Do you want to learn how to write blog posts that rank on page one? If so, you have come to the right place! Writing for SEO is not as difficult as you may think. We’ll show you how in this article.
In this article, we will share specific steps that you can take to plan and create blog posts that perform well in search engines. By following these tips, you can increase your website’s organic traffic and grow your business.
- What is SEO Writing?
- Start With Your Goals
- Before writing: always start with keyword research
- SEO Writing: 10 Tips for creating high-ranking content
- 1. Target 1 or 2 keywords for each page or blog (except homepage)
- 2. Aim for scannable, longer articles
- 3. Use Keywords Where They Matter Most
- 4. Structure Your Post
- 5. Write for humans, not search engines.
- 6. Resist the urge to keyword stuff.
- 7. Link to high-authority websites.
- 8. Link to other posts on your site.
- 9. Make Your URL Readable
- 10. Differentiate your content from competitor content
- SEO Writing: Bonus tips
- Wrapping Up SEO Writing Tips
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What is SEO Writing?
SEO writing is the process of writing content that is optimized for search engines. When you write SEO-friendly content, you are creating valuable content designed to
1) rank well in search results, and
2) be useful to your target audience.
Why Is Writing for SEO Important?
Let’s not lose sight of the real objective of any content marketing for a business – writing to grow traffic that converts into paying customers.
SEO content writing is important because it helps your content be found by search engines. When your content is optimized for search, it has a better chance of ranking in the search results.
And when your content ranks in the search results, you get more website visitors.
Start With Your Goals
What’s the first thing you do when deciding that you and your partner want to go on a trip somewhere?
You start by deciding where you want to go.
The same is true when writing blog posts. You need to start with your goals.
What do you want your blog post to achieve?
Do you want to increase brand awareness? Drive organic traffic to your website? Convert readers into customers? Produce a literary work of fiction?
Ok maybe not that last one, but you get the idea.
The difference between high-quality traffic and low-quality traffic
To use an example, let’s say you offer a virtual CFO business and your ideal clients are digital agency owners that run agencies making $1M+ per year of revenue. So you write a blog post titled “How to Make More Money as a Digital Agency Owner” and share it on social media.
You get a ton of traffic to your website from that blog post, but most of those visitors are not agency owners that make $100k per year. In fact, most of them don’t even own digital agencies!
So while you got a lot of traffic, it wasn’t high-quality traffic. It wasn’t the target audience for your business.
Now let’s say you write a blog post titled “5 Accounting Errors That Are Preventing Digital Agencies from Scaling to $10M+”. You share it on social media and in relevant online communities.
You may get less traffic to your website from that blog post, but this time it’s high-quality traffic. Why?
Because you targeted the right audience with your content. You wrote a blog post that was relevant to your ideal client.
As a result, you got traffic from people that are actually interested in what you have to offer.
Now that we’ve talked about writing for SEO and why it’s important, let’s get into how to write blog posts that rank on page one.
Before we jump into the process, let’s address one thing – how do I know that the following tips work?
I have over ten years of experience writing SEO content and I have seen firsthand how following these tips can help your content rank on Google.
(this is my website traffic report for the last 30 days at the time this article was published. You can see that I have 10 keywords ranking in the top 3 positions of Google, and 46 keywords in the 4-10 positions. Bringing in an organic search volume of 7.5K)
Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way let’s dig into the practical stuff!
Before writing: always start with keyword research
Keyword research can seem very daunting and time-consuming, but it is so worth it!
Because people searching for solutions to their problems go where?
They go to Google.
According to various studies:
- 93% of online experiences start with search engines.
- 75% of search engine users don’t click past the first page
- 71% of B2B customers start their research with search engines.
So if you want your blog post to be read, it needs to rank on page one.
And to rank on page one, you need to use relevant keywords throughout your blog posts.
Know How to Find Keywords
So how do you find relevant keywords for your blog posts?
There are a few different ways.
- Use free keyword tools like Google AdWords Keyword Planner, UberSuggest, AnswerThePublic, and keyword sheeter (shout out to Sadie Smiley for putting me onto this tool!).
- Use a paid keyword research tool like SurferSEO, Ahrefs, Moz, or SEMRush.
I personally like using a mix of these methods because they give you more data to work with.
Now, if you’re new to keyword research, this is a pretty good primer video:
Make a list of relevant keywords
You’ll want to make a list of all of the relevant keywords that you want to use in your blog post because we’ll need them later.
To do this, go to Google sheets (or Excel) and create a new spreadsheet.
