Regularly posting SEO-friendly blog content can make a big difference to how well your entire website performs. Here are some basic principles you can follow to give your blog the best chance of ranking well.
SEO (search engine optimisation) is a complex business. Google and other search engines use a wide range of criteria when judging how to rank website pages. And to make things more difficult, they regularly change their algorithms. Your organisations’ SEO strategy will need to cover several strands of activity, including making any necessary technical adjustments to ensure your website performs well.
The good news however is that the basic principles of SEO copywriting remain the same. And the really good news is that writing an SEO-friendly blog for your business or company means creating content that is accessible and engaging to your readers.
If you don’t have a professional copywriter to support you with creating your blog content, you can make small changes to make your blogs more SEO-friendly.
1. Clearly define your topic
It sounds obvious but before you start drafting your blog, you need to pin down exactly what you want to write about. Being crystal clear on your topic will help you write purposeful content and could also give your blog a better chance of ranking well.
If you’re working with a copywriter or SEO specialist, they may be able to carry out keyword research. This will identify which words people search for most, within your chosen topic, industry or sector, and what the competition is like to rank well for those search terms.
If you don’t have specialist support, simply spend time deciding which words or phrases best sum up your topic. Considering what your customers or clients are likely to look for (perhaps based on questions they ask you) is often a good approach.
You don’t just have to blog about high profile, topical issues. In fact, the technical blogs we write for our clients often perform best. For example, this blog we produced for Coodes Solicitors ranks first in an organic Google search for ‘new build management companies’. There’s less competition in the rankings for niche content so it could have more chance of reaching the right people.
· Spend time choosing and researching your topic – it will make the blog easier to write.
· Choose the word or phrase that you want to be your primary keyword.
· Don’t discount niche topics.
2. Write helpful headlines
Some people love crafting clever, witty headlines. Playing with words is fun but it doesn’t generally work well for SEO. That’s because search engines are looking for content that will help their users get the information they’re looking for. Aim for a title that tells the reader what the piece is about (as well as enticing them to click through and read it).
Aim for a headline of between 50 and 60 characters (this blog’s title is 60 characters long). This is a good length for Google to display in search results. Include the primary keyword or phrase at the beginning in case part of the title gets cut off.
A very quick and simple way to make your text easier to read online is to add subheadings. You could create a numbered list, like I have done in this article, or you could simply break up the piece into logical sections. Google and other search engines see subheadings as a positive, especially if your subheadings include your primary keyword and other words and phrases that are linked to the core topic. As a result, subheadings could help your blog rank better.
· Write a headline that tells the reader what the blog is about.
· Include your keyword or phrase near the beginning of the headline.
· Include subheadings in your blog – aim for a minimum of three for a 500-word piece.
3. Use keywords sparingly
Some people think that writing an SEO-friendly blog means including your keyword or phrase as often as possible. Cramming your article full of keywords is a bad idea though. It can jar, making the piece much less enjoyable to read, and as a result, it’s less likely to rank well.
There is no golden rule for how many times you should include your keyword, but if you research keyword density online, you’ll find a range of answers. It’s not an exact science and you will probably have to follow your instinct.
Scatter your keyword a handful of times through your piece and only use it when it feels right to do so. If you find yourself adding it “just for SEO” then it’s unlikely to help. Don’t overdo it – if it sounds forced or repetitive, it’s probably in there too often.
We usually aim to use a keyword or phrase in a blog’s heading, in the introduction and at in at least one subheading. It then pops up quite naturally through the text.
· Use your keyword or phrase, but only when it feels right.
· Don’t cram keywords into your piece.
· Aim to use your keyword or phrase in the heading, at least one subheading and in the introduction.
· If appropriate, also use other words and phrases that have the same meaning.
4. Get the length right
Views on the ideal blog length vary. To rank well, most experts say that a blog needs to be at least 300 or 400 words. Many of the blogs we create for our clients are considerably longer and it’s not unusual for us to write 1,000 or more words on a topic.
Google and other search engines can see longer copy as being more in depth, and therefore potentially more useful to people browsing online. However, they will also know when the writer is waffling. Crucially, people will leave your website if they’re not getting the information they need.
Sentence length is important too. Search engines favour content that is easy to read and shorter sentences are seen as being more accessible. Aim for sentences of under 20 words if possible but it’s important to mix up sentence length to make a piece flow well. We generally avoid sentences of more than 30 words and find that most which exceed this can easily be split into two.
Ideally, paragraphs should include no more than about 150 words.
· Aim for 300-400 words as an absolute minimum. Most pieces will be longer.
· Blogs of 1,000 words or more can perform well if the content is well written and relevant (and broken up into sections with subheadings).
· Keep sentences short. Aim for most to be under 20 words.
5. Watch your language
You will have your own tone of voice and you might be following your organisation’s style too. If a copywriter is writing or editing your blogs, they should work to these as well as writing in an SEO-friendly style. There are a few tweaks you can make to your writing too to give your blog the best chance of ranking well.
Perhaps the most important consideration is whether your blog is easy to read. This will of course depend on your target audience. A piece written for other people in your profession will involve a different approach from marketing to consumers with no specialist knowledge of the topic.
Generally, your blog should be accessible to the average person. Getting the sentence length right and breaking up your piece with subheadings (as well as pictures, infographics and possibly video) will help. Look out for any jargon – replacing technical terms with commonly used words if you can or offering a brief explanation if not. You should also aim for active language as much as possible. For example, you could say. “We supported our clients to…” rather than “Our clients were supported to…”.
A variety of sentence openers, no repetition and, of course, accurate grammar, spelling and punctuation are all important features of SEO-friendly blog copy. A professional copywriter should automatically write in this way, but if you’re producing your own blogs make sure the quality is as high as possible.
It goes without saying (but we’ll say it anyway) that you should never plagiarise copy in your blog. Ethnical and legal issues aside, it’s an SEO no-no to run duplicate content on your website.
· Make your writing as accessible as possible.
· Avoid jargon (or explain any technical terms you need to include).
· Use active language.
6. Add some links
An SEO-friendly blog should include links to other content. This will ideally be a mix of inbound links (to other content on your website) and outbound links (to content on other websites).
People generally appreciate the importance of including inbound links. They encourage readers onto other parts of your website and could even lead to conversions to help make sales where relevant.
You could link to blog content on related issues as well as to key areas of your website, such as your products or services pages.
We sometimes come up against resistance from people who don’t want to add outbound links and this is understandable. Why take people off your website? Well, Google and other search engines look very favourably on external links because they make your copy more authoritative. Naturally you won’t want to encourage people onto your competitor’s websites, and you should check any external links very carefully to make sure you trust them.
When adding a link, include it in the text. As an example, here are three different ways I could link to our recent blog on video content for social media:
1. Check out our recent blog on video content for social media: http://www.dca-pr.co.uk/2021/12/09/video-most-engaging-type-of-content/
2. Click here to see our recent blog on video content for social media.
3. Check out our recent blog on video content for social media.
Version three is the best approach, both for search engines and your readers.
7. Write for the reader (and your blog will automatically be more SEO-friendly)
Writing an SEO-friendly blog is really just the same as creating good website copy that engages your readers and provides them with the information they’re looking for. All the tips I have shared here should not only help your copy rank better, they will also make it more accessible and engaging for your readers.
So, if you find yourself doing something just for SEO – stop. Focus on what your readers want and need from you and you can’t go far wrong.
Get in touch to find out how we can support you to produce SEO-friendly blog content for your website.