For starters, there’s a common misconception that blogging once or twice a week and sharing it on social media will increase website conversions or help generate more leads. If only it were that simple... Realistically, the majority of people who see your post on Facebook, Twitter or wherever are going to click on it, give it a read and then go back to doing whatever it is they do best in their daily lives - if that even happens. It’s just how this new generation works.
Sure, it’ll get you that increase in traffic if you’re looking at Google Analytics. But, is your audience sharing it? Are they leaving comments? Are you generating new leads? Whether you’re a full force blogger, run an e-commerce store or just operate a local business, the struggle in maximizing your blog post isn’t really based on frequency but within understanding your audience, the strategy, and content itself.
In this post, I’m going to show exactly how you can maximize the visibility of your blog so you can start getting better conversions, acquiring more leads and supercharging traffic to your website. So, grab a cup of coffee, light that joint, and get ready for a good read, because this article is going to be a long one!
It’s Easy to be a Teacher but not a Problem Solver
When most entrepreneurs first start writing they tend to pick subjects that relate to their business in some way. If you’re in solar, you’ll want to write about energy. If you’re a grower, you’ll want to write about the plant itself. If you’re in extraction, you’ll want to write about refinement, clarity, color etc. Can you see where I’m going with this?When you're passionate about a niche you become an expert and when you become an expert, writing about it is easy. This isn't necessarily wrong but when your audience isn't defined, most people tend to fall back into their comfort zones and write about various topics within their niche over and over again.
<- Which kind of makes people feel like this guy
Aside from marketing, your ideal customer probably doesn’t want to learn to do what you do. That’s why you have a product or service in the first place.
Understand who your Audience is
With the evolution of modern digital marketing, everyone has access to data like they never have before. Google Analytics, social media networks, and other marketing tools can provide you with some of the best information in regards to your audiences’ demographics, motivations, interests, and behaviors. Just take a look at some metrics to get a better understanding of who they are.Twitter – under the audience section, check out the interests, demographics, lifestyle and mobile footprint tabs.
Facebook – under insights, check out the likes, posts and people section to the left.
Youtube – in the analytics section, check out the audience retention, demographics, playback locations and traffic sources.
Linkedin – under Analytics, dive into the traffic metrics, visitor, and follower demographics.
Pinterest- in analytics section, check out the people you reach, pin impressions, top saves, and clicks.
Google Analytics – By far the BEST place to start is your audience report. This contains the majority of your core demographics including age, gender, interests, geolocation, behavior, new vs. returning customers and it even contains a road map of which web pages your users visit most.
You can also conduct surveys, interviews and create a poll if you want to be even more specific. But, once you do your research and analyze all the information, writing down who your target audience(s) are will be much easier.
Define your Buyer Personas
Defining your buyer personas is a crucial step before working on any type of content. If what you're creating is supposed to target and satisfy everyone everyone, then you're essentially pleasing no one. Buyer personas aren't just a predictable personality type who identifies with a general target audience that needs or wants your product. When done properly, you can map certain content to the buyers journey and tailor topics to the specific needs, behaviors, and concerns of different groups.
Map Out your Content
Content mapping basically means just that - mapping out your content. It can actually be kind of fun and there's a ton of different ways to do it. If this is your first time, you might want to use Hubspot's content mapping template - it's pretty easy to follow. Or, if you have experience in digital marketing and are familiar with mind maps, you might want to give MindMeister a shot.
This part really requires you to stop thinking about those dollar signs and turn the advertising, advertising, advertising - I need my brand here, I need my brand there part of the brain completely OFF. Shut it down, throw it away and forget about it for a bit.
You will never get anywhere with that kind of mindset.
Slow down your thought process and try to understand YOUR own conscience behavior while being in their shoes. When you do, the ideas will just start flowing naturally and one thing will lead to another.Here's an example of one that I came up with for a previous client who had an all-natural hair growth product. As you can see, the main audience suffers from hair loss. I broke a section down by different causes, did a little keyword research and was able to create several pieces of content that met the audiences' needs.
Now, each business is going to be different especially, in the cannabis industry but hopefully, this visual will give you a better understanding of the kind of direction to take.
Create the Right Kind of Content
Next, you’ll need to come up with some pretty engaging stuff. And, when I say ‘engaging’, I don’t mean any of that fluffy BS that’s already been written by one of your competitors or copying and pasting your latest press release.
If you want to attract the right audience and boost those shares, then you need to ask yourself why you’re creating it in the first place. What goal are you trying to accomplish? Will it educate, teach or entertain? And, most importantly, will it be worth sharing?
Honestly, this new generation gets super bored super quick and they don’t want to see a re-hashed version of something that already exists. So, stand out and make something AWESOME!
Here’s a list of the different types of content you can create:
Optimize your Content for Search Engines
Trust me when I say your content needs SEO. There are too many mediocre blogs out there with posts just clogging up the internet. If you ever want to rank for any kind of keyword in search engines then you better hop on the content train now. It's one of the top 3 most important ranking factors to Google and that's not changing anytime soon.
In fact, their most recent algorithm update - Fred, affects blogs with low-quality posts that appear to be created mostly for the purpose of generating ad revenue. I've seen quite a bit of cannabis publications, directories and influencer blogs doing this lately and if you fall into that category or if that's your goal - you've been warned.
