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Today’s guest blogger is Kris Spisak. Kris earned her B.A. from the College of William and Mary and her M.L.A. from the University of Richmond. She is the founder of K. S. Writing and a partner at Petrofy Web Solutions.

In a time when 68% of consumers regularly spend time reading content from a brand they are interested in,[1] why shouldn’t that brand be you? Blogging allows a connection with audiences like never before, but balancing search engine optimization (SEO) and captivating content can be a challenge.

Blogs are short articles intended to inform, educate, and/or entertain. They find their audiences by proving themselves as a resource worth returning to.

Blogs are short articles intended to inform, educate, and/or entertain. They find their audiences by proving themselves as a resource worth returning to.

Win over readers and better your SEO by following these eight blogging tactics:

  1. Start with a hook. These may be the only lines that a reader gives their full attention to. Just like the first page of a novel or the lede of a newspaper article, make the reader want more.
  2. Write concisely. Melville wouldn’t like blogging, and blog readers wouldn’t read Melville online. Long, masterfully crafted sentences have their place, but this isn’t it.
  3. Use sub-headers, numbered lists, or bullet points. Studies show that people generally read web content in a “T” shape: reading full sentences (all the way across the page) at the start and then skimming (eyes moving down, no longer across) through the remainder of the text. Allowing readers and search engine bots to quickly understand your key topics is a win-win for all.
  4. Know the key terms most important to your readers. Use these words – your keyword portfolio – throughout your text, especially in your blog’s title, first sentences, sub-headers, and image captions to help your SEO. Of course, don’t force your keywords to an awkward degree. Write for your human audience above all else.
  5. Embed internal and external hyperlinks. Link to previous blog posts and/or pages on your website. In addition, show how in-touch you are by linking to other professionals, news sources, and similar trustworthy sites. Readers and search bots both appreciate this one.
  6. Include images. Just like in the newspaper, stories with pictures gain more attention. Find relevant images to pair with your blog from a source like www.freedigitalphoto.net.
  7. Report in-depth information. Aim for 500 words or more. Online readers might have short attention spans these days, but if your blog is too brief, recent Google algorithm updates will consider it a strike against you.[2]  Comprehensive, keyword-rich posts now rank higher than quick reviews.
  8. Share via social media. By posting your blogs on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, and other outlets, you not only expand your blog’s audience, you also enhance your SEO. Writing “share-worthy” content now has more power than ever.

In 2014, content creation is ranked as the single most effective SEO technique. [3] A well-crafted blog can be a powerful tool in any marketing strategy, from independent authors to savvy businesses alike.

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[1] The CMA, 2013

[2] Copypress, 2013

[3] Marketing Sherpa, 2013

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