Creating a quality and SEO-friendly blog post is important to drive traffic to your site. If you are new to the blogging world or perhaps on hiatus for a long time, you might be wondering what is SEO and why is everyone so crazy about it. Believe me, I was clueless about SEO after a long time of not blogging.
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It just means search engines will capture content meeting a set criteria. Technically, based on an algorithm crafted by search engines. SEO is a lengthy discussion on its own so let’s focus on some pointers to consider when writing a quality and SEO-friendly blog post.
What are keywords?
Keyword is the word or words that your blog post will be ranked for. It is the searchable word or phrase. To make it clearer, it is what people type to find your blog post. SEO-friendly blog post ranks higher than those not optimized.
For instance, if you want to make cookie dough ice cream, you probably type in on Google “cookie dough ice cream” or “how to make cookie dough ice cream”. Google then indexes blog posts about cookie dough ice cream.
How to Use Keywords
That being said, your blog post should have the right keyword. Use a combination of words that will most likely be searched for. If you are writing about how to bake chocolate cookie, your keyword can be “bake chocolate cookie”, not just bake or baking or chocolate cookie. Why? Just on the chocolate cookie alone, you will ranked against sellers of chocolate cookies.
Keyword thus has to be clear and not too broad. Increase chances of being found by filtering further your keyword and checking Google on what is mostly searched for. Keyword does not refer to one word only. It can be a combination of words that match your content.
Where to put keywords for SEO
Keywords should be used on your
- meta description,
- first paragraph or your introduction,
- image alt tags
Notice that these locations are the first touch-points with your readers. The permalink is what they initially see when they are searching. This is how a typical reader goes through searches. Types the keyword, scans the results of the search, choose based on title, meta description and link, then click. Most probably, chose an SEO-friendly blog post. Upon opening the blog post, read or scan the first paragraph, and headings. If they like what they read so far, continues to read the whole blog post and clicks other blog posts on your site.
Keywords should be highly visible throughout the blog post. An SEO-friendly blog post has the right keyword density. What does this mean? The number of times the keyword is mentioned on the blog post should be the right amount. Meaning not too small that the blog post doesn’t seem to be about the keyword and not too often that it becomes spammy or overkill. The recommended density is .5% to 2% of your word count.
Use Headings and Paragraphs
Create a more fluid content flow through Headings
It breaks the paragraphs apart in a more reader-friendly structure because readers are guided on how to read the blog post and what to expect from each paragraph. Especially for readers who just scan content, headings direct them to what they are searching for.
Provide better content structure
Grouping same thoughts or ideas together creates a more comprehensible content. Determine the main topic for each paragraph. Then start each paragraph with an overview of the paragraph’s main topic. Next sentences should provide further details which support the main topic.
Try to limit sentences in one paragraph to 3 sentences so it is easier to digest. Though this should not prevent you from providing a clearer perspective or from properly explaining your topic. If it is relevant then go ahead write it as long as you are not repeating or rephrasing your sentences. Note though that more than 8 sentences are considered long already.
Focus on the main topic for each paragraph
Subheadings help further in breaking your blog post. I also find using headings and subheadings so useful when writing. Because the subheadings help me with my thinking process. It forces me to concentrate my writing on what the paragraph is about. This serves as guide, as well, when deciding whether to start a new paragraph or not.
Maintain the recommended number of words for SEO-friendly blog post
Recommended minimum number of words is 300. I learned that for cornerstone articles, the minimum number of words is 900. So I guess better to write between 300 to 900 words. Limit your sentences to 20 words for a more user-friendly and SEO-friendly blog post.
When writing blog post in WordPress, the word count appears at the bottom part of the editor. I always refer to it so I can control my hand from continuously typing. Why so? Google likes lengthy articles but quality is still key. I may be writing much but losing track of the purpose of writing the blog post. Meaning the solution to a problem has been buried with all the irrelevant side comments or stories.
Use transition words
Transition words connect ideas and guide the reader as he reads. These give directions, comparison, and conclusion. Examples include first, secondly, however, because, and more. It provides more structure to your sentences and paragraphs.
Imagine a recipe without transition words. Well, you may end up with a disastrous or maybe crumbly chocolate cookie if there are no transition words. Same thing applies to your blog post. Use of transition words results to a well-baked and well-received blog post.
Write a well-structured post
Quality content has three main parts, which are basic in writing – introduction, body and conclusion. Introduce your post on the introduction. Present the details and supporting information on the body. Finally, conclude by summarizing the key points of your post.
When I draft my blog posts, I just open my Google docs and write in bullet all the key elements of my blog post. Afterwards, I insert the parts above the bulleted points. I just write Introduction, Body, Conclusion. If I have idea on how to present or start my blog post, I write it right away, where ever I am and whatever I am doing. Because I always have hard time figuring out how to start and most often, I have better flow when it is impromptu than when I am actually thinking purposely.
When I don’t know how to start, I just expand the bullet points. Refine them, form them into complete sentence. As I progress, I always get idea how to start it. Lastly, I make sure the ideas are connecting and not repeating.
Create Internal Links
Linking your posts create a cycle around your site. By linking your blog posts to each other, you are telling Google that there are more relevant contents on my site which you can index for my audience. Moreover, the reader is directed on what to do next or where to go next on your site. It is like an invitation to dig deeper on your site. Making your site even more SEO-friendly.