Numerous companies start blogs to better connect with customers (but often through a narcissistic lens). In most cases, Public Relations departments manage social media and blogging for companies which is great for promoting key messages and distributing information. That’s the Push side of PR. But the Pull is often overlooked.
Most corporate blogs are not only boring, but they’re disappointingly difficult to locate on search engines. Key messages, voice and timing are considered, but keywords to drive search traffic are not.
Numerous PR practitioners have approached me after I’ve given a SEO for PR presentation and mention that they’ve never thought of, or just don’t know how, to include search keywords in the copy. Here are a few, simple tips I’ve followed for years here at Online Marketing Blog that companies can follow to increase search traffic and visibility to corporate blog content.
1. Research a Keyword Glossary – Whatever the target audience for your corporate blog is, journalists, customers, employees, partners, analysts, investors or others – they ALL use search. Use a keyword research tool to build out a keyword glossary of topics that are in demand. Share that glossary with content creators as a reference when planning, creating and publishing content online – including blog posts.
2. Create a Blog Content Plan – Starting a blog is easy. Sustaining a blog over years is not. Get into the habit of creating a structured, yet flexible content plan for your company blog. Decide that some days will follow a format and others are wildcards. Then assign keyword/topics to the planned articles, tips, interviews, surveys, liveblogging, company news, curated industry news and other content types. Most importantly, tap into feedback mechanisms like comments, keyword search traffic, off-post citations, social sharing metrics and links to make sure you’re on-track.
3. Include Keywords in Posts – There have been numerous how-to’s on optimizing pages but to sum up optimized blog post writing, follow these guidelines: Find a balance of optimizing for readers and search engines. Omit one and you lose the other. Do both well, and you will boost relevant search traffic and engagement.
Include keywords in the title tag of the post. The first words of the title matter most. Write a title that is more focused on the reader (feel free to use puns, metaphors or be ironic) for the On-Page Title. For Example:
On-Page Title (Focus: Readers) – 10 Ways to Create a More Engaging Facebook Page
Title Tag (Focus: Search Engines, Social Sharing) – Facebook Marketing: 10 Tips on Better Fan Pages
This is how the blog post writer can express their creativity by using compelling headlines and still provide literal titles with prominent keywords for search engines which do not understand puns or metaphors. If you’re using WordPress for your corporate blog, then the All in One SEO Plugin will provide the functionality mentioned above.
4. Use Descriptive References vs. Pronouns – Personal pronouns “I,” “you,” “she,” “he,” “it,” “we,” “you,” “they” and objective pronouns “me,” “you,” “her,” “him,” “it,” “us,” “you,” and “them” have their place in great copy, but search optimized content requires more descriptive references. For example, which of the phrases below do you think is more descriptive and useful for both readers and search engines?
“It is particularly effective when they use it with the products from company XYZ.”
“Social Media Monitoring software from company 123 is particularly effective for Social Media Strategists when used in combination with products from company XYZ.”
5. Use Keywords in Links – When following a content plan, it is inevitable that more than one post will touch on a particular keyword topic. It’s important to provide readers and search engines with descriptive links to older posts. Such links should use keywords as the anchor text (blue underlined text). I’ve already done this several times in the post above.
Using keywords in anchor text gives readers an indication of the topic they’ll see if they click on the link. The same keywords give search engines a very important signal too, which can help improve how the page appears in search results.
The anchor text can also be pointed at pages off your website to share keyword “link juice” elsewhere. For example:
“TopRank Online Marketing provides digital marketing services that helps companies attract, engage and convert more new business.”
There are other places to use keywords in coprorate blog posts (or any blog post for that matter) like the URL, the tags associated with the post, the categories it is placed in and image alt text. Those are standard SEO guidelines for a web page. They apply to blog posts too.
The key takeaway is to achieve mastery over keyword topics that are in demand as well as creative copywriting so that your corporate blog is both easily discovered via search engines and more useful for the people reading it.
If you’re responsible for writing a corporate blog, are you actively employing SEO and keyword best practices? Have you developed your ability to write for both readers and search engines?
