Take the guesswork out of SEO with these five strategies for driving meaningful traffic to your brand’s blog.

As an increasing number of savvy digital publishers seem to have “cracked” the SEO code, getting your blog to stand out in a sea of organic search results — or even appear on the first page at all — can pose a significant challenge. While the world of premium content can sometimes feel like a rich-get-richer scheme, investing the right time and attention into your blog can yield measurable results that drive sales and raise your brand’s profile.

While it may be difficult to outrank the key players in your industry for extremely competitive terms, ranking well in the areas in which your business excels — and the content niche you’re looking to dominate — is surprisingly attainable. By being realistic about what you can achieve and remaining flexible in your efforts to achieve it, your blog can begin to form the centerpiece of your wider content program; all you have to do is write, and write strategically!

Read on for five key ways to elevate your brand’s blog to first-page-of-Google status.

1. Invest in Long-Form Content

Conventional wisdom dictates that blog posts should be short and snappy, lest you risk alienating online visitors with the attention spans of goldfish. While there may be some truth to that, long-form content is an indispensable part of any blog. Shorter posts will form the bread and butter of your archive, but a dearth of in-depth content may lead readers to wonder whether you have the expertise to talk at length about hot industry topics.

With long-form content that piques users’ interest and drives a steady stream of traffic to your site, your domain will begin to rank higher for relevant search queries. Mix these long-form pieces into a varied publishing schedule, and you’ll soon have a dedicated readership that trusts your expert opinions on industry matters large and small.

2. Produce High-Value Skyscraper Content

The skyscraper method allows you to piggyback off of other high-performing articles in your industry. It consists of two main steps: the first is identifying a high-performing article worth emulating, and the second involves zeroing in on one aspect of the article’s core argument and expanding upon this concept with your own original post.

In doing so, the hope is that you’ll be able to capitalize on the success of the first article while addressing a more focused issue that the first article doesn’t fully explore. For brands that are looking to stake their claim to a very specific target audience, this is a great way to participate in a larger conversation while connecting current events and trends to your specific product or service offerings.

3. Monitor Google Search Console Impressions

When organic search leads visitors to your blog, it’s likely because their query is related to content you’ve published that has drawn similar traffic in the past. However, sometimes your articles generate impressions for keywords and topics that only relate to your content indirectly.

If you keep track of the unexpected searches that lead to your blog, you can then create content that directly addresses the queries that have led readers to your site. You can even build out this impression data into keyword buckets that can then be used to generate articles and posts specifically designed to capture the attention of these users.

4. Capitalize on High-Performing Articles

Don’t forget to check in on the insights that Google Analytics has to offer about your blog traffic. Articles that consistently perform well are basically invitations to publish similar content going forward. The more you establish your authority in a given market niche, the better search engines will rank you for related queries.

To further cement your own expertise in a given arena, include links in your articles to your most popular content. You could also consider turning pieces that drive the most traffic to your blog into multi-part series that invite repeat visits.

5. Consistently Build out the Long Tail

Not all keywords are created equal. The most general keywords are, predictably, the shortest ones. However, long-tail keywords are structured in such a way that they can help you orient your content toward users further down the funnel. While there may be fewer of these visitors, they have a higher intent to purchase than those who search for the most general terms.

As opposed to a general keyword like “shipping boxes,” a related long-tail keyword might be something like “eco-friendly boxes for ecommerce packing and shipping.” The more specific the keyword is, the fewer users will be searching for it. However, in this scenario, the specificity likely indicates a small business owner who is ready to purchase a product that meets these requirements, namely: sustainable packaging at a low price point to accommodate a high volume of ecommerce shipping.

Author Cooper Pickett

Cooper is the CEO and a co-founder of L&T Co. He is a partner of Columbia Entrepreneurship at the Columbia Startup Lab and a 2010 graduate of Columbia University (CC’10). At L&T, he oversees a growing international team that works around the clock to get clients results. He has extensive leadership and team-building experience from his time as the CMO of a real estate startup. He excels as a marketer and strategist — qualities he refined and developed as the founder of e-commerce businesses in the sports and subscription spaces. With the founding of L&T, Cooper brings these strategies and insights to companies worldwide. He participates in Princeton University’s Employer in Residence program, serves on the Columbia Startup Lab’s leadership committee, and speaks on industry panels about entrepreneurship, marketing, and startups. On occasion, he teaches web marketing at General Assembly.

More posts by Cooper Pickett