Blogging for SEO: How to write posts that rank on Google

May 23, 2022 | Marketing, SEO

If you’ve been following my content for a while, you may know that I’m a huge proponent of blogging for SEO, or search engine optimization. In fact, SEO writing is currently the only marketing strategy that I consistently rely on to grow my email list and attract new leads for my branding and web design services. I’ve had such great results from blogging that I’ve become really passionate about teaching my audience – you! – how to reap its benefits as I have.

Keep reading to find out why SEO combined with blogging is such a powerful marketing strategy for any kind of business.

Why you should consider blogging for SEO

Let’s be real. Writing high-quality blog posts isn’t easy. Nor is it fast. So why should you bother? As it turns out, approximately 77% of Internet users are regularly reading blog posts. In addition, 60% of people decide to purchase a product after reading about it in a blog post. These numbers tell us two things:

  • Blogging is very much alive and well with millions of people reading posts every day
  • Blogging can be highly effective for converting readers into customers

Whether you sell services or products, I guarantee you that there are people out there searching for your expertise on the Internet every single day. And unless you have a massive social media following or a really great PR team, blogging for SEO is your best bet for reaching those people.

Another reason I love blogging is because of its longevity. We all know how fickle social media platforms are, with new ones coming and going (does anyone still use Clubhouse?) and long-time favorites changing faster than we can keep up with (*cough* Instagram *cough*). Blogs, however, have been around for a long time, and as the above statistics demonstrate, are here to stay. The longevity of individual blog posts is pretty incredible as well. So long as your content remains relevant, it’ll keep showing up in search engines for months and potentially even years to come.

How to write blog posts that rank on Google

If you’re going to start blogging for your business, it’s important to learn SEO fundamentals in order to avoid wasting your time writing content that no one reads. If SEO sounds intimidating, don’t worry – I’m going to break it down for you step-by-step. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll find that it gets easier, and you may even come to enjoy it, especially when you start seeing the results come in.

For a free video primer on SEO, click here to watch my 30-minute SEO Masterclass.

1. Start with keyword research

The most important part of blogging for SEO is finding the right keywords. For every blog post, you’ll want to optimize your content for at least one unique keyword. With search rankings as competitive as they are today, your best bet is to target long-tail keywords that are about four words long. For example, instead of targeting a vague and ultra-competitive keyword like “wine,” you’ll have better results with a more specific, long-tail keyword like “organic red wine California.”

Keywords are so important for SEO that I actually recommend creating a keyword-driven content strategy for your blog. In other words, instead of coming up with topics to write about and then finding keywords that fit those topics, start with keyword research and use those keywords to inspire your content. This helps ensure that you’re writing content that people are actually searching for.

There are many ways to research keywords for your blogs. Ubersuggest is a great free tool that’s very beginner-friendly. You can also use Google’s Keyword Planner or invest in a paid tool like SEMrush. For more tips on finding the best keywords for your blog, check out my free SEO Masterclass which covers this process in more depth.

2. Use headings appropriately

In order to make your blog posts easier to read for both humans and Google’s site crawlers, it’s imperative to use headings in your content. Heading tags rank from h1 to h6, with h1 representing the main page heading (your blog post title). Use h2, h3, h4, etc. to organize your subtopics.

For example, in this blog post, my h1 heading is the title: “Blogging for SEO: How to write posts that rank on Google.” You should only designate one h1 heading per page. The subheading “How to write blog posts that rank on Google” is an h2 heading. And the seven subheadings below it are all h3 headings. If I were to add another subtopic to this post about using headings, I would tag it as h4.

Note that you don’t need to use all six heading types. Unless you’re writing really in-depth content, you’ll likely only use h2-h4 subheadings.

3. Prioritize long-form content

Despite our short attention spans, studies consistently show that longer blog content performs better. The sweet spot sits around 1,500-2,000 words for a post that both ranks competitively and optimizes conversion. For a reference point, this blog post is 1,743 words long. That’s not to say that every single post you write should have at least 2,000 words. There are many other factors that determine how well a page performs apart from length. That said, you should aim for a minimum of 1,000 words per post.

