Having a blog that’s full of relevant, useful content can not only help to establish yourself as an authority in your industry but can also increase your customer base.
However, for that to happen, your blogs need to be found. Here are five things to bear in mind when writing articles, to ensure that your content is engaging for the reader and optimised for search engine result pages (SERPs).
1. Keep the reader at the forefront of your mind
While it’s important that the content you create is optimised so your audience can discover it; all of that hard work has gone to waste if it’s not of interest to them. All that will happen, is they’ll click through, realise it’s not something they want to read, and click back – and that can be detrimental to your organic rankings.
As a business, you need to understand who your audience is. This includes their demographics, their level of knowledge and expertise on the topic you’re covering, and their level of intent. People who are turning to blog articles are likely to be at the stage where they want to find out more information. By demonstrating you’re an authority in the area, it could convince them to purchase from you in the future, when they’re ready.
Personas can really help you to understand your customers – particularly their wants, needs, concerns, and pain-points. Once you understand that, you can create content that addresses these points.
2. Conduct keyword research
Your content is unlikely to rank if it isn’t optimised for terms people are searching for. There are a variety of tools you can use to carry out keyword research, such as Ahrefs, Google Keyword Planner, and SEMrush. Additionally, Google Trends is a great tool if you want to see search volume visually; and Search Console can provide you with insights on the most common terms people that click through to your website are searching for.
When it comes to deciding which keywords to target, long-tail phrases usually have deeper search intent, but lower volume. However, they’re often easier to rank for than keywords with a higher volume, simply because there is often more competition for larger volumes of traffic.
The number of keywords you target in each blog will also vary – you may choose to base one article on a specific question your target market are asking; or you may decide to write an in-depth guide with each question broken down into its own section.
The most important thing to remember, is not to optimise multiple pages for the same keyword. Otherwise, you’ll be competing with yourself on the SERPs, and potentially accidentally sending customers to the wrong page.
You can incorporate keywords into various areas of your blog, including:
- Metadata: The title, URL and meta description all provide opportunities to add relevant keywords in.
- H1s, H2s, H3s, etc
- Body text
- Images: This includes the file name, image title, and alt text
- Anchor text: This refers to links from other pages to your blog
There is no exact science to adding keywords into copy. In 2019, the Bert algorithm enabled Google to become increasingly savvy when it comes to understanding content and natural language. After all, Google wants to put content in front of readers that they think will be genuinely useful to them.
The truth is, if your keywords are relevant to the content you’re writing, then you should naturally be incorporating them as you go along. However, as a general rule of thumb, approximately 1% of a page’s copy should consist of keywords. So, if your blog is 1,000 words, then you should have included your keywords approximately 10 times in total.
3. Don’t forget to add in internal links
When you’re writing a blog, if you were referencing external data or some relevant information, then of course, you’d add in a link to where you found it. You should be doing exactly the same thing with your own content.
Internal linking can be a real benefit to readers, as they’re already interested in the subject – you’re just providing them with the option to find out more information, should they choose to.
Where possible, see if you can link back to other similar blog articles, or relevant product/service pages. At the end of your blog, add in a sentence with a link back to your blog homepage, and the contact page, to encourage people to get in touch with you.
Whilst it’s easy to add internal links to the blog you’re writing, we can forget to go back through old pages and add links to your new blog.
If you haven’t recently, take the time to conduct an internal link audit. Skim through your pages and see if you’re able to add in a relevant link to your new blog.
You should also pay attention to your anchor text. Avoid spammy phrases like ‘click here’ or ‘read now’. Instead, incorporate the keyword of the page you’re linking to – like this, for our content marketing page.
4. Consider your wordcount
Google classes any page that’s under 300 words as being ‘thin’ on content, but realistically, any blog article should be more than that.
A study from Backlinko found that on average, pages that rank on the first page of Google have almost 1,900 words of copy. Yet another study found that only 18% of company blog articles are over 750 words.
1,900 words can definitely sound daunting, but actually; if you’re on an expert on a specific subject, you might find that it’s not enough!
Plus, there are so many subjects that can be talked about in-depth, which is why they work well as guides – for example, if you were to write a guide on conducting a technical SEO audit on your site, there’s a lot of information you could cover!
However, if you’re struggling to make up the wordcount, don’t force it. Not every blog will go into the same depth, and it’s best to have a variety of content styles on your blog. If you force the length, it will just be painful for readers to read. 1,000 words is a more realistic wordcount to aim for.
5. Display key information clearly
43% of people skim read blogs, with the average person spending just 37 seconds reading an article. So, whilst you’ve included a lot of information in your blog, the truth is, not everyone is going to read it.
That’s why you need to consider the way in which you display your key information. Break up large blocks of text into small paragraphs and display key facts in a bullet point list.
Using H2s and H3s to break down your article into clear sections will enable skim readers to easily navigate to the sections they want to learn more about – and you’ve just given yourself an opportunity to add a keyword in!
Adding in images is another great way to break up long portions of text (because let’s be honest, everyone is going to feel at least a little bit daunted by huge blocks of text). Unsplash is a great site, with stock images that don’t look like stock images!
If you’re creating a top tip blog article, then aim to do it in multiples of five or 10 (e.g. 5 best content marketing campaigns of 2020).
An optimised blog can work hard for you on the SERPs, with evergreen content generating traffic for years to come – especially if you refresh the data on an annual or bi-annual basis.
However, your blogs represent an even bigger opportunity – you can promote them via organic and paid social, or even include them in an email campaign.
It’s also important to mention that these tips aren’t just relevant to blogs, but to other on-page content too, such as your product/service landing pages.