Does Blogging Help Your Company’s SEO?

Whether you’ve already got a business blog in place or you’re debating getting one started, you’ve probably asked yourself if you’re making the right decisions. The truth is that while a well-run blog is an invaluable asset to your company, a stagnant or improperly managed blog might be holding you back. As in every aspect of your business, you want to make sure you’re getting the most return out of the effort you’re putting into your blog. One of the most vital ways to do that is by examining its impact on your website’s SEO.

How Often Should You Blog?

Experts agree that when it comes to making the most of your business blog, posting more frequently is a good decision. The goal is to create a resource that offers your customers regular updates, so they have a reason to keep coming back. However, as with any resource, it’s important to be mindful of the quality and diversity of your content. The best way to build readership is by providing a variety of substantive, interesting content. Don’t fall into the trap of blogging about insignificant or irrelevant topics just to fill a spot on the calendar.

Blogging less frequently will provide you with a slower growth rate in readership, but that might be the right fit for your company. Consider how much time and energy you want to devote to your blog. A few blogs a month might be a better choice for you than blogging every day, even though the latter is likely to grow your readership at a much faster rate. Specifically research shows that the impact of blog posts tends to grow most successfully when you post four or more blogs per month, with website traffic increasing exponentially the more often you post after that. Whatever you decide, remember to prioritize consistent posting and quality content, and your blog should thrive.

How Does Blogging Help Your SEO Ranking?

SEO is all about showing search engines that your site is the best answer to the questions your customers ask. But how does a blog help with that?

  • Frequent updates. If you’re managing your blog correctly, it should be the part of your website that gets new content most often. That does more than keep your customers coming back – although their repeat visits are a crucial component to strengthening your SEO. It also alerts search engines to the fact that your website is a going concern. Google analytics show that frequent updates directly correspond to higher SEO rankings.
  • As previously mentioned, broad readership and repeat visits to your blog increase your overall SEO. That’s because search engines analyze things like how many times a post of yours is shared as part of the algorithm to determine your SEO. Getting your words in front of an audience is tremendously valuable to you.
  • Keyword use. While blogs are often built around a keyword or phrase, good blogs incorporate these terms in a way that sounds like natural speech. This is a good strategy, because that tends to be the way people phrase their internet searches as well. If your blog contains a phrase that matches a search term someone uses, that’s a huge boost to your SEO.

Think about the ways in which potential customers might be searching for you online. What questions do they have? Your blog should be arranged as an answer to a question. Try to keep a natural voice when you write, and let your content flow.

What Makes Great Blog Content?

Your blog is not the place to advertise. Potential customers won’t return to your site to read a series of ads about the services you provide. Instead, you want to put together meaningful content that they can benefit from. A great blog serves as an informative and relevant resource.

Do your research. The last thing you want to do is give your customers information that’s out of date or just plain wrong. Make sure you have the facts straight, and cite sources (providing links is a great boost for your SEO!) Make sure, as well, that the topics you choose to write about are newsworthy. You don’t want to produce a blog that just tells people something they already know.

Your next order of business is to create a voice and tone for your company. Think about who your customers are and how you want to speak to them. You would address a crowd of millennials differently than you would baby boomers, and the way you write should reflect that. No matter who you’re writing for, keep it functional but friendly. Create a relatable tone that people will want to read, but make sure you’re still imparting great information.

Be mindful of the fact that many internet users don’t sit and read entire articles online—they skim. In fact, over half of your blog’s visitors will probably scroll through without stopping to read what you’ve written word for word. That’s okay! Make the most of scanners’ short attention spans by using descriptive headings and bulleted lists to catch the eye.

Get Started Blogging Today

Having a blog that’s regularly updated will be a boon to your business! If you need help getting started or are looking for top-notch writers who can provide you with content while you focus on other aspects of your business, contact Firestarter SEO today.


Topic Modeling 101 for SEO

Over the years, Google’s approach to ranking websites has changed dramatically. In the beginning, it was as simple as stuffing as many keywords as you possibly could in the meta tag. These keywords didn’t have to have a single bit of relevance to your website, and you could rank number one for nearly any search query with relative ease.

