Everyone wants to be number one on the search engine results page. But even being on the first page of the Google search results can set you up for success – and you can achieve that goal if you learn how to write SEO-friendly blog posts.
But scoring a top-ranking spot for your blog post in the search results takes a bit of strategic work and effort. It requires implementing a combination of interesting and valuable content with a bit of search engine optimization (SEO) savvy.
Learning how to write SEO-friendly blog posts that are readable and engaging is well worth the time. Doing so will increase your visibility and improve your digital marketing strategy in the long run.
Let’s take a look at how to go about this.
What is an SEO-friendly blog post?
SEO-friendly blog posts are designed with the reader’s needs in mind and simultaneously optimized so that search engines can easily understand the content.
Creating posts that fit these criteria can be a delicate balancing act – you don’t want your writing to appear stiff or forced, but you still need search engine crawlers to fully understand your topic so they can index and categorize it.
A common misconception is that it needs to be overly saturated with keywords to be considered a well-optimized blog post. This is not true.
While once commonly used, SEO keyword stuffing practices can now actually harm your ranking efforts. Search engines frown upon bloggers who try to game the system by repeating the same word in hopes of ranking.
Instead, they want you to focus on creating an informative post when blog writing.
Use related keywords and variants to give your target audience multiple avenues to access your content.
Create a good and interesting title to pique your reader’s interest.
And make your blog content engaging.
You want your target audience to stick with your writing and understand that you are an authority on the subject.
How to write SEO-friendly blog posts:
- The blog posts are tailored to your audience, engaging, and easily readable.
- They are informative and contain valuable content.
- They cater to the user’s search intent.
- They utilize the main keyword to narrow the focus and then implement variations of that keyword to help guide readers to your page.
- The blog structure is clear and includes headings, internal and external links, and images.
Now, let’s look at developing your new blog post for SEO purposes.
When trying to rank on the search engine results pages (SERP), it’s essential to start by researching the main keyword you’ve chosen so that you can understand your odds.
Some keywords are highly competitive and frequently used. No matter how well you write, if other websites are already ranking highly, it can take months or years to break into the search engines’ algorithms.
When developing your blog post ideas, you need to research them to discover:
a) what kind of content users are searching for about the topic, and
b) how competitive the keyword is and how difficult it will be to rank for that keyword.
These SEO tools allow you to see how many pages are already trying to rank for your main keyword and how users are searching for it.
Because context is everything.
How users search for your content is known as search intent and can dictate what kind of phrasing you use in your blog post.
Your searcher’s intent is defined by the words they use to look for articles related to your topic.
In this case, they’re still trying to gather information.
In contrast, if they have already decided what kind of dog they want, they would likely search for more specific terms, and may be ready to purchase.
Understanding the nuance of how they phrase their search can help you develop your content, so it directly answers their query.
Utilizing this information will help your page rank higher in a google search as it matches user intent with the content you create.
SEO tools can also guide you to other related keywords that will be easier to rank for.
While it is generally a bad practice to use your target keywords repeatedly to boost your SEO, related and relevant keywords can bolster your SEO success by driving traffic from multiple search queries.
For example, it will be challenging to rank for a topic like “Optimized blog posts.”
Too many big blogs and SEO gurus are already ranking for that particular phrase. It’s highly competitive and overused.
However, using more nuanced and specific long tail keywords such as “How to write SEO- friendly blog posts” can help you find a side door to your desired keyword and pull relevant traffic to your website.
(By the way, Google and other search engines don’t penalize you for using these relevant keywords in your blog post. As long as you use your keywords and variants in a way that sounds natural (and makes sense in the context of your blog content), Google crawlers will be able to understand them as an integral part of a very informative post).
If you’re new to writing blog posts, optimizing your blog can initially feel overwhelming. But, don’t worry, it’s really not as complicated as it seems.
If you’ve done your keyword research and considered your searcher’s intent before you start writing, you’re already on the right track.
To help you make sure that your blog post doesn’t get lost in the Google search results, I’ve included an SEO checklist below to help you cover all the bases.
Once you’ve decided on a target keyword and how to approach your topic, it’s time to start developing your blog content.
For SEO-friendly blogs, it’s crucial to optimize them so Google crawlers can easily discover them.
In addition to informative content, you should set your blog post up for SEO success on the backend.
Pay attention to incorporating keywords in the body text and in all the metadata involved.
Your SEO checklist
Once you’ve written your blog post, and before you hit publish, take a minute to ensure you’ve included your keyword or a variation in the following places. While the emphasis is often put on using keywords in body copy, Google crawlers will also search through your meta description and meta tags to help inform their decisions on how your work should be categorized.
5 key places to include your target keyword in your blog post
- Prominently in the title tag, meta description, and URL. (It should be a primary descriptor.)
- In your blog post title (H1 tag)
- In the first paragraph of your post
- At least three of your subheadings with H2 and H3 tags
- In the alt text of blog post images
Meta tags and meta descriptions
Google favors easily searchable content that directly answers a user’s search query. You can help a user determine if your site holds the answer to their question by featuring it prominently in your title tag and meta description.
Your meta description appears below your site’s listing in the search results and highlights your blog post’s purpose.
It should be no more than 150 characters, and your target keyword should appear early in the text.
Your URL should also feature your keyword. Make it overwhelmingly clear what the topic of the page will be.
Utilizing headings (H1-H5 tags) throughout your blog content helps your readers quickly find the content they need. It also helps Google index your page, clearly revealing your blog structure.
Try to incorporate your target keyword into 2-3 H2 or H3 headers to help clarify your topic for search engines.
Internal and external
No blog post should be an island. To build your authority on the subject, you should utilize both internal and external links within your body text.
You should include internal links whenever you write a new blog post. In addition, strategically linking to previous posts that cover aspects of the same topic strengthens your authority.
Internal links to this relevant content will encourage users to extend their time on your site, guiding them from page to page.
This will help them further their knowledge of your topic and other similarly related ones.
Internal linking is helpful because it lets search engines understand that your page contains valuable information. It shows the bots that people want to interact with your content – which is just one of the many factors that google search crawlers consider when determining your page’s relevance.)
External links can help you increase your reach online. Linking to relevant pages establishes your presence in a network of similar authors. In addition, it legitimizes your blog post by referencing other posts that will support your opinion or views.
For either type of link, you should include the target keyword or a variant in the anchor text. (Anchor text is the clickable word or phrase in your content.)
Using anchor texts helps your reader immediately know what kind of content to expect when they follow it.
So optimizing them is crucial.
You should incorporate your target keywords and variants in the alt text field of your images. This accessibility feature allows screen readers to provide descriptions for those who are visually impaired and also gives search engine bots more context for their cataloging.
Well-optimized images can help not only increase your rank on the Google search results page, but on the Google image search page as well.
Alt text is an easy way to help increase your SEO optimization and it can be entered into the blog post prior to publication.
Using SEO best practices to improve readability – for bots and people
In regards to SEO, readability measures how accessible the content is to humans and their search engine bot counterparts.
To a reader, grammatical errors, typos, and bad spelling can be off-putting. They suggest a lack of care and imply the information is of bad quality.
In the same way, web crawlers can question your authority if you fail to optimize your ALT text, don’t include visuals, or use a nonspecific page title.
This omission of information can harm your positioning in the search results.
I encourage you to use the SEO tips above to ensure your content is highly visible and indexed correctly.
Learning how to write SEO-friendly blog posts is easy if you adhere to the basic principles.
It may stretch your writing skills at first, but eventually, your blog writing will benefit from your efforts (and so will your blog readers.