Writing is hard, let’s acknowledge that first. Writing long enough blogs to even rank on Google for your business is even harder. That being said, learning how to write blogs for your business doesn’t have to be rocket science (blog science?) to do well. Plus, understanding what a blog is used for in business will give you additional context to amp up your marketing.
What Is a Blog Used for in Business? Start by Forgetting Everything You Know About Them
The most important thing to understand about blogs as a business when you’re just getting into writing them is that you’re not a news network.
People will not be foaming at the mouth when you release a new blog, they likely won’t convert to a customer just because they read your blog, and they probably won’t even read your entire blog to begin with.
Because the purpose of blogs now isn’t to make your business the one-stop shop for all your news about your industry—you’re primarily writing for robots.
Yes, you read that right, robots.
Writing for Search Engines
We find and consume most of our media now from search engines (you know, Google, Spotify, etc.) that are all designed to help you easily find and consume exactly what you’re looking for.
This is where the idea of search engine optimization (SEO) has come from, i.e. optimizing your content to make it as easy to find as possible.
How these search engines determine what ranks and what doesn’t is a closely guarded secret.
This is because if any specific people or companies knew, they could smash their competition into dust by always ranking number 1 for any search query. What we do know about how these algorithms work is largely shared group knowledge from people doing a lot of continuous testing. Writing with people first when creating anything that will be published online has also been proven to help significantly.
This doesn’t conflict with your goal of writing for robots for the record.
How Google Determines Search Results
Google specifically “crawls” all pages of the web and indexes them in a massive library of the entire internet. When someone searches for a term, let’s say “shoes on sale,” it searches this index for the most relevant pages that are related as directly as possible to that search.
And it’s very good at doing that.
You probably knew most of that already, but the important thing to pull from this info is that Google searches the index for a page. The user who searched “shoes on sale” isn’t necessarily determining the results that will be displayed.
So, how does Google decide what results to show? Via robots (well, through code and software specifically, but let’s keep the analogy of robots going for now) and the algorithm that guides their search.
Thus, who you’re really writing for when you write a blog is for the robots that will find and index your page when the related searches for it come through. Just like how a librarian is going to pass by a book about frogs when someone asks for more info about shoes, so too do Google’s robots understand (usually) what to display when something is asked if it. That doesn’t mean you need to write in 1’s and 0’s though, because although the robots are doing the work of a librarian helping you catalogue your work, it’s still people who are searching for answers and reading your articles.
How to Write Your Blog for People (and Search Engines)
Yes, you need to write your blog so that a robot doesn’t put you in the nosebleed section of the internet, but you still need to write with people in mind.
Relatively recently (in internet years), Google changed the way its algorithm worked to prioritize ranking content that was readable. In this case, readable content means well-written, long-form, scannable content.
However, it’s crucial as a business owner you understand the following:
People don’t read articles online anymore. They scan them.
If you don’t believe that, just take a scroll through your most recent internet searches. There’s a very, very good chance your most recent search was something you were just looking for quick info about but didn’t have the time to read a whole article dedicated to that topic.
So, it doesn’t make sense to believe that people are coming to your blog because they love your business and you’re “the authority” on your topic. They’re probably just wondering something about a fact you happened to put in your article.
If that sounds disheartening, don’t lose hope, because even just publishing a blog about info in your field or answering some common FAQs about your industry in an article once a month can and does make a difference in ranking in Google.
How to Optimize Your Blog for SEO
Just as there’s no tried and true “get rich quick scheme” neither is there a “rank number 1 in Google every time” method. In fact, some of the info in this article may even be already outdated by the time you’re reading this.
That being said, how you format and write your blog can always help in getting your blog shared and potentially even rank higher on Google.
It’s highly likely that whatever blog topic you might think of has or is being written about right now.
That’s okay because when you write your blog to rank, it doesn’t have to be new or original, it just needs to be better than the number one ranking article for the keyphrase people are searching for.
Obviously not, but don’t make it that much harder on yourself to think up brand new ideas for content when there’s already so much to pull from. Make top ten lists, answer frequently asked questions from your point of view, and break down how your industry works into language shared by your audience.
If you can find a way to make original content in your field, you should absolutely do it, but it’s much less time-consuming and far easier to simply take something that already exists and make it even better.
Now we get to the “readable” part for both people and robots. Now, more than ever, you can’t get away with writing a high school essay of a blog. Google doesn’t like it and neither will your blog visitors.
Here’s a checklist of what you should do in every blog you write:
- Have clear, useful headers that make your blog quickly scannable
- Break up long paragraphs into 2-3 sentences where possible
- Bold, underline, and italicize words or phrases for emphasis
- Use ordered and unordered lists instead of paragraphs where possible
- Always check for grammar and spelling before publishing
- Go into detail where possible, Google loves long articles.
At the end of the day, if you write blogs with people in mind, you’re on the right track. Just make sure to write consistently, even if you just publish one blog per month.