How to Write a Blog Post that Performs in Google Search Results

February 21, 2019

If you're a small business website owner with a plan to drive organic traffic to your website but perhaps you lack knowledge in content marketing and SEO, then you should read on.

In this article I break down the four key components that I rely on in my day to day work when researching and writing blog posts that need to perform well in Google search results. I explain these tasks in a readable format for anyone trying to build assets and content for their website and by following these steps you can begin to understand how you can apply this knowledge to your own website.

Worth noting, in no way am I trying to reinvent the wheel by attempting to out do the experts I've relied on to teach me as I would surely fail! However, I have worked hard to put these very steps in to action, and I know them to work having had great success with my own content marketing activity. What I'm doing here is spelling out precisely what YOU can do to get up and running and if you feel these steps are sustainable for your business then I would urge you to keep learning and keep researching to help develop more advanced tactics that apply specifically to your own niche such as improving your efforts with link building and outreach. By doing so I can assure you that with some patience and careful, consistent effort the results will gradually start to follow.

Let's begin.



So in your efforts to build audience you'll have hopefully been at least exploring the production of meaningful and effective content, and by now you've possibly realised how frustrating it can be to publish something you've spent time researching and writing only to discover from your analytics report that website visitors are no different than they were last month except for a small uplift to your page caused by visitors clicking on your Facebook post.

Fortunately these steps if followed will maximise your chances of publishing content that not only serves a useful purpose but ranks well too and that means people will actually find it in search results, and in turn you'll hopefully start to drive organic visitors to your page. With the experiences I've had in forming powerful and high performing content for search I can share here with you my process for researching and building effective content for your own site that you can take to market and that ensures you a much higher chance of success.

The four key areas I'm going to cover here to help you build successful blog content are as follows, and this is all on the assumption that your website has no technical issue or flaw that may stand in the way of the page being properly indexed and subsequently ranked. If your website is slow or throws page errors you've maybe got some other work to do first, but let's assume things are in good health as that's the best place to begin when attempting to rank.

1. Keyword Research

2. Topical Research

3. Content Writing

4. Outreach and Link Building

We'll discuss each area in depth and by the end of this article you'll be on your way to building useful and meaningful content for your blog that you'll be proud of having online. The best bit is that you'll possibly even start seeing some traffic!

It's quite simple; if you're putting content online and nobody is reading it then one might argue the point of putting it there in the first place! Even if your grammar is on point and your ability to address the wider topic is bang on; if you've not planned a strategy for your post taking in to account target keywords and more importantly what you're up against by way of ranking competition then sadly just satisfying the sentiment of your subject is nowhere near enough. We need to satisfy a lot more and not least the user.

Part One : Keyword Research

Firstly is keyword research which is an SEO strategy used to determine what words one can feasibly rank content for and whether that content when ranked will generate website traffic. Intrinsically linked is the process of researching keywords, researching content and effectively building this research in to a readable article.

As part of any content strategy, one should use well researched keywords to help rank and drive more relevant traffic to your page.

It's worth pointing out that the purpose of writing content is not just to fill website pages and clog up the internet. You need to build content that addresses user search intent and this means establishing what people REALLY want when they type in a search and to build content that satisfies that search.

Google Keyword Planner
Google Adwords Keyword Planner


Intent

Alongside keywords you need to be thinking about the user intent; what does the user want to achieve by searching for that term and does your content address their need?

There are three main types of search intent :

- Navigational
- Informational
- Transactional

We need to choose keywords that match our content; ie. when the user lands having searched with their chosen term does the content answer their query? However it's often hard to get it right.

An example of this would be as follows :

- Nike
- Nike Trainers
- Nike Air Zoom Size 12

You could argue that the word "Nike" is a transactional keyword but chances are the user is either trying to navigate to the Nike website (to buy something there) or they want information. For the purpose of your own content if you're building content around Nike then this standalone keyword should maybe not be treated as transactional. Do you see how easy in principle it would be to think it's worth trying to create a page targeting people who like to wear Nike, but all they're really after is the Nike.com website. They are simply trying to navigate to Nike.com and have no interest in what you're trying to sell (even if you can get close to page 1 or 2). The second two are quite hard to separate although of the three keywords / phrases above, the commercial intent keyword term here is quite clearly "Nike Air Max Size 12" as it's product specific and even has a size attached. If you can rank on page one for this term then you're well on your way to selling a pair of shoes. The middle one, "Nike trainers" could well have a commercial intent but it's fairly vague so hard to determine what people might be after. You might therefore attempt to build your article around more than one purpose so that could be a product page with lots of useful product information. The two angles to the page will help satisfy both users.

