In this article I am going to offer advice for people new to writing blogs about how to write SEO friendly blog posts. It is important to optimize our content not just for search engines, but for readers too. High quality written content that is super engaging for your target market, improves your chances of ranking higher in search results too. So, let’s get to it…
What is an SEO friendly article?
SEO refers to Search Engine Optimisation, and when we write a blog or article we can look at different ways that can make our content more SEO friendly. Search engines such as Google, Bing, Yahoo, You Tube and Pinterest allow users to search for content using keywords or ‘phrases’.
When a user enters a query into a search engine, a SERP – search engine results page – is returned which ranks the found pages in order of relevance. Search engines work by using programs called ‘bots’ to scour the internet and explore content. They also use indexing to understand and categorise the page through keywords. Finally, they use ranking which determines the amount of relevant keywords used, the speed of the site and the appropriate links found within the article.
An SEO friendly article will apply some basic SEO techniques
- Well written and engaging content
- Easy to navigate
- Mobile friendly
High quality content
- Regularly written blogs for fresh content
- Well written and structured content
- Descriptive page titles, headings and subheadings
- Inclusion of good keywords
Links to and from your website
- Link to other pages or blogs within your website
- Link to good quality websites elsewhere
- Have your website appear on other peoples websites
How to make an article SEO friendly
The very first thing that you need to do is think about keywords that are relevant to you, your business and the point of the article.
A keyword isn’t a single word, which is so helpful isn’t it?
A keyword is actually better described as:
- A description of the content on the page
- A search term or phrase which your target client will type into Google
- The search term that you would like to be found for
SEO Keyword research
Start by creating a mindmap of lots of different words and phrases that your customers might use to search for your article. Use phrases that are full sentences, or questions that people might type in. Hopefully, you will generate a reasonable list of possibilities.
You can then start typing these phrases into Google, and notice that Google comes up with suggestions while you are typing. These are questions that people are searching in Google, so it’s quite insightful!
A really fantastic tool to see what people are searching for related to your key words is Answerthepublic – this gives a real insight into what people are looking for.
SEO Keyword tools
The next job is to use some free (or low cost) tools to help you analyse these words so that you can see how useful they might be to you. After all, just because you think your target market is searching these terms, it’s not backed by any evidence.
We need to know how many people actually search for that term, what other similar phrases might they look for, and what are keywords that give you a better chance of ranking for.
Here are some SEO investigation tools:
Use these tools to:
- View keyword suggestions – other phrases that people have searched
- Understand the monthly search volume – how many searches each month
- The difficulty level of each keyphrase
- See how much you might pay per click if you were to run a Google ad for this keyword (interesting to see)
Top tips for SEO Keywords
If you try adding in a very generic and short keyword such as ‘Writing blogs’ you will see that the monthly volume is very high, the difficulty will be very high, and likely the cost per click would also be very high. You would have a tremendous amount of competition to try and compete for that keyword. However, see what the tools suggest for other ‘long-tail keywords’. These are longer phrases that people search for in Google. Hence why I chose my title – “How to write SEO friendly blog posts”.
Why I chose that Keyword
- It is something that I know is valuable content for my ideal client
- It’s to the point and non-waffly
- It has a lower search volume per month so it’s less competitive, but still well searched. I aimed for a 50 – 100 monthly search volume.
- It has a low to moderate difficulty – so I know how much I will have to compete with others
Remember that the reason for searching for the keyword is to gather better insight into how to help our ideal client. When somebody searches on a search engine they are on a mission to find something. Each question needs a specific answer.
- Do they want information?
- Do they want to navigate to a certain website?
- Do they want to research something before buying?
- Or are they ready to buy now?
Writing SEO friendly blog posts - Choose your keyword
Choose your top SEO keyword and then 2 – 3 related phrases for subheadings.
Your chosen title will become your H1 and SEO keyword (I will explain this shortly) and the related phrases will become H2 subheadings.
Understanding the use of headings and subheadings will help you know how to write SEO friendly blog posts.
Avoid keyword stuffing
We now have our focussed keyword phrases, but it is important to remember that we are going to use these wisely. It is so important to write well and naturally include the keywords within the well written content. Avoid stuffing keywords in wherever you can just for the sake of it. Search engines are sophisticated enough to see right through that little game, and will penalise you!
SEO competitor research
A good bit of research would be to look at the websites and blogs that are currently ranking the highest for your chosen key phrase, and see how they distribute their keywords through the text. It is difficult to define the exact, perfect keyword density for an article, but knowing that you are writing in a way that is client first will certainly help.
SEO friendly hidden content
Writing SEO friendly blog posts - Your Focus Keyphrase
Your chosen SEO keyword is going to be your chosen Keyphrase. This will be added to the backend of your article or page. If you are creating the page yourself be sure to add this, or if you are providing the content to your website designer write down this information for them to add for you.
Your meta description
Also, added alongside the keyphrase is the meta description. This is a short description of what the page or article is all about. It should ideally contain the keyphrase or variations of it. It is the short description that you see on google when conducting a search. Here is an example.
“Discover how to write SEO friendly blog posts to get your blog or article discovered by your target market. Understand SEO basics.”
This is the ideal length of meta description for being able to display well on mobile and desktop results. Try to keep yours to a similar length, and include your keywords.
It is a good idea to write a short introductory paragraph which is a taster of the article to come and gets the reader excited! This is also added back-end on the website.
My example is:
In this article I am going to offer advice for people new to writing blogs about how to write SEO friendly blog posts.
When you have a page of blog posts displayed on a page of your website, you can choose to display the excerpt along with the title to encourage someone to explore and read more.
