The Ultimate Guide to Blogging for SEO Success
When it comes to marketing, blogs play a key role in helping to increase your customer base. However, don’t assume that by simply writing a generic blog post you’ll automatically attract traffic. The best strategy for generating leads for your product or service is to write targeted content and adopt proven blogging techniques. In fact, studies show that websites with blogs can double the amount of leads compared to other sites.
With that in mind, here is our ultimate guide on how a blog can improve your SEO campaign.
1. Create a catchy title and concise URL
Start by creating a suitable title for your blog topic that fits your SEO aims. When coming up with a title, ensure it has:
- Your target keyword (but avoid keyword stuffing)
- Accurate description of your blog content
- Appeals to users, to generate their interest and click to read it
Top 5 Easy Ways to Increase Your Web Traffic
The title is interesting enough for online searchers to click the link. If you’re looking for proof, type this title in to this headline analyser. It garnered a score of 73%.
Making concise URLs
- Make use of hyphens “-” to separate the words in the URL. If your blogs are hosted on WordPress, consider changing the permalink structure to match your post title.
- If possible, keep your URLs short by taking out unnecessary words. Since URLs are auto-generated, you have to remove the words manually before publishing the blog post.
- In case the blog post was published, you can still change the URL, but add 301 redirects to maintain your SERP ranking.
2. Write blogs that resolve your readers’ problems
Studies show that content marketers get proven results from writing useful and unique blog content. If you write blogs that resolve your target readers’ problems, you are far more likely to attract traffic. Likewise, if you can inspire them to take action, your conversion rate will also rise.
3. Impress your target readers
The blog’s introduction is your chance to make a great first impression. This is where you convince your audience to continue reading. Your introduction could:
- Prepare the reader on what kind of benefits they’ll get
- Contain a statement summarising your blog’s purpose
- Relate to the problem or solution in your headline as a sign that you understand your readers’ problem.
Write an introduction that will hold your readers’ interest long enough to want to continue to read your blog. The longer they stay reading, the higher your search engine ranking.
You can engage your readers on the introduction alone using one or several of these tactics:
Ask the right questions – Use questions that will engage and motivate your audience to read the whole blog. However, avoid asking obvious questions like, “Do you want to increase your blog readers?” Instead, prod your readers to discuss the subject matter in your comment sections.
Alternatively, you could construct the sentence this way, “What are the biggest mistakes blog writers make?” You can use questions as a means to draw readers to your blog, keep them interested until they find the solution to their dilemma.
- Present statistics – You could start the blog by presenting market research data or experiment results. Stats attract readers since they are facts which back up your response to their issues. This is one of the reasons ConversionXL founder Peep Laja presents statistics in his articles.
- Explaining a situation – Firstly, include your readers’ problem in the headline. Then restate the problem in the introduction. Make sure it also matches the search queries they are using on Google.
4. Keyword research
You can improve your SEO ranking by using the same words online searchers used. However, you shouldn’t resort to “keyword stuffing” to avoid search engine penalties. Instead, you can increase your rank through:
Keyword research – Consider the value of each keyword based on the user’s intention such as:
- Shopping for good deals
- Ready to buy
- Comparing prices
Often, you can use their search query as keywords for your products or services.
Use the Google Adwords Keywords Planner
Suppose you wish to write a blog about “Web Design” and want to achieve top ranking for that topic. You can use Google’s keyword planner to search for long-tail keywords.
In the planner, type “Web Design” in the search box, and then click “Get Ideas” to get results like:
- Web design tips
- Web design examples
- Web design experts
You can then add the keywords in your blog headline such as:
- Top Web Design Tips To Use Today
- How to Find Web Design Examples That Inspire
- Learn the Secrets Top Web Design Experts Are Using
Next, you need to blend the keyword with your content and avoid making it appear “stuffed”. Finally, add the keyword to the URL.
5. Write and post blogs that readers find helpful and useful
Posting blogs that only provide generic or general answers may not provide enough incentive for your target audience. If you want readers to notice you, write blogs that:
- Give relevant and useful information
- Can motivate and inspire them to take action
Achieving top ranking isn’t going to happen overnight. However, if you keep posting unique and actionable blogs – consistently – you’ll attract traffic and attention from both search engines and users.
6. Use a content calendar to keep up-to-date
If you’re part of a group that creates blogs posts for a website, you’ll need a content calendar. You can use this tool to plan when to write and publish each post, as well as determine the frequency of postings.
7. Use AIDA to engage with your audience
In marketing there’s a common step-by-step formula to persuading consumers to buy, known by the acronym AIDA (which stands for Attention, Interest, Desire, Action). You can apply this model in your blog writing to help ensure it achieves its aims.
Attention – Prioritise getting your reader’s attention so you can start building trust and relationships with readers and potential customers. You can do this by:
- Adding suitable organic keyword phrases to your meta-title.