What you'll find is that the majority of keywords are somewhat ambiguous in their intent and that makes it all the more fun trying to determine which one's you should rank for, and how!

Keyword Types

There are three different types of keyword you need to be aware of :

- Head term keywords (highly competitive / high search volume)
- 2 to 3 word keywords (medium competition / medium search volume)
- Long tail keywords (low competition / low search volume)

For the purpose of blogs, we need to concentrate on the second two and include keywords that fall into both categories. Keyword diversity will attract more higher quality traffic.

Strategy

To summarise your strategy, what we need to do is research and select keywords for our blog articles that do the following :

- That are relevant for our article and that consider the user search intent
- That have a chance of ranking on page 1 without too much effort
- That will generate some traffic
- That do not compromise the authority of our money pages


If we do all of this then our blog content will be more likely to help and not hinder our domain authority and ranking potential.

GUIDE - How to create a keyword list

You probably have an idea of what keywords you’d like to rank for by now, and what the user is after by searching for these terms. These are your seed keywords and by using a keyword research tool or tools we can move on to discover other keyword variants, common questions, semantically related keywords (related searches) and also topics for your content that you might have otherwise missed.

We’ll use the example “wedding jokes”; we need to work out what people might search for that may be relevant to such an article.

The quickest and most straight forward process will be to use Google keyword planner which is part of your Google Ad account as from here you can extract forecasted search volumes alongside CPC bids (which provide a further indicator as to how difficult these words will be to rank for) however there are other tools we recommend you use in conjunction with planner to extract a thorough list such as one of the mainstream SEO tools with a keyword function such as :

MOZ Keyword Explorer

AHREF's Keyword Explorer

SEMRush Keyword Research.

If you don't have one of these paid tools then there are numerous free tools that are still perfectly capable and really useful such as :

Google Keyword Planner

Google Trends

Google Suggest (search autocomplete)

AnswerThePublic

However the quickest route to market for the purpose of this article is via Google Keyword Planner and from here you have enough information to generate a basic keyword list that is worthy of building a rank-able article.

Follow These Steps

1.Log on to Google Keyword planner

2.Enter your seed term to build a list of variants and stemmed search terms and suggestions, including long tail terms. Export this list.

3.Download this list of keywords.

Start with a seed keyword.

4.Open your downloaded list with Excel or Google sheets and apply filters to the column headers.



5.First apply the first filter to exclude HIGH difficulty search terms.

6.Next order your list by search volume in descending order so that your list is showing at the top the highest search volume at the top.

7.The remaining list is your keyword plan and you can use this remaining list to help guide your article.

Final keyword list.

These last few keywords are the result of a data driven search using Google's keyword planner to identify keywords that are not too competitive yet that receive between 100 and 10,000 searches per month. Individually they may not change the world but combined and by ranking for several of these terms within the same article you increase your chances of generating enough traffic volume to warrant the creation of the post in the first place. Without a keyword strategy you're writing blind. Yes you will rank for something, but what? With a little planning and research you can identify words that people DO search for and where few people are trying to rank for these terms you stand a reasonable chance of ranking for them yourself.

Summary

This all forms part of a wider strategy to bring traffic to your site, building authority and trust and in providing the user with the type of content they wish to consumer Google will place your content more favourably.

So you've been through this process and that's great if you're left with a short list of 20 keywords as it's really easy to stitch a number of these in to your post. However it's often the case when you are left with a huge list of keywords maybe sometimes as much as 300+ and this is where you need to be more strategic and ruthless. You may decide to exclude those with CPC bids to reduce the competition and that might omit 30% of your list. You could also chop out the bottom 30% of your list with those keywords generating the lowest click volume and this can help reduce the overall list further; by this point you're faced with a more manageable list to work with of say 50 to 100 keywords. You may decide that this list forms the basis for several posts, and in producing this list you'll also come up with ideas for other things you can write about. Remember this process is often also completed prior to even having an article subject and by undertaking this process fully you'll be amazed as to the opportunities you can discover that you'd maybe not first have thought of.