Dave Saunders says
Great playbook. I find that some corporate bloggers think they’re not supposed to employ any keyword strategy because they’ve been told by a “social media guru” that SEO and social media are mutually exclusive. Of course, how do people FIND conversations through social media? Search.
Exactly. Search for discovery and social for sharing. Social SEO + Content & Analytics = Win.
I liked your post “Where to Use Keywords in Corporate Blog Posts” and I’ve translated its most interesting parts to italian… May I have your permission to publish it (of course I’ve indicated the source)?
Glad you liked the post. Be sure to provide a clean link to the original post, using the title as the anchor text.
Good article, thanx. Two comments:
1. I would like to see the pictures behind the thumbnails. I think you forgot the link.
2. When you ask “which of the phrases below [is better]”, you should give the answer. Of course you and me know it but does the targeted reader?
In general I would ask: what when you see a search-engine as a human reader? Where is the difference? Is a search-engine (the bot) like a child? Or a blind person? Or an authistic person? The topic of the article seems to be easy but it is a main seo-topic. It’s allways better to understand the principles of a search engine than hunting single rankingäfactors. Just my 2ct.
Thanks for the feedback Martin. I still have the Simpson’s version of me stuck in my head thanks to you 🙂
The thumbnails are intentionally not linking to larger versions. However, I may add links to other blog posts that discuss those topics more specifically.
The question on the phrase is meant to inspire some discussion. If a reader really doesn’t see the difference, then asking for clarification in the comments or stating a position there provides an opportunity for us to engage. This is an agency blog after all 🙂
I agree, this is a topic core to on-page SEO and is one of many, many posts we’ve written specifically for PR professionals. The thing is, high quality SEO copywriting is fairly transparent to readers and adds value to the reader’s experience. The goal is not to make PR people into keyword stuffing SEOs. It’s to add some thoughtfulness about keywords to their existing copywriting and persuasion skills.
“If a reader really doesn’t see the difference, then asking for clarification in the comments or stating a position there provides an opportunity for us to engage. This is an agency blog after all :)” -> good reply 😉
Ok, I have to read a little bit around …
Joseph Baird says
I agree with mssfldt, lets see the pictures behind the thumbnails, I’m very interested in creating a kw glossary for my company’s blog.
I believe we’ll put up blog posts covering those topics specifically. That will include template spreadsheet .xls files.
Ivan Walsh, Media Writer says
Good one about the excel s/sheet.
One thing I suggest to clients is to weave keywords and variations into H3s.
If done nicely, it still reads well for both robots and humanoids.
Thanks Ivan. Hopefully the CSS that works with the blog will provide the H3 definition for on-page titles. Otherwise, I’m not sure a lot of corp bloggers and PR types will mess with HTML.
Tiffany Etterling says
Thanks for the link to All in One SEO. I’ve been frustrated with not being able to easily edit page titles and other SEO options in Word Press. I also agree that writing for SEO vs. your audience is a really delicate balance.
To track my blog post schedule I actually have a sub-calendar in outlook. I schedule my posts out one to two months in advance. It’s great because if I miss one or something changes I can easily move stuff around. Also, outlook allows me to print the calendar out so I can review my post schedule with everyone else in the company.
Can you recommend any keyword research tools?
A sub-calendar in Outlook is a great idea Tiffany. Here’s a list of keyword research tools: http://www.googlekeywordtool.com
(I’ll also add a link to Google’s KW tool in the post)
There are a lot of great tips in here. Many of these will have to be put in place in the near future…
I find myself using a great deal of pronouns, so I will have to move away from these and more towards descriptive references.
The pronoun thing is a pet peeve for me and probably didn’t deserve to be its own bullet. There are many more aspects to SEO copywriting and my favorite resource for that is http://www.seocopywriting.com
David Perdew says
This post touches on all the major concerns for content writers, and for business, good copy is absolutely essential. These tips should give corporate bloggers the fuel they need to heat up their site’s traffic and interest. I am thankful that I am aware of most of these techniques already, and All In One SEO Pack and Scribe Content Analyzer make it super-easy to optimize my pages and posts.
