There’s a vast difference between writing a blog, and writing an SEO blog that’s optimised to rank on Google.
As well as offering value to your audience and customers, the purpose of a blog is to drive traffic to your website – so in order to do that effectively it needs to show up in the search results, and in order to do that it needs to be optimised for SEO.
So to ensure you don’t waste your time by writing blogs that don’t give back by bringing people to your site and engaging them, we’ve compiled our five top tips for writing SEO-friendly blog posts.
Why keywords are important
Identifying the right keywords is incredibly important, because they comprise the words and phrases that make it possible for your website to be found within the search engines. Keywords are the foundation for all your SEO efforts, so it’s worth putting in some time to research and understand which SEO keywords are most relevant for your audience. Doing so could be the difference between your potential customers landing on your page, or your competitors.
- Determine which topics are being talked about
- Identify search volumes for your topics
- Get an idea of how difficult it may be to rank for a topic
Optimise further with LSI keywords
LSI stands for Latent Semantic Indexing. These keywords are terms that are semantically or conceptually related to your keywords. Note: these are not simply synonyms, they are associated words or phrases.
So for example, if you’re an accountancy firm, your LSI keywords might be tax preparation services, payroll administration, business plan or Xero.
By extending your research to LSI keywords and including them in your blogs, it will increase your searchability because Google is now looking at topics and the real meaning of keywords, rather than simply the combination of words or letters in your phrase. Google wants to ensure that your content is valuable to its audiences, so the use of LSI keywords shows Google that what you’ve written is relevant and not just a page of keywords strung together to get a ranking.
Where to include your keywords
There are a few key areas throughout your blog where Google will be specifically looking for keywords:
Page Title: It is vital to include your top keyword(s) in your title, as this is the first place search engines will look to determine the relevance of your content. Specifically, you need to include it within the first 60 characters, because after that Google cuts the title off in the search engine results.
Headings: Make sure when you create headings and subheading that the H1, H2 and H3 tags are in the code. This is usually done automatically by your website/blog building tool, but it’s worth checking your template to ensure your tags are set up correctly. This will make it much easier and quicker for Google (and other search engines) to crawl and index your content, meaning your ranking and traffic will increase more quickly too.
Meta Descriptions: This is the text displayed by search engines underneath each link to show a preview of what the page contains. The search engine helps the user find the most relevant link by making the words that match the search query bold. So if you’ve included these keywords in your meta description your opportunity to be seen goes up.
URL: Editing your url to ensure it’s short and includes a keyword or two, while still being descriptive and comprehensible, is a quick and easy way to make your blog SEO-friendly. It’s as simple as that!
Image Alt Text: This is the text associated with your image. If the webpage fails to load, this is the text that will display in place of the image. Importantly, it also turns your images into hyperlinked search results, so it’s another great way to be found in the search results.
Understand the search intent of your audience
Now you know your keywords, identify the primary one or two and research what specifically the searcher is looking for when they’re typing in that word or phrase.
For example, if they’re looking for an accountant, they will likely type more than “Accountant” into the search bar. Perhaps they’ll type, “Accountant near me” or “Accountant fees”. Understanding this allows you to highly tailor your blogs to ensure you’re producing content they really want and therefore content that ranks.
So perhaps your blog title might be, “How to choose the best accountant for you in your area” or “Is your accountant charging you too much?”
In order to do this effectively it’s important to understand your target audience. Specifically:
- What challenges are they currently facing?
- Where are they in their buyer journey?
- What questions do they have?
So if we stick with the above example – a customer who doesn’t currently have an accountant and is not actively looking may not be interested in the above blogs, because the content assumes they’re already further along in the buyer’s journey. So they’re either ready to engage an accountant, or they have one but are seeking validation that they’re getting the right service.
In this instance your content will be more relevant if it educates them around the benefits of working with an accountant. So perhaps they’re searching for, “How to fill out a tax return”, in which case your blog title might be, “Take the stress out of your tax return”. This not only meets them where they’re at, it also answers their question and addresses their challenge – they’re stressed because they don’t know how to do their tax return.
Can you see how powerful it is to take the time to really understand who it is you want to reach?
Include quality links
These should be a mixture of internal and external links. Internal will connect the reader with other pages within your website – perhaps other blog articles that offer more detail on a particular point or topic, or relevant pages that relate to what you’re talking about; e.g. a page that specifically explains your tax preparation services or your contact page.
External links direct your readers to content that exists on another website. Ensure the websites you send them to are trustworthy; as well as reinforcing a point or providing additional information that you don’t have, the point of sending your audience to an external website is to increase the credibility of your post and therefore get it higher up the rankings.
Quick Tip: Make sure all your external links open in a new tab – you don’t want them to lose their place on your site or completely exit, because they might not return if it’s too difficult.
Optimise for mobile
Google has now switched to mobile-first indexing for all websites. So the Googlebot is looking at mobile sites first and prioritising them before desktops, meaning mobile sites will rank more highly.
Give your visitors an outstanding experience
As mentioned above, it’s important to ensure that once someone does land on your site, they have an easy and enjoyable experience. You want to keep them on your site for as long as possible – not only so you can deliver them maximum value, but also because it helps you to rank more highly in Google.
Google looks at a couple of things in this regard:
Bounce rate: This measures the percentage of people who land on a page of your website and do nothing – they don’t engage with or click anything and their visit ends with that single page visit. As far as Google is concerned, this would indicate a low quality page in terms of content and fit for the audience they sent there. As a result, Google will not prioritise you so highly in the rankings.
Dwell rate: This measures the amount of time a visitor spends on a page before returning to the search engine. As far as Google is concerned, the longer the dwell rate the better, because it means the visitor has consumed a good proportion of your content so therefore it must have been quality and suitable for their needs, and therefore it’s worth showing to more people.
Here’s a few quick and easy tips regarding content structure to help create a great user experience for your blog audiences:
Most readers will skim your blog initially, to see if the content is relevant and relates to what they need. So it’s important you structure the body of your blog to capture their attention and motivate them to take the time to read it properly. You can do this in three easy ways:
An attention grabbing title: It’s important to craft your title in a way that stops your reader in their tracks and makes them want to click to find out more. Tailoring your title according to search intent will be a great place to start with this, as it will speak to them directly and be highly relevant to what they need at that time.
Compelling headings: Breaking your content up into small chunks makes it much easier on the eye for a reader, rather than a big mass of words with no space to breathe. By giving each main chunk a descriptive and interesting heading, it lets the reader know as they skim what they can expect from each section and indeed the blog as a whole. If your headings capture their attention, they’ll read on and stay on your page longer, which as we know is a great result!
Use bullet points: This is another excellent way to break up chunks of text and create an easy experience for your readers – not only as they consume your content but also after, because they’re more likely to retain the shorter snippets of information and therefore continue to take value from your blog. As above, this will also contribute to a longer dwell time, and therefore greater potential for Google to bump you up the rankings.
Ready to get started with your SEO blogs?
As you can see, writing SEO-friendly blogs doesn’t need to be challenging once you understand these simple hacks. The most important place to start is with your research – give yourself plenty of time to truly understand the audience you’re targeting and what they’re searching for, and the rest will fall into place a whole lot more easily.
Of course, if SEO is a priority for you there are many other strategies you can employ to help bump your way up the rankings more quickly. If you’d like to find out more, please feel free to get in touch with one of our experts.