Blogging is an essential part of your content marketing strategy and a key piece of your SEO efforts. But, your business needs more than just good writers to fully leverage this effort. A strategic approach to writing blogs, focusing on the SEO value the content creates, is key. Here are four best practices you can start implementing today to ensure you are writing search engine friendly blog posts.
First, start by thinking of topics your blog addresses. Then, use a keyword research tool (e.g., SEMrush, SpyFu, etc.) to find other similar keywords, volume per keyword and competition per keyword. Most find it advantageous to focus on the keywords with the lowest competition (as those are typically the easier terms to rank for) and highest search volume.
Ensure you have a good mix of head terms (popular keywords that drives high search volume) and long-tail terms (terms that are more specific and less competitive). Looking for popular questions around your space, and answering those questions in the blog, is another great way to capture targeted traffic.
Naturally Integrate Keywords
When integrating the keywords into your copy, make sure you write for humans first, not search engines. Avoid keyword stuffing (filling a page with the same search query in the hopes of ranking better). Copy that appears to do nothing more than make a sales pitch, or lacks a conversational tone, can cause visitors to exit the site without engaging (which impacts ranking). Keyword stuffing is not tolerated by search engines and they will penalize you for doing so.
Write Scannable Blog Posts
The majority of research shows that most people scan blog articles (versus reading every word). A scannable, easier-to-read post will encourage higher engagement (longer time on site and a decreased bounce rate), which are all metrics that impact ranking. Additionally, an easier-to-read blog post is more likely to be shared, which again impacts SEO by helping build up those backlinks. In order to satisfy the blog scanners, you need to ensure the following elements are in place.
- Use Subheaders. This breaks up your copy into scannable pieces.
- Highlight. Italicized, colored and bolded text stands out on the page.
- Bullets. A great way to break up text.
- Whitespace. Whitespace makes long blog articles look less daunting and allows for easier scanning.
- Add images. Images break up text and make articles look more visually appealing.
Keyword targeting is one of the most critical elements of an SEO strategy. Here are the most important keyword targeting techniques to keep in mind for all blogs.
- Title. Title should include the business name and keywords.
- Meta tags. Keywords should be as close to the beginning of the copy as possible. It should include a brief description of the webpage and include your blog article’s selling point.
- Header. It should contain your keywords and reinforce the point of the page.
- Body copy. As mentioned in point 2 above, write for humans, and not search engines. Copy should include your keywords and be useful and relevant.
- Alt attributes. Alt tags assist with ranking, so make sure to include the keywords in the tags when applicable.
- URL. Including your keywords in your URL ensures search engine relevancy.
By adhering to these 4 best practices, you will be able to write blog posts that your readers find useful and are optimized for search engines. Building upon the groundwork of engaging and effective content, writing SEO friendly blogs will help you with maximizing your brand’s reach and engagement.