SEMRush Q&A Express Writers

Q&A Interview With The SEMrush Team: Talking SEO & Online Marketing

Last week, we sat down with a few members from the SEMrush team. Who are they? In a nutshell, SEMrush is today the world’s leading provider of competitive intelligence and keyword research for professional digital marketing campaigns, with versatile, affordable plans. And yes – we use and love their software.

We talked to Tara, Michael Stricker, Michael Isaac, and Tyler in our Q&A session. (Bios of the team members are at the end of this post.) We asked them how SEMrush came to be, common marketing problems to be faced today, SEO insights for website owners, among other things. It was a great session, with a lot of useful knowledge shared from their team – read, enjoy, and share!

SEMRush Q&A Express Writers

Tell us a little about how SEMrush was started (what’s your founding story)?

Michael Stricker: “It was a dark and stormy night…” – Oleg and partners are the only ones who can answer this… they concocted something to aid their SEO data-gathering, and their peers were so taken with the result that they offered to pay for it… and the rest is history.

Tyler: Oleg and Dmitry were tech guys working for a marketing firm with the task of creating “cool tools” (as Oleg puts it) for their company to run more efficiently. The point wasn’t profit; just create something cool and useful for the industry. They got so into it that they spun off the tools to create SEOQuake then SEMrush.

Tara: Please see this for quotes directly from Oleg.

What kind of daily problems does SEMrush answer for online marketers?

Michael Stricker: Questions arise regarding what keywords your market is using most frequently. SEMrush enables astute marketers to get inside their prospect’s heads for a minute. The fact that it also affords an X-ray into what is working best for one’s online competitors is the icing on the cake. Add to that keywords, ads, clicks and spend for AdWords and you’ve got a chocolate layer cake. Sweeten that with Google Shopping data regarding keywords and prices and you’ve got a tray of high-converting cupcakes on top. Now, consider mobile search terms, visibility tracking and then specify local search down to the city and state, and you’ve got a tiered wedding cake for SEOs married to the data. Roll out the SEO Audit to help find and fix link errors and such that can trap search spiders and prevent your site from being fully indexed and you’ve got confections fit for a Technical SEO. Do that in 28 countries worldwide and Bing U.S. and you’ve given the world a slice of the pie.

Michael Isaac: When people use SEMrush, they are constantly looking for answers. “What will be my next keywords?”, “Who should I be looking at the closest as a competitor?”, “What are the next errors I should fix on my site?”. We help our users find out all of this information every time they log in. We can tell them who is ranking for the same keywords they are, what issues we find with their site through our Site Audit tool, what keywords they should target next through their SEO and multiple other reports that can contribute to their overall success. We have users that are logging in every day fully utilizing the data we have in our database to improve themselves and find new information that will grow their online marketing efforts.

Tyler: Prospecting clients with overview report and site audit. Which keywords to optimize for and which to stay away from. Who’s linking to me, what kind of links, and which links I should no-follow. Who’s spending what and how much in ads? Tracking and reporting SEO/PPC progress.

Tara: While we market SEMrush as a competitive intelligence tool, there are many other things it can do for digital marketers. As a content manager and writer, I appreciate the insight SEMrush offers in editorial direction. I can use it to see which topics we’ve covered thoroughly or where we need more content. SEMrush allows me to combine instinct and data to produce informative content our readers enjoy. You’re not just competing with others, you’re competing with what you’ve already done on your own website.

How would SEMrush benefit a typical marketer looking to analyze or boost their SEO rankings?

Michael Stricker: Market insight comes with crowd-sourced data about what it is that web users are actually searching for, and the words and phrasing they use indicates just where they are on the “path to purchase”. Competitive insight gleaned from understanding your keyword strengths (unique, well-performing content and keywords), weaknesses (gap analysis), opportunities (popular keywords unique to competitors), and threats (keywords that are very competitively shared by commercial foes) all feeds into a holistic picture of what works and what does not, so that experimentation and attendant risk is minimized and positive SEO results can be accelerated and maintained. Knowing when to avoid pursuit of steeply-competitive keywords can preserve working capital for small or new domains. Gaining knowledge of competitors who invoke your brand to gain traffic for themselves is like a suit of golden armor. Forewarned is forearmed.

