When it comes to writing anything for your business, quality is pivotal. Whether you’re posting a blog, drafting a newsletter, updating the pages on your site, or even posting on social media, everything you say is attached to your brand.
However, when you’re blogging for SEO purposes, you’re writing for both Google’s search algorithms and your target audience. It leaves some writers scratching their head and wondering, “How do you speak to both?”
Elli identifies this strategy in her interview with Rachel Perez, a full-time copywriter and social media strategist in Southwest Florida.
Perez spends her days producing SEO optimized content for a wide array of businesses, as well as managing social media accounts and executing digital marketing campaigns.
Here’s what she had to say about writing search engine friendly content for your business.
Breaking Down Blogging for SEO
Elli: What is the biggest misconception you encounter as a professional blogger?
Rachel: The biggest misconception is that quantity is better than quality.
A lot of businesses undervalue the influence of well-written content. They are “content” (pardon the pun) to hire an inexperienced writer or outsource to a writing mill in an attempt to churn out a high quantity of new content, but in the process they negate quality.
Blogging properly is more than posting a 500-word article for the sake of copy. It’s about creating content that users actually want to read.
Google is constantly updating its algorithm to better produce solutions to its users’ queries. It promotes informative content that provides answers—not fluff.
E: What is the difference between SEO writing and the traditional AP style?
R: SEO is a bit of a bear and rightfully so. Search engines like Google have advanced algorithms that have the ability to sift through content to determine its worth from an optimization standpoint.
This includes keyword ratios, proper formatting, headers, internal and external links, and some good ol’ JSON-LD coding.
AP style is more geared toward a human audience. It is often associated with journalism but when used in tandem with SEO, it can make for an algorithm-friendly post with a great reader experience.
E: If there were 3 things you would want people to remember while blogging, what would they be?
R: Do not pander to search engines. Yes, SEO is important but above all, it’s about the content. If it’s sloppy, choppy, and a nightmare to read, it won’t matter if there are a dozen keywords, proper headers, and the right code.
Well-written content always comes first.
Second: formatting is a secret weapon. A well-written blog should look the part. Don’t turn off your readers by lumping your content into thick blocks of text.
Use H1, H2, H3, bullet points, numbered lists, and quotes to your advantage!
Third: be creative! If it fits the client’s voice, don’t be afraid to add a little humor, a tantalizing title, or intriguing headers.
I’ve found many bloggers who are just entering the field are stuck in the academic writing voice that fit collegiate essays but doesn’t always extend itself to a blog. Use contractions; get a little conversational!
How to Brand your Blog and Establish Credibility
E: Should bloggers who are looking to build an audience purchase their own domain?
R: Absolutely. If you’re serious about blogging, you want to establish your brand as a credible source. There are dozen portfolio sites but “portfolio.elliwrites.com” doesn’t have the same credibility that “elliwrites.com” has.
If you’re serious about writing and blogging, invest in a custom website design and domain name, then use it to grow your brand.
E: How can bloggers and businesses use SEO blogging to their advantage?
R: I am amazed at how much blogging lends itself to other services.
I had a funny moment a few years ago while I was speaking to a potential client. They were discussing services they were looking for and I realized I had the skills to perform each and every one of them through this one avenue!
Don’t be meek or self-effacing. Be confident in your abilities and use your domain to reach a wider audience. A great website with an active and well-written blog provides recurring value, allows you to showcase various services, and build your brand’s exposure and credibility.
The Tricks to Drawing in Web Traffic
E: How does one build an audience for their blog?
R: Share, share, share! Tag your clients and syndicate your blog posts on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and your portfolio.
At first, the comments may trickle in from friends and family members, but every click you receive is a start.
Consider creating professional social profiles as well. Creating a business page on Facebook as well as LinkedIn will help establish your name as a credible source in your industry.
E: How can social media marketing help in this endeavor?
R: Social media marketing, particularly on Facebook, can open the door to new readers. A few dollars here and there for a boosted post or campaign can drive traffic, clicks, and may even result in a few Facebook likes and followers.
You don’t have to be rich to advertise. Even a modest budget, when used strategically, can help you grow your social audience.
E: Can you become a successful blogger without investing money?
R: Of course you can. Going viral can happen to anyone.
That being said, it doesn’t hurt to put some money aside for a Page Like Campaign and a few boosted posts to get you the exposure you ordinarily wouldn’t have.
However you choose to market, just make sure you’re consistent and active. You can’t wait for an audience to come to you. You have to nurture it and facilitate its growth.
E: Should every business website have a blog?
R: Can you hand me a microphone? Thank you. YES!
Every business, regardless of industry, can use a blog. I’ve seen too many businesses think they’re not interesting or topical enough to create regular posts for but trust me when I say you are.
A great writer can whip out intriguing copy concerning even the dullest subjects.
E: How important do you think blogging will be in the coming years?
R: Blogging has already made a mark on businesses. Almost every website you visit has a blog of some sort. The stream of content can’t really be beaten.
It increases the time spent on site, too!
E: If you’re a business owner is it better to write your own blogs or hire someone to do them for you?
R: It depends on your team. Do you have a great writer on hand? Can you afford the allotted time and effort it takes to create the topics and content?
Blogging takes a fair amount of time. That’s why it’s a full-time job. If you have a great writer on staff you believe is up to the challenge, give it a whirl!
Be patient, though. If they’re just beginning, it’s going to take a while before you see the results you want.
If you’re short on staff and time, consider hiring an experienced professional to get the job done. It’s worth the price to receive a well-written, SEO optimized blog right from the get-go.
E: What about blogging mills? They’re pretty cheap. Are they worth it?
R: It depends on what your business is willing to accept.
Writing mills are cheap, but the price mirrors the quality. They may be optimized just enough to rank, but it doesn’t mean the prose matches the perception you want for your brand.
It’s better to have a really great blog once a month than four 500-word puff pieces. A longer, eloquent blog can rank better on search engines, gain better traction on social media, and open the door to new opportunities.
Professional blogging is also not as expensive as many businesses think. I know great writers that have reasonable rates and the quality you receive is nothing short of outstanding.
If you don’t know where to start, ask around and do a little research to find a dependable writer that’s up to the challenge.