- By telling your readers that you have the solution to their problems or answer to their questions.
Take note that around 8 out of 10 people will decide to buy products or services based solely on the headline they read. So make sure that the headline mentions the solution to their problems.
If you’re not convinced, type a topic into Google and take note of which results you are most attracted to click on.
Interestingly, Studies also suggest that more than 1 out of 3 readers are attracted by headlines with odd numbers. Also, 1 out of 4 users will likely click on a headline with numbers than those without.
So, if you want to improve your search engine ranking, consider writing a headline that includes an odd number.
Interest – Copywriters use sub-headings to stimulate readers’ interest by explaining the headline. Subheadings can emphasise the benefits readers will get from your content. Also, you can use them to restate and expand what your headline has promised to the reader.
Desire – Build a strong desire and your inspired readers may share your blog through social media. To create more punchy content and evoke strong passion among your readers, consider using bullet points. Just don’t overdo it. At least 3 to 7 points are suitable for social media shares, since users have short attention spans. If you don’t like bullet points, consider using ordered or numbered lists instead.
You can also build your reader’s desire by presenting a limited number of options. Why does this work? Well, a social experiment showed that people with three choices are quicker to make decisions compared to people faced with more than a dozen choices. Also, people with fewer choices seem more satisfied than those who are presented with many options.
Action – You need to convince your reader to take action quickly. Don’t wait for the conclusion because they might not even reach that part. Interestingly, a human’s attention span is 7 seconds, which is 1 second shorter than a goldfish.
For example, your target customer was attracted by your blog headline and went on reading your content, finally reaching your call-to-action. Now use the CTA to make your readers take the next step. However, you should not pressure them. If they aren’t ready to buy your product or service, perhaps they are willing to subscribe, share or write a comment. These positive gestures can still increase your rankings.
You should also convince your readers without annoying them. Remember as long as your blogs give value, people will respond to your CTA.
For example, SaaS companies often offer a free trial period as their CTA. This enables them to show the benefits of their product before people pay for it. Other kinds of CTAs are discounts and coupon offers.
8. Use a conversational tone
Having a conversation with people or strangers is an everyday occurrence. However, it may not sound simple once you switch to writing. So, how can you write blogs in a conversational tone? Here are some steps that can help you:
- Limit use of keywords – Keywords are important for search engine ranking. However, even if there’s no exact limit to their use, you shouldn’t overuse them. Imagine mentioning the same word all the time in your conversation. That’s a sure way to irritate your friends. That same reasoning also applies here. Forget about keyword densities and write like you’re talking to a friend.
- Write for one reader – This probably sounds illogical since you’re trying to have hundreds or even thousands of people read your blog. However, by addressing your ideal reader’s concern, your writing becomes more natural and fluid.
- Avoid jargon – People who work in certain industries or trade tend to develop their own language. Using industry jargon in your blog may help build the impression that you’re an expert in your field among your peers, however, to outsiders, they don’t know what those words mean, so avoid using them in your blogs. If you must, at least explain the meaning.
- Use easy to understand words – When writing blogs, make sure that your target readers can understand them. For example, readers with a high school education may find blogs written in academic form hard to read. If that happens, they will just stop reading and you lose your chance to engage them. If you want to test your blog’s readability, there are tools you can use showing the readability statistics of your blog. For example in the US, at least 50% of the adult population have 5th-grade reading comprehension. If your primary audience is American adults, you need to adjust blog readability to their level or risk getting ignored.
- Reading aloud helps – Reading aloud not only builds confidence, but it also allows you to spot problems and content that shouldn’t be there.
9. Empathise with your readers
Remember that you’re writing blogs to make your readers feel assured and positive. However, we don’t want our target readers to ignore serious problems. Think of it this way, you want to promote your business without manipulating or deceiving but by building trust. If you’re communicating with your reader, create an empathetic bond by proposing solutions.
10. Develop your own writer’s voice
A writer’s voice is like his or her writing personality. Part of that voice is the way a writer chooses the words, sentence length, and even rhythm. It’s different from a tone which you can change to suit your mood or audience. You can use different tones whilst maintaining a single voice. You can develop your writing voice by:
- Imitation – start by copying the voice of other writers as you develop your own
- Search and write articles that resonate with your target audience
- Foster a sense of humour in your writing
11. Establish your authority
Here are some tips to build up your authority:
- Focus on a single topic first – You can’t establish authority if the blogs posts are superficial and shallow. You should instead focus on certain areas in order to write an in-depth article that will impress your readers. For example, topics regarding web design are varied. However, you can choose to focus and learn about everything regarding the use of colours. As you master one area, you can move on to the next.
- Write blog posts that answer specific questions. You can start by reading questions posted in forums or blogs. You can use these questions for writing new blogs.
- Quoting and linking to other authority sites proves you have done your research and are looking to provide the very best information.
- Don’t be afraid to voice out a view different from what many authority sites say. However, make sure that you quote experts who share your view or consider offering proof of your opinion.
