A blog is arguably the most valuable weapon in a website’s marketing armory. To reap the rewards of the content published, a blog must be designed to accommodate the needs of both your visitors and the search engines.
This post helps to identify the core elements required to help a blog become more engaging for website visitors, and its content more discoverable via search engine result listings.
Well targeted blog posts have the potential to drive high quality traffic to your website, so ensuring that you are able to optimise your blog posts for the search engines is essential. Ensure that you are able to edit the following elements for each post individually and independently of one another:
- Page title
- Meta description
- Heading (h1,h2 etc)
- URL structure
- Image alt tags
Including categories on your blog will enable you to group your posts into similar topics and improve the navigation and user experience of your website. Categories can also help you keep your content organised internally and can further aid the search engines in discovering and understanding the nature of your content.
Providing users with the ability search through your content leads to an improved user experience. Consider enabling users to search via category, month published and author. You may also wish to include a search box which will return results for content relating to specific keywords.
Subscription via RSS and email
Make it simple and obvious for visitors to subscribe to your blog via RSS, and also provide them with the option to register for regular updates via their email address. If email marketing is a core element of your online strategy, consider embedding an email sign up for in the sidebar of the blog to encourage visitors to register for newsletters and blog updates.
Allowing visitors to comment on your posts enables greater engagement with your online community, and provides you with the opportunity to communicate with your audience. If you do decide to allow comments on your blog, you will need to ensure that you have adequate spam filters in place to ensure that only genuine and valuable comments are added to your posts.
Signposting related and popular posts can be beneficial to your users in many ways; it helps you to showcase your knowledge on related topics, it encourages the user to engage further with your content, and it can also be a good way of moving traffic around your site to pages where you would like a goal to be completed.
Integration with social media
Social interaction is becoming an increasingly valued metric within search engine algorithms. Posts which are actively shared are a good indication of their quality, and can also drive a greater number of visitors to your site. Each blog post should provide the users with the ability to distribute the content out amongst their social networks.
Include an author bio which provides a short introduction to the person who wrote the post and perhaps their skills and roles in the company. The author bio should be built with the functionality to link to the individual’s associated social profiles, and most important to Google+ which allows the correct implementation of Google Authorship mark-up.
If you can think of any other elements a blog should include which will help to improve the search engine discovery and user experience, then please feel free to leave a comment below.