SEO is hard.
And I’ve been doing it for almost 6 years.
There are over 200 different ranking factors that Google uses to determine in what order to rank web pages for any given search term, and trying to focus on all of them would be extremely wasteful.
So instead of giving a big overview of everything, we’re going to give you the key parts you need to drive to really grow your blog using SEO.
The Potential of Organic Traffic
You might be asking, in a world dominated by social media, is learning SEO even worth it?
SEO has the potential to drive not hundreds of visitors a month, not thousands of visitors a month, but potentially hundreds of thousands of visitors a month – and once you get there it is much easier to maintain it.
As we’ve discussed before, driving more traffic to your site makes you much more likely to collaboration requests from brands. In addition, the more visitors you can get, the more email subscribers you can get, and ultimately the more money you can make from your blog.
Now let’s get down to action and start driving more organic traffic…
Finding a Topic That Your Audience Will Love (And Google Will Too)
The chances are you have loads of potential blog posts for your blog (some are probably half written and discarded as you lost faith halfway through). This might be a time to focus on some of them, let’s go through the keyword research process for bloggers…
Firstly, think up a broad topic you want to write about. You’re interior design bloggers so this could be anything from a room, a trend, a how to guide, a review of a brand/product, etc.
For this example we’re going to take a look at writing about the bedroom.
So we head over to Ubersuggest and search for ‘bedroom’
Ubersuggest then spits out… 337 keywords. So hopefully there could be some content gems in here.
Scrolling down to take a look at some of the suggestions
Lots of high volume keywords sit at the top, then if you scroll down further you can find more specific long-tail options.
A lot of the keywords listed at commercial keywords dominated by the likes of Wayfair and other large furniture retailers.
‘Bedroom colour schemes’ sticks out as a content focused keyword that would be great for a blog post.
This becomes your focus keyword for your blog post.
You can now go a step further and find further keywords around this same topic that would be useful to include in the blog post, putting in ‘bedroom colour’ you find a whole new range of keywords.
The most relevant ones become your associated & related keywords.
Pro Tip: If you find a keyword around a specific room, for example ‘bedroom colour schemes’, you can be sure to know that you can replace the room with other rooms in the house and that will also have search volume, such as ‘kitchen colour schemes’, ‘hallway colour schemes’, ‘living room colour schemes’ etc.
Create The Best Piece of Content on That Topic
Whatever keyword you have chosen to focus on for your next blog post, go search for it on Google and see what other content exists out there for it, find out what Google is ranking highly.
Then beat it.
You should be creating the best piece of content on that topic the internet has ever seen, if you do this then you will vastly increase your chances of driving organic traffic to your blog.
You might be struggling to think about how to improve on some pieces of content so here are some ideas for you (let’s use the ‘bedroom colour schemes’ keyword from earlier):
- More In-Depth – There are a lot of different colour schemes that can be used in the bedroom, do existing blog posts cover them all, can you add more, are their new colour trends no one has covered?
- More Detailed – Do existing articles just list them? You could add more detail how to use colours together, product recommendations, etc.
- More Interesting – How do they read? Are they poorly written, or worse, no words at all? Plenty of opportunities to create a tailored piece of content for your audience.
- More Visuals – We live in our visually led industry, so there needs to be a lot of images in your blog posts usually to get your point and advice across. Use Canva to create cool images for your blog if you aren’t a Photoshop pro.
- Different Content Type – Could a video make the content more digestible for the user? Maybe an infographic could be useful (and also great for Pinterest).
- More Interactive – Something we’ve seen that still works is adding a quiz to your blog post. “What bedroom colour scheme suits your personality?” would be a great one at the end of the blog post. There are plenty of great tools to create these for free.
Now you’ve created your epic piece of content, which is the main part of increasing your opportunity to rank in Google, it’s time to add those little touches.
For those of you using WordPress, if you haven’t already go and download Yoast SEO now. It will make optimising your blog posts infinitely easier.
You will need to look at the following key SEO elements for every blog post your publish:
Title Tag – By default, this will be the headline of your blog post, which is normally a suitable title tag. However, you should try and get your focus keyword in there to show to Google what your blog post is about as clearly as possible.
Meta Description – These don’t actually affect your rankings directly but it can improve the chances of people clicking through to your blog post so make sure it includes your keywords and entices people to click through to your blog post.
Subheadings – Subheadings are great for both readability and for SEO, as they allow for readers to digest what they are reading as well as allowing for a quick skim of the key points. Google also uses these to further understand more about your article so include a variation of your focus keyword in at least one of them.
