It’s important to review your blogging strategy each year.
Blogging for business is a well-studied art form in terms of content and strategy. Through trial and error, content creators have discovered that the formula for a successful blog combines strong content, consistent posting and search engine optimization (SEO). But the specifics of what draws an audience to particular content continues to evolve as society and technology become more intertwined.
Between changes in content trends and search engine algorithms, 2020 may mark the start of a new era in digital publication. High-quality, long-form content designed with a skimmable layout and interactive media components is predicted to outperform the formats that dominated the 2010s, like short blurbs and photo-based listicles.
According to content marketer Charlene Boutin, 2020 will place long-form blog posts in the spotlight. Bloggers who pay special attention to formal elements like editing, fact-checking, composition and eye movement should see an uptick in website traffic and audience retention. There are two main reasons for this prediction:
- A recent update to Google’s algorithm, called BERT, which prioritizes originality and accuracy
- An ongoing shift in consumer preferences toward thoughtful, in-depth content
As a result, best practices for a successful blogging strategy are returning to the basics of media design, with a new emphasis on thoroughness, accessibility and professionalism. The biggest content trends predicted for 2020, according to ContentFly, are:
- Long-form posts
- Reliable facts and references
- Thoughtful, developed content
- Frequent, consistent posting
- High-quality snippets to draw in traffic (from social media)
- Video and interactive media
- Professional-level copywriting
In the New Year, SEO and user experience (UI) practices in blogging will require one all-purpose toolkit of considerations rather than two overlapping skill sets. To prepare for 2020, take advantage of the opportunity to streamline your blogging strategy, and adopt changes that make your posts more appealing to search engines and readers alike.
SEO Considerations for Your 2020 Blogging Strategy
The two hottest topics in SEO for blogging anticipated next year are the integration of BERT into Google’s search algorithm and the ongoing optimization of web pages for mobile users.
According to Search Engine Roundtable, BERT will impact roughly 10 percent of search queries, although the sum of its global effects on search results and ranking may be greater than that. BERT was rolled out on December 9, 2019, while Google introduced Mobile-first Indexing, which prioritizes mobile-friendly pages, in 2016. Over half of website traffic was from users on mobile devices in the third quarter of 2019, according to Statista.
Understanding How Google’s BERT Update Affects Blogging in 2020
According to the Search Engine Journal, “The BERT algorithm (Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers) is a deep learning algorithm related to natural language processing. It helps a machine to understand what words in a sentence mean, but with all the nuances of context.” The “bidirectional” part of its name means that BERT looks at the individual words in a sentence for the parts of a search query, rather than for strands of words in perfect sequence. This frees writers up to use the components of a long-tail keyword phrase throughout a headline or sentence.
In 2020, bloggers will be able to focus on naturalistic word flow rather than the precise repetition of a high-ranking phrase without losing out on SEO value. BERT is moving SEO for Google into a more user experience-focused territory, where audience-based considerations also boost search engine rankings. By understanding language more like a human, BERT alters Google results to boost written resources with logical language flow, robust supporting context and thorough editing.
Continue To Make Mobile Optimization Part of Your Strategy
Aside from designing your website for mobile viewing and navigation, as recommended by Leaving Work Behind, it’s important to account for mobile visitors when formatting blog posts. Small images wrapped into text rather than large ones that interrupt text can make lengthy posts more convenient to scroll through on mobile. Using bulleted lists and other formatting decisions that accommodate skimming can also make blog posts more hospitable to mobile users.
Increasing visitor access to your blog posts, through improved SEO and mobile-friendly formatting, will increase potential traffic to your entire website. This makes it more likely for your website and associated brand to get both backlinks and linkless mentions on other websites, which in turn boosts its SEO even more!
Reframing Your Blogging Strategy for the New Year
Although blogging is in a state of flux, some best practices never change. Reviewing and improving a marketing strategy at the end of each fiscal year is a long-standing tradition in the business and advertising worlds. Many periodical publications, like newspapers and magazines, review their past progress and future goals once a year as well. Looking at current blogging trends merely tells us what’s succeeding on a large scale. However, examining the response to your posts published throughout 2019 can outfit you with a custom set of clues about how to proceed into 2020.
- Be responsive in your blogging strategy: Responsive strategies incorporate specific insights from how your audience interacts with published content. At the end of 2019, you likely have a whole year of engagement data at your fingertips. Consult your website’s Google Analytics as well as any social media insights from updates with links to your blog. Ask yourself the following questions:
- What posts received the most traffic?
- What received the least traffic?
- What internal links embedded in posts performed the best?
- Which posts were most widely shared?
- Overall, what subjects, keywords, length and accompanying media did your audience seem to get the most out of?
- How can you replicate the success of your most popular posts with fresh, original content?
- Plan to spend more time on your writing process: According to ContentFly, more businesses will outsource blogging to ensure professional quality. Additionally, BERT is built to rank carefully-edited, original content with well-supported information on query topics. Combined with a move toward long-form content, these factors mean that bloggers who dedicate time and attention to brainstorming, researching, drafting and editing in-depth blog posts are more likely to grow their audience in 2020. Aside from conforming to shifts in best practices, keep in mind that it may take time to incorporate specific insights gained from reviewing your blog’s 2019 analytics. In order to keep up with new demands in blogging, consider your own writing speed and technical flexibility when writing blog calendars and setting internal deadlines.
- Identify the trends that work best for your audience: Not every blogging trend is worth chasing, just like not every social media platform is right for every business. Review the goals for your blogging strategy with new analytic information and general trends in mind. What trends are most likely to benefit your relationship with your audience? For blogs that receive a large chunk of traffic from social media, creating shareable short-form posts (“snippets”) with interactive content and well-labeled links to long-form content may be the smartest approach. However, for blogs that receive a high volume of organic traffic from search engines, meticulously crafted long-form content should take priority.
- Promote audience interaction within posts: As digital media becomes an accepted part of our lives, consumers are more eager to participate rather than merely observe. Quizzes, maps, games/activities and clickable infographics all invite readers to delve deeper into the subject matter of a blog post while internalizing its information. Embedding or hyperlinking interactive resources in a post encourages readers to explore your website more thoroughly, with the added bonus of making your site a richer resource for future visitors.
Go Beyond Blogging Tips – Get an Expert Strategy Review
Are you excited to grow your audience in the New Year, but unsure of what direction to take your strategy? At Three Girls Media, we keep a keen eye on the latest developments in content creation and marketing best practices. Let us help you increase your blog’s visibility in 2020. Contact us for a free consultation today!
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