Writing a blog post is no small feat. It involves choosing a subject, conducting thorough research, crafting the content, and finally hitting the “Publish” button. This entire process can consume many hours. So, when the traffic doesn’t meet your expectations, it can be quite disheartening. But don’t lose hope; there’s a solution to this challenge: SEO, or search engine optimization.
As content creators, our goal is to produce material that ranks well on Google, and SEO is the tool that can bridge the gap. You might be wondering, how can you integrate SEO into your writing?
Fear not, we have the answers. In this article, we will explore 12 techniques to hone your SEO writing skills, ensuring that your hard work pays off in search engine rankings.
A 2020 study by Search Engine Journal revealed that websites occupying the top spot on the search engine results page (SERP) have a clickthrough rate of 25%. However, this percentage plummets to 15% for sites in the second position and further dwindles to 2.5% for those in the tenth spot.
Beyond the first page of Google, the chances of garnering clicks become even slimmer. This indicates that if your site isn’t on the front page, the likelihood of potential customers discovering your site organically is minimal.
Fewer site visitors translate to reduced chances of lead generation and, by extension, revenue. If you’re working with a limited budget, instead of pouring funds into advertising, why not channel your efforts into SEO writing? Not only is it cost-effective, but its impact on traffic can also outlast that of a typical ad campaign.
The 10-Point Checklist for SEO-Optimised Writing
Search engine crawlers, like Google’s, rely on headers to comprehend the structure and content of your blog post, including its various sections. You can liken these crawlers to readers who are quickly scanning your blog, seeking a summary of what the article entails. Your primary header, or H1, provides this overview, while subsequent headers like H2s, H3s, and H4s delineate the subtopics within the content.
Therefore, it’s essential that your subheaders accurately represent the body’s content and incorporate keywords with strong relevance. By selecting the appropriate keywords that resonate with your target audience, you enhance the likelihood of achieving a prominent position on the search engine results page (SERP).
Write for Humans
While focusing on various SEO practices, it’s vital to remember that search engine users are primarily seeking answers. To enhance your ranking prospects, concentrate on crafting top-notch blog posts. What does quality content entail? Comprehensive responses, easily digestible sections, well-structured subheaders, and visual support.
Always consider your target audience’s characteristics, such as their needs, desires, obstacles, and preferences. Selecting topics that align with potential customers’ concerns and address their specific issues is crucial. While certain SEO tools can assist with the technical aspects of your site, you may also consider utilising specialised content writing tools for SEO.
These tools aid in creating accurate, clear, and reader-friendly content that not only ranks well but also engages the audience. Various tools can also evaluate user engagement, offering insights into how much time visitors spend on a page, whether they explore multiple pages, or how extensively they scroll through your site.
Have you been including meta descriptions in your posts? If not, you might be missing out on maximising your post’s visibility. Let’s explore why they are so crucial.
We’ve already discussed several ways a blog post can interact with search engines like Google, such as through subheaders, keywords, and snippets. But that’s not the whole picture. Meta descriptions play a vital role in search rankings as well.
These one- to three-sentence summaries found beneath a search result’s title help Google understand your content. When crafting meta descriptions, it’s essential to:
- Keep them concise.
- Include one or two relevant keywords.
- Make them engaging, as they need to stand out among similar posts.
Remember, your meta description is a chance to summarise your post and entice readers to click. Fortunately, most content management systems (CMS) come with built-in meta description fields, so utilising this feature should be straightforward.
Add Alt Text to Images
With any image you incorporate into your post, whether it’s a featured image or one within the body of the content, adding alt text is essential. Alt text, short for ‘alternative text,’ serves as a written description of what’s depicted in the photo.
For search engines like Google, alt text provides context and helps them understand the relevance of the image to the content of your post. It’s a crucial aspect of SEO, as it allows search engines to index the image properly, potentially improving your site’s ranking.
But alt text serves a broader purpose beyond SEO. For individuals who are visually impaired and using screen readers, alt text offers an auditory description of the image, enhancing accessibility. It ensures that all readers, regardless of visual ability, can grasp the full meaning and context of your post.
When crafting alt text, it’s important to:
- Be concise yet descriptive, capturing the essence of the image.
- Include relevant keywords if they naturally fit with the description.
- Avoid unnecessary repetition or filler words.
By thoughtfully integrating alt text into your images, you not only optimise your content for search engines but also create a more inclusive and user-friendly experience for your readers.
