Blogs originated back in 1994 with the very first post created by Justin Hall, a US freelance journalist, the content he created was not referred to as a blog, it was just listed as a ‘personal homepage.’ Fast forward several years and everyone from global news outlets to creative writers were copying Justin's ‘personal homepages.’ The term ‘blog’ was coined in the late ‘90s rising to considerable prominence in 2004 with it being declared the word of the year by Merriam-Webster.
Nowadays, there are over 1.6 billion websites in the world and more than 500 million are recognised as blogs. With over 2 million blog posts daily blogs have become a very useful tool for conveying information in an easy to read format. In addition to providing information, making sure your blog is properly SEO optimised can also help your business generate a significant amount of organic search traffic.
Here are some useful tips on how to write SEO friendly blog posts so your business can start to build traffic:
1. Keyword Research
The aim of the game in SEO is to rank for particular keywords that are related to your business to increase overall traffic by your website appearing at the top of the search engine results page (SERP) when a particular keyword is searched.
Your blogs need to be optimised with keywords that you wish to rank for. There are various tools which can help you identify the right keywords. For example, the handy free platform Ubersuggest where you can see the search volume of keywords/phrases, competitor rankings and your current website ranking. MozBar is another tool that is useful in determining the domain authority of your business to see how you rank against competitors on a particular page.
The general rule is the higher your domain authority the more likely you are to rank higher in the SERP due to Google’s algorithm perceiving you as an authoritative website. An increase in domain authority can be obtained by quality backlinks to your website and writing exceptional content.
If you use both Ubersuggest and Moz to identify a long-tail keyword with reasonable traffic (about 80+ searches per month) and a first-page SERP competition level (domain authority) attainable by your business, then this is the key to boosting your organic traffic.
2. Use of keywords
Having identified the right long-tail keyword, it needs to feature prominently within your blog to signal to search engines that it indeed covers the relevant topic. Some best practices for this are to include the long-tail keyword in your:
- Meta description; a snippet of info which summarises a page’s content and is displayed on the SERP.
- Title tag; an HTML element that specifies the title of a web page. Title tags are displayed on SERPs as the clickable headline for a given result.
- Alt text of images; these are used within an HTML code to describe the content and function of an image on a page.
- Main headline
- Subheading (where relevant)
- Within the body text
However, be careful not to overstuff your keyword in the body text as this will be flagged by Google as a negative SEO practice (that you’re trying to ‘work’ the SEO system rather than providing genuine content) and you may be penalised! For best results, SEO plugin Yoast recommends keeping the keyword density around 0.5 - 3% in relation to total words on the page.
On a WordPress website, install the Yoast plugin, navigate to a web page, follow the recommendations and try to turn all the little traffic lights green. (Fun game, right?!)
3. Quality Content
A bit of a no-brainer, but in order to rank on the first page of Google your content needs to be valuable to the viewer. Here are some tips to help you produce quality content:
- Plan out the structure of your content and research it thoroughly,
- Review the blog post from a viewer’s perspective. Ask yourself if you would find it helpful enough to share. Did it leave questions unanswered?
- Include images and diagrams where relevant
- Write a compelling headline, this is the first interaction a viewer will have with your blog and a great headline is essential for a healthy click-through rate. If you’re struggling, try running it through an online headline analyser tool such as CoSchedule to ensure it’s engaging enough to drive traffic.
4. Use Headings
Using headings properly within your blog posts allows you to signal to Google a hierarchy of importance for the information and content contained on the page.
The headings should resemble a table of contents with:
- The H1 introducing the topic your blog is about, containing your optimised long-tail keyword.
- The H2s describing the main topics you’ll cover in each section of the article, with any related keywords included.
- Subsequent headers, H3s to H6s, serve as additional subheadings within each section and are ranked of lesser importance to Google but still serve a purpose in the overall structure of the article.
5. Add Links
This is an integral part of your blog in order to be SEO optimised, it assists in establishing credibility in your content, building knowledge and displays research beyond an opinion. It provides an in-depth experience for readers and provides complementary information that reinforces your blog.
The body content should include an adequate amount of internal (linking to other pages/blogs on your own website) and external links. Aim for at least 3 - 4 internal links within your post and 2 - 5 high-quality external links from authoritative websites.
6. Use Third Party Software
These days there is an app or software that can assist with just about everything. In the realm of SEO there are many options available. Our recommended tools to assist with your blog SEO optimising efforts include:
- Yoast, (as mentioned previously) is a very comprehensive SEO plugin solution that allows a user to add an SEO title, meta description and meta keywords in an easy-to-use interface whilst offering SEO suggestions.
- SEMRush, is a powerful tool for analytics and insights, it can be used for competitor tracking, position tracking, domain overview and has in-depth keyword insights useful for conducting research to source your focus long-tail keywords for blogs.
- UberSuggest, created by the digital guru Neil Patel, benefits include its ease-of-use for keyword research, social media keyword insights, competitive metrics with added bonus it’s completely free!
Now you have the knowledge and tools to write SEO friendly blog posts it’s time to get writing! We’ll be seeing you ascend the Google rankings in no-time (actually, a bit of time as SEO is a long-term tactic).