If you clicked on this post, then I’m guessing you want to add a blog to your online store but aren’t sure why where to start?
If so, that is completely understandable, blogging is a skill within itself but if SEO is a major part of your ecommerce marketing strategy then it is something worth learning about.
And that is why we created this guide, to give you all of the information you need to know in order to not only add a blog to your site but also have clear goal in mind for your blog.
Is a Blog Good For SEO?
If you have read any kind of marketing or SEO guide for ecommerce stores, then you will have inevitably been told that adding a blog to your site is good for SEO but is it?
Well, it depends…
Yes, a blog can be very good for SEO if it does correctly with a clear goal in mind as to what you want the blog to achieve.
No, if you are publishing low-quality posts that provide little to no value to the reader, in this sense, it can actually hurt your site’s SEO.
Needless to say, we are going to be focusing on helping you create a blog that helps your site’s SEO in this guide.
So what should the goal of your site’s blog be?
1. To Build Backlinks
When it comes to SEO, one of the most important factors is backlinks (links from other site’s to yours) as the better your backlinks profile is, the more trustworthy your site is in the eyes of search engines.
But building links to ecommerce stores that only have product and category pages can be challenging, not impossible but definitely challenging.
Having a blog on your site can make link building easier but you need to focus on the right type of content as some are better than others for link building, which is why in this instance you want to create informative content, such as:
- In-depth guides and tutorials
- Original research
- Resource pages
And rather surprisingly, your primary target for this content isn’t your customer base, instead, it is other blogs as these are ones who are going to link back to your site but we will cover this more a little bit later.
2. Generate More Sales
As your site’s authority starts to grow as you attract more backlinks, other pages on your site should start to appear higher in search results, meaning that you might get more traffic to your product and category pages.
But you can also use your blog to directly start making more sales as you can produce investigative content, such as:
- Best of lists
- Gift guides
- Product comparisons
These types of posts can attract visitors who are much earlier in the sales process, which is laid out in the image below:
When you have informative and investigative content on your site, you can attract potential buyers at steps 2 and 3, whereas if you just had product pages, you would only be attracting them at step 4.
By producing investigative content, like what was mentioned above, you can link to your product pages from these posts and if the product is what the customer wants/needs, then they may well become a paying customer.
But your primary goal should be to create informational content and build backlinks to these posts because it will make ranking your investigative posts easier.
How to Find Topics to Write About
One of the biggest challenges I hear people say is that they struggle to find topics to write content about but it probably isn’t as hard as you might think and below, we will look at some ways that you can find some potential topics.
But before we get to that, there are some things you want to avoid:
- Creating content that isn’t relevant to your niche, for example talking about cars if you sell coffee
- Creating a personal blog such as How I, My Favourite posts as people aren’t searching for this
Instead, you want to be creating relevant content that people are actually searching for and you can use some of Google’s tools to help you do this.
Before you use any tools, you need some ideas to start working from and this is where brainstorming is quite useful and you already have three things you can start working from:
- The product you are selling
- The product type
- The niche the product is in
And you want to start thinking about queries around these three things and these will often start with words such as are, what and why.
If you are still struggling, then you can think about questions that:
- You have asked around the products you sell
- Family and friends have asked
- Customers have asked (if you have had any sales)
Another option and potential goldmines are Reddit and Quora, as these are sites where people go to ask questions. Simply find the subreddit or space to do with your niche and look at the questions that have been posted, if you see the same thing being asked regularly, then add it to the list.
For this post, we are going to look at the example of vertical mice to hopefully help give you an idea as to how this process might work for your niche and below are some informational and investigative questions that people may ask.
- What is a vertical mouse?
- Are vertical mice better?
- Are vertical mice ergonomic?
- What are the best vertical mice?
- Vertical mouse (brand & model) review
- Vertical mouse A vs B
You don’t need hundreds of potential ideas at this point, you just want enough to get you started as you may end up going down a rabbit hole anyway!
2. Google Autosuggest
Google Autosuggest is a great way to get started with what is basically keyword research as it lets you know 2 things:
- If people are actually searching for these terms
- Any related search terms that people are using
And getting started with this is super simple, just go to Google and start typing one of the queries that you brainstormed in the search bar and it will autosuggest some options.
Below are two search queries that show how adding one word can bring up a totally different set of suggestions:
The search for just vertical mouse came up with a few interesting options and while there are definitely some keywords here that could be used for investigative posts, there are quite a few search terms here that have transactional intent, which is great for product pages but not great for blog posts.
