Does your corporate or personal website have a blog? If the answer is negative, you’re missing on a huge opportunity. Companies that blog have 97% more inbound links, Hubspot statistics suggest. The business to business marketers that blog will generate 67% more leads than the ones that don’t.
According to Tech Client, 90% of people who visit company websites find custom content useful. 82% say that they enjoy reading the content that companies generate.
These numbers make it obvious just how important an SEO friendly blog post is. Gone are the days of straightforward outbound marketing. People today want to get something valuable from their interactions with brands. Blogging is one of the best ways to accomplish the goal.
Putting together a properly optimised, engaging and original blog post is far from an easy task. Creativity, effort, audience understanding and market knowledge will all be required to get the job done. If you’re making your first steps in the world of blogging, you can rely on the following tips for the creation of an SEO friendly blog post that will boost audience engagement.
1. Choose the right topic
Choosing the right topic is essential in two ways – for a start, it can help for the creation of an engaging post. In addition, it’s one of the keys to putting together a SEO friendly blog post. Let’s find out how.
A topic that’s too general will face a lot of competition when it comes to reaching the top of the search engine results page. Do you need an example? How to Buy Shoes is one such topic that will face dozens of competitors. In fact, if you type the phrase in Google, you’ll get 99,100,000 results. That’s a lot of competition!
Trying to narrow down the topic a little bit is a much better idea. If you turn the post into How to Buy Women’s Leather Shoes, you’ll be competing against 48,900,000 results. That’s an improvement! Still, you can make it even more specific. How to Buy Women’s Leather Shoes that are Fashionable is an even narrower topic.
A specific topic that features long-tail keywords (a more descriptive phrase that targets a niche demographic) will make it easier to achieve good search engine positioning and reach the right demographic at the same time.
How can you come up with such topics? There are a few possibilities to rely on:
- See what the competition is writing about and come up with a unique twist
- Go to Google trends to figure out which topics people would like to learn more about
- Use your social media to ask your audience what they’d like to learn more about
- Create follow-ups on your most successful blog posts
- See what industry leaders are focusing on
- Consider whether it would be possible to interview industry experts
- Ask your customer support team about the biggest challenges your clients are facing
2. Make it long and detailed
While Google hasn’t made an official statement about it, longer blog posts that consist of at least 1,000 words tend to perform better than shorter content. The best SEO friendly blog post will take a deep, intricate look at a niche topic.
A 2016 analysis of more than 300k pages was carried out to assess the importance of content length. Researchers found out that some of the most successful posts (in terms of search engine positioning) average 2,000 words and even more. Based on this extensive analysis, the team came up with a verdict – a blog post length of about 1,600 words is ideal.
There’s a simple explanation for the phenomenon and it’s called Google Panda. One of the most serious algorithm update targeted “thin” content – blog posts in the range from 300 to 500 words.
Longer content comes with added benefits that go beyond SEO. When well written, it can keep visitors exploring the blog for a longer period of time. It’s also the option of preference for establishing yourself as the authority in the respective field.
Long blog posts require more work and in-depth understanding of the topic. Focusing on such content is one of the essentials for building an SEO friendly blog post. This doesn’t mean you should never write briefer texts. Still, the core of your blog should focus on deeper, much more insightful texts.
3. Choose the right format
Formatting your blog posts correctly is as important for SEO as choosing the right topics.
The reason is simple – people aren’t going to spend a lot of time on getting through a large chunk of text. Using subtitles, lists and bold fonts for the most important claims will enhance readability. If your readers are happy, Google will be happy as well.
The right structure and formatting can be used to build a hierarchy of information. The H1, H2 and H3 tags tell people what each section is going to be about. Search engines will also put more emphasis on these elements than the rest of the text. Making sure these strategic elements are descriptive enough and featuring the right keywords can boost the SEO value of your content.
4. Link to other content on your blog
If you’ve written posts that shed additional light on some of the topics that you discuss in your blog post, you should definitely link to those. The strategy is called internal linking and it plays a key role in the creation of an SEO friendly blog post.
