Optimise your blog with these 4 steps
If you don’t know where to begin when it comes to SEO or long-form content you’re not alone. There’s a lot to consider: keywords, structure, linking, all while ensuring your article is easy and enjoyable to read – it can all feel a bit overwhelming. That’s why we’ve broken it all down and cut out all the technical jargon to create a step by step guide: how to write an SEO friendly blog post.
With our 4 simple steps, you can create content that works to increase your traffic, attract your dream clients and improve your SEO. That’s a lot of relief in just one article.
Blog posts are inherently SEO friendly. Blogging helps boost the SEO quality of your website, positioning your brand as the answer to your audience’s problems and questions.
If done correctly, it keeps your website current and fresh, helps you to connect with your audience and places you as an authority in your field.
In this article, we’re giving you the exact steps you need to take to create a blog post that actually ranks. Discover which keywords work best for your specific industry and learn how to use them in your content so you can start creating blogs that actually get found.
Action Plan for an SEO friendly blog:
1. Focus on quality content writing that helps your readers
At the heart of every great blog is quality information and value for the reader. You can implement every off-page SEO tactic, but without excellent quality content, you’ll never find favour with Google’s algorithm.
While this article will show you exactly how to structure your blog post to improve your chances in the search results, it’s important to remember to write for your customers first and for Google second.
This means you should write blog articles that solve problems, provide solutions, inspire, engage and connect with your audience……with all the Googley touches that get you found.
Great content + (SEO + User Friendly) structure = New opportunities to rank
How long should a blog post be?
The truth is that your blog post should be as long as it needs to be and not a word more or less.
The main thing to remember here is that every sentence you write should provide value to your reader.
Don’t just waffle along to win over the search engine algorithm – it won’t work.
In saying that long-form content does tend to do better in the results and it’s doubtful that you can write anything of any substance or value for under 500 words.
Typically successful how-to and advice posts sit between 2,100 and 2,400 words and provide detailed and actionable information.
Generally speaking it’s a good idea to aim for 1,200 words or more so you can really take a deep dive into an issue.
2. Choose and use your keywords wisely
As with almost any marketing strategy, the first step is research.
You can’t create a successful blog without knowing where your opportunities lie – you do this by finding the best keywords.
Knowing which words and phrases you’re targeting removes the guesswork out of blog writing so you can confidently aim for success.
What are keywords? – a quick refresher:
A keyword is what your dream clients are searching for on Google.
There are three different types of keywords:
- Short Tail: These are generic, 1-2 keywords that usually have a very high volume of traffic and are extremely difficult to rank for. Example: running shoes
- Mid tail keywords: These are slightly more specific and are 2-3 words in length. They often have a high level of traffic and are still difficult to rank for on Google, but have a higher conversion rate than short tail keywords. Example: womens running shoes
- Long-tail keywords: These are highly targeted phrases that really zone in on your target audience. They tend to have a lower amount of traffic and level of competition – Long-tail keywords are particularly well suited to blog pages and specific/niche products and services.
You want to pick a long-tail keyword as your primary keyword for your blog post.
A primary keyword is the keyword you want to rank highest for and is most closely aligned with your blog post. Your secondary keywords form a supporting role.
Choose your primary keyword based on what your dream clients are searching for on Google.
When you know what they’re searching, you can then provide the answers and information they need.
For more information on the different types of keywords and how to find them check out my specialised keyword research guide.
How to choose your focus keywords
Picking the right keywords or keyword phrases is one of the most important steps in writing an SEO-friendly blog post. Choosing the most effective keyword connects you to your dream clients and helps you get found in the SERPS.
When choosing your keywords there are 3 main things to consider:
Not sure what this means?
No worries, we’re explaining everything.
The challenge is to find a topic with a reasonable search volume per month and has low competition.
Competition (Keyword Difficulty):
One of the first things to look for in your chosen keyword is low competition.
The less people competing for the keyword – the more chance you have of ranking.
Generally speaking, the more specific you are with your keyword, the lower the competition.
For example, if you tried to target ‘how to start running’, which has a 56% difficulty rating as shown below, you’ll find yourself competing with brands and companies such as the New York Times, Runnersworld and Women’s Health Magazine.
But, if you chose another, less competitive keyword phrase like ‘15 day fitness challenge at home”, it has a much lower search volume but is very easy to rank for, likely putting you on Google’s first page.
Take a look at the example below.
The next thing to consider is search volume. This refers to the number of searches for a particular keyword per month.