Investigative Intent – trying to find the right product for them:
- vertical mouse for gaming
- vertical mouse for small hands
- vertical mouse vs trackball
Transactional Intent – product-focused with specific brands or outlets mentioned:
- vertical mouse logitech
- vertical mouse amazon
- vertical mouse evoluent
And while this does provide some options for investigative posts, there are no posts here that are completely informational (if you created a truly exceptional comparison, then the vertical mouse vs trackball could be an informational post).
But if we look at the second set of autosuggest results, where we put the word are in front of vertical mouse, we now get some keywords that we could create informational content around.
You probably won’t be able to create a post with enough content depth around all of these keywords but they could make for good subheadings in another post.
And as said above, when you are just starting your blog, you want to aim to create informational content which will generate backlinks for your site, so it is best to focus on these types of keywords to start with.
But don’t discard the keywords for investigative content, make a note of them and put them to one side as they might be helpful in the future.
But why is Google Auftosuggest a good starting point?
Well, all of the suggestions are searches that people have recently made, which lets you know that there are people actively searching for this content.
3. Google Related Searches
Google’s Autosuggest feature isn’t the only option that Google offers for finding potential keywords as at the bottom of every search page, they display a list of related searches and just like with the autosuggest, these are all recent searches that people have made.
This is a great source of potential keyword ideas as you can see in the image below, which was taken from the ‘are vertical mouses good’ search term.
If you have been paying attention up to this point, you will already notice that the intent of these related searches is very mixed as there are ones that are transactional, investigative and informative.
But it is still a great resource for picking up additional keywords that you may not have come across otherwise.
4. People Also Ask
There is a second section on the search results page, which can be a goldmine for keywords which are great for informative and investigative content and that is the People Also Ask section as this only shows questions that people have asked.
And another bonus of this section is that when you click to expand on this question, it will show you what Google thinks is the best answer and the site it came from.
This can help you begin to gauge the quality of the content from your competition and if the answer isn’t great, there may be an opportunity for your post to take its place.
As with the autosuggest, using the related searches and people also asked can provide you with potential blog post ideas or subheadings that can be used in posts.
5. The Rabbit Hole
When you are doing your keyword research, you want to try and create a really good list of keywords for the topic and to do this, you need to go down the rabbit hole of Google.
By this I mean, start with your initial search term, using the example in the post would be ‘are vertical mouses good’, you could then click on the related search of ‘are vertical mouses good for gaming’ and see what related searches and people also asked questions come up.
If there is a good related search, you could click on this and see what the results for this are and rinse and repeat.
Then you can go back to the start and try another search term and repeat the process, this may be time-consuming but it is a great way to find keywords that you may never have come across otherwise and also increases the chances of finding long tail keywords, which may be easier to rank for.
6. Check out the Competition
For pretty much any search term, you are going to face competition but you can increase your chances of ranking higher by focusing on search terms with easier competition and here are a couple of things to look for:
#1 Do the Search Results Exactly Match the Search Query?
If all of the results on page one match the search query exactly, then you are probably facing stiffer competition for this search term.
If however, the posts don’t exactly match the search query and especially if none of the top posts actually answer the question, then it improves your chance of ranking for it.
#2 What Type of Sites Rank on Page 1?
If all of the results on page one are websites or blogs, then the competition for this search term is quite high as these sites have established that they can potentially get traffic for this search term.
But if there are only a couple of blogs and question sites like Quora and/or Reddit alongside forums, then it shows that the competition is quite low as these types of sites don’t rank high if there is stiff competition.
#3 How Strong Is The Competition?
Next up is how strong is the competition in terms of their backlinks and authority and while there is no way to see how strongly Google sees them, we can use tools like Ahrefs Domain Checker to get an idea of how good this site is.
If the competition is somewhat average, look at their posts and ask yourself 3 questions:
- Is the content any good?
- Does the content really answer the question?
- Can I produce a much better quality post?
If the answer to the first two is it’s ok or no and you know that you can write a much better post, then it is definitely a post that is worth considering.
This can also sometimes be the case with some of the big names in your chosen niche as they have a half-decent post that ranks well but if you can produce a really top-quality piece of content, then there is a chance that you can outrank them.
7. How Many People Are Searching For It?
By this point, you should have a list of potential blog posts that you can create but before you start hitting the keys, you want to get an idea of how many people are searching for this so that you can decide whether or not it is actually worth writing the post.
