So you’ve finally been convinced it’s time for you to start writing a blog for your business. That is great! Blogging is an excellent tactic to increase the keyword rankings for your site, bring in new traffic, provide more value to your existing customers, and signal to Google your site is authoritative (see lower section on domain authority).
We’d hate for all your hard work to go to waste by no one ever finding your new content. So below we’ll tell you what Google looks at to determine how it ranks content, outline some of the best practices for writing your posts to ensure they rank, and what kind of results you might expect to see from your efforts.
Key Factors For Post Ranking
There are a few elements that affect your likelihood of ranking well in the search results. This is not an entirely exhaustive list, but we’ll hit the big ones absolutely necessary for being competitive.
Keyword Research and Competition
If you’re not in the SEO field, you’re probably wondering, “is keyword research really important for SEO”, in a word, YES. How else would you know if you’re writing content people are actually looking for? How else would you know if you have a chance in the world of actually ranking for that content?
Without doing any keyword research, you are jumping into the middle of the ocean without any supplies or plans on how to get back to land and you’re just going to waste away out there all alone.
So before you start writing, do keyword research to make sure the topic you want to cover and the terms you plan to focus on are something people are actually searching for. There are a couple of free tools you can use for this.
When looking for keywords to target, the other piece you need to be aware of is how competitive it will be to rank for that term. The more quality content that already exists for that topic, the harder it will be for your content to rank well in Google search results for it. The trick is to find the right balance between decent search volume and reasonably lower competition.
Keep in mind, especially if you’re a local business, you don’t need to rank well for a keyword in other states, which lessens your overall competition if you tailor your blog content to be locally focused. Locally relevant blog content can be especially helpful for you, as you only need to rank well in your service area. There are additional tactics you can use to make sure your site ranks well in organic search locally.
That being said, there is still value in writing general blog content, especially for long tail keywords that you can potentially compete for in rankings. Keep this in mind as you see traffic coming to those posts, because although the majority of users from different areas might come in just for the blog post, it can still bring in a small percentage of direct local converting users.
Plus an active, relevant blog with a mix of local and non-locally focused topics can improve your overall authority by showing users and search engines that you’re a subject matter expert, it can boost your supplemental keyword rankings that then in turn support your main site’s ability to rank, it can provide resources for customers interested in a greater level of research before contacting you, and it can organically attract more links that build your site’s domain authority.
Posting Frequency and Length of post content
In general here, the more the better on both accounts. Neil Patel did some data deep dives on these points and they found that if you post 5-10 times a month your likelihood of ranking higher in search results increases sharply.
But, on average posts that rank on the first page of Google are all 2000 words or more. To rank 1-3 you need to be writing upwards of 2300 words a post.
Unless you have a full-time copywriter on staff (or a few) there is no way you’re going to be able to crank out quality content of that length at that frequency. Hell, we don’t even meet those marks ourselves. But you’re not trying to build a business based on blogging alone, so this is not one of those all or nothing situations. Just because you can’t meet these numbers, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t bother blogging at all.
In all cases, we defer to quality over quantity. So if all you can manage is one quality post a month, 800+ words with clear keyword targets, that’s still beneficial.
Age of the blog post
Ahrefs did some comprehensive analysis of content ranking performance on Google. They found that on average pages 2 years or older make it to the first page of search results. That means if you posted well-optimized content TODAY, it isn’t likely to reach the first page of search results until October 2022. But it is likely to stay there for a while. Especially if you’re good about updating posts as things change over time.
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, SEO is the long game, it takes a while to get serious results, but those results are long-lasting. Know that you’ll spend all year working your butt off writing quality content, but won’t see the serious fruits of that labor for at least another year or more unless you strike gold.
In short, domain authority is a number assigned to your site between 1 and 100 that essentially tells you how good your site’s reputation is. The higher the number the better the reputation. The better the reputation the more likely you are to rank well in search results. Having a good DA score boosts ranking for your whole site, including blog content.
Like all things SEO, this is another area that hard work pays off for in the long run. You can negatively impact your reputation by linking to spammy websites, having spammy sources link to you, having ads on your site, or simply having a bad website UX.
You can check your site’s current Domain Authority to get a sense of where you’re currently at. If it’s low, you’re going to need a comprehensive SEO strategy that employs both content and technical tactics to get it up.
This sounds great and all, but maybe not for you?
If you’ve made it this far and you’re thinking, ‘never mind this seems like too much trouble’ we can assure you it’s not. Effective SEO-friendly blogging is a tried and true tactic that we use all the time for partners. Like all good leaders you know when to delegate work to an expert, so drop us a line and we’ll talk content strategy.