Glad you liked the post David. It’s basic and a lot of it is common sense for online marketers. But you know what they say about that: “Common sense is the least common thing.” 🙂
I’d also like to see a more in depth look at your keyword glossary spreadsheet and blog content plan…
Request duly noted 🙂
Stephen Eugene Adams says
Lee, Great post. This will be one of your posts that I save for reference. I have drafted too many blog posts in the past that lack sufficient keywords and links to my websites. I do like your reference to All in One and will be using it from now on. I will say that it is difficult to have all blog posts be relevant to my website. Sometimes, I just want to write about something in my industry that does not specifically tie into anything on my business website.
Thanks Stephen, I’m glad the post was helpful. It’s good that you write about things no related to your website. If you did, I suspect readers would find it too commercial and not as interesting. Diversity of topics about the industry you work in is a good thing.
Frank Strong says
Great post as always Lee, was all into it and then surprised by the Vocus link! I hear the PR guy and the SEO guy were thrilled! 🙂
Here’s the scoop on that Frank. It’s a great example of how high search visibility begets even more links and possibly higher position in the SERPs.
I had already used the phrase “social media monitoring” in an example and needed another. I simply searched Google on the phrase and the familiar Vocus brand name stood out at position 3 or 4. I found my example for an external link. 🙂
Liz McCormick says
Great article about key issues that I see a lot but are not talked about that often, such as using keyword rich phrases and not pronouns.
Great stuff, Lee. Were you going to include the bit about pronouns in this post originally or did our Twitter conversation last week prompt you to include in the post?
Also, what would you do if your CMS didn’t allow for separate page titles and article headlines?
Hi Josh, it was a combination of an internal discussion and our exchange via Twitter that prompted me to use the bit about pronouns in this post. Thank you 🙂
If my CMS didn’t allow for some title diversity, I’d bring it to justice – lock it up, throw away the key and find one that was more open minded. Like WordPress 🙂
Sorry, I’m a little snarky this late in the day. For the very common situation of not having separate titles and article headlines, the writer needs to be very good at crafting titles that serve both purposes: Readers and Search Engines.
There are other signals besides the title that are important, such as the anchor text of external links to the post that will help your SEO cause with a blended title. Hope that helps.
I do find myself juggling page titles/headlines but it appears to be working. I’ll tell my CMS that Lee says to shape up or ship out 🙂
That’s the spirit 🙂
Christine McCarthy says
A content plan is great to have. Especially, if you have at least 3 months worth of content in your database scheduled to go live. I know it can be hard to wait to make a blog go live, but by doing these two things before hand – save a major headached due to feeling overwhelmed. Plus, it gives you time to work on your other money making projects. And that’s always good.
Hey Christine, 3 months is an amazing amount of content. I’m happy to have one week out. I guess I need to #raisethebar 🙂
Kirsten Wright says
Wow, I am more than a little overwhelmed after this one! My favorite? Pronouns! I find it so hard to read posts that use too many of them. I want to know specifics, not generalities when I am reading corporate content. Thanks for sharing!
Thanks Kristen, glad you liked 🙂 Descriptive writing is a win all around.
Jenny Esponda says
As always, this time too Lee.. you came up with something interesting and vital fact about corporate blogs. All point you mentioned are really important for corporates to implement in their blogs so to connect to their existing clients in a better prospective and to reach out to new customers on a global scale. Awesome article.. thanks.
Tom Tuerff says
It can be hard at first to work keywords into blog posts effectively. The method that has worked well for us is to write a first draft of the post and make your points. Don’t worry about keyword usage, percentage, etc. Then, once you have what you want to say written down, work the keywords into the copy in a way that doesn’t sound forced or overbearing, just as you say here. It’s a great way to lay in the keywords and links you need without having to worry about whether you’re using them enough.
That’s a great tip Tom, thanks.
Donny Gamble says
You can use keywords towards the end of content and using an alternative title for your post
Derek Cromwell says
Thanks for the great piece. When I first got started putting blog content together for clients I always struggled with keeping content in line. I quickly realized the importance of the editorial calendar.