By doing internal linking, you’re demonstrating your authority and knowledge of the topic. The strategy also helps for the creation of a niche blog – a good strategy for reaching the top of the search engine results page.
Internal linking provides your audience with additional reading options, it makes it easier for Google to crawl a website and it can also help you “revive” some of the older blog posts that you’ve created.
There are a few simple strategies you can follow to make the most of internal linking. For a start, all of the most important blog pages should be linked on your homepage. Visitors should find it easy to reach relevant content, otherwise, they’re not going to bother.
In addition, navigation links in the footer, the use of relevant and organic anchor text (the phrase that holds the link) and the selection of the best content that adds to the topic will be important. Don’t overdo it and use internal links only when these make sense.
5. Encourage sharing and comments
User-generated content can be a powerful tool on your way to the top of the search engine results page. Encouraging audience discussions is one of the best ways to generate additional content, keep people actively involved and even get ideas for new blog topics.
While the world of SEO has changed a lot over the past few years, comments are still important. In essence, you’ll be creating an online community of your own and improving the audience’s experience. These factors determine the quality of your website in the search engine ranking algorithm.
Keep one important thing in mind – a very small portion of readers will engage in commenting. This metric should never be viewed as a measure of blog popularity or success. According to Nielsen Norman Group, 90% of comments on corporate blogs come from one percent of all readers. The other 10% are generated by an additional nine percent of readers. This means that 90% of readers will never write a comment.
To encourage commenting, you can include calls to action in the end of the blog post or choose topics that your audience feels passionate about. Needless to say, you need to have perfect understanding of your audience’s preferences to accomplish the goal.
One more thing you can do to get your audience participating in the SEO process is facilitating social sharing.
The social media presence of your website is determining for your online reputation, hence for the creation of an SEO friendly blog post.
Adding sharing buttons in the bottom of each blog post is one of the easiest options for encouraging social media activity. It’s also important to build your own Facebook or Twitter community. Social sharing increases the chance of your content going viral, it brings you a bigger number of visitors and it could potentially skyrocket your SEO efforts.
6. An SEO friendly blog post has images
When working on their SEO friendly blog post, some people get so focused on text that they forget about all other potentially beneficial elements.
A Social Media Examiner industry report for 2016 shows that 37% of marketers see images as the most important type of content for their business. Blog post text content is the only one that comes on top with 38%.
When eye-tracking technology is used to perform studies, researchers have found out that people spend more time on information-carrying images (like infographics) rather than on text.
These statistics give you a chance to do two things. For a start, begin diversifying your blog post content. The addition of image galleries, infographics and even relevant YouTube videos can help you boost engagement.
In addition, you have to make sure every single image is properly optimised. The addition of an alt tag is one of the simplest options for making sure your images will appear in the Google Image search. You can also add a caption to give search engines some additional information about the nature of the visual content.
7. Use external links
External or outbound links are the final tool you can rely on for the creation of an SEO friendly blog post. These are links to other authority websites that shed additional light on some of the topics you’re discussing.
External links can once again be used to boost your reputation. If you are giving your audience additional information from academic journals, specialised publications and industry magazines, search engines will perceive your content as valuable. This is why quality happens to be a much more important factor than quantity in the world of external links.
Popularity and relevancy are two of the factors to consider when looking for backlinking sources. One thing is certain – having no outbound links is considered a bad thing. Some blog writers worry that external links will “steal” away their traffic but metrics have proven these fears wrong time and time again.
Just like with internal links, it’s important to refrain from overdoing it. Hyperlink the text to an additional source of information only when it makes sense. Try to put yourself in the shoes of a blog reader. Is the additional link going to provide valuable information, resulting in a better experience? If no, refrain from adding it – it’s that simple!
Creating the best SEO friendly blog post takes time, research and hard work. If you think that blogging is simple, you should think again. Planning, having good topics, creating unique content and looking for ways to present in-depth information in an intriguing way will all be important. When trying to do SEO, think about your audience. Anything that makes people happy and keeps them exploring your content for a longer period of time will benefit your search engine positioning, as well