The goal of writing an SEO-friendly blog post is to rank high in search engines like Google for specific keywords your audience is searching for.
When you appear at the top of search results, the majority of users will click on your post as opposed to lower-ranking competing posts. This can bring in more traffic, leads, and revenue.
So how do you write blog posts that are “SEO-friendly” and climb to the top of Google?
Do you repeat the keyword you’re targeting a certain number of times; is it more about how many words you write?
This article will provide you with clarity on what’s important.
Let’s get started.
Search intent is the intent a user has when searching for a specific keyword.
It’s important to think about the intent of users before writing blog posts to ensure what you are writing is what people actually want to read.
For example, take the keyword “CBD for pain”.
How do we figure out the search intent of this keyword?
The easiest way is to Google it. The top-ranking results should give you a good idea of what users are looking for.
As you can see, the top results are about the general scientific consensus on using CBD for pain, and how effective it is.
The idea is to then write a blog post that fulfils the same search intent (that’s superior to current top ranking post).
But remember, Google isn’t perfect. Don’t be afraid to try out a different angle on a topic if you think it would align better with user intent.
Search intent is all about understanding your audience. Put yourself in their shoes and write blog content that you would want to read if you were them.
Headings are important as they help users and search engines navigate and understand your blog posts.
When you’re writing a blog post for SEO, it’s not ideal to have long and drawn-out paragraphs similar to academic essays.
Instead, try to break down your content into clear sections with headings.
Not only does this make content more accessible and readable for users, but it also helps you target specific keywords with each heading and more easily get featured snippets.
A great way to decide which headings to include in your blog post is to simply Google your focus keyword. Then have a look at the top-ranking posts and identify patterns with heading usage.
Then consider which of the keywords may warrant their own headings, such as a question-based keyword that ties in nicely to the primary keyword of the blog post.
Once you’ve decided which headings to use, arrange them into a logical order that’s ideal for the user.
Also remember to tag the headings with H2, H3, etc. tags, correctly. Your title should be an H1 heading (and the only H1 heading on the page).
Linking to other blog posts within your website, also known as internal linking, is a great way to help users navigate through your blog and also help search engines understand the structure of your website.
For example, if you’re writing a blog post about tips to ease the anxiety of your dog, you may naturally end up linking to another blog post about the best supplements for dog anxiety.
Internal links also present the opportunity to create a hierarchy of importance for your blog content.
The more internal links pointing to a post on your blog, the more important that blog will be in the eyes of search engines and users on your website. Take advantage of this and point more internal links to your most important content.
The other thing to consider is “anchor text” which are the words you hyperlink. It’s good practice to ensure the words you link are relevant to the page you link to.
For example: hiring blog writers. You can see I’ve linked the words “hiring blog writers”, which is a close variation of the focus keyword the page we’re linking to targets, which is “blog writers for hire”.
Choosing the right anchor text helps make it clear to both users and search engines what the page is about.
It goes without saying, you can do all the “SEO” you want on your post, like choosing the right keywords, including them in your title, adding internal links, and so on.
But if your content is low quality, you’re not going to get optimal results (if any).
Writing an SEO-friendly blog post is about writing human-friendly content.
Your aim shouldn’t be to obsess over keywords, it should be about providing the people searching for those keywords with the best information possible. And as a secondary priority, ensure your content is accessible and easily understood by search engines.
Whether you’re writing your blog posts yourself, or you are hiring blog writers to help; remember to place a great deal of importance on ensuring the content you create is factually accurate, engaging, and better than the top-ranking posts you’re competing with.
Ideally, you should have editors on staff to maintain consistency in the quality you publish.
If you’re in a “YMYL” industry, (topics that affect people’s finances or health) such as writing about medical conditions, or personal investing, you should hire subject matter experts to write your content (or review it), and have their names and credentials published alongside your blog articles.
Your biggest investment into writing SEO-friendly content is in the writers who are writing the content.
The title of your blog post is extremely important for SEO.
Firstly, it’s important because it increases the probability of users clicking on your blog post in the first place, and the title also helps search engines understand which keyword(s) your blog post is targeting.
There are two “types” of titles.
These can be the same or different, it’s up to you.
But the important one for SEO is the meta title, as that’s the one you are telling search engines to display in SERPs.
For the meta title, it’s good practice to keep it around 50-60 characters.
The longer your title is, e.g. 65-70 characters, the higher the chance it will be cut off from search engines because the pixel length is too long. Remember to take into account your brand’s name at the end of the title.
Using SERP simulators is helpful.
Ideally, you also want to include your focus keyword in your title (near the beginning if it naturally flows).
Let’s say the focus keyword is “how to write a blog post”.
A good title would be something like “How to Write a Blog Post (in 5 Easy Steps)”, and a bad title would be something stuffed with keywords like “How to Write a Blog Post (Writing a Blog)”.
Great titles perfectly balance using keywords and writing naturally for human engagement.
The meta description is the small snippet of text that shows below the title of pages in search engine results.
The meta description is important because it compels readers to click on your blog post.
Well-written meta descriptions take a few key factors into consideration.
And, they are also actionable.
Take the meta description for this post. It’s “Want to learn how to write SEO-friendly blog posts to rank high for keywords? Read on to learn more about the latest best practices.”
This description starts by repeating the user’s challenge and then provides an actionable line “read on to learn more” leading into the solution. It’s simple, and it works.
Meta descriptions should naturally follow the meta title, tease the reader, and give them assurance the blog post does indeed have what they are looking for.
Ideally, meta descriptions will contain your focus keyword or a close variation of it, as this is bolded when people search for something. But your meta description doesn’t have to include it if it doesn’t sound natural.
Keep your meta description between about 80-160 characters. This is a good range as it’s enough to keep users engaged, but it’s also not too long that the full description gets cut off from search results.
There is no specific answer to “how long should a blog post be?”
There are indeed multiple studies that show a correlation between word count and search engine positioning.
But, this correlation doesn’t imply causation. It’s true that on average longer posts rank better, but that doesn’t mean you should write more.
Instead, write what’s necessary to cover each topic comprehensively. If an article only requires 1,000 words to cover the topic well, then write 1,000.
If 2,000 words are required, write 2,000. But don’t focus on writing more, just to write more.
That said, there is a generally accepted minimum to write.
You should write above 300 words, and in most cases above 500 words.
This is the threshold that provides enough context to search engines to effectively compete against other top-ranking posts.
As a general rule, writing between 1,000-2,000 words per blog post is a great range to aim for as this allows you to cover most topics well.
In some cases, 800 words will suffice, and for some topics, 2,500 or 3,000 words may be necessary.
Learning how to write SEO-friendly blog posts is much easier than it’s made out to be.
In the most simple sense, success comes down to three key factors.
Hopefully, this guide has given you some clarity about what matters most.
If you’d like a more in-depth look at factors that affect the performance of your blog posts in search engines, you may find our on-page SEO checklist helpful.