Get your name out there. Become an industry leader. Attract new clients. Grow your business – That's why you started your business blog, right?
Each week you dutifully sit down at your computer to write your next blog post for your business. You sit there thinking of your next topic to write about and then you need to actually write about it. Before you know it, your afternoon is almost gone, your screen is still blank and you’re thinking — Shit! Quickly, you whip up a few paragraphs around your chosen topic, give it a quick proofread (maybe, if you remember), pop in the first image that catches your eye, and you hit publish. Phew – You did it… another post live on the website!
You're focused each week on creating more content, hoping that this week will be the week your post finally ranks in the search engines and brings you more visitors — because the more you post the better… right?
No! More is not better, especially when the content lacks optimization
Your blogging efforts can actually backfire on you if your blog posts lack real substance, don't answer the question your readers have, and have little to no content optimization. Without these vital elements, it's going to be next to impossible to get your content in front of readers no matter how much effort you put into it.
To get potential clients to find you in the search engines and see you as an authority in your field — someone who can help them solve their problems — you need well optimized blog content that's easy to read, answers the questions people are having, and establishes your authority not only to your customers but the search engines as well.
Let's look at 7 mistakes you might be making when writing your blog posts.
1. Post Lacks Any Real Substance
When your post offers little to no value, it's referred to as thin content. It's the kind of content you could find anywhere else and it offers nothing new to readers or even worse, doesn't answer their questions — and it doesn’t stand out among your competition. The result? Search engines won't see any value in your posts and your post will be buried deep in the depths of the search results, never seeing the light of day.
If your post only contains a few quick paragraphs that only skims the surface on the subject, you likely have thin content.
Improve posts with thin content by:
- Adding more information to each section
- Answering more questions that visitors might have
- Adding facts or stats – backed by industry experts
- Include stories from your past experiences
2. Posts Are Competing For Keywords
If you have several blog posts covering the exact same topic, you might be competing with yourself in the search engines. When blog posts have the same keyword focus, they'll be competing with each other and none of them will rank well in the search engines.
To determine if you have competing keywords on your site, take a look at the keyword phrases that are used in the titles and descriptions of each page or post.
Avoid competing keyword by:
- Combining or consolidating similar posts into one longer post
- Re-write the topic, but from a different angle or perspective
- Remove posts that don't serve a purpose or are not getting any traffic to them
3. Readability Is Poor Or Too Complex
Have you ever gone to a website or even opened a book that was paragraph after paragraph after paragraph? Do you remember the feeling you had? Large blocks of text are intimidating and long pages of content without headings feel overwhelming — both need a level of commitment to read what's written and most people don't have the time or willingness to make that commitment.
Typically, when someone comes to your site via the search engines, they are searching for a specific problem they are having. When they don't get the information they need easily, or even see where in the post that information might be, they'll leave and find their answer somewhere else – they'll never get the chance to see you as an expert.
Improve readability by:
- Using headings before each section
- Breaking large paragraphs into smaller sections (3-4 lines per paragraph is ideal)
- Using bullet / numbered lists for key points
- Adding quotes and images to give the text some breathing room
- Keeping the writing to a Grade 6-8 level
- Using everyday language, not industry jargon
4. Missing Basic On-Page Search Engine Optimization
The entire point of blogging is to get more readers to your website and hopefully turn them into customers. To help both search engines and visitors better understand what your content is about you need to do some basic on-page seo, even if you're not doing any keyword research for your posts.
Your page title is not the same thing as your blog post headline. Seen in the browser tab, bookmarks, search engine results page, and social media shares — your page title should be an accurate description of what the page is about in 70 characters or less.
A short description of what the page covers to encourage people to click your link in the search engine results page or when shared on social media. It lets visitors know if the content on your post will answer their question or address their needs. Keep this below 160 characters and know that sometimes Google will re-write your meta description.
Image Alt Tags
Search engines can't tell what images are about unless you add an alt tag to it. The alt tag provides an explanation of what the image is and it also lets search engines know that the image is related to the content on your page. Beside helping the search engines, it's also used for accessibility for those with vision impairments.
Tip – Alt tags should never be used to stuff keywords in – they need to accurately describe the image. This is one of my biggest pet peeves.
Heading tags are the table of content of your blog post. They're used to outline the different sections of your post so readers can quickly skim to find the area they're most interested in. Headings must be in proper order and not jump around all willy-nilly because you like they way it looks. Proper heading hierarchy is useful to not only search engines, but for accessibility as well.
5. No Internal or External Links in the Content
Creating links in your content helps give readers more resources to continue learning about the topic. You can link to other related topics or posts within your own website to help build authority, or you can link to external sources when citing information to back up your claims.
Look through your post and see if you mention any topics that you've covered in other blog posts. Link to these posts to provide more information to your reader, and to help the search engines crawl through your website.
To maximize the potential of your blog post and drive further website traffic, you should always include at least one internal link from to another page or post on your site that's already indexed. Additionally, an existing article in your archives could benefit when linked back to this new content!
When referencing a statistic, an expert opinion, or supporting data try to link to the original source whenever possible. This will give credibility to your claims, as well as showing due diligence when researching and gathering facts for your post.
Not all posts will have external links, so don't worry if you have nothing to link to. Internal links are far more valuable.
6. No Call to Action (CTA) or Next Steps
You did it! A potential client found your post, read the content all the way to the end and then… you left them. You didn't tell them what the next steps are and they closed the browser tab and left. You were so close!!
Every single blog post and page on your website needs to have a compelling call to action at the end telling people what to do next – even your Thank You pages.
Examples of Next Steps:
- Book a call
- Fill out an inquiry form
- Sign up to your email list
- Download your free ebook
- Check out a related blog post
7. Poor Accessibility
Did you know that almost 3% of Canadians aged 15 years and older, or about 750,000 people, reported having a seeing disability that limited their daily activities. Stats Canada.
Accessibility is a HUGE topic — and it goes hand-in-hand with SEO. For this post, we're going to look at what you can fix in your posts without needing to hire a developer.
The two key areas you need to look at are:
- Proper heading hierarchy – headings should never be used because they ‘look good'. They're meant to organize the content so users with screen readers can quickly jump to the section they want to learn more about.
- Image alt tags – These are meant to describe what the photo is about when someone is unable to see the image.
Avoid the 7 Pitfalls of Blog Post Optimization
Now that you know what the 7 pitfalls are, you can avoid them moving forward. If you take a little extra time to write a blog post that is helpful, informative, and well optimized you'll start seeing an increase in website traffic and more conversions. Your business blog is one of the best ways to let your expertise shine, show clients what you can do, and help you become known as an expert.
The next time you're rushing to quickly churn out another blog post, stop and review these mistakes to ensure that you're not making them.
If you want to get your business blog working for you, let's have a chat.