Search engine optimization (SEO) is an essential factor when it comes to writing blogs and driving more organic traffic to your website. The problem is many small businesses are churning out tons of posts each year yet failing to make much of a difference when it comes to boosting website views.
We've all been told that SEO-optimized blogs help websites get higher rankings in search engine results pages (SERPs) and that writing SEO-optimized blogs will not only help you to get more organic traffic but also help you to generate more leads and sales.
But many of us get overwhelmed when it comes to trying to figure out the exact formula for writing posts that will effectively drive traffic and boost SEO. Others worry that writing SEO-optimized posts will sound robotic and may even damage their brand.
While these are valid concerns, there are ways of writing SEO-optimized blogs that avoid these pitfalls while effectively increasing your monthly website traffic.
In this blog post, we will look at the importance of writing SEO-optimized blogs and the trends for blogging in 2023. We will also provide you with tips and strategies on how to create SEO-optimized blog posts for maximum visibility in the SERPs.
What is SEO-Optimized Blogging?
Before we get into the "how to"... let's define just what SEO-optimized blogging is.
SEO-optimized blogging is the process of writing content for your website or blog that is optimized for search engine rankings. SEO-optimized blogs are written to rank higher in the SERPs and attract more organic traffic from search engines.
When writing SEO-optimized posts, you want to create content that is not only SEO-friendly but also user-friendly – meaning not only does it attract people to your site, but they find value and enjoy reading your content.
SEO-optimized blogging also involves creating engaging, informative, and relevant content for your target audience. Posts should be written in a conversational language that is easy to understand, and the content should be tailored to the target audience's needs.
Additionally, this blogging process involves optimizing the content for technical SEO aspects such as meta tags, alt tags, header tags, etc.
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The Benefits of SEO-Optimized Blogging
Are you wondering why you need to change your current writing style or your existing blogging strategy?
Embracing an SEO-optimized blogging strategy has numerous benefits for website owners, businesses, and bloggers.
Here are a few of the benefits of SEO-optimized blogging:
- Increased organic traffic to your website or blog
- Improved search engine rankings and visibility
- Increased credibility and trust with your target audience
- Improved user experience and engagement
- Generate more leads and sales
- Better engagement with your target audience
How to Create SEO-Optimized Blog Posts
OK, so now let's get to it. Let's go over the specific steps you need to follow to ensure your blog posts are optimized for SEO in the future.
Creating SEO-optimized blog posts is a process that involves several steps. Here are some essential tips for how to optimize blog posts for SEO.
Do Your Keyword Research
Researching keywords is one of the first steps in creating SEO-optimized blog posts. You should use keyword research tools to find keywords that are relevant to your topic and target audience.
What is the best way to do keyword research, you ask?
Here are a few tips:
- Identify the core topic of your article and then put yourself in the position of the ideal reader of this content. Ask yourself, "what would someone that needs to read this article search for on Google?"
- Now, Google those ideas you just thought of. See what comes up in the results. Study the titles of these articles.
Look for common threads. For example, let's say you are writing an article on "the great resignation" – search for that term and look at the Google's "related searches" to get ideas for other keywords you can use in your article.
- Get as specific as possible with your keywords. The more popular the topic you are writing on, the more competition you will bump into when trying to get your blog post to rank.
There is only one #1 for any keyword, so by picking a more specific primary keyword you are reducing the amount of competing posts you are up against.
For example, instead of using "the great resignation" as your primary keyword, use something like "impact of the great resignation".
- Utilize Keyword Research Tools. There are many free tools, such as Keywords Everywhere, as well as paid keyword research tools like SEM Rush and Ahrefs that you can leverage to not only discover new keyword ideas, but also learn the volume and rating difficulty for your potential target keywords.
Write Engaging, Yet Structured Content
Just writing a post where you repeat your target keyword without delivering engaging, valuable content may have worked ten years ago, but if that is your approach today, you will not be successful.
Engaging content is one of the essential steps in creating SEO-optimized blog posts. Your content should be informative, interesting, engaging, and relevant to your target audience.
But you must be careful to avoid a freeform, stream-of-consciousness type writing style of writing.
Many people start writing once a good idea comes to mind, and then they go back and try to identify keywords and optimize after the fact. The problem is this type of writing style has little structure.
Follow these steps to ensure you publish engaging, structured content:
- Don't just dive into the writing process
- Formulate an outline that includes your top-level headers and sub-headers
- Structure your content with bulleted and numbered lists
- Structure your headers in the form of a question whenever possible
- Add unique content such as statistics, personal story, use cases, images, video, etc.
Optimize for On-Page SEO
Once you have the written content for your blog post, it is time to work on optimizing it for on-page SEO.
This important step in creating SEO-optimized blog posts includes the following:
- Writing an SEO-Optimized Post Title that contains your target keyword
- Ensuring your target keyword is in the post URL
- Writing an engaging meta description for your post that includes your target keyword
- Including variations of your keywords in your post headings and body text
- Adding alt tag values to post images that include variations of your target keyword
Optimize for Off-Page SEO
Optimizing for off-page SEO (also referred to as off-site SEO) can carry more than 50% of the ranking factor weight when it comes to SEO-optimizing your posts.
