Every ecommerce merchant understands the importance of creating content, and search engine optimization. 59% of B2B marketers find blogging valuable, and businesses that blog get 55% more website visitors than those who don’t. Despite this, many merchants whether they’re Business-to-Business or Direct-to-Consumer either don’t have a blog, don’t maintain one regularly, or don’t ensure their content is optimized for search.
Maintaining a blog can reap rewards when it comes to brand awareness, customer engagement, and search engine optimization. Today we’re focusing on the benefits of blog writing as part of your SEO strategy, and how you can ensure the content you create positively contributes to it.
Why blogs are good for SEO
Whether you’ve got a large enterprise with its own marketing team, or a much smaller team juggling multiple responsibilities, it is difficult to find the time for blog writing. Between optimizing the rest of your store for SEO, creating social media content, and managing owned marketing platforms such as email, there is a lot of content to keep teams occupied. However redirecting some of your team’s time to blog writing can be extremely valuable to your SEO strategy.
Blogs target two factors that are extremely important to search engines like Google - relevance and intent. By publishing well-written, researched blogs, you position your site as a relevant source of information for users. Your store isn’t just an answer to people looking for a specific product, but to those looking for more information about a topic related to your product niche and industry. Your site becomes an authoritative resource for search users as well as a store where they can buy your products.
When it comes to intent, they allow you to focus on targeting keywords related to specific audiences or market niches in a way that other pages on your store can’t. Let’s say you sell activewear - you can write an article that targets people who practice yoga, and then another that speaks to runners. Or perhaps you sell coffee beans - you can write a blog that targets keywords of interest to your B2B audience, and then another that’s more tailored to consumers looking into coffee subscriptions. The variety of focused SEO-led content that blogs can produce is extremely valuable to ecommerce merchants.
How to develop an SEO-led blog
Determine topics useful to your overall SEO strategy
The most important thing in writing a blog is to write content that is going to be seen as relevant to your target audience. The more relevant it is to them, the more likely Google will take notice and start to rank your content.
The first step in determining which topics will be relevant is to look at your different customer profiles. What products are they searching for? What topics would be most interesting and relevant to them? The second step is to look at what your competitors are doing - are they maintaining a blog? What are they writing about? Are they ranking for any of these topics?
The final step is to come up with a list of blog topics along with what goal they achieve in relation to SEO. What audience are they being targeted toward? Which keywords are they targeting?
Create evergreen content
It’s easy when you’re in any industry niche to try to stay on top of trends; it’s important especially when you’re creating content for social media. However don’t confuse trends with relevance to your audience. These topics may be relevant right now, but as with any content on your store blogs take time to start ranking on search engines. Therefore by the time they’d start to rank, those topics may no longer be of interest. Therefore you should develop your SEO-led content around evergreen content. These are topics which will always be relevant to your audience and industry niche. For example if you sell running sneakers, it could be tempting to write blogs about a current trending style when it might be more valuable for your SEO strategy to write about evergreen topics such as how to select the right pair of sneakers depending on your running style. Evergreen content will continue to gain authority, and contribute to driving traffic to your store over a longer period of time.
That isn’t to say you shouldn’t write about trending topics - these can be helpful for promoting your blog on social media and attracting more attention to your blog overall. Try to keep these to a minimum, and channel more effort and time into your evergreen content.
Consistency is key
As with most matters in marketing, consistency with frequency and quality is crucial when it comes to blogs. Writing a few great articles and leaving them to gain authority sadly isn’t how it works. In order to really see any reward from your blog writing, you’ll need to create, publish, and promote content on a consistent basis.
So how frequently should you post? There’s no definitive answer to this, and it will largely come down to each individual merchant. If you have a large store with its own marketing team then publishing blogs every other day may be achievable, whereas if you’re a smaller brand then once every two weeks may be a more feasible option. The best answer is to blog as frequently as your team is able to produce consistently high quality content. Publishing an article for the sake of publishing more frequently regardless of the quality of the content is never a good idea.
Write for people, not robots
It’s always important to remember in writing any SEO focused content that it needs to be genuine and natural. At the end of the day, it’s real people that are reading the content and the only way to ensure they engage with it is to write content that’s genuine and interesting.
Don’t write topics with the view that they’re just to get some keywords on your site; write them with the goal of attracting more engagement from your target audience. You also want to ensure that they aren’t just glorified sales pitches for your products and brand as these won’t be interesting to most users, and may increase the blog’s bounce rate which will negatively affect your SEO strategy.
Be selective with keywords
When you’re writing an SEO-led product or landing page, you have to maximize your opportunities to include your keywords without keyword stuffing. However with blogs, this is even more important and you need to be much more selective with the keywords you choose. In fact as well as being more selective, you should try to focus on a couple of long-tail keywords per blog post. The reason being that these will stand a better chance of ranking, for example if you’re targeting “pet-friendly houseplant” then a blog post targeting a long-tail keyword such as “which houseplants are best for dogs” is more likely to make a positive impact on your store’s SEO. You’re specifically targeting the search user’s intent, and this is important to search engines when determining ranking.
Include internal links
The goal of writing a blog isn’t just to get a user to read that one article and then leave the site. Including internal links achieves a couple of important goals. The first is that by including internal links to other pages on your store, you’re signalling to Google that those pages are of importance and relevance, therefore adding to their page authority.
The second is that these links could be of interest to site visitors - if you’re writing an article about your product niche then linking to other blogs and the products being spoken about is of interest to them and increases the amount of time spent on your store. That extra time on your site also helps to boost the ranking of that article. Prioritize pages on your store that you want to drive traffic toward and build the authority of, linking these pages in relevant blog articles.
Optimize the same way you would elsewhere on your store
Formatting your blogs and optimizing them the same way you would throughout the rest of your store is the final step in ensuring your blogs are ready to start contributing to your SEO strategy. Here’s a quick checklist of elements to optimize:
- Image alt tags
- Meta description
- Page URL
- Title tags
- Headers and body copy
Strategically place your target keywords throughout these key elements to maximize SEO opportunities.
Finding ways to maximize your search engine optimization strategy can be tricky when avoiding keyword stuffing and trying to target different audiences. Maintaining a regular, high-quality blog opens up more opportunities for your brand to appeal to all different audiences and build page authority with search engines through unique, interesting content.
Want to learn how to optimize other pages on your Shopify store? Check out these articles below: