SEO can be really complicated! How do you start with improving the structure of a site? How do you write amazing and SEO-friendly articles? To help all of you with your SEO strategy, I’m writing a series of Ask Yoast case studies. In these case studies, I’ll take a look at a specific site (the owner knows about it of course :-)), and I’ll give some SEO advice. In this second case study: SEO of an online shop!

Ask Yoast Case studies

Want Marieke to look at the content of your site? Send an email to ask@yoast.com!

Improve the SEO of an online shop!

In this case study, the SEO of an online shop is the central topic. We were given the chance to take a look at the SEO of Knock Knock, independent makers of clever gifts, books, and whatever else they can think up.

The Knock Knock team didn’t have a specific question for us, so we just took a look at their website and give advice on how to improve the SEO

First impression of KnockKnock

I want to buy those notebooks! I want to have those pens! Great fill-out books! I love the products Knock Knock offers. It’s original, it’s fun and I really get some sort of brand-feeling if I browse through their website. Fantastic!

Technically, Knock Knock seems to be a solid site, which is great. Some general SEO quick wins would be: creating alt tags for images and adding meta descriptions to tag pages and on some category pages.

KnockKnock has a lot of potential to become really successful. Maybe they already are! I believe that with certain SEO improvements they could be generating even more traffic than they’re getting right now! 

Want to outrank your competitor and get more sales? Read our Shop SEO eBook! »

Shop SEO$ 25 - Buy now » Info

Content content content

My initial thoughts for improvements when I saw this site were: 

“This site screams for a blog! Knock Knock’s products are very original and one-of-a-kind. Writing blog posts about, for instance, how to use these products and why you would need them, won’t be hard at all! Blogging is a great way to promote your stuff and to show to your audience how to use your products. In case of this specific online shop, I’d post lots of photos too.

For SEO reasons, starting a blog is very important too. Knock Knock doesn’t show a lot of content on their site. It’s an online shop with quite some products and, therefore, product pages, but the copy on these pages is quite short. That’ll make it hard to rank high in Google. Blogging, or in other words, publishing fresh content on a regular basis, will definitely improve the SEO of this online shop.

I would advise Knock Knock to start with some solid keyword research. Maybe they’ve already done some research. Which words do they want to be found for? After that, they should start creating some real quality content. I’d love to read blog posts about the origin, benefits or appliance of their products. They do have nice product reviews written by their audience, perhaps these reviews could serve as a starting point for a blog post.

KnockKnock sells products that are quite witty. I’m sure their blog could be entertaining too. Apart from a great SEO strategy, an entertaining blog would also be a kickass marketing strategy!”

After showing the draft of this post to KnockKnock they got back to me telling that they already have a blog! So I had rework my advice a bit… I started with checking out their blog first, where they write about the origin and creators of the products, the use of the products and more fun stuff. Their blog post are very original and entertaining! They also post quite regularly, a couple of times a month.

So now, my main advice is: make your blog more visible on your site! I noticed that we can easily get from your blog to your shop, but the other way around is a lot harder (or perhaps impossible?). I’d suggest to just add the blog in the top navigation of your site. That way, visitors can easily read more about your products, creators and all the nice things you do, apart from creating awesome products!

Read more: ‘5 tips to find inspiration for your blog’ »

Site structure

In case you would be starting a blog from scratch that would be quite hard. On the other hand, if you’re starting a blog, you do have the chance to create an ideal structure for it. Think about the topics you’d like to blog about. These could be the same as the product categories of your online shop, but it also could be different categories. Write a few long, really awesome, articles on each of these categories. These articles will be your cornerstone pages. Make sure to write lots of blog posts about similar topics (but all slightly different and more niche/long tail). And link from all of these articles to your most important cornerstone article. If you start your blog from scratch, make sure to structure it in an excellent way! Read more about this in our ultimate guide to site structure.

Conclusion

If you have an online shop that’s focused on an awesome niche like Knock Knock, your SEO will benefit most from a solid content strategy. Writing lots of texts, articles, posts will have an effect on your rankings. Besides that, it’ll be a great way of marketing your stuff. Combine your blog with an awesome social media strategy and you’ll increase both your rankings and sales!

Keep reading: ‘10 tips for an awesome and SEO friendly blog post’ »

SEO can be a rather complicated and abstract thing. What exactly do we mean by increasing keyword density? How do you start with improving the structure of a site? That’s why I’m going to write a series of Ask Yoast case studies. In these case studies, I’ll take a look at a specific site (the owner knows about it of course :-)), and I’ll give some SEO advice. In this first case study: SEO of a mom blog!

Ask Yoast Case studies

Want Marieke to look at the content of your site? Send an email to ask@yoast.com!

Improve the SEO of a mom blog!

In this case study, a mom blog’s SEO is the central topic. Lindsay Butler of One Beautiful Home asked us to look at the SEO of her many blog posts.

“I’m a mom blogger,” Lindsay says,  “who has gone from a hobby blog to a business. I’ve started making real money with my site, and would love to continue its growth. I have hundreds of posts, but never paid much attention to SEO, other than selecting a keyword. So I have to go back to the beginning, and optimize all of my older posts, so they can rank properly. I have hundreds of posts. What is the best way to organize this process, so I can make sure I don’t screw it up?” 

New to SEO? Learn the Basics of SEO in our Basic SEO course »

Basic SEO training$ 199 - Buy now » Info

About the mom blog

One Beautiful Home is an awesome mom blog. Being a mom of 4 myself, I really enjoyed browsing through this blog. I especially enjoyed all the printables and worksheets Lindsay offers. She really made her blog into a shop. Her writing style is entertaining and the subjects she chooses are great. I think this website has great potential, and, I have to say, I’ll become a regular visitor for sure! That being said, I’d also like to give Lindsay some advice for improvement.

At the end of this blog post, I’m going to answer her question. But before I come to that, I want to give some general SEO advice to improve the SEO of Lindsay’s website. Advice more blog and website owners could benefit from!

General SEO advice

Don’t use too many adds

When looking at One beautiful Home, you cannot escape the ads. Especially the ad below the banner is huge. The banners also load very slow, which is pretty annoying. Too many ads and banners can be detrimental for both the UX and SEO of your site. You shouldn’t put too many ads on your website.

Of course, I understand that these ads generate income as well. So, removing the ads could reduce the income of your website. That’s scary. Still, removing them will probably improve your rankings and the User Experience. That’ll definitely have a positive effect on the sales of your own products.

Site speed is low

The page speed score of the homepage of One Beautiful Home is very low (17/100 on desktop in Google Page Speed Insights). A low page speed is bad news for your SEO! The images on the homepage are quite heavy and should be optimized. Overall, you could reduce their size by 3.5 MB (76% reduction), which would, most likely, substantially boost your site speed.

Read more: ‘Site speed: tools and suggestions’ »

After reading a first draft of this post, Lindsay already took some steps in improving both the speed of her site as well as the number of banners. That’s really awesome!

Optimizing for SEO after publishing

Let’s go back to Lindsay’s question. What SEO improvements should Lindsay start with, if she has hundreds of published posts she wrote without actively optimizing them? I thought of a step-by-step plan to help her get through this:

1. Do your keyword research

The first step of every SEO copywriting strategy is executing proper keyword research. To do so, you really have to get inside the heads of your audience. What words are they searching for? What terms do they use? You should use tools like Google Trends to check out which words are used most often.

After you’ve finished your keyword research, you should have a long list with competitive (head) search terms and less competitive and more specific (long tail) search terms.

Keep reading: ‘Keyword research: the ultimate guide’ »

For this mom blog, examples of search terms could be [debt free living], [pre-school education], [pre-school education printables]. Search terms as [parenting] are probably too competitive to rank for.

2. What are your cornerstones?

What are the articles you’re most proud of? From every category on your website you should choose one blog post (it could be a page as well) that really reflects your core business. Cornerstone content should be rather long and informative articles, in which you can describe all important aspects of the main topic. In these cornerstone articles, you’ll use the most competitive keywords. Our Yoast SEO plugin will help you optimize your text. Check out the bullets and start optimize your cornerstones for the most competitive keywords.

