Blogging is the process of creating updated and valuable content; emphasis on the second last word – valuable. By creating content that is useful and provides a solution to user intent, blogging can help with promoting your web page in Google SERPs. And here’s how to do it.
Why is SEO important to you?
Is it to increase your search engine ranking?
Is it to show up higher in search engine results pages (SERPs)?
Is it to produce fresh content because you read somewhere on the internet that you had to produce frequent and fresh content?
Is it because you know that your target audience is searching for a solution on a regular basis and that with the right keyword research, content marketing, social media promotion, and link-building – that you can convert these visitors into paying customers?
What are the fundamentals of SEO?
- Keyword research
- Internal linking
- Mobile speed optimization and site loading speed
- High-quality informative content that is fully accessible without a paywall or opt-in
- External link building
- Domain authority and security
- Content that matches user search intent
Whether you’re a food blogger or an online shop, these same SEO principles apply to you.
Does blogging really help with SEO?
Blogging can help with SEO but only if done correctly.
For example, creating content blindly without a strategy approach can often lead to keyword cannibalization and worsen visibility.
Blogging can attract potential customers, increase organic traffic, and make inbound link building easier but creating high-quality content is no longer enough. This is because search engines look at web pages individually and not the entire site. Therefore, strategic blogging helps improve your overall site’s visibility in the SERPs for multiple keywords.
How do I make my article SEO friendly?
For WordPress websites, there are plugins that can provide you with some guidance. Yoast SEO, All-in-one, Rank Math, and SEOPress are all highly recommended by industry professionals. These plugins make it easy to write custom page titles, meta descriptions, implement basic schema markup, and reports on basic on-page SEO elements.
For Squarespace websites, you will not have access to SEO plugins but you can follow the same fundamental principles of on-page and technical SEO.
Recommended reading: Squarespace versus WordPress: Why WordPress Is Better For SEO
Here are 13 ways to make your article SEO friendly:
- Before you start writing, identify specific keywords that you wish to rank for.
- Run a few Google searches on these keywords and take note at how the top ranking results format their content (e.g., inspect the use of headings, images, video).
- Keep sentences short and simple, use headings and appropriate images to make it easier for people to scan and read, and avoid overly long paragraphs.
- Use bulleted lists.
- Insert your primary keyword into your article’s page title.
- In 160 characters or less, write a compelling reasons why a searcher should click on your page other another.
- Where possible and relevant, link to other articles on your website.
- Where appropriate, link out to external sites to support an opinion and/or fact.
- Use clean URLs.
- Insert your keyword into the permalink.
- Keep the URL as short as possible.
- Avoid keyword stuffing but do not be afraid to use the keyword when required.
- When published, ensure that you have not blocked search engine crawlers via a noindex meta tag.
How long should blog posts be for SEO?
I like to look at the first page results for guidance.
Most people recommend writing a minimum of 300 words with others advocating for long form content (2,000+ words). Without first analyzing the competitive landscape, these figures are irrelevant.
You could manually do a word count for each of the top ranking web pages per chosen keyword or you can use a tool like SURFER SEO or Clearscope.
Once you have a rough idea on how many words each of the top ranking pages have, you can prepare your own piece of content.
An advantage of using SURFER SEO is that it tells you the exact words used in headings, page titles and meta descriptions. I like to think that each SERP is Google’s own way of telling you how to create and present quality content. So in this instance, plan your content based on what your keyword competitors are already doing and make it even more relevant for the audience.
For example, using this very piece of content as a demonstration, my target keyword is ‘does blogging help with seo’. As seen in the following screenshot, SURFER SEO tells me the word count of every page on the SERPs.
Similarly, SURFER SEO tells me the average word count for web pages ranking 1-10 position, 11-20, 21-30 and so forth for the specific keyword.
Obviously, word count isn’t the most important factor when it comes to search engine optmization and you shouldn’t focus on maximizing the length of your writing. Instead, your goal with any new content is to ensure that is answers the question that a user is seeking.
With that said, however, the more words on a page, the more relevant keywords that are likely to be associated with the page, in particular, long tail keywords.
Using Clearscope, I can see the top ten ranking web pages for the search query ‘does blogging help with seo’.
You may consider investing in an infographic, creating graphs, tables and other visual aids to give a user context and insights into the information.
How do I optimize my title tag for search engines?
Using the definition from Moz, a title tag is an HTML element that specifies the title of a web page. Title tags (also referred to as page titles – they’re the same thing) are displayed on search engine result pages as the clickable headline for a given result.
I’m a fan of seeing what is currently working rather than trying to be overly creative (and missing the mark). Therefore, put your specific keywords into Google and see how the top ranking web pages are incorporating the keyword into their page title.
Sometimes Google will apply its own title tag if it doesn’t like the one that you have specified. Usually, this happens because Google thinks that your title tag wasn’t accurate and/or relevant to your page content.
Is there anything I should do after publishing new content?
This is where many small business owners screw up.
Suppose you have done your keyword research, mapped out topics with relevant keywords and paired them with target URLs. And suppose you have invested the time in analyzing the competition to see what you can replicate. You’ve written 1,300 words (or paid someone to produce it) and now it is live on your website.
How can this new content be found?
- Check that any schema markup is clean and throws no errors with Google Structured Data Testing Tool.
- Go to URL Inspection in Google Search Console and paste in the URL of your new page. Then hit the REQUEST INDEXING button to ask Google to crawl the web page.
- I would also recommend using the Open Graph Object Debugger offered by Facebook for Developers to check how the preview thumbnail, page title and meta description are coming up.
- As an added step, you can optimize for user experience by plugging your new URL in to GTmetrix to identify any elements that are causing slow content loading times.
- But that’s not all. As backlinks are critical to SEO, you will need to acquire inbound links to your new content. I like to use ahrefs to identify targets for outreach by using Site Explorer and manually pitching site owners how my new blog post can help them. This can be done scouring each website for a contact email, using a SaaS product such as Snovio, or even trying to contact someone via an online form.
When will my blog article rank?
Search terms have varying competition. That is, more search volume tends to suggest that those specific keywords have more searchers and thus, ranking on the first page will be more difficult.
In order for search engines to show your content to searchers, it must first crawl the web page. Therefore, it is imperative that you ensure that there are no crawlability and/or indexation issues on your site. Screaming Frog SEO Spider or Site Bulb are good tools for identifying such errors.
Assuming that your writing has been optimized for relevant keywords, is not duplicate content, is easy to parse, has a single H1 tag and subsequent H2 headings, you can expect the blog article to begin ranking in the top 100 results within a few weeks for a highly competitive term.
Some keywords have little search volume and very little competition. You may find that your web page and new content may begin to rank within a few hours. Long tail keywords tend to rank well due to their uniqueness and low competition. Hence why long form blogging can be beneficial to your overall site’s search engine visibility.
What is your SEO strategy?
Now that you know what you need to do, what are you going to do?
But more importantly, why are you doing it? Are you measuring the right thing or are you going after vanity metrics?