In the first two articles of this series on foundation articles, we covered the difference between pillar articles and foundation articles, as well as how to structure your blog around foundation articles. Now, I will discuss the more technical, SEO aspects of using your foundation articles to drive targeted traffic to your blog.
I emphasize the word targeted with respect to traffic because it is this group of people who are more likely to take the kind of action you are trying to get them to take. Whether it is to get them to buy your ebook, click on an affiliate link or opt in to your newsletter campaign, if your traffic doesn’t convert then why bother with it?
Below is a 4 part strategy you can employ in order to optimize your foundation pages and earn that targeted traffic you are searching for.
This is arguably the most important aspect of on-page optimization. Choosing the most appropriately relevant keyword phrases for your content will greatly improve your odds of finding that targeted traffic you seek. What you are really doing is trying to match the phrases which searchers are typing into their browsers.
When speaking about keyword research it is important to note that single keywords or general keyword phrases are not what you should be targeting. What you really need to focus on are more unique keyword phrases, or long-tail keywords. These are the phrases that are more highly targeted towards your prospective readers’ needs, and will yield much better results in terms of gaining targeted traffic.
For example, if you are real estate agent in Portland, OR and you want to bring potential customers, agents, mortgage professionals and the like, to your blog, then trying to rank for phrase “real estate agent” is not going to yield very good results. What you should focus on is that which distinguishes you from the generalities of your niche. In this example, geographical location acts as a filter, thus keyword phrases such as “portland real estate agent” or “real estate agents in Portland” should be more highly sought after phrases to target.
There are a few free keyword tools available that will show you exactly what it is that people are searching for. This should be the starting point for any on-page optimization strategy. Google’s Keyword Tool is a good place to start. In additon, SEObook has a free keyword suggestion tool (sign-up required) that will provide you with some really good keyword feedback.
2. Article Title
Any SEO expert worth his/her weight in gold will tell you that using your targeted keywords in your title is very important. Search engines want to provide people with relevant results. Thus, those results should prominently reflect the words the searcher is using in the title of your articles and blog posts.
The title of your article should also be seen as a headline and treated accordingly. You want to ensure that you are speaking directly to your prospective reader. What I mean by this is that they are searching for specifc content using specifc keyword phrases and you want your headline to reflect this as accurately as possible.
And finally, writing an attractive keyword-enhanced headline makes it more likely that people will link back to you via your headline. Since links play a significant role in how search engines return results, putting the right keywords into your headline will serve to increase the likelyhood that your article will appear higher in search engines for those specific keywords. This is also a fantastic way to stand out from the crowd. In addition to search results, you may find your article on other websites, lined up with the headlines of other similar articles. Creating a relevant, yet creative headline may be the difference in getting your article clicked on or passed over. Learn more about creating headlines with SEObook’s Aaron Wall.
The content of your foundation articles must be in-line with your headline and the keywords you are targeting. Not only does this help search engines identify exactly what your article is about, thus will be more likely to reflect this in its results, but it is very important to your prospective readers. Too many people engaging in SEO completely forget about the people and design their pages’ content with search engines in mind; overstuffing with keywords. Although this may have some short-term benefit for getting a high page ranking, your readers will most likely find it annoying and hard to read, make a mental note of your blog, and never return. There is too much content out there, too many choices for people and they will move onto another blog if your content is perceived to be designed solely for the purpose of pleasing and manipulating search engines.
4. Layout and Design
The design of your foundation article is key. Very few people will read through a 700 word article that has no pictures, table of contents, sub-headings or anything else that will break up the page. Many highly successful articles have sections to them. They start with a quick summary of what the page will be about, have good flow, are enjoyable to read, and do well to make the page visually pleasing to the reader. The best example I can give you is to take a look at the social site; Squidoo. It was started by Seth Godin and does an excellent job in giving bloggers the tools necessary to create visually pleasing and engaging lenses (just a unique name for a web page). This lens called The Benefits of Blogging and Paul Revere will serve as a good example of what I mean.
The four points I discussed above all have one thing in common; they are on-page SEO strategies. This means that the techniques involved are implemented on your blog; within the content of your foundation articles. However, as social media increasingly influences behavior on the Internet, simply hanging out on your blog is no longer enough to garner targeted traffic. It is becoming increasingly important for bloggers to spend a great deal of time on social networking and social media sites as a means to drive prospective readers to their blogs.
This will be the topic of the 4th and final part to this series on foundation articles.
Additionally, creating a solid link building strategy (off-page SEO) is vital to gaining better rankings in SERPs (search engine results pages) and improved traffic. Check out our Link Building Tutorial for more information on this.
Part I – Pillar Articles and Foundation Articles - What’s the Difference?
Part II -Structuring Your Blog Around Foundation Articles is Key
Part III – Increase Targeted Traffic with Foundation Articles
Part IV – Portal Pages are Becoming Increasingly Important for Bloggers