Blogs have seemingly lost much of their luster in the content strategy world. But according to the latest CMI benchmark report, they still represent the second-most common platform for distributing content, used by 78% of respondents.

It’s true that a lot of blogs aren’t very effective when it comes to driving business results. But that’s not because they can’t be effective. Blogs are too often treated as afterthoughts and obligations rather than major opportunities to draw relevant eyeballs to your brand and build your domain authority.

If you want your brilliant blogs to impact your business and grow your brand, you’ll need to back them with an equally brilliant blog SEO strategy. A search-informed perspective should define and guide every aspect of your blogs, from keyword strategy to writing approach to publishing cadence.

Here’s how you can make sure you’re being strategic and purposeful in getting the most out of your blog from an SEO standpoint.

Make each blog a part of your larger content strategy

While content marketing is helpful throughout the funnel, if you’re aiming for SEO reach, most of your blogs should focus on the top and middle of the funnel, as these are your best opportunities to prove helpful on topics with high search volume.

Upper-funnel content

At the top of the funnel, your blogs attract audience members for the first time, even if they’re out of market, and start generating memorability for your brand. The more memorable your brand, the more likely your audience will think of you when they are in-market. 

Upper-funnel blog SEO best practices

  • Target relatively broad, industry or product-based terms. 
  • Limit brand or product mentions.
  • Present incremental next-steps (e.g. newsletter sign-up or related content).
  • Evaluate performance based on brand growth metrics.

Mid-funnel content

Your middle funnel content is dedicated to showing your audience what our Guide to Full Funnel Lead Gen calls the four keys to best answer content: credibility, quality, authenticity, and experience. 

Demonstrating these qualities of your brand to your audience sets you apart from your competition during the consideration stage.

Mid-funnel blog SEO best practices

  • Target high-intent keywords that relate directly to pain points or purchase triggers.
  • Speak directly to a distinct (often advanced) audience.
  • Focus on attracting the right people versus more people.
  • Offer actions and next-steps that move prospects further into the funnel, such as asset downloads or links to solution pages.

Understand your audience and their intent

When it comes to planning content across your buyer’s journey, understanding and incorporating search intent into your keyword strategy becomes more critical than ever. 

Search intent is the reason why your audience is typing any given search term into a search engine. Increasingly, Google’s algorithm is evolving to prioritize results that meet searcher intent in a comprehensive, credible, authentic way. 

Taking steps to understand search intent will help you craft content to meet it, while also opening your eyes to valuable insights regarding your buyer journey.

Use a cluster-based keyword approach to build topical authority

“Clustering” keywords together is an advanced SEO content strategy that involves building out multi-blog content plans around interrelated keywords. 

You start with a central concept, usually a relatively high-level keyword that’s related to your services – like “search engine optimization” in our case – then you use keyword research to surface other keywords that are topically grouped with it based on search patterns. (Like, say, “how can I get the most SEO value out of my blog?”)

Topical authority is a core consideration for search engines like Google. They want to serve results from sources that are deeply recognized and respected in the subject matter area at hand, and your blog can accomplish this by covering crucial topics from front to back. 

Essentially, your goal is to show up for any variation of inquiry when searchers are looking for information. And as you gain more rankings for these variations, your topical authority and likelihood of ranking for the main “head keyword” rises. 

At TopRank Marketing, we use keyword glossaries and topical maps to plan and organize content according to these philosophies.

Refresh existing content regularly

One of the most noticeable SEO trends we’ve observed of late is that Google is deprioritizing aged content more than ever before. Blog posts that are even three or four years old can see sudden drops in ranking as search engines strive to provide timely, accurate results.

For blogs with large content libraries built over many years, there are almost always opportunities to revisit and republish older posts to give them new life, with a fraction of the effort of a completely new piece. One of the simplest ways to identify these candidates is by tracking your keyword ranking data over time and looking for specific pages that are losing traffic. In many cases these are valuable URLs simply in need of some refreshing. 

The more you can incorporate each of these tips into your content marketing, the more each of your blogs will support one another and help demonstrate your brand’s authority. The more authority you build, the more impactful your SEO marketing initiatives will become, on the blog and beyond.

Learn more about what goes into building a winning SEO strategy in 2024.

About the author

Harry is one of TopRank Marketing’s Content Strategists, and has been a professional digital content specialist since 2016. During this time, he has honed his content writing skills and worked closely with SEO and SEM experts to enhance his understanding of how to most effectively create high-quality content that performs well on both search engines and social media. Harry is passionate about creating content that represents the voice of his clients well and provides genuinely relevant, insightful information that his client’s customers will find helpful and entertaining to read. When Harry isn’t writing content, he’s usually reading it, or watching movies. He watches a lot of movies.

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