It’s Time to Blog for Readers Not Search Engines – Here’s How


Gone are the days where repeating keywords over and over could get you to the top of the SERPs. Google is on the lookout for high-quality regularly updated content—and harshly penalising websites that don’t keep up with the times.

With keywords getting more competitive and one of the most important ranking factors being the overall authority of the website, you’ll get easily looked over in favour of bigger brands and huge editorial websites, even if your content is better. That means you need to engage readers and keep them coming back for more. Here are a few tips to get you started:

 

Forget keywords, think intent

Searcher keywords are significantly less important for small brands than searcher intent is. Keyword research is helpful when looking for ideas about articles, but with popular keywords you’ll find it difficult to break into the first page.

Your keyword research might suggest ‘gardening business’ as a good keyword, but the intention behind that search could be anything. Maybe the user wants information on starting a gardening business or they want to buy gardening tools. With these keywords a very small fraction of traffic will convert to traffic.

On the other hand, targeted keywords like ‘hire gardener London’ or ‘types of gardening services’ will bring you the type of users you want. To best understand intent, talk to your customers to find out how they would look for it online.

 

Answer specific questions

Short keywords are competitive, which is why savvy businesses have started targeting long-tail keywords. They may not have the same traffic numbers but they certainly convert better (thanks to high relevance to searcher intent).

Speak to your customers or front-line salespeople to find out what questions they search for prior to making a purchase decision. If you sell high-net worth insurance then perhaps your potential clients are looking for ‘how do I insure my art collection?’ or ‘steps to buying a luxury car’.

Write about those topics in an informative way, using your expertise, and you’ll convert in no time.

 

Think outside the box

The box is your type of business and you need to think about the different types of people that use your service and what their interests are.

Let’s say you sell train tickets. You can write a bunch of posts about buying train tickets, but what are your customers most interested? Most likely they’re interested in travel, so one thing you can start blogging about are the destinations your company travels to. You can even go beyond that: when festival season rolls around in the summer, maybe the best way to get to festivals is by train. Start writing blog posts about the best festivals in the UK to attract readers and conversions.

 

Build your community

Search engine traffic comes and goes. What you really want to do is have a steady source of traffic and that means building alternative ways to bring readers to your website. Interact with people on social media, share relevant content that isn’t your own, make profiles engaging and fun. Start an email list that shares more than just deals and promotions—share interesting content that will get readers to your website and keep your business at the forefront of their minds.

 

Optimise for the share

This is how Buzzfeed has had so much success: by understanding the psychology of social sharing. You’ll rarely find them in search engine results but you will see their articles all over social media.

People share what they feel defines them, and that’s why Buzzfeed articles will often target particular segments of people: twenty-somethings, 90s kids, backpackers, and so on. Do some research on your customers—find out who they are and what compels them to share content. That will help you determine the best topics to write about for maximum impact.