The stress that comes from writing a blog article for SEO purposes is often not necessary and is a struggle for business owners and blogger alike. This stress and struggle can lead to unnecessary publication delays coupled with a poorly crafted article which can lead to increases in bounce rate, which is where people do not engage with your content. Much of this comes from the concept that SEO professionals have laid out, that you need to write for Google, not readers. This couldn’t be farther from the truth and will ultimately backfire on you in the long run. Instead, check out our simple guide to help you with writing a blog article for SEO while engaging your readers.
Guide to Writing a Blog Article for SEO Purposes
For most people, writing articles for your web properties is meant to engage your visitors with thoughts or information that will keep them coming back. Secondarily, you need to make sure that those that are not aware of your brand can find you, thus the reason you continue to post new content.
So the main premise is simple, write content that will keep your readers coming back and then focus on making sure you are found by new readers. You will find that by doing this, better content is created, which is shared more often and thus will help you achieve your goals.
Step One: Identify Your Topic & Research
The first element of writing a blog article for SEO purposes is identifying your main topic. This topic will be a keyword or phrase that you will want to write about. Before you get started, try to do a Google search on your keyword phrase. When looking at the results, look to see if the topic has been over covered, if that is the case you may have a difficult time getting into the top results.
These results will also provide exposure to your competition, so start investigating how you can make the topic better. In many cases, adding more onto your topic or keyword phrase will allow you to be found more easily during a long tail search. Keep these sites handy as you write your article as they can provide inspiration and outbound linking material. They also are helpful to utilize for quotes and reference material as subject matter experts.
Step Two: Article Outline Basics
Similar to the principles of giving great presentations, writing a blog article for SEO needs requires you to outline the content appropriately. Therefore, consider the following rules:
- Tell the reader what you are going to tell them and why.
- Give the reader the information and take away key elements.
- Lastly, tell the reader what you just told them and how to use the information.
While this may sound remedial, all too often we get lost in the content and trying to shove keywords into an article, that we lose sight of these basics.
Additionally, as you can see from this article’s formatting, we highly recommend the utilization of headers. The use of appropriate H1, H2 tags and similar headers provide the user with a break point, allowing for absorption of the material. They are also topical indicators to the search engines, thus using your main keyword phrase in the H1 or H2 can help improve your placement in the search results.
Step Three: The Minimum Requirements
We are often asked, “what is the least amount I can write to get the results I want.” This is a dangerous question as you can tell immediately that they are not writing for the user but the results. Assuming we have already covered the importance of content, you must still maintain the minimums for success. The following are meant to be bare minimum requirements for success.
- Word Count: Our recommendation is to have no less than 400 words, not including the title and headers. Many others will say 300 or 350, though we have seen better success with the larger number.
- Formatting: It goes without saying that proper HTML formatting needs to be in place as well. A broken tag or improper layout can indicate problems to the search engines as they reward user engagement and usability.
- Keywords & Keyword Phrases: Don’t stuff your article full of keywords, you will actually get penalized for that. Aim to have your keyword phrase makeup about 1% to 1.5% of the article. Remember, you should only focus on one keyword phrase per article, otherwise the content will start to sway off course.
- Uniqueness: There isn’t any value in duplicative content, in fact it could actually hurt you. This can creep up on you when using quotes, lists and similar so make sure your article is unique in the eyes of Google. If you have access to the Copyscape tool, make sure less than 15 percent of your article is found elsewhere.
- Meta Data: Many blogging platforms, such as WordPress, have plugins or tools designed to help you optimize your meta data. Make sure your meta title and description share your keyword phrase. More importantly, this is like writing advertising copy, you want to entice people to click on your content, not just understand what it is about.
These three steps should be a basic guide for writing a blog article for SEO purposes. It takes some finesse and skill to find the right mix of engagement and optimizations to keep the readers and search engines coming back. Ultimately, you need focus on delivering quality information to your readers, while paying attention to the SEO needs, this will bring you success in the long run. Remember, it is about getting the eyeballs on the content and keeping them there, not just the page one results.