As Google’s algorithms got smarter, the meta tag lost its weight in ranking, and less emphasis is placed on keyword density. Now, it’s all about crafting content that is valuable to readers, written naturally for them. While the keyword still plays a role in ranking, it is much less important than it has been in the past.

While we don’t really know, and never will, exactly how Google ranks content – because their algorithms are hidden under lock and key with plenty of legal protection to keep them safe – we, as an industry, have learned a great deal about what works and what doesn’t, through trial and error, and listening to what Google tells us directly impact rankings. (When Google says something about changes you need to make to your website to keep or improve your rankings – you listen.)

In today’s rapidly evolving SEO industry, how can you be sure you’re creating content your viewers will love to read, but that will also keep the search engines happy? The answer lies in Topic Modeling.

What is Topic Modeling?

Latent Semantic Indexing, or LSI, has been part of the Google ranking factors since the Hummingbird update in 2013. If you’re not already familiar with the term, it involves not just the words that make up your content, but the context of those words. And, it looks at the user’s search intent, and that relationship to specific keywords. Put simply, LSI helps search engines find related keywords and process synonyms to deliver more accurate results. It uses TF*IDF, or term frequency times inverse document frequency, to determine how important a specific word or phrase is to a document.

Though we’re five years out from the update that shook rankings and many websites have recovered, topic modeling can be considered an extension, or a type of LSI. It’s incredibly important to how your website ranks in Google (and other search engines) today, and will likely remain so for the foreseeable future.

Basically – you can’t frame your content around a single keyword phrase anymore. You need to start with the core phrase, and use other sources to create topic clusters, also known as keyword clusters, to flesh out a piece of content. And, those topic clusters will change depending on user intent.

User Intent

Research shows searcher intent can be broken into two segments. Users are looking for specific information related to the keywords they’ve used, or they’re looking for general information about the topic.

You can split intentions based on how specific the searcher is, and how exhaustive the searcher is. Queries can generally be broken down based on:

  • Navigational – trying to get to a certain website
  • Informational – trying to get some kind of information
  • Transactional – trying to buy something, or perform another specific online activity

Keeping user intent in mind with what your website goals are will help you choose the right keywords to target in the first place.

How to Create Topic Clusters for SEO

Start with your core keyword phrase. Search in Google. For instance, this article, could have the core keyword phrase: topic modeling for SEO.

Look at Google’s related searches at the bottom of the results page. This gives you an idea of other keyword phrases to include in your content.

On certain searches, you’ll also find a People Also Ask section.

You can use this to determine whether you should include more information on the page, or if you should answer other questions on additional pages of content. Hint – for an idea about which way to go, check and see what the highly ranked competition is doing. If they’ve answered all the questions on the same page, do it that way – but answer them better. Add more information and value. If they’ve not answered the questions on the page, answer them, and be thorough. Google, and your readers, will thank you.

These of course are not the only tools you can use to help build your topic clusters and models. You can start with a keyword research tool like ubersuggest to give you an idea of the search volume of your core keyword phrase and other similar phrases with lower competition. However, you must go beyond basic keyword research tools and related keywords. Tools like market news and article insights are good because they take the main keyword you’re targeting and provide you with groups of words you should aim to include.

Let’s say your main keyword is “what to sell online”. Ubersuggest gives you phrases like:

Best goods to sell online

Best ecommerce products to sell

Apps to sell stuff

And so on.

These are related phrases you can work into your content, but you still need to dig a little deeper.

Running the main phrase “what to sell online” through Article Insights will give you topic buckets of words and phrases that should naturally occur in your content if you want to rank well for that keyword.

It will also show you what the competition looks like, so you can be sure you’re doing better than the content they provide. You can paste your content into Article Insights to see how well your content matches up to the recommendations, and how it stacks up against the competition.

To make sure you’re really going in depth, you can also run related keywords from your research in Article Insights.

Credit: MarketMuse Overview

MarketMuse is a similar tool that helps you see how you can rank for all searches related to your business – not just the keywords. By focusing on this approach, you can cover topics, and not just the keywords.

Examples of Topic Modeling and How They Affect SEO

Take for example, actress turned singer, Selena Gomez. When you search for her using just her name, Google doesn’t know which context you’re trying to find information on, and presents news stories, her official website, Instagram, and YouTube.