Michael Isaac: Typical marketers are always looking for ways to improve their SEO and watch their competition closely. We believe here at SEMrush that we have came up with the perfect tool to conduct this research. We have tools that will provide insight on possible keywords you are looking to target or have been keeping an eye on. We offer multiple tools and reports that will assist you with tracking your competition and adding their SEO/PPC campaigns to determine where they have been struggling the most.

Tyler: How wouldn’t they? Unless they feel like wasting a million hours manually crawling SERP results then they need SEMrush. They probably won’t need every feature, but life without a tool like SEMrush is like setting yourself up for failure– as a digital marketing.

Tara: One of my favorite features about SEMrush is the position tracker report. I have my personal website set up in SEMrush and the tool sends me e-mails to let me know how I’m doing. I don’t have very much time to devote to analyzing my own website, and SEMrush automatically sends me reports to let me know what’s going on and how my site is doing against others in the same niche. While I log into the tool for deeper analysis and updates, I often use this to guide my website’s content strategy without having to log into the tool. It’s a blessing for a busy editor.

How have you seen the SEO landscape change since SEMrush was started?

Michael Stricker: Do you mean the stampede of arctic animals? Or, the blind, headlong rush of iterative marketers looking for the ‘next trick’? The emergence of Content Marketing and Inbound Marketing. The level of triggered communications that makes marketing automation possible. The incredible data-gathering such as heat-mapping and analytics that sparked a renaissance in Conversion Rate Optimization. The rise of the consumer to equal voice and footing with brands, and the new reliance on Online Reputation Management and Social Customer Relations. The double-digit increases in AdWords budgets, and Google’s revenues. The way that free PLA Ads became a paid advertising channel and the new balance as budgets shift to increased investments in Google Shopping. The dominance of Mobile SEO and smartphone use. The prevalence of App use on smartphones, so much so that Google Now must overlay search results into Apps to gain face time with mobile users. The rise of AI and machine learning in use by Google to improve search results. The improvement of location by IP, cell tower, triangulation, GPS, and now, in-store beacons that informs personal results.

Tyler: The PPC environment is way more competitive– Campaigns are running much leaner and opportunities dry up faster than they use to because so many people are using competitive tools like SEMrush.

Tara: I’m still relatively new to using SEMrush, but as a content writer well aware of the affect Google Panda had on the industry, SEMrush is now an important tool in content strategy, allowing me to make the most out of those long tail keywords (most of which are also evergreen) for a long-term content strategy.

We love SEMrush’s Twitter chat, #semrushchat! Tell us a little about how you started and grew that.

Tara: Olga Andrienko began #semrushchat in October of 2014. It’s grown from there! Olga will go into more detail about the success of the chat on the SEMrush blog over the month of September. When I first started at SEMrush half a year ago, #semrushchat was one of the easiest ways for me to connect with the digital marketing community right away. It’s one of the best networking opportunities I’ve experienced – all from the comfort of my desk.

What’s one good SEO tip for achieving better rankings you’d give to a typical website owner?

Michael Stricker: Learn what your market is looking for, how they’re asking for it, and at what step along the ‘buyer journey that they are signaling intent by using certain phrases. Work on every step of the ‘funnel’, but pay special attention to the terms of ‘transactional’ or commercial intent. If I had time to say two tips, the second would be, Learn from competitors so you can do what works, with less expense, and risk.

Michael Isaac: The best way to achieve better rankings would be to analyze your competition. What are they doing that you are not? By reviewing who is ranking within the top position and reviewing their landing pages, descriptions and titles being used, you can then structure your content to be more relevant to the keywords you are targeting and leap over your competition.

Tyler: Have a well thought out URL structure before committing to a website.

Tara: Many people start blogs and websites to establish themselves as experts. Whether you have a website or not, you need to take some time actually living in your community (Facebook and LinkedIn groups, Twitter chats, meetups, other networking events) to really grasp it. This can inform your instincts about industry trends, while SEMrush can help you sure up your content strategy around what you already know. Also, know where to go for help and don’t be afraid to ask for it. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses within digital marketing. People often ask me for content and editorial advice, but I always review in-depth data analyses from SEMrush with helpful members of our marketing, sales, and customer success teams. Sometimes they find a story or trend that I’ve missed.

