Business owners and bloggers can’t write posts exclusively for potential clients or readers. They have to write for search engines like Google as well.
Sometimes Google and users want to read the same thing. Search engines strive to be like people: they want to see informative and entertaining articles.
But the algorithms that power search engines aren’t self-aware just yet so you have to know what they’re looking for if you want to keep Google’s eyes glued to your page.
By incorporating SEO best practices into your blog strategy more people will be able to find you and your website. But unless you’re a professional copywriter, that can be easier said than done.
Here are a few simple tips you can use to write engaging SEO-friendly content that will help grow your online presence.
What Is SEO Writing?
Search Engine Optimization writing—or SEO writing—generall refers to a variety of tactics that help make your website more visible on search engine results.
What exactly does that mean?
- Associating your website with related keywords and topics.
- Answering specific questions your customers are asking(and are searching in Google)
- Helping search engines crawl your website to know exactly what you’re writing about.
This just a small listing but there are tons benefits to writing for SEO, whether you’re a national business or a small start-up.
For now, let’s focus on strategies you can use to write blog posts for SEO regardless of your reach or industry.
How Do I Start Writing for SEO?
To start writing for SEO all you need to do is follow these 5 steps. Take each step one at a time and you’ll be creating highly visible content in no time!
1.) Have a plan of action
Make an outline before you start writing. Organize your thoughts into this structure:
- Supporting Details
Know exactly what you’re going to write about, e.g. those questions or concerns your customers have (and how you solve them).
Your content should be thorough but don’t try to fit too much information into any single post. If inspiration strikes you regarding another potential blog post topic add it to a running list. And then link the two posts together with a hyperlink.
2.) Pick out your keywords
You can write an amazing, informative blog post but if your customers are using terms that you’ve failed to include then they’re never going to find your website.
Imagine you’ve written a review about the newest iPhone, but you forgot to include the word “review.” Well, people searching “iPhone review” on Google are unlikely to stumble upon your page.
The latter is a pretty extreme (and hopefully unlike example), but the point remains.
If you want to rank for a specific keyword when someone searches it on Google, you will need to integrate it into your blog post. And that keyword should be something people are naturally searching for.
Not all Keywords are Equal
Don’t just look at search volume when picking out a keyword. Consider your competition. How many other websites are out there trying to rank for the same term? And then ask yourself, “Is my target audience likely to use the term I’m trying to rank for?”
For example, “landscaping” is searched over 200,000 times every month. It would be great to get a piece of that traffic!
But competition is fierce, and you aren’t going to outrank sites like Wikipedia or HGTV. Making things more complicated, many of the people searching “landscaping” online are just looking for information, not a landscaping service they can hire.
A better keyword to target if you’re in the landscaping business is something more specific like “lawn care services.”
Search volume is still impressive (12,000 searches per month), while competition is significantly lower, and searchers aren’t just looking for information–they’re looking for someone they can hire.
3.) Use headers
Headers make your blog post more readable for your audience. They break up the topic into digestible snippets your audience can read quickly, even if they’re just skimming.
Headers also help search engines identify and rank the post by clearly showing the subtopics you address in the content.
Beyond offering an SEO advantage headers help you, the writer. How? They keep your thoughts organized, and give you a clear path from introduction to conclusion. That’s one reason we’re using headers in this very article you’re reading!
4.) Keep sentences and paragraphs shorter
By keeping both sentences and paragraphs short you simplify concepts that might otherwise confuse or overwhelm readers.
Because shorter sentences, 10 words or less, are easier to comprehend than longer sentences.
Shorter paragraphs help guide the reader through the article while pulling back in those readers who started out skimming the content.
This all serves to make your blog post more readable and less daunting for readers.
5.) Write enough to fully address the topic
The question of whether search engines favor short or long-form content is still debated in many circles. The truth is… there is no perfect length. And the scope of your topic will ultimately determine how much you need to write.
As a general rule aim to write at least 500-800 words. This will allow you to properly address the topic, respond to follow-up questions your customers may have, and incorporate keywords that make your content more SEO-friendly.
If you think your blog post will be too short, consider what follow-up questions your customers may have.
For example, if you’re writing about the best way to brew coffee, you could add a section about different types of coffee beans and ways to grind the beans.
Easy Blog SEO for Impressive Results
Using the steps above as a guide (or creating an SEO checklist), you can review each blog post as you write.
Once you establish an SEO-friendly routine, writing blog posts will be easier and more effective than ever.
And remember not to lose sight of your audience. Writing blog posts for SEO is really about helping people find what they’re searching for.