At 2 Dogs Media one of our most popular services is our website audits – and it is one of our favorite things to do because we feel it is the one singular thing we can offer to a website owner that can make the biggest impact for them fairly quickly.
If you are wondering what a website audit is – it is an evaluation of a website that can offer a lot of insight in terms of technical, onsite and offsite SEO strategies and where there are gaps to help you improve your growth and monetization.
When running web audits for blog focused businesses we have started noticing 1 major issue that just about every blogger is having – CONTENT!
We have done a few blog audits recently that technically were amazing – they were fast, clean coded and just great sites structurally. But yet, these sites were still struggling to gain traction in the search engines – which is why they came to us. In every case, it was a lack of clear focus and the formatting of that content that we felt were in dire need of help.
The hardest conversation to have with a client is “your content needs work” – but it is the one that can make or break your success as an industry expert. So – we have that conversation and get started on making it better!
This is a follow up to our post about “What Are You An Expert In – the Importance of Focus in Blogging” but gives you a little more insight into how to narrow down that niche a little better.
Step 1: Get Nichey With It
Before you do anything else – you have to think about what your blog is about. Unfortunately, with the way the search engines work – if you say I am a “mom blogger” or a “business blogger” – chances of you succeeding are slim.
With out having a clear blog topic focus you will never do well in the search engines – it may be hard to hear, but it is the truth.
I cannot say it enough – your blog as a whole has to have FOCUS! Because I am active in the pet industry, I will use pet blogs as an example of the issues I see with bloggers in all industries.
If you do not know this answer – then you need to refocus and regroup. If you cannot determine your focus, then neither can your readers – or the search engines.
Ask your readers what they feel you do best at with your writing, ask what they think of when they hear your brand – your current users are a great way to figure out what your niche should be.
So You Are A Pet Blogger
Let’s take a look at the pet blogging community. It is HUGE! If I type in “Pet Blogs” in Google search I will see over 11 million pages.
So how can we narrow down our blog to have a realistic chance of making some progress in the search engines?
LEVEL 1 NICHE BRAINSTORMING:
Will you be a dog, cat, guinea pig, rat, turtle, flying squirrel or other type of pet blogger?
If you have an idea of the type of pet you will blog about, then do a quick look in Google to see how many pages are returned for a result.
“rabbit blog” – 3.5 million results
“flying squirrel blog – 1.6 million results
“dog blog” – 13.4 million results (yeah do not even try this as a keyword!)
But this will give you a GENERAL idea if you even have a chance of making any progress.
So maybe – just maybe based on what we see above you can do a general blog about rabbits or flying squirrels and with some amazing content and backlinks you might make progress – but clearly there is no chance at all of ever getting anywhere being a “dog blogger”.
At this level you are thinking about a high level concept that you can further drill down from.
LEVEL 2 NICHE BRAINSTORMING:
Let’s look at someone who wants to improve or start a dog blog – you may write about dog health, dog clothing or dog behavior. So let’s take a look at some of these in the search results.
“dog health blog” – 16.2 million results while “dog health” returns 14.5 million results
“dog clothing blog” – 22 million results while “dog clothing” returns 5.75 million results
“dog behavior blog” – 18.7 million results while “dog behavior” returns 22.7 million results
Yeah, you have no chance with any of those as a “dog blog” topic. Not only is there a tremendous AMOUNT of results, most on page 1 and 2 are highly authoritative websites that would be very hard to beat.
If you are a newer dog blogger, let’s say less than two years old you may really need to think about what makes you different to help separate you from the “pack” so to speak. Now is the time to tackle this chore!
LEVEL 3 NICHE BRAINSTORMING:
So you know you want a dog blog from Level 1 and now you have decided to focus on dog health from Level 2 – but you do see that there is still way too much competition so you need to further refine that as well.
Think about where you can go from here.
- Can you focus on dog health within a certain breed?
- How about defining a certain illness and making your blog focused on that specific illness?
