When you want to write the perfect blog post, it’s not enough to simply be entertaining and informative. Engaging copy is an important aspect of course, but if that’s all you’re aiming for then you’re not thinking big enough. Your blog is an essential component of your online strategy. It should be doing several things at once for you, and not least of all maximising your search engine optimisation (SEO). Essentially, putting out consistent, relative, quality blog posts containing numerous SEO tactics will serve to position your website higher in search engine rankings. In the crowded landscape of digital commerce, positioning is everything; search engines are the gateway to the whole of the internet for the vast majority of browsers. If you want to entice new customers to your business then you have to be visible in the rankings – the higher, the better.
So how exactly do you write the perfect blog post to maximise SEO? Well, there are a number of different tips and tricks you can take advantage of. The first thing to do is keyword research. These keywords are critical to the success of your SEO scope, as they are the cornerstones used to anchor your content within the search engines. Unfortunately, in 2019, it’s not as simple as just picking out one or two words that sum up the content of your post; you need to look for long-tail keywords that match the intent of your reader. Long-tail keywords are longer phrases or questions that can really emphasise and specify your specific goals. Visitors who seek out these more specific phrases are more likely to stay and read the whole post, optimising your readership and expanding your chance to convert visitors into customers.
Long-tail keywords are not only a more elegant form of SEO, they are also far more effective. Simply bombarding your post with every related keyword you can think of will not get you very far; in fact, it will work against you. Search engines can easily spot this kind of ‘keyword stuffing’, and will punish you for it. Narrowing your scope will turn out much better results, and provide you with higher reader retention.
When it comes to the ideal length of your post, there’s not really a magic ideal number; it depends on what you’re writing about and who you’re writing to. In general, it is far better to emphasise quality over quantity; your objective should not be a word count, but an engaging and dynamic post which can keep readers going to the end, while informing them along the way. That being said, aiming for 400 to 500 words for shorter posts and 800 – 1000 for longer ones are good goalposts to aim at. Just remember that writing to a word count is a short-sighted strategy that will likely collapse over time. Content is king.
Meta descriptions are also an important component of blog posts. What are they exactly? Well, essentially, they’re the additional text that appears in search engine results, summarising the content of the website or page to the searcher. Often, the meta description is the deciding factor on whether someone will click a link or not, making them a crucial aspect of your online strategy. Recently, the maximum length of the Google meta description increased to 300 words, leaving even more room for writers and business owners to hook readers from the get-go. It also gives you the perfect opportunity to insert your primary long-tail keyword inside the meta description itself.
You also need to think about inbound and outbound links within your post. These too are an important factor for your ranking signals, so every time you write a new post, you should be looking for natural ways to link back to any relevant older posts of yours. If you can simultaneously link out to larger, established sites, even better. These are not necessarily more important than keywords, but used in tandem with the right keywords, they can bolster your post and send it higher up the charts. Here’s a good example of an outbound link which relates to the context of this post.
There are a couple of specific tools you can use to improve your keywords, and avail of a little extra help along the way. One such tool is a website called SEMRush, which allows you to enter a specific keyword and then view all of the most searched-for words and phrases that are linked to your keyword. You can then pepper your article with these words and phrases, bolstering your keyword and resulting in higher rankings. If SEMRush is useful in the pre-writing stage, Yoast is another handy little number which helps you on the backend. This plug-in lets you pull out a specific keyword in your article and if you sign up to Yoast Premium, you can pull out five and add synonyms. This massively opens up your keyword target area and propels your visibility.
Optimising your perfect blog posts for SEO is not a simple task; there are many elements to consider, and the more you know about it, the better. Often, companies (especially newer ones) will not have the knowhow or the resources to devote to properly optimising their SEO, which is why it can be useful to outsource their entire online content operation to agencies who specialise in it. Well-written, relevant copy is essential for reader retention, and Google is quick to punish rapid bounce rates. If you’re rushing or corner-cutting your online content, it can severely damage your growth and opportunities. Once you’ve outsourced your content creation to a trusted company, you can focus on expanding your business, secure in the knowledge that the experts are handling your SEO optimisation, and broadening your web presence.
Main photo credit: Carl Heyerdahl