For someone just starting out in SEO, what are some best tips?

Michael Stricker: Brands must do R.P.S. — Real People Stuff. Affiliate marketers who can afford to shed burned-out domain names as they get penalized by Google, be it manually or algorithmically, may be able to afford to rely on iterative techniques like mass link-building or blog networks or link wheels, but brands that must preserve their equity cannot take that risk. The more Google knows about users, their interests and the context of their searches, the harder it will be to fake relevance. So, be prepared to learn as much as possible about search queries, market segments, affinities and interests, buyer and prospect personas. Then, apply that information to put the right message in front of the right person at the right time. Until search becomes predictive and passively delivers great stuff to humans, you still have a chance to influence search outcomes.

Tyler: Learn, learn, learn, then apply, then learn some more, then post on twitter. 

Tara: 1) Participate in Twitter chats. It’s the most friendly and accessible way to learn. I recommend: #semrushchat, #cochat, #inboundhour, #scottsbizchat (especially for small e-commerce sites), and #LinkedInChat for general networking. 2) Find your niche and own it! It’ll evolve and change over time, and that’s okay. 3) Blog as you learn. Answer your own questions in blog posts so your audience can see your growth. It’s an extra reward for your research. Give credit to those who help you or provide useful information. 4) Make sure your message is clear. I recommend checking out Don Purdum’s blog and podcast for more information on how to do that. 5) If you’re starting out at an agency or other business involved in SEO, you should be able to learn something every day. If you’re just fetching coffee and not being offered the opportunity to learn, move on – there are plenty of other organizations that will take an interest in your personal success and personal brand. (SEMrush is hiring, by the way!)

We love SEMrush and it’s impressive capabilities! Thanks for being here for our Q&A chat.

Tara: Thanks so much for including us!semrush bios

semrush team

 

Who Is Michael Stricker?

Michael Stricker markets the leading research tool for Competitive Intelligence as U.S. Marketing Director of SEMrush. The hundreds of digital marketing campaigns he has constructed and consulted deliver millions of impressions to enterprise web-based businesses. Decades of agency experience enable his actionable strategies, creative concepts, scalable processes and do-able tactics to achieve business goals. Michael has spoken at ClickZ Live (formerly SES), Etail, HERO Conference and SMX East, and contributes to blogs such as CIO.com, B2Community, SEMrush.com.

Who Is Michael Isaac?

Mike Isaac is the Customer Success Content Manager at SEMrush.

Who Is Tyler Wilson? 

Tyler Wilson is a sales executive at SEMrush. A recent graduate from Temple University’s Fox School of Business, Tyler came to SEMrush in January 2015 with two years of digital marketing experience– interning for DMi Partners and SEOM interactive.

Who Is Tara M. Clapper?

Tara M. Clapper is Technical Editor (blog editor) at SEMrush and Senior Editor at The Geek Initiative, a website celebrating women in geek culture. The author of thousands of blogs and hundreds of small business websites, Tara enjoys blogging about SEO copywriting, content management, corporate culture, personal branding, networking and LinkedIn. She has over a decade of experience in digital publishing.

SEO of 2015 Q&A with Jeff Deutsch

The SEO Basics of 2015 (It’s Hard, Here’s How You Win) Q&A With Jeff Deutsch

We sat down – virtually, of course – with acclaimed author and SEO marketer Jeff Deutsch, author of the viral Inbound post Confessions of a Google Spammer (which hit over 160,000 views and 90k+ Facebook shares). He gave us some awesome, original insights on SEO basics for current marketers in 2015 (and beyond). It’s a read any online marketer should take the time to make.

SEO of 2015 Q&A with Jeff Deutsch

Commence Jeff’s insights in 3, 2, 1…

Tell us a little about how and why you got started in SEO.

I’ve always dreamed of changing the world through mind control. As an introvert, SEO seemed like the best way to approach it.

