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The Beginner’s Guide to Blog SEO

Simon Coulthard June 08, 2021

4-minute read

What is blog SEO and why is it important

I bet your blog is a big part of your website, and if it isn't, it should be! Because it’s an important tool for getting ranked higher on search engine result pages. And although blog visits can come from many different sources, blog traffic coming from Google, Bing, or other search engines is the most long-lasting and stable.

But let’s start with the basics. What is blog SEO? In a few words, it can be defined as the process of creating articles that are optimized for being found more easily on search engines. Blog SEO procedures include researching the best keywords, writing content, link building and others. 

As you have probably figured out by now, blog search engine optimization is important because it makes your articles stand out from your competitors when users search for topics related to your site. If you follow a few basic steps and write quality content, your site’s blog links will appear higher in SERP. Achieving a higher position on search engines and maintaining it will guarantee you a constant source of traffic.

How to write and optimize blog articles for SEO

1. Establish your keywords

Decide what you would like to write about, and once you have your topic, search for the right keywords to focus on. You can do this for free by establishing your main keyword and then doing a quick Google search. For example, if your main topic is “marketing strategy” write that in your Google search bar and scroll down to the bottom of the page to see the related keywords for this.

This is the beginner’s choice, but if you want to take things to the next level, there are some great SEO tools, such as SEMRush and Ahrefs, that can help you find the perfect keywords for your article, give you more details about them (e.g. Keyword difficulty and volume) and even throw in some other important hints for your future article.

2. Check the search intent

What the majority of people search for, also known as search intent, can be:

  • Informational - when someone wants to find info about someone or something (e.g. “Winston Churchill”);
  • Navigational - when someone writes the name of a website in the search bar (e.g. “facebook”);
  • Transactional - when someone is looking to make a purchase (e.g. “cheap sneakers”);
  • Investigational - when someone is looking for reviews or comparisons (e.g. “best beaches in California).

To find out the search intent for your exact keywords, do a quick search and check out the titles of the first articles that show up in your search. Did you see a pattern? That is your recipe for success right there. In this particular case, marketing strategy guides and top X lists and best practices.

3. Research the best-ranked articles

The top-ranked articles also give you an idea of what your title should look like and what the right angle would be to address the topic you want to write about. Look for repetitive subheadings and the way the meta descriptions are formulated, because the ones you see there are also what the users who do the search want to see. 

4. Start writing your SEO optimized blog article

Now that you did your research and have your list of keywords, start writing your blog post. Try to use as many keywords as possible but try to avoid keyword cannibalization

A great tool for writing your articles is the SEMRush Writing Assistant. Add the extension to your Google Docs, add 3 or more of your chosen keywords, and this tool will generate a list of related keywords and mark them one by one each time you use them in your article. It also keeps track of your tone of voice and the length of your article compared to the ones you are competing with for a higher rank and gives you an SEO score on a scale from one to ten. 

For the best blog SEO results make sure to follow these steps:

  • Keep your title short and make sure to include your main keyword in it.
  • Properly mark your headings and subheadings and add a table of contents. This is good not only for your readers to navigate your article but also for the search engine crawlers to better understand how your content is structured.
  • Optimize the images you add to your article by using descriptive filenames, add the alt text and make sure to compress them.
  • Make sure your URL that doesn’t go out out of date or, in other words, avoid using dates and years in your URLs.“/2021-best-marketing-strategies” will stop looking appealing toyour visitors in the years to come even if your content is still good; it will just look old and outdated.
  • Put some extra effort into writing a good meta description. Besides the title, this is what people will read to decide if they want to click on your article or not , so make sure it is compelling.
  • Add internal links to keep your readers engaged and to offer them an easy way to further navigate your blog or website. These links also help web crawlers understand what the page is about and increase your page authority.

How to boost and maintain your blog post’s ranking

Update your articles on a constant basis

You just published an article and you think your job is done now? Search engine optimization can be a lengthy process and requires attention even for your blog posts from the past. Always make sure that the information you provided in your previous articles is still relevant and up to date. 
There’s also a chance that the search intent will shift over time and maybe you will need to tweak your title, meta description, and content. Refreshing your posts and “calling” the crawlers to scan your newly updated article might help you get ranked even higher in SERP. So blog SEO is not just about the new articles you write, but also about the past ones.

Optimize for featured snippets

Featured snippets are parts of an article or webpage that show up on the first SERP, providing you with concrete information about your search query. It’s usually a short piece of information that’s taken from the top-ranking articles. You can use Ahrefs to search for available snippet opportunities and afterward to format your blog content in such a way that will land you a snippet on the first page of Google.

Link building

Having your blog recommended by websites with a high domain authority will also help your blog rank higher. And when I say “recommended” I’m referring here to link building. You can read more about this popular SEO practice and how to get started on it, here.

To check a website’s domain authority, you can add a simple Chrome extension, called Moz Bar. It’s free to use and once you enable it you, will be able to see the D.A. and P.A. (page authority) for each page you access. Your final goal here is to have websites similar to your own, link to your new article, to increase your authority.

Now you have all the basics on how to make your blog stand out and rank higher on search engines. Since you are reading this, you are clearly interested in writing SEO-friendly content, so we would also recommend you to check out our infographic and to have a look at our free content writing course on YouTube

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