Google is believed to handle more than 70,000 search inquiries every single second. An astonishing figure, isn’t it? To rise above the noise on the search engine results page (SERP) and outperform your rivals, it’s essential to pinpoint the exact keywords and phrases that your prospective customers are using. Without this targeted approach, how can they discover your content and website?
Begin your journey with a tool designed for keyword research. Platforms like Ahrefs and Google Keyword Planner offer insights into user search behaviour and the popularity of specific queries. Running short on keyword ideas? Look to your competitors for inspiration. Competitive intelligence tools can reveal the keywords for which their domains are ranking. If these keywords align with your business, you might want to consider incorporating them.
However, it’s crucial to recognize that the most apparent keywords may not always mesh with your overall strategy. Your focus on particular keywords may also need to change as market trends fluctuate, terminology evolves, or your product or service offerings expand.
Regularly conducting keyword research is vital to ensure that you remain aligned with the needs and interests of your target audience. This ongoing effort helps you avoid missing valuable opportunities to rank and connect with potential customers.
Include Links to Authoritative Websites in Your Content
As you develop your blog post, don’t hesitate to incorporate external links. Connecting to well-respected websites provides your readers with further resources to deepen their understanding, and it also signals to search engines that you’ve conducted thorough research.
Incorporating data and statistics from influential sources can significantly enhance your blog post. Such research-backed information helps you craft a more persuasive and robust argument, contributing to building credibility with your readers. By linking to high-authority sites, you not only enrich your content but also foster trust among your audience.
Strive for Longer Posts That are Easy to Scan
In today’s era of fleeting attention spans, it might seem counterintuitive to write lengthy blog posts. However, search engines such as Google tend to favour more comprehensive, in-depth content.
Consider this: the more information on the page, the more context search engines have to determine the subject of your blog. At HubSpot, research has shown that the optimal length falls between 2,100 and 2,400 words.
Of course, the challenge with longer posts is that they can appear daunting to readers. A solution to this issue is to structure your content into small, easily digestible segments. Break up lengthy sentences and aim to keep paragraphs to three sentences or fewer.
Don’t overlook the power of bullet points, either. They serve as effective attention-catchers and are particularly reader-friendly, especially for those browsing on mobile devices. By crafting scannable, extended posts, you align with search engine preferences while still catering to your readers’ needs.
Make Links to Other Posts Within Your Site
By linking to other pages or blog articles on your website, you assist search engines in constructing an accurate sitemap. This practice also enables your readers to explore more of your content, reinforcing your reputation as a reliable and authoritative information source.
From a user perspective, internal links to valuable content can engage readers for longer periods on your site. This reduces the bounce rate and heightens the possibility of conversion, which is the ultimate goal, isn’t it?
When creating links to pages on your website or even external sources, opt for natural language in your anchor text. Steer clear of generic or spam-like phrases such as “best cheap laptops” or “click here.” Instead, employ descriptive keywords that provide readers with a preview of what awaits them, like “Access your SEO guide here.”
Avoid the temptation to indiscriminately insert links to your top webpages, highlighted products, or sale items. Focus on including links that complement the points in your posts and seamlessly integrate with the overall topic.
Google favours web pages that load quickly, recognizing that it enhances the overall user experience. One common factor that can slow down a page is the presence of large, high-resolution images. If your post contains multiple images, each exceeding 100KB, it can significantly hinder your page’s loading speed.
If you believe that your page’s low ranking might be attributed to sluggish loading times, you can visit Google’s PageSpeed site. There, you’ll find a free analysis of your page’s speed along with tailored recommendations to improve it. By focusing on image optimization, you can contribute to a more efficient and user-friendly experience on your site.
Develop a Robust Link-Building Strategy
Link building plays a vital role in determining your search ranking. How does it work? Imagine search results as a contest where the winners are determined by the number of votes they receive. Each webpage that links back to your site acts as a vote of confidence, enhancing your credibility in Google’s eyes and boosting your ranking.
To succeed in this, aim to create content that other websites or publications will want to reference within their own posts. Making your blog posts more link-worthy involves incorporating valuable assets such as unique insights, original data, or thought leadership.
Another effective approach to attract traffic back to your site is conducting interviews with industry experts. By weaving these elements into your content, you not only enhance its appeal but also foster a strategy that encourages others to link to your site, thereby strengthening your position in search rankings.