And for this, you can use Google’s Keyword Planner, now you will need a Google Ads account for this but don’t worry, you won’t have to buy any ads!
You just want to use their keyword planner as it gives you the average number of searches per month for your chosen keyword.
When you first go into the keyword planner, you will be asked to choose between the two options in the image below and you want to choose the Discover new keywords option as this not only gives you search volume but also potential keyword ideas.
On the next screen, you will be asked to enter the keywords that you want to search for and select the country/countries that you want the information for.
Once you have entered all of this information, click on the Get results button and you will taken through to the results page, which shows you some really useful data, including:
- Ideas to broaden your search
- The number of keyword ideas Google has found
- The average number of monthly searches over the past 12 months (this can be changed to your chosen time period)
- The three month change
- The Year over Year change
- The competition (just be aware that the competition is for ads not organic search results)
The numbers on the average monthly searches are quite broad, for example, it can be 1k – 10k and 10k – 100k but it still better than nothing and gives you an idea as to how much traffic you might get if you can rank high enough.
After doing this research, you should have a few good ideas for posts that you can create and also some ideas for subheadings and keywords that you can include in your content.
You can also use paid tools such as Ahrefs or Ubersuggest (you get 3 free searches on Ubersuggest a day), which give more specific estimates but these are only estimates, not exact figures.
These tools do make the process of doing keyword research much simpler as all of the information is available in one place but they can be quite expensive, whereas the Google method is free, it just takes a bit more time and work.
Content Clusters and Topical Authority
Before we get into actually writing a post, let’s talk about content clusters and topical authority as these two things can have a big impact on the performance of your blog.
When it comes to creating content, there are a couple of mistakes that people make when they first start a blog for their online store:
- Creating a single post on a subject
- The posts they make aren’t that relevant to each other
And from an SEO perspective, this isn’t very good as you aren’t providing search engines with enough content to show them that you have expertise in your niche.
But this can be remedied by creating content clusters (sometimes called silos), which allows you to create content depth around that topic, which search engines like.
So how do you create content hubs?
To start with you need a central post or hub and this is generally a pillar post such as a complete guide (informative) or best of list (investigative), which you want to rank well in search.
You then create supporting, relevant articles around this central post, which link back to the central post but also link to the other supporting articles as this lets search engines know that:
- All of these posts are related and relevant to each other
- Which one is the most important post (the one they all link to)
The key to creating a good content hub is to find as many keywords as you can around that topic and then start planning out your content so that you can create a hub.
Creating content hubs like these can help give your site topical authority around the subject as you have covered it in-depth and there are occasions where topical authority alone is enough to get your posts ranking and generate traffic to your site.
Ecommerce Blog Post Ideas
There are quite a few different types of blog post that you can create but for this guide, we are just going to be looking at the types of informational posts that can be used to get backlinks and investigative posts to get sales.
Informational Blog Posts
The goal with informational blog posts is that you want to generate links to these posts and in order to do that, you need to create a great resource that other bloggers want to link to as it makes their post better.
There is a chance that your posts will attract backlinks organically but in most cases, it will require outreach to bloggers in order to let them know that your blog exists in order for them to link to it.
1. In-Depth Guides
Guides are great for generating backlinks, especially if you can create a guide around something you are very knowledgeable about and can cover the topic in great detail with actionable tips to help anybody looking to learn.
But you don’t want to create a guide such as ‘Guide to Computers’ as:
- It’s way too broad meaning it is hard to create a truly in-depth guide
- There are thousands of similar posts
However, if you created ‘The Complete Guide to Choosing a Gaming Mouse’, you can create a very in-depth post that completely answers the search query.
And this could be used to try and attract links from other posts, such as ‘How to Create the Perfect Gaming PC’ or ’10 Things To Improve Your Gaming Experience’ as your guide complements their content.
2. Original Research
Bloggers love linking to posts that include stats based on original research as it can help give their own posts credibility and this can be a great opportunity.
But obviously, you need to find something to research and then actually conduct said research, which can be tricky but there are some things you can do, such as:
- Run Social Media polls
- Run a survey, this could be your customers or people on social media, members of groups etc
- Analyze your own data (if you have a good sample size)
- Partner with companies to do any of the above (give you access to a larger audience or amount of data)
Once you have the data, create a post outlining your findings and use lots of things like percentages and fractions as they are easy for other bloggers to include in their posts.
3. Roundup Posts
If you can’t create your own research, then you can always collate research that has been done by others in a roundup post for your niche.
