Taking A Focused Strategy When Optimising Your Blog Brand & Content

Posted at 18:39pm on 19th April 2010

In this mini series on article writing and blogging, I have been using some queries put to me by an online friend, Lucy Cripps, as the basis of the information I’ve shared. In the first, I gave four tips on blog brand, purpose, keywords, and titles. The idea is that:

  • brand establishes the identity of your blog;
  • purpose establishes the ‘identity’ – or goal – of the article;
  • your use of keywords enables Search Engines to establish a link between what you’ve written and people who want to read up on that topic;
  • optimising the title of your article works as a ‘hook’ to reel your readers in when their search throws up your piece.

My blog brand is to provide resources to inform, inspire, encourage – and Lucy’s guest blog Teen Drug Abuse: Peer Education Training Challenges Misconceptions amply supports that theme by delivering accurate and encouraging information. In addition, her article promoted my book, A Painful Post Mortem, which is, itself, a resource to inform, inspire and encourage parents who are suffering grief and loss when they lose their children to teenage drug abuse.

USING VISUAL TUTORIALS

The second article focused on the last of these four tips, using long tail keywords and keyphrases in titles. Working through what Lucy had written for me, I used Twitter’s 12seconds.tv to show her how I use Google Adwords, and the way in which a split screen enables me to incorporate keywords in my article. Although it takes some practice to make what you have to say short and snappy, visual tutorials are an excellent means of communicating with your readers (viewers). It has the advantage of building the beginnings of a relationship with them.

OPTIMISING THE CONTENT OF YOUR ARTICLE

Lucy asked if Adwords sifted automatically through the content picking out the keywords, and I had to tell her that they don’t. You simply type in the words you want to use, which is quite fiddly. In fact, it probably takes me as long to sort out meta tags as it does to write the entire article, but I stick with Adwords because it’s free! If anyone knows of another programme which is automated and non-paying do let me know!

What is crucial is to write in an unaffected manner, incorporating only your site-wide keywords. I find it best to dash off my article, using the language and style which are natural to me, and only then to think about the keywords that are specific to the content. It’s easy enough to incorporate them into the piece by replacing other words and phrases.

SUBSTITUTING LONG TAIL KEYPHRASES FOR TOP KEYWORDS

For instance, Lucy had written: “This allowed the younger students the chance to ask questions they wouldn’t feel comfortable asking a teacher, and to gain unbiased, factual information that would allow them to make sensible, informed choices – hopefully the right choices – when they came up against drugs.”

The word ‘drugs’, with a Global Monthly Search Volume of 13,600,000 is at the head of the Search Engines, and has a high level of competition. ‘Teenage drug abuse’, and ‘teen drug abuse’ – used in the title – come in at 12,100 and 27,000, respectively, and whilst both still have a lot of competition, are well within the long tail. The phrase also contains the word ‘drug’, so both the single word and the phrase may be used in the meta tags for this article.

TAKE A FOCUSED STRATEGY

Not only that, these are far more focused phrases than ‘drugs’. People searching ‘drugs’ may be looking for medication; for cancer treatment; or researching articles on drugs to manage pain in arthritis. These keyphrases tell the Search Engines and those using them to find the topics they require exactly what the article is about. A more focused strategy helps to build trust in your readers because they know that the content of your article will deliver what it promises.

How often should you use keywords? Sprinkling rather than stuffing your article is the answer. I can’t recall now where I found the following information, but I copied it down as a reminder for myself. “Use no more than 250 characters in total, and between 5 and 20 keywords. Every keyword MUST appear at least once - though preferably more - in the body of your actual article and the number of keywords should reflect the length of the article, i.e. the shorter the article the fewer the keywords.”

Copyright: Mel Menzies - All Rights Reserved
Author of a number of books, one a Sunday Times No 4 Bestseller, Mel Menzies is also an experienced Speaker at live events, as well as on Radio and TV. Book her here for your event.

NEXT TIME

I’ll attempt to answer Lucy’s question: How do you decide what to blog on?

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