There are many ways a blog can give your ecommerce brand an added boost.
For one, it gives you the opportunity to establish yourself as an industry expert and build brand authority over time. It's also a great tool for increasing conversions—a well-written blog goes a long way in positioning your brand as credible and relatable.
More importantly, it's a highly effective tool for boosting ecommerce SEO (Search Engine Optimization). More unique, high-quality content on your ecommerce site will improve its indexing and ranking. Blogs are also a means for external and internal link building (as we will illustrate below).
While your product detail pages may already include SEO keywords, blogs give you the chance to incorporate other relevant search terms and address related queries. This helps to further cement your dominance within your niche.
More often than not, the challenge lies in writing blog content that is optimized for SEO. If you're looking for a step-by-step guide that'd allow you to produce high-quality blog posts consistently, then this article is for you.
In this article, we'll walk you through our recommended blog writing process and provide some suggestions you can follow.
Planning for your Blog Post
Before you get started, you need to have a good idea of your brand's niche, as well as its target audience. If you need some direction, check out our article on tips for starting a blog.
For now, let's suppose you have an ecommerce store that sells cute tea infusers. Your target audience? Millennial tea lovers who know their tea.
Pick the right keywords
The first step is keyword research. There are plenty of online resources that provide detailed explanations of how it's done (here's a good one to start with), so we'll just focus on some of the most essential steps for ecommerce SEO.
Come up with a few keywords associated with your brand and its products. Next, analyze the following metrics for each keyword, making sure its country-specific:
- Search volume: Besides looking at the total search volume, observe the trend over time to understand how the interest surrounding the keyword has changed. It's also important to note how seasonality might play a part, especially for ecommerce.
- Keyword difficulty: This gives you insight into how hard it is to rank for the keyword. You'd want to target keywords that aren't too competitive, yet have a substantial search volume.
- Keyword Intent: Since this is for an ecommerce site, make sure that the keyword has a high transactional intent.
- Keyword variations: When writing your blog post, try to incorporate both close keyword variations (e.g. loose leaf tea infuser) and grammatical variations (e.g. tea infusers)—in a natural, reader-friendly way of course.
- Related keywords: Apart from including closely related keywords in your blog post, consider how these keywords can act as a springboard for future content ideas, which would help you build your topical authority.
There are also many online tools that can help you with your keyword research. We like to use Google Trends to get quick overview of search trends, before using SEMrush for a more detailed analysis of our shortlisted keywords.
Scope out the competition
Another thing you'd want to do is perform a SERP (Search Engine Result Page) analysis or, in other words, size up your competition. By analyzing the top-ranking pages for each keyword, you'll get a better idea of how you can optimize your blog post to compete with them (and whether you stand a chance in the first place).
For example, you might find that the keyword 'tea infuser' is hard to rank for, given the high number of backlinks and domain authority the top-ranking sites have.
However, these sites may not be using more specific keywords like 'cute tea infuser'. Such keywords are known as long-tail keywords, which are less competitive and therefore offer better opportunity for your ecommerce site to rank.
The SERP analysis is also a chance for you to see what content your competitors have shared. Optimize your blog post by writing content that is more comprehensive, relevant or even unique.
If you're looking for a tool that can help, this SERP analysis tool roundup by MyWPLife provides some popular options that offer a free trial—a good opportunity to find out what works best for you.
Choose a blog topic
Now that you’ve settled on a keyword, the next step would be to come up with blog post ideas associated with your keyword. This can be challenging, especially when your creative juices run dry.
We often draw inspiration from the most common search queries related to the keyword. For example, people may search for ‘how to use a tea infuser’ (an informational search query) or ‘where to buy a tea infuser’ (a transactional search query).
The keyword research tools we’ve recommended offer these insights, but another platform we like to use is AnswerThePublic. It offers a more comprehensive look at the various types of search queries people have for a particular keyword.
Writing your Blog Post
With your keyword research and a blog topic in mind, you can finally get to the blog content itself.
Start with an outline
You should always start with an outline for your blog post.
First, consider the main message of your article. Next, list out all the main points you want to share with your target audience. Think about how you can group them into a few overarching sections.
These first two steps should allow you to come up with your blog title and sub-headers, SEO-friendly ones at that. It's a chance to get creative, but try to follow these "best practices":
- Get people curious. Not only does having a unique, catchy title compel people to read your blog post (and increase your click-through rate), it also indicates to search engines how uniquely valuable your content is.
- Include keywords. Your title should feature your main keyword and you should attempt to optimize your sub-headers for important keywords. But make sure you don't keyword stuff (or you may be penalized).
- Keep it succinct. Try to keep your title between 55-60 characters long. Anything longer and it's likely to be truncated on a SERP.
- Use the right formatting. Ensure that your blog title should have use the H1 header tag, while your sub-headers should use H2 header tags.
You might find yourself struggling to come up with engaging blog content regularly. This is where a copywriting tool like ours can come in handy. Built for ecommerce, our AI blog article writer can automatically generate blog titles and outlines that are tailored to your brand background and products. If you're a Shopify user, our Shopify app also does the job!
Use the right tone of voice
Before you put pen to paper though, you need to have a good understanding of your brand voice.
The tone of voice you use when writing your blog post should not only represent what your brand stands for, but also display an awareness of your target audience. This will influence the stylistic choices you'll have to make along the way, from your sentence structure down to your word choice.
