Blogging may seem simple, but there’s a lot more to content SEO than just putting words to a page. Just because you’re able to write doesn’t mean your content will do well on the internet. Years ago all that mattered was what you said (i.e., keywords), but modern SEO needs you to pay close attention to how you say it.
If you want your content to rank, of course it needs to be optimized, but search engines are getting smarter every day. Google can tell when content is well-written, engaging, and informative by analyzing your content and monitoring how people interact with it. If you take nothing else away, remember this one key: content SEO relies on good writing.
Long tail Keywords
Before getting started, you need to decide on the keywords you want your content to rank for. The best way to think about this is to put yourself in the shoes of your ideal customer and think about what they would type into their search box.
Of course, some keywords will be harder to rank for than others. If you sell t-shirts, you’ll never rank for the term “t-shirts,” but you might rank for longer keywords more relevant to your business. These are called “long-tail” keywords.
Instead of “t-shirts,” your long-tail keywords could be “custom designed t-shirts in Toronto.” The longer the search input, the more unique it is and the easier it is to rank for it.
Titling Your Blog Articles
There are two things that you need to think about when deciding on a title for your blog article:
- Making it catchy and attention grabbing
- Optimizing it for search engines
The best written blog is nothing if no one stops to click on its title. To grab your readers’ attention and make them want to click, figure out what would be appealing to somebody stumbling around on your site. Try to pique your readers’ curiosity with catchy words and a captivating concept.
Optimizing your title is relatively simple: just make sure your long-tail keyword is present. Search engines, not surprisingly, put more weight into a title when deciding where your content fits.
And don’t forget about subtitles. While not as important as the title, Google also uses the subtitles to decide what your article is about.
Writing a Blog Introduction
The introduction of your article is, arguably, the most important part. Unfortunately, it’s also often the weakest for new writers.
The introduction needs to set up your entire article, and be interesting and captivating enough to get someone to decide to continue reading. The best advice is to figure out why someone will stop to read your blog, and quickly tell them exactly what they want to hear. If you’re writing about how to clean a
carburetor but begin your article with a history or guide of all the engine components, you’re going to quickly lose your reader.
If there’s any part of your blog that you should focus on, it’s the introduction. Unless you can read it and picture a reader saying, “and then what?” or “oh wow, this is going to tell me exactly what I need,” you need to go back and rewrite.
In terms of SEO, Google also weighs the introduction of your blog heavier than any other paragraph in your article
Writing the Body
This is usually the easiest part for a writer. You already know what needs to be there, you just need to get it on the page in a way that’s easy to read and absorb.
Here are some quick tips for SEO writing:
- Avoid being wordy. This is a sign of an inexperienced writer. Sentences that are too long or have unnecessary words are extra work for the reader. Be short and to the point.
- Do NOT keyword stuff. Keyword stuffing is using the same key terms over and over again. This is not only bad SEO, it’s bad writing. Writers will always try to avoid using a word more than once. Why limit yourself when there are so many words in the English language? If you’re hyper-focusing on optimizing every word— don’t. Google and other search engines are smart enough to know that different words can have the same meaning. Your keywords should be in your blog organically. If they aren’t, your blog article has taken a wrong turn somewhere.
- Use your subtitles as an outline. Without an outline, it’s easy for a blog post to go off the rails. Keep yourself on track by creating an outline and sticking to it.
- Longer is not always better. Yes, longer content is better for Google, but not at the expense of readership. If you’re saying the same thing repeatedly, consider cutting out the fluff.
Proof Your Articles
It’s incredibly easy to write the last sentence of an article then sit back and think you’re done. Just read over a piece you’ve done this with after a few days or so and you’ll see the error of your ways. No writer has ever been happy with their first draft, and for good reason. A first draft of anything will always have errors, omissions, and poor wordings.
Editing and proofing is an absolute must. Not only will Google spot your errors, online readers are notoriously ruthless for jumping on any errors they find. Read over your writing out loud. It’s the best way to catch spots that don’t sound quite right or sections that seem to ramble on.
And if possible, get someone else to read it over. It’s not an easy task to catch all your own mistakes. That’s why even professional writers have editors.
Improve Your Writing with Practice
If you’ve finished high school, you’re probably confident in your ability to write. But even though we’ve all learned the nuts and bolts of writing, as with any other skill, you won’t just be good at something because you know how to do it. Do you think Tolstoy just decided to start writing one day and put together War and Peace?
Being a good writer takes practice, and becoming a great writer requires a lifetime of writing.