Traditionally, a key element in optimizing web pages, including business blog posts, for organic search has been ensuring that targeted key words appear in specific locations on the page.
This kind of on-page SEO — using keywords in page titles, headings, image names, alt text, microdata and rich snippets — is still essential in signaling to search engines what the main point is of each of your blog posts.
But when keyword research and SEO consulting company SEMrush broke down several other factors to look at what made the difference between pages that landed in the top three positions in SERP rankings and those farther down the list, they found that the high search placement corresponded more closely with top results in a number of metrics that indicate reader behavior than with traditional on-page SEO.
(Don’t overlook on-page SEO, however. Use our On-Page SEO Template to plan and track your optimization efforts as you create or improve your web content.)
In other words, how readers interact with your web page content — including your business blog — appears to have a major impact on how search engines rank it. So as you write your business blog, don’t focus solely on using keywords and longtail phrases in all the right places. To boost blog SEO, focus more on writing content that will inspire your readers to:
Share content—especially as backlinks from their own webpages, and
Explore additional pages on your website.
Encourage readers to share your content
Backlinks appear to play an important role in SERP rankings, especially for high-volume search terms, SEMrush says in two reports from 2017 (find them here and here).
There was an average difference of 10,000 referring domains between the 2nd and 10th positions for high-volume search terms.
So how can you position your business blog for stronger SEO based on backlinks and referring domains? Create content that readers, industry influencers, or the media will want to share or link to from their own blogs and online articles.
This could include sharing original research that others in your industry will cite in their own content or providing unique perspectives on industry news. JONES client West and its TeleVox Solutions brand have built an entire series of campaigns around using surveys and original research that has earned media placement and backlinks from respected industry publications due to the useful nature of the findings for the healthcare professionals they serve.
Give readers reasons to explore elsewhere on your site
According to SEMrush, visitors typically viewed 3 to 3.5 pages per session on top-ranking domains when they the landed on the website from search. This kind of user behavior signal is another factor search engines seem to use when determining the authority and legitimacy of a site, leading to higher SERP rankings.
One of the key ways you can encourage this behavior to boost your business blog’s SEO is by incorporating links and CTAs within each blog post to additional relevant material.
This includes utilizing in-text hyperlinks to related blog posts, lists of additional suggested pages for more information, CTAs and direct links to landing pages, and easy-to-use site navigation that makes it simple for visitors to find precisely the information they are looking for.
Along with encouraging more pages per visit, these kinds of internal links have the potential to increase time on site, another factor that seems to have an influence on SERP rankings.
In essence these recommendations boil down to something I have talked about time and again: Hire and enable great writers. Create quality content. Write blog posts with inbound and organic search results in mind.
You’ll find even more tips for creating great business blog content and ensuring it is optimized for search through both on-page SEO factors and user behavior signals in our Blog Essentials Checklist, a countdown of 20 characteristics your business blog needs to succeed.
I will leave you with this infographic to ponder. Enjoy!