For instance, if your brand is about adding a fun twist to the mundane (the cute tea infusers!) and targets millennials who are knowledgeable about tea, then you might opt for a more informal but witty tone. You wouldn't be afraid to use tea-related jargon too, since it allows you to demonstrate your expertise, which will add to your credibility.
Apply a "winning" formula
A well-written introduction is key because it captures your reader's attention and gets them to continue reading the blog post.
An effective conclusion, on the other hand, features a call-to-action that encourages the reader to take the next step. This is particularly important for ecommerce, since one of the main goals is to get readers to eventually visit your online store.
Writing compelling introductions and conclusions can be tricky, so you might find it helpful to adopt a tried-and-tested formula. This guide by Lasso features several ways you can go about writing your introductions and conclusions.
Link building is an essential part of improving ecommerce SEO. After all, search engines use links as an indicator of how "valuable" a page is.
When it comes to ecommerce, adding internal links to your blog post is crucial because it drives more traffic to your product pages or other important landing pages (e.g. category pages) within your site.
Always make sure you're linking to "evergreen content", that is, content that continues to be relevant and valuable in the long run. Optimizing on seasonal content, such as an existing promotion, could mean that future readers are directed to irrelevant pages or a broken link (unless you remember to update your links).
Highly relevant links that direct readers to external authoritative sites could be helpful as well. For example, you could link to a blog post written by a respected industry expert whom your target audience is familiar with.
Linking to such sources helps to grow your digital footprint and adds to your credibility. This could potentially lead to reciprocal links as well, helping you to increase your number of backlinks.
Moz offers a link explorer that provides greater insight into your site's, as well as your competitors' links. Taking a closer look at how your competitors are earning their backlinks can give you a better idea of the authoritative sites within your brand's niche. You can even try reaching out to request for a feature.
Some examples of how your ecommerce brand can get a backlink or feature are:
- Reaching out to a industry expert that blogs about your type of products
- Setting up an affiliate program to drive more incentivized links
- Offering to guest post for another blog in your domain
As you review your blog post, don't forget to make it reader-friendly.
On top of good grammar, consider other factors that could make your blog post easier to "digest". Here are some things you can try:
- Keep your paragraphs short. Break up your writing into paragraphs of no more than 3 sentences long.
- Vary your sentences. Use a mix of different sentence structures and avoid using too many compound or complex sentences that may be hard to follow.
- Write simply. Use words and expressions that are accessible to your target audience.
It's also helpful to think about more effective ways to put across your point.
Bullet or numbered lists can make your blog post more "skimmable", while infographics can help to illustrate complex ideas or provide a summary readers will remember. Quote and callouts useful when you want to highlight important points within your blog post.
We recommend using a grammar and style checker like Grammarly and ProWritingAid. Both tools also provide a readability score and recommendations of how you can improve on it.
Publishing your Blog Post
Now that you've finished writing your blog post, there's just one last step before it goes live on your ecommerce site. These steps are equally important for optimizing your blog post.
Not only does it make your blog post more appealing, adding images breaks up your content into smaller chunks and improves readability. At the same time, you'd want to make sure that your images are optimized for SEO.
First, ensure that each image is accompanied by an alt text (alternative text). Remember that search engines can't see your images. The alt text describes the content of the image, which helps search engines index it.
According to this HubSpot article, there are some best practices you should follow when writing your alt text:
- Include keywords. This is a good opportunity to feature keywords, but never keyword stuff.
- Be descriptive and specific. Someone who hasn't seen the image should be able to picture what's going on in the image. Add in important specifics, such as the product brand.
- Provide context. If you're using a generic image (like a stock image), add context based on the content of the blog post.
- Make it succinct. Keep your alt text to 125 characters or fewer.
Adding captions for your images is also important as it helps enhance scanning if people skim through your blog post.
A slug is the portion of the URL that identifies a specific page on a site. More often than not, the slug is automatically generated, especially if you're using an ecommerce platform like Shopify or WooCommerce.
That said, there are ways in which you can optimize your slug for SEO:
- Include your main keyword. This is important as search engines use slugs (as one of the many indicators) to determine what the page is about
- Remove function words. Function words do little more than contribute to the grammaticality of your blog title. Take out words like 'and', 'the', 'is' and 'a' that provide virtually no information on the content of the blog post.
Always make sure your slug is user-friendly. If it looks suspicious, it's unlikely anyone will click on your blog post.
A compelling meta description can help you increase the click-through rate of your blog post.
Apart from providing a brief summary of your blog post, the meta description should also pique users' interest. Think of it as advertising copy—it should communicate the highlights of your article.
Try adding keywords or common search terms too. Search engines typically bold keywords in the meta description that match the user's search queries. This would help draw attention to your blog post on a bustling ecommerce SERP.
Another good practice would be to keep your meta description to below 155 characters, in order to avoid having it truncated.
Blogs are a highly effective means for boosting SEO for your ecommerce site, especially when they are published regularly. More than that, they serve as a good platform for educating users about your products and showcasing your brand personality.
Having your own blog planning, writing and publishing process will go a long way in helping you consistently craft high-quality, SEO-friendly blog posts. We hope you'll be able to use this step-by-step guide as a springboard to come up with a process that's most effective for your ecommerce site.