I’ve been a graphic designer for most of my adult life – specializing in print, web, and digital media.
And over the course of that career, every now and then, my clients would bring up the topic of SEO.
SEO, for the uninitiated, stands for Search Engine Optimization.
For years, I was convinced, that SEO meant scattering a handful of target keywords around and hoping for the best.
My suspicions were confirmed – or so I thought – when I asked a professional web developer for her thoughts on SEO.
She chuckled a bit and assured me that SEO was nothing more than a few strategically placed keywords. And the only way to rank on the first page of Google, according to her, was to invest in Google Ads.
What a scam, I thought to myself. It’s all about who’s willing to pay the most money – how unfair!
But I couldn’t have been more wrong.
Fast forward a decade or so and now, I swear by SEO like it’s a religion.
Today I own and operate three blogs that generate millions of visitors every year with hundreds of organic placements on the first page of Google search.
Why the change of heart, you ask?
It all started the day I consulted a real subject matter expert on the topic: A professional blogger.
How do blogs increase SEO?
It turns out that search engines aren’t just randomly picking web pages to display on the first page of their search results for a given query.
While there are dozens of things that go into mastering the art of SEO, the Google algorithm is largely taking three important ranking factors into account:
And if you’re thinking those three things sound subjective – guess again.
Credibility and authority
Authority and credibility are determined by something called Domain Authority (DA). Domain Authority is a search engine ranking score between 1-100. And every site has a Domain Authority score.
A Domain Authority score between …
- 0-30 is considered weak
- 30-50 is considered good
- 50-60 is considered great
- 60-100 is considered excellent
The better the score, the higher the rank potential.
The main criteria for calculating DA are based on how many sites link to yours, and the quality of their DAs.
These referring links are often referred to, in the SEO world, as Backlinks.
Basically, if a ton of other highly credible sites think your site is trustworthy, Google will think you’re trustworthy too.
Internal linking – or linking webpages to one another within your own site – and on-page SEO can also help give your site rank a boost.
And obtaining enough quality, organic backlinks can take months, if not years, to move the needle on a site’s DA score.
For instance, at the time of this writing, my newest blog, HeyOrlando.com has 516 Backlinks with a DA score of 38.
My other site, TheSmokies.com is almost three years old, with over 39,100 backlinks and a DA score of 46.
USAToday.com has over 246,700,000 backlinks and a DA of 85.
Editor’s Note: Numbers are based on SEMRush data from Nov. 2022.
An excellent user experience
Search engines also like sites that deliver a good user experience.
Google, for instance, encourages website publishers to use their proprietary PageSpeed Insights tool to identify technical pain points. The tool analyzes metrics like:
- Cumulative Layout Shift
- Uncompressed images
- Text compression
- Server speed response time
And maintaining solid scores across the board is easier said than done. We are constantly having to tweak and refine our sites to stay in the green.
Comprehensive coverage of a given topic
And finally, search engines want to see comprehensive coverage of a given topic.
Search engines are looking for long-form, keyword-rich, high-quality content.
A web page with only a couple of paragraphs will rarely outrank a page with 1000-5000 words on the same topic.
This brings us to our next subject …
How often should you blog for SEO?
You should blog as often as possible. The more articles you write for your blog, the better off you’ll be.
Especially if your website is consistently hitting those previously mentioned benchmarks with long-form keyword-rich content.
We usually publish at least 3-4 articles per site each week. But when we are in ramp-up mode we’ve been known to publish as many as 10 per week per site.
It all comes down to how fast you want to grow.
I know plenty of bloggers who only write 1-2 articles per month and still managed to grow a decent audience, it just took them a little longer to get there.
Whatever publishing schedule you land on, strive to be somewhat consistent with a steady stream of fresh content.
How long should a blog be for SEO?
The optimum length of a blog post is largely determined by the competitiveness of the target keyphrase.
For instance, if every site that ranks on the first page of Google for the key phrase “are apples healthy” is 2000 words long, you would ideally want to aim for at least 2,000 words or more.
You may be able to get away with shorter articles for less competitive keyphrases, however, as a general rule of thumb, I would personally suggest always aiming for at least 1,000 words.
Can SEO be self-taught?
Yes, SEO can be self-taught.
In fact, I’m completely self-taught. I just listened to podcasts on the subject and learned by doing.
If you’re just starting out, I would highly suggest looking into getting either a RankIQ subscription ($49/mo) or a SEMRush subscription ($119/mo). Both of these services offer SEO toolkits that offer a variety of resources that make learning SEO easy and dare I say if you’re a nerd like me, kinda fun.
SEMRush Guru subscribers even gain access to a content optimization SEO plugin (for WordPress users).
We started out with SEMRush even though it was a bit more expensive because we needed quite a bit of hand-holding in the early days. We found SEMRush to be more robust than its competitors. But RankIQ is a great alternative if SEMRush is a bit too rich for your blood.
Wait, so how does all of this blog stuff help my SEO?
No matter the industry, anyone can benefit from adding a blog to their site.
Creating consistent, keyword-rich, long-form content will, over time, improve your Domain Authority score and help your site outrank the competition on Google and other search engines.
And blogging about topics related to your business’s niche is a great way to connect with your target audience.
Plus, business owners can, and should, use those same SEO-friendly articles as landing pages and lead magnets.
Selling perfume? Great, write an article about the best perfumes to wear on a date, and in the article, casually mention your own brand and why it’s so great.
Selling real estate? Create an article about the five best neighborhoods in your city and encourage readers to contact your agency if they’re currently shopping for a home.
Add a newsletter pop-up to your site and collect e-mail addresses that you can use for special campaigns throughout the year.
Truly, the benefits of blogging are endless.
Did you find this article insightful? If so, let me know in the comments below. And don’t forget to connect with me on social media.