ALT Tags (of your images) – Alt tags are crucial for accessibility reasons or when something breaks and your images can’t be displayed – this is the best description to give to Google what each of the images in your blog post are of (they still can’t read images) so include your keyword where relevant.
Focus Keyword Usage – You should definitely use your focus keyword in your article at least once (but preferably a few times) to ensure it is clear to Google the topic of your article. Be careful though, don’t overdo it as that can cause more harm than good.
Related Keyword Usage – Using ‘bedroom colour schemes’ as an example, you should add variations and related keywords to this through your article such as ‘bedroom colours’, ‘bedroom colour ideas’ ‘bedroom colour scheme ideas’ to add the full context of your blog post.
External Links – A common misconception from bloggers is that adding external links can harm both your SEO and take users away from your site. The opposite is actually true, giving context by using external links where relevant can actually give a small SEO boost to your blog post.
So now you have a great piece optimised content ready to publish, your job is done, right?
Promote Your Blog Post Like Your Life Depends on It
All bloggers have been there, spending hours on an article, editing the images, tweaking the copy, finally putting it live and then… nothing. A handful of views and you get disheartened that nobody likes you.
Well that isn’t the case, the issue 99.9% of the time is purely because nobody knows the blog post is there. If they did, they would be all over it. The problem lies in blog post promotion. It’s something that’s rarely taught to new bloggers, with tutorials normally focused on your on-site activity, branding, etc.
So you’ve written an amazing blog post, how do you get it in front of the right people? Let’s find out…
Email the post to your email list
This should always be first up on your checklist. Your email list should become your biggest fans, so make sure you let them know about your new post first.
You can set up an automated RSS-to-email campaign so it is sent automatically, however spending a little time each time you publish a post to craft a unique, short, personal email to your subscribers will show noticeably higher levels of engagement.
The subject line should generate curiosity with your subscribers, while the email itself should be short, snappy and advise exactly what the subscriber will see once they click through.
The main goal of these emails is to get people to read your blog post.
Share on Facebook Page
You might be wondering why the next 7 points are not grouped into a single ‘Share on social media’. The simple fact is that each social channel is slightly different as to how you should tackle promotion.
First off – your Facebook page. This is where the fans of your blog will have liked your page. However with the ever changing Facebook news feed algorithms, it’s getting more difficult to actually reach them all (even though they’ve actively liked your page, Facebook doesn’t believe they want to hear from you, weird logic, but that’s Facebook).
There are certain types of posts that work well on Facebook pages and get more engagement (and exposure in news feeds) than others, the current best options include: Live Video, Video & Images (galleries often outperform single images).
You can really big up the post when publishing it on your Facebook page, really sell what your fans will love about the post if they click through.
If you are going to use the gallery option for images, make sure you include a description and link on each of the images to allow for your fans to click through to the article when browsing the imagery.
Share on Facebook Profile
Your friends and family may not be your blog’s main target audience but they will be keen to know what you are up to, so pop a quick post on your Facebook profile and you may end up helping someone you never realised you would.
It doesn’t need to big up the article itself (the headline should sell it) but a brief reason of why people should read it would be very useful, and could lead to people on your friends list sharing it with their friends and beyond.
Share in relevant Facebook Groups
Facebook groups shouldn’t be spammed, it’s the sure fire way to get kicked out the group (if it’s not your own group) or for your own group to look self-promotional and lose engagement.
The best tip for sharing your post in Facebook groups is not to actively promote your blog post, but rather to ask for feedback from your peers in the group.
This way you don’t appear self-promotional and you are actively looking for feedback to improve your blog post (which in turn will help you grow your blog) but also if you blog post is really good, you’ll find it will get some shares and links back from some of the other bloggers in the group.
You will need to be careful with this tactic as you probably won’t be able to do it for every blog post you write (depending how many you do each month) and you should limit it to only 1-2 blog posts a month.
Share on Instagram & Add the Link to your Bio
A massively underused tactic (although bloggers & brands alike are quickly catching up) is maximising the potential of Instagram. As mentioned previously, if you want to seriously grow your blog in 2017, you need to be clever with your Instagram bio and your bio link (the only link you have at your disposable on Instagram).
If you have strong imagery on your blog (a must-have for any interior blogger) you will probably have a lot of images in each of your blog posts. Instagram is the place to share it.
