How to write SEO friendly blog posts
Did you know that a new blog post is published every half a second? Why? Because when it’s done well blogging is an excellent way to grow your business. It’s good for SEO and it’s good for your customers. Whether it’s a how-to guide like this one, a top 10 tips for solving customer’s problems or a product review, a well-written blog post is a great way to increase traffic and drive potential customers to your website.
Sounds easy, but you’ve been sitting staring at a blank page for the past half an hour and still nothing. Where do you begin? With this guide right here.
There are two types of business blogger. People that just want to crack on, put pen to paper and knock out a masterpiece (or not as the case may be) and ones that plan properly. Every now and then the bish bash bosh approach will produce something amazing but statistically speaking it’s the proper planners who are consistently better bloggers.
Do your research
You know your business better than anyone so you should already have a good feel for the best blog topics. It’s also important to understand which words and phrases (keywords) people use when searching for things related to your business. The sweet spot for topics are ones that you are knowledgeable and passionate about that also have a decent number of searches each month.
Tools like Answer The Public and keyword.io are great free tools for doing keyword research for long-tail questions that are suitable for blog posts. Once you have found the right topic make sure that you optimise page titles, meta descriptions and headings using your target keywords.
Get the basic structure right
Think back to essay writing at school. What did your teacher say that your essay must contain? An introduction, a body and a conclusion. That is the basic structure that you should stick to for your blog post too.
Include one idea per paragraph
Each paragraph should address one point that you want to make. Short punchy paragraphs that quickly get to the point are the way to go but don’t do what a lot of people do these days and just start a new line willy nilly. Made your point? Start a new paragraph. Of course, it follows that the number of paragraphs in your post will match the number of points you make.
Add headings to help readers navigate
Writing for SEO versus writing for website visitors should involve as little compromise as possible. If you write well for your ideal website visitor and cover your chosen topic in enough depth and detail Google’s algorithms are clever enough to judge whether your post should rank for your target keywords.
The same rule applies to headings. They help to break up your post into digestible chunks and provide clues as to what the post is about. This helps people scan your post and gives signals to search engines about the content. Use one H1 for your title and sub-headings H2, H3, etc to break down your sections and sub-sections.
Don’t write too much or too little
The right length for a blog post is the length it takes to cover your topic in sufficient depth and detail to clearly explain your topic. Not the answer you were looking for? Search for other blog posts on a similar topic as yours. Your post needs to be a similar length. More importantly, it needs to better (i.e. more accurate or more up to date, clearer, wittier, better in some way) not longer than your competitors.
Also, be aware that answers to some question require less content than others. Here’s an example:
Q: How old is the queen?
A: 94 years (21 April 1926)
The answer is nice and simple, no fluff. That’s the difference between an FAQ and a blog post. Blog posts are generally 250 words plus, various studies show that the optimal blog post length is around 2000 words but that doesn’t mean every post has to be that length. If you have written 1000 words and have explained what you set out to explain don’t feel the need to add waffle just to increase the word count.
Use a call to action
A call to action tells the reader what they should do after reading your post. It can be a simple request to leave a comment, sign up for a free demo or subscribe to your newsletter.
What do you want readers to do once they have read what you have to say? If you want them to reach out and ask for help, make it easy for them to do so.
This is a what a call to action looks like
Link to previous content
Linking to past blog posts as well as product and services pages helps connect your content. For example, we have an excellent SEO checklist on our blog that’s well worth a look. This helps visitors and search engines find more information on your website. Links also help determine which content is related and how important it is. The more links a page has the more important it becomes.
Get someone else to check for typos
Typos can ruin all your hard work. Typos are a distraction, making readers focus on them and not on the brilliantly crafted piece of work that you just sweated over.
The good news is, typos are not your fault. When we read back our own writing we already know what we want to say so the brain gets lazy and says “yep, that looks right”. Whereas when we read someone else’s work our brains are trying to understand the meaning of what we are reading which makes it much easier to spot typos. The moral of the story? Get someone to proof read your blog post before it goes live.
Business blogging requires dedication in order to be successful. You need to decide whether to pay a professional writer or commit to blogging regularly in house. The main issue with the DIY approach is that blog posts only get written when the author hasn’t got any ‘real’ work to do. This means that DIY blogs often lack a clear direction and become a bit hit and miss.
While there’s no substitute for professional writing experience, not everyone can afford or wants to outsource their blogging. There’s one way to find out whether it’s right for you – read back through this blog post and then give it a try, ask people for honest feedback and possibly most important of all, see if you enjoy it.