Also be mindful of not trying to attack too many subjects within the same article; it helps to target your topic sensibly with legitimate keywords in a logical manner and there is a limit, but however you approach this just be careful to manage expectations of what you can achieve with a single post.

In the example we've used here the good thing is that you could quite easily incorporate all of them in to a post as they are all related in some way to your main seed term, and by doing this you'll only be adding to the wider issue of relevancy.

Part Two : Topical Research

If you are building blog pages for your website then your content needs to outperform content of other competitor websites and there's a method we can call upon to increase our chances of an improved performance.

What this means is that if you’re hoping to achieve favourable ranking on Google then it’s no longer enough to simply churn out well written copy that is backed up by interesting facts and figures linked from other websites. This may work for a press release or a low visibility blog post to underpin a social or email campaign, but this won’t perform well in competitive searches where the results are dominated by content that Google already considers to be excellent. Google effectively reads your article and tries to interpret the page like a human would and they do a pretty good job.

So quite simply, for you to remain competitive and to maximise your chances of securing those elusive and highly competitive positions we need to work even harder to produce content that goes beyond excellence. This means taking your article topic and going to every length possible to research and qualify your subject to the point you're not just an expert, but that you article obtains the potential to be THE VERY BEST piece of content that exists on the internet for your chosen subject.

Do not underestimate the challenge. It's hard enough writing high quality content but producing content that is better than the best is something else. How do I produce the best content? By going through a rigorous process of research and by leveraging the principles of 10x content.

10x Process Overview.

Search hero Rand Fishkin coined the phrase "10x content" and he nailed it home pretty well. We're not afraid to quote him as the process works and the guy managed to brand what is quite simply the process of producing outstanding content. The good thing is, you don’t need to be Shakespeare to write 10x content, but you do need to find your inner Sherlock Holmes as the key to producing 10x content is all in your ability to better plan and research your subject. Gone are the days of simply and quickly re-purposing and re-organising a bunch of old articles although that's not a bad start. It’s also not enough to just go into overdrive and churn out 5,000 words of empty, thin waffle. What is absolutely key is how you plan, structure and create your article. Indeed your 10x article may be longer than if you’d not researched your subject quite so thoroughly, but this would surely be for a very valid reason and it’s your depth of preparation and execution that will result in more extensive and thorough coverage of your chosen subject. At the same time as making sensible decisions about what to include in your article, you should equally be mindful of what NOT to include so that your finished article handpicks the most useful, relevant, insightful, unique and meaningful content.


Thoroughly research your subject.

This is probably the most important part of the content marketing process and should not be underestimated or skipped.

Both primary and secondary research methods should be explored here, and there's no cutting corners.

You first need to create a document.

Primary Research.
Researching the current top 10 to 20 articles on Google is a great way to determine what other people are creating and also to see what the press outlets feel is readable.

You can do this for your designated keyword / key phrase(s) and it will help you form a thorough understanding of what content is currently ranking and why.

- What do these articles contain?

- What are they missing?

You could use a tool like Buzz Sumo or one of the SEO platforms that has an in-built SERP content analyser such as Ahref's to build a clearer picture of what else is popular around your subject; what is being shared and what is being linked to. Use this information along with your subject research to create an overarching article brief.

Step through the top 10 ranking articles. When you find something really useful, interesting, factual and usable then paste in the text snippet (and a link of where they came from). If you see a visualisation or a factually relevant graphic you can copy this in too. The purpose here is to build a really thorough research document that contains all of the best stuff. This also means omitting content that is not useful - if you're going to improve on existing content you not only need to find out what works, you need to identify what doesn't work, and you will find it.

Create a really useful document that completely covers the topic from the perspective of the competition, and provides you with a thoroughly useful arsenal of information that can be arranged in to order and ultimately re-written.