Featured Image for SEO friendly articles
The next thing to do is to choose an appropriate featured image that is totally relevant and has meaning behind it. Ideal if you can use your own professional photographs, but otherwise carefully choose copyright free images from:
Naming the image
Name your featured image according to the title of your blog post so that the keywords are appearing within the image as well. So my featured image is named how-to-write-SEO-friendly-blog-posts. Please ensure that you use dashes to divide the words – this is good practice.
Next, you can add ‘Alt Text’ to the image (or provide the text to your website designer).
Alt text describes the appearance or function of an image on a page, and it is read aloud by screen readers of visually impaired users. However, it is also indexed by search engine bots to better understand your page content! Aha, not a trick to be missed!
Again, this is not for keyword stuffing, but rather the key phrases might naturally fall into place if you have chosen the correct image. Close your eyes and have someone read your Alt text description to you. Does it help you to picture exactly what is on that picture? If so, then you’re on the right track.
The description I used is
“A woman is photographing her cakes to use the photos for writing an SEO friendly blog post for her subscribers.”
Best practice is to keep the description to less than 125 characters, and remember that the main function is to help the visually impaired.
SEO friendly written content
Use Headings and subheadings
We are now ready to write the article. “Finally” I hear you gasp!
Your article heading has already been determined – and this is the H1 of your page. You only get to use one H1 heading per page or article.
You can now distribute the H2 subheadings through the page. These are the related keyword-rich phrases that you chose earlier on. These will divide the page into sections, or chunks for ease of reading. You may also use lesser subheadings within those sections – H3 subheadings. It works in a tiered effect H1-H6, although its rare to need to go so far through to H6.
This is the first paragraph of normal text on the page. Your introduction should get to the point quickly about what your article is going to cover, and why it is relevant to your reader. This is the perfect opportunity to reiterate your key phrase, and it should feel natural to do it here too.
Preparation for writing good SEO content
There are a few factors that it is important to get clear on before you get into the content writing.
- What is the purpose of your article? What do you want to achieve through this?
- What is the main point or message that you want to convey to your reader?
- Who is your audience? Is this relevant for them? How will this help them?
- What information do you need?
- How will you structure your article?
Stick to your outline, and write clear, concise paragraphs. Ideally start each paragraph with the most important sentence and then elaborate upon it. This helps reader absorb the information quickly and clearly. If a paragraph is over 200 words it is almost certainly too long, and becomes difficult to understand. 300 words would be a maximum. Break up long paragraphs into bite size chunks and interject with subheadings (H2 and H3).
Reading word on a screen is not always easy, so make it as easy as possible by following these tips:
- Use plain English
- Avoid over complicated words or jargon
- Don’t waffle, get straight to the point
- Avoid repetitive words
- Use bullet points in places to help with clarity
- Address readers as ‘you’ and ‘we’
- Define any acronyms or abbreviations
- Avoid using a passive voice too much (Maximum 10% of sentences is ideal)
- Keep sentences concise. 25 words per sentence should be the limit. 11 words within a sentence is ideal.
Line length and font size
For many years typographers have said that 65 characters per line is the perfect line length for print. However, for websites it is still important to consider the traditional teachings but adapt the slightly. An ideal line length is 45-80 characters for website text.
If you are creating your own blog, then adjust the ‘content width’ accordingly to make this happen naturally.
For ease of reading also consider the font size. An ideal base font size for large screens should be between 18px to 26px. Individually address the font size for tablet and mobile view, and consider how easy we make the reading experience for all users.
People love to read stories! If you have a personal experience to share that is related to your topic, it will absolutely capture people’s attention.
I had not fully discovered the power of storytelling until recently, when I decided to be open about my past experiences. I used my about page to open up about my journey and my character. It was so heart warming when I received messages from clients and followers who told me how much my story resonated with them.
Oh look at that….storytelling in action 😊
According to Yoast, you have a higher chance of ranking in Google if you write long, high-quality blog posts of 1000 words or more. View 1000 words as being your minimum.
If you can manage really good, quality content that runs into the 1000’s, go for it!
The longer your optimised text is, the better Google (or other search engines) will understand it. The longer the text, the more you will include your keywords, the more links you will add, the more images you might include.
Embed a video
YouTube is itself a search engine, and you can optimise your content there too.
- Add your key phrase into the YouTube title
- Add a keyword rich description on YouTube
- Add chapters to your YouTube video
- Position the video near the top of your article.
- Ensure that it is totally relevant.
Not everyone is a good reader, and so a video format is super helpful for those who want to listen and not read.
A good quality, embedded video can help your clicks, impression and position.
Are you ready to get out of your comfort zone and make a video?
SEO friendly content checker
Time to summarize and get organised! Here are the things you need to now do to get ready for writing your SEO friendly blog posts.
- Conduct keyword research
- Choose a long tail keyword phrase that you have good chance to rank for
- Select 2-3 similar phrases that you can use for H2 and H3 subheadings
- Write your meta description (include keyword phrase)
- formulate an excerpt to whet your readers appetite.
- Pick a featured image and optimise in the title and Alt text.
- Break text into sections and divide with headings
- Write an intriguing introduction
- Write with a clear purpose in mind and specifically for your target audience.
- Keep paragraphs to the 200 word mark
- Ensure the text is readable
- Make it visually appealing and easy to read with appropriate line length and text size.
- Become a storyteller
- Write a minimum of 1000 words…but try for more!
- Embed a YouTube video into the article.
How to attract your dream clients
If you are keen to start attracting more of your ideal clients to you, then you are making the right start with your blog posts!
To learn more about using branding to attract your dream clients, I invite you to download the free guide below, and see what other steps you can take right now!