What does it mean to write SEO friendly blog posts?
Well we all know how important it is to create great content to capture new website visitors and to increase your rankings in the search results.
How do we write with these search engines in mind?
The first thing I’ll say might sound counterproductive.
But the thing is, you want to write for the READER first!
It’s true, but that’s not the reason you came to read this article.
You want to know how to abide by the rules of Google when writing content.
There are a lot of best practices and a checklist to focus on while writing your posts, or at least before you hit Publish.
Add Images to Your Content
The first thing I would say to focus on is a visual aspect.
It’s true that longer content performs much better, but we still don’t want to place a giant block of text in front of readers and hope that they read the whole thing.
I suggest breaking up your content and main points with Images.
Make sure these are relevant and ADD to your content, and not take away from the point of the post.
How do we take this tip and make sure it is best practices with the search engines?
Your answer is Alt Tags.
The thing to remember, search engines can only read. They have no clue what your pictures are unless you properly identify them using Alt Tags.
These Alt Tags help search engine “spiders” crawl your images and understand the relevancy to the webpage.
To add Alt Text to an Image, double-click the Gallery Block or click Edit. Find the image to edit, hover over it, and click the. Add alt text to the Image Title box. Click Save.
Getting the Most out of your Title Tags
We talk about content so much in this SEO industry, and the reason is simple. It’s super important.
One of the main things people get wrong with their content is their titles.
The first thing that we need to make sure of, is having a title that is relevant to the topic itself, and only uses one or two keywords. Often times Google can think that you are over-optimizing your titles when they see too many keywords in a title.
Use proper writing tactics like using emotion and adjectives in your title.
Numbers in titles have also been proven to be extremely effective.
A good example of a title tag that could work for this post is “7 New Ways to Write Amazing Title Tags”
Not too long, just the one keyword, emotion, and numbers.
Looks good to me.
Focus on Keywords (but don’t go overboard)
Yes, keywords are still very important with your content.
There are a few things to be aware of with this portion of your research.
We have to figure out which keywords make the most sense to focus on for every given article, but if we stuff that keyword into the article 32 times, we’re going to get hit with a Google penalty for keyword stuffing.
So my rule of thumb is know what your target keyword or keywords are, and then write naturally.
Most of the time you will use the keyword 5-6 times in your article without even trying and it will be sufficient for the Googlebots to crawl your page and understand what the main keyword of the post is.
One thing to keep in mind though is the use of LSI keywords.
What are LSI keywords?
These are keywords that give the Google spiders more context of what your post is about.
LSI stands for Latent Semantic Indexing.
A great tool to help you generate some LSI keywords is https://lsigraph.com/ .
Just pop your main keyword into the top and it should generate a big list where you can pick and choose the ones that most naturally fit into your content.
Improve Your Content Structure
Make sure you have digestible content.
No don’t eat the content.
What I‘m saying is, make it easy to read, double space your writing, and use proper writing structure.
Don’t cram all your thoughts into a 57 sentence paragraph.
Use subheadings where they make sense.
Use bullet points for lists.
Use shorter sentences.
Nobody wants to just read 2,000 words in a row without giving their mind a break, you aren’t creating a novel.
The more readable your content is, the more likely people will read the whole thing.
There is also a huge section of online readers that like to skim content.
I understand that you want them to read every word but you can’t change who they are, so at least make it skimmable with solid subheadings and shorter sentences so you don’t completely lose a reader.
Links Within the Content
Links are important as we all know.
But what’s the best way to use it in your own content?
I have a sort of rule of thumb.
Aka it isn’t concrete but it gets me through most articles the right way.
Many people have different opinions on how many outbound links you should have per article, a common number is 3-4 OB links per 1000 words.
And that’s fine, but I think there’s a better way of looking at it.
Link out whenever it provides more value to your readers.
That’s all that matters!
So if you are at 5 outbound links and your article is only 900 words, don’t worry about the downside of adding another link.
If your readers will get a better understanding of the content and additional, relevant information, add that 6th link!
It is also important to include internal links wherever possible.
One of the biggest things to keep in mind as a website owner is that we want to keep people on our site.
A great way to do this is to keep providing value! (You’re going to hear that from me a lot.)
If you are writing an article about the best way to improve your website and have a couple sentences on Google Analytics, and also have an entire article focused solely on Google Analytics, link to it in that first article.
Make sure it is always in the right place, but whenever you talk about a topic briefly and have another entire article on it, make sure to link to the big piece.
This allows the reader to gain more knowledge on the topic easily without having to search for it.
It keeps the reader on your site by going from article to article when you properly apply internal links.
Click Through Rate (CTR)
This is a term that not everyone is familiar with, but essentially it is how often someone sees your result in the SERPs and chooses to click on your link.
There are three main things that affect your CTR.
The three things are:
- Meta Description
There are many things to focus on when optimizing for title tags that we talked about earlier so we’ll focus on the other two.
Brand, is pretty easily explained.
When someone is searching for something on Google and notice that one of the results is a website they know of and trust, there’s a much higher chance that they click on that result.
Growing your brand and trust of the consumer should always be an ongoing battle that you’re striving to do better with.
Meta Descriptions sometimes get tricky but they don’t have to be.
A meta tag or meta description is the information that comes up under a Title in the search results that describes the result.
This part is the meta description.
You don’t get a lot of room to write these tags, so try to be to the point when describing your content. Moz recommends that you keep your Meta descriptions between 50-300 characters.
Quality Quality Quality
The number 1 thing above all the technical stuff is that you’re providing value in your content.
Don’t just write something because you think it’ll increase your search traffic.
Write each article as if it’s the only impression of your business that a customer is going to have, because often times it is.
Write posts that are long enough to answer every possible question a reader could have.
Google is rewarding those websites that go above and beyond, because the job of Google is to provide the best possible result for its searchers.
This means if one articles answers every possible question of a search query, then Google will gladly send the searcher to your page because there’s a high chance that they find what they were looking for on your site, and don’t need additional results.
So aim for longer content but don’t focus too much on the specific word count.
Yes it’s true that the average article in the first position on Google is over 2,100 words, but the focus should be on putting out the best piece of content on the topic you can.
Often times you’ll end up over that 2,100 word mark without even noticing.
Keeping Up With What’s New in the Industry
Probably one of the most underrated and overlooked factors that contributes to the SEO performance of your blog posts is having a solid understanding of what your competitors are focusing on, and what they are not delivering to their target audience.
One of the first places we start with our free content marketing analyses is to analyze what competition is doing for content production.
If you are a business owner, who does not have the time for a content marketing analysis, but see the value in it, give us a call and let the experts handle that.
We would love to also have a phone call with you to understand your wants, needs, problems and goals, in order to find out how we may be able to bring some value to you with your content marketing strategy.