Not only does this help plan the content out so there’s no scrambling for topics but it lets you analyze the categories, the targeted keywords, and strategically plan how the content will post. You can create a very detailed flow chart for your content that starts to look like a well-structured sales funnel…without all the sales or hype.
Thanks again for the tips – another one to file away in my references.
That’s exactly it Derek, well done.
What a post!!!!!!!!!
Exactly the one which i was searching for. We do service for small business owners and we want to place our site on top in Google search and we are doing keyword research for the same. Its apt time i found this article and am sure that this will guide us in the right way.
Thomas Hoehn says
Lee, Thank you for this excellent post. To give your readers an indication of impact, a full 40% of traffic to our (Kodak) blogs comes from search engines.
That is great feedback Thomas. Ironically I was just reading a SEO & Blog luddite’s account of why SEO is meaningless “tourist traffic” for blogs. Those who bother know different. Cheers.
Hi Lee, Dave Saunders,
A bit off track from the spirit of your post, but content that sells can also be about writing social friendly content, using topics that resonate with the community the brand is part of. So searching what your community is saying is very powerful and probably the first step. I agree.
We’ve expanded on that with a video. Basically how we see brands/corporate blogging moving forward: http://bit.ly/eM4DaO
Interested in your feedback.
I think it’s a bit of a balance because being honest not many companies have interesting things to say or at least not things that people would want to read on a blog on a daily basis.
Having said that the SEO benefits can be massive and I always say that people read blogs because they are selfish and because they want something out of it. Give them information or tutorials that they can’t get elsewhere and they’ll keep on coming back. It’s about providing value.
Niall, I agree a lot of business blogs are more about press releases and one way communications than conversations. Great writing that empathizes with both business and customer needs is far more interesting. Such content that is thoughtful about the keywords said customers might use to search for information is even better.
Brent Hay says
Thank you for a clear and useful “how-to” in this area. I have a staffer and team just about o explore this area and this will be a useful guidance piece for us as we begin our blog planning.
Vayu Media says
Thanks for the article. Can you share some more sources of best practice facebook company page optimization?
You’re in that biz already – I’d think you’d have it nailed down.
Angela Brown says
Really a very good thought Lee. It is very much important that where to use keywords and how .Now a days google likes natural looking keywords and links
Kryztoff Reidenbach says
Like this post, it’s really helpful for a started like me. Thanks for the very informative post.
Franklin Francis says
Really nice stuff put up … the write up is really nice crisp and clear and to the point appreciate mate keep them coming.
I don’t suppose I have read anything like this before.Your blog is really helps for my search.Thanks for sharing the such information with us.It was a beneficial workout for us.
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R Karmakar says
Oh really a great discussion.
logo design service says
Great post you have discussed and in my opinion keyword is the main thing in the field of SEO, because without right keywords selection there is no need to do seo.
Great stuff! Its really awesome tips. Quite useful for real time implementation. Thanks for sharing it.
Great article about key issues that I see a lot but are not talked about that often, such as using keyword rich phrases and not pronouns.
Joshua Dorkin says
Great tips as always, Lee. I think your point making the distinction between title on page and the title tag is key, and see so many bloggers ignore the opportunity that comes from being able to make a distinction between the two.
That said, I think where most corporate blogs get it wrong is that their blogs are typically focused on just their own product. Those blogs that also cover the industry tend to have a larger, more sustainable readership. Of course, the sites are also far more interesting as well.
True Joshua, the premise behind the blog is often the root of the corporate narcissism issue. Understanding what people want and then giving it to them in an interesting way does much better. Novel concept! :0
Joshua Dorkin says
Try telling them that . . . you get the EARMUFFS.
Then again, certain large companies with massive followings (Apple) could get away with being narcissistic. I believe those to be few and far between, though.
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keep your percentage tfrom each keyword with respect to the total content below 1.3%
You can use keywords towards the end of content and using an alternative title for your post – sparktheoffer.com .
Điều Tra Viên says
Điều Tra Viên says