- If possible, include stats and detailed case studies to back up your argument. Remember, details can boost your credibility.
- Emphasise your ideas by rephrasing, using new metaphors or different examples. You can make your ideas and message stick with your readers simply by repeating your ideas or messages.
12. It’s not about the length
SEO experts may stress that long posts can rank higher in search engines or get more social media likes than short ones. However, this is not always the case. Even short posts can outrank the longer ones if they are better written. Bear in mind that any topic you have ever wanted to write has probably been written by other bloggers. So how can your blog compete?
When blog writing, think more about ‘quality’ rather than ‘quantity’. Writing a beautifully composed piece is not enough, you have to promote it in a way that attracts users and encourages them to share it with others.
For example, creating web design articles that cover all relevant topics, suitable images, relevant references and information have a higher chance of getting links.
To find out the suitable blog length, type your target keyword on Google. Then open all of the first ten entries. Take note of the word count and content type.
To rank on top you should write and publish a post that satisfies criteria such as:
- Word count
- Content quality
Don’t get frustrated if your blog doesn’t achieve high ranking as quickly as you hope but instead have patience and focus your attention on writing your next article.
13. Add trusted inbound links to your blog
Inbound links refer to other sites that link to your content. This is important since studies suggest that almost 20% of your ranking is determined by the link’s quality and trustworthiness. To build those quality inbound links, adopt these strategies:
Take advantage of broken links
A broken link is a hyperlink that links to an empty or non-existent page and usually redirects to page with a 404 error message. You can turn this oversight to your advantage. Consider looking for broken links on other blogs and ask the owners if they’re willing to have your own links replace them. Here’s how to go about it:
- Go to brokenlinkcheck.com – you can check this site to locate sites where you can place links to your blog post.
- Once you’ve located the broken links, outreach to the blog owners and inform them of the dead links.
- To get the contact details of the blog owners e.g., names or email addresses, try their Twitter, Facebook or even their website “About” page.
14. Internal Links
Whenever writing a new blog post, try to associate it with your previous articles by linking it. This has several advantages:
- Helps search engines find new pages on your site
- Reinforces to search engines what your site is all about
- Users can click on the link and prolong their stay, which benefits your site traffic
- Can reduce your bounce rate by keeping users on your site for longer
15. Make your blog mobile-friendly
Google has now implemented mobile-first indexing. This means that search engines now consider a site’s mobile version as the primary version. If your site doesn’t have a mobile version yet, you need to take this seriously as it will affect your SEO ranking and conversion rate.
16. Optimise meta data
Google uses the information you store within a posts meta data to populate your Google listing.
Meta titles / tags are the clickable headlines seen on Google. They need to be an accurate and concise explanation of a post’s content. Google only displays the first 50–60 characters of a title tag, so make sure you don’t go over.
Meta descriptions summarise your blog post in less than 156 characters. So you need to fill them in with engaging information that will entice users to click and visit your site.
Your meta data should include your primary target keyword, but don’t over use it and make sure they read well and are enticing for searchers.
Here’s an example:
Springhill Marketing is a market leader in search engine optimisation, Google Adwords PPC and social advertising.
17. Add images and videos
A blog that only contains text is going to bore your readers. To keep your content interesting, consider adding:
You can also optimise your images for SEO through ‘Alt’ text. The same can be said for image file names, instead of naming an image img1.jpg, consider changing it to something more descriptive such as seo-graph-2019.jpg.
18. Market your blog
Sharing your blogs through social media will help:
- Your social media sites stay current and relevant
- Keep your readers engaged
- Improve your SEO ranking since social media exposure is an SEO ranking factor
- Increase your site’s referral traffic
Feel free to experiment and share your blog with all social networks you can find. Afterwards, keep a note of the social sites that deliver results and dismiss those that don’t.
19. Always update your blogs
You don’t have to create new content all the time. You can also optimise and update your old content. Consider performing these techniques if you haven’t applied them yet:
- Adding internal links to suitable pages on the site
- Optimising existing images or adding optimised images
- Linking your post to other related posts
- Reviewing meta descriptions and title tags to make sure right keywords are included
20. Make your blog/site user-friendly
A blog or site that’s user-friendly will encourage readers to visit and stay, which will in turn increase traffic and ranking. Here are some tips on how to keep your site user-friendly:
- Organise your information before developing the website
- Make sure that your URL is readable. Remove any symbols and use real words.
- When creating the site’s navigation menu, stick to HTML and CSS
- Make sure that the important pages are accessible from the main menu. Users should reach the page through three clicks at the most.
- The site’s header should include key contact details
- Avoid broken links.
As you can see there are many various ways you can boost your blog’s search engine rankings. But the biggest take away from this guide should be that you need to plan and execute SEO into your blog writing consistently to enable you to fully maximise the traffic opportunity blogging provides.
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