No matter the length of your content, the best blog posts are skimmable. Avoid writing long, run-on sentences, and try to limit your paragraphs to a few sentences each. In addition, it’s best to set the bar pretty low when it comes to the reading level. Blog posts with lots of jargon are taxing on the reader and may even get penalized by Google bots.

In sum, write long, detailed content but keep the language as simple as possible.

4. Add keywords to your title and meta description

Remember those keywords you researched in step one? You probably already know that you need to incorporate these keywords into your blog content in order to rank for them. Ideally, you’ll want to aim for a keyword density of about 1-2%. In other words, use your keyword 1-2 times for every 100 words of content. But in order to get the best results for your keyword, it’s also important to include it in your title and meta description.

If it makes sense to do so, try to use the exact keyword phrase in your post title. If the title sounds unnatural however, you can rearrange the words without damaging your SEO, so long as the keyword is well-optimized within the actual content.

Most website platforms offer the option to write a meta description for each page and blog post on your website. This description is typically what Google will pull from your site to display under the post title in search results. For an SEO boost, always add your primary keyword to the meta description.

5. Include images with alt text

Adding images to your blog posts is a great way to boost your SEO. Plus, images help to visually break up the text and make the content easier and more pleasant to consume overall. When selecting images for your blog, go for high-quality photographs or graphics. There are many stock image sites like Unsplash and Pexels that offer beautiful, free photos.

Before uploading any images to your blog, it’s essential to first compress them in order to reduce the file size. Oversized images are one of the primary culprits when it comes to slow-loading sites. Slow sites don’t rank as well on Google because they offer a sub-par user experience. As a general rule of thumb, keep your blog post images under 2560px wide and under 1MB in size. You can use a free tool called TinyPNG to compress images before uploading them to your site.

When you upload images to your post, you have the option to write some “alt text” to describe the contents of the image. If it makes sense to do so, try to include your keyword in your alt tags for each image.

6. Add internal and external links

Another great and easy way to improve your odds of ranking on Google is to include links in your content. When you link to high-quality external domains, Google reads that you’re offering high-value content to your readers. In contrast, linking to low-quality domains can actually damage your SEO potential.

In addition to external links, you should also include links to other pages on your site, or internal links. Remember, Google is all about providing the best user experience. When your blog posts include internal links, this tells Google that your content is relevant to other content on your site. In other words, someone who clicks on a particular blog post could find even more valuable content by clicking around onto other pages. This results in a lower bounce rate.

7. Track your analytics

Last but not least, if you’re serious about blogging for SEO, it’s imperative to track your website analytics. SEO is a long game, and the only way to know if you’re doing it well is to track your blog performance over time. Unfortunately, no blog post is going to start ranking overnight.

The best way to track your blog metrics and SEO performance is through Google Analytics. This is a 100% free tool that’s insanely valuable. To get it set up, all you need to do is create an account and add a tracking code to your site. If you’re on WordPress, you can add the code using a plugin like MonsterInsights.

Click here to read about five important website metrics that all small business owners should track.

Ready to start blogging for SEO?

I truly believe that blogging strategically with SEO in mind can be a highly impactful marketing strategy for any kind of business.

If you’re eager to learn more about SEO, I’d love to invite you to enroll in my course, The SEO Essentials Kit. In this beginner-friendly course, I’m teaching the fundamentals of SEO that you need to know in order to start ranking on Google and steadily grow your website traffic.

In the course, I’ll share the exact strategy I’ve used for the past few years to turn my blog into my #1 source of client inquiries for my design services. No social media necessary. Whether you’re a service provider, blogger, or e-commerce business owner, SEO can help you grow a loyal fan base and increase your revenue sustainably. SEO Essentials Kit will show you how.

Click here to learn more about the course and enroll today.

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Steph Corrigan Design Blogger

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