- A beginner-friendly SEO guide, based on blogs that convert
- Link your blog from the main navigation and other important menus
- Choose a blog location, which promotes site authority
- Use a mix of broad and specific topic tags, keep them relevant to user intent
- Use titles and headings to increase CTR and blog engagement
- Improve User Experience with indicators for reading time, content difficulty, and content type
A beginner-friendly SEO guide, based on blogs that convert
Blogging has become an essential part of the online marketing strategy for most companies. It’s a powerful tool that can help businesses generate more traffic, leads, and revenue. However, creating and maintaining a blog is not enough. To make the most of your blog, you need to organize it properly for conversions and great user experience (UX). In this article, we will discuss how to organize your company’s blog section to maximize conversions and create a seamless user experience for your readers.
We will cover key elements such as navigation, content structure, calls to action, and more. So, whether you’re a seasoned blogger or just starting, read on to learn how to take your company’s blog to the next level.
Let’s discuss how you can organize a blog (or, should I say — a business blog) so that your users can navigate quickly, convert easily, and bounce infrequently.
Link your blog from the main navigation and other important menus
Linking your company’s blog from the main navigation and other important menus is essential to ensure easy accessibility for readers. You need to make the blog or community section easily and intuitively accessible for the users on your site.
Why should you link your blog from the main menu?
The main navigation is typically the primary point of entry for website users and should contain all significant sections, including your blog. By linking your blog from the main menu, you can increase traffic and engagement, boosting your blog’s visibility.
Why should you link your blog from the footer menu?
Placing a link to your blog in the footer ensures accessibility from every page of your website, providing a seamless user experience. Make sure to link to your blog in prominent locations to improve visibility and user engagement.
Choose a blog location, which promotes site authority
Choosing the right location for your company’s blog is critical to promoting your website’s authority. When deciding where to place your blog, there are some factors to consider such as:
- the relevance to your website’s main topic to your blog,
- user engagement and proximity between the blog and the products or services you have, and
- search engine optimization (SEO).
What should you choose – hosting the blog on a subdomain or subfolder?
One option is to integrate your blog into your website’s domain by creating a subdirectory or otherwise -subfolder, such as yourwebsite.com/blog. This approach signals to search engines that your blog is an integral part of your website, which can improve your website’s overall authority.
Another option is to create a subdomain, such as blog.yourwebsite.com. While this approach may offer greater design flexibility, it can dilute your website’s authority.
Tip: Regardless of whether you choose to make the blog a separate subdomain or (blog.site.com) or host it on a section from the main domain (www.site.com/blog), the URLs should be intuitive for users. When titling your blog posts, the title slug should follow directly after the /blog/ directory, or after .com for cases when the blog is on a separate subdomain.
Tip: Make sure you also set up a 301 redirect for users who type site.com/blog in their web console to your blog's location and vice-versa, depending on your location choice.
Should you include tags and category names in your blog URLs?
Including tags and category names in your blog URLs can have some benefits, but it may not be necessary in all cases.
Including tags and categories in your URLs can make them more descriptive and user-friendly, making it easier for users to understand the content of the page from the URL itself. Including relevant keywords in your URLs can also help with SEO by providing search engines with additional context about the content of the page. There has been evidence in SEO in the past that suggests that the keywords used in the URL (in this scenario – tags and topic names) can also be used for ranking purposes by mapping that information to user queries.
Here are the scenarios where including category and tag names in the URLs will be worthwhile:
- You have a highly organized blog and contact tagging strategy, where each category name and tag are representative of targetted content clusters
- You are not planning or foreseeing any major changes to your tagging or category structure in the near future
Note: Changes to tag and category names might also be needed following a change of strategic business direction, external factors or other messaging, so might not always be foreseeable. Keeping this in mind is pivotal when selecting tags and category names for URLs, as otherwise, these might become obsolete, requiring a 301 redirect to their updated versions at some point, which will hinder the user experience and page authority.
