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Great content is still one of the pillars of good SEO, and writing blogs that both Google and real people love is all part of that. (for those of you who get a little shiver of fear every time you hear the initials SEO because you don’t understand it, it’s going to be explained in the first
For everyone else – you can skip to the goodies straight after it!). I used to be employed to write SEO articles, that were pumped through with repetitive keywords and pretty much inane content designed to link your website with people looking for what you sell.
THANKFULLY those days are well past, and now writing a good blog for SEO generally means it’s great for anyone reading it too. So everyone wins.
Before we delve into the tips and tricks, here’s a basic breakdown of SEO. It stands for Search Engine Optimisation. Nowadays we should probably call it GSO or Google Search Optimisation, as the vast majority of people use Google as their search tool.
In simple terms, SEO tells google that your website has the right information for the person looking for it. It matches the searches made with content that most fits the search.
There are two parts of SEO – On page (so it’s the SEO on your website) and Off Page (the SEO that is on other sites LINKING to your website. A good blog with the right content can be used on your website or it can be used on another site linking back to your website.
With all of that in mind, there are eight key components of a great SEO blog that can benefit your website.
- Start with Super Laser Subject Focus.
No one likes waffle, be it a reader or google. Before you even start to write about your topic, make sure it’s a really well defined subject area. Think about your target market and find out what they might want to know (I love the website Answerthepublic.com for a fun way to find out what people ask about my topic)
Write down some ideas and info that you already know about the topic and how you would answer those people if they were sitting next to you. It’s generally a good idea to set your information in a way a 13 year old would understand it – not too simplistic, not too overly jargony.
2. Keyword research your topic.
It used to be that you just chose a phrase and then repeated it again and again in a blog to get Google to understand what it was about. (I remember having to write 50 articles on Honeymoons in Rarotonga each one with a slightly different keyword. I think it brainwashed me as I ended up having my honeymoon in Rarotonga! But really, it wouldn’t have made for engaging reading.
Nowadays, Google is far cleverer than that, and looks for content that all fits together. So find a keyword phrase (like say “How to write blogs that are readable AND good for SEO” and then find words and phrases that mean the same or similar that you’ll be able to feed into the blog as you write it. This also helps you stay on topic and stops that waffle!
More and more people are using SIRI and voice to search on google – which means the keyword phrases can often be quite long.
The key is not to attract EVERYONE who is searching for your topic to your blog. It’s about finding some lovely little niche phrases no one else has put a huge amount of time into, and focussing on that – and then people will find it easier to find your blog. (and your website, which is the big plan remember).
3. Create a plan and get on Google.
It’s at this point a pen and paper come in handy. Writing a bit of a plan makes it much easier to write your blog.
When you’ve got a basic framework, hit Google up for some more intel. You know there is likely to be many other people who have written similar info. So google your topic, and read similar blogs.
Take notes from them (in your own words so you create something new) keeping in mind that you need to write in your own voice and not just copy someone else’s words. Besides the fact google would see that as duplicate content it’s plagerism and just a big no no.
Using Google like this is called the already proven there is a demand for. Take some time to brainstorm ways to re-describe or repurpose the content in a way your specific audience will enjoy and understand and build something even better than the other writers had done.
4. Focus on detail and write something valuable for your blog readers
In the bad old days of SEO blogs, the standard length was 450 words. I’ve got that printed in my brain! I can write one in 17 minutes, INCLUDING research. But thankfully for us as readers, Google is all about the quality these days.
Yes there is still a place for shorter blogs, but it’s better to write in more detail, and give more info in one blog. And write what your target market wants/needs to hear
When I teach about nurture sequences and social media marketing, I always suggest to write to one person, and this is no different. Though you want lots of people to read it, write to the target market persona you’ve carefully created already.
5. Headings and short paragraphs in blogs are good for SEO.
Add headings and create simple to scan sections for those who need to make sure they’re in the right place. Google keeps an eye on those headngs too, to make sure the whole article relates to the topic you’ve chosen. (if it doesn’t, you’ve probably made a click bait article and no one wants more of those on the internet!)
The short paragraphs are for your readers – it helps them read through the content better! Your goal is to have people love you for as long as you can. If they click on to look at the blog, then quickly decide it’s not what they need, they’ll jump off again fast. If they do that, google will then decide your content doesn’t really fit the needs of the people who found it via search.
By improving the readability of your content (both through headers/formatting, as well as ensuring it makes sense and is easily read with tools such as Hemingway editor), you improve audience retention, and thus the ranking of your blog.
6. Link in and out of your blog.
Now don’t make every second word a link but DO make sure you have some links to other resources off your website and links to other pages ON your website. If you have 1-5 pages about particular topics, link your blogs to them over and over again, each time you write a blog. This tells google those pages are important, and then you’ll be able to
Include links- both internal and offsite. Outbound links go to other websites, such as your socials or sources. Internal links go to your own pages, which drives traffic. Google identifies the sites that have the greatest number of backlinks, so you can direct clicks to your most important pages (also known as cornerstone content) and help Google understand that’s what you really want people to be taking a look at.
7 Optimise those Keywords
When we say optimise those keywords, we mean make the most out of them as you can. Give them the OPTIMUM chance of Google noticing them. You do this by using your keywords and keyword phrases throughout your post, from the title, copy, title tags to any of the alt descriptions of images.
You might have heard the term keyword density – which is all about how often a keyword appears but don’t worry about that too much. Always think about the reader first, and put their needs before the repetitive phrase you’re trying to get Google to notice.
Here’s a few areas that keyword phrase can be put in without compromising on the readability of your blog
A: Title Tags
This is the titile that comes up in google search. It’s a good idea to put your keyword phrase at the front of this, to help it show up.
B: Alt text
When you put your image into your blog, this is where you put your keyword as well as describing the image.
C: Image file name
You can pop the keyword phrase in here too
D: Meta Description
Search engines don’t really rely on this but real people do. It’s the first bit of content people see under the title when they search. It’s a good idea to use keywords here to just help people see they’re choosing the right blog if they click on your link.
8. Find the perfect balance and write.
Learning a new skills is never a very comfortable thing – and writing a blog that’s optimised for SEO and still reads well is definitely a bit of an art! If it wasn’t, there wouldn’t be agencies who pretty much do just that!
But it is a skill you can learn. It’s all about finding that balance between getting those all important SEO keywords in, and making the blog interesting for humans to read.
Google cares about the end user. And it cares about making sure they’re got hold of the right content. So both go hand in hand.
So start with the theme solid in your head, make an attempt to slip in those keywords, but always think about the reader first.
It seems contradictory that in order to write an SEO friendly blog, you must ignore some of the rules we learnt early on! Google has advanced its algorithm in recent years so audience retention and clicks are its focus. To improve your blogs ranking, don’t forget that you aren’t writing for Google, you are writing for your audience.
When we write for humans, everyone is happy. Even Google.
At Identify we train people in how to do thier own SEO, alongside helping them with digital sales funnels, and marketing automation. Our online school THE MARKETING TOOLBOX can help you learn the SEO skills you need OR you can contact us to get some one-on-one help.