But when you alter the search to provide more context, by adding acting to the end of the phrase, you get entirely different search results, including her IMDb listing, an article discussing her return to acting, and a series of YouTube videos to show her first auditions for the Disney Channel. Though the box on the right show some information about her both, you’ll see the information there changes, too – including the photos, movies and TV shows she’s credited in, and more.

 

Because Google wants to improve the quality of results for their users, the context of a search has the power to change everything about it. Topic modeling allows you to hit on more than the core keyword, but a number of contextual clues, too.

How to Leverage Topic Modeling for Your SEO

Creating New content around topic models is the easy part because all you have to do is your keyword research and build your model then right. It’s optimizing old content with topic modeling that can be somewhat daunting. If you’re feeling a little overwhelmed at the idea, don’t worry. Simply start with an audit of your content and work methodically.

Build an inventory of all the pages on your website in a spreadsheet, if you don’t already have one. Include each page URL on its own row.  Along with the URL, include the user intent, focus topic, and any notes about the quality of the piece. This will help you determine which pages you need to focus on first,  and which ones can wait until later. Even if you’ve built your website around quality content, you can improve upon that quality by taking a deeper dive into the topic to create a more comprehensive piece. Take notes about where it ranks, and what the competition’s content looks like, so you have an idea of adjustments you can make in an effort to improve your rank.

Next, look at your on-page SEO factors, such as your headline, subheaders, and so on. Does the headline grab reader attention? Are keywords present where they need to be? What’s your linking structure like? Do you have outbound links to reliable sources? Are your related pages interlinked?

Check to make sure your content answers your readers’ questions – and does so well. If your content responds directly to a query, search engines will favor it – and it will increase your odds of landing in the Google Answers Box.

If you’re ready to learn more about how our Denver SEO agency can help your business grow with our topic modeling approach to SEO content, get in touch with us today to schedule your free consultation.


Five Ways To Find Topics For Your Blog

The concept of a blog is a relatively new phenomenon. Teenagers first kicked the trend off in the early 2000s, posting their feelings on an online platform for their friends to comment on and relate to. In essence, it was an online journal where you could either choose to be anonymous or not.

Wind the clock forward a few years, however, and you’ll find that blogging is a crucial component of getting your website, and therefore your business, ranking well on search engines. By using strategically placed keywords and hyperlinks, you are more likely to reach page one of the search results than if you didn’t have a blog. Getting to that first page is what every business should aim for because 92 percent of people using a search engine don’t go past page one.

We now know why blogs are relevant, but there’s another reason: freshness. If your content is outdated and hasn’t been updated for some time, Google is less likely to bring your webpage into the spotlight. It wants to offer searchers the latest and greatest, and if your website hasn’t been updated in a year, yours won’t be the site your potential customers see.

However, that can be a hard concept for businesses to get their head around. What more can they add? What if their products, services, and staff haven’t changed? How do you keep it updated? That’s where blogs come in. By including relevant content based on what people are looking for, you’re keeping your webpage fresh and inviting for potential customers. The hardest part, however, is finding out what to post.

Aside from hiring an SEO expert to take care of the entire process – of which would save you so much time and money – you can also easily find blog posts yourself if you know where to look. Here are five ways to find topics for your blog below.

  1. Listen to your customers

    In any line of business, you’re sure to find that your customers and potential customers are getting in touch to ask questions before they decide to buy your products or services. Take note of those questions. Are they frequently asked? Why do you think they are asking them? Would it save both you and those customers time to include content covering those frequently asked questions?

    If you include blog posts that are relevant to your line of work and can help your customers, all the better. You can then optimize this content with the help of SEO experts to include hyperlinks and commonly searched keywords.

  2. Take note of what your competition is doing

    It never hurts to keep a watchful eye on your direct competition – someone who is selling the same products as you or is providing the same services. What does their website look like? Does it have a blog? What are they putting on it? Don’t copy what they are doing, but use their techniques as inspiration for your own blog posts. If it looks like it’s working for them, then use that same concept to create unique blog topics that can work for you as well.

  3. Join a social media group

    There are over 150 million blogs in existence, which goes to show that there must be something worth writing about. If you’re struggling for ideas, join a bloggers group on Facebook or another social media platform. Many people love to share their thoughts, and you may find you have a long list of potential ideas just from taking notice of what people are saying.

