what your blog is about. To create an effective meta description you need to think about what information you would want to see that would encourage you to click through to your blog from search engine results

Permalinks and URLs

Permalinks or URLs play a key role in optimising a new blog. You can create a permalink that is meaningful and does not include unnecessary characters such as punctuation marks or irrelevant numbers. These could affect how your website is interpreted by search engines and adversely affect your SERPs rankings, making it hard to crawl and indexed except for authoritative websites.

XML sitemaps

An XML sitemap is a file that list all the URLs of a site along with metadata about each URL. This enables search engines to understand your content and also how up to date it is and how the different URLs on your site relate together. This enables search engines to crawl your site more intelligently and can be advantageous to your SERP rankings.

Mobile responsiveness

The growth of smartphones and other mobile devices is relentless and mobile devices are used at least as often as computers for accessing the Internet. Last year Google changed its search algorithm to give priority to mobile-friendly sites in mobile SERPs – see our previous blog What the F*ck has Google done to my website?! for further information! Making your blog mobile responsive is therefore essential both for better SEO and to achieve higher SERPs rankings. Another of our previous blogs – How to improve your mobile search rankings – gives guidance as to how to do this.

Screen Shot 2016-09-05 at 09.47.19

Enjoy setting up your blog but make sure it works for you! You may be creating the most wonderful content but if no-one can find it it’s a bit of a waste of time! If you follow the above tips, you will be well on the way to getting that content in front of the people that you want to see it. Take the time and effort to embed this into firmly into your digital marketing strategy and your blog will go from strength to strength!