Make sure to give your cornerstone articles a prominent place on your website. You should be able to navigate to these specific articles within two clicks from the home page.

Category pages could be great long tails too. I think that would be a doable strategy for One Beautiful Home. Lindsay should write an awesome informative category page about parenting, about debt free live and about pre-school education.

Content SEO: learn how to do keyword research, how to structure your site and how to write SEO friendly content »

Content SEO$ 19 - Buy now » Info

3. Optimize those long tails

After you’ve optimized your most precious articles, you should dive into your long tail posts. These are the posts that dive into a more specific feature of a subject. Again, use our plugin to optimize for those long tail keywords. Optimizing lots of posts for slightly different long tail keywords is a great SEO tactic.

4. Link from the tail to the head

Last step of your SEO updating strategy: make sure to link from all of these long tail articles to your cornerstone article. That way, you’re telling Google: this is the most important content. In the end, that’ll be the article that will pop up in the search results.

A final question from Lindsay

After reading a draft version of this blog post, Lindsay had a final question:

“I have read so much about keywords, but there is still one question I cannot figure out. I write a lot about getting out of debt. A “main” keyword for that topic let’s say is [Debt Free Living]. I have 75 posts that relate to that keyword. How would I use that that keyword for all of those posts? I know I cannot duplicate the keyword, so how does someone do that? 

I know that I need a page that keeps all of my content about this topic in one area, but how do I keyword each of the posts, so that I can rank higher for the debt free living “ultimate” keyword? Should I put [Debt Free Living: paying off student loans], [Debt Free Living: buying a used car],  [Debt Free Living: paying off your credit cards] etc. for the individual posts, as they relate to the specific blog post?”

The answer to this question is: Yes, you should write lots of post about niche subjects [paying off student loans], [buying a used car]. I won’t use the [Debt-free Living: buying a used car] keyword, as I suspect nobody will search for that exact term. You should make a list of keywords surrounding your head keyword [debt free living]. Make sure these keywords are search terms people actually use in Google (you could use Google Trends to figure that out).

Second step is to write that cornerstone article and optimize it for your head term [debt free living]. We have written Ultimate Guide articles about key aspect of SEO. These are our cornerstone articles. Make sure that every long tail article about debt free living links to your most important article (and keep on doing that if you write new articles). That way you’ll tell Google which article about debt free living is the most important one.

Conclusion

To improve the SEO of this specific site, I would recommend removing a lot of the ads and improving the site speed. And, follow my four steps to optimize all of the text. I’m sure this website has great potential. It has found a niche within the mom blog niche. That’s great.

We understood from Lindsay that she already went ahead and started improving things like site speed and the ad display. So you might see some changes on her site already, if you go there. We’re excited to hear she took action immediately. Good luck with your website, Lindsay!

Read on: ‘How to incorporate cornerstone content on your site’ »

If you own a blog, you have to deal with the opinions, questions, and feedback from your blog’s visitors. Mostly you receive comments related to your post, but sometimes you might receive off-topic comments. How do you respond properly? And, more importantly, do off-topic comments on your blog post hurt your SEO? In this Ask Yoast we’ll explain if off-topic comments hurt your SEO and how you can respond to them.

Gerencer Thomas emailed us asking:

“Do off-topic comments on my blog post hurt my SEO?”

Check out the video or read the answer below!

Our SEO for WordPress eBook guides you through every aspect of Search Engine Optimization »

SEO for WordPress$ 25 - Buy now » Info

Do off-topic comments hurt SEO?

Check out the video or read the answer below!

Well yes, they can. If someone has a very long comment on your post that does not relate to the topic of your blog post, then you should probably delete that comment. Not only for SEO reasons, but also for your own sanity.

It’s very easy to just reach out to someone if he or she is saying something completely unrelated. Just email that person and say, “Hey, you said this and this. I can respond to that, but it’s not really related to the blog post, so I have deleted your comment, but here’s my reaction.” That’s a friendly reaction to the person leaving the comment on your blog, but it’s also keeping your blog post intact and on topic.

So, yes it can hurt your SEO; delete them if you can. Good luck!

