In this blog post we explain how to write…a blog post. We’ve gone meta! It’s just like Inception only with less Leonardo Di Caprio and significantly more nerdiness
More specifically, we’re looking at how to write a good blog post for SEO (check out our guide to SEO if you have no idea what we’re talking about!).
SEO is all about increasing your chances of appearing on the first page of search engine results for relevant searches. Why? Because if your customers can find you they are a lot more likely to buy from you. Hooray!
So, follow our top SEO tips for blog posts and you’ll be writing amazing content that increases your online visibility in no time.
Are blogs good for SEO?
Yes! Blogs are a great way to provide high quality content on your website that goes above and beyond your core business or product pages.
This enables you to answer common queries in more depth, address the latest developments in your niche and tell people more about what your company is all about.
Crucially, all of this allows you to appear in the results for more search engine queries or ‘keywords’ as they’re known in SEO. The more keywords you appear for, the more opportunities you have to be seen by potential customers, the more traffic you get to your site!
How to write SEO friendly content
- Write for humans not search engines!
As always with any online content, your first consideration should be your real life audience and not computer algorithms. The best content is helpful or interesting (or both!) and provides some value to your readers.
Content that has been written specifically for search engines can be spotted a mile off. It will have awkward phrasing and often be stuffed full of keywords in a way that seems unnatural. Plus, this style of writing is becoming less and less successful as search engines become more and more sophisticated.
So, while there are lots of things you can do to optimise your blog content for SEO, nothing should come at the expense of your readers. In fact, almost everything you can do to improve the SEO of your blog posts will also improve the experience of your human audience. Yay!
- Conduct keyword research
‘Keywords’ is the term given to the words and phrases that people enter into search engines.
Conducting research into exactly which keywords people are searching for is the perfect way to make sure your blog content is relevant to your customers.
There are lots of free tools available that make keyword research quick and easy. Try Google Keyword Planner and Alsoasked.com to get started. These tools allow you to find out how many people are searching for a particular keyword and also find other related keywords to target.
While it may be tempting to focus your blog content on the most popular keywords, it is important to understand that these will also be the most competitive. If other, more established, websites are already providing high quality content on these topics, it could be difficult to appear above them in the search results.
It is often a better strategy to pick more niche keywords that are highly relevant to your audience. This will not only give you a better chance of appearing at the top of the results, but also increase the likelihood that those who come through to your website will be genuine customers.
How long should blogs be for SEO?
Loooooong! While it may seem counterintuitive in a world full of sound bytes and short attention spans, Google likes in-depth content that really answers a searcher’s query.
There are differing opinions out there on the ideal word count – Hubspot say the best blog length for SEO is between 2100 – 2400 words, Backlinko found that most articles ranking on the first page of Google had an average of 1147 words, and a study by Moz found that blog posts with over 3000 words get the most shares on social media.
That being said, the ideal length really does depend on your particular market and how competitive it is.
A good rule of thumb is to look at your competitors’ content and try to write something both better quality and more in-depth than them. You’re basically trying to get Google to consider your blog post to be the most up to date and authoritative content on the subject.
If you’re really pushed for time, the minimum length you can get away with is 300 words, but any less than this and it’s very unlikely you’ll rank well for any of your chosen keywords.
When writing a longer blog post, the key is to make it easy to scan quickly for the bits that might be most relevant to your readers. In other words, don’t just write a big block of dense text – use headings and bullet points to make the key points POP!
How often should you blog for SEO?
Well…it depends. If you’re purely writing blog content for SEO then there is pretty much no upper limit – The Huffington Post famously launched by publishing a blog post every 58 seconds!!!
Ultimately, it comes down to your particular market, what your competitors are doing, how quickly you want to increase traffic to your website and what resources you have available.
A large company with a dedicated content marketing team will be able to publish at a far higher rate than a small company that fits marketing around everything else they have to do.
Go with whatever is manageable for you – just make sure you’re following all the tips outlined in this article
How to optimise blog posts for SEO
Ok, so you’ve written an amazing blog post that really gets to the heart of your customer’s queries and includes relevant keywords. Fantastic.
But what else can you do to give your content a leg up in the search engine rankings? Here are our top tips to optimise your blog posts for SEO:
- Add an SEO title
Did you know that there can be two titles for your blog post – one that appears on your website and one that appears in search engine results?
The latter is called the SEO title and it is a good opportunity to both entice readers to your blog and include some of the keywords you’re targeting.
The SEO title is located in the <head> code of your website, but you can change this easily on most website content management systems (CMS).
