Content Strategy
Blog Writing for SEO: 6 Tips for Writing SEO Blog Posts

Blog Writing for SEO: 6 Tips for Writing SEO Blog Posts

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Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of improving your website to increase your visibility in the search engine results. That makes it easier for potential readers to find you. Part of that process involves blog writing for SEO. But how does writing blogs help SEO? Essentially, your blog posts allow you to answer questions, address pain points, and provide beneficial information. The posts position you — and your website — as a relevant source for your readers. In turn, you can rank higher on the search results pages. And people tend to view sites that rank higher as more authoritative and trustworthy.

Are you looking to harness the power of blog writing for SEO? Here are six tips to help you write SEO-friendly articles to improve your ranking and capture the attention of your readers.

1. Know Your “Why”

Publishing consistent SEO-friendly blog posts is an essential component of any content strategy. However, in the battle between quantity and quality, quality content matters most. Publishing posts for the sake of putting something on your blog isn’t going to do you any favors.

Before you start writing, determine why you’re creating the post. What message do you want to convey to your readers, and what benefit will they get out of it? What’s the purpose or goal of the article? The answers to these questions can guide your writing and help you create value for those who read it.

Find a Niche

With so much content already on the internet, finding a niche can be helpful. It can help you stand out more, and you’ll have less direct competition when someone’s looking for information on a specific topic. For example, there are numerous posts about email marketing. Instead, you could focus on how to use data to improve email marketing efforts or what types of data to collect.

If you’re unsure of what types of niche topics to cover, there are plenty of places for inspiration, such as:

  • “Searches related to” on Google
  • Quora
  • Your customer-facing employees

2. Keep Your Audience in Mind

One of the goals of SEO blog writing is to rank higher in the search engine's algorithm. However, keep in mind that you aren’t writing for search engines. You’re writing for people searching for answers and information. Part of ranking well involves writing about what your audience wants to read. Your posts should give them what they want or need.

To write for your audience, you first need to step into their shoes. What are their problems? What pain points do they have? If you haven’t already, create buyer personas. These are research-based representations of your ideal customers or clients that can help you understand your audience better. They can help drive essential business decisions like product development, the types of services you provide, and your messaging. They can even help drive quality content creation. When you understand their struggles, motivations, and interests, you can select topics and write posts that resonate with them.

Don’t Forget About Search Intent

When your audience conducts an online search, they typically have a reason. That’s search intent. A person might need an answer to a question, or they could be conducting some preliminary research before making a purchase.

You can use search intent to optimize the content on your landing, product, or service pages. It may also be helpful for guiding your blog posts. One way to research search intent is by typing your topic or keyword into the search bar and looking over the search results page.

3. Research and Use Relevant Target Keywords

screenshot of answer the public

Keywords are the search query that a person uses to search for something online. You’ll need to incorporate your primary or focus keyword your audience is searching for if you want your blog posts to rank on search engines. As a bonus, keyword research can also help you generate ideas for future blog post ideas. Oftentimes, content strategists create keyword clusters that target a list of keywords across various pieces of blog content.

Keyword research tools can be exceptionally beneficial. Google Keyword Planner provides information on what people are looking for and the popularity of each search term. That popularity (search volume) tells you how competitive specific keywords are. Other helpful Google tools include Google Trends and Google Search Console.

If you're having difficulty with keyword ideas, there are various tools out there to help with your content marketing strategy.

  • Moz Keyword Explorer is a keyword research tool that gives you the monthly search volume for a specific keyword and SERP features ranking for it.
  • SEMrush provides similar information and has a competitive keyword gap analysis feature that looks for given keywords in a competitor’s website.
  • AnswerThePublic generates several questions about a given keyword. If you type in the term “email marketing,” the platform will provide results like “how email marketing is effective” and “why email marketing works.”

Leverage Long-Tail Keywords

Long-tail keywords are longer, more specific phrases that a person uses when performing an online search. These are often considered low-competition keywords because they have a lower monthly search volume. While “lead generation” may be challenging to rank for, you may have an easier time with a long-tail keyword like “B2B lead generation strategies.” Ranking for long-tail, secondary keywords is a great way to generate organic traffic to your site since it is typically easier to create top-ranking pages for long-tail keywords compared to short-tail, more competitive ones.

Where to Incorporate Keywords

After you pinpoint the keywords you want to rank for, it’s time to apply them. The most obvious place is your actual content. Other places include:

  • The title (generally, you’ll want to place your primary keyword here)
  • The headings and subheadings of your blog post
  • Within the first 100 to 150 words of your post
  • Your meta description

Avoid Keyword Stuffing    

One of the last things you want to do is overfill your blog posts with keywords. Your content should flow like polished, standard speech. Stuffing your article can make it sound unnatural and even tacky. Along with being difficult to read, search engines could penalize you. In other words, use your keywords where they make sense rather than a way to trick the algorithm.

4. Write In-Depth Blog Posts

Despite studies showing a decline in attention spans, longer posts tend to do better with search engines. You give more content for search engines to crawl, making it easier for them to rank you accurately. More to read means that users stay on your site longer as well, which could positively impact your dwell time. A higher word count can also gather more backlinks and be more sharable.

Don’t sacrifice quality for length, though. It’s better to have a shorter but higher-value post than a longer one filled with unnecessary or unrelated information.