Ask Yoast

In the series Ask Yoast we answer SEO questions from followers. Need some advice about SEO? Let us help you out! Send your question to ask@yoast.com.

Read more: ‘How to handle comments on your blog’ »

You want to rank on the words that are used a lot in the search engines, right? Justin Bieber is a term that is used very, very often. So, should we all start writing about Justin Bieber then? The answer of course is: (please) no. In this post, I explain why blogging about Justin Bieber – or other highly competitive terms – probably isn’t the best SEO strategy for you.

Attracting traffic is only step one

Let’s just imagine for a second you would be able to rank for a highly competitive search term as ‘Justin Bieber’. You’d appear in the top of the search results with your post about Justin. Unless you actually are a Belieber and have a site about Justin, attracting traffic on the search term ‘Justin Bieber’ is pretty much useless, though. People searching for ‘Justin Bieber’ want to read content about Justin Bieber. If your website is about flyfishing, barn animals or SEO plugins for that matter, the beliebers won’t stay on your website. They do not want to read your content or buy your products. These people are not your audience. Ranking on search terms simply because they’re popular doesn’t work, unless these terms are popular among your audience and in your niche.

Competitiveness of terms

Let’s be honest. Not every site will be able to instantly rank for Justin Bieber. Highly competitive terms are hard to rank for. That’s why our advice is to start out with focusing on those long tail keywords. Long tail keywords are more specific and less competitive. If you have a site selling pencils and pens, trying to go after ‘pencils’ as a search term may be a competitive market. You could start out by trying to rank for ‘pencils for drawing’ or ‘pencils for writing’, depending on what you’re selling specifically. If you’re able to rank for those longer and more specific search terms first, you could then aim to rank for the more competitive ones (in your niche).

Another benefit from focusing on long tail keywords is that these terms usually convert better. People using specific terms in their search behavior already have a pretty good idea about what they want. If they find the thing they’re looking for on your website, the chance they buy your stuff is rather high.

Content SEO: learn how to do keyword research, how to structure your site and how to write SEO friendly content »

Content SEO$ 19 - Buy now » Info

Conclusion: don’t blog about Justin unless you are a Belieber

Blogging about highly competitive terms only to rank in the search engines is a completely useless SEO tactic. It will be really, really, really hard to compete with all the others focusing on these terms. Ranking on these highly competitive terms is therefore very hard. More importantly, ranking on these terms will probably not attract the audience you want to attract to your website.

You should do your very own keyword research. Find out which terms are beneficial for your site to rank on. Find out which words your audience is using while searching for your products and similar products. That’ll attract the traffic that will actually stay on your site!

Read more: ‘Why every content SEO strategy should start with keyword research’ »

If you’re writing posts for your blog, you want an audience. Nobody wants to perform in an empty room! Ranking high in search engines by doing your SEO flawlessly will, of course, help. But you can do more! In this post, I’ll give you lots of blog marketing tips to make sure your audience will grow and will keep on growing!

Tip 1: Start with a mission

Marketing has to do with increasing the number of people who know and like your company, your products, your brand. In order to do successful marketing, you should always choose marketing strategies that fit the mission of your website. Your mission, the thing that makes your company or your website so unique, should always be reflected in the content of your marketing.

Tip 2: Choose marketing that fits your brand

Marketing should also fit your brand. Branding is the way you want to present your company to the world, visually or in the way you communicate. It could even be in the way you make your products. Perhaps you want your brand to be hip and young, or you’d rather come across as traditional and solid. Branding is a matter of personal taste, and most importantly, branding should reflect your mission.

The mission of Yoast is (in short) to help people optimize their website. Yoast offers free and premium products in order to fulfill that mission. In our Facebook and blog posts (our main marketing channels) we always keep in mind our mission. The type of posts should fit our mission and our brand. That does not mean that every post we write is about optimizing websites. Especially on Facebook, we also share posts about our office life.
We make sure that these posts fit our brand; We’d like to come across as enthusiastic, young, hardworking and fun. We post pictures of the Yoast team doing sports, having lunch or building LEGOs together. We feel that these kinds of pictures fit the brand of Yoast. We would never place party pictures of drunk or promiscuous Yoast team members, as we feel these wouldn’t fit the Yoast brand.

