If you’re writing blog posts with a lack of content direction and no SEO strategy to support them, you’re never going to rank them on the results pages and you’re never going to get organic traffic as a result.
This post is going to help you determine if you’re the perpetrator of a term we call “blog post neglect”.
Ask yourself, “Why should Google’s ranking algorithm choose to rank your blog over someone else who may be putting in more effort than you?”
One of the most frustrating scenarios is seeing a blog with great content, but won’t rank due to a lack of on-site SEO work.
So what can we do to prevent that?
It’s simple, right? Just create a blog post that has great content and is optimized to rank on Google search. Actually, it’s not as simple as you’d think. There are quite a few things you need to consider, so let’s get into them.
Hopefully, when you’re done reading this blog post, you’ll give those long-neglected blogs on your website the love and attention they deserve!
Pair Your Keyword Research With Your Content Topic
If you haven’t figured out what you want to write about, that’s actually good news!
Uhh, why is that good news?
Because, figuring out what you should write about needs to be done in a certain way, and we’re glad you’re reading this before you begin your copy.
Here’s the process of coming up with the perfect topic that will fit into your SEO content strategy.
Find A Niche Topic in Your Industry
This one’s crucial if you want really good content. Sure, you can write about a topic that’s more mainstream, but you may possibly run into some roadblocks. One of the main issues that you may find is that your topic is already heavily written about.
At that point, you might get the feeling that your writing doesn’t really have a purpose anymore, which is true, to an extent.
Ideally, you will want to find a topic that is more specific to your industry but is still relevant to your target audience.
However, if you do run into a situation in which you are looking to write about a topic that has already been heavily written about, make sure you conduct deep keyword research to find not only the most “common” searches for your topic, but also all the long-tail keyword variations by using a tool such as Ubersuggest.
This allows the opportunity for your “commonly written” topic to rank for long-tail keywords as well as provide your take on the subject!
Check if Your Topic Has Competition
So you found a niche topic that you can write great content about, so now what?
Check the competition out.
Use Google search to figure out if there are similar blog posts out there. If there are, not to worry. If your topic is niche enough, you should be able to write unique content that stands out from your competition.
Now is a great time for your company’s voice to shine through.
Target High Volume and Low Competition Keywords
Now that you have nailed down a niche topic to write about, you need to find keywords (or key-phrases) that are related to your topic. These should be keywords and key-phrases that carry a decent amount of monthly search volume, but have low competition.
Utilizing this strategy, we are going after “low hanging fruit” keywords and gives us a high chance for attaining top rankings on search engines.
A great way to find keywords is by using a keyword tool. There are plenty of them online that you can use, but did you know Google has one of their own?
Other tools like the Keyword Magic Tool in SEMrush or Keyword Explorer in Ahrefs are also extremely useful.
If you don’t have access to any of these tools or just want an easier way to gauge the competition of a keyword, just type that keyword into Google and see what comes up.
If the sites that come up look like high authority sites that are established, you might want to consider finding a lower competition keyword or key-phrase.
Elements of Great Copywriting for SEO
Now that you’ve figured out your niche topic and the keywords to go with it, it’s time to get down to writing. While you could probably have great writing skills and integrate your keywords in with no problem, we still need to tell you about some of the SEO elements that need to go in as you’re writing.
Here are a few elements of great copywriting for SEO purposes:
- Proper supporting keyword placement
- Internal links (anchor text)
- Making your content user friendly
Finding the Best Keyword Placement
Just because you’ve found some amazing and low competition keywords to put into your blog doesn’t mean your work is done. Placement matters, especially to Google. Understanding where you should place keywords within a blog is important.
To understand this section, make sure you know about title tags, meta descriptions, and heading classifications. If your knowledge on these terms is limited, be sure to check out a title tag optimization guide.
So, where is the best place to put your selected keywords?
Well, before you place your keywords, find the one keyword that you absolutely want to rank. We call this your target keyword, and it takes the most priority. You’ll want to incorporate that keyword in your title tag, preferably near the beginning of the tag.
You can fit maybe one other keyword in the title tag, but if you can’t, it’s not a big deal.Title tags are meant to be 70 characters or under, so it’s not like you have a lot to work with anyways!
Another great place to put your target keyword is in your URL. The URL of your post carries a lot of keyword relevance in the eyes of Google, so make sure you have your target keyword embedded within the URL.
Inserting your target keyword in the title tag and your URL is essential, but we don’t end there with our efforts. Here are a few other places where your target keyword should make an appearance:
- In your main page heading (H1 tag)
- In at least one page subheading (H2, H3, etc. tag)
- In the first paragraph of your content
- In your meta description, preferably near the beginning
- In at least one of your internal links (a page within your site linking to your new page)
- In your alt attribute for a relevant image on your page
- In the file name of that image
We know there’s several places to incorporate your target keyword, but doing so gives you the best chance for success when trying to rank for that specific keyword. Otherwise, you could be missing out on multiple opportunities to get your blog post ranking.
What about your secondary keywords?
