The Most Common Business Blogging and SEO Mistake in the World

by Marcus Sheridan

Over the past week, because of my guest post on Social Media Examiner and due to the increased traffic here on The Sales Lion, I’ve had the opportunity to look at 28 business blogs that are doing their best to embrace this thing we call Content Marketing.

Yet out of these 28, I’d say 26 are making the same mistake again and again and again. In fact, because I keep writing the same diagnosis to business owners I figured I should start using my brain and simply write a post on the subject….Hence, an unexpected blog article on a Saturday afternoon.

It All Comes Down to Goals

But let me just cut to the chase by making this critical statement, one I earnestly hope you will take to heart for your business’ blog from today forward:

If you don’t have a keyword phrase goal for every blog post you ever write, you’re missing the boat.

In other words, if I looked at your company’s last 10 blog posts, from the title of the post alone could I clearly tell what your target keyword goal was for that post??

Yep, that’s the magical question, the one that 26 out of 28 blogs this past week clearly cannot answer.

People constantly send me emails wondering why they are getting little traffic with their blog posts. Usually, within seconds of looking at their writings, the problems jump off the page.

The Problem with Terrible Post Titles

Although there are some core SEO problems that most folks suffer from, terrible post titles takes the cake again and again and again.

There is a little debate as to whether or not blog titles should be more ‘witty’ (written to attract readers) or more ‘SEO oriented’ (written to attract the search engines).

I submit that it’s usually possible to achieve both, but for over 99% of all blogs in this world that have very few subsribers, SEO in the title should be the first priority. The reason for this is simple—SEO is the gift that keeps on giving. When you rank on the first page of Google for a particular keyword phrase, the new business and customers that can come from that one post can literally last for years to come. (I’ve experienced this many,many times.)

This is why most folks need to quit with the witty titles that make no SEO sense and start enriching said titles with a keyword phrase, preferably one of the long-tail.

For example, here is a really dumb blog title:

The Big Secret Your Pool Guy is Not Telling You

(As you might imagine, no one is typing in Google the keyword phrase “big secrets from pool guys”.

Now take the same blog post, and change the title to:

The Most Egregious Fiberglass Pool Warranty I’ve Ever Seen

The second title is not only keyword rich (fiberglass pool warranty), but it’s very attractive to readers as well. (It also ranks on the first page of Google for the phrase, as it’s an article on my swimming pool site.)

Real Life Examples: Can You Guess the Keyword Goals?

Let me show you some real life examples of what I’m talking about here. Although I don’t always write titles for SEO here on The Sales Lion, many do have a keyword goal. With my swimming pool company, EVERY article has a keyword goal. (Remember** Because I have so many subscribers here on TSL and it’s more of a ‘social’ niche, I can have more of a mix. With swimming pools not being a ‘social’ niche, it’s all about the SEO). I’m going to show you a blog post, and see if you can guess what the targeted keyword phrases were with each (before I tell you the answer below each image).

Keyword Goals: ‘Hubspot Reviews’ (#3 on Google Currently), ‘Hubspot Customer Reviews’ (#5 Google Currently)

Keyword Goals: ‘Blog Headers’ (#3 on Google Currently) ‘Best Blog Headers’ (#3 Google) ‘Blog Headers Designs’ (#2 Google)

video marketing tips

Keyword Goals: ‘Small Business Video Marketing Tips’ (Currently #1 on Google)

Keyword Goals: ‘Fiberglass Swimming Pool Problems’ (#1 Google), ‘Fiberglass Pool Problems’ (#1 Google)

Keyword Goals: ‘Inbound Pool Cost’ (#3  Google), ‘Above Ground Pool Cost’ (#3 Google), ‘How much do Inground Pools Cost?’ (#1 Google), ‘How much do above ground pools cost?’ (#1 Google)

State Your Keyword Goals and Watch the Results Follow

Hopefully, as you looked at each one of these blog titles, the keyword goal(s) of each became immediately obvious. This is exactly how it should be for your company blog. Remember, the key is that you always have a clear goal. Once you establish this one little habit, you’ll notice your organic search visit traffic will start to go up and you’ll rank for more and more keywords with each post.

Your Turn

How do you decide on your blog post titles? Is SEO something you think about and do you have a keyword goal(s) for each article? And if you’re not getting much traction with your blog and its SEO, just write down the url in the comments below and I’ll be happy to respond with a few suggestions in my reply.

Note****Most companies and bloggers don’t share articles like this one because it ‘gives away their secrets’. Frankly, I find this ridiculous. The fact that I’ve been so open about every success strategy I’ve ever had is likely the #1 reason folks trust me to guide their business when it comes to creating content for SEO, branding, and sales.

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