- In the first column, label it “Keyword”.
- In the second column, label it “Volume” (this is optional).
- And in the third column, label it “URL”.
Then start filling in the keywords that you want to use in your blog post in the first column.
For each keyword, you’ll want to determine how many monthly searches it gets and what the competition is like.
These are the target keyword phrases that you want to use in your blog post!
Make sure to write down all of the relevant keywords that you want to use. We’ll need them later when we start writing our blog post.
Study The Competition For Keywords
When it comes to trying to outrank your competition, it’s important to know who your competition is.
To find out who ranks for the target keywords that you want to rank for, go to Google and enter in each keyword one at a time.
For example, if you want to rank for the keyword “SEO tips”, you would enter that into Google and hit enter.
You’ll then see a list of all of the websites that rank on the first page for that keyword.
Make a note of all of these websites.
How to find the keywords your competitors are using to rank on page one for free
The quickest way to work out what keywords your competitors are using to rank on page one is by using a free tool called “Ubersuggest”.
To use Ubersuggest, go to Google and type in “ubersuggest keyword research” and hit enter.
Or you can just click this link.
After you’ve signed up for a free account, you can log in and click on Keywords > Similar websites on the left menu.
Enter your domain or the domain of one of your competitors,
Select the country you’re focusing on
Ubersuggest will return a list of 5 websites that it’s determined are competing for similar keywords as your site is targeting.
From here, you can scroll down and see a breakdown of each competitor.
Click on KEYWORD GAPS > VIEW ALL next to a specific competitor to see a list of keywords that they’re ranking for. These are opportunities for you to identify relevant keywords to go after.
Note: with the free trial, you’ll only be able to see the first ten keywords. To view more, you’ll need to upgrade to a paid plan.
I suggest you read the following resources from Neil Patel (founder of Ubersuggest) to get a better idea of what the tool can help you do:
Look at search intent
So what is “search intent”?
I like to think of it this way:
When someone enters a query into the search bar on Google, what are they looking to accomplish?
- Are they looking to buy something?
- Are they looking for information?
- Are they trying to find a specific website or product?
Understanding what searchers are trying to accomplish when they enter specific keywords will help you determine what type of content you need to create for your blog post to rank.
It’s understanding the difference between these search queries:
“buy red shoes”
“red shoes near me”
“how to tie red shoes.”
Search intent is understanding that:
- The person who types in “buy red shoes” is probably ready to make a purchase,
- The person who searches for “red shoes near me” is looking for a store where they can buy them, and
- The person who searches for “how to tie red shoes” wants to learn how to do it.
As a business owner, you need to understand search intent if you want to be able to write blog posts that rank.
Furthermore, if you can identify the stage of awareness your target reader is in when they’re searching for specific keywords, you’ll produce much more nuanced and powerful content that addresses where they’re at.
How to use Google search engine results to determine search intent
A quick and easy way to determine what searchers are looking to accomplish when they type in a particular keyword is by looking at the search results on Google.
For example, if we take the keyword “should I join bni” and enter it into Google, we can see that the majority of the results are blog posts.
This tells us that people who are searching for “should I join bni” are most likely looking for articles that answer their query.
(Incidentally, you can see in the screenshot above that my article titled Should I join a BNI group? came up at position 4 on page 1. Pretty cool, right?)
On the other hand, if we search Google for the keyword phrase “jasper ai” you can see that the first result is the official website of the Jasper AI writing assistant software, followed by a series of review articles on other websites.
Google is telling us that people who search for “jasper AI” are looking for information on the software, especially articles where users are sharing their reviews of the software product.
So it would not make sense for you to try to rank an article on how to use Jasper AI for this particular keyword.
Now that you understand what searchers want to accomplish when they type in a particular keyword, you need to create content that meets their needs.
SEO Writing: 10 Tips for creating high-ranking content
1. Target 1 or 2 keywords for each page or blog (except homepage)
As a general rule, you only want to target 1 or 2 keywords per web page or article on your website.
So you’ll decide on a primary and sometimes a secondary keyword related to the primary keyword.
An exception can be made for your home page.
2. Aim for scannable, longer articles
Typically longer articles rank higher on search engine results page because they provide more comprehensive coverage of a topic and
Google usually displays longer articles above shorter ones.
But that doesn’t mean you should start writing War and Peace. The key is making your content scannable using subheadings, lists, and short paragraphs.
