The Power of B2B Blogging & Strategic Content Marketing
Your blog can be a powerful tool for letting eager searchers know that your company has the products and services they need to resolve their problem or capitalize on an opportunity. And, while your blog post may provide valuable information in and of itself, if it’s not getting discovered online, none of that information is being read by your intended audience.
In this blog, you’ll learn:
- How to understand traffic sources and metrics
- Tips for boosting organic traffic
- Advice on sharing content on social media
- How to re-optimize content and keep your blog relevant
- What backlinking is and why it’s crucial to content marketing and building your website’s authority
Plus, take advantage of a free checklist you can use to ensure your blog content is yielding the greatest ROI for your business.
Understanding B2B Blogging & Traffic Analytics
So, you’ve written a great blog that will help educate potential leads and delight your current customers. Excellent! Now you need to wait. As a rule of thumb, you should wait at least three months before attempting to optimize your blog post. Why? There are several reasons:
- It can take up to three months for Google (and other search engines) to crawl your blog and index the content.
- Waiting allows for traffic from your initial posting to calm down and normalize.
- The longer a blog is online, the more likely it is to attract backlinks. (We’ll talk more about backlinks—other sites linking back to yours—later.)
If your blog has been up for at least three months, it’s collected enough data and it may be ready to be re-optimized.
Take a Closer Look at Blog Traffic Sources
Once you’ve selected the blog you want to re-optimize, the first thing you need to do is see how it’s currently performing. This information should be available to you in your CRM, or website hosting provider.
The image above is from one of Open Path’s blogs. Fun fact: this blog is one we identified for optimization back in January of 2021. As you can see, our efforts paid off and, in March of 2021, the blog saw a surge in traffic. Don’t worry! We’ll show you how to do the same with your own blog.
Analyze the sources of traffic for your blog
As a general rule, blogs are normally driven by organic traffic (e.g. Google searches), so that will normally be the highest volume for your post.
Your traffic sources will be a combination of the following:
- Organic Search: When someone types in a query into a search engine—like Google or Bing—and your blog post comes up in the results. When someone clicks your link from the search results, that’s considered organic search traffic. Boosting organic search is done through SEO optimization and keyword research. We’ll go into this in more detail later on.
- Direct Traffic: This is rare for a blog post. Direct traffic refers to when someone types in your blog’s url directly into the navigation bar on their browser. For blogs, this normally occurs when the browser has remembered your URL and recommends it when a user is typing it into the navigation bar and they proceed to revisit your blog.
- Referrals: If your blog is getting high traffic from referrals, that is a great sign. That means your blog is getting linked to from other pages—whether yours or someone else’s—and people are clicking through to your blog. If referral traffic is high, that can mean other website owners find your content useful and authoritative, which is good for your website as a whole because it helps boost your backlinking performance and domain authority.
- Social: When someone clicks on your blog from a social media post, like from Twitter or Facebook, it generates social traffic. Social traffic is usually driven by your own business account or your employees posting or sharing the blog. However, as you build your brand authority, advocates may also start sharing your content, increasing your social reach.
- Email: It’s not a bad idea to link out to your blog in the footer of your email communications. Doing so can increase email traffic -- when someone lands on your blog from an email link.
- Paid: It’s rare for a blog to have paid traffic, as paid traffic refers to traffic driven by ads. Normally, if you’re running an ad, the link is to somewhere else (a landing page, solutions page, a content offer, or a webinar) on your website and not an individual blog.
Boost Organic Search Traffic
As mentioned previously, organic traffic will usually be the number one driver of website traffic to your blog. The best way to boost organic website traffic is to amplify what is already working. This means finding what keywords are performing best and reworking your blog’s content and headers to boost their performance.
Here’s how you do that:
Step 1: Identify Keywords
Google Search Console:
The easiest way to identify what keywords are performing best, you’ll want to have the Google Search Console linked into your CRM/website hosting provider. If you do not have this setup, it is imperative you do so as improving organic traffic is going to be nearly impossible without it.
Keywords - Impressions & Average Position:
Once the Google Search Console is set up, you’ll be ready to dig into the details of your blog’s organic performance. What you’re looking for is how your blog is performing on specific search inquiries or “keywords.” There are two pieces of information you’ll want to analyze: impressions and average position.
Impressions refers to how often your blog was listed as a result in the keyword search query.
Average position refers to where on Google your blog was listed.
When analyzing keywords to optimize your blogs around, you need to strike a balance between these two performance metrics. On the one hand, you want to optimize around positions you’re already performing well in. On the other hand, it’s not worth optimizing around a keyword that has few impressions.
Identifying Keywords with HubSpot as Your CRM
At Open Path, we use HubSpot as our CRM. For HubSpot users, you can determine your blog’s keywords to optimize around through the following steps: Using HubSpot, view the targeted blog’s detailed data. There are two tabs: “performance” and “optimization.” Under “optimization,” you’ll be able to see which search queries the blog is being discovered by.
Step 2: Optimize Keywords
Sub-Keywords and Related Keywords
Now that you’ve identified the keywords that are working in your existing blog content, you can go about optimizing your blog around them. To do this, you’ll need to identify sub-keywords and related keywords.
For example, if your blog is about “dish soap” and you’re trying to optimize around that keyword, you can improve performance by including sub-keywords such as “ivory dish soap” and “dish soap bars”, and related keywords such as “dish detergent.”
Doing this helps Google confirm that your blog really is about the keywords it thinks it’s about.
Related Article: How to Use Website Analytics to Drive Business Growth
How to Find Supplementary Keywords Using Online Tools
To find out the sub-keywords and related keywords to the main keyword you’ve identified for optimization, you’re going to need a little help from an SEO software, such as Semrush or Moz.
SEO software is not only able to tell you traffic analytics on your keywords, but also inform you of the difficulty it will be for your blog to master the keyword. If you find your identified keyword has an incredibly high difficulty, it might be wise to try optimizing around a different one.
Related Article: How to Use Google Trends to Analyze Your Company’s Online Presence
Update Your Headers
Your headers are broken down by number: H1, H2, H3, etc.. Your H1 is the title of your blog, while your H2s are the main sections of your blog content. H3s, H4s, H5s, etc. are optional, but not necessary.
Headers do two things for your blog: At the most basic level, they make your blog easy to read and easy to skim (notice how we’ve used them throughout this page?), but they also establish a content hierarchy for search engines to analyze. Google, for example, is going to assume the content headers are a picture of what the rest of your blog content supports.
Once you’ve identified the keywords you want to optimize around, rewrite your headers with those keywords and add the supplementary keywords to the body of your content.
Update Your Meta Description
Your blog meta description is what pops up under the search engine result for your blog. Essentially, it’s a summary of what your blog is about. Make sure it is under 155 characters long and includes your identified keyword(s). As well, make the content enticing. When someone types in something into a search engine, they get a list of results. Your meta description should be descriptive enough that they click on your post over any other search option. Keep in mind: you shouldn’t be misleading. Don’t create a meta description that over-sells what you have to offer. You don’t want someone to click on your post and become disappointed when they click on your page and discover that your content has nothing to do with your meta description or title.An example of a meta description from Google's search engine using the search term "b2b vs b2c blog."
Update Body Text
Lastly, go back through the body of your content. While trying to avoid “keyword stuffing,” go back and make sure your content contains your identified keywords. While the headers and meta description will do most of the work for you, you can’t forget to neglect the body of the text. Pro tip: add adjectives! It seems simple, but it’s commonly overlooked. Here’s an example.
Example A: This blog will help you drive traffic.
Example B: This b2b blog will help you strategically drive website traffic.
While both sentences get the message across, “Example B” uses keywords that help search engines understand more about the context of your blog content, and can better get your blog in front of the right audience.
Step 3: Update Blog Content and Wait to Re-Optimize
Remember how we said to wait three months before trying to optimize your blog content? You’ll want to wait that same amount of time again because Google needs time to re-crawl your blog. To improve crawl speed, you can manually request a crawl.