Tip 3: Get to know your audience

The first step in marketing is to find out what your audience looks like. Who are your visitors? Where are they from? Who do I currently engage with with my blog posts? In order to answer these questions, there are different kinds of research you can do. Google Analytics could give you some great insights. And, how about conducting a survey? Once you have a clear view of what your audience looks like, it’s much easier to reach them on (for instance) social media.

Our SEO for WordPress eBook guides you through every aspect of Search Engine Optimization »

SEO for WordPress$ 25 - Buy now » Info

Tip 4: Think about new audiences!

It could well be that your current audience consists of exactly the kind of people you want to have on your website. Your growth question will then be: where do I find more of these people?

It could also be that your current audience and your desired audience are somewhat different. Your growth question will then be: where do I find my new audience?

Having a clear vision of the people you want to reach is important for every choice you’ll make concerning marketing. Trying to reach a 30+ audience via Snapchat is simply not a good marketing strategy. Both the content of your blog posts, as well as the channel you choose should be adapted to the audience you are aiming to reach.

Tip 5: Comment on other blogs!

A very good way to get exposure for your blog is by reacting and commenting on other blogs. Make sure to adapt the choices of the blogs you comment on to the audience you would like to address. If you read something interesting on such a blog, something you may have written about yourself as well, you should comment. In the comment, you should share your view on the matter. You could also place a link to one of your own blogs.

Tip 6: Advertising

If you have a budget, you could also decide to place ads on for instance Facebook or Google to promote your blog. Facebook also has the possibility to boost your post, making sure it’ll get more exposure.

Facebook actually allows you to really focus on the demographic you would like to reach with settings for age group, location and interests, making it quite easy to target your desired audience.

Conclusion on blog marketing

An SEO strategy can really help to make the audience of your blog grow. Besides that, blog marketing strategies could make your audience grow even more! Mind you, growth does not equal more money. Your audience can grow, but the revenue of your site might not. If you want to make money with your blog, there’s a whole lot of different things you could do.

Read more: ‘Monetizing your blog ’ »

Do you want your readers to engage with your blog? Want them to comment and share your post on social media? Want them to come back to your blog and read your next post? So, how do you achieve that? In this post, I’ll first explain the importance of blog engagement for SEO. After that, I’ll give 7 tips on how to increase the engagement of the audience to your blog.

So, what is blog engagement exactly?

We define blog engagement by all the ways people can interact with your post. This could be leaving a comment, sharing your post on their Facebook timeline or mentioning your blog post in a newsletter, Facebook post or blog post. Besides those, it’s a form of engagement to return to your website to read your next post or subscribe to your newsletter. Engaged readers are those readers that are active on your blog. You want your visitors to be active. These active users are the people that buy your stuff, read your newsletter and become regular visitors of your website. These people are your most loyal customers.

Why is blog engagement important for SEO?

Blog engagement is an important factor for SEO. If your audience leaves comments on your blog (and you respond to these comments), Google will notice that your blog is very much alive and active. And of course, mentions on social media will also help with your blog’s ranking. If people share your post on social media, or talk about it online, this will definitely lead to more traffic.

But how do you increase the engagement of your audience? How do you make sure that people comment on your blog post and share it on social media? I’ll give you 7 tips to increase the engagement on your blog!

Tips to increase blog engagement

Our SEO for WordPress eBook guides you through every aspect of Search Engine Optimization

$ 25 - Buy this eBook now »SEO for WordPress

1. Make sure your blog posts are awesome

Your content should be awesome. Your content should be so informative, funny or relevant, that people want to share it with the world. If you want to read more about the creation of awesome and SEO friendly content, go ahead and read this blog post.

2. Be consistent

In order to get people to engage with your blog, you should blog on a regular basis. Let people know what to expect. You don’t have to blog every day to create engagement, but make sure the intervals are predictable. If people know that you always publish posts on Thursdays, people might just swing by your website on these Thursdays.

3. Be original

Make sure your content is worth sharing. The most effective way to make sure that people want to share your content is to write original stuff. If your story is one of a kind, people will be more prone to sharing. Don’t be afraid to share your knowledge.