You can use AI-powered SEO tools like Surfer SEO and Frase to take the guesswork out of determining just how long your article needs to be. These tools intelligently compare the pages (blog posts) that top the search engine rankings of Google for a particular keyword to give you a recommended word count.
You can see from this screenshot of Surfer SEO’s content editor that the recommended word count for an article with the keyword “becoming a better writer” is between 3,590 to 4,129 words.
3. Use Keywords Where They Matter Most
By simply focusing on using keywords in a few key places where they matter the most, you’ll be able to produce high quality content that your target audience will enjoy consuming.
Optimizing your title, meta description, and headers is a great way to start.
You can also use keywords throughout the body of your article in places like:
Alt tags (for images)
In the final paragraph
Let’s dig into each of these a little more, shall we?
Optimize Your Headline
Your headline is the first thing searchers see when they find your article on Google.
You want to ensure your headline contains your primary keyword so that searchers know immediately that your article is relevant to what they’re looking for.
Optimize Title Tags
The title tag is HTML code that allows you to name your web page.
According to Radd Interactive’s article on Optimizing Title Tags:
Titles tags are important for SEO because they provide users, and search engines, with context on the respective page. They are one of the top most important on-page SEO strategies that help give search engines an idea of what each page is about.
Therefore it’s essential that you include your primary keyword in your blog post title.
Add your keyword in your headings and sub-headings
Including your keyword in your headings and subheadings can be good for SEO as:
- It helps Google to understand the topic of your article.
- It indicates to Google that this is an important keyword for you.
- It can help to increase click-through rates (CTRs) from search results pages because it makes your article easier to scan.
Furthermore, it makes it easier for readers who like to scan articles to quickly determine which parts of your content are relevant to them.
Optimize the first sentence
The first sentence of your article should include your primary keyword.
Include keywords in your meta description.
Your meta description is the short blurb of text that appears below your headline in the search engine results pages.
You want to make sure your meta description contains your primary keyword so that searchers know right away that your article is relevant to what they’re looking for.
Add alt text to images.
This one is often forgotten because images are usually an after-thought in the blog writing process
But writing alt text for your images is essential for SEO. Google can’t “read” images the way we can, so they rely on the alt text to determine what an image is about.
Here’s how you do it: When you upload an image into your blog post editor, ensure that you add your primary keyword in the “alt text” area of your image settings box.
4. Structure Your Post
Structuring your blog post is important for SEO because it can help to improve your website’s readability and also make it easier for search engines to crawl and index your content.
In addition, well-structured posts can help to keep your readers engaged and help them easily find the information they’re looking for.
Here are a few tips for structuring your blog post:
Start with a headline that will grab your readers’ attention
Introduce the topic of your article in a clear and concise way
Provide some background information on the topic if necessary
Break up your content into easily digestible chunks using headings and subheadings
Use images, videos, and other multimedia elements
5. Write for humans, not search engines.
SEO writing isn’t just about cramming in keywords where they fit. Your goal should be to write articles that are enjoyable to read and provide value to your readers.
The rankings will follow if you focus on writing great content that humans enjoy.
6. Resist the urge to keyword stuff.
Placing keywords all over your article is a big NO-NO, especially as Google’s search engine algorithms will punish you for keyword stuffing (which is when you use a keyword too many times in an attempt to game the system).
7. Link to high-authority websites.
When you link to high-authority websites, this is beneficial for a few reasons:
Google recognizes this and gives your own website a bump in its algorithm.
It signals to your readers that you’re someone that recommends and links to credible sources, which can save them time fact-checking specific claims your content is making.
It also helps build relationships with other website owners and thought-leaders in your industry. If you can establish yourself as someone who links to high-quality websites, you’ll be more likely to get links back from them in the future.
8. Link to other posts on your site.
There are a few reasons why including links to other posts on your site is important for SEO:
It helps Google understand your site’s structure and the topics you cover.
It helps Google determine which pages are most important, and which pages are worth ranking higher in search results.
It creates a better user experience for visitors, who can quickly jump from one post to another on your site.
It helps spread the authority of your website around, which can result in better rankings for all of your pages.
9. Make Your URL Readable
If your URL is short, descriptive, and easy to read:
1. Crawlers can easily read and index URLs that are easy to understand
2. People can easily remember readable URLs
3. They create a better user experience (UX) for your website visitors
Your URL should also include your primary keyword. Often times I’ll just use my primary keyword as the URL for a specific article page.
10. Differentiate your content from competitor content
Unique and hard-to-copy content is good for SEO because it helps your website rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs).