It’s a good idea to track how those keywords your blog was performing well for change after you’ve made these updates. You can do this by either tracking these positions manually or through the position tracking tool your SEO software should have.
What If I Don’t Have Any Identified Keywords for Improving?
If your CRM/website host doesn’t show that your blog is performing well in any relevant keywords, then likely your blog is getting no organic traffic at all. This doesn’t mean your blog can’t be saved. Here are some questions you can ask yourself to help diagnose the problem:
- Did I write this blog with any keywords in mind?
- If so, what is the traffic and difficulty of those keywords?
- Is my blog guilty of “keyword stuffing” - i.e. putting too many keywords in it that it looks like spam.
Depending on how you answered those questions, you may need to go back and correct some things. The preceding three steps work equally well when identifying new keywords to incorporate into your blog as well. Remember: when selecting keywords, you need to target searches that are both high-volume and achievable. If your website is not well-known and considered authoritative, it’s going to be nearly impossible to rank for searches that are highly competitive, regardless of how good your content is.
For example, if your website’s domain authority is 10, you shouldn’t be going after keywords that have a difficulty over 60! You’ll be spinning your wheels. However, if a keyword with high difficulty is still relevant to your business, don’t disregard the topic completely! Some of your blog content should be written to establish industry authority or for thought leadership. In those cases, you’re less concerned about keyword ranking and more concerned with educating your leads.
Incorporate Individual Blogs into Strategic Topic Clusters
Lastly, there’s the idea of a topic cluster strategy. Depending on your CRM/website hosting service, you should be able to incorporate your blog into a wider pool of content called a “topic cluster.” If your blog content is part of a topic cluster, make sure it is linked to your pillar page and that your pillar page content links out to the individual blog. Developing a topic cluster strategy is an SEO best practice when it comes to content marketing. If you haven’t dove into this concept, we highly suggest it to get the biggest ROI on your blog.
Another great opportunity to link your blog content to other relevant content is through CTA’s. For example, if you’ve written an eBook that supports your blog content, add a call-to-action button inside your blog which sends the reader to your eBook. Your blog strategy should be cohesive enough that it’s natural to link out to your company’s other resources, from solutions pages to downloadable content offers.
How to Improve Traffic From Other Sources
We’ve already reviewed how to boost organic traffic, but let’s go back and look at the other sources as well.
How to Boost Referral Traffic
The best way to get referral traffic is by simply having an engaging blog that other website owners want to share on their own site. Outside of simply writing great copy that gets discovered, this is very difficult to do, however, you do have options.
This is part of the challenge of backlinking — getting other sites to link back to your content. There is no magic formula to getting this done. For the most part, you’re going to need to do the hard work of networking with other relevant websites to get your links out there.
How to Boost Traffic from Social Media
Again, like referral traffic, this is done by simply having content that people want to share. As for controllable ways to do this, you can always repost the blog on your social media channels. How did this work the last time you posted it? If it didn’t fare well, try posting it again with a different prompt. Focus on engaging your audience and inviting them into the story of your blog post. Ask a question, tease a pain point, or provide a solution. Make your content relatable and personable to your social media followers.
Additionally, your team should be your brand’s biggest advocates. Your company’s employees should be sharing and posting from their individual social media accounts and liking each other’s posts. Social media engines are becoming more-and-more geared toward promoting personal posts, not a company’s. Your employees and coworkers should be your brand’s biggest advocates on social media.
How to Boost Traffic from Email
As we mentioned earlier, your email footer is a great place to promote your latest blog, but using email to boost blog traffic doesn’t end there.
Your blog is an excellent source of valuable content your customers and potential customers want to read. When corresponding with them via email, don’t be afraid to hyperlink out to one of your existing blogs when it’s relevant to the conversation you’re having with them.
How to Improve Other Blog Metrics
This next set of metrics are mainly based on the human behavior once visitors land on your blog. While your SEO is what helped them land on your blog, it is your website’s engagement and creativity that ensures they stay on your blog and go to other content. In fact, how visitors interact with your blog is reported back to Google. If people are landing on your blog and staying and looking around for a while, that tells search engines that it was right of them to direct the visitor to your blog and will be more willing to move your blog up in search rankings.
