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In a world of short attention spans, massive filtering, and the sheer volume of blog articles shooting out every available channel, it’s a good idea to have a support system in place to make sure your content has a fighting chance. In addition to writing about trending topics and industry news, you need solid foundational pieces that anchor your blog deep into the social web and search engines.

Here are five tips to help optimize your blog and help your content live the good life.

1. Don’t sacrifice keyword-rich titles for cleverness. Sacrificing keyword-rich titles for clever attention-grabbing titles will cause your content to be overlooked by its best buddy, the search engine. With a keyword-rich title, your blog post will live on in search indexes and become a resource---instead of a flash in the pan. If you want to have a catchy title, put your keywords first, add a colon, and write an attention-grabber.

2. Don’t lose any sleep over a lack of retweets or comments. People love social because it amplifies their messaging. We love feedback from our peers. A retweet, comment, Facebook Like, LinkedIn Share, a Digg, a Stumble Upon, etc. are virtual pats on the back and social high fives assuring the writer that his post is being well-received. Although they are great for boosting confidence, don’t rely on shares and retweets to be the determining factor of success. Instead, check Google Analytics time on page to see if your visitors are sticking around and getting what they need.

3. Know your keywords! One of the best ways to drive traffic to you blog is to get your pages ranking high on search engine results pages (SERPs). Use the free Google Keyword Research Tool to plug in keywords and phrases from your topics and ideas to find which ones have low competition and high search volumes. Strategically place (don’t stuff!) your keywords throughout your post. Be sure to include these keywords in your page titles, URL structure, image descriptions, body tags, and meta-descriptions. (If you need to learn more about keywords or refresh your keywords skills, check out the short webcast Take 10: How to Select Your Keywords Using a Free Tool From Google.)

4. Timing can be everything. Research has shown that that blogs posted in the morning hours (between 9 to 10 AM Eastern time) have a better chance of being read. In regards to what day of the week to post, many bloggers claim that Thursday is the best day if you are trying to drive traffic. I have found that it depends on your audience. Try posting on Mondays and Wednesday then switch to Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays. Check your Google Analytics for page views, unique page views and time on site. Check the compare to past block and adjust your posting times according to the days with highest traffic. This is likely to change over time, so it's a good idea watch for any drops in traffic.

5. Align content to your customers' buying cycle. Understanding the different steps customers take before purchasing your product is essential to any blog content strategy. The goal is to bring them to the top of your funnel with one post, then strategically guide them to the bottom with helpful content along the way. Include a call to action at the end of each post that will guide your buyers down the funnel. Be sure to set and track conversions, so you can optimize where customers may be dropping off.

Write your blog with a purpose, make it relevant to your audience, and add value to your customer. Your blog is the rug that ties the social media room together, so make sure it gets the attention and readers that it deserves.

Have any tips to add for extending the life of your blog content?

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

image of Jason Miller

Jason Miller is a former head of brand marketing at Microsoft and a former global head of content + social marketing for LinkedIn. He's a digital marketing instructor at UC Berkeley and the author of Welcome to the Funnel: Proven Tactics to Turn Your Social Media and Content Marketing Up to 11.