Optimize your Title & Headings
Title tags are the boldest, single most important part of a web page. It's also what gets pulled in when shared on other websites and social media pages. You should include keywords within the first 65 characters which is where Google cuts off the search engine results page (SERP’S).
It's best to follow something like this [primary keyword] + [secondary keyword] + [brand name]. As you can see, The Maven uses keywords but did not keep their text within the first 65 characters or else they wouldn't have the ellipsis at the end.
A better title for this page might be "Choosing Indoor Marijuana Grow Lights - The Weed Blog". Just by making a simple change we can keep the text within the first 65 character limit and push the primary keyword towards the beginning of the title.
Focus on 1- 2 Long-tail Keywords
Optimizing your web page for a keyword and using it multiple times throughout the post is not going to get you anywhere. In fact, it could actually hurt your SEO and your rankings could suffer. A good rule of thumb is to focus on one or two keywords per blog post. A keyword density of 2% is awesome. Usually, that’s once in every fifty words. And, the more text the merrier that way you can use it multiple times throughout.
Obviously, proper keyword research is highly recommended but if you don’t know how to do it, then you might want to think about learning how to use Google Keyword Planner just to get an idea of search volume and competition or hire us :)
Optimize your Images
Including ALT tags on your images not only make a better user experience for the visually impaired but it helps search engines understand what the image is about. It’s not going to make a huge impact on your rankings but it’s a perfect opportunity to include keywords.
Technically, ALT text is an attribute that can be added to an image tag in HTML. Like this:
<img src="french-bulldog.jpg" alt="french bulldog at the park" height="42" width="42">
And, instead of “IMG23456”, use something more descriptive like “french-bulldog” for the naming convention of images.
Yep! Don’t forget to include that keyword in the URL, it’s one of the first things search engines will look when crawling your page. If we look at The Cannabist URL, there's really nothing semantic about it. There's no keyword consistency throughout the entire search result and if a bot was to crawl this page, it would have no idea how to piece together the relationship between each element and the content within the article itself.
The URL is like a navigation system for telling the bot where to go to find the content just like Google maps takes you to a local restaurant. There needs to be more specific directions for which way to go. But, if a bot were to crawl this page, the url would be telling it to find an article on the website, in the folder 2017/01/30, posted in the /lights-greenhouses/ category and titled 68388.
A structure like that is like asking the search engine to sort through a big ball of rubber bands just to find something that should be easy to find.
I'm not going to go into too many details here because it can be really complex but a more dynamic URL structure would look something like this:
This tells Google that on this website go into the resources directory and in that folder, you'll find the cultivation-tips-and-advice category and within that folder, you'll find the article. Just like you're naming files on a desktop but getting more specific and more specific each time.
I know it might be a little hard to digest but just remember to ALWAYS rename your URLS and include your keyword.
Your meta description is meant to give readers and search engines information about the page’s content. And yes, you should include that keyword in there as well. With Shevin Law, the title and meta description could be a little bit more enticing but here's a good example of where the meta description is located -
*NOTE: It’s not always guaranteed your meta description is pulled into the SERP’s. Sometimes Google has a mind of its own and will pull different parts of the article to display on the results page. So, just because you added really descriptive text and the keyword, does not mean that it will show.
Include Internal Links
Inbound links to your content will help search engines understand the relevancy of your content. The same thing goes for content within your site. If you have existing content that’s similar to what a section of your post is about, it’s best to link to it. It’ll help keep readers on your website longer and show search engines which pages have more authority.
To help certain pages rank in Google, you build an assortment of posts around one main topic. Now, this may be diving into content strategy a bit but I think it’s still an important guide to follow. Instead of just creating random posts, you can actually try to rank specific keywords in search engines for specific subjects. Take a look:
Fetch & Render in Google Search Console
This basically allows you to tell Google that there is something new or changed either with the entire site or on a specific page. Then little crawlers will discover it and make the necessary updates within SERP's. This is a perfect way to tell search engines about an event date or time that may have recently changed.
Google will eventually crawl your site and take notice but fetching and rendering immediately will speed up the process. Just sign up with Google Search Console to verify your site and then you can start the process.
Lastly, one of my favorite parts at the end of building a great piece of content is letting everyone know about it in every way possible -
- Social media
- Social Bookmarks
- Infographic sites
- Video sites
- Slideshow sites
- Email companies/influencers that were mentioned and ask them to share
- Research similar keywords on social media and leave comments with a link
- Research similar articles in search engines, comment with a link and ask for feedback (you’ll get different results on Google, Yahoo, and Bing)
*NOTE: Be careful not to post on any instant article submission sites. Either the webmaster will notice that it’s not original and say no or Google will mark it as duplicate content and it could affect your SEO.
Finally, a blog is not something you should take for granted. It can be used in a ton different ways for a ton of different reasons. And, best of all it’s FREE! It may take a little extra time to research and put in the extra effort but trust me, it pays off when you do. So, whether it’s to inform your audience, build backlinks, or rank in search engines, it's the perfect tool for any entrepreneur in the cannabis industry can utilize and grow their business.
So, what are you waiting for? Hop to it!