Your blog posts may be for lead generation, patient education, thought leadership, or sales. But at least some of the time, they should be for SEO. Here’s a step by step guide to creating an effective SEO blog post.
For us, the process usually begins when we notice a keyword that seems to be growing in importance. Often, we see queries showing up in the website’s Google Analytics. We may also hear from a client about a particular issue that they’re getting questions about, we may see it in news reports, or it may turn up in Google Trends.
You know how sometimes it starts to feel like the universe is trying to tell you something? Well, if we get that feeling about a keyword and we know that our website doesn’t yet have the best possible page about that keyword, that’s a good starting point.
We’re not suggesting that you get mystical about it. But if “home health care” is showing up in your data and it aligns with your business goals, add it to your keyword list.
Chances are, when you see queries about your chosen keyword, some of them will be questions. “What is sports medicine?” and “What kind of doctor does sports medicine?” and “Does Medicare pay for sports medicine?” are some of the questions we’re seeing around this keyword.
Often we see lots of variations on similar questions using specific keywords. Our goal is to choose the question our target audience will be using. For example, if you rent home health care equipment, “what is home health care?” is a question your customers might be typing in at Google. Questions about home health care aides are probably not coming from your customers.
This is where we go right to our clients. “We’re seeing queries about X,” we say. “Are you hearing questions on this topic?” Usually, they have very specific suggestions about new research on the subject, misconceptions they’re hearing, or emerging concerns. The combination of website data and your intuitions can be very powerful here.
Google will always try to show searchers the answer to their questions. A searcher might look for “zika in Arkansas” or “is there zika in Arkansas?” or “are there zika cases in Arkansas?” We don’t want to make our answer so narrow that we show up for just one question.
So we keep our keywords in mind: in this case, we want our client to show up whenever people ask about Zika virus and Arkansas. So we choose a simple, straightforward title using those two terms.
Once you identify the question you want to answer, you need to create a clear answer with a single main point. You don’t need a complete guide to diabetes in dogs. If you know that your prospective customers are wondering about symptoms, you can start there.
Once you’ve identified your topic, check on your online competition before you assign the topic to your bloggers. “What is home health care?” is a good example of a question you shouldn’t answer with an SEO blog post — even if you answer it on your homepage for the convenience of your visitors. Medicare.gov has simple, authoritative answers for this question and all major related questions, including whether Medicare covers it. Chances are, a small business providing home health care rentals will not outrank Medicare.gov.
But our client does show up for Zika in Arkansas, and we’ve used this technique in many more cases. The key is to identify an up-and-coming question that doesn’t already have a clear, authoritative answer online. Small organizations can provide a great answer just as well as a big organization can.
Lots of factors affect your rankings for any given keyword. The fact that you have competitors shouldn’t keep you from assigning any keyword for an SEO blog post.
But you’ll be more successful if the page isn’t already sewn up by competitors… or major players in your field, even if they’re not competitors.
A clear, focused answer to a question that is beginning to come up in people’s minds is the best kind of SEO blog post. By the time your competitors are all writing about it, your post will be solidly ranking.
But only if it’s good quality. Make sure your post is useful, with a single, clear main point and strong support. Be sure you have no grammar, punctuation, or spelling errors. Use the keyword you’ve chosen along with related terms, in natural, complete sentences. We’ve seen clear evidence that well-written posts outperform poorly written ones over the long term.
And the long term is what we’re after here. “13 SEO Tips You Can Learn from Lady Gaga” could be fun, but a high quality answer to a frequent question will still be pulling in traffic when people are saying, “Lady Who?”