Last Updated on May 13, 2020 by Henry Ibeleme
Writing blog posts requires skills, and more of it when it comes to search engine optimization. But don’t be scared, cause writing SEO-friendly blog post is easy peasy when you understand how it works.
Your aim as a blogger should be to set a pace for passive traffic. What do I mean? A massive chunk of your traffic should be coming from an organic source like Google. That way, you don’t have to spend the rest of your life doing social media marketing or running ads. You know how stressful that is, right?
You should be able to sleep while traffic roll in, without you having to paste and share your links to multiple platforms. Although you will still be doing those, your original vision as a blogger should be juicy traffic from Google. Nothing beats that!
When it comes to writing SEO-friendly blog posts, you don’t have to sacrifice your readers for the sake of search engines. I see a lot of bloggers engaging in keyword stuffing and sounding robotic just to rank on the first page of Google. Understand that Google is out to satisfy users and would penalize you if you don’t write with them in mind.
The good news is, you can write for both search engines and your readers, without having to sacrifice quality. Is this possible? Very possible. Let’s begin this guide, shall we?
Table of Contents
- Do This Before You Start Writing
- How to write an SEO-friendly blog post
- Before You Publish, Do This!
- Wrapping Up!
Do This Before You Start Writing
The first step to creating excellent SEO content is to ensure that your blog is
- Mobile Friendly
- Fast load speed
- An SEO plugin
- A social sharing plugin
You have to make sure that your blog is mobile friendly and loads pretty fast for mobile and desktop users. A slow site would mean lower ranking on a search engine, and most users would move on if your blog is sluggish.
You might write a tremendous SEO-friendly blog post, and yet you won’t rank due to a slow blog, and an unresponsive theme.
There are lots of responsive themes that you can use, like Astra. Not only is it responsive to all screens, but it is pretty fast too.
Another thing you need to have is an SEO plugin like Yoast SEO plugin and a social sharing plugin like Social Warfare. There are other recommended WordPress plugins that you can try out, but you can’t do without Yoast in the battle of SEO.
How to write an SEO-friendly blog post
1. Keyword Research
At the mention of keyword research, you might find some bloggers panicking. I have been there, and I relate to that feeling. It appears so technical and cumbersome. But for the sake of organic traffic, you might have to push yourself.
Through keyword research, you will discover the terms your potential readers are searching for, and then optimize your blog post to that term. Easy, right?
Well, here is another uncomplicated thing to do regarding keyword research.
When you discover a keyword that you want to rank for, you need to check the top domains ranking for that keyword already. One tool I love to use most for such purpose is SEMrush. As a free user, you have only ten trials per day. But trust me, you can’t achieve something tangible with that.
With the PRO plan, you can achieve a lot regarding optimizing your blog for SEO. If you don’t have some bucks to spare now, you can use a free tool like Google Keyword Planner. I used it when I began blogging, and it was pretty helpful.
But if you’re serious with SEO, I would advise you to opt for SEMrush and get started.
2. Gather Resources For Writing
Now that you’ve got a keyword you want to target, the next step is to gather resources you need for your blog post. Before writing a blog post, I get as many as 3 to 5 trustworthy sources before I begin. Unless perhaps you’re writing a personal story right off your head, then you can skip this part.
One of the backbones of SEO is to craft out fantastic content that readers would love. Not only does it bring in traffic, but it also compels other bloggers to link to it. To do that, you need to understand the user intent. Are you readers looking for informational blog posts, commercial, transactional, or navigational?
When you’re able to satisfy the user intent, it leads to more shares and a lower bounce rate. These are signals that Google loves and would rank the post higher on a search result. Gather every piece of information and shrink them all down into a blog post.
3. Write Your Content
When it comes to writing an SEO-friendly blog post, you need to write a blog post. Once you reach this stage, there is a lot to consider. Ever heard of on-page SEO? You’re going to see it in action. Relax, grab a coke while I outline them below.
- Use Bullet points, H2, H3 – A blog post that comes in different sections is easy to read, compared to one you shrunk together into long boring paragraphs. I am currently using this technique just so that you, as my reader, would find it easy to read. Use phrases or keywords as bullets, and don’t forget to bold some essential words or phrases.
- Use paragraphs – Paragraphs are pretty useful and make readability easier. Make them as short as possible. At most, use five sentences per paragraph.
- Keyword in the first paragraph – Since you want to make your blog post SEO friendly, then ensure you include your keyword in the first paragraph. Make sure it sounds natural and not forced.
- Utilize attention grabbers – Some contents can be long and tedious, but you can keep your readers on the page by using attention-grabbers like “Take a look,” “Keep reading to learn about…”, “Listen up.” The more they stay on your page, your bounce rate would reduce, thereby improving your ranking.
- Keyword in article body – After including your keyword in the first paragraph, you should also use the keywords in your post body, once in the middle, and also in the concluding part.
