10 Steps to SEO-Optimizing Your Blog Articles
SEO copywriting is, essentially, writing copy that resonates with users, moving them to share and link to your content, and be moved to take action. In this article, we’ll explore the elements that makes online copy SEO-optimized.
1. Perform Keyword Research
Use keyword research tools to help you find keywords that have
1) low competition and;
2) a good amount of search volume.
There are many free and paid keyword research tools, but all you really need is the Google Adwords Keyword Tool. Google’s own keyword research tool lets you find keywords that have low, medium and high competition, as well as local and global search volume. For detailed instructions on how to use this tool, please see this post.
2. Write for Skimmers
I bet lots of readers now are just skimming through this very blog post. That’s how most people normally consume online content, and why it’s important that when you write copy, you first create an outline of your points so that readers can easily scan through it and still get the point.
3. The Killer Headline
After you have an outline of your article, you need a magnetic headline. One that that attracts links, retweets, and social shares. Some great powerful and magnetic headlines include:
- A number (ie, “Top 7 Ways to…”)
- A “How To” (ie, “How to Grow Your Business by Guest Blogging”)
- A one-stop-shop (ie, “The Definitive Guide to…” or “The Ultimate Guide to…”)
- Help for beginners (ie, “A Step-by-Step Guide to…” or “7 Steps to…” or “Onsite SEO 101: A Basic Guide for Beginners”)
- The mythbuster (ie, “7 Myths about SEO”)
- The bold or shocking claim (ie, “5 Things Your SEO Company is Lying to you About”)
The targeted keyword should be included within the headline, which is usually tagged with the H1 tag.
4. Sub Headlines
Subheaders usually come after the main headline and before every major section of the copy. They should summarize important points of the copy (remember the scanners?).
5. Highlight, Bold, Underline and Italicize
When you highlight, bold, underline and italicize a key point, you add emphasis to the main points. This helps readers (especially the scanners), and has the same effect on search engine crawlers.
Emphasizing the keywords by underlining or bolding them sends a signal to the robots what the content is about, and what the most important elements of it are.
6. Drive the Point Home with Bullets
The important or “listable” sections of your copy could also be emphasized with bullet points. Distilling your points into smaller chunks also makes your copy easier to read and more engaging.
7. KISS – Keep it Short and Sweet
The first line of every paragraph should be the most important, followed by a couple sentences to expand on those important points. Keep your paragraphs short for optimal readability and scannability.
8. Include Primary and LSI Keywords
While writing your article, your primary goal should be on delivering extreme value. However, if your keywords aren’t included in the body copy, it’ll be very difficult for it to rank well. Be sure to identify LSI keywords and include them within the copy to boost the relevancy of your article for all keywords related to your primary topic.
9. Include Images
Images provide several distinct benefits:
- They visually support concepts or ideas in your article, adding to the readers’ understanding
- They provide an opportunity to gain search visibility in Google Image Search
- They cause your post to have visual appeal when the link is shared on Facebook, LinkedIn, and other social channels
- They create an opportunity for your post to be pinned on Pinterest, creating inbound links and maximizing the reach of your post
Always ensure your image filenames are named properly. For instance, if your image is of a red Ferarri, then the image filename should be “redferrari.jpg.” Similarly, it should have an alt tag that describes the image (ie, “Red Ferrari). These clues will help search engines properly index the image and understand what the image portrays. If your blog post is about a red Ferarri, then including an image of one will provide extra value to readers; search engines will reward this value-add with a higher relevancy and quality score for your post, resulting in better rankings.
10. Ask for Feedback
The end of your article should ask for feedback from your readers to generate and spark discussion. Comments will improve the SEO-value of your article, so ask for them! Readers who feel compelled to comment on articles are also more likely to share them, leading to rank and brand-boosting social signals.
Whether you’re writing onsite content or guest blogging, I hope these tips help you write amazing articles. Do you have any other tips I missed? Let me know in the comments!
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