  4. Read current news

    Whether you still get the newspaper, or you prefer to read news online, pay more attention to what is being said than you currently do. Current news can more than be helpful for coming up with blog topic ideas. For example, if you run a motorcycle sales website – selling ATVs and road bikes – and there is a story about an ATV accident in your local paper, pay attention. Your next blog post could be “Here’s how you can stay safe on your ATV.” Every national news headline can be a potential lead for your next post.

  5. Subscribe to other blogs

    Coming up with blog topics on your own can be tough, so why not subscribe to other blogs for inspiration? They don’t even have to be in your own industry or line of work, but what they write may just resonate with you, enabling you to turn that topic idea around into something that’s relevant to you and your business.


Blogging used to be an outlet for teenagers to vent, but in the last few years, it has become a vital part of search engine optimization. If you’re ready to see your business rank higher than ever before, consult an SEO expert. They will walk you through the entire process.


10 Reasons Small Businesses Need to Blog

Yes, 10 reasons your small business NEEDS to blog, with the emphasis on the word needs.

Now I’m not talking about your everyday “mommy blog,” as that is the impression most people get when hearing the word blog. The word blog should actually be used in your business vocabulary more than you think. Blogging is a very versatile tool, and can serve a bigger purpose in areas of your business that you already spend lots of time, energy and money in.

For those that already blog, I hope you’ll agree with these 10 reasons. For those who do not, my goal is for you to start up a blog for your small business within hours of reading this.

1. SEO

Blogging, when done correctly, can rank you higher on Google and other search engines. The secret is to use your businesses keywords strategically and consistently throughout posts. Not only does a blog give your business another platform to be found on, but also if done regularly, provides current and fresh content.

2. Social Media content

Most, if not all, businesses have adopted social media into their business plan. The issue that most of these businesses are facing is finding valuable content to share. In fact, most of these businesses are posting and sharing content from other businesses blogs driving traffic and clients away from themselves. Why not use content that drives those potential clients to your website?

3. Credibility

Every business out there believes they are worthy of the business they bring in. Blogs give you an opportunity to quickly establish yourself as an industry expert in their field. But be careful, this is a double-edged sword…if not careful you can lose credibility just as fast.

4. Visibility

Blogs can be a great source to remind consumers you are out there. So many small businesses are not visible online. The use of certain plugins can automatically attach a link to your Facebook, Twitter and Google+ account to remind your followers that you are still there.

5. Public Relations

Press releases are and will always be very important when communicating with the media and your targeted audience. Unfortunately, small businesses don’t attract the media very often. Blogs give you the opportunity to release information as well as receive feedback.

6. Customer Service

As stated above, blogs can give instant feedback on issues or services your business offers. If monitored correctly, businesses can address conflicts and concerns just as fast as they hear about them. At the same time use positive feedback to understand what your consumers like, and use that feedback to build stronger relationships.

7. Marketing

A blog can be your best friend when trying to establish your brand image. You control the content and voice of your business when you blog. Your blog will brand your business whether you are trying to or not. Just for fun check out the blogs of a few businesses and see if the first impression they give off matches the audience they are trying to reach.

8. “Free Sample”

You know what I, and 99% of people love about Costco and Sams Club…free samples! There is nothing that sells frozen egg rolls better than sampling one while it is hot, fresh and free. Your goods and services are no different than that little frozen egg roll. The Internet gives consumers the opportunity to research a business before they buy or invest in what they offer. What better way can you think of to showcase your knowledge and strengths than a blog that you control? Remember, no one ever buys nasty samples.

9. Education

I’ve already hit on the idea of educating your audience, but blogging is an educational tool for yourself. As you start to blog you are going to want to stand out in your field or areas of expertise. By putting your thoughts and ideas into words your knowledge will grow. This is not a new concept and will expand your mind as you research new ideas to blog about for your audience.

10. History 101

If we have learned one thing in the last few years, it would have to be that our economy can flip like a switch. One week business can be great and the very next week dead. Blogs are a great way to record and study your own business. Looking back how you adapted to a certain issue could help avoid certain bumps down the road. You can leave posts up on your blog longer than a lifetime if you choose. Who knows, just as we look back at history to solve problems today, others will be doing down the road…your blog might just be the answer to solve their issues.