Including tags and categories in your URLs can make your URLs longer, which can negatively impact user experience and readability. Using tags and category names in the URLs may not be necessary if your website already has a well-structured navigation system and a search function that allows users to easily find relevant content.
Most websites choose to exclude tags and category names from URLs, keeping them only to be used for navigational purposes. Often, unless there’s unique content on category or tag pages, such pages are noindexed, as otherwise, they might lead to poor user experience or be considered as thin content by search engines.
Use a mix of broad and specific topic tags, keep them relevant to user intent
The best blogs I’ve seen balance broad and specific topic tags brilliantly. To loosely quote Allyssa Barns:
“Without categories and tags, your blog posts are just one giant jumble of information. Think of it as a filing cabinet with one folder containing 200 pages of paper. How is anyone supposed to sort through it to find what they need?”Allyssa Barns
To organize your blog, you need a solid set of categories and tags in place. In order to achieve this, let’s go through what differentiates a category from a tag.
A post category is a broad topic, covered by your blog. If I have to use Medium as an example, the categories here are expressed by the topics we have. If I have to look at my own subdomain on Medium, my topics would be marketing and technology.
Post Tags are granular versions of a topic. They are more detailed. For instance, on the topic of marketing, I often write about digital marketing, SEO, marketing theory, and strategy. The tags are keywords, which you can use to organize your blog to provide more structure to a broad topic.
Categories are the general subjects you write about. Tags are more specific topics within those subjects. Because categories and tags serve different purposes (categories are broader, while tags are more specific), you’ll really get the most out of using both.
What are the benefits of using a mix of broad and specific topic tags in a blog?
Using a mix of broad and specific topic tags in your blog can have significant benefits for both SEO and user experience (UX). Broad topic categories can help organize your content and provide a high-level overview of your blog’s focus, while specific tags provide more detail and granularity. This makes it easier for users to navigate your blog and find the content that’s most relevant to them.
Such a structure can also help improve specific site engagement metrics, such as pages per session and average session duration, as your users who are interested in a particular category or tag topic can quickly find other relevant content.
From an SEO perspective, using relevant tags and categories can also help search engines understand the structure and hierarchy of your content, which can them comprehend your topical authority, which can in turn improve your website’s visibility and ranking in search results.
How many categories and tags should a blog have?
The number of categories and tags a blog should have will depend on the specific needs and content of the blog. However, it’s important to strike a balance between having enough categories and tags to provide structure and organization, without overwhelming users with too many options.
Aim for no more than 1-2 broad categories and a handful of specific tags for each post, each of which reflects a subtopic mentioned in your post.
Use titles and headings to increase CTR and blog engagement
The click-through rate (CTR) is incredibly important for the performance of titles and other metadata that is showcased in search results. Together with other engagement metrics, such as average time on page, average session duration, and bounce rate, it can be used to evaluate how engaging the blog content is to visitors of the site.
Google recommends using clear and descriptive titles that accurately reflect the content of the blog post. Including relevant intent-driven keywords in the title can also help with SEO by helping search engines to surface your content to more users with similar searches. To promote click-throughs from search and help your articles stand out include emotional, uncommon, or power words in your titles to make them more compelling and engaging to readers.
Other best practices for titling blog content include keeping titles concise and using proper capitalization and punctuation amongst others (summarized from Google Developer resources ):
- Write document titles based on the primary purpose of the document. If a document is primarily a tutorial, but has a conceptual introduction, write a task-based title. Write section headings based on the type of content that’s in the section.
- Avoid repeating the exact page title in a heading on the page
- Avoid using -ing verb forms as the first word in any heading or title (Exceptions for words like billing or pricing)
- Use sentence case for headings and titles.
- Don’t include numbers in headings to indicate a sequence of sections, e.g. “Step 1”, or “1. Introduction”
- Use punctuation in headings sparingly
- When using an abbreviation in a heading or title, spell out the abbreviation in the first paragraph that follows the heading or title.