You want to select keywords that have a decent amount of traffic. In this case, “how to start running’ is searched for 1.3K a month. It seems great, but as a general rule, the more traffic a keyword has, the harder it is to compete for an appearance in the Google search results.
‘Decent traffic’ will look different for every brand online.
A recent study by Backlinko shows, if your business appears for a keyword that gets 70 searches per month and you appear in the top 3 results you have the advantage of getting 75% of the clicks.
And let’s say 10% of those clicks lead to a sale.
What does that mean for your business profit each and every month?
Does that make an impact to your bottom line?
If so, that keyword is worth ranking for and you should optimise your blog to target it.
Google results quick facts:
- 1st result on page 1 gets 31.7% of the clicks
- 2nd result on page one gets 27.7% of the clicks
- 3rd result on page 1 gets 18.7% of the clicks
There’s such a large drop off because, according to a Moz survey, many users instinctively click on the first result and anything under the 3rd listing is below the fold. So, depending on the size, services and goal, the keyword you choose and optimise for, will impact your bottom line.
Focus on a long-tail keyword – a phrase that is more specific than generic terms, allowing you to target niche demographics.
You can attract more high-quality traffic to your website as you answer the exact question they are asking.
A “no beating around the bush” attitude is more likely to lead to conversions. You’ll be answering or solving a specific pain point rather than a generic topic.
“Is physical health more important than mental and emotional health”
It has a Keyword Difficulty (KD) of 29% (easy) and a search volume of 50. Contrastingly, ‘importance of mental health’ is 69% (hard) and a search volume of 110.
There are plenty of tools to help you in finding the right keywords for you. Some of my top recommendations are:
3. Use headings and subheadings throughout your blog post
Unfortunately the truth is that readers online are unlikely to read every word you write. When reading on screens we tend to look for bite sized pieces of info. That’s why headers, subheadings and bullet points are so important, it makes it more digestible for the reader but also for the search engines.
They’re also a good place to include keywords and optimise your copy by creating structure in your blog and making it SEO-friendly.
“…we use these headings [as it applies to a] chunk of text or […] image.
[it helps] us to better understand how to kind of frame that piece of text, how to frame the images that you have within those blocks. And with that, it’s a lot easier to find… the right queries that lead us to these pages.”John Mueller, senior webmaster at Google
Headings and subheadings help the user and the search engine navigate your blog post to the information most relevant to the audience. They separate the blog into manageable bite-size chunks.
You don’t eat the cake whole, no matter how delicious; you cut it into manageable chunks – a good way to think of your blogs.
Remember to add your keyword to your headings without stuffing them. You want to utilise this opportunity to rank without making the heading incomprehensible. Google will penalise you for that, and no audience wants to spend the time trying to decipher the content.
4. Use links within your blog post
Including links is a key aspect in making your blog posts SEO-friendly. They show that your content is credible and also help your users navigate their way around similar content on your site.
Similar to you citing your sources in a bibliography when you write a school or academic paper, linking shows your content is based on substantiated knowledge and research beyond your own opinion.
As such, search engines favour websites that have domain authority from backlinks (links from other non-connected websites) and internal links. The more you have, the further in front of the race you’ll find yourself.
Links also provide a more in-depth experience for your readers. They lead to complementary or related information that doesn’t duplicate the content in your blog post, adding additional layers of meaning and context.
Here are few different links you can include:
- Share your content with other blogs for backlinks
- Include outbound links: 2-4 links per 1,000words
- Include internal links: remember not to overdo it. You should only link if it will help the audience
- Social Share: social links do not pass on authority or any of that good SEO mojo. But, they work as a good way of driving traffic to your page.
Bonus Tip. Create an SEO-friendly meta-title and description
Good content starts before someone gets to the website. A stand-out meta title with a meta description will draw people in before they’ve even started reading your content. It all comes down to that teeny bit of writing you see in the search results.
With a few simple steps, you can create an SEO friendly blog title and description that is engaging and enticing:
- Keep your title between 50 – 60 characters: You don’t want your message to be cut off
- Put your long-tail keyword in the title and meta description
- Make a mini sales pitch: The main benefit of your blog, include a question and finish with a Call To Action (CTA)
- Keep this description between 100-160 description
How does your business stack up?
Competition is inevitable, but when you understand how to optimise your blogs in an SEO-friendly way, you give yourself the best chance of getting in front of your dream clients online. With consistency, proper research and a desire to offer value, you’ll surely begin to see your traffic increasing and conversions growing.