Pay attention to your post's structure too. The downside to lengthier articles is that they can be overwhelming or hard to read. Your post may be full of wonderfully relevant information, but this doesn't matter if it isn't accessible to your audience. To keep people reading, you’ll want to break your pieces down into smaller, more scannable sections.

Use Headings and Subheadings

Headings (H2) and subheadings (H3, H4) help create the best blog layout for SEO and readability. They break your content into digestible sections and let the reader know what to expect in each one. Incorporating keywords into a few of your headings can also help search engine crawlers understand and rank your content more easily.

Keep Paragraphs and Sentences Short

Long walls of text and drawn-out sentences can turn readers off. Instead, keep them short, concise, and to the point.

Use Lists and Bullet Points

Structured lists are, by their very nature, broken down into smaller sections. As such, they tend to perform better than essay-style posts. You also don’t need to write an entire article in a list format, especially if it doesn’t make sense. A section containing a numbered list or bullet points can boost scannability.

5. Incorporate Links

Links, also called hyperlinks, are the clickable bits of text that take you from one webpage to another. They also play a role in SEO by helping search engines discover new web pages and by determining how to rank a piece of content. You have two main types of links, internal and external. Both are essential for improving your SEO blog writing.

Link to Your Other Blog Posts

Internal links are the ones that lead from the current blog post to other pages of your website, such as a related blog post or a product page. These links benefit your readers and your blog SEO.

For your readers, internal links make your blog and website easier to navigate. Linking to previously-written related content can also demonstrate your knowledge, increasing your authority and trustworthiness.

Let’s say you just wrote a new blog post on the types of data B2B companies should use to improve their email marketing campaigns. Some of your readers may be beginners and therefore unfamiliar with this level of knowledge, but thankfully there is an older post on the basics of email marketing in general. Rather than telling your readers to go find it themselves, you include a link that takes them directly to it. That makes things easier for your readers and improves the overall user experience.

On the SEO side of things, internal links help search engines manage your content. They get a better idea of your site structure and the relationship between the different types of content you post.

Link to High-Authority Sites

While you want your readers to see you as an expert, don’t be afraid to include links that lead to sources found outside of your own website, otherwise known as external links. These links show both your readers and search engines that you researched the topic. Linking to statistics or research papers can make your posts more credible, which can go a long way in helping you to build trust.

The key here is that your links should lead to high-authority sites. You want to create an association between your blog and quality content. If search engines see you linking to trustworthy sites, they’ll tend to see your content in a similar light. That can help to boost your ranking.

Earn Backlinks

Backlinks are another type of external link. In this case, they’re links that lead from another website into your content. Each link a piece of your work receives essentially vouches for the content. They show search engines that you’re worth linking back to and therefore worthy of ranking higher on the search engine results pages.

Unlike internal links or links to outside sources, you don’t have control over backlinks. You have to earn them. One way to do this is by writing content others feel has value for their audiences. Other strategies include:

  • Reach out to companies that you mention in your content. Thank them for their information, and ask if they wouldn’t mind sharing your post with their audience.
  • Reach out to people who publish blogs with content related to yours. Let them know that you read their recent article and you have a post that can provide additional information on one of their points.
  • Write a guest post for another company.
  • Reclaim links. If you find that another company mentions a post you wrote but didn’t include a link, reach out and ask if they would be willing to add one.

Links and SEO: Things to Avoid

While links are vital for blogging SEO, there are a few things that could end up doing more harm than good:

  • Adding too many links
  • Using the same anchor text multiple times
  • Linking to low-authority sites
  • Getting links from low-quality sites
  • Buying links

6. Optimize for Featured Snippets and Voice Search

voice listening device on desk next to phone

You can’t talk about how to write SEO-friendly articles without mentioning the optimization of your content for featured snippets and voice search. Both offer ways for you to get your blog posts seen without necessarily ranking at the very top of the organic search results. Instead, they give you a chance to achieve position zero.

Featured Snippets

The featured snippet is the small box of text that appears above the first organic search result (position zero) on Google. It’s a brief excerpt that Google feels best answers the search terms and typically falls in one of four categories:

  • Definition
  • List
  • Steps
  • Table

One of the best ways to get your content into the featured snippet is to write for your audience. Just as you want to give the best possible answers to your blog readers, Google wants to provide the best results for its users. Other tips include:

  • Adding a “what is” heading
  • Providing a complete definition of a topic
  • Avoiding first-person language
  • Choosing more specific keywords

Voice Search

Today, people don’t only type their queries into a search bar. They ask their home assistants (Google Home or Alexa) or their smartphones verbally. Those questions tend to be complete rather than a few words. For example, a person might type “social media marketing tips” but may ask their device, “how do I use social media to market my business?”

To ensure that you rank well or even earn position zero, optimize your blog posts for voice searches. Look for long-tail keywords, including question-based ones. Write your content in a more conversational tone. If you operate in a specific area, don’t forget to include location-based information and keywords.

Take Your Blog Writing for SEO to the Next Level

Your blog can be an excellent tool for boosting your authority and your SEO. However, blog writing alone isn’t enough. Incorporating SEO strategies into your posts is a must. Researching and using relevant keywords, including internal and external links, choosing the best blog layout for SEO, and writing for your audience are all essential factors.

Keep in mind, blog writing for SEO won’t produce instant results. It’s a long-term strategy that can help you not only achieve higher rankings but more site visits, leads, and even sales.

Need help developing and executing your content strategy? Compose.ly has you covered.
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