Putting together an effective and meaningful blog post nowadays requires quite a bit of planning in advance, as the game has gotten so much more involved in recent years. After the one-two SEO punch delivered by the Panda and Penguin algorithm updates, staying in the good graces of Google’s search engine is a tall order. When crafting the perfect blog post, there are a couple of important details to keep in mind. If you take an analytical approach to writing blog posts, you’ll find yourself becoming a far more productive overall blogger in no time.
Fine-tune Your Keywords and Content
Though the algorithms used by Google and Bing for ranking websites in their own SERPs change more or less every day, many best practices remain fairly consistent. The primary and secondary keywords that you use to optimize your content should be thoroughly researched before you get started. Google’s over-optimization penalty introduced with Penguin makes selecting the proper keywords more difficult but not impossible. Start by using the Adwords Keyword Tool to find low-competition keywords that’ll assist your posts in appealing to the right niches.
Incorporating rich media content like infographics and videos helps to flesh out and clarify your talking points. They’re also increasingly important for SEO regardless of the nature of the content involved. Just make sure to optimize your media content to deliver the best web experience possible.
Images should be in PNG format so that resolution and quality aren’t affected by the viewing window. Include links to fallback video formats like Ogg and M4V for devices that can’t run Flash. Whipping up eye-catching graphics doesn’t have to cost much if you use free tools like Pixlr and Splashup.
Standing Out: Find Your Voice
If you want a terrific example of somebody who leaves a lasting impression with their blogging style, look no further than the great Seth Godin. He’s a writer who imbues every word with meaning and doesn’t beat around the bush when making a point. Bland, trite blogging styles are a dime a dozen online, so it’s important to have a fresh and unique point of view. As for optimal word counts for blog posts, there is no perfect number. However, posts between 600 and 1000 words tend to feature lower bounce rates than overly long compositions.
Underneath the Hood Optimization
In addition to keyword and media optimization, meta data is an important SEO consideration that should not be ignored. Facebook’s Open Graph makes incorporating meta data into web pages quite easy. Rich Snippets of the RDFa variety are becoming more and more important when it comes to ranking highly in the SERPs of the major search engines. Essentially, Rich Snippets and other forms of meta data help web spiders to form a more complete and accurate picture of any given website.
Market Research and Target Audiences
Churning out the most compelling content in the world won’t help you if it’s targeted at the wrong audience. That’s why market research and analytics are crucial if you want to blog effectively over the long haul. Targeting your audience of choice through keyword research isn’t that difficult. It’s analyzing the impact and ROI of your content after the fact that’s more challenging. Just because your blog posts are well-received and widely read doesn’t mean that they’ll help you to accomplish your long-term goals. If you’re blogging for fun or leisure, it doesn’t really matter. Otherwise, you’ll need to come up with a blogging strategy that actually pays dividends.
Odds & Ends
Aside from the technical details outlined above, there are a few other points to consider when slapping the finishing touches on your latest blog post. For one, you’ll need to remember to incorporate internal linking in your posts. When you publish something worthwhile, people will want to link to specific portions of your posts that are relevant to their own readers and associates. Also, include links within your post that lead to other pages on the same domain to increase page views and retain visitors.
The Long View
When all is said and done, all the tricks in your SEO play book won’t camouflage weak content. Free web applications like Google Analytics can assist you in sifting through raw traffic data to gauge the effectiveness of your efforts. Ultimately, there is no such thing as the perfect blog post. You’ll always be striving for perfection and falling just short of it. The key is to keep working at it and learning as you go. As you refine your technique and learn from your mistakes, your posts will improve steadily and incrementally with each writing.