If one of your business resolutions for 2018 is getting your website to rank higher on search engine results pages (SERPs), then blog writing is likely on your to-do list! We’ve pulled this step-by-step guide together, with SEO blog tips included, to help guide you through the process of writing search engine friendly blog posts and get the most SEO bang for your buck!
By following the simple steps we listed below, you’ll set your website up for success in a way that appeals to both readers and the search engines! Let’s get started.
Step 1: Define your primary keyword.
You may have noticed that we said “keyword” and not “keywords.” That was not a typo, instead, an encouragement to help you find a focus for the blog post that you are writing. Below are a few tips to help you get started while you do a little keyword research.
The keyword should be consistent with the theme of your blog post and ‘make sense’ to an audience, reader or search bot.
Make sure that your keyword is popular with your target audience. Keywords function to drive traffic to your site, so the more people looking for that one word or phrase, the better! To maximize your growth potential, we suggest that you focus on popular keywords AND their variations.
Consider the competition. If there are zillions of different websites all vying for the same keyword or phrase, skip it. Try a variation or a different perspective altogether. Remember that, for your website to compete for a search term, it requires a certain amount of authority (more than that of your competing websites).
One tool that we love (and you will too) is Alexa’s Keyword Difficulty Tool that allows you to pull a report that includes:
- The top keywords that are related to your industry, topic, or theme.
- The popularity score for each keyword, which tells you how often people are searching for a specific term.
- The competition score for each keyword, which tells you how hard it’s going to be for your website to rank for that specific term. This score considers the authority level of your site and will help you decide if it is worth it to compete for this keyword.
Step 2: Define your secondary keywords.
Yes, you’re allowed to choose more than one here. After you’ve defined your primary keyword, it’s time to pick two to four secondary keywords to use throughout your post.
These keywords/phrases should be consistent with your main keyword, as their purpose is to help the search engines better understand and appropriately rank the SEO of your blog post.
Tips for choosing your secondary keywords:
- Head over to Google and enter your primary keyword into the search bar
- Check out the ‘related’ search list
- Choose two to four of the words that best relate to the primary keyword
Step 3: Start writing!
Alright, folks, it’s the moment you’ve been waiting for, time to start writing!
To get the most every blog post you write, be sure that the content is practical and useful for both your target audience and the search engines. Here is a comprehensive list of SEO blog tips to help optimize your posts while keeping your audience in mind:
- Make it read naturally
You should be writing for your readers, not for the search engines!
- Increase your word count
Every single blog post that you create should contain at least 300 words. The more, the merrier here, but this minimum word count should give you a baseline for creating content that the search engines will have enough information to understand. If you are covering a topic that requires more than 2,500 words, we recommend breaking up the text into multiple pages to take advantage of the content you’ve already created, and increase your chances of improving your overall SERP ranking.
- Use keywords naturally.
Spammy phrases are not going to cut it here. The content that you create should read naturally as if you are writing a letter to a human being with feelings. Keyword density is likely lower than you would expect at about 2%, so use it one or two times every 100 words, and you’ll be golden. If you really want to improve your content writing game, try coming up with the content first and then going back in and plugging keywords where appropriate. That will allow you to focus on the user experience over the keyword count.
- Kick things off with your primary keyword.
Start utilizing your primary keyword in the first paragraph of your blog post. That will give the search engines a head start when it comes to figuring out what your blog post is all about. Remember to keep things natural, so don’t force it.
- Don’t forget about subheadings!
Subheadings are an excellent opportunity to plug your primary keyword. Use them to break up long blocks of text and make it easy for readers to scan and understand your content. Be sure to use your primary keyword in at least one subheading.
- Limit use of secondary keywords.
They’re called secondary for a reason, so use them that way! Use secondary keywords every once in a while, at most for every 100 words.
- Wrap up your article with your primary keyword.
Include your primary keyword in the conclusion of your blog post. Ideally in a call to action, if you’re gaining some momentum here. That will help the search engines know that you’ve covered the topic in its entirety and are ready to move on to the next, almost serving as a bookend for your post.
- Do not copy and paste!
One of the most critical SEO Blog tips. Search engines HATE it when websites copy and paste. I repeat, HATE. In addition to a number of copyright issues you’d be dealing with here, duplicate content will drag your site down with penalties. Writing original content that will help boost your SERP ranking and build authority.
- Use Grammarly. Please.
Avoid any significant grammar errors and provide your readers with well-written content that the search engines will also love by running it through a professional editor or a super useful (and free) tool like Grammarly.
- Write for an eighth grader.
Every blog post should be easy to read and understand. Writing for an eighth-grade reading level with short sentences and paragraphs will help you achieve an ideal reading experience.
- Add inbound links.
Help the search engines better understand how your website works by linking the content on your site to other pages within your site.
- Add outbound links.
Link your post or page to other websites that are relative to your content. Ideally, these outbound links (hyperlinks to the content on another website) will be used as sources of information and allow your audience to learn more about the topic easily.
Step 4: Optimize your blog post!
- Add your primary keyword to the page title.
When crafting your page title, keep your readers in mind! They’ll be able to see this at the top of your blog post and within the related SERPs. When possible, use the keyword toward the beginning of the title. Every little bit counts in the world of SEO, right?!
- Add your primary keyword to the permalink.
Similar to the page title, you’ll want to be sure to add your primary keyword to the permalink of your blog post. That is the unique identifier for each webpage and should be used carefully to help direct your audience, define authority, and of course, improve your overall ranking.
- Add your primary keyword to the SEO title.
Similar to the page title and permalink, your primary keyword should be added to the SEO title as well. Be sure to keep these areas consistent.
- Add your primary keyword to the meta description.
Crafting a meta description is an essential piece of the SEO puzzle that many ignore. Second, only to the SEO title, it is an essential factor concerning visibility on SERPs. You’ll want to be sure to include your primary keyword here (only once) in a way that will entice searchers to visit your site.
- Use categories and tags.
Being organized is always welcome in the world of optimizing blog posts, so be sure to tag and categorize all of your content appropriately to help the search engines better understand what your site is all about.
- Use alt tags in your images!
When writing for any website, you’ll want to include images to help break up the text and improve the overall user experience. Here’s the thing though; search engines can’t actually ‘see’ images. They have no idea what they are! So unless you complete the alt tags field, your images are useless concerning optimization. With that in mind, please for goodness sake, add an alt tag to every single image and be sure to include your primary keywords.
Step 5: Check your SEO Score!
One of the tools we love to use around here is Alexa’s On-Page SEO Checker. It will tell you how much your hard work has paid off, how carefully you’ve paid attention to our SEO blog tips, and how search engine friendly your new blog post is.
Are you wanting to call your blog up to the big leagues this year but just aren’t sure where to start, even with all of these SEO blog tips? If so, we can help! Connect with us, and we’ll set up a time to chat about all of the ways that we can help craft fantastic content to drive traffic to your site and, of course, improve your bottom line. We can’t wait to hear from you!