Once you have done this you can move on to other forms of research and that may be sourcing information from online resources such as wikipedia. It could come from books, magazines or photographs. Whatever your subject and whatever resources you can get your hands on you should leverage the best stuff.

- Cover every detail, angle and opportunity.

- Research new and untapped sources of information to produce brand new and unique insight so this may mean sourcing brand new and significant data that has never been created and providing absolutely unique and highly relevant insight relating to that data and your subject that answers your search query in a completely new and highly relevant way.

- Take old content and create new and unique angles on an old subject, but this time thoroughly backed up by accurate and new insight and evidence obtained from new sources.

Secondary Research.
This is where you create your own research and is even more powerful than just taking and re-building what is already out there. This type of research is much harder to produce, but the rewards are far greater.

For example :

- You could interview somebody perhaps one of your clients to build a case study. You can interview the public possibly even taking video footage.

- Obtain facts and information that has never been covered previously via survey or market research. Use Google Consumer Surveys to generate unique data. Use Google Trends for online search volumes to identify search trends.

- Don't forget that "content" isn't just copy. You can use video, graphics, podcasts and their transcripts and so on to help build really purposeful articles that people will want to consume.

Your article needs to take the best of all of your research and combine this all into one single piece of unique content that you can confidently claim to be the very best piece of content on the internet for your chosen subject and assuming you've done a thorough job of research now is the time to start organising this research in to a logical format that can form the basis of an article.

Your research document may look messy but within the many pages of text snippets and screen grabs you'll hopefully have the basis of a really top notch piece of content.

Part Three : Content Writing

The final step in the process and this is where you pull together your research and write something useful!

Needless to say your article needs to be exceptionally well written, sensibly structured, it should flow, be interesting and contextually accurate, devoid of errors in tense, spelling and grammar and using accurate and high authority citation and fact based evidence from authentic sources. It’s imperative that we write a quality article that meets whatever goals are being set be this for ranking within your SEO strategy, to back up digital PR activity as a landing page, or as a landing page for a social media or email marketing campaign to your customer list. The latter two are not always in need of such extensive effort; each campaign is different and you need to assess the merits and purpose of your campaign when determining how long your article should be, but when you're attempting to rank content chances are you'll need to go the extra mile to perform adequately and this means we follow a structure that is proven to keep visitors engaged and scrolling further.

First and foremost is your page URL, article page title and meta description. These are key indicators as to what is contained within your page and subtle adjustments to these elements of the page can significantly impact on your SERP position. Have a play. The URL should be readable with hyphen separated words to make it easier for the search engines to interpret page content. Your page title also tells the robot exactly what the page is about and forms the blue page title link shown in search results. The meta description no longer has quite the same SEO influence as it used to but is still a powerful on-page indicator as it features below the blue link in the SERP and is a quick way for the user to understand what the page is about. Get it wrong and the user won't click. Get it right and the user will feel compelled to take a further look.

You might not get it right first time round but you'll soon see how you can impact on your rank by changing your page title to point towards your subject better, and to sensibly stitch in your head term keywords in to the meta description. Re-crawl the page and then locate your article in the SERP and you can physically manipulate your rank placement in real time!

Google Search Console

Beyond these page header elements you're in to the body of creating your article and before we move in to this there's one other thing you should try and consider and that's your header tags. It's fairly straightforward and is formed around the concept of hierarchy and importance.

For those that don't know, H tags or Heading tags are tags within HTML code that offer a way to both style your headings allowing you to implement more rigorous control of design uniformity. They also describe how important these headings are and perform a powerful function in helping to inform the search engine crawl robot. If you're building content yourself then you should try and implement these tags accordingly. If you have somebody else building your content then it's a good idea to have the conversation with them to make sure these tags are being used properly. There is no set rule to how few or how many tags you can use in a page, but careful and sensible use of these tags will absolutely influence the performance of your content in the search results.

- H1 would normally be your page title

- H2 is best for your section headings

- H3 should be your section sub-headings

- H4,H5 and H6 may be be used as bullet points, footer notes or image titles and can be implemented as you so wish without causing any real problems.

If you follow this structure your article will not only be easier to read and therefore better for the user, but the search engines will be able to better understand how your article is structured and that gives you an added advantage when trying to rank.