- Keyword Density – if you’re using Yoast SEO plugin, it would be able to guide you regarding keyword density. To avoid raising Google’s eyebrows, don’t use keywords more than five-time in a 1000 words blog post. If not, Google might perceive it as Keyword Stuffing. 3% to 5% keyword density is best.
- Internal links – Including some internal links in your blog post is vital for SEO. The trick is to link to 2 or 3 relevant pages on your blog. You can build more internal links, but two should be your minimum.
- External link – When you write a blog post without linking to any relevant external source, the blog post might look unresearched to Google and would rank low. But by linking to reputable sources in the industry, you increase your ranking chances.
- Word count – To stand out today, you need to have pillar posts. These are substantial resourceful articles that are so enormous and wordy. According to an experiment by Brian Dean of Backlinko, Google tend to rank posts that account for more than 1890 words compare to others.
4. Image Optimization
To optimize your images the right way, look at Google or other search engines as a machine that only understands the text and not visuals. How does Google determine what an image is? – through image alt text.
To create an SEO-friendly blog post, you must include at least 2 to 3 images, with your keywords as an ALT tag. If you’re using Yoast SEO plugin, it will guide you on how many is too much, or too small. In terms of images, here are a few things to consider.
- Stock Or Owned Images – If you’re a fantastic photographer, you can decide to create your pictures. But if that is not the case, there is no need to panic. There are lots of free image stock sites that you can use for free, like Unsplash.com
- Give Credit – if you’re going to use the image of someone else, ensure you leave a credit to avoid legal issues on your blog.
- Image size – lastly, ensure that you trim down on the size of your images. I am not talking about the width and length, but the KB and MB. There are lots of WordPress plugin that you can use to compress your images. The plugin I’m currently using is Smush.
5. Your Meta Description
When you browse through Google search results, the title, link, and the short description you see on the result is the meta description. With Yoast SEO plugin, you can edit and make it SEO friendly.
Between 150 to 160 characters – Although the Yoast SEO plugin would guide you on the aspects. Ensure it is not too long or too short. When it is too short, Google might simply ignore it and use other sections instead. If, however, it is too long, Google would fail to show it off.
Inject keywords – In your meta description, ensure you include your keywords both in the title, URL, and description. However, don’t stuff it with keywords as it is a turn off to both Google and users.
Make it clickable – What I mean is, you have to make your meta description exciting and captivating. There are numerous ways to make that happen, and this article on writing a great blog headline would guide you.
6. Blog Post Heading H1
When I started blogging, I was pretty confused when it comes to using the H tags. Most themes automatically make your blog post title H1. So, you don’t have to ever use this tag again in your post. One H1 is enough per blog post.
To create an SEO-friendly blog post, ensure that all the headings are similar and contain the keywords. Using H2 for subheadings, and H3 for subsequent subheadings. Take a look at the image below to understand how to use the H2 tags throughout a post.
7. An SEO-friendly URL
Another thing you need to take care of is your URL. You don’t need to use your title as the exact URL, because it is unattractive both to Google and users. Instead of using your title, use only your main keywords. The shorter, the better. Search engines perceive short URLs are relevant and can lead to a higher ranking.
Before You Publish, Do This!
9. Add A Featured Image
If you have not been using featured images on your blog post, now is the time to go back and include them. They make your search result standout, thereby leading to a higher CTR. I have already talked about images. You can create one yourself or use free stock images.
Add ALT tag – Just as you did to other images on your blog, you also need to include an ALT tag to your featured image. It would further help Google understand the image better.
Use Landscape Images
Landscapes tend to perform better compared to portrait pictures. So, using the landscape in all your photos and featured image is best.
10. Categories And Tags
Include the blog post in the right category and use the appropriate tags. Not only would this improve your SEO ranking, but it would also drastically enhance the structure of your blog. When users click on your tags, it should be able to lead them to a similar post.
The best practice is to keep it short and relevant. I have seen numerous bloggers having hundreds of tags on one blog post. Ten tags are more than enough to create an SEO-friendly blog post. Keep them relevant and straightforward. Understanding what WordPress tags are would help you tremendously.
Proofread And Edit
Before you hit the publish button, make sure you correct any grammar mistakes. Let’s be honest here; bad spelling or incorrect grammar is a big turn off. It immediately cuts down on the reputation of a blog.
Before I publish my post, I love to use Grammarly to ensure everything is in order. Sometimes, it is easy to overlook mistakes as the writer. Having all the grammar mistakes and spelling errors fixed will keep readers glued.
After you have fixed the mistakes, and confirm if the links are working, then click the publish button with confidence.
Congrats, you have created an SEO-friendly blog post!
Creating an SEO-friendly blog post is not rocket science. It is something you can easily do with the right guide. Most important, content is king. Invest more time to create valuable and well-research content that your target readers would love. When you do it right, you will not struggle when it comes to ranking or getting traffic.
What SEO-technique do you still find confusing? Use the comment box, and I would explain it further.