While this month’s most celebrated holiday has come and gone (and not without a bit of notoriety for San Diego’s annual firework display), I uncharacteristically am forced to come up with my own idea for a blog post. During many recent campaign reviews I have discussed the role of the blog and how you can benefit most from maintaining one, so let’s explore this topic.

Write a Blog That Matters to Your Audience

I am first asked, “What do I write about? What blog topics will get me traffic?” Lisa did a wonderful job of laying some ground rules for blogging, so start there for some advice on basic do’s & don’ts. The bottom line is that you need to write about what actually matters to your clients, prospective clients, & peers in your industry. Having your content picked up or shared by leaders in your field is an easy way to connect with people that may seem “untouchable” while gaining credibility with those you may serve.

See if There is an Opportunity to Get Traffic

Not every topic you write about will have search volume associated with it. Even when you see a competitor rank for a keyword phrase that looks like it would have volume, you can (with a little research) find out exactly how much traffic you may get each month being found above the fold. Start with Google’s AdWords tool and type in some terms you think would be good to rank for.

Notice that I am in the “Client Reporting” tab and before I enter my keywords up top I have selected “Broad” under Match Types. Broad matches will give you an idea on the number of searches done each month that don’t match exactly, but are similar to what you have entered in the “Find Keywords” area. Selecting “Exact” will give you the number of searches for exactly what you have entered. With this tool, you can see if there is traffic opportunity for your topic.

Optimize Accordingly

Now you know what people may be typing in, but how do you show up for these terms?  There are three areas in a blog post that are most critical and they are as follows:

Title Tag/Page Title: This is the first line you see in a search result and has a direct impact not only on how the search engines categorize your page, but how users see your result.

How to update a Title Tag varies depending on your platform, but for WordPress I highly recommend the All-In-One SEO Pack which Guillermo referred to previously.

URL: Immediately follows the Page Title in search engine results and with Google, will be green. URLs are related to your site’s file structure and including your targeted keywords in them is helpful.

Content: This includes the words in your article, how you will communicate, and ideally what readers are looking for!  I recommend (but rarely adhere) to a word count of 300-1,000 words (keep it concise; don’t use filler to to get to 1,000) and try to include images or embed videos as they tend to break up the monotony of Arial/Times New Roman/(hopefully not)Comic Sans. And always be original and unique; Google will ignore your content if you steal it and how goofy will you look trying to be an expert when ripping off someone else’s ideas?

Produce Consistently

I am lucky enough to talk with clients every day who are genuinely engaging, intelligent people that are pillars in their communities. They are producing great content for their industry and putting these practices to use, some even daily. I must say though, finding a great blogger who suddenly stops producing or goes MIA is disheartening. My challenge to you is to find 1 hour a week to sit down and educate the masses on why you are an expert or how they can live richer lives with your help. By following a few simple rules, you not only will be a valuable resource but will also be rewarded with SEO’s holy grail–TRAFFIC!

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