Then we're in to the actual writing of your article.

Headline

This sits at the top of the article and is really important as its got two jobs to do - one is to do its work with Google for search. The other is for the user.

- Include an active verb and try to include a relevant keyword.
- DO SAY - “Multicultural London Speaks Over 200 languages”
- DON’T SAY - “Language in Multicultural London”

Introduction

The opening paragraph is really important. It’s your chance to draw readers into your post. You need to hook the reader at this point to make them want to read more. Give them a thesis of the article but keep it brief and concise explaining what the post is about.

For example :
How it’s been researched.
What it's for.
What the user will discover.
Warm up the reader and inform them what benefit they’ll get from the post.
Restate the problem or solution that was in the headline, to show the reader you really do understand their problem

If your article is deeply technical or statistically complex it may be a good idea to incorporate a lay summary to simplify the summary.

The purpose of a good introduction is to stimulate the reader’s interest.

Summary

Immediately after the intro it really helps if your article includes a summary highlighting key points that may be of interest.

This has two benefits -
If the post is being used for PR this gives the journalist an opportunity to quickly understand the article content without trawling all the way through.

The summary will also help to hook the reader and get them to read further, by understanding quickly the key points of the article.

Sub headlines

Sub-headlines break up your article into smaller chunks and help to create a page that is much easier to scan through. It’s great for the reader and it’s also great for SEO.

Fill in the detail

This is where you flesh out the detail of your article and communicate the message that has been summarised with your sub-heading.

Do not waffle or ramble on - if you're struggling to think what to write, you're probably better off writing nothing. Get to the point - you're not writing a novel!

Be factual and specific.

Never create content that is founded on guesswork, opinion or assumption. Use facts, data, specific examples and back them up from reliable sources. For example :

Use numbers -
DON’T SAY - “London has a large population”
DO SAY - “London has a population of 10 million'”

Use facts and cite references to back up these facts by using reliable sources -
DON’T SAY - “London is considered a multicultural city”
DO SAY - “The most recent ONS census in 2011 showed that London is the most ethnically diverse city in the UK.”

If your article is aimed to show authority on a topic, then use lots of examples to fully support your claims, and always make sure anything you link to is high quality and this means taking time to find the best quality external content such as University studies, government statistics, high authority publishers and so on (you should have a list of these collected from your preliminary article research, and obviously before you started writing!).

Linking

It’s really important to pay attention to the way you link out from your article as this has a direct impact on SEO.

The best way to do this is to mix in 'text block' linking with a reference list of links to cite your sources.

- Text block links are hyperlinks embedded within your copy.
- A reference list of links is much like that of a bibliography except pointing to specific links instead of written publications.

Always use relevant anchor text (ie the text you click to go to the link) - the text should tell the reader what they will find if they click that link (ie generally you would expect it to be pretty similar to the title of the page it’s going to).

Conclusion

Generally you would finish an article with a conclusion that summarises the article, pulls the content together with an all encompassing

If the page is built as a landing page you will need a call to action such as “To find out more contact our team today on 02074542602.”

Creative

As a writer you may not be involved in sourcing creative and if not any suggestions or specific image references that you think will help set it apart from all the other articles should be submitted alongside your copy. If you are producing creative for your article then we recommend going the extra mile in producing bespoke diagrams, graphics, image mash-ups, data visualisations and dare we say but why don't you take your own photographs?! We've settled for screen grabs in this post but at least they're home grown. The header image is absolutely unique and helps to set the article apart from all others covering the same subject.

Check, Check, Check

Read through your article thoroughly checking context, references, titles and headings.

- Do they all still make sense?
- Are they relevant?
- Having re-worked your article several times does the content still match the heading? Grammar?
- Spelling?
- Check your outbound links work.

Part Four : Outreach and link building

The final step in the process of getting content ranked is to try and build authority around your post (and your domain) and this is achieved through a process known as outreach. 

Let me make one thing clear first. Outreach is not the easiest part of the process but it is arguably the most powerful. Your job is to basically contact websites and ask them to link to your page, and it’s not as straightforward as you think.