The ideal Instagram promotion plan would go something like:
- Add article as the bio link (Use bit.ly to track the number of clicks)
- Use imagery from your article every other image you post for 3-7 days (depending on your time resources and how many images you have)
- In each of the images you share, make sure that you mention “link in bio” to encourage people to visit your bio and click the link.
A great example of ‘link in bio’ & use of a bit.ly link from Jenny @ Seasons in Colour below…
Get active on Pinterest
Pinterest is traffic gold for interior design blogs, so it’s an absolute must that you share all your images on Pinterest.
It can become quite a laborious job if you have lots of images, however there are very reasonably priced tools that can you utilise to schedule your pins. Tools such as ViralTag, Boardbooster, Tailwind and Buffer.
Make sure you give each pin a unique description, which will help it show up in search results when people are searching on Pinterest, this way you’ll drive more traffic.
Also, make sure you are part of group boards and share the occasional Pin in the board to get additional exposure to your articles.
Pro Tip: Split the cost with a friend as you can often add multiple accounts and this can save you money.
Share on Twitter
Rarely forgotten, but always crucial to keep the obvious on your checklists in case forget one day.
Want more engagement on Twitter? Images are your answer! Nearly every piece of research into getting more engagement on Twitter comes to the same primary conclusion which is that you need to use more images.
This naturally goes hand in hand with the interiors world as it is a very image-heavy industry, so when you are sharing your new blog post, make sure you include an image within the tweet to maximise your engagement levels.
(Apparently) little known tip: When you @mention somebody in a tweet, only people who are following both you and your mention will see that tweet. If you want all of your followers to see it, put a full stop right at the start (.@mention)
Share more on Social (don’t just share once)
This is one of the biggest mistakes bloggers, brands, and pretty much everybody makes when starting out (and often even longer after that).
To give you an idea of why you need to share each of your blog posts more than once; the average lifecycle of a tweet is just 17 minutes, so if you imagine that after 20 minutes of you tweeting your latest blog post, no one will see it after that time.
Here’s a graphic to display when you should be re-promoting your new blog post across your main social media channels:
If you are struggling to think of different ways to share the same blog post, here are some ideas:
Facebook – In your first post, share it as a gallery of images. Then with the second post, directly share the link. You can learn which one performs best for your Facebook audience and what will work for future blog posts.
Twitter – Once you’ve written the blog post, create 5/6 tweets about the article. The first obvious one would be the title of the blog post, then another could be a re-wording of the article title, or one could be a quote from the article – use the blog post itself for inspiration.
Pinterest – Once you’ve pinned all the images, you shouldn’t re-post them otherwise your profile could start to look spammy. However there is a great tool called BoardBooster, which will automatically recycle your pins to drive more engagement and also build your following at the same time.
Instagram – Never be afraid to republish images you have already published on Instagram, especially if your following is growing quickly – within a few months you might have over half of your audience that never saw the original image so you can also re-share the image (and even put the link in the bio again if the article is still relevant).
Email the people you mentioned in the blog post
It’s only natural to link to other resources when you write a blog post.
It could be because you’ve used someone’s image and you’ve given the credit & linked back to their blog as a thank you. Or you’ve used someone else’s guide to then create something in your home.
You have probably mentioned brands and linked to their products that fit the style of your blog post – whether that be bed linen, cushions or kitchen appliances.
Whatever it is that you’ve linked to, make sure you let them know you featured them. Everyone loves to hear when they’ve been featured and will often share these features with their followers – in doing so you’ll reach new audiences and get more readers on your blog.
Pro Tip: Large brands are unlikely to share your post (unless you’re an equally big blogger), so help out the smaller brands with links to their site, let them know you’ve featured them – they’ll be much more likely to share it.
Email your friends / network who might enjoy the post
Whether you’ve been blogging for a few months or many years, the chances are you’ll have a few close-knit group of blogger friends, they might be in your same niche or could be from a completely separate market.
You’ll be close to these blogger friends, you’ll know their likes and their dislikes, and what they are up to in their lives – and you can use this to your advantage by giving them a personal heads up when your post goes live.
For example, you may know that one of your blogger friends is thinking of doing up their kitchen (maybe they’ve been talking about it for a while but never actually got round to it). If you’ve planned an article about kitchens, such as a guide on how to maximise space in a small kitchen – this is exactly the sort of thing you should be letting that friend know about.
