Blogging is an incredible tool in your content strategy toolkit. Through SEO content writing, you can generate more website traffic, which attracts more potential customers and eventually leads to sustainable profits from loyal clients.
Adding a blog to your website is one of the best ways to improve your search engine rankings — aka having your content found online by the people who want to read about the topic. Frequently updating blogs is one of the best practices for SEO content writing. But how do you effectively use SEO techniques to write a blog?
What is SEO Writing?
Let’s start with the basics. SEO, short for Search Engine Optimization, is used by almost every successful business with a digital presence. When done correctly, SEO naturally generates warm leads, ultimately cultivating the all-important know, like, and trust factors that simplify the sales process.
SEO sounds like a jargon tech term, but it’s not hard to understand with a bit of explanation. Simply put: SEO is an umbrella term for the techniques you need to implement to increase the quantity and quality of visitors to your website through organic (read non-paid) search engine results.
Leads or sales from organic traffic provide the highest return on investment so investing time in creating SEO blogs is worth it in the long run, even if you’re just starting a blog in 2021.
Is Blogging Dead in 2021?
SEO content writing, particularly on a blog, is also one of the best ways to improve your organic traffic. Still, every so often, articles will pop up questioning if blogs are still effective. The short answer is yes, they are effective in 2021.
Blogs are still important for the reasons they always have been. They are an extremely valuable tool for lead generation, brand awareness, and capitalizing on the free benefits that great SEO provides.
Plus, they’re still popular among consumers. A 2020 HubSpot study found that 60% of people read a blog at least once a week. So, blogging won’t be going out of vogue anytime soon.
What is Indexing for SEO?
Ah, another jargon term. Unfortunately, the topic of SEO writing has a lot of tech terms. But don’t let them intimate you.
Indexing is a good thing that improves the chances of your content being found in an online search — and not something you have to think long and hard about. It is helpful to understand the concept when you’re writing a blog.
Google does a great job of putting it into layman’s terms. So instead of reinventing the wheel, I’ll give it to you straight from the horse’s mouth.
“A page is indexed by Google if it has been visited by the Google crawler (“Googlebot”), analyzed for content and meaning, and stored in the Google index. Indexed pages can be shown in Google Search results (if they follow Google’s webmaster guidelines).
“While most pages are crawled before indexing, Google may also index pages without access to their content (for example, if a page is blocked by a robots.txt directive).”
The big takeaway: Indexed pages can be shown in Google Search results.
5 Tips for Better SEO Blog Writing
Now that we have our SEO basics covered, here are five actionable steps for writing better SEO content to improve your website search rankings.
1. Keyword Research
Words are key. Most people get into blogging because they love to write. They already understand the power of the written word. Using keywords makes your writing searchable because the fun of blogging for business or pleasure can be hampered when no one is reading.
Ensuring the content you create is relevant and valuable for your customers is the ultimate goal of successful content marketing, and that requires proper keyword research. It’s essential to know which keywords to use in your blog posts so your ideal audience can find you in their search engine results.
Keyword research is the analysis of what type of words and topics people search for regarding your business. These words can be gathered from the research you have conducted about your target audience.
You’ll want to include a mix of long-and-short tail keywords. What’s the difference? Short tail keywords are search phrases with only one or two words. Because they use few words, short tail keywords are inherently less specific than searches with more words.
Searches with more words are called long tail keywords. Long tail keywords are around four words long. They are more of a phrase than a single keyword.
For example, “Blog” is an example of a short tail keyword, while “Write an SEO Blog” is a long tail keyword.
Finding the right keywords doesn’t have to be a guessing game. Google’s keyword planner is an excellent resource for finding relevant keywords.
Note that keywords are not just for website copy and blogs. Social media platforms, including Instagram and Pinterest, also require relevant keywords to your content with the right audience. You can perform an SEO keyword search for Instagram or Pinterest using the in-app search bar.
2. Blog Length
How long should my blog be to rank for SEO? That’s a question I get asked a lot. There really is no magic word count — and truth be told, 500 words is better than zero words.
The Hook Agency is having a lot of success with its blog ranking. Tim Brown, the owner of Hook Agency, recently shared his take on the perfect SEO blog length, saying his ideal range is 2021 is 1,760-2,400 words.
He also notes, based on numerous studies over the last ten years – “Google’s algorithm prefers more content when going head to head on shorter content posts–helping blog posts with over 1,000 words do better on average.”
My former digital marketing professor at Columbia University once gave me a good rule of thumb that I still use. Google search the topic of your blog post and take the average length of the first three blogs or articles that pop up in the results. That is the number to aim for when you’re writing.
Bloggers put a lot of time and effort into crafting scroll-stopping headlines — as they should. Headlines are very important if you want to grab the reader’s attention. Blog headings are also essential but tend to be overlooked.
Headings are the structural and technical components outlining a blog. Sometimes referred to as subheads, different-sized headings break up the text, so readers aren’t staring at a big block of copy.
Headings are used as natural breaks letting the reader know what the next paragraph of the blog is about.
The headings in your blog post help search engines identify the relevance of your page. H1 headers are usually reserved for the title of the article or page. H2 and H3 headings help to subdivide your content.
You can find the heading formats in the paragraph formatting section of your blog post. Try to include SEO keywords in your headings to help search engines find the right content for the search results.
4. Use Internal Links & Backlinks
Internal links and external links (aka backlinks) are technical components that complement your SEO content writing.
Internal links are hyperlinks that redirect to pages on the same domain, for example, including a link in one of your blog posts that takes you to another one of your relevant blog posts. I will include links in this blog post to other blogs I’ve written about SEO writing and blogging.
External links, on the other hand, link out to pages on different domains. In-depth, educational, and timeless articles are an excellent resource for other authors to reference and link back to.
The SEO experts at Moz summed it up perfectly when they wrote that backlinks are vital for SEO because they represent a “vote of confidence” from one site to another. In essence, when another industry professional links to an article on your website, it’s a signal to search engines that others vouch for your content.
This will help you pull in more traffic in the long haul, which is excellent for the bottom line. More traffic equates to more leads and ultimately sales.
Both internal and external links build your website’s credibility. It tells Google that you are an expert on the subject, and your writing is creditable to recommend to readers in search results.
5. Use Metadata
Metadata is often overlooked in SEO content writing. But meta titles and descriptions can help search engines determine the relevance of your content.
Meta tags, like the author’s name, additional keywords, and page descriptions, can increase your click-through rate. If metadata is not something you’ve considered before, look at a meta tag generator to find meta tags that help search engines find you.
Writing your blog post and getting it noticed by search engines is just the beginning. SEO is so valuable, but the best blogs write for humans first and foster a long-term relationship with their audience.
Once people find your content and read your blog or website, it’s time to “close the deal.” Always include a strong call to action (CTA) in your content.
Phrases like “learn how to generate 5x more leads” or “discover how we help people achieve 20% higher ROI” are more substantial than traditional “contact us.”
Give your reader a reason to want to do business with you!
Cyndi, owner of Ascent StoryCraft
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