4. Be (a bit) controversial

People will respond if they disagree. So, if you want to provoke people to share their point of view on a certain issue, or you want to start an interesting discussion: make sure to be controversial. Make your statements a little bit bolder and a little less nuanced. Don’t go overboard, though, or you’ll have to deal with a lot of negative comments.

5. Ask for engagement

If you want people to respond to your post, ask them to do so! If visitors are actually invited to comment, chances are much higher they decide to do so. Ask people to share their thoughts on the matter at the end of a blog post, or encourage people to like or share your post on Facebook.

6. Respond to the engagement

If you do invite people to comment on your blog, be polite and respond to their comments. If your audience notices you pay attention to their reactions, they’ll be more inclined to come back and visit your website yet another time.

Read more: ‘How to handle comments on your blog’ »

7. Engage on other blogs

Make sure to be visible on other blogs as well. Comment on posts that have similar subjects as your own posts. If people see you engage on other blogs, they’ll be curious to see what you’ve written about the matter.

Conclusion on blog engagement

In order to collect an engaging audience for your blog you should be a little bold. Make sure to post awesome and original content and add just a little bit of controversy. And, do not forget to invite people to respond! And on that matter… how do you create engagement with your readers? Do you have a hot tip? I’d love to hear your view on this!

Keep reading: ‘Blog SEO: make people stay and read your post’ »

Small business owners often struggle with their SEO. You have your business, your customers, and now your website demands attention as well. I frequently talk to business owners that just use their website as a reference for real life customers. To be honest, that is a bit narrow-minded. There is so much more you can do!

In this article, I’ll go over some improvements any small business owner can easily do by himself. It’s going to costs you time, not per se any money. Use this article as a checklist, and see how you are doing. Here we go!

Manage your expectations

Let’s start with the most important one: be realistic about what you can rank for and what not. Manage your expectations. If your competitors are giant companies with huge marketing budgets, you’ll probably not going to rank number one for your main keyword (f.i. car insurance). Aim for specific keywords instead, not the general, high-end keywords.

What’s your niche?

Take some time to find the keywords that describe your business best. If you are a local grocery store that also delivers to people’s homes, aim for ‘order groceries Springfield’ not ‘order groceries online’. See how you can differentiate yourself from the horde, and focus on that. This also includes focusing on longer tail keywords. That brings me to my next tip.

Use mid-tail keywords

Adding the city name

Do not keyword-stuff your website with your location’s name. If you really want to rank locally, try to include the city name in a way that makes sense. Add LocalBusiness schema, for instance via our local SEO plugin. And get some local links to your website. That will already help you a lot!

No need to go overboard in specifying your niche. ‘Sports gear for teams that is easy to wash in Vancouver’ will probably only give you one new visitor a day. Focus on mid-tail keywords like ‘team sports gear Vancouver’. You’ll see that for a small business, it usually pays off to add the city name to some optimized pages as well. More on keywords in our article on the long tail.

Utilize online platforms

If there is one thing I can tell you from my experience in this, it is that local small businesses communicate a lot via social media. Use that Twitter account actively, set up your Facebook page and maintain it. Add your business to Google Business and make sure your opening hours are filled out if you have any. Every Google search for your company or closely related searches might show these immediately, before any organic search results. The same goes for sites like Yelp or TripAdvisor. They have their marketers working 24/7. In the end, it doesn’t matter if people find your business through websites like Yelp or Google, right?

Utilize offline platforms

New website? Contact your local newspaper. New products? Contact your local newspaper. New business? You get the drift. Do not underestimate the reach these local news companies have. People read these publications. If you have anything newsworthy, please contact these publishers and see if they can help you to promote your business offline. If you participate in a local event, by all means, add a blog post to your website as well. Just be sure it is relevant.

Make sure your customers find your shop! Optimize your site with our Local SEO plugin and show you opening hours, locations, map and much more!