This does take a bit of work as it involves finding and reading through reports, whitepapers and industry publications to find all the information but when you pull all the relevant and important data into one post, it can work really well for generating links.
When doing these posts, don’t just copy other stats posts, put in the time and research to find not only the right sources but also the most recent and relevant data.
But stats aren’t the only way to do roundup posts as you can reach out the industry experts and ask for input on a subject that you have found in your keyword research but are unable to answer yourself.
If you get a good number of high-quality responses you can put these into a single post and let the contributors know that the post is live and they will usually share the post but may also link back to it from their own site.
4. Informative Comparisons
Informative comparisons are comparing different types of products, such as
- Vertical vs Trackball Mouse
- Vertical vs Gaming Mouse
With these types of posts, you want to give things like the pros and cons of both and also which is the best for certain situations or uses and you want to go into detail so that people really understand the differences by the end.
These are possibly more tricky to get links to than the other post types mentioned above but the right comparisons in the right niche can generate links from other bloggers, especially if they feel it is a valuable resource for their audience.
Investigative posts are a little bit more straightforward than informational posts as the goal is to simply try and generate sales from these posts and for ecommerce stores, there are some that work better than others.
I haven’t included straight-up product reviews in this list as they can come across as biased when the website is selling the product they are reviewing but the other post types can definitely work when done right.
1. Best of Lists
Best lists are one of the best investigative posts that you can create as the goal of these posts is to inform the reader of what the best product they can buy to solve a particular problem.
Not only can you create best lists around a variety of different subjects but you can also appeal to different audiences with variations, such as:
- Best product under X amount
- Best product for beginners
If you don’t want to create separate lists, you can add tags to products within your list, such as:
- Best All Round
- Best Budget Option
- Best Value for Money
Basically, you want to provide as much information to your readers as possible and provide them with options that can match their needs and this can help generate more sales through these posts.
2. Gift Guides
Gift guides are similar to best of lists but they have a slightly different target market as best lists are often targeted at the end user who are making the decision on a product to buy for themselves.
Whereas gift guides are targeted at people who are planning on buying something for someone else and these can be made for most niches. They can also be seasonal, with Christmas and Birthdays being popular options.
When creating gift guides, it generally follows the same outline as best lists and you can include similar tags on certain products.
3. Product Comparison Posts
There are many times when a customer is caught between two products but unsure which one they should go for and this is where product comparisons are great posts.
This is because you can explain the differences between the two and highlight the areas where one is better than the other and vice-versa and while all of this is very helpful to the reader, from a investigative perspective, it is the conclusion that is the most important part.
And you want to provide a clear conclusion as just saying they are both good really doesn’t help the reader and they probably won’t become a customer.
Instead, provide them with an answer that helps them decide which one to buy and it can be as simple as ‘Product A is the better overall product because… or ‘Product A is better in this situation and Product B is better in another situation’.
Giving your clear opinion provides value to the reader, which will help them make a buying decision but for these types of post to be effective, it is best to compare two products that you sell as comparing one you sell with one that you don’t may cause people to think that you are biased towards the one you sell.
How To Write A Blog Post
Once you know what you want to write about and have planned out your content, it is time to actually start writing (bet you thought we would never get here!) but there is more to writing a post than just typing words on a page.
This is why we are going to go through all of the steps on how to write a top-quality post but before we get started, it can be useful to think of a blog post like a book, in that it has:
- A Beginning – the title and intro
- A Middle – the body of the content
- An End – the conclusion
And you want to make the most of all of these sections to make your post as good as it can be but before we get into writing a post, I need to answer a common question…
How long should a blog post be?
As long as it needs to be to answer the question as it is the quality of the post that is more important, not the length or word count.
Step 1: Post Title
The first element on the page is the title as this uses the H1 header tag, it is pretty important from an SEO perspective but it also doubles as a sales pitch to try and convince people to click on your listing in SERPs.
When creating a title for your page, you want it to:
- Include the Primary keyword or phrase that you want the post to rank for
- Be shorter than 60 characters as search engines will cut off anything longer
- Read organically, so that people can tell it was created by a human for a human
If you need inspiration on how to write a good page title, look at what the top-ranking articles in your niche are doing as they are doing something right to sit at the top.
Don’t just copy them but look at the style of writing, the way the title is structured and what type of words they use.