There are over 200 ranking factors that determine where your content is positioned in the search engine results, but regardless of how strong your content, if there’s no inbound links to your page you will always trail behind the other high quality pieces of content you’re trying to out-run. It’s that simple. We know that Google ranks content based on how useful and relevant it is to the user query but all things being equal where high quality content pitches up against high quality content, the site with the stronger domain profile that contains more authoritative and relevant links will have a distinct advantage over the site that does not.

So the sooner you can get your head around link building and to contact other website owners and publishers, the sooner you can hope to see your ranking article climb even further up the page. It’s not easy. You’re going to have to work really hard to achieve those links but the rewards will be clear.

In this last section we cover the process of link building and we step through the basic steps you need to accomplish to get your content featured and linked to.

1.Create your article

We’ve hopefully already done this part! You’ve spent the last three days researching, writing and re-jigging your masterpiece and it’s really taken shape. You’ve achieved a lot already but your article is sat somewhere down on page 15 and you’re getting barely any clicks. You can make tweaks and improvements to move the dial a little but you're maybe pitching up against some relatively difficult keywords.

I should point out at this point that if you’re creating content purely for outreach then your article may look quite different to a long form piece of informational content such as this one. PR content is quite often more snappy and to the point but in either case the strength of your article and its uniqueness and ability to address the user query will be precisely what gets your coverage.

2.Understanding your target audience

It stands to reason that the type of website who might link to your content is possibly operating in a similar industry with a similar audience, but equally so if you’re contacting a newspaper then you’re probably as far away as you can get. So it’s vital that you take time to fully consider and understand your contact and THEIR audience as it’s this understanding that will help guide your pitch. Remember you’re dealing with human beings on the other end and they’re only interested in satisfying their own audience so do please take some time to consider the types of people you’re trying to appeal to and reach.


3.Create your list.

Much like any research process you need to plan properly, and for outreach this is no different. Begin by creating a core repository for your link building activity and this could be a simple spreadsheet such as Excel or Google Sheets, or you can try one of the many outreach tools that are integrated with various other add-ons such as tracking, social following, outreach templates and even contact details. 

My favourites are BuzzStream and Pitchbox, but you can also use specialist tools like Gorkana for your media contact database and bespoke your outreach templates.

If you’re going down the spreadsheet route you’ll need to develop your own list of contacts so it really depends on how much time and money you have to throw in to this process and don’t feel that just because you can’t afford to spend money on an expensive media database that the same websites and press outlets are out of your reach. You’ll just need to work a little harder to reach them. For example you can easily find a list of websites that provide “technology reviews” by simply typing this in to Google.

The kind of information you’ll need to list in your spreadsheet will be :

  • Contact details
  • Job title
  • Website they work for / own
  • Domain authority
  • Social profiles
  • The date(s) you contact them

If you’re using an outreach platform then much of this will be done for you and in many cases is well worth the money if you’re intending to really put the software through its paces, and leverage their database as much as possible.

Furthermore, the higher the quality of your earned links, the more beneficial they will be for your domain so be wary of adding too many low authority links to your list as if they lack relevancy to your article and your own domain their association with you will dilute the authority you earn through the stronger ones. It’s better to have 1 link from a powerful high authority 75 DA website than say 10 links from irrelevant sites with under 5 DA. 

4.Research your prospects and prepare for pitch

This step is to help maximise your chances of getting a reply - outreach is often no easier than sales and in many ways outreach is precisely that except you’re not selling a product but you’re pitching content. The process is virtually identical though in that you’re exchanging content for links as opposed to a product for money. Furthermore many of these websites will have been contacted thousands of times before you reach them so your email to them can and will often fail so do manage your expectations here. 

It basically means the more you can prepare for contacting them to try and minimise the amount of rejection, the better. You need to fully understand the content they’re publishing and the audience they’re addressing. How does their site relate to yours and your content? What have they done that is worthy of a mention? Take a look at their social feed to see what kind of content they’re posting? All of this information provides you with valuable information to help you take the right angle.

