Blogging is great!  You can use a blog to meaningfully connect with your customers, share your expertise, raise your profile and increase your revenue.

But of course, one of the main reasons businesses blog is to improve SEO.   With a consistent approach, you can use your blog to boost your search engine rankings and perhaps even reach that elusive page one result.   Here’s some tips to help get you started.

Get your categories right

Before you start writing, consider the broader categories that your blog could cover.  Advice, tips, videos, photos and case studies are all great subjects.  Choose five or so umbrella categories. For example, if you were in the dog washing business your categories could be:

  1. dog breeds
  2. tips for at home care
  3. before and after photos
  4. reviews of dog wash products

Naturally, these categories highlight and reinforce your key terms: dogwashing.  Too clever!

Resist temptation to have too many categories.   There’s nothing worse than a long list of categories with only one article.  Keep in mind that most business blogs are abandoned due to lack of time so start small with a commitment to blog regularly and build up your content for each category.  You can always create more categories later.

Vary your headlines with alternate key words

Your headline is one of the key criteria that search engines assess. So use it wisely and try to incorporate your keywords, or alternatives.  Be warned: your main priority must be readability.   Don’t use your keywords if they are not relevant to your post.

For example, if you are a naturopath, your best keyword could be ‘Suburb Naturopath.’  It would be tricky to weave this keyword into a headline on an article about the latest research.   However, your headline could read ‘research shows GPs give naturopaths the thumbs up.’  This way, your headline reflects your content and you have naturopath in the title.  Not ‘Suburb Naturopath’, but pretty close.

Avoid keyword stuffing

The quickest way to being banned by search engines is to stuff your blog with keywords.  Aim for natural, logical incorporation of your keywords into your blog, and keep repetition to a minimum. Search engines increasingly reward quality writing so repeating your keywords unnecessarily will not help your rankings.

 Add sharing buttons

Search engines such as Google rank shared content and rate it highly, so it pays to encourage readers to share content.  A simple blog plugin can create icons for sharing via Pinterest, Twitter, Google +, Facebook and many others.  Avoid share icons that are whizzing around the page and creating a visual distraction.  Make it easy for your readers and you’ll increase the likelihood of getting shares, thus exposing your content to new audiences and boosting your SEO.

Keep your old content alive

Over time you’ll have amassed a library of useful and compelling articles.  Search engines rate how often content is viewed, so leaving it sit undiscovered wastes the opportunity for SEO.  Just make sure it’s still accurate and relevant first.

Visually highlight your archive content on your page and encourage more readers to discover it. Highlight related posts to encourage readers to see more articles on similar subjects.   Link to old posts within your current blog copy where relevant. From time to time, share archive content via your social networks to get more eyeballs reading it.   Work on reducing the number of clicks to reach your articles via good pagination, as search engines don’t want readers trawling through endless pages.

With these tips in mind and a consistent commitment to blog regularly, you should see a change in your SEO rankings. Good luck.