That said, what even is off-page SEO?
According to Backlinko, "Off-page SEO includes activities done off of a website in an effort to increase the site’s search engine rankings. Common off-page SEO actions include building backlinks, encouraging branded searches, and increasing engagement and shares on social media."
The bottom line here is your work is not done once you publish your SEO-optimized posts. Promoting your posts through your social channels, increasing your company's reviews, and developing a backlink strategy to get reputable 3rd party websites to link to your posts is crucial.
Additional SEO Strategies for Blog Writing
In addition to the steps outlined above, here are some additional strategies you should consider when creating your SEO-optimized blog content.
Use Internal Linking
We typically hear about the importance of getting backlinks from external websites, but the truth is, making good and consistent use of internal link strategies should also be considered.
What is an internal link?
Simply put, an internal link is a hyperlink on one page of your site that points to another page on your website.
Internal links can be extremely powerful when it comes to improving the Google rankings of your website. In fact, some have said that three internal links are equivalent to one external backlink.
The bottom line is that using internal linking is an important SEO strategy for blog writing that helps improve your blog post's visibility in the SERPs.
Use External Linking
While it may seem counter-intuitive, using outbound links to external sources are an important factor for SEO blog writing.
- External linking helps to improve the authority and credibility of your blog post
- It helps to build relationships with other websites – they may return the favor and link back to you
- Linking to reputable sources helps build your reputation with Google as high-quality sites typically link to other high-quality sites
Optimize Your Blog Post Title
The first thing your potential readers will see when your post appears in a Google SERP will be the blog title. In my last post, I outlined a step-by-step guide to writing SEO optimized blog post titles, and explored techniques for researching winning titles, crafting compelling, clickable headlines, and making sure your blog titles are optimized for both search engines and readers.
When crafting a compelling blog post title, look at your topic from a reader’s perspective.
Ask yourself, "what does my reader want to know?" And not, "what do I want to tell my reader?"
Use a SEO Optimization Tool
Finally, leveraging an SEO blog optimization tool like Yoast SEO, RankMath, or All in One SEO for WordPress is crucial if you are serious about delivering SEO-optimized blog content on a consistent basis.
Trying to manage everything on your SEO checklist for blog posts can quickly become overwhelming and time-consuming.
The good news is, these these optimization tools do much of the heavy-lifting for you, show you what SEO tasks require your attention, and make it very easy for you to make any necessary adjustments.
SEO Trends for Blogging in 2023
While SEO strategies and technology constantly change and evolve, it may feel challenging to try to keep up with everything. That said, it is important to stay knowledgable of what trends are gaining ground and what may be no longer relevant.
So with that in mind, here are three of the top trends for SEO-optimized blogging in 2023 you should be aware of:
When it comes to business content, the thought has always been to keep the tone formal and "corporate" sounding. But in today's post-pandemic world, people want to read more authentic, engaged content that leans into more of a conversational, natural tone.
Remember, driving traffic to your site through SEO-optimized blogging is only half the battle, and is meaningless if your audience does not read and engage with your content.
With that in mind, here are a few tips to following in order to produce more human-focused content:
- Write in a conversational tone using your natural voice
- Be relatable and empathetic
- Avoid hard sales pitches and salesy calls-to-action in your posts as it will come off as disingenuous – engage your audience first, sell later.
Focus on User Experience
With all the choices your audience has when it comes to consuming content, their expectations have never been higher. Today it takes more than just writing an amazing article to engage your target audience.
Avoid giving your followers a poor experience by focusing on the following:
- Page speed and loading times
- Mobile device performance
- Unique rich content such as videos, infographics, custom research and statistics
- A professional and cohesive look and feel
- Unique and relevant images
The Rise of AI Writers
AI writers, for those not yet familiar, are software tools that can be used to automate the process of writing blog posts, articles and website copy. While this is cutting-edge stuff, they are still far from perfect. However, they are getting better and better everyday and will continue to be a useful tool in 2023 if used properly.
If you are considering leveraging an AI writer to help with your SEO-optimized blogging here are some tips you should follow:
- Manage your expectations: AI writers should be used to help augment the writing process, not replace it.
- They are only as good as the data you input: AI isn’t a substitute for a writer behind the computer and the better-quality input it receives the more quality content it will be able to produce.
- Google can easily differentiate between high-quality and low-quality content: If you rely too much on AI writers without any oversight, editing, or intervention you will get de-ranked by Google.
- Use AI to get you started: The best way to leverage AI writers is as a way to get your idea started, create an outline, and get some basic copy moving. And then you take it from there.
It's no secret that writing SEO-optimized blogs is an important factor when it comes to getting higher rankings in the SERPs and attracting more organic traffic. But for many small businesses this is easier said than done.
SEO blogs should be written with keyword research in mind and should be optimized for both on-page and off-page optimization. In this blog post, we have looked at the importance of writing SEO-optimized blogs and provided you with tips and strategies on how to create optimized posts for maximum visibility in the SERPs.