Step 2: Intro
The introduction is the most important paragraph on the whole page as it basically determines whether or not people are going to actually read the article and to do this you need to hook them, which can be challenging but there are some things that can help with this, such as:
- Make a connection – address the reader directly or ask them a questions
- Show you understand the problem – if they are reading one of your posts, they obviously need to solve a problem, so let them know that you understand
- Tell them what they are going to get from the article – this lets them know whether it is worth them spending their time reading it
A good intro can lead to better engagement as people will spend more time reading the article, which can lead to you getting more backlinks, social shares and potentially sales.
Step 3: Headings
Headings are very useful for blogs as they help give the post structure and also break it up into sections that are easier for your readers to consume as it is a blog post, not an essay!
They can also be a great way to rank your post for more keywords as you can include these in your headers.
There are different levels of headings that you can use within your posts and we already talked about the H1 header tag above, which is for the page title and there should only be one of these in every page.
The other headers you will commonly use are:
- H2 – These should be used for the main sections of your page
- H3 – These should be used for sub-sections under the H2 headings
- H4 – These should be used for sub-sections under the H3 headings
There are also H5 and H6 tags that follow on from the H4 tags but you shouldn’t need to use these on most posts. When laying out your headings, try and avoid missing a heading level, for example having a H4 heading under a H2 as this doesn’t make for great page structure.
A good practice is to fill out all of your header tags before you start writing your post as you will then have an outline for your post. This makes it easier to write a post, rather than just having a blank screen in front of you.
Step 4: Formatting
Engaging blog posts use a unique style of writing that makes it easier for people to read and consume the content and there are two main elements to this:
1. Using Short Punchy Paragraphs
If you look at any of the top blogs in pretty much any niche, you will notice that they all use short, punchy paragraphs which are only usually 1 – 2 sentences long.
This is because many people skim-read blog posts and short, punchy paragraphs are easier to read, with a max of 4 lines being ideal.
But one of the main reasons why you want to write short paragraphs is that over 50% of website traffic now comes from mobile devices which display text differently than desktop devices do and longer paragraphs can appear as big blocks of text on mobile, which can be off-putting for the reader.
Using smaller paragraphs also makes it easier for you as the writer to go through and proofread the article after you have written it.
2. Layout Elements
A second way to format your blog is to use layout elements such as bullet points and tables to display important data and information in a different way.
Not only does this make it very easy for readers to process this information but it also breaks up the text, can bring the reader’s focus back to the post (a lot of humans have very short attention spans) and increase overall engagement.
There may be other elements that you can add to your blog but much of this will depend on the platform that you are using for your store.
Step 4: Images
Using images in blog posts can be very beneficial as they provide a visual stimulus for the reader as a long post of just text is pretty boring to look at!
As with the layout elements mentioned above, images can help improve reader engagement and there are many times when it is easier to describe something with the aid of an image rather than just using text, so images can also improve the quality of your content.
But make sure that your images are optimized for both performance and SEO purposes, by:
- Uploading images that are the correct size and in a web-friendly format
- Naming the image properly and adding an alt tag to describe the image
Step 5: Conclusion
Every post should be wrapped up with a conclusion that summarises what has been covered in the post and for a reason that you may find surprising…
Many readers will scroll down and read the conclusion before reading any of the content in the post to see whether it covers what they need.
So create a short conclusion that gives a quick recap of the content such as what has been covered and what the reader should have learned from the content as it could encourage people to actually read your content.
Step 6: Proof Read/Editing
Before you publish any post, you want to proofread it to make sure that it A) makes sense, B) covers everything you want it to and C) isn’t full of grammatical errors.
Doing this when you have just finished writing isn’t ideal as you are probably a bit tired, so save the draft, walk away from the post and then come back and do the proofreading when you are refreshed as it makes the whole process a lot easier.
Using tools such as Grammarly can make the writing and editing process easier but don’t just blindly follow their suggestions as they aren’t always right, instead proofread the suggestion to see if it makes sense.
As you can see, there is quite a lot more to blogging than just putting words on a page but when done right, it can be an incredibly powerful tool for your site’s SEO and bottom line as long as you understand how to approach it correctly.
And you will probably make mistakes, everyone does when they start blogging but as long as you keep learning and putting the work in, you will find it easier to:
- Find content to write about
- Create posts with a specific goal in mind
- Write posts that achieve these goals
It is also helpful to understand that blogs can time to show results as generating links through outreach can be time-consuming and it can take months for a post to start ranking but if you play the long game, the results can most definitely be worth it!