SEO Blog Writing
The goal of this article is to provide an overview of SEO blog writing and how it fits into WSI Connect’s content creation process and SEO strategies. It illustrates how we tailor the content to deliver significant value to the reader while at the same time optimizing it to perform well in search engines.
Throughout this article we will use a blog post from one of our clients, Higher Education Recruitment Consortium (HERC), and highlight changes that we would recommend based on our SEO blog writing best practices.
Here are the most important steps for SEO blog writing
Step 1: Start with the concept
Establish your concept. Focus the content on this one key concept and think about how you are going to deliver value to the reader. This helps begin the formulation of the structure of the blog content.
Example Concept: Imposter Syndrome
In this example, we pulled the concept from the existing content. If we were creating new content, we would spend time brainstorming a concept, what our readers need to know about it, and how we could help.
The structure and formulation of the content will continue to change and be revised throughout the entire development process.
Step 2: Keyword Research
Once we identify the concept of the blog, we dive into keyword research. This helps to better understand the keywords that our potential audience uses to search for the content that we are going to create. This also helps us improve our SEO blog writing by focusing the content on the best search terms.
Our favorite tool is Google’s Keyword Planner, but that requires an active Google Ads account to access accurate data. A good alternative is a free tool, Ubersuggest.
In this step, we look for the keyword that aligns with our concept and has a significant amount of people searching for it. The column titled “VOL” shows the average number of monthly searches for each keyword.
In our example we recommend the keyword, “overcoming imposter syndrome”.
This keyword aligns because it clearly defines the content of the blog post. Also, it averages 390 monthly searches so a well written blog post that ranks well in Google has the potential to be a valuable long term asset.
Step 3: Identify Related Topics
Identifying related topics is a useful way to build out content and add more depth. Answer the public (https://answerthepublic.com/) is our favorite tool for this process. Input the target keyword and it will produce a wide range of related topics.
At this point we pull out the topics that are important to the target audience and begin developing them as subtopics within the blog post.
Here are a few examples that we thought were interesting in relation to imposter syndrome.
Interesting topics to cover:
- How to overcome imposter syndrome?
- What is imposter syndrome?
- What causes imposter syndrome?
- Is imposter syndrome good?
- Is imposter syndrome bad?
Step 4: Competitive Research
This is the most important, easiest, yet most often overlooked step. Take the target keyword, pop it into Google, and review the first 4-5 articles that appear. Take notes on the commonalities such as total word count, content structure, inclusion of images, and/or videos.
Example Google Search Result:
Interesting Note: In this specific search result there is only organic result appearing above the fold. This article, in particular, is currently capturing the majority of the traffic related to “overcoming imposter syndrome”.
Below are the top results that we reviewed. Keep in mind that your results will vary. Google uses information such as your browsing history when determining which content to show in your search results. If you’ve visited the blog post before, it will show up higher than it would for someone who hadn’t already viewed the content.
- 10 STEPS YOU CAN USE TO OVERCOME IMPOSTOR SYNDROME https://impostorsyndrome.com/10-steps-overcome-impostor/
- Impostor Syndrome - Facing Fears of Inadequacy and Self-Doubt https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/overcoming-impostor-syndrome.htm
- 6 Strategies to Help You Beat Imposter Syndrome https://www.inc.com/john-discala/no-you-arent-a-fraud-here-are-6-ways-to-beat-imposter-syndrome.html
- The Five Types Of Impostor Syndrome And How To Beat Them https://www.fastcompany.com/40421352/the-five-types-of-impostor-syndrome-and-how-to-beat-them
Commonalities in the search results:
- Long form content
- Bulleted and/or numbered lists
- Use of videos and images
- Multiple internal links
- Multiple external links (open in a new window)
- Referencing related articles
- Titles start with a number (this typically improves click-through rates)
After reviewing the content that Google currently believes is the best content related to the search query, there is a very important question to ask:
How do we create a better resource than already exists?
We know that if we cannot create something that is better than what already exists, then the chance of developing a blog that will be a valuable long term resource is very low. The commonalities help us uncover useful ways to improve our content and create something that is overall a better resource.
In this example we would recommend that HERC develop more content (step 3 can help with this), break up the content with subtitles and bulleted/numbered lists, reference authoritative resources, link to related internal content, and adjust the title to include a number.
Google’s blog post, What webmasters should know about Google’s core updates, provides a good outline for evaluating content for quality.
Step 5: SEO blog writing best practices
There are key elements that have been measured to show strong SEO correlations with the content that captures significant traffic from search engines. In this step we review the content and make adjustments to ensure that as many of them as possible are included within the blog content.
Many of these elements are very helpful to the visitor as well. The majority of readers skim content rather than reading every detail, thus content needs to be adjusted so that the reader can quickly find the content that they are most interested in.
Key Elements of On-page SEO:
- Keyword in URL
- Keyword page title
- Keyword in <h1>
- Keyword in the first sentence of the blog
- Include keyword within name of an image file
- Keyword in the meta description
- Keyword in the last sentence of the blog
- Break up content with bullets, numbered lists, quotes, sub headers (h2,h3,h4,h5), images, bolded text, embedded videos
- Include relevant internal links
- Include relevant external links (open in a new window)
- Text length should be comparable to the top results, although longer is generally better
- The content of the post needs to tie back to your core mission.
- Relevant categories and tags (try to avoid redundancy)
- Referencing authoritative 3rd parties
- Citing sources
Examples of how we recommend modifying this post for SEO:
Keyword: Overcoming Imposter Syndrome
Recommended URL: https://www.hercjobs.org/4-strategies-overcome-imposter-syndrome
Current title: What is Imposter Syndrome and how can you beat it?
Recommended title: 4 Strategies to Overcome Imposter Syndrome
Step 6: Guide them to a next step. Use a call-to-action (CTA)
When someone visits our website and consumes our content, we need to do our best to drive that visitor to some type of action (conversion). This significantly increases the chance that the visitor will become a customer sometime in the future.
To drive them towards a conversion we use a call-to-action (CTA). The action needs to be consistent with the content of the page. If this was a product or service page, we would drive them to purchase or a consultation.
In the example, it is an informational page so we recommended using a newsletter signup for the CTA at the end of the blog post. This would allow HERC to capture the visitor’s email address and continue the communication. HERC offers ebooks in their right column, which is also a great way to drive conversions.
This step doesn’t improve your SEO blog writing, but it is essential in order to get the most value out of your content.
Conclusion to 6 Powerful Steps for SEO Blog Writing
Creating great blog content takes effort. It requires in-depth knowledge of the target audience and how they search for the concept that the blog is about. It has to provide the reader with value and it has to be better than the content that already exists.
If you need help with content creation, schedule a free consultation. We will discuss your goals in-depth, help you develop valuable content assets and reach your audience through powerful SEO blog writing.