A few weeks back, at The Riveter in Los Angeles, we packed in tight for #BlogHer’s Lightening Session, School of SEO. During the 40-minute session, I talked about SEO and user experience tips that also help you earn more money through higher RPMs. Quick reminder that RPM stands for revenue made per every thousand impressions viewed on your blog. You can learn more about RPM by reading our What is RPM post.
For those not able to make the session, I’ve recapped it below.
Content is queen
Creating high quality content for your audience should be your #1 focus as a blogger. This will help your SEO performance Google’s main goal for the search results is matching a user with the best possible result. This happens through quality content. Quality content also improves your user engagement metrics like time on page, session duration, pages per session and bounce rate. Each of these are positive algorithm signals to Google that indicate your readers like what they see.
By consistently producing quality content on your blog, you will gain the trust of your casual reader, turning them into a loyal follower.
And because your blog publishes high quality content, your reader will keep reading! The more time spent on your site and the more content they view, the more ad impressions they will see. This will increase your RPM.
So what exactly is quality content? At SHE Media, We take quality content to mean:
Writing what you believe your user would read, not what you think Google would reward
Using data to understand what your reader is looking for and providing them with more of it
Creating content that a reader would find helpful and actionable
Unique, accurate and valuable
long-form content for the win
When it comes to word count, spending the time to make your post longer can pay off big time in organic search traffic. Google has has long favored in-depth articles since the more information a page gives, the likelier the reader has a good experience on your website. This can also lead to increased engagement. Up until earlier this year, Google had a separate section in the SERPs (search engine results page) for in-depth articles. Once removed, it became clearer than ever that long-form should be the standard for digital content.
When you publish a post that thoroughly covers a topics, your reader will be satisfied. This helps build a positive brand reputation in the eyes of your reader. And the more information you have on your page, the longer the user will remain there. This allows for more time for ads to refresh, resulting in more impressions for the same user.
So how long is long-form content?
We first and foremost believe that quality is a better KPI than quantity, but if we had to pick a range, we think that between 500-800 words minimum is a good target. It’s difficult to adequately cover a valuable topic in less than 500 words. And if you’re passionate and experienced in your blog topic, 500 words should come easily. If you’re struggling to find sub-topics within your main post topic, use brainstorming tools like Answer The Public for writing inspo. Another cool trick is to google the topic you’re writing about and see what questions Google populates the ‘People Also Ask’ section of the search results. Work those topics into your post.
And if the topic you’re writing about is heavier than the average lifestyle post, your word count should be higher, closer to 1,000-1,300. If you’re paying for SEM Rush, they have a great tool now called the SEO content template. It allows you to add a topic and they analyze the top ten rankings for that term in the organic search results. One of the data points they return is the average length of the ranking content. Just now I put in the topic, ‘how to sail a boat’ and I can see that the average post ranking on the first page for this term has 965 words of text.
add headings to posts
Think of your blog post as if you’re back in school and writing an outline for your latest English paper. You have a title, right? And an intro paragraph. And then, remember how you would add sub-sections throughout the paper in order to map out the most important sub-topics related to your main topic? Writing a blog post should follow this same idea.
Heading tags in code range from an H1 to an H6. Your blog post title should be your H1, indicating to Google that this is the main topic, the most important part of your post. From there, add H2s or H3s in the body of your post to indicate the second and third most important topic, as it supports the main topic (the H1). If you’re using a CMS (WordPress, SquareSpace, etc), you should be able to highlight the text and easily format it to an H1, H2 or H3.
Google recommends using heading tags to specify the content hierarchy, from most important key phrases (H1) to less important (H3). Data shows that the average amount of a blog post a user actually reads is 20-30%. This is especially the case on mobile, mobile readers skim! They’re multitasking, they’re on the go. Breaking up content with heading tags makes it easier for them to skim the content to get to the piece that pertains to them.
By including heading tags throughout your content, it creates a natural break for ad units. You want to be careful not to overdo it with the ads, depending on how many heading tags you use, but for in-body ads, this can be a clean place to add them.
Here is an example of a post properly using heading tags from Advice From a 20-Something.
diversify your content
Blog posts are more impactful if they don’t rely solely on text to tell the story. Web assets like images, infographics, videos and podcasts make posts more interesting, more entertaining, more valuable to the user. Video ads yield higher RPMs than your basic display, another reason to consider adding a video strategy to your 2020 plans.
Per Forbes (2018), “The average user spends 88% more time on a website with video.”. That’s a HUGE deal when it comes to your SEO engagement metrics, as well as your RPM.
Including video on your blog:
There are ways to add video on your website without spending the cash for huge video shoots. You can create simple and inexpensive videos using content from your website and DIY video makers like Animoto or Biteable. And beyond that, you don’t even need to have video content to generate video revenue. If you’re a SHE Media Partner and interested in video monetization, reach out to our support team and they’d be happy to help.
Adding images to your blog posts make them more interesting and unique. Image quality is becoming increasingly important to Google. High quality images can also drive traffic back to your blog from sources like Pinterest, Google Image & Google Discover.
Image Best Practices:
Images must be responsive
Should be relevant to what the page is about
Have alt text & an optimized file name
Should not be blocking content
Use next-gen image formats like JPEG 2000, JPEG XR, and WebP
There are many benefits to internal linking, but a big one is the higher chance of keeping your readers on your website. Make sure that your blog posts include 2-3 related links to other content on your site. Internal linking helps users navigate through your site and move them on to the next blog post and his increases your pages per session metric. Readers appreciate the added navigation within your pages when you can seamlessly move them on to another high-quality post they’re interested in.
If you were able to be at BlogHer Biz, we hope you enjoyed our School of SEO session! SEO is an important part of our traffic strategy and educating our partners is part of our mission. If you have any questions about SEO, drop them in the comments section below, we would love to hear from you.
Watch the Sessions in full here: