It’s no secret that writing blogs and articles for your website are key for content marketing and communicating value to your audience/buyers.
In fact, recent Hubspot statistics prove that those who create blogs consistently and focus on quality inbound marketing tactics, acquire 126% more leads than those who don’t write blogs.
However, a huge oversight is not capitalizing on your content and utilizing Search Engine Optimization (SEO) practices when writing blog posts.
There are two reasons why you should optimize your blogs post
- It can help your blog post rank higher on Google- allowing you to capture a greater audience and even bring new customers to your site.
- SEO practices help create a more user-friendly blog post- allowing readers to smoothly and easily get the most out of your content, which inevitably helps search engines scan your content as well.
So, what is SEO blog writing?
Despite what some may think, it’s quite easy to do once you get the hang of it.
SEO blog writing is basically a combination of taking advantage of keywords and structuring your blog to help with user experience and rankings.
Here is your Blog SEO Checklist: 10 Tips for Optimizing Blog Posts for SEO
1. Have a Well Thought-out Topic
Think before you write. Try to find topics that are relevant to your brand and to your audience. There are three areas to focus on when creating blog posts:
- What content gaps do I have?
- Do competitors have blogs on topics that I don’t have?
- Is there a trending topic that you can write about?
- Are there questions or elaborations that need to be answered on certain products and services?
- Can you share certain stories or background information on the brand, company, or employees?
Tutorials and Tips
- Are there tips and tricks you can share with your audience?
- Can you help give more information/ How-tos on relative products and services?
Pro Tip: It’s helpful to have a brainstorming and research session once a month and create a content calendar for the month, so you can spend less time a week trying to find topics.
2. Conduct Keyword Research
Once you have your topic, conduct a keyword research.
A keyword research will help you narrow your topics to a specific question or topic that is highly searched.
It will also help you find subtopics and keywords to use in the blog that you may or may not have even considered using.
Incorporating keywords help your blog rank higher for search engines and users find your blog for the answers to the question they are looking for.
But don’t keyword stuff- add keywords where it makes sense such as the title, subheading, and sparingly in the content.
If you over-do the keywords, Google will penalize you for it
3. Create a Structure Layout
Structuring your blog post will allow the writing process to be a lot quicker.
Also, include this layout in the blog post itself.
This allows users and bots to read the blog easier and faster.
Pro tip: have a quick point in your introduction telling readers what answers they are going to get from the blog post.
4. Correctly Format Headings
The HTML tags are crucial for optimizing your blog post.
Having your HTML tags right makes the crawling process easier for search engines. H-tags allow search engines to read the content and categorize the blog post for keywords.
There should only be one H1 tag on the page– this is usually the title of the post, which includes the main keyword phrase.
You can use one or more H2, H3, H4 tags, etc as sub-headers. Google measures H2-H6 equally.
Header tags usually are there to help 1.highlight keywords and 2. Break up your content into categories to make it easier to read.
5. Aim for a High-Quality Word Count
Studies do reveal that longer articles tend to perform better– they receive more likes, shares, and mentioned on social media.
The high performance in longer articles is not because of the quantity of words, it’s from the quality of content.
Naturally, when writing more depth and answering more questions on a topic will increase the word count. Therefore, insightful blog posts get more traction and shares.
Why does this matter for search engines?
Well, Google doesn’t evaluate the number of words used in an article more so Google ranks a page based on the number of links pointing to that page.
Meaning, the more shares your blog post gets, the better the ranking Google will give it.
Aim for a word count of 800-2,000 words. Don’t try to stuff unnecessary words and information in, but find points that can be elaborated or clarified if your blog hasn’t hit that 800-word marker yet.
6. Format for Easy Readability
Forget what you were taught in English class.
The rule that paragraphs should be 6-10 sentences long is for novels, not for smartphones.
Keep your paragraphs short and sweet.
Using small paragraphs that are 2-3 sentences long helps readers quickly read and stay engaged with your content. It’s also easier to read on cell phones and smaller devices.
Also, take advantage of formatted text. Bold, italics, and underlining can help highlight keyword topics and clarify content.
The combination of short paragraphs and formatted text is the secret sauce for keeping readers engaged and creating a search engine friendly post.
7. Don’t Be Shy to Use Hyperlink
Hyperlinking is a powerful tool for optimizing not only your blog posts but your website as well.
Internal Links: When writing a blog post, if applicable, link it to different pages on your site or another blog post you have written.
Internal links help search engine crawlers discover new pages and sort what’s what on your website.
As well as, keeping users on your site for longer as they can click to another blog post that elaborates on a certain topic or on your products/services you provide.
External Links: If you pulled a stat or supporting topics, link to that page.
This not only helps with the credibility of your sources but also transfers some authority from another site to yours.
Note: Don’t link to competitors. Linking to other sites helps you piggyback off their authority with search engines, and vice-versa. Meaning, you could be giving SEO power to competitors unknowingly.
8. Write your Own Meta-Description
A meta description is a summary of a web page that shows in search engines.
The purpose of a meta description is to help communicate with people browsing what they will find on your web page before choosing to click on it.
This is why it’s important to communicate effectively through meta descriptions.
If you don’t write your own, the meta description will pull the first few sentences of your blog post to show on the search engine- which usually isn’t helpful for users.
How to Write a Meta-Description
- Write less than 200 characters long, aim for 155 characters
- Give a brief overview of contents or questions that the blog answers
- Use encouraging language to get users to click on your page
9. Take advantage of Images
This does mean adding a ton of photos to your blog.
In fact, just having a key photo or the photo behind the blog title is enough.
However, optimize your photos through alt-text and file names.
- Take advantage of the alt-text and add one or two keywords that accurately describe the photo and your blog.
- Name the file to properly describe the photo before uploading it can help with SEOs as well.
10. Keep Blogs Up-To-Date
Refresh and add more information on your blogs as often as you can.
This helps with search rankings for generating more traffic and increasing your domain strength.
As well as allowing you to capitalize on your existing content and giving you an excuse to re-promote content.
To sum up
It may seem like there are a lot of aspects to pay attention to, but over time implementing SEO strategies will become second nature.
These are necessary steps to gain traction and have a one-up on your competitors.
By planning ahead, implementing SEO strategies, and providing content that users are looking for, helps with your inbound marketing strategy- bringing consumers directly to you.