Everyone can give advice on what makes a good blog post, but most of these ideas are either geared toward SEO experts or amazing writers with zero mention of SEO. Where's the middle ground, people?
The goal of this article to provide writers with actionable bullet points on how to write a blog post. You can use these steps and apply them to your own blog, or your clients, in order to seamlessly combine your awesome writing skills with on-page SEO to build a successful blog.
Writing blog posts is a delicate dance between writing for readers and writing for search engines. There's a reason it's so dang tricky.
If you're a writer, and you'd like to see your blog post on the first page of Google, but don't have the time, capacity or even desire to understand search engine optimization, here are 5 steps on how to write a blog post that you can start applying right now.
1. Build content outlines before you start writing
Is this obvious? I feel like it should be, but it's one step that's often ignored by the best writers. Blog writing is much simpler when you have a clear idea as to where you want to take the readers and what lessons you'd like to leave them with.
Although there is certainly an element of creativity, blog writing is not creative writing. While you must write compelling headlines to hook readers, you should also understand on-page search engine optimization in order to craft a good blog post.
Starting with an article outline will help you avoid unnecessary words or topics in your blog post, and get to the heart of what your target audience cares about. It will also ensure your first draft touches on the points that matter most in terms of your content.
If you're not interested in doing this the old-fashioned way, Surfer has an AI-powered outline builder which can literally structure your post in a matter of seconds.
To use the article outline generator, head to Surfer's Content Editor Tool.
- Enter your broad-level keywords
- Select your country and device preferences
- Click Create Content Editor
On the right panel, click on where it says Brief under Guidelines to get your blog post outline started. You'll be shown a list of header tags that when clicked on will generate text with semantically related keywords to add to your blog post.
2. Conduct keyword research for your blog post
Ultimately, keyword research goes beyond which words to include and goes as far as understanding how many times to include them when writing blog posts, also called keyword density. Many bloggers overlook this step because, let's face it, keyword research sounds scary and daunting especially if you have limited SEO knowledge.
The top reasons keyword research is important before you write a blog post.
- You need to understand search intent if you want a great post
- It's not always about search volume, finding low-hanging fruit only comes about through research
- It's not always obvious which keywords rank together and you could be missing opportunities for your blog posts to rank in search engine results
Your blog content will be fresh and relevant if you understand the three keys: intent, volume and relevancy. The Keyword Research tool will provide you with dozens of clusters and blog post ideas you can then use to start writing a blog post! (no more writer's block, friends!)
If you choose one keyword which may seem logical to you, and simply repeat it throughout your whole post, you're making an unnecessary rookie mistake.
3. Internally link to other blog posts
Speaking of topical authority, here's another action item you can employ straight away! What does Google care about? Let me tell you, it's not as simple as a personal and meaningful conversation, friends. (I wish blogging were as simple as chatting with the audience haha!)
They want to know: is what you're saying true? Is it accurate? And do you have the credentials to speak on said topic?
How do they go about finding the answers, specifically to the last question, you may be wondering? It's not just about your author bio, it's about the other articles on your site that also touch on the topic.
Are you able to show that you've approached the subject from a variety of angles? Or did you just start blogging, hit publish and claim to be an expert?
4. Use keywords in header tags
Readability is a huge part of on-page search engine optimization not just because you want to keep your reader's attention and make your blog post scannable but because it makes it easier for the crawlers to do their job. Writing headlines serves a practical purpose.
If your blog posts are organized, contain relevant images, and find ways to break up all the information; congrats, you're on the right track. Vague headlines can be confusing to readers and search engines.
Yes, you want a catchy title, but you also want to consider the readers' experience and give them some idea as to the main points when writing headlines!
So, new bloggers, and experienced ones, spend time on your headings and readability.
Surfer's Content Editor will show you how to do just that with suggestions on word count, paragraphs, images and headings all of which affect your overall content score. This score is updated in real time.
You won't need to guess if you use this tool! There's even a section within the Editor where you can find suggested headings! One of the best blog writing tips out there is to have a toolkit that meets your needs as a writer or content marketing agency, and Surfer, well, it should definitely be included!
5. Audit your blog posts after you publish them
I know it's tempting to click 'publish' and move on, but if one of your goals is more traffic, your job cannot and should not stop there. The good and not-so-good part about SEO ranking is that it's not fixed; you can go up or go down at any moment.
Blogging is a long-term type of game, just like SEO. One of the most useful tips I can give is to include refreshing, updating and checking in on your previously published content as part of your content workflow.
Have your competitors done something differently? Is there a high-authority site you can link to? Are all of your links working properly? Are there keywords you didn't realize you were ranking for? Is your word count, page speed and image count still comparable to your relevant competitors?
Welp! This is probably the most concise step-by-step process on how to write a blog post, but I hope that you leave feeling confident and empowered instead of overwhelmed and terrified!
Many writers steer clear of anything related to search engine optimization because so many of us identify as creative and not technical. Meta description? Meta tags? Link building strategy? Whew! It can be a lot to think about...
Luckily for you, and for me, tools like Surfer exist to hold our hand on the path to ranking so that we can focus our efforts on writing for our loyal readers (and the search engines that help us reach them)!