In this guide, we will help you to:
- Define the goals of your blog.
- Assess the content you already have on your blog.
- Come up with content ideas from your own media.
- Expand into topics you are not already covering.
- Stick to a content calendar.
It is no secret that when it comes to SEO, content is still king. The Internet might have moved forward – a lot – but content, and especially written content (eg. articles and blog posts), are the way to go.
First things first, blogs are not for everyone or, in this case, for every website. There are websites that do not require a blog section at all and will actually benefit from not having one.
Having a blog just because you think it is good for SEO will most probably become a drain on time and money and cause nothing but frustration as opposed to optimise SEO efforts. Continue reading for our 5 steps to blog success.
1. Decide if a blog is the right option for you and define your goals
A blog is a way to showcase your expertise on your product or service. It is a way to expand on details when a product page or landing page are simply not enough. A blog gives you the ability to balance the content on your website, offering a variety of different media to your users, while remaining consistent, relevant and useful.
However, a blog without a goal is pointless and the lack of focus will be evident to readers. For example, having a blog on a commercial website that is updated once a year with irrelevant content about your family holidays just won’t do.
Common goals, brands should have when it comes to blogging are to:
- Drive relevant traffic to your website.
- Increase search rankings.
- Position your brand as a leader in your niche.
- Find a way to interact with customers.
You need to pick one or more of the above and have it in mind all the way through when drafting and implementing your blog strategy.
2. Assess the content you already have on your blog.
Most websites have some sort of content, this may be a news section, an expanded product page that has more than needed or even a long forgotten blog. Whatever the case is for your website, you need to make sure that you fully assess it. This assessment includes understanding why each piece of content is there, what the purpose is of that content and how it fits in with the user journey.
How to perform a fast content audit (technical version, for blogs with more than 100 blog posts):
- Run a crawl of your blog or news section using Screaming Frog or your preferred alternative.
- You should now have a list of all the articles on your site, along with their titles and meta descriptions.
- Export the data from your Google Search Console in order to see how people navigate through your content and the KWs it is ranking for.
- Use a third party tool (we use SEMrush) to fully understand the rankings of your articles.
- Organise all of the data into a spreadsheet.
- You now have a comprehensive overview of your blog content.
3. Come up with ideas from your recently assessed content
Having existing content on your website and assuming you are already getting some traffic can be really useful moving forward. Even if the number of visitors is not quite where you’d like it to be yet, it is an excellent start.
- Make sure you go through your data from the previous step manually: do you recognise any odd rankings? Any pages ranking for KWs they should not be ranking for? Keep a column of notes alongside each blog post, we will use these later to transform them into action points.
- Identify the articles that get the most traction, whether this is a lot of incoming traffic or a high amount of social interactions. Pay close attention to the topics covered in those articles. This is what your visitors are interested in! Try to come up with as many related ideas as possible. Are there related topics you do not yet cover? Is there a way to expand on those? Are those recent enough or is it time for an update? Make sure that you mark any ideas down.
4. Expand, expand, expand
By now, you should have a handful of topics that are relevant to your niche and designed for your target audience. Obviously, those are not enough and you need more to get you going, you need to come up with ideas from scratch. Do not go blindly, trust the data!
Head over to a keyword research tool, we will use SEMrush, and as an example we will use a brand that focuses on budget apartments in central London. It goes without saying that your main KW, ‘cheap apartments in London’, would be very difficult to target and get a blog post ranking for the exact match.
Head over to SERPs and spot your first competitor:
Check their rankings and filter to show only the ‘5+ words’ keyword phrases they are ranking for:
Voila! There are two topics ready for you. You do not even need to change the phrase, these could be the title of your blog posts.
Continue this process with more keywords and competitors, and you will end up with a very big list of readily made topics for your blog.
5. Stick to a content calendar.
You should now have a decent amount of topics to write about. You will need to organise them into a structured list, most likely with deadlines and will become your editorial calendar – make sure you stick to it. One last word of caution here though: Although it is a very good idea to have an arranged plan that works for you, you need to make sure that you have the space and time to cover any unplanned topics. Things like industry events, special periods of the year or breaking news for your industry need to be on your blog, especially if your goal in step one was to establish your brand as a thought leader.