Some people have 100 ideas before breakfast and can write fluently about them at the drop of a hat. But for most people, writing a blog is a job that can take several hours (3 hours and 57 minutes on average according to Oberlo) and if time is money, that makes blog writing a significant investment. That’s why it’s important that the return comes from people reading what you’ve written, and that requires thinking about SEO
Below you’ll find our 7 top tips for writing content for SEO. If you follow them, you’ll show up higher in search engine results. Of course, the first thing you need before you worry about the content is a good title. There are a few things that Google likes when titling your blog.
The first is numbers – people often search for lists of hints and tips, so 5 ways to improve your SEO, 7 tips to make sure your blog gets read or 10 top tips for appealing to Google will work well. If you have an offer, such as a free ebook or a support kit, include this in the title to demonstrate that you are giving away something extra of value. Try to come up with something compelling and be sure to include your main keyword in the title.
Now to the content
1. Use headings to signpost your content
Google prioritises search results based upon relevancy. Headings that summarise your content help Google’s web crawlers to understand what you have written about, making your blog more appealing.
2. Remember your audience
Yes, you want to feature highly through Google SEO, but remember who you are writing for. Your audience is human, and people like content that is well laid out, succinct, easy to navigate, with clear indications of what is most important. Remember why your audience will be reading your blog, whether that is for comprehensive answers, quick tips or thought leadership.
3. Don’t forget your meta descriptions
Another key area that Google web crawlers look at are your meta descriptions, the one to three sentence descriptions that you find under the title of your search results. Your meta descriptions should summarise the blog content and include one of two of the keywords that you want to be found for. Remember that when a reader searches, they will be presented with pages of options from which to choose, so make your meta description creative and original so that you will stand out from the crowd.
4. Include alt text with images
Alt text describes what is happening in your images for the benefit of the visually impaired, but it also helps Google to understand why the photo is in your blog. Write a clear description, even when using stock images, that will tie the image in with the position that you are taking. Be sure to include a keyword or two in the alt text to enhance your SEO.
5. Do your research
Google handles over 250 million searches every hour! With that level of activity you need to work pretty smartly to outrank your competition. Think carefully about what you want to be found for. Use keyword research to find out what your customers are searching and competitive intelligence tools to see what keywords are driving traffic to your competitors. Be subtle in your use of keywords – try to write conversationally and don’t force multiple keywords into single sentences.
6. Size is important
There isn’t an exact science to how long a blog should be and opinions do vary. Just as writing takes time, so does reading, and in a busy world with short attention spans, I will typically try to keep my blogs between 800 and 1200 words. Hubspot argues that the ideal length is between 2,100 and 2,400 words as the more content there is, the more Google will find of interest. Perhaps in the case of an in-depth white paper or thought leadership blog, this would be right, but for blogs like this, I think less is more!
7. Think links
Linking to other pages or blog posts on your website helps search engines create an accurate sitemap. It also helps your audience to discover more of your original content and to get to know you as a trustworthy and credible source of information. Only link to information that is relevant, for example you may be interested to read this blog which talks about the differences between SEO and PPC and the pros and cons of each method.
Stats to support your position are great and will always enhance a blog, but if you’re going to publish them, make sure they are credible and ideally from your own research. Never forget that 78.4% of all stats on the internet are made up (including this one!).
If you need any help with creating search engine optimised content and blogs, get in touch with us and we’ll be delighted to help you.
David Langdown is co-founder and Chief Marketing Officer of Focus7, a purpose-driven, brand-led growth agency. David has been a Fellow of the Institute of Direct and Digital Marketing since 2003. He has an Advanced Professional Diploma in Psychotherapeutic Counselling and is a practising counsellor.