We haven’t forgotten, don’t worry. Your secondary keywords are important too. If you couldn’t fit any secondary keywords into the main titles and headings, that’s ok. Find some places within your actual content to place those keywords.
A great way to support your secondary keywords and improve keyword relevance is by using them as anchor text through an internal link on another page of your site, and point the link to your new page.
500-word blog posts just don’t cut it anymore. You’re going to need to put some meat on those bones.
Research shows that the average content length of pages ranking in the top 10 is around 1900 words. While you are not guaranteed to get a top position in the rankings with content around 1900 words, it certainly will help. Not every post in the top 10 is 1900 words either. If you stick anywhere from 1600-2300 words, you should be in good shape.
If you can’t reach the minimum word count, consider adding infographics, videos, or any other content-rich assets to increase the value of your page.
If you want to go next-level when improving your content, consider adding a video. Make sure this video is relevant to your blog post and is original.
Visuals are becoming more of a necessity when it comes to content creation. People love content that immerses them, and videos do just that.
At the end of the day, Google doesn’t select pages with a whole bunch of valuable content just because your word length is what it needs to be. Google chooses pages to rank higher than others based on how well they perform and enhance the user experience. It’s no secret that blog posts with richer page content perform better in the SERPs because of this.
One way Google determines how to rank each one of your pages is through your internal link structure. Part of having a well built out website involves proper internal links, so make sure your blog posts reflect the same standards.
You should always have a few internal links within the content of your blog post. These internal links should have anchor text that carries your primary or secondary keywords of the pages you are internal linking to.
By adding anchor text with your keywords, Google can assess the relevancy of your internal link.
Avoid putting internal links in unnatural spots. Google has caught up with black hat SEO strategies that involve internal links with keywords that are not relevant by looking at the text surrounding your anchor text. Make sure you steer clear of shady internal linking and focus on having relevant content surrounding your anchor text.
Don’t be afraid to throw in an external link or two to other websites as well. It never hurts to add context to your post, especially if that context is coming from a high authority website!
Making Your Content User-Friendly
Make sure you have someone else review your content before you publish it. Have them make any necessary grammar or content updates as needed - it’s always good to have a second pair of eyes.
While bad grammar doesn’t necessarily contribute to how you rank on the SERPs, it does contribute negatively to the user experience. Users want the content to be readable and smooth, and if it’s not, your user metric key performance indicators (bounce rates and average session duration) will worsen.
Making your content user-friendly isn’t all about grammar though. Sentence structure and tone affect readability too. You may have great information in your blog, but does it use your company’s voice?
Read through your blog post at least once solely for content purposes. Did you get bored reading it? If you did, it’s likely that your users will get bored too.
Consider enhancing the user experience by improving your writing tone and fluency, or by adding visuals that explain less interesting sections of your content.
User experience is among the many ranking factors Google uses to rank your website, so be sure to do everything you can to make each user experience smooth and enjoyable.
Extra On-Site SEO Checklist
You’re almost done with all of your content and SEO work. So far you’ve got some great content that’s SEO optimized, but have you finished optimizing your meta information? Making sure your title tag, meta description, and URL are at the right length and have your keywords in them are essential.
For title tags, keep them under 70 characters and include your target keyword in the beginning of the copy.
For meta descriptions, anywhere from 120-158 characters is acceptable. Google will truncate results on desktop searches that are over 160 characters, so keep it under that at least.
For mobile, Google wants less and will truncate descriptions that are over 120 words.
So, keep your most important content in the first 120 words, and do not go over 160 words.
You’re probably wondering if you should have keywords in your meta description. The short answer is yes you should, but you don’t need to.
Meta descriptions aren’t one of the places that carry keyword relevance, so Google doesn’t actually use them as a ranking factor. They are, however, useful in improving your click-through rate, so make sure you include a solid description of the page that users are going to land on.
For our final on-site SEO tip, just make sure you don’t make any SEO mistakes because they’re more common than you’d think.
You’ve made it. All your on-site SEO is done. You have a great piece of content. You’ve even posted to your website. You’re probably thinking, “I can finally sit back, relax, and watch all of this organic traffic come flowing in”.
We hate to break it to you, but your job may not be done yet.
Google still wants proof that your new page is not only relevant, but also the best (or one of the best) source for the user’s specific search query (or target keyword). What better way to prove relevancy and authority than by getting high-quality backlink from high-authority websites?
If your content is rich enough (and long enough) you’re probably going to get a few backlinks just by posting it to your site. But if you want to start ranking in the top 10 on the SERPs, you’re going to have to do some outreach to get your blog on those authoritative websites.
As you can tell, there’s a lot that goes into publishing a blog that successfully brings organic traffic to your website. Yes, it can be tedious work, and no it’s never going to get any easier, but hey, at least now you have the knowledge that most other people don’t.
After reading this guide to capturing organic traffic, you should never have a blog post that is neglected, ever again.
We want you to have great content that ranks well, and we hope you can do just that. If you’ve just launched a site, and you’re looking for new ways to rank, be sure to check out our guide on driving traffic to a new website.