Does Blogging Help SEO?
Search Engine Optimization or SEO is the key to driving niche traffic to your site. When you optimize your web pages for search engines, you increase the chances of appearing at the top of search results. Naturally, improving your chances of attracting visitors to your site. But, does blogging help SEO?
Well, we will answer that question in a while. Before that, let’s take a quick look at how search engines work.
How Do Search Engines Work?
We can divide the functioning of search engines into three broad categories – Crawling, Indexing, and Ranking.
Crawling is a discovery process used by search engines to find new content and ascertain what is on a web page. Search engines send web crawlers, also known as search engine bots or spiders, to crawl, collect, and analyze new and updated content on web pages.
Indexing is the process of storing and organizing the crawled web pages into a data structure called index. The index contains all the crawled web pages along with key signals that explain the content of each page. These key signals include:
– Keywords – to understand the topics covered on a page
– Type of content – to understand the type of content or what is included on a page (search engines use microdata called Schema to understand this)
– The freshness of a page – to understand when the content of the page has been updated
– Historical user engagement data – to understand how people interact with a page
Ranking is the process used by search engines to determine where a particular URL or content will show up on SERP. Based on hundreds of parameters, search engine algorithms determine the relevancy of content against a query and provide the searcher with a list of indexed URLs arranged by most relevant to the least relevant.
How Does Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Work?
When you optimize your website for search engines, you can follow two tactics: On-page SEO and Off-page SEO.
On-page SEO – is the process of optimizing web page content to make it more valuable and usable to your users and search engines. Few on-page SEO tactics include optimizing metadata, content, internal links, etc.
Off-page SEO – refers to any optimizations that you do outside your website in order to rank higher on SERP. Few examples of off-page SEO are link building, social media shares, brand mentions, etc.
So, the objective behind SEO is to make your website friendly and trustworthy to search engines and your users. When your website has trustworthy content and is user-friendly, search engines tend to rank you higher on SERP.
Now, let’s dig into our main topic of discussion – How Does Blogging Help SEO?
Does Blogging Help SEO?
Yes, it does! Blogging opens up a lot of opportunities to help you rank on search engines. The most important of all is that you can use blogs to deliver relevant answers to user queries.
And, if you regularly update your blogs with high-quality content, it gives a huge boost to your overall SEO. Apart from that, you can implement different on-page SEO techniques on your blog posts that help improve your rankings.
Here are some pointers on how blogging helps in SEO:
a. Blogs Can Improve Dwell Time
When a user comes to a search engine like Google, they expect to find relevant content that can help them. So, providing the users with helpful content is Google’s topmost priority. But, how does Google figure out if the content is helpful to users? Well, it relies on a parameter called the Dwell Time.
Dwell Time is the amount of time a user spends on a web page between clicking on a SERP URL to going back to the SERP page. So basically, Google considers the time a searcher spends on a web page to figure out if the content of the page is helpful. Because if it’s not, then the user would simply bounce off.
This is where blogs pitch in. If you can offer high-quality content through your blogs, then your audience will not only find you on SERP but also read your blogs. Hence, it will help improve your ‘user’s time on page’ or the ‘Dwell Time’, ultimately boosting your SEO efforts.
b. Blogging Helps You Target Long-Tail Keywords
Long-tail keywords consist of 3-5 words. They generate more specific queries than general keywords of one or two words. And did you know that Long-tail keywords make up 70% of all search queries? So, it is very important to optimize your blogs for long-tail keywords to get high-quality traffic.
Having said that, it is quite difficult to target long-tail keywords through the normal landing pages. Because a normal page on a website typically has less content in order to keep the focus on the main product or services it is promoting.
c. Helps You in Internal Link Building
Internal links not only help you channel traffic from one page to the other but also help the search bots explore other pages of your website easily. So, search engines give a lot of weightage to internal links during the ranking process.
Once you start publishing blog posts regularly, it will give you ample opportunities for internal link building.
d. Opens Up Backlink Opportunities
Just like internal link building, external links matter a lot in the SEO process. However, compared to internal link building, external link generation is way tougher. Rather it is the toughest part of SEO. Google considers quality backlinks as a sign of trustworthiness and authoritativeness.