I probably got the dream from my dad. He was a pretty prolific writer. When I was 8 years old, he taught me how to hypnotize people. He used to proudly tell me stories about how, in college at Columbia in the 1950s, he would make his (pretty, female) subjects regress to memories from the womb—and beyond. I thought that was pretty cool.

Thousands of years ago in the 1960s, writers had to publish their stuff on things called books. My dad, Ronald M. Deutsch, wrote a bunch of them.

Thousands of years ago in the 1960s, writers had to publish their stuff on things called books. My dad, Ronald M. Deutsch, wrote a bunch of them.

In college, I majored in political science. Because I thought they were going to teach me how to do mind control on a mass scale. (Spoiler alert: They didn’t.)

So I tried doing it on my own. My first experiment came in 2003. At the time, the debate was raging on the need for war in Iraq. I was fervently against it.

I had carefully collated all the projections on how many lives would be lost and money spent. Then I put up a website with the facts. Then I advertised the website by stapling and taping hundreds of bright lemon yellow flyers all over the conservative, war-hungry streets of New Orleans.

The next day, I saw most of my flyers had been torn down during the night.

My anti-war website got no traffic. That was the first time it dawned on me how important it is to have a reliable source of traffic that other people can’t easily take down.

I wish I could say I started doing SEO back then, because man! It was easy back then. Unfortunately, I only started to figure it out in 2008, when I was doing marketing for a company in Beijing that had virtually no budget.

By 2010, I had started my own little SEO company in Plainsboro, New Jersey, in an attempt to escape the Beijing pollution and relocate myself and my then-pregnant wife to the U.S. The relocation failed, but the SEO succeeded in a big way.

How big have SEO basics changed since the day you started out in SEO compared to today?

Nowadays, it takes a LOT more money, charisma, or tech skills to start an SEO agency. Today’s SEO basics are a lot different that yesterday’s.

Photo credit Social Media Explorer

Photo credit Social Media Explorer

Back in 2010, anyone with limited tech skills and the right cheat-sheet could easily start a successful SEO agency on a $1200 budget. I even wrote a post about it on backlinksforum.com if you want to know the details. But the basic concept was building parasite backlinks using spun content and force indexing them.

If you don’t recognize those terms, never mind. They’re not going to help with SEO for the big money keywords these days anyway.

However, I talked to some guys at one SEO agency at Opticon and according to them—amazingly—these methods STILL work for very low competition keywords. They use them to rank for reputation management clients’ names.

But they are the exception to the rule. Most successful agencies these days have the money, charisma, or tech skills to have a comparative advantage over you and me. They gobble up all the keywords (and clients… and money…) by combining that advantage with the scaling power of automation and social media to force the Gini coefficient of SEO ever upwards closer to 1.0.

Money SEO agencies

These guys just buy links on high PR guest blogs like HuffingtonPost, or buy whole sites on Flippa to turn into pumpers or feeders, or pay to build a big ole PBN. They have the resources to reverse engineer their competitors’ backlink profiles and outbid them on quality link placement.

Profile: Think in-house link buyers for online casinos.

Zodiac sign: Taurus.

Star Wars equivalent: Think Senator Lott Dod, Minister of the Trade Federation.

D&D counterpart: A NEUTRAL EVIL human rogue.

Charisma SEO Agencies

These people know how to network, be popular and get tight with high traffic sites. And get them to link to their creative content. Which they know people will like because they extrovertedly talk talk talk to everyone.

Profile: Think inbound marketers like Dharmesh Shah, Neil Patel, Joel Klettke.

Zodiac sign: Libra.

Star Wars equivalent: Queen Padmé Amidala.

D&D counterpart: A LAWFUL GOOD half-elf bard.

Tech Skill SEO Agencies

These folks know how to automate outreach and find loopholes to rank and bank. Mostly these guys are pretty agnostic about the method, and only care about the result, so it’s hard to label them “white hat” or “black hat.” If, for example, they develop a WP plugin that gets them cloaked links, and they only rank reputable sites, who are they hurting really? Or maybe they develop the scripts to find high value expired domains with aged backlinks to build PBNs or 3BNs. The main thing is that they are mavericks who zig when everyone else zags, and they almost assuredly rock the pants off PHP, Python, Ruby, or all three.

Profile: Think Justin Mares from ProgrammingForMarketers.com and any SEOs on StackExchange.com.

Zodiac sign: Aquarius.

Star Wars equivalent: Han Solo.

D&D counterpart: A CHAOTIC NEUTRAL halfling swashbuckler.

By the way, as you can see from my $1200 guide above, back in 2010 people like me used to hand out actionable, effective SEO basics advice on forums for free all the time.

Those days are over.

Nobody does that anymore for The Three Reasons People Don’t Publicly Share Effective SEO Tactics Anymore.

Photo credit SERoundtable.com

Photo credit SERoundtable.com

The Three Reasons People Don’t Publicly Share Effective SEO Tactics Anymore

  1. Google’s anti-spam team reads the forums to find and close loopholes the way agents in the Matrix popped into people’s bodies.
  2. SEO is a zero-sum game. There will always only be 10 spots on the first page of Google and a scarcity of high value, low competition keywords. It doesn’t make sense for me to help people compete with me.
  3. Any SEO who outs a privately known method for ranking is shunned by his community.

Instead of talking publicly on forums, SEOs now trade secrets privately and carefully on platforms that Google’s anti-spam team is less likely to be able to monitor, like Skype.

So you can imagine how important it is to have SEO buddies these days. This will not be the first time I mention that in this interview.

My biggest regret after my link building empire crumbled was that I hadn’t spent more time developing relationships with SEOs. The people who did that, like Matthew Woodward, Terry Kyle, and Alex Becker, will keep making money no matter what algorithm change Google throws at them.

Remember the catchphrase from V for Vendetta–“ideas are bullet-proof”? Well in SEO, human relationships are algorithm-proof.

What’s one piece of advice you would give someone just starting out learning SEO basics?

If you have lots of money, charisma, or tech skills, just do like the people do above.

If not, get an entry-level SEO job or apprentice to a successful SEO. Learning what works through experimentation takes too long. Paying for what works is too expensive.

Build a network of friends on a Skype-like platform and talk to them as often as possible. Trade up on secrets the way Kyle MacDonald traded up from a red paperclip to a house.

For those of you who are thinking “aw what a let-down, he didn’t tell me the secret right now!” Re-read The Three Reasons People Don’t Publicly Share Effective SEO Tactics Anymore repeatedly until you get it.

Do SEO and content marketing tie in today? How important do you feel content marketing is to SEO?

If you’re going the charisma route, content marketing is everything. For the other two, it’s only absolutely critical. Look at how Justin from ProgrammingFromMarketers.com used their 10 Free Technical Marketing Lessons PDF to build an audience (MUST read for you MarTechs out there.) Or how Hayden from NoHatDigital.com is using his awesome IM blog to build a worldwide niche site intern army (directed by an oligarchy operating out of a mansion in Mexico.)

When you start making good content, use it to attract friendships and talk talk talk to your network as much as possible. They’ll tell you what works in SEO basics, behind the scenes.

What’s one tip you’d offer for someone who’s looking to boost SEO rankings on their existing site?

Never, ever, ever (did we say never?) think of SEO like this... Photo credit searchengineland.com

Never, ever, ever (did we say never?) think of SEO like this… Photo credit searchengineland.com

Get on SEO forums, meet people by proving you can provide value, and make friendships. Get on Skype (or some other non-Google monitored IRC platform) and trade up on SEO secrets like the red paperclip guy.

Oh and, never out your best secrets of successful SEO basics on a public forum (like this blog post.) 😛

We love the content you share on Inbound.org! Thanks for being a great inspiration in SEO.

Thanks!

And Finally, Check It Out: Jeff’s Awesome Offer For You (Yes, You The Reader!)

One last thing.

Like I said earlier, human relationships are algorithm-proof.

I’d like to build a relationship with everyone who enjoyed this interview.

And I have the perfect first step. It’s one of those “once-in-a-lifetime type opportunities.” Literally. It has to do with something called CRO.

Remember that I wish I’d gotten into SEO in 2003? In 5 years people will be lamenting not getting into CRO “back in 2015.”

Why is it important? Well, doing SEO without CRO is like burying a treasure chest in quicksand. CRO converts visitors into leads, buyers, subscribers, whatever. And it’s also not dependent on Google algorithms. That’s why I started working for a company that makes an awesome CRO tool.

Right now I get to give away 5 lifetime Enterprise level licenses for Ptengine, which normally cost $300 a month. Even better, I get to work with the winners to help them get more conversions per visit. And I don’t have to charge them $0.01.

All you have to do is work with me to create a case study about our success that we can put on our website.

Interested applicants should email me at jeff.deutsch@ptengine.com to apply. Just let me know what your website’s domain name and about how much traffic it gets.

 

Who Is This Jeff Guy? 

Jeff Deutsch is the VP of Marketing for Ptengine, a tool made by people who are obsessed with making your visitors stop abandoning your website. (He seriously wants you to email him at jeff.deutsch@ptengine.com so he can help you for free. He’ll explain after you email him.) He works out of Tokyo and Beijing and the Bay Area. In his spare time he contributes to Inbound.org and HubSpot’s blog.
blogging wizard interview

Essential Blogging Tips: Q&A with Adam Connell, Founder of Blogging Wizard

This week is the first week of our Q&As, a series we’ll be doing weekly with experts in our field, so we can learn and grow from their wisdom. Stay subscribed so you can read them weekly!

We’re excited to present our first one: last week, we had the chance to (virtually) sit down with Adam Connell from Blogging Wizard. We asked him all about blogging—and he gave us some awesome insight and great blogging tips. It’s a must-read for any serious blogger.

We promise... you're in for some awesome blogging advice!

We promise… you’re in for some awesome blogging advice!

Essential Blogging Tips: Interview with Adam Connell, Founder of Blogging Wizard & Julia McCoy

If you’re at any stage in blogging (just beginning, several years in the game, etc.) you’ll love what Adam has to say. Let’s get started!

1. What inspired you to create Blogging Wizard?

Before starting Blogging Wizard I’d launched a few different blogs and the success I’d had helped me land a marketing job. After working at the agency for a while I wanted an outlet to share what I was learning, and in particular help other bloggers. One night I woke up in the middle of the night and scribbled “Blogging Wizard” on a piece of paper and went to sleep. The following day I purchased the domain name and started planning.

2. Tell us a little about your success story.

Like most new blogs, it took a while to take off. Especially as I didn’t have much free time to grow Blogging Wizard. But as time went on I landed some good guest blogging opportunities on the likes of Problogger, and Search Engine Journal. I focused on connecting with other bloggers and began being featured in group interviews, as well as some coverage in HuffPost and CIO. In June 2014 I’d grown my blog to the point where I could leave my full time marketing job and focus 100% on blogging. Since then I’ve been mentioned on the likes of Forbes and Entrepreneur Magazine. At the moment I get around 60K-70K monthly readers.

3. What’s one piece of advice you would give someone just starting out in blogging?

The most important thing to get nailed down at the start is what you’re trying to achieve. If you don’t know where you’re going, how can you make sure that you get there? Sure, you might end up there by chance but if you take control of your goals, you can make sure it happens.

The next step is to work backwards from your end goal and figure out exactly how you’re going to get there. Break everything down into smaller, more manageable steps.

Look at it from a tactical level too. You want to grow your audience and be able to keep more people coming back to your blog, so what’s the best way to do that? For most blogs, it means building an email list! So once you know what to focus on, you can build your blog around it and prioritize other things like social media accordingly.

For example, I get more traffic from my email list than my social following, despite my social following being larger. So while I still work on improving my social presence, my blog is geared more to encourage email sign ups than social follower growth.

The bottom line is this: know what you want to achieve, break it down into smaller steps and you’ll achieve your goals much faster. These are my blogging tips.

4. What’s a good way a blogger can narrow down on the right audience?

First you need to make sure you’re in the right niche. I see so many blogs that start off so well and then fade into obscurity, this is usually because the blog owner has lost interest or they weren’t able to make the blog financially viable.

