How many times have you hopped on the internet to look something up and stumbled across a well-written, informative blog post that answers your question and then some? Blogs (a portmanteau of the words “web log”) are online spaces where you can share text, photos, images, and videos. They can be casual or more formal, and successful blogs are updated on a regular schedule (at least monthly or bi-weekly for best results). Most blogs are primarily text-based, but in recent years a new term, vlog, has also emerged. Vlogs are “video blogs.” We’ll be talking about traditional text-based blogs in this article as they are more relevant for businesses and SEO.
Blogs for SEO
Blogs are great for SEO purposes. One of the criteria Google uses in its algorithm when looking at the credibility of webpages is how recently the site has been updated. A site updated a week ago is going to perform better than a site last updated in 2015 because it means the owner of the site is still actively engaged in running their website. Blogs are an easy way to update a website regularly.
Blogs are also excellent for targeting keywords. It can be difficult to put every key phrase you want to hit on a retail website where most pages are showcasing products and brands. A blog that’s dedicated to your key phrases will improve your site ranking and prove that you are an expert and have authority in your field. You should also link your blog pages to product or event pages on your website to improve your bounce rates and encourage viewer interaction.
Aside from including your target keywords and phrases, running a blog is a creative task with limitless options. To help you get started, use the following best practices as you develop or hone your own voice and rhythm.
What to Post
Your blog is yet another aspect of your site that can be tailored to your clients' needs and wants. If you host a lot of events, you might consider writing blog posts to either promote the event before it happens, or to recap it afterwards and encourage those who didn’t come to attend the next event. Talking about the brands your carry or the skills of your jewelers is a great way to highlight what makes your store unique. Use your blog to share your store culture and build your brand.
Blogs are also great for educational content; from informing readers about different metal types and the properties of each to providing guides to natural vs lab-grown diamonds, you can use your blog to discuss jewelry topics unique to your store or widely applicable topics with your perspective and spin on them. These often do well for SEO purposes, because they answer commonly-asked questions. Incorporating target keywords into these posts is a breeze!
Blogs can be any length, but a minimum of 500 words, or 5 paragraphs, is recommended. Anything longer than about 1,500 words will start to lose readers' attention. If your post is reaching into the thousands, consider splitting it up into multiple posts. Google’s preferred length for authoritative pages varies, so when considering length, focus on your audience’s needs first.
A helpful strategy for generating content is to write a blog series. A series revolves around multiple aspects of one topic, such as a guide to the pros and cons of different types of engagement rings (natural diamonds, colored gemstones, moissanite, lab-grown diamonds, etc).
When thinking about what to post, consider who your customers are and who you want to attract as potential buyers. Do you see a lot of couples looking for engagement rings that don’t have a clue what they want? A post about the basics of fine jewelry might be applicable for those clients. Well-informed clients may prefer blogs about store specialties, new brands, or seasonal trends you love. Whatever you post, remember that you’re the expert, and clients want your opinion!
Lastly, don’t forget to include non-textual elements. Photos, graphics, illustrations, and other images help to break up the text and make it appealing to read. Embedding videos and social media posts is another way to diversify your content and create multi-media experiences for your clients.
When to Post
The most successful blogs are updated regularly, typically on a monthly, bi-weekly, or weekly schedule. If you send out email newsletters, you can promote your blog by linking to your most recent posts. Excerpts from blogs also make great social media content, where you can then prompt viewers to visit your website to read the full article. Consistent engagement from readers is an important part of maintaining a blog.
You can use blogs as evergreen content (content that is always relevant), or you can make time-specific posts that relate to events, seasonal trends, or time of year. For example, blogs about metal types or engagement ring styles would be evergreen content, while a post about the best graduation gifts would probably be best to post in April or May.
You can find keyword search volume by time of year in order to post your blogs at the best possible time.
Your Punchmark Blog
Editing a blog on your Punchmark website is simple. Within Sitemanager, go to Content > Blog. You then have the option to create a new post, edit an existing one, or delete one or several posts. For more information, see the Sitemanager guide to Blogs.
Blogs in Practice
Here is an example of SEO blog technique in action.
The Golden Karat hopes to continue selling more gold rings. They decide to write a blog post about different things you can get engraved on your gold rings. Their post discusses character limits, the different fonts available, and some of their favorite sayings engraved so far. The post is specific to their store (turns out you can get your rings engraved in Elvish!) and fairly casual in tone. They include photos of some of the custom work they’ve done and link to a few products on their site that readers might be interested in. Even though the page isn’t exclusively about gold rings, the phrase and related words come up a lot. They’re also able to focus on an aspect of gold rings that’s a specialty of their store. The page shows up on some SERPs to attract new leads and also helps them upsell a few existing clients who read the post.
Six months later, The Golden Karat is doing a yearly sale on gold rings. They remember this blog post received several hundred views when it was first published, and it was a useful piece of customer education as well as a way to upsell custom engraving. Since the information in the post hasn’t changed since publication, they link to the blog post in a few of their emails promoting the sale and mention it again on social media. Their social media post gets a lot of engagement from their followers. They take questions from follower comments to create a follow-up post addressing common questions. The new post links to the original one, and they update the original post to link to the follow-up article. These two blog posts' content and high engagement help drive their website to the top of the SERPs for the search query “custom gold rings.”
Ideally, this scenario is what every blog post would do. Though unfortunately a single post is not going to make or break your website, a well-planned and well-timed, authentic blog really can help your website to grow. Additionally, using content multiple times and across platforms not only makes it easier for you to plan content and posts, but it also gives your audience a singular topic to focus on during a designated time period.
After reading this section, you should understand the following:
Why are blogs helpful from an SEO perspective?
What are some of the ways you can use blogs to engage with your clients?
What is evergreen content, and why is it useful?
How often should you update your blog?
Blog Action Items
To improve your SEO using blogs, follow one or more of these steps:
If you already have a blog, look at your most-viewed posts using Google Analytics. See if there are any patterns among your most popular posts.
If you don’t already have a blog, start one!
Brainstorm a series of 3+ posts that would benefit your clients.