- Optimise your meta description
The text that appears underneath your SEO title in the search results is called the meta description. A lot of websites automatically pull the first couple of lines of text from your article here, but that is a wasted opportunity.
You can edit your meta description to say anything you like (bearing in mind Google usually shows around 160 characters). So, make your meta description really appealing to potential customers by telling them exactly what the blog post is about and why they should read it.
Plus, you guessed it, this is a great place to include some of the keywords you’re targeting too!
- Use headings
Back in the day, it was important to include keywords within the headings of blog posts, but this is no longer the case. Having said that, headings still play a really important part in SEO.
Search engines now use headings to get a better understanding of what your blog post is all about (just as humans do!). Rather than worrying about keywords, make sure your headings organise your blog post in a way that makes it really clear what each section contains.
This will help search engines understand that your post should appear in the results of relevant searches – even if the relevant part is half way down the page.
- Optimise your content for featured snippets
Featured snippets are the block of text that appears right at the top of the search results when you ask a question in Google (try it!).
Earning a featured snippet is a big win in SEO terms because not only does it mean that you’re the top result, but it shows your customers that you really know your stuff AND they’re more likely to click through to your site.
If it is relevant to your content, you can increase your chances of getting a featured snippet by including the question in an H1 or H2 heading (the largest two heading types) and then answering the question in under 58 words. Bullet points and numbered lists work particularly well here too.
- Add alt text to images
Because search engines can’t actually ‘see’ pictures, they need to be given information about what an image shows. This is where alt text (also known as alt attributes) comes into play.
Alt text is a way of labelling your images within the HTML of your site’s code. Sound complicated? It usually isn’t – most websites provide an easy way of adding alt text to images without needing to edit the code directly. For example, with WordPress sites, plugins such as Yoast make this super simple to do.
- Optimising links in blog posts for SEO
There are three different types of links to consider for SEO – internal links, outward external links and inbound backlinks.
Outward external links to high authority sites tell search engines your content is backed up by authoritative sources. This works particularly well when you want to provide references to support your points.
Internal links to other relevant content on your website are great for a few reasons:
- Makes it easier for search engines to understand your site
- Helps your readers find more content on your site
- Keeps readers on your site for longer
- Reduces your bounce rate
That being said, don’t go crazy with the internal links and make sure that you’re only linking to relevant content. No-one likes spammy links, least of all Google.
Inbound backlinks (links from other sites to your blog post) are super important when it comes to SEO. They are the equivalent of someone saying that your content is valuable and so they have a big impact on your search ranking.
Increase the chances of securing backlinks by creating content that others will find useful or want to share. Original research, statistics and infographics work particularly well here.
- Use descriptive anchor text
Anchor text is the term given to the words that are used for the link (the ones that turn blue and become clickable once you’ve added a link). The key here is to give readers and search engines an idea of what the link leads to.
So, if you’re linking to a specific website, use the name of that site as the anchor text.
E.g. Google is the world’s most popular search engine
Or, if you’re linking to an article that references a particular statistic, use the statistic as the anchor text.
E.g. Google has a 92.47 percent market share of the search market.
Avoid non descriptive anchor text like ‘click here’ as this does nothing to help your SEO or your readers.
- Speed up your page speed
This is a crucial factor in SEO, as neither your readers nor Google are forgiving of a slow loading web page. In fact, Google uses page load time as a ranking factor in their algorithm.
There are loads of technical elements that determine your page speed, but one of the easiest to control is image size.
Whenever you include images on a blog post, make sure that you are using the right file type and that they are compressed wherever possible.
What’s the right file type? Well, for photographs JPEG files tend to be best and for other images PNG files are the winner.
Ultimately you’re aiming for header images to be no more than 200KB and images within your content to be no more than 70KB.
- Use readable URLs
It makes it MUCH easier for people to understand that your blog post is relevant to them if the URL makes this clear. In other words, don’t use auto generated URLs that look like this:
Or include the name of your blog post all in one word:
To make URLs easier for both users and search engines to read, use hyphens between the words.
Avoid underscores as Google does not recognise this character as a word separator, so it will still read your URL as one long word.
How to write the perfect blog post for SEO
That’s it folks! You now have all the tools you need to create the perfect blog post for SEO. BUT, if any of that still sounds like another language, or just far too much work to fit into your already busy schedule then get in touch!
We write blog posts that get great SEO results for a variety of different sectors. Whether you want regular content researched and written from scratch, blog posts on set themes, or your existing content optimised, we can tailor a solution to you.
Give us a call on 07518 716890, or click below to have a friendly chat about how we can help.