- Humor blog – can you show the funny side of some dog health issues in a way that is fun but still educational?
- You can write about ideas like “how to keep your dog healthy in AZ” or “keeping your dog healthy while surfing”.
- Focus just on products that keep dogs healthy
Your goal is to think about what you want to be considered an authority for.
For example on my pet related blog at CharityPaws – I want to brand myself as an “Animal Rescue Resource/Expert”. While I do have some content that is not rescue related at all – about 60% or so of the content is.
Step 2: Keywords Are Not Dead
Sadly, keyword research is another step that I know most bloggers are not doing! How do I know? because they tell me so, I give points for honesty!
If you are not doing any kind of keyword research before creating your blog posts – you will have a really hard time ranking for anything.
When we write posts for our own websites or for clients – it is the FIRST thing we do. We actually use keyword research to even find topics to write about. These days we focus on long tail keywords for most of our posts and semantic keywords which have brought us a lot of success with ranking faster and drawing readers in sooner.
If you are putting out content that no one is even looking for then what is the point of it all?
So, let’s say you have narrowed down your niche – and you decide to focus on “Dog Health For Active Dogs”. You will want to talk about dog health for dogs that are super active and the unique needs they have – but you want to be sure you are integrating keywords that matter!
If you enter “active dog” on some of these you will see people asking questions about “dog toys for active dogs”, “special food requirements for active dogs”, “what are common injuries active dogs get” – and so much more!
There are a couple of other tools we highly recommend to help you while you’re determining a keyword strategy for a post. Keywords Everywhere is an add-on that we use for Chrome that will give us information like estimated Google keyword search volume and Google cost per click for many top websites. While not a perfect solution – it is easy to use and can bring some unique perspective.
Another tool that we are big fan of LSI Graph. Simply enter a keyword that your post maybe about an it will give you a list of related keywords that may help you find a more niche keyword strategy for your post.
In the example below we typed in “healthy dog” in the generator and instantly you can see a list of related ideas that you can either further define a niche too – or at least create focused categories about!
Below are some thoughts about the results:
- “How to keep your dog healthy the natural way” is a niche blog in itself.
- “Keeping dogs healthy in an apartment” — again another concept for a “niche” blog that I bet would do great. Apartment owners have unique issues home owners do not – it would be so helpful to have a resource.
- “How to know if my dog is too thin” – another great niche blog idea where you can focus on weight specific issues, illnesses and diseases.
If you can think outside the box – you can come up with a ton of unique ideas! And focus on QUESTIONS people ask as a niche as opposed to keywords.
Do I Have To Optimize Every Single Post?
Of course not! Sometimes you may do a blog hop post – or a Wordless Wednesday post or just a post where you ramble about something your readers and subscribers may enjoy. Those types of post are not “content” that you should expect to rank – if it does great, if not no biggie.
Creating content that RANKS requires research, topic focus, proper copywriting technique and optimization.
We recommend 1 or 2 long form content posts related to your niche a month. Make it fun, educational or controversial to engage and encourage sharing.
Then create a few shorter content pieces that you know you readers respond well to0 that may not be specific to a topic – but is fun to write.
It is all about BALANCE!
But Won’t Being Too Niche Limit My Growth?
Absolutely not! The purpose of a blog is to be an EXPERT – we are not experts in everything – and your blog should not/cannot be an expert on everything. But by allowing your blog to become an “authority” for one core topic – you will ultimately be rewarded for other content because you will be considered an authority blog.
So Do I Only Need To Write About My Niche Topic?
Again – big fat NO! You can write about whatever your little heart desires. We try to implement a minimum of 1 “niche” post a month that is a long form content piece (exceeds 1500 words) – sometimes we may do more. But other posts are other things we want to write about. They may be “related” but not an exact match.
So if you decide on a blog about keeping your dog healthy while surfing – of course you will have posts about surfing, surfboards, dogs on the beach, beach products for dogs and so much more.