But getting high-quality backlinks is next to impossible unless you have quality blogs on your website. So, if you have blogs with valuable information, you increase the probability of getting backlinks, hence improving your SEO.
e. Blogging Increases Engagement
This isn’t a direct SEO factor but if users love your blog posts, they are more likely to share them with their contacts. And this brings in additional traffic to your site, which again is a factor affecting your SEO.
You can also benefit from your repeat visitors. If your audience loves your content they might also come back to read other blogs on your site. This shows Google or other search engines that people find your website useful and therefore you get rewarded with a better authority score (again, an SEO factor).
Factors That Affect Blog SEO
1. Page Speed
Google and other search engines are constantly trying to improve the users’ experience on the web. And a slow-loading page simply leaves a negative user experience. So, page load speed is a leading SEO ranking factor for search engines, especially for Google.
2. Mobile Responsiveness of Blog Pages
More than 50% of Google’s search traffic comes from mobile devices and that’s why Google considers mobile responsiveness as a key ranking factor.
3. Date of Index
Google prioritizes fresh and updated content. So, if you update parts of your old blog with new content, the Google crawlers will notice the change and re-index your page. It will consider your content to be new and might reward you on SERP for that.
4. Fresh Data
This is an indirect ranking factor of SEO. But it adds up eventually. If you have a blog that talks about new topics but has statistics that are old and irrelevant, then your audience will not be satisfied. Everyone wants to see current data on blogs and if they don’t find it, they will have a bad user experience and might not come back to your site.
Thus by adding recent data or by linking to external pages that talk about current stats, you are telling Google that your blog gives the audience up-to-date information. And Google considers this as a good user experience. Hence, with time, you start seeing positive SEO results.
5. Dwell Time
We have already discussed the concept of dwell time and why it is important. However, it is not a direct ranking factor for Google. But, it is an important KPI of user experience. And user experience is the king when it comes to SEO.
Blog SEO Best Practices
1. Embed Interactive Content
A good blog post should not only have a good writeup but also elements to make it look attractive. When you use multimedia elements like pictures, gifs, and videos in your blog, it makes the blog visually pleasing and the audience has a good experience.
However, static elements like pictures, gifs, etc. only enhance the look. Readers can’t really interact with your blog no matter how good your writeup is or how many pictures you have added. So, to help your readers interact with your blogs directly, you need to embed interactive content.
You can create interactive content like quizzes, assessments, calculators, etc. on topics related to the blog and embed it. If your audience finds your interactive content interesting, they will interact with it, as a result, it will improve the page on time or Dwell Time.
Moreover, these quizzes, calculators, assessments are so engaging and interesting that your audience might as well share your blogs or come back to your site time and again for more such interactive experiences. And, all of this will again have a positive impact on your SEO.
2. Include Alt Text to Images
Including Alt-text or Alt tags in your images and gifs is very important for SEO and is an important ranking factor. Alt-text provides context to an image, and it tells the search engines what the image is all about. This helps search engines index images properly for the image search features.
In addition to helping search engines, Alt Text helps users when a blog has not been rendered properly. If the user has a poor internet connection and the site fails to render images, then the alt text will be displayed instead. This helps users understand what the image should have been about.
3. Blog Post Structure
Simply writing a blog post isn’t enough. It must be readable and SEO-friendly. And for that, you must structure your blog post properly. Meaning, your blogs should have:
Structuring your blog accordingly makes it easier for your audience to read. Search engines value structured blog posts as they give the audience a good user experience.
4. Paragraphs and Headings
Again, paragraphs and headings make it easier for the reader to go through the blog. Specifically for long blogs, paragraphs and headings are very important.
Keep your paragraphs short and crisp. If you are unable to summarize a concept in a single paragraph, just start another paragraph. It will enhance the readability of your blog.
