9 Steps for Writing SEO-Friendly Blogs
For every blog you write, there are two readers: the person and the robot. The person is your audience. They’re reading because they know you and want to hear what you have to say. The robot is Google (or any search engine). It may not be your audience, but it does know where they are and what they’re looking for. Your blogs need to speak to both.
While most writers feel comfortable writing for the person, getting through to the robot is a bit trickier. Here’s a 9-step process for writing SEO-friendly blogs.
1. Choose the Right Topic
If your content isn’t the right fit for your audience, no amount of SEO will turn it around. Make sure the topic you cover is relevant to your brand and your readers. Think about your reader’s persona and write blogs that address their pain points, challenges and goals.
2. Do Your Keyword Research
Keywords are the language of search engines. If you came here from Google, you probably typed in something like, “SEO blog tips” or maybe, “how to improve blog SEO.” Before writing a blog, you should brainstorm a few phrases that your audience would search to find it. Try tools like WordStream or Ubersuggest to test your keywords’ relevance.
The goal is to find specific keywords that reflect your subject, are frequently searched and — if you’re leveraging paid search ads — have an affordable cost per click (CPC). Additionally, you’ll want to ensure that the keyword is searched enough times per month to be valuable, and low-competition.
Narrow your results down to the keyword with the most potential (also known as your focus keyword), and one or two others that complement it.
3. Plan for Links
Peppering your content with links works wonders for SEO. In the eyes of the robot, a piece of content that links to and from other trusted sources is more credible and of higher value.
Before you start writing, think about opportunities to link to your own content (internal links) or content from another reputable source (external links). Make a list of related blogs on your site and other relevant links that support your topic. Once you’re done writing, start looking for words or phrases to link with items from your list.
4. Write Away
Now you’re ready to hit the keyboard. And while we can’t tell you exactly what to write, we can show you how to write. Keep these things in mind as you put your blog together.
- Keyword density. Optimize your blog post by including the focus keyword throughout the piece. Most SEO experts say the ideal density is 1-2% (appearing once or twice per 100 words). Be careful to avoid keyword stuffing. Overloading the content with your focus keyword will actually harm your search engine rankings.
- Keyword placement. Use keywords at least once in your opening paragraph and in your blog’s title (if possible).
- Complementary keywords. Leveraging one or two complementary keywords in your blog will improve your blog’s relevance and increase organic traffic.
- Linking. Remember to place internal and external links throughout your content. Avoid linking so much that it becomes distracting to the reader.
When you’re finished writing, try this tip for gauging its quality: search your keyword on Google and read a few of the top results. If your content doesn’t read as well, link as effectively, or relate to the keyword as clearly – it might be time for some editing.
5. Remember the Little Things
Small things make a big difference in SEO. There are plenty of quick-but-effective tactics to take your blog over the finish line. Here are a few to keep in mind before hitting publish:
- Original images. Using borrowed images isn’t just unethical — it can damage your rankings. If you don’t own any original images, consider setting aside some budget for stock photography. Also make sure your image settings are optimized. The file name should include your keyword, and the image should be scaled to the proper size and saved in the correct file format.
- Alt text. Enter alt text for all images to assist visually impaired readers.
- Link settings. Set all external links to open in a new tab. You want to keep readers on your site for as long as possible.
- Push notifications. Push notification plug-ins like PushEngage are easy to set up and a welcome feature for your most engaged readers. Where email funnels convert at an average rate of 1-4%, push notifications can earn conversion rates as high as 30%.
- Meta description. Write a meta description that utilizes your focus keyword to help searchers connect with your content right away.
6. Share Your Hard Work
The blog may be done— but you’re not. Now it’s time to share your work. Two of the most common ways to distribute new blog content are email marketing and social media. Whether you email it to your subscribers or post it on social, start by sharing the blog with your existing audience.
Tip: If you’re on multiple social platforms, don’t be shy. Feel free to share across all platforms — as long as it makes sense for the content.
Sharing your blog on social media is great, but don’t hit the brakes on promotion just yet. There’s still an opportunity to get it in front of new audiences.
To improve circulation, consider posting your blog on bookmarking sites. If it gains traction on these sites, it’ll be shared to a wider audience for increased traffic.
Another great way to increase reach is to share your blog within online communities that will see its value. Search your keyword on Facebook and LinkedIn, then select the “groups” filter to find related communities. If you find a group that seems like a good fit, request to join and start sharing your content within the page guidelines. Even answering Quora questions related to your topic provides an opportunity for blog promotion.
Consider any influencers in your content space that may be interested in promoting your work. Remember, influencer marketing is about building a mutually beneficial relationship. You’re gaining access to the influencer’s audience — what are you offering them in return? Make a thoughtful decision before reaching out to the influencer for help, then strike a deal that benefits everyone.
8. Go the Extra Mile
If your blog has potential to earn consistent, year-round traffic, consider employing some optional tactics that can push your content’s performance over the top.
- Repurpose your blog content into a short video. Transforming your blog into a short video may capture those users who prefer to skim. It also opens new opportunities to share your content on video sites, like YouTube.
- Grow your audience with guest blogging. Reach out to bloggers with similar content and ask for a guest blogging opportunity — or offer them a chance to publish on your site. It’s a great way to tap into new audiences with similar interests.
- Promote your blog with paid ads. Google, Facebook and LinkedIn all offer pay-per-click campaigns that drive targeted users to your blog at an affordable rate.
- Optimize again. You should revisit your blog’s performance metrics on Google Analytics a month or two after it’s published to look for new keyword opportunities. If you notice an unexpected new keyword triggering significant organic search traffic, consider making it more prevalent in the content.
9. Repeat the Process
The best thing about blogs is that they have the potential to earn compounded reach. If your content has been properly optimized and distributed, it will receive hits long after being published.
Search engines can certainly be fickle, but they’re a force to be reckoned with. Learning what makes them tick is key to getting your content the attention it deserves. So next time you sit down to write a blog, remember this: write for the person, but think like the robot. And if you need help getting started, just give us a call.