This is because search engines like Google want to show their users the best, most relevant content, and they determine a website’s relevance by how much unique and original content it has.
If you have a lot of duplicate content on your website, or if your website is just a rehash of someone else’s content, your site will not rank as high in SERPs as websites with fresh, new content.
So, if you want to improve your website’s SEO, make sure you are creating original content that is different from what everyone else is publishing.
Let’s look at a few ways to differentiate your content from your competitors.
Use Case Studies
You might want to include case studies in your business articles for several reasons.
First, case studies lend credibility to your writing. When you can show that you have successfully helped other businesses achieve their goals, readers will be more likely to trust what you have to say.
Second, case studies make your article more relatable and readable.
Readers can see themselves in the businesses featured in your case study and feel like they are learning from real-world examples. This helps them engage with your article on a personal level and understand the concepts you are discussing.
Add content regularly
Adding content regularly to existing articles is good for SEO.
First, it helps your articles appear more current and relevant in the search results. If an article is outdated, it is less likely to rank well.
Second, adding new content can help you attract more visitors organically. Over time, your articles will accumulate more views and engagement if you regularly add new information.
Finally, fresh content also signals to Google that your site is active and authoritative, which can boost its ranking in the search results. Ultimately, all of these factors can lead to better SEO for your website.
Adding multimedia to articles is a great way to improve overall engagement with your content, which can be beneficial for SEO.
Multimedia can help break up the text of an article and make it more visually appealing, which can help keep readers engaged longer (which in turn increases your average time on page metric in google analytics).
Additionally, multimedia can also help you rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs) by providing additional content that users may be searching for.
For example, if you include a video on your page about how to do something, users who are looking for information on how to do that thing are likely to find your page in search results.
SEO Writing: Bonus tips
Use an SEO plugin in WordPress
Now let me fill you in on a little secret…
You can optimize your blog posts for SEO elements more quickly and easily using an SEO plugin.
If you use WordPress for your website, I recommend installing the Rankmath SEO plugin. It’s a free plugin that will help you with several different on-page SEO factors, including title tags, meta descriptions, and keyword density.
It also has a built-in feature that allows you to easily create readable URLs (which we discussed earlier).
Basically, it’s a handy tool that can make writing for SEO much easier. So if you’re not using it already, definitely give it a try!
A popular alternative plugin to use is Yoast SEO. I personally prefer Rankmath SEO (here’s a comparison of the two), but either will do. Both plugins offer free versions, and you can upgrade to their premium versions for additional functionality.
Build Your Email List
You might be wondering, “what does building your email list have to do with writing for SEO?”
Well, remember that our objective here is not just to grow traffic for the sake of growing traffic, right?
If you want to grow your business and capitalize on all the organic search traffic coming to your website, then one of the best things you can do is build an email list.
An email list allows you to reach your audience directly without relying on organic traffic from search engines.
Plus, it gives you a way to:
Promote your new articles to people who are already interested in what you have to say.
Build trust with each of your subscribers over time by sending valuable resources and insights their way, and
Present relevant sales offers and promotions to increase your revenue.
If you’re not already building an email list, now is the time to start! You can learn more about how to start building an email list here.
Write blog posts 5-10X faster using AI writing assistant software
Now some folks aren’t going to like me suggesting this but hear me out. There are a number of writing assistant software programs on the market that use artificial intelligence to help you write your blog posts.
I’m not talking about writing the entire post for you, but these AI writing tools can help with things like:
- Brainstorming ideas, angles, and outlines
- Phrasing sentences in different ways
- Drafting sections of your article.
This leaves you to concentrate on editing, adding well-sourced facts and data, incorporating elements that demonstrate your deep understanding of the intricacies of your ideal clients, and sharing your experiences. (You know, the stuff that only you can do.)
Here’s a video I recorded where I demonstrate how I save time writing content using Jasper AI:
(If you’d like to try Jasper AI for yourself, grab a free 10,000-word trial here.)
So if you’re not a confident writer or if you’re just short on time, using an AI writing assistant could be a game-changer for you and your blog. Just make sure that the final article is 100% unique and reads like something you would have written yourself (and not by a robot).
Wrapping Up SEO Writing Tips
Hopefully, these tips will help improve both the quality and quantity of traffic coming to your site from organic search results.
Just remember that writing for SEO is not about gaming the system or writing articles to rank higher in search engines.
It’s about writing high-quality, informative articles that provide value to your readers and helps your digital marketing, and forms a part of your content and SEO strategy.
(Featured image photo by Sarah Blocksidge)