You’ve gone to all the hard work of creating a new blog post: writing content, creating images, getting internal approval, making revisions, and finally publishing it.
You do a search on Google to see how it ranks, but you can’t find the blog post anywhere!
How can I make sure Google quickly finds my new blog post?
The first thing to know is that Google doesn’t instantly see a blog post the second it goes live. So, if you post a blog today, it might not even be indexed by Google (added to their system) until a few days – or even weeks – later.
One way to speed up Google finding the post is to make sure your sitemap is submitted to Google Search Console and is working correctly. You can have Google recrawl the URL in Search Console by using “Fetch as Google” and then clicking “Request indexing”. Outside of directly going to Google, get other relevant websites to link to it. By “relevant”, I mean websites within your industry, other local businesses who have websites, social media (Facebook, Twitter, and yes… even Google+), etc.
Why isn’t my blog post ranking well?
There are many factors that go into determining how Google ranks content (including these, but there’s many more than even that). Google doesn’t typically reveal what these are, but they include things like:
- What the searcher’s “intent” is. Meaning, what type of answer are they looking for? Is it likely that the article will answer the searcher’s question? (The longer the content, the more likely it is that the question will be answered.) If yes, is the answer easy to find in the article?
- Is it clear what the article is about? What’s the title of the article? What are the headings in the article?
- Are other websites linking to the post (and/or to the website as a whole)? If yes, are those websites popular? What’s the surrounding context of the link? What’s the text that’s linked? Etc. In Google’s world, a link pointed to a page is like a “vote” of confidence toward that content… the more votes from high-authority/trustworthy sites, the more likely Google is to show the content.
- Are other users clicking on the article, but then hitting the back button because it didn’t answer their query?
How well a blog post appears in search depends on those and other, similar factors. For example, how much relevant, popular content already exists from high-authoritative sites related to the searcher’s query (how much competition there is from trustworthy websites)?
If you’re writing a post about healthcare, it’s going to be very difficult to compete with sites like WebMD (if they already have similar content).
See the list of resources at the bottom of this post for some practical tips on writing blog posts for SEO.
How can I get more visibility for my blog posts?
You may be wondering “If my blog post isn’t showing in Google, should I keep blogging?”
Just because a blog post doesn’t rank well in Google, doesn’t mean you should stop blogging.
(If none of your blog posts show up in Google, then there are larger internet marketing issues that need to be addressed.)
Blogging for SEO
In fact, blogging can be very useful for both SEO and attracting users to the site.
How? Here’s just some examples:
- It provides excellent content to promote on social media, in email blasts, etc.
- It establishes the business as an expert/authority on a particular topic (both in the customer’s mind and in Google’s “mind”).
- It can help boost other pages on the site (ex. service or location pages) for queries where they rank in the search results. This is especially the case if you’re linking to those pages within the blog posts (caution: don’t add more links to other pages on your own site.
- It can attract backlinks (other websites linking to the post). Similarly, it can be used for doing manual outreach to ask other relevant industry (or local) blogs/websites to link to the post.
It can take months and (typically even) years for Google to trust a new website’s content more and more. But, the results can end up being very worthwhile!
I’ve seen this happen with a retirement planner’s blog – they were consistently creating useful blog posts for years. The blog didn’t start with attracting lots of traffic from Google, but over the course of time, the traffic to those posts continued to climb. In fact, it got to the point where the issue wasn’t as much of “How can we get people to see the article?”, but rather “How can we get people deeper on the website to learn more about the business?”
Blogging for SEO Resources
- https://moz.com/blog/seo-for-bloggers-whiteboard-friday – This short video should give you a good background and useful tips.
- https://yoast.com/seo-friendly-blog-post/ – This article is from 2015, but it’s got some practical info that’s still relevant. The only thing that seems to be outdated is #7 (“Optimize the length of your article”). Research has shown that there’s no reason to stop at 700 words, and that longer articles typically perform better in Google search results.
- https://ahrefs.com/blog/title-tag-seo/ – This is a very in-depth article on how to craft the blog’s title.