Understanding Human-Based Blog Metrics
- Bounce Rate: A “bounce” refers to when someone lands on your blog and then leaves without doing much of anything on your website. For blogs, having a high bounce rate is fairly normal. Ideally, however, you want those who land on your blog to interact with other pieces of content on your website. As mentioned before, give your readers an easy way to get to other content on your page by hyperlinking text or creating helpful CTA buttons across your content.
- Exits: An “exit” is when your blog is the last page a person visits before leaving your website. Ideally, a blog sucks a reader into wanting to know more about your company, causing them to click on additional links and explore more of your website. But oftentimes, people landing on your blog are looking for a quick answer and then to get on with their research, so, like bounce rates, a high ratio of exits to entrances is perfectly normal.
- Page View Time: This is the big one for blogs. It refers to how long a visitor stayed on your blog page. The higher this time is, the more of your blog someone is reading -- it means they are enjoying and valuing your content!
Improving Reader Metrics
Making your blog enjoyable to read can go a long way, which means having an eye for good blog aesthetics and an understanding of human reader psychology can improve all of your metrics.
If you have an image in your blog, make sure it is positioned well. Avoid sticking it at the very top (unless it’s in a graphic header) and never stack images directly on top of each other without a good reason to do so.
Double check the size of your images and make sure they fit and match the style of your blog. Images shouldn’t take up over half of your website page!
Additionally, make sure your featured blog image has a meta description for itself and that it is a good size for being the featured image on social media (between 2:1 and 300:175 ratio).
Add hyperlinks throughout your content. In order to avoid website visitors reading a blog and bouncing off your site, give them a reason to stay! Link out to other relevant content and services or solutions. Never make your reader have to dig your website to prove your blog content is legit. However, don't overdo it! Your content should have sustenance in and of itself without having to link out to other pages.
Take a step back and look at your content with fresh eyes. How readable is it? If you have big chunks of text, consider the following:
- Bold or italicize some text
- Change paragraph text to H4's and H5's, etc...
- Use pull-out quotes
- Throw in a graphic or an image that's relevant to your message
The Call-to-Action or CTA is the “what’s next” of your blog. Never write a blog that doesn’t have a next step to it.
Create strong CTAs to use throughout all of your content. You should be linking out to your various content offers across your site where it makes sense. Put the content offer towards the top 1/3rd of your blog post to ensure it's found quickly! Then, don't be afraid to use another CTA at the end of the blog. Give readers a next step! If your goal is to increase MQLs, give them a reason to contact you.
Keep in mind that not all of readers are engaging with your content in the timeline that you created it. As well, some blogs are relevant year after year if you keep updating them. With that said, avoid using any timeline language like "In the next blog...." or "Last week, I talked to you about...." You want your content to be relevant and timely no matter when the reader accessed it. If "the next post" is available, link out to it! You can also say, "For more on this topic, read "related article." If the content isn't ready yet, update the blog when you do have it rather than saying, “Next week, we’ll talk about the answer!”
However, if you want to create some suspense or draw your reader in, you can use this type of language on your social media posts! For example, “Let’s continue our series with….”
Improve B2B Blogging Efforts with Confidence
Creating a blog that gets prioritized by search engines like Google and is engaging to the humans who read it can be a tough task. Not only that, but what works today may not work tomorrow, so updating your blog is a constant task!
With so much expertise needed, it’s no wonder why many companies, while acknowledging the benefit of having a company blog, simply don’t have the time or expertise to constantly tweak and update their posts, much-less write them. If this sounds like you, there’s some help!
Open Path Digital got our start by building blogs for our first clients. Those blogs are well-maintained and regularly updated, providing our clients with a reliable source of traffic and new leads.
If you’re looking for a little relief from your blog writing headache, or simply need a second pair of eyes to give you the assurance that what you’ve written will work, schedule a call with us. We’d love to put our expertise to work for you.