The purpose here is to make a solid approach to your prospect that contains an intelligent bid for collaboration, persuasively opening the subject of a mention and why they should link. It also depends if you’re offering to provide content, or if you’ve found an article they have written that you think could benefit from linking your content. Is your article something they want to mention? Or are you donating or “guest posting” content for their website. Either way the key here is not to talk about why the link is good for you, but why is the link good for them. Your article should do the talking here but without expecting them to read your article you need to be able to summarise this in a sentence and explain why this will benefit them. 

Persuasive, intelligent and effective communication at this point is absolutely vital in being able to win people over.

5. Contacting people on your list

So you’ve done your research and you have a nice list of contacts with email addresses and you know roughly what to mention, but now you need to contact these people and be aware that the majority of your emails will be ignored especially if you’re contacting journalists who receive hundreds of emails each day asking for links and coverage. You need to be right on the money with your request to these people and is often where the quality of your content will do all the talking. This also means it’s even more important for you to effectively summarise your article in your email. 

Key steps to take are as follows :

  • Be polite and courteous.
  • Be concise and to the point.
  • Pull out the key focus and purpose of your article, summarising this in a sentence possibly a couple of bullet points that sums up the value of your content.
  • Point out why the article is relevant to them and what the benefit is to them AND THEIR AUDIENCE for linking to you.
  • It’s often all too easy to spot a templated email so be very careful here and try to personalise wherever possible.
  • Ask for a link! If you don’t ask, you don’t get.

 

6. Tracking and progress

Tracking and recording the performance and responses of your outreach activity will help you immensely in refining and perfecting your approach. You need to continuously improve your process and what works for some won’t work for others so by tracking and recording your progress you can become better and more efficient. Sending 50 emails is one thing, but if nobody responds to any of them have you considered why? Perhaps you copied and pasted the template too many times! 

- Is there anything you can do to improve your follow up?
- Have you contacted the wrong person?
- Is there a telephone number you could call to help the follow up?

Summary

Earning links is tough, but this all boils down to whether your content is any good in the first place. The very best content will earn its own links so before you embark on a lengthy process of link building it’s worth testing your content out first organically via social media to see what kind of response you get. Merely posting on social media can kick start this process and if your article is strong enough it may get picked up. In some cases all it takes is a well written email to a syndicated journalist who gets your content covered in several publications all at once, and when this gets seen by others depending on how powerful your content is will depend on how much coverage you get. Some of the most ingenious PR campaigns will generate hundreds of inbound links - never an easy task and possibly an ambitious target is this is your first foray into link building, but if you’re writing high quality content that is worthy of shouting about then there’s every reason people will link to it regardless. 

You just might need to get them to look at it! 


Wrap Up

If you've been dabbling alongside this article then by now you'll have spent several hours building out keywords, researching content and piecing together a post of your own. There's no guarantee you'll rank straight off the bat but you're off to a good start. What you need to do next is evolve and refine your blog post, optimising wherever possible. Updating images, creating graphics, improving layout. Checking for typo's. Re-writing paragraphs that don't quite work as well as others.These are areas you should focus on to authenticate and really set your article apart from the rest. If you've got the budget you should explore using a tool like CognitiveSEO which has a really neat content analyser that you can use to help sanity check your keyword usage, word count and generally how well you've addressed your chosen topic.

Last step especially if you've created something really special is to get it online. You'll need to publish your post and then get it crawled via Search Console at which point you can immediately see where your position is ranking. This will give you some idea of how hard you need to try in improving your post. If you land on page 8 then maybe you need to go back and refine things. The difficult (and fun) thing is that you'll find moving keywords and increasing or decreasing topical indicators that you can impact your rank straight away. Re-crawl the page and it moves. Something else you can try is to drop your content in to the Google NLP tool and see what topics Google's AI engine picks out. Together these tools and your genuine hard word might not nail it first time, but it's true that well researched and thoroughly well written content will always outperform content that has been thrown together.

Have you got time for it all, that's the question?!

To fully understand the importance and process of writing high performing content you can also attend our one day one to one SEO Training Course in London where we can take you through each of these steps in detail, and much more. For the small business website owner we can help you unlock the secrets to getting your website to perform and the best bit is that none of these secrets are out of your reach!

Other references in this post :

Google Search Console

10x Content

Google NLP

Cognitive SEO

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