Simply pop them over a quick email, or text, or however you usually chat – mention you’ve just published an article they might like and send them over the link. Not only will you be helping that friend out with an awesome article – the chances are they will share it with their audience through their social channels too.
Get it featured in round ups
Occasionally bloggers will publish round ups of awesome posts they have read in the past week or month. It gives them an opportunity to show their audience some other great resources for interior inspiration produced by other bloggers within that previous week/month.
If you are particularly proud of your most recent article, you should try and get it in front of whoever writes the round up – if it really is as good as you think they should have no trouble including it in their round up.
To maximise your chances of getting it featured, ask for their feedback on the article itself. If they come back with anything constructive, make those changes and then let them know. If they come back with a glowing positive review and they like your post, be cheeky and ask if it might possibly make the cut and get featured in their round up.
Ask Influencers for Feedback
Is there someone in the industry you really admire? It might be another blogger, interior designer, or the founder of a brand. This is your opportunity to take a chance and start building a relationship with that person you most admire. Pop them an email explaining you have produced this article that they might be interested in and you would love their feedback as an expert in the field.
With this sort of promotion you are playing to the ego of the influencer – I mean who doesn’t love to be told they are an expert or hear that they have inspired someone. The chances are they will take a browse of your blog post, and if your post is as good as you think, they’ll share it with their audience.
This in turn could lead to more social shares, an introduction to a new audience and more views of your new blog post.
Share it with people who have written similar topics
This tactic takes a bit of set up and preparation but once you have done that, it becomes an insanely powerful way of getting your blog posts more social shares (and therefore more traffic). To set up ready to use this tactic, follow these simple steps:
- Pull together a list of as many interior bloggers as you can (or maybe focus on your favourite ones to start with).
- Set up a Pro account on Feedly (If you share this with 5 friends it works out less than $1 per month)
- Add all of the bloggers on your list to your new Feedly account.
Now you are ready to action this every time you launch a new blog post.
When you write a new post, whatever the topic, search the topic on Feedly, and you’ll find a list of people who have written about the same topic recently.
You can then reach out to these bloggers and say you’ve written something similar – and ask them if they would like to check out the post. As you already know they’ve shown an interest in the topic, there is a very high chance that they will be interested in reading your post.
And if they like it, they’ll share it.
Paid social promotion (Facebook & Pinterest)
Boosting your posts on Facebook can drive serious new levels of traffic to your blog posts. If you know your audience (you can get this from your Google Analytics) then you can target similar people to those who already read your blog.
You’ll already be sharing your content on Facebook & Pinterest, so give it that little nudge to potentially go viral.
On Facebook, the simplest way to do this is to share a link on your Facebook page, then click on the ‘Boost Post’ button, set up the audience target and budget and set it to work. The more specific you can be with your audience, the better results you will see.
On Pinterest, it is slightly more complicated but again you will just need to choose a Pin to promote and choose search keywords to target for it to display.
The important part of this is to measure how many visitors and how your engagement levels vary with these promoted posts and learn exactly what your audience likes to engage with.
Repurpose into new content (Video / Infographic)
This tactic can be pretty time consuming, but at the same time it can be extremely rewarding and get you a lot more exposure.
If you’ve created a step by step guide on a certain topic (for example, ‘how to reupholster a dining chair’). Hopefully you’ve created lots of images, and detailed precisely what to do for your reader to reupholster a chair in this post.
You can take it to a whole new level and also create a video to go alongside the article, not only that, you can then also share this across your social channels. Video is one of the best performing content types around so try to capitalise on it if you can.
Gabby at Flat 15 is doing amazing things with her videos – check them out here.
Create Your Own Blog Post Promotion Process
There are quite a few ideas you can potentially use to help get more traffic to every new blog post you create in this article. Naturally, some are easy whilst others take a lot more effort (but for equally greater reward).
There is no need to do the entire list of promotional techniques for every article you create, but the more you do, the more traffic you will receive.
Use the ones you enjoy the most, or get the best results for your blog – and make sure you action them for all your new blog posts.
Pro Tip: Use checklists, they actually have a psychological benefit to increase your chances of completing your blog post promotion for every article you produce. Whether you use free tools such as Trello, or a simple Word Doc you print off for each blog post – creating a checklist for your promotion will help keep you accountable and more likely to action your promotion techniques.
Rinse & Repeat
SEO is a long game. If you think you can do one thing and expect thousands of visitors through the doors overnight.
However, the great thing about SEO and creating great (keyword-targeted) content is that it compounds growth and can lead to more and more visitors over time.