So, start off right and consider 3 things – what you love, what you know and can you make money in that niche? Even if your goal isn’t to make money now, it may be in the future, after all, we’ve all got to put food on the table.
The truth is that there’s usually a way you can make a blog profitable with some out of the box thinking, but when all other methods fail you can offer the skills you’ve attained as a blogger as a service – still, it’s good to consider revenue potential at the start. Having knowledge and experience you can draw upon is a valuable asset but I’m a big believer that you can learn anything you put your mind to, but the bottom line is that it helps.

Above all else, the biggest consideration should be what you’re passionate about. You can make a success out of a blog that you’re not passionate for but it’s VERY challenging. And it defeats the point of starting a blog, most bloggers blog because they want to do what they love. By focusing on a niche you’re passionate about you will grow an audience faster (passion shows through in your writing) and you’ll be far more motivated to succeed.

This is just the starting point though, the next step is to get as clear as possible on WHO you’re helping and HOW you’re going to help them. Be as specific as possible and really get to the core of who your target audience is. Creating an elevator pitch is a good idea, something like “I help ____ to _____”. For example, for a new project I’m working on, our elevator pitch is “we help solopreneurs streamline their life and streamline their business”. So get clear on who you’re helping and how you’re going to help them (i.e. the problems you’re going to solve) and your blog will grow so much faster. You’ll find it easier to speak to your audience and your audience will immediately see why they should follow your blog.

To get clear on the WHO and the HOW, you could try to find online communities in your niche and ask people to fill in a survey. You can then use this data to flesh out some reader persona’s.

But, you may find that you need to launch your blog initially and cast a somewhat larger net. This is because you learn so much more about your target audience after you launch your blog.

Everything from email exchanges, comments and research for content ideas will teach you something more. After a while, you’ll start to clarify the vision for your blog.

5. What’s a good typical consistent blogging schedule for any business starting their blog?

Every industry is different and every target audience has their own unique dynamics. The best advice would be to publish content as often as your audience can consume it, but factor in content length too. The longer the content you publish, the longer it’ll take your readers to consume it.

But, when you first launch a blog, it’s worth publishing more content over the first few months and then settling into a more consistent schedule afterwards.

6. What’s one tip you’d offer on writing an awesome blog post?

An awesome blog post is subjective but for me, I prefer to read blog posts that are usable.

Actionable advice is key. The web is littered with blog posts that are surface level and for the most part, difficult to use. The main thing is that someone can read your post and implement some of your advice, without being left thinking “yeah, that’s great but how do I do that?”.

7. How would you describe the way SEO keywords should fit into blogging?

SEO in general cannot be ignored, unless you want to give up on the potential of thousands of extra targeted visitors. Looking at keywords is a great way to come up with proven topic ideas but when it comes to writing content, forget keywords. Use keywords to discover proven content using tools like SEMrush.com and BuzzSumo but above all else, ensure that your content is written for people above search engines.

Search engines have evolved and engagement metrics (e.g. pogosticking between search results) will show search engines what people think of your content.

8. What’s one thing important to keep in mind about blogging specifically in 2015?

This isn’t anything new for 2015 but it’s important.

The web is a noisy place and with blogging becoming increasingly popular, it’s becoming more difficult to rise above the noise. This means we’ve got to keep trying out new things and pushing boundaries to ensure we cut through the noise.

9. How would you say blogging fits into the content marketing sphere this year? For one, it’s vital, right?

As a blogger, I’d say it was vital but the truth is that it all comes down to what you want to achieve. And there are some businesses that aren’t a good fit for blogging, a good example is a client I worked with in the financial sector, they had restrictions on what they could share on the web, so much so that they couldn’t start a blog.

Starting a blog is a huge investment and it’s not a quick content marketing fix; It takes time to start seeing results.

But, if blogging makes sense for your business and you’re ready to focus on creating a long term, viable business – Blogging is vital.

10. We love the content you share! Thanks for being a great inspiration in the content marketing community and sharing your blogging tips.

My pleasure, thanks for inviting me to take part in the interview Julia!

Adam Connell is the Founder of Blogging Wizard and Marketing Director at UK Linkology. He spends his time helping others get more visibility online.