This is the third blog post in our series about blogging on “How To Measure Blog Success”.
Do you have a question about blogging that we should answer? Send us a Tweet or shoot us a note and we’ll answer it as best we can.
We know blogging works. We’ve been doing it for three years to rank for some pretty enviable keywords relevant to our audience. As a result, we can attribute quite a bit of traffic to just our organic SEO.
Below is a list of keywords where we rank #1 organically. We measure this stuff, so we see value. If we advertised for these same terms, we would be paying, on average, $10/click. What’s more, we can attribute 40% of our traffic to the top two keywords.
Measuring your content helps support your investment in blogging.
And yet, getting other businesses to blog takes some convincing. There are two big barriers to entry:
- It takes too long
- Measurement is hard
Despite these objections, businesses are starting to forge ahead, realizing the considerable impact of content creation on SEO.
And as businesses forge ahead into blogging and content creation, they often struggle to see any marked improvement in their site’s SEO.
Let’s address those barriers to entry again:
- Barrier: It takes too long.
Solution: Hire a blog writing service.
- Barrier: Measurement is hard.
Solution: Read on.
3 Steps for Measuring Blog and SEO Performance
Step 1: Focus on One SEO Metric First
This is a big one. Because every day there’s a new algorithm, growth hack, or tip that pops up. It’s easy to have SEO ADD and switch from one tip to another without giving any of them a real chance. Don’t boil the ocean when you embark on tracking your blogging and SEO success.
And trust us, if you can focus on just one metric, you’ll be shocked to find that one metric leads to two, to three, and on and on. So start with just one metric. Keep it simple. Get a baseline. You will inevitably start tracking more metrics as you become comfortable tracking one.
We’ll offer up a couple easy metrics to track as you begin your content strategy.
Step 2: Develop an Achievable Keyword Strategy
If you are going to measure something, you need something to measure.
We were recently on the phone with a financial adviser, specifically for retirement planning and accounts. He wanted some insight on creating a blog that would improve his organic rank. Overall organic rank is a complex roll-up of many factors. Start small by tracking keywords.
Whatever your company does, here’s what we’d suggest for establishing a good baseline of achievable keywords that you can track and see results quicker than the overall rank of your site’s SEO.
Use Google Keyword Planner (or equivalent tool) to get a lay of the land.
A cursory search of “retirement planning” reveals a very competitive landscape.
Getting the needle to move on the keyword “retirement planning” is going to be nigh impossible. Creating an achievable keyword strategy starts by focusing on less competitive words. The good news is when using Google Keyword Planner, you can sort keyword results by “Competition”.
Locate those keywords that are considered “medium” or “low” competition and see if they have relevance to your business. If so, add them to your keyword strategy. As you build your keyword strategy you must do the following:
- Search that keyword term and look at the top 10 posts that come up on Google – read them
- Now go out and write better, more relevant content than those posts in the top 10
- Track the rank of that keyword as you create content
- Get as many inbound links to that content as possible
For less competitive words, you’ll be surprised how quickly a post or two can contribute to inbound traffic.
Invest in or use a free keyword tool to find related keywords that aren’t nearly as competitive as “retirement planning”.
If you don’t want to use Google Keyword Planner, there are other tools for finding keywords that are achievable. If you want the free route, start with UberSuggest.
Copy the results UberSuggest displays.
Paste the results in Google’s Keyword Planner and look at search volume.
Find the keywords with ample monthly search volume and low to medium competition. For example: “retirement planning news” and “retirement planning group”. If they are relevant to your business, add them to your keyword list.
If you want a faster way, paid keyword tools can do this in one step. They include companies like KeywordTool.io, SEMrush or Keyword Finder.
If you want to take a big swing and get in the top 10 for a competitive keyword like “retirement planning”, try the nuclear option.
We use Moz and SEMrush to look at the sites that rank for certain keywords. When searching for “retirement planning” we would have to create content that outperforms the top 10 sites listed on Google.
If you’re willing to make that investment, you would set out building a robust page or microsite that includes information, calculators, video, infographics and whatever else is required to outperform the existing content.
Additionally, you will want to secure inbound links from relevant sites. Inbound links are a crucial component to improving your site’s SEO rank. If you are a financial planner, you should try and get financial bloggers to share your content. If it’s good enough, they will.
Here is a great resource for developing a link-building campaign.
3. Track Keywords in Blogging
You should track every keyword in your keyword strategy. The easiest way to do this is paying for it. We recommend a tool like Moz or SEMrush. Both platforms (and others) do a great job of tracking the historical life of a keyword on your domain. They also can serve as a great research tool and auditor of your site’s overall performance.
At BlogMutt, we’ve imported our keywords into Moz and track each one’s history. Take “content writing services” for example. We track this keyword and are able to see the improvement of this keyword on our domain, verblio.com.
If you want to start ranking for specific keywords, use keyword tools to find low-hanging fruit and build an achievable strategy, develop content around these keywords, and make sure to track those keywords over time.
Additional Resources for Further Research: