How to write SEO friendly blog posts in 10 easy steps
January 14, 2019
If you aren’t seeing the traffic from Google to your blog that you expected, it could be because your content isn’t SEO friendly.
It can be a complex subject that needs some practice, but it’s one worth mastering as once you know how to optimise blog posts for SEO you will see the organic traffic start to roll in again and again.
The aim is that once search engines start showing your posts in the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) you will begin to receive regular traffic without having to do too much more work.
We’ve written a post with our SEO tips for bloggers before, but if you are struggling to create SEO friendly content that is being found by search engines, follow these 10 steps next time you create a post…
10 steps to optimising your blog posts for SEO
#1 Research keywords for your blog post
Before you start writing your blog post it’s important to do your keyword research. Think about what words and phrases people might type into Google to find the topic you’re writing about.
Type various keywords and questions into Google to see what comes up, as well as what other suggestions Google provides you with at the bottom of the page:
You should also use a free keyword research tool like Google’s Keyword Planner which will show you the average monthly searches for your chosen keywords and related suggestions. You should choose longtail keywords (three-four keyword phrases) with high search volumes but low competition. This means a lot of people are searching for the keywords but not many people are using them in their content so you will have fewer posts to compete with in the search results.
Make a note of these keywords and phrases so that you can include them in your content as you write. Add the keywords naturally without ‘keyword stuffing’ so your content is still easy to read and flows nicely – a good SEO post is also user-friendly.
There are four important places to include your keywords in your blog post – the title, main headings & body of the post as well as in the URL and meta description.
#2 Create a structure for your blog post
Once you have your keywords chosen, you need to set a structure for your content. Think about what information you want to include in your post and break the content down into sections.
Start with the title of the post, then a short introduction to let the user know what you are going to talk about. Follow with headings and end with a summary or conclusion.
Splitting your blog post into these sections will help to make it quicker and easier to write, especially if you won’t have the time to write the whole post in one sitting.
#3 Set the title of your post
The title of your blog post should be catchy, make it clear what your post is about, and include your main keyword. Titles should be between 55-60 characters so that the full title is shown in the search results without getting cut off.
Most people will see the title first, whether in the search results or on social media, so spend some time thinking about it and make it enticing enough for readers to click on.
#4 Set your URL
The URL or permalink of your post should include the main keyword that you chose at the beginning. You can make the URL shorter by taking out any unnecessary words such as ‘how’, ‘to’ or ‘the’ and should use “-” instead of spaces to separate words.
You can alter the URL if this is automatically generated by WordPress or Blogger.
As an example, the title of this post is How to write SEO friendly blog posts in 10 easy steps and the URL is /write-SEO-friendly-posts.
It’s best not to change the URL once you have published the post – if you are updating old posts to optimise for SEO and do change the URL you will need to set 301 redirects from the original URL to the new one to avoid broken links.
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#5 Use headings and subheadings properly
Knowing when and how to use headings in a blog post will help you to make your posts more SEO friendly.
There are a few rules regarding headings that you need to stick to in order to create a well-optimised blog post. Heading tags range from H1 to H6, with H1 being the most important.
A blog post should only have one H1 tag – this is usually the title of your post and will include your main keyword.
There can be a couple of H2 tags which are used as the main headings needed to break the content up into sections so that it is easy for both the user and Google to scan.
H3 tags are used for subsections used to break the H2 section down further.
H4, H5 and H6 tags aren’t used as often but can be used as headings in sidebars and footers where the text is more important than body text but not as important as the main headings.
#6 Make your blog posts easy to read
Keeping your paragraphs short makes the text easier for your audience to read, especially if the majority of your users are viewing your blog on mobile. A more mobile friendly site will perform better in Google searches.
Use bullet points to break up the text, and bold and italic formatting to make the important parts stand out. Images are also great to break up large chunks of content and improve your readability.
#7 Write longer blog posts
Google tends to favour posts over 600 words and generally speaking the longer the post the better – though always aim for quality over quantity.
This makes sense as the more comprehensive the post the more valuable it will be to your readers. Google looks for relevancy when delivering results so the more you can cover in one post the better. You can also fit in more keywords and phrases if you have more content to play with.
Guides and How To posts are good for creating long-form content.
#8 Add internal links to your other blog posts
Internal linking is a good way to improve the SEO optimisation of your blog posts. Linking to posts already published on your blog helps search engines to discover other pages on your site and can also help to tell the search engines what the content is about.
Adding links to similar content on your site helps to keep readers on your blog for longer and reduce your blog’s bounce rate. All of which are good SEO practices.
It’s also a good idea to add outbound links to relevant content on other websites as this helps the search engine to understand your niche, as well as helping to increase the trust and quality of your site which is a factor in improving your blog’s SEO.
#9 Optimise your images
Google can’t read the context of images but if you add the correct information it can help Google to understand what the image is about.
When you add an image to your blog it’s important to change the file name of the image to something descriptive, for example, ‘image1.jpg’ means nothing to anyone whereas ‘simple-vegan-dessert.jpg’ is much more meaningful.
In the alt text field write something that explains the image e.g Simple Vegan Dessert. You can include your main keyword here but keep it short.
#10 Optimise your meta description
It’s important to optimise your meta description on each post by adding your main keyword or phrase. The meta description should summarise the post in under 156 characters and will be shown in Google’s search results so make sure it’s something people will want to click on.
If you use an SEO plugin such as Yoast, this will help you to see when your meta descriptions are well optimised and when they need some more work.
>> If you’d like a copy of our free SEO checklist you can download it here.
Hopefully, these tips have given you some advice on how to optimise your blog posts for SEO. The important thing to remember is to do your research before you start writing, planning your keywords and the structure of the post.
If you’ve learnt something new about SEO in this post, it would also be a good idea to go back to your old blog posts and work through optimising them for SEO.
If you have any questions, or other SEO tips, feel free to add them to the comments section below. And if you found this post helpful we’d be greatful if you shared it with your fellow bloggers!