For the headings, try to structure them well. Suppose you are writing on a big concept that has multiple subheadings, then tag the main heading as H2 and the subheadings H3 and so on. It not only helps your readers understand what a specific paragraph is about but also helps search engines to know what you are talking about.
5. Add Internal Links
As mentioned earlier, for SEO, internal links are as important as inbound links. Try to link to your existing blog posts wherever you can. But remember to maintain relevance. Don’t just link to blog posts that are irrelevant to the blog you are linking from.
6. Transition Words
Again, transition words help you improve the readability of your blogs, thus, improving the user experience. And by now you know how search engines value user experience.
Try to add transition words like ‘in other words’, ‘furthermore’, ‘as well as’, etc. to your text. It helps to bring together sentences and paragraphs.
7. Optimize the Length of Your Article
Search engines like Google, prefer long articles. It indicates that the article has been written in-depth and that it can provide the audience with a lot of valuable information. Having said that, you should keep in mind that long articles can scare your readers away.
It is very difficult to keep readers hooked for the entire length of your article. Go for long blogs only if you have a skilled writer at your disposal.
There isn’t any hard proof about how long or short an article should be. However, after close observations, top marketers suggest that your blogs should have a minimum of 300 words. And the ideal length for blogs should be between 1760 words and 2400 words.
8. Evergreen Content
While choosing your blog topics you should consider evergreen concepts. Topics that will remain relevant and valuable for the years to come. These are generally the core concepts of any industry. For example, if you are into digital marketing then you can choose topics like ‘interactive content marketing’, ‘lead generation’, ‘growth hacking’, etc.
Writing evergreen content will save you a lot of time. You just need to do minor changes and updates after a certain period of time and submit it for indexing. Google will reward you for that as well.
However, this does not mean that you should stop writing trending topics completely. You should have a combination of both.
9. Publish and Update Blogs Regularly
When you add new blogs and update existing ones regularly, Google sends their bots to crawl your website. It’s a way of letting search engines know that your website is alive and active. If you don’t update content regularly, bots will not come to your site and will affect your rankings sooner or later.
10. Use Keywords Throughout Your Blogs
Sprinkle your keywords organically across your blog post. But remember not to forcefully add keywords, the relevance of keywords is very important. If you keep adding keywords in just about everywhere without any relevance, Google will consider it as keyword stuffing and it can affect your SEO negatively.
As for the limitations to the number of keywords for each blog, it is advisable to optimize for one focus keyword and two long-tail keywords.
Remember to add keywords to the body of your blog, meta title, meta description, headings, URL, and subheadings.
11. Optimize for Mobile Devices
We have already discussed why mobile optimization is important. So, you should pay extra attention to optimizing your blogs for mobile devices. Google might end up penalizing you in case you do not have a mobile-friendly blog page.
12. Optimize the Meta Description
The meta description appears as a snippet in SERP and gives the searcher an overview of what your blog is all about. It helps them determine whether or not your content will give them the information they are looking for. And that ultimately helps the searcher decide if they will come to your blog or not.
The ideal size of your meta description should be around 150 – 160 characters. However, there isn’t any hard and fast rule to it. You can add as many characters as you want, but Google generally truncates it to 150 – 160 characters.
Well, we guess that by now we have been able to answer the burning question – does blogging help SEO? Just to say it again, yes blogging does help SEO. And if you have read this blog thoroughly, you already know what you should do.
Having said that, we understand that it is not possible to implement each of these tips or best practices on all your blogs. But, you can definitely try a few at a time. Ultimately, it all boils down to offering a good user experience.
And you can do that by creating relevant and high-quality content for your users. Not only that, but you also need to keep your audience engaged throughout your articles. You can add interactive content to keep your audience entertained.
You can create your own interactive content piece and embed on your article with a subscription to Outgrow. Start your free trial here. Also, don’t forget to let us know your views on ‘Does Blogging Help SEO?‘. The comment section is open for you!
Roy is a full-time content marketer at Outgrow. He often travels to the Himalayas in search of his muse to breathe. Being a professional marketer & a passionate traveler, he struggles to keep the balance.