What makes a successful blog post? You want to capture the attention of both potential clients and search engines. Below are eight best practices for posting compelling, interest-generating articles and getting them to the top of Google search results.
1) Choose a Strong Title
The title is a critical piece of SEO for your article. Your title tells Google what your article is about. If Google doesn't understand the focus of your article, it can't rank it for that topic. Be realistic about your keywords so your article can rank on the first page of Google search results.
If your title is too broad, you'll compete against major software manufacturers like Microsoft. The search term "Microsoft Dynamics BC" will show articles and websites from all the big Microsoft Players. Your article could easily be lost somewhere far down the line.
If your title is too narrow, there may not be enough people searching for that topic. Company announcements are a good example of an article that may be interesting but unlikely to generate much search traffic.
When posting blog articles about a Microsoft topic, we suggest they include at least two of these three elements in the title:
The name of the software and the publisher and then either a business industry vertical or a business process.
Example: Microsoft Dynamics 365 BC Makes Year-End Accounting Simple.
We've referenced the publisher, Microsoft, the name of the software, Business Central, and the business process, year-end accounting. That topic is sufficiently broad to generate searches and narrow enough that you won't have top-level competition. Your article will typically land on the first page of search results.
Example: Microsoft Dynamics 365 Sales Improves Scheduling and Resource Management Efficiency For HVAC Companies.
Again, we've referenced the software, a business process(scheduling and resource management), and a business vertical. In this example, we included all three elements, and that will undoubtedly rank high on the first page.
Try a typical search for Dynamics 365 ERP BC. After the sponsored results, most of your competition is Microsoft. Now try searching for Dynamics 365 BC for Construction Project Managers. You've referenced an industry vertical and the software. Can you see the importance of targeting your title to gain first-page search results?
2) Increase Article Length
Previously, we told members that 500 words was long enough for Google to rank an article. Now, we recommend that you include as much content as possible. Google tells us that they reward high-quality, unique content that identifies you as an expert in your industry. That said, we find that article length is an important indicator to Google of the quality of your content. We now suggest your article be at least 750 words or more. But a well-written 1,500+ word article will outrank a well-written 750-word article.
3) Use Images With Alt Tags
Google Rewards articles that include images for technical posts. Screenshots work well, and so do charts and graphs. It's best if your images are closely related and add context to your article instead of just stock images of people sitting around a conference table.
But even stock images are better than no images. Adding images allows you to add alt tags that tie your keywords to the images. The alt tag describes your image in the context of your article. With stock images, that's not always possible; in that case, just include your keywords.
To add alt tags in a typical post, click "add media," select your media item after you've uploaded it, and see the alt text field where you can enter your keyword phrase.
4) Add Onsite and Offsite Links
Your articles should have both onsite and offsite links. Onsite links could be links to other posts of yours related to the one you're writing. Offsite links are more important.
Google wants to see your article as authoritative, and it looks to see if you're referencing other authoritative material. Try to link to third-party articles related to your content from highly authoritative sites like Microsoft, industry articles, trade groups, etc.
To find good third-party links, search your topic and see if you can find government sites, Microsoft articles, experts in your field, etc. Be sure the links are relevant to your content. You don't want to link to car dealerships when writing about Dynamics ERP for distribution companies, no matter how authoritative they are.
Add at least one link in your article to a page on your website to try to get Google to consider your site authoritative. Ideally, link to a page that discusses something about the topic you're writing about rather than to a blog article.
5) Use H2 and H3 Headers
WordPress uses heading level two and heading level three. Google likes to see hierarchical content. Sometimes, if you use good hierarchical content and Google likes the article, it will reproduce it in your search results. Google pays more attention to these H2 and H3 headers because they're larger and bolder than the other text on the page, and they signal to Google that this content is important to you.
When assigning H2 and H3 headings, you need to go in order; start with the highest level first, H2, and then follow it with H3s. You wouldn't want to start with an H3 and then put an H2 after it. Your title is automatically tagged as H1, so don't tag anything else as H1. Proceed with H2 and H3.
6) Pay Attention to Keywords
Avoid keyword stuffing. Don't use your keyword phrase repeatedly in an unnatural way that doesn't flow well with your content. It is okay to use keywords generously as long as they make sense and read reasonably well within the context of your article.
You should use your keyword phrase at least three times in your article. Use it in your title, SEO title, H2 headings, and alt tags. You should mix up your keyword phrase in a way that makes sense in the context of the article.
7) Include a Call to Action
A call to action will not improve your SEO or get you to the top of search results, but it will make it more likely that people reading your article will click on the button and visit your site.
We recommend putting the call to action twice on your page. You can put one high on the article so your visitors can see it before they start scrolling, and one towards the bottom.
We've added the call-to-action feature to make it easy to add call-to-action buttons.
Place your cursor anywhere on the page where you want to add the call to action button. Click the "Insert button" (the small box with the right-facing arrow in the top row of tools) and then enter your title, description, text, and the hyperlink URL, and check "open link in new tab." Choose the styling of your button: glossy, flat, rounded, and the size. We suggest large or extra large.
8) Check Yoast SEO
Yoast is a plugin that gives you some control over SEO titles and meta descriptions. You'll find the Yoast SEO section toward the bottom of the page where you are adding a new post. You can add the SEO title and write a meta description. There is adefault, so if you do nothing, your title will go first, followed by a page separator and then our site title.
• The SEO title is a powerful signal to Google about what your article is about. So, your SEO title should be congruent with your article title, but it does not have to be the same. If the article title is too long to fit in the space provided, remove some modifiers, condense it, and narrow the focus to your most important keywords. Your SEO title also appears in the page tab at the top of the page, and Google sees it as a signal. Google will not ignore a title that's too long but will cut it off at some point.
• The meta description is the text that appears under your title in the search results. If you don't provide a meta description, Google will pick one. Even if you provide one, Google may pick a description out of the text in your article, but this is your opportunity to make your article inviting to visitors and entice them to click on your link and read it. I would argue that the title is not the place to do that. The title is just for conveying your keywords as clearly and concisely as possible.
ERP/CRM Software Blog Ranking
Our blogs are very powerful, and we are committed to getting your page to rank at the top of Google search results. Follow these steps, and you will likely get your articles to rank.
We've included a helpful checklist in our blog edit pages on the lower right-hand side of the screen. You don't have to use the checklist, it is not a requirement to publish. It's just a good reminder to be sure you've covered all the basics for SEO optimization.
We value our members and want you to get the most value from your membership.
Not a member yet but want to see your blog posts at the top of search results? Read about the benefits of group blog membership.
By ERP/CRM Software Blog Editors, www.groupbloggers.com