- Don’t link from headings because it can easily be confused as a style applied to a heading instead of a link.
- Don’t use empty headings or headings with no associated content.
- Respect Header hierarchy
- Use heading tags to structure your content hierarchically: <h1>, <h2>, and <h3> in HTML and Don’t skip levels of the heading hierarchy. For example, put an <h3> tag only under an <h2> tag.
- To change the visual formatting of a heading, use styling options rather than using a heading level that doesn’t fit the hierarchy. Don’t make up your own formatting for headings.
How to optimally use the H1 heading tag?
The H1 is the equivalent of the title tag, except that it appears on the page. It is critical to have one H1 for each page as it helps Google understand the topic covered by the page. It is ok for the title tag (shown in SERPs) and the H1 (shown on page) to be different, as long as they are not intentionally misleading.
- Use only one H1 tag per page: Each page should have one primary heading that summarizes the main topic or theme of the page. Additional subheadings can be used to break up the content, but they should be styled as H2 or lower tags.
- Include relevant keywords: Incorporating relevant keywords into your H1 tag can help search engines understand the topic and context of your content. However, it’s important to avoid keyword stuffing and focus on creating a clear and concise heading that accurately reflects the content of the page.
- Make it descriptive: The H1 tag should provide a clear and concise summary of the page content. This helps both users and search engines quickly understand what the page is about and why it’s relevant.
- Keep it concise: While the H1 tag should be descriptive, it’s important to keep it concise and avoid overly long headings that may be truncated in search results or confuse users.
Improve User Experience with indicators for reading time, content difficulty, and content type
The best blogs out there have respect for their visitor’s time, previous knowledge of the topic, and content preferences. In order to communicate to your readers your respect, provide them indicators of the things that are important to them for content consumption:
- How much time do they have to spend in order to learn what is promised to them in the title – Include a reading time count for the content you have on your blog.
- Do they need previous or additional knowledge on this topic in order to absorb this information – You can do this with indicators in the title such as ‘beginner’, ‘advanced’, ‘ultimate’, ‘step-by-step’, ‘comprehensive’, and other such adjectives in the title or subtitle of the blog posts you write.
- What kind of content should the reader expect – A single topic and title can be tackled in many different ways. Hence why, provide an indicator of not only what the content is about via tags and categories, but also what type of content it is.
In order to capitalize on the possibility of getting backlinks to the blog section, some companies also include press releases, company news, and product announcements in their blog. If your blog posts, guides, case studies, and wikis are bundled with news, press releases, and product announcements, the least you can do is label them appropriately to assist the visitors of your blog to navigate it better.
Should you publish news and other content (e.g. press releases) as part of your blog?
Including press releases, company news, and product announcements in a company’s blog section can be a good SEO strategy if executed correctly and in conjunction with other SEO best practices.
If the news content is not relevant to the overall theme of the blog section or the company’s brand, it may confuse search engines and visitors, potentially leading to lower rankings and engagement.
Additionally, if the news content or press releases are not optimized for SEO, it may not rank well in search results, which can erode search engines’ trust in your blog, and result in lower overall performance of the blog section.
It's best that you organize other content types such as news or press releases into separate sections, e.g. /news/ or /press-releases/, and optimize the content with associated structured data accordingly.
If you want to optimize your blog for SEO and improve user experience, there are several things you can do:
- Link your blog from the main navigation and other important menus. This makes it easy for visitors to find your blog and improves its visibility on your site.
- Choose a blog location that promotes site authority, such as hosting it on a subfolder.
- Use a mix of broad categories and specific topic tags to organize your content and keep them relevant to user intent.
- Use titles and headings to increase click-through rate and engagement.
- Improve users’ experiences with indicators for reading time, content difficulty, and content type.
- Publish news and other content separately.
By implementing these best practices, you can create a well-organized and engaging blog that is optimized for both search engines and visitors.