Developing a blog for your business and publishing some content underneath that blog isn’t enough to be successful. Regularly sharing high-quality content with your readers certainly plays a role, but you must spend time paying attention to SEO and search engine rankings if you really want to get your business blog ranking.
With that being said, here are a dozen tips to help you get your business blog ranking sooner rather than later.
1. Download Yoast SEO
“The majority of your SEO efforts will be to create engaging content for real people. Whether that’s through text, videos or images, your job as a blogger is to spark a relationship with your readers,” successful business blogger Neil Patel says. What’s the best way to ensure your content is engaging? Patel encourages all WordPress users to download the Yoast SEO plugin, which automatically helps you make the right decisions for each post.
Yoast also provides a multitude of resources that you can use to improve your SEO aptitude. If you’re new to content marketing strategies such as SEO, Yoast is definitely your best bet. You can download the Yoast SEO plug-in for WordPress for free. If you want to access the premium version or any of the educational features, you’ll have to pay.
2. Attract Backlinks
Search engines tend to base search results for specific keywords on authority. They want to serve authoritative links that add value to users’ searches. How do the search engines determine if a page is authoritative? They look at other links pointing to the page. Using this logic, you can rank faster by attracting backlinks in the form of mentions, guest blogging, and other similar tactics.
According to Neil Patel, here are some types of content that attract the most backlinks:
- People have and will always prefer list posts. Statistically posts structured in the form of a list will get more engagement than those that aren’t. Here’s why
- They are specific: Your readers know exactly what to expect from the post
- They are scannable: Each list item serves as a subheading that allows for a quicker read.
- Invoke Curiosity: The readers want to know what the “X” best ways to do “Y” are. This engages your audience from the get-go.
- Create awesome guides. Regardless of what your guide is about, make sure it covers the ins and outs of that specific topic. For example, “The Ultimate Guide to Business to Business Payments” is a guide that covers a specific topic in depth. Here are some other tips for constructing the ultimate guide:
- Don’t cut corners: You should spend 50-100 hours on each guide and write about 10,000 words.
- Narrow the scope and outline: You want your guide to definitively cover a topic. Try and narrow down the scope of your topic and create a detailed outline before writing.
- Graphics: Separate big blocks of texts with custom graphics to keep your readers engaged.
- Find an influencer: If you’re able to find an influencer in your industry to link back to your page, you’ve struck gold. A great way to accomplish this is to document a success story using advice from their blog then send the link to the influencer.
- Ideally, the influencer will link to your story as a testimonial giving you tons of exposure.
3. Speed Things Up
Did you know that 40 percent of users will abandon a website if it takes three seconds or longer to load? This drags down your bounce rate and ultimately reflects poorly on your blog. Google has a need for speed and wants to see that your site is efficient. Make things faster and you’ll see your rankings improve.
Server response time has to do with a number of factors. Here are the most common ones and simple ways to improve:
- Website Traffic: The more traffic, the slower your servers. Try and build servers that can adapt and scale to high traffic scenarios without sacrificing speed.
- Website Resource Usage: Use less resources on each of your web pages, this is a cost effective way to speed up servers.
- Web Server Software: Change up your software or configuration, this could likely improve your response time.
- Web Hosting: If you want you can improve the quality of your web hosting, this will definitely increase response time but often costs quite a bit of money.
4. Install a Sitemap
Search engines want the ability to efficiently move around your site and quickly discover what they need. You can help them in their pursuit of efficiency by installing a sitemap that allows them to better index your site.
SEMrush offers lots of good information on some great ways to put together and submit your own custom sitemap. This article covers the basic functions of a sitemap, which tools you can use to build one, and how to submit it. Once you submit your sitemap it can be discovered on Google and all the major search engines.
5. Create Semantic Content
You can’t outsmart the search engines these days. Stringing together a bunch of search terms and hoping you’ll rank for them won’t work. You need to write in the language that people actually use when searching.
In the end of the day, these are every-day individuals who are going to be reading your content. There’s no need to use overly profound language and or sound like a robot. Act as if you’re having a conversation with your reader. The semantic your content is, the more the readers will be engaged.
6. Ensure You’re Responsive
Google takes mobile device traffic very seriously and wants to serve these users pages that are optimized for their screen size. Make sure you’re appealing to both mobile users and desktop users by choosing a responsive design.
Mobile use for online marketing is a huge opportunity. In fact, most search actually takes place on mobile devices. If you aren’t optimized to mobile devices you are missing out on tons of traffic.
7. Eliminate Broken Links
Search engines really don’t like broken links. They damage their reputation, frustrate users, and lead to dead ends. Therefore, they will penalize blogs that have lots of broken links. Stay in good graces with the search engines by using a plugin like Broken Link Checker to discover and fix these bad URLs.
8. Link to Authoritative Sites
Just as you want high-authority websites linking to your blog, you should be linking to other authoritative sites in your own posts. This shows the search engines that you care about quality.
You can use Open Site Explorer to get a better idea on what a high-authority website is and which ones have high rankings. Two common metrics that measure authority are:
- Domain Authority: A score (on a 100-point scale) developed by Moz that predicts how well a website will rank on search engines.
- This is best used to compare the overall ranking of different sites and or tracking the authority of your own domain.
- Here is a guide to increase domain authority that I put together.
- Page Authority: A score (on a 100-point scale) developed by Moz that predicts how well a specific page will rank on search engines.
Here is a guide to content for bigger sites that will rank.
9. Put Keywords in Your Title
While you need to ensure you aren’t using keywords that are out of place, there is some value to be extracted from strategically placing keywords in your title. Google and other search engines place a big emphasis on titles and will give you a boost in certain situations.
Not only do you have to use keywords in your title, but you should choose the right keywords. If you’re stuck between a few words maybe go for a key phrase. Key phrases allow you to slightly differentiate from “Vanity” keywords since it’s often difficult to rank for specific words unless your domain has a high authority.
10. Encourage Commenting
Most people don’t realize this, but the comment sections on your blog posts are actually searched and indexed by the search engines. So, if you get dozens of comments on blog posts, you’re essentially increasing the length of your posts and stand a much better chance of ranking for natural search terms that your readers are using.
11. Drive Social Sharing
While sharing your posts on social media won’t boost your rankings alone, it does set off a chain reaction that increases your blog’s authority. When you share posts on social media, they get clicked and shared over and over again. The more shares you get, the more referral traffic you’ll gain. As a result, Google sees your post as more authoritative and bumps up your ranking.
Social media is a great way to market just about anything these days. If you have some spare time, it’s definitely worth your while to read up on social media marketing and how it can transform your business. Some of the most powerful marketing campaigns are done on social media these days, the best part is, it’s relatively low-cost.
12. Use Alt Image Tags
If you’re using images in your blog posts (and you should be), don’t miss out on the opportunity to plug keywords into alt tags. This helps the search engines translate the purpose behind the images and can boost your rankings.
It Takes Time
The biggest thing you need to remember is that getting your business blog ranked takes time. It’s impossible to end up on page one overnight. You have to pay your dues, invest time, and patiently wait for the results. If you can do this, then you’ll eventually find your blog ranked for keywords that you’re specifically targeting.