Blog posts are an essential part of any content marketing strategy.
They build trust with your customers, engage and attract potential new customers – and they work to establish you as an expert in your field.
They also have a key part to play in driving traffic to your website – and helping your site to rank in search engines.
Let’s say you’re a Physiotherapy service. Many people will be searching for those core keywords, like ‘physiotherapist near me’ or ‘rehab physiotherapist’. However, you can also bring people into your funnel through search queries – such as ‘how to fix knee pain’ or ‘lower back pain relief’.
SEO blogging is how you can rank for these search queries. And often, it’s these search queries that are the lower hanging fruit in search engine land – and can bring you real results.
That said – if you are writing for the sake of writing and not including the key things needed to optimise your blog post, you wont get seen, which means you will be wasting your valuable time.
So we thought we would put together six things you can do to optimise your blog posts for search engines.
Know your audience – and their pain points
A crucial part of SEO blogging is to have a clear set of focus keywords in mind that you want your blog to rank for.
But you can’t decide what your focus keywords are until you know your audience and what they might be searching for.
So before you write your blog post, ask yourself three questions:
Why am I writing this?
Who is it for?
What pain point does it address?
Relevance is a factor for your ranking, so you need to be talking about topics that are important to your audience. But if you don’t know your audience – you won’t hit the mark.
Once you know exactly who you are writing for, think about that stage of the funnel they are at – as this will determine their intent. Are they in the early stages of the funnel, still looking for information about your product or service – or are they ready to buy?
Use all this information to set out a really clear idea of the topic, make sure it answers their question or pain points – and most importantly, how you are uniquely positioned to help.
Keyword research for SEO blogging
Now that you know who you are writing for and what they might be searching for answers about, it’s time to choose your focus keywords – aka, the words you want to be found for in Google.
List some ideas about what your blog post will be about, then use a keyword research tool to ascertain which keywords are popular and how competitive they are. We use a paid tool called SEMrush which is fantastic – but if you’re looking for a free one, you can use WordStream.
You want to ensure your focus keyword has a relatively high volume (not much point in ranking for a phrase nobody is searching for) but also moderate in competitiveness. If a keyword is highly competitive, it might be worth finding a new phrase – depending on your budget. If you are a regional credit union, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to beat the big banks for terms like ‘home loan.’ So think outside the box.
It’s also worth including different variations of your keywords throughout your copy – for example, ‘running shoes’ and ‘sneakers’. Include short tail keywords, like ‘running shoes’ and longer tail keywords like ‘supportive running shoes for marathons.’
Include focus keywords in the important places
Your focus keywords need to be found at least five times in your copy.
However – search engines know if you’re not writing for ‘humans’ so there’s no use jamming keywords in where they don’t make sense or read well. Incorporate them thoughtfully into your content. They also need to be included in the:
- Title tag
- Meta description
- Page header (H1)
- Sub headers (H2 – H6)
- First 100 words
- Image file name
- Image alt text
- Link / anchor text (edited)
Make your blog post easy to read
Readability is absolutely a factor that will affect your ranking.
Make sure you’ve got subheadings and the blocks of text underneath each heading aren’t too big (around 500 words). You also want to aim for lots of spacing and short sentences – less than 25 words.
You’ll also want to use passive language, not long winded technical jargon.
Another tip is to use dashes instead of commas. The text on a screen is harder to read and research shows people are able to consume text more smoothly with dashes.
Also remember to use reader friendly fonts!
SEO blogging requires links
Links within and to your website are one of the most effective ways to optimise your site for search engines.
Links are a signal to Google that your site is a quality resource, meaning it adds authority to your site.
Within your blog post, you want to aim for at least two internal links (sending readers to one of your service pages, or your ‘contact’ page) and two external links (linking to other websites outside yours.
But the gold standard is a backlink, where someone else links to your blog on their website.
Consider reaching out to relevant industry publications to see if they are interested in sharing your content. This would be a huge win for your rankings!
Share your optimised blog post!
The final step is to make sure your optimised blog post is visible.
So share it far and wide! On your Facebook page (business and personal) through your Linktree on Instagram, on LinkedIn – and don’t forget to email your mailing list.
Socials and eDM’s also act as an authority link. So if other people are sharing your blog and social sites are linking back to it, that helps for your ranking.
Get some help from the experts!
At the end of the day, search engine optimisation is a tricky business.
The algorithms are changing all the time – and we haven’t even covered Pay Per Click in this blog post.
If you’d like some advice, we would be happy to sit down with you and assess your SEO needs and how they relate to your business goals.
Or for more information, you can read our blog about why SEO should be incorporated into your marketing strategy.