Buy this plugin nowLocal SEO for WordPress plugin

Word of mouth

Create buzz around your shop, for instance by asking people to leave a review on Google Business or Yelp. Do sweepstakes or giveaways for your online visitors. 500 likes on Facebook? Give number 500 a coupon for your shop, online or offline. Have a sale for a specific brand? You could consider promoting it online only. Sponsoring a local event? Be sure to set up an event specific landing page and ask them to link that one. These are all little things that might trigger people to talk about your website, next to your shop.

Add evergreen content

If you want to rank, just adding blog posts or opening times won’t be enough. You should add pages with so-called evergreen content. These pages have content that won’t expire anytime soon. Evergreen content can be at the top of your keyword research pyramid, so a bit less long tail than the rest of your keyword focus. This content can be the solid base of your websites. Expand this base per product, service or business value so that you can focus on all the dynamic content you’ll write on a daily or weekly basis.

Small business blogging

The easiest way to keep your customers (and others) in the loop about your products and offerings, is by adding a blog to your website. That blog will fuel your social media and newsletter, so it’s a much more extensive tool than ‘just an addition’ to your site.

Please keep in mind that ‘no inspiration’ is a sad excuse for not adding that blog. Marieke just did an article with a load of tips that will give you that inspiration. Just start, and see where it goes. You’ll find your way in this for sure.

Get local links

To emphasize the local character of your shop, it will pay off to see what related business there are in your local area. By reaching out to these companies or websites you will a) expand your local network and b) create an opportunity to get valuable backlinks. Just because of these local backlinks, Google will understand your geographical reach/positioning.

Contact details everywhere

For most small business websites, the main goal is to get in touch with your potential customers. The simplest way to make this crystal clear is by adding your contact details to every page. It doesn’t matter if that is in the footer or sidebar by the way. Add your phone number or an email form so that people can reach you in the easiest way possible.

Realize your website is your online shop window

Putting in all that effort might seem like a hassle, as you are already putting so much time in local networking, redecorating your shop’s windows and more. You have to keep in mind that for someone that finds your shop online first, it matters what that shop looks like. Your website is the online replacement for window shopping. If your actual shop is decorated for the season, I would also suggest taking a closer look at how you can translate that to your website.

Make sure people feel welcome, and are enticed to buy your products or services online. Or at least feel the urge to come by your local business to see what you can do for them.

Read more: ‘What is Local SEO?’ »

What do you do when inspiration for your umpteenth blog post is low? What’s the solution to a writer’s block or a general lack of ideas? Every writer will encounter a lack of inspiration every now and then. You’ll be staring at your screen, not knowing what to write about. Nevertheless, you are determined to write those blog posts on a regular basis. In this post, I will give you 5 tips to find inspiration for your blog.

Our SEO for WordPress eBook guides you through every aspect of Search Engine Optimization

Buy this eBook now »SEO for WordPress

1. Consult your keyword research

veryone who has a solid SEO strategy will have executed a proper keyword research. So, you should have a document containing hundreds of words you’re aiming to rank for. Of course, a keyword isn’t a topic for a post yet, but it can be a start. Pick one of those longtail keywords. Google it. See what turns up. That’ll be the competition. Is it any good? Could you do better? 

2. Go outside

Sitting behind a desk for too long might be the cause of your lack of inspiration. So, change your surroundings. Take a little walk outside. Clear your head. Let the thoughts slide in.

Once you come back inside and get back to your computer, you’ll probably feel much more inspired than before. Of course, if it’s raining outside, a walk to the coffee machine might do the trick as well.

3. Browse the internet

Reading other articles could get your inspired for your own work. Check your email for any newsletters. Read some posts of bloggers you admire. Browse around the internet a bit to find new and fresh material, different from the things you’re used too. These things could really help you to find inspiration for that article you need to write.

4. Keep a list of ideas

Prepare yourself for those days you’re lacking inspiration by keeping a list of ideas for your blog. Keep a list on your mobile phone or carry a small notebook with you. Every time you think of a good idea, write or type that idea down. You can use these ideas on days of little inspiration.

5. Google your most successful posts

Use your most successful post as inspiration for a new one. Google the title (or the focus keyword) of that specific post and see what turns up in Google. Hopefully, you’ll find your own article. If not, you’ll have some SEO work to do.

