In today’s digital world there are few things more important for brands than a successful SEO strategy. But it can be a challenge to get your organization on the competitive first page of results, and we all know that nobody goes past page one.
From the typically right-brained perspective of PR, securing a high rank in search results can seem like an opaque process. While a comprehensive knowledge of search algorithms and web crawlers is handy, there’s more to SEO success than understanding the numbers.
In fact, it’s possible to rank highly on Google with small teams and a tiny budget. Mandy Menaker, head of PR and brand development at Shapr, built a successful and highly ranked blog from the ground up with serious budgetary and personnel constraints. At PR News’ Google for Communicators Boot Camp, Menaker will walk attendees through creating SEO-friendly blogs from the ground up.
Here are four tips from Menaker that’ll help communicators get started writing for SEO:
Use Google AdWords Keyword Planner
If you know what you want to write about, start by searching in Google AdWords Keyword Planner to see how your keyword (i.e. learn French) stacks up. “Learn French Online” has 22,000 searches a month while “French Lessons Online” has only 2,400. If you’re just getting started with your blog, choose to focus on keyword variations with less competition. Sure, fewer people will search for “French Lessons Online,” but you are more likely to appear on the first page rather than the sixth page of results.
To get actionable tips and hear in-depth case studies about SEO, Google Analytics, YouTube and Google AdWords, join PR News on Nov. 17 in NYC for PR News' Boot Camp: Google for Communicators.
Take advantage of free tools such as Yoast
There are tons of easy to use, free plugins to help you analyze your posts as you write them. I prefer Yoast for WordPress, which will give you tips for improving your SEO based on factors such as the number of times you mention a keyword, the meta title and tags you have used on your blog, and the length of your post. No matter what blog posting service you use, don’t be shy about Googling around to find a free tool for helping check your SEO as you write.
Evergreen lists (i.e. Top 10 Places to Go On Vacation) do incredibly well in search results and people love them. If you’re writing a list, Google first to see who has already written a similar piece and which lists show up on the first page. Does “Top 9 Tips” already rank? Cool, write the “Top 11 Tips.” Studies have shown that people will click on articles with a larger number in the title, and that odd numbers also perform slightly better.
Write for your customers, not a search engine
Your goal is to convert clicks into customers, not just to show up in search results. Inauthentic posts will lose readers quickly, and potential buyers won’t trust your brand next time they see an ad or a blog post. Spend the time writing content that offers a fresh viewpoint, useful tips or personal stories. If you engage the readers who do click on your article, you will see them share the pieces and drive referral traffic, stay on your site to read more articles and eventually buy your product.
Follow Mandy: @
Follow Mark: @MarkRenfree