If you want to write a good blog post, think of your readers. Write for humans first. Write for search engine optimization (SEO) second. We all want our website to rank first in an online search, but you won’t last long at the top of the heap if your content is of low quality. Here are some techniques you can use to help improve the quality of your writing and your SEO ranking.
Choose a Good Focus Keyword
The focus keyword or keyphrase is the search term you want a page or post to rank for the most. When people search for that phrase, they should find you. You might wish to check your keyword first to ensure you’re not using it for another post. You don’t want to have blog posts on your website competing for SEO.
Try to use the exact keyphrase a few times with the text. The longer the text, the more times you should use the keyword. Likewise, it would be best to use the keywords in a sub-heading. Outside of the text itself, it would help if you placed the keywords in the:
- Title of the blog post
- URL slug (http://www.mywebsite.com/great-blog-post)
- Meta description (An HTML element that is a summary of the blog post.)
- Alt-text on the featured image
Internal links: Links to your other blog posts, blog categories or tags, or website pages are like cross-referencing. Some website plugins automatically add text at the bottom of each post that links to other posts (usually a specific category) to create automatic internal links. They work well and save time. However, some SEO analyzers don’t recognize these as internal links even though search engines do.
External links: It’s always nice to link to another website, but only if it can help your readers. If you quote a famous person or resources, such as a government website, dictionaries, or scientific journals, link to those sites. If you mention a product, link to a place where your readers can see what you are writing about, even if it’s not where they would typically buy it.
Write Enough Text
Search engines need at least 300 words to register it easily. If you do a media interview, you may not be able to include the entire text in your blog post (copyright issues). But you can discuss your experience with the journalist, summarize points, and refer to the article. Sometimes getting to the 300-word mark is challenging, especially if you’re doing a list-type blog post.
SEO is essential, but it is more important to write for the reader. No one wants to read your keywords in every sentence, nor do they want you to blather on about irrelevant details to reach the 300-word mark.
Several factors influence readability. Most SEO website plugins have a preference. They like prose, a natural form of speech with grammatical structure. Not all blog posts lend themselves to this style. On the other hand, humans love lists – bulleted lists, numbered lists, lists with checkboxes – we love them! If you have a kick-ass list-type post, it probably won’t meet the “readability” quality on your SEO plugin. It doesn’t matter. Write for people first, SEO second.
Sub-headings and Paragraph Length
Readers like to see where the next idea begins. Use sub-headings for this. Proper heading tags are also essential for people who use screen readers to help them navigate websites. Check your website theme or ask your web designer which heading tags to use within your blog’s text. Most people use Heading 2 for the headings and Heading 3 for the sub-headings.
The paragraphs shouldn’t be too long, either. Aim for 100-200 words. If you change ideas, move to a new paragraph or heading. Readers like a bit of white space. Think of it like organizing your bookshelf – don’t cram in too many words.
Add Formatting to Help
Use formatting tools to grab readers’ attention and help them read your blog post. Formatting tools include:
- Bold: Use for intense emphasis or at the beginning of bulleted or numbered lists to get readers’ attention.
- Italics: Use for emphasizing specific words or phrases.
- Bold & Italics: Use sparingly – only when you really want to get a reader’s attention.
- Underlines: Avoid using underlines because people are used to them as hyperlinks only.
- All Caps: Do not use all caps within the text unless you want to SHOUT AT YOUR READERS.
Active vs. Passive Voice
SEO analyzers (and most people) prefer the active to the passive voice. In the active voice, the subject acts on an object. In the passive voice, the object is acted upon by the subject.
- Passive Voice: The closet can be organized in several ways. With the hangers placed backward, you will know what you have worn.
- Active Voice: You can arrange the closet in several ways. Place the hangers backward to know which clothes you do not regularly wear.
Transition words make your text much more readable. Because these words give direction to your readers, it helps them understand the relationship between sentences. Also, they connect ideas.
- No Transition Words: You can organize the closet in several ways. Place the hangers backward to know which clothes you do not regularly wear.
- Transition Words: You can organize the closet in several ways. Firstly, place the hangers backward on the closet rod. Then, every time you wear something, turn the hanger around. As a result, you will know which clothes you do not regularly wear.
Including transition words in your writing is not always easy because we don’t speak (at least consciously) using transition words. Your writing style will improve over time, and there are websites that can help. If you are writing a list-type post, transition words don’t necessarily apply.
People enjoy reading sentences of various lengths. They appreciate rhythm and cadence. Intersperse longer and shorter sentences because readers feel like they are interacting with a real person.
- Run-On Sentence: Placing the hangers backward to know which clothes you do not regularly wear is one way to organize your closet.
- Varying Sentence Length: Place the hangers backward on the closet rod. Then, every time you wear something, turn the hanger around. As a result, you will know which clothes you do not regularly wear.
Please don’t add a myriad, bazillion, loads, heaps, multitudes, or an abundance of adjectives when one will do.
Sometimes, you want to make a specific point using the same word at the beginning of each sentence, but generally, do not start consecutive sentences with the same word. In list-type posts, reword the introduction to your list or make two shorter lists.
Items to put in your carry-on bag include:
- your medication
- your passport
- your wallet
Items to put in your carry-on bag include your:
To summarize, I hope you have enjoyed this post and learned a little about the importance of readability, keywords, and SEO. If you want to write a good blog post, readability is essential. But don’t force yourself to use a style that isn’t you. In the end, you may distance readers (and potential clients) who love you for your unique style and brand.