Every copywriter and blogger face the same quandary. Create informative and engaging content for the reader – and for Google. Oh, to simultaneously entertain your audience and remain rankable. It’s difficult to create stunning blogs for SEO.
It’s hard to commit to a side. What is more important? Jessica Lee points out that No. 1 Position in Google Gets 33% of Search Traffic, and 18% goes to second place. And yet Teagan West goes to great pains to tell us that “content must be engaging”, otherwise, “what’s the point?” Nobody is going to want to read it.
Rankable blogs written for SEO are the reason that your content is found.
Insightful blogs written to entertain or engage, are the reason that your content is shared.
So how do we find the balance?
Blogs for SEO require research
There’s no way to dress keyword research up to be sexy and exciting. It’s annoying, and it’s boring. However, it’s necessary. There’s no real point in beginning a blog without it.
You need to know, first, that your target audience is going to want to read your blog. What use is a blog that doesn’t explore a topic that anybody’s interested in? It wouldn’t even matter how well it was written.
Using tools like Google Analytics and Semrush, you can find out what blogs in your industry people are responding to. You can also use these tools to work out how difficult it will be to rank for the keywords you had in mind. The difficulty will help you determine how rankable Google will find your article.
Look at the alternative key-phrases you could use that might be easier to rank for. Writing blogs for SEO should do their best not to compete with other articles on the same site. Try not to repeat an existing keyword.
Check on your rankable competitors
It might seem a little sneaky, but it’s easy to find out what your competition is ranking for. If you’re ever running short on inspiration, your nearest and meanest competitor is a great place to start. The chances are that they have had a look at your site too. After all, you’re both trying to attract the attention of the same market.
They will also have been writing their blogs for SEO. This means they will have thought about their keywords. They will also have determined which phrases are more likely to earn them traction. Your competitors might have picked up something that you haven’t.
Write blogs for people first
You’re never going to publish a blog article that hasn’t been through at least one round of editing and proofreading. There are always going to be darlings to kill aren’t there? Despite how well you have planned the structure of your blog, this is the time to let yourself go.
Get that writing fever on.
If you’re going to go through your article with an editor’s magnifying glass, you might as well try and write your first draft as freely as you possibly can. Write to entertain first, and worry about how rankable the blog is later.
Beginning with the view to write all your blogs for SEO may stunt the rhythm and flow of good writing. Just try to keep your keywords in mind. Make sure these keywords appear in your first paragraph and are repeated throughout in your various sections.
With your first draft, try not to dwell on the conventions of grammar and SEO. If you’re an experienced writer, you will instinctively know them. If you’re just learning, then you can pick them up when you editorially tighten the bolts.
Edit blogs for SEO
When you have finished putting the last words to your article, print it out. It’s easier to edit longer text when it’s in a printed format. As Maria Gilhe Torheim asserts, we can see the full text in front of us in printed format, and we concentrate better. More importantly, as we can pick up errors easier, we can also write in the margins.
By highlighting your keywords on a page, you can see how regularly you have used them. The frequency keywords are used helps to determine how rankable the article will be in Google.
Edit out any superfluous words. If too many sentences are over 20 words, you could get penalised.
Simplify as much of your blog as you can, over complicated text could get punished.
Yoast is an excellent tool for helping you diagnose the issues in your SEO. It points out where you slip into the passive voice. Yoast, also gives you handy and relevant advice to edit your blog SEO ready in minutes.
It’s well worth taking a trial out.
By creating links to other articles, you’re hearkening to the thought leadership of other minds in your industry. It lends your own work some credibility, as you’re entering into an interesting and relevant debate that preexists your article. Don’t be afraid to disagree with people if that is how you feel. You don’t always have to spend your blogging time as a paraphrasing parrot.
Not only should you be linking to other bloggers’ articles, you should also link to your own. It helps your audience discover more of your rankable content. It also helps you build a respectable reputation as a trustworthy source of information.
Linking does come with a word of caution. The article that you link to should be relevant and interesting. Someone clicking that link in your blog is trusting your content. Sending them to a completely random article that just so happens to have that quote you liked, is horrible practice. They may not trust your content again.
Aim for longer posts
Would it surprise you to learn that longer blog posts rank higher than shorter ones? The top-ranked rages contain over 400 words more than those who didn’t rank so favourably. Shelley Pringle’s insightful article discusses the ideal length for the perfect blog post. Spoiler alert! There isn’t an ideal length.
But Pringle does discover that Google prefers longer pages and discusses that a page with less than 400 “has to be really stellar” to be engaging.
I think, at least for the serious searcher, a longer article might suggest depth and analysis. We don’t expect much provocative thought on a page that has limited content. If we are searching for information to educate us in our jobs and daily lives, then we are looking for something substantial.
Writing longer blogs affords a luxury. We can sculpt quipping analysis, concise surgical argument, and wistfully funny lines, and still write blogs for SEO. Our content is still rankable, and it can be engaging. This would be substantially more difficult to achieve should we be writing 350-word list articles every week.
Wrapping up this rankable blog for SEO
Many of my previous articles have discussed the language used and the brand voice that we create. SEO is just another parameter and restriction that we must abide by if we want our content to be “rankable”.
It would be nice to think that once we have nailed that article, the SEO is swimming with victory, and thus you rank number one forever. However, we know that the bloggers work is never done. Once that blog is finished it can jump up and down the rankings. You will have to revisit many of your blogs again to tighten up content, or to make changes for it to remain relevant.
As always, I’m interested in your contributions. What tips have you got for anyone else reading to help with blog SEO?