The results that come up if you Google your most successful post could inspire you to write a similar one. What are those other posts and pages in the search results about? Maybe you can find another angle or additional information that’ll fill a new blog post.

Conclusion

Finding inspiration to write a blog post can be really hard. Stop staring at your screen and try one of my tips above. Let me know how that works out for you! Good luck!

Read more: ‘10 tips for an awesome and SEO-friendly blog post’ »

To blog or not to blog? That’s the question. Or, at least, that will be the main question of this blog post. The answer to the question is pretty simple: yes, you should blog. In this post, I’ll explain why you should blog. I’ll also discuss some of the challenges you’ll face as a blogger, and how you can cope with them.

Blogging is great for SEO

Adding content on a regular basis should be part of every sustainable SEO strategy. It allows you to rank for new keywords and to keep ranking on those you’re already found for. If you blog regularly, Google will ‘see’ your site as active, alive and relevant. This will definitely help your rankings.

One of the reasons WordPress websites usually are able to rank relatively high in Google is all because of the blogging structure of WordPress. A blogging structure makes it easy for website owners to create new content. The threshold to write is very low! And if you’re writing more often, you will have a higher chance to conquer the competition in Google. Blogging therefore is a very good way to keep creating content and to start ranking in the search engines.

Read more: ‘Blog or vlog?’ »

Blogging is a great marketing tool

A blog will be a great marketing tool for every website. In your blog, you can tell readers about your brand, your products and perhaps also about yourself.

Maintaining a blog will allow you to give readers to get more acquainted with your brand and your products. It is a great way to let your audience in on new ideas or plans you might have.  A blog can be a reason for people to come back to your website. You can interact with your audience in the comments of your blog.

Keep reading: ‘How to handle comments on your blog’ »

Learn how to write awesome and SEO friendly articles in our SEO Copywriting training

SEO copywriting training

Blogging will be a challenge

Publishing content is rather easy with a content management system like WordPress. Writing a great story, unfortunately, is as hard as it was in the Middle Ages. Writing remains a skill. It requires skills from its performer, it requires some basic understanding of language and spelling, it requires some creativity, it requires some thinking and reflecting. And, writing web texts requires some basic knowledge about the internet, SEO and user experience as well. The pitfall of blogging is that people quickly create a lot of crappy content. And in the end, that is not a very good SEO strategy at all.

In order to blog, you need to be able to write a decent text. Check out our SEO copywriting course, one of our eBooks, or our SEO copywriting: the Ultimate guide  if you need some help.

Conclusion: to blog or not to blog?

If you have a website, you should blog. At least every now and then. Blogging is great for SEO and it is an important marketing tool. Above that, it can be great fun!

Read on: ‘6 tips for coming up with blog ideas’ »

Imagine owning a website with a lot of outdated content. What to do? Should you try to fix the old website? Or would it be better to start all over again with a brand new website? In this Ask Yoast we’ll dive into this frequent dilemma.

We’ll do so by discussing the following question, sent to us by Roc Krivec:

“I have a blog with 1K+ blog posts. I cannot update, nor improve these posts and I don’t dare to delete them. Some posts still rank quite good. The site is generating very little revenue and a lot of posts are of poor quality. Should I try to fix this website or start all over again with a new (high quality) website.”

Watch the video to get an answer to this question or read the transcript below!

Content SEO: learn how to do keyword research, how to structure your site and how to write SEO friendly content

Content SEO

Fix old site or start new one?

“Well, I would never start all over again, even if you have over 1K posts and you think most of them are really bad. Just delete all the bad ones. Just delete them, do nothing else. You can either choose to 410 them or to 301 them to the homepage. Both are in this case a valid choice. But keep the good ones, and at that point start producing high quality content. Even if you’re only left with 20 or 30 good posts after you’ve deleted all the other stuff. You’d still have more than what you would have when you’d start fresh.

So, don’t start over. Just fix it up. Remove all the old stuff and then keep on going. Good luck!”

Read more: ‘10 tips for an awesome and SEO-friendly blog post’ »

Ask Yoast

Do you have a question on content creation, site structure, duplicate content or XML sitemaps? We’d love to help you out! Just send your SEO question to ask@yoast.com.