In this blog post, we are going to cover the main aspects of writing SEO optimized content for your website.
Whether you have been writing for many years, or if you are just starting out - we have you covered!
"But, I am a pure writer at heart, and I do just fine with research on Google search!"
Obviously, many writers are hesitant to admit that they are lacking in blog SEO knowledge, and dread when they have to one day start a new blog post that is meant to shoot up the search engine rankings.
This is a perfectly normal feeling, brought on by digital industry speak, and constantly evolving algorithm changes from Google. The acronyms are eye-watering, to say the least, and the frustration is felt by many.
What is Search Engine Optimization?
Search engine optimization (SEO) is all about getting your website to appear at the top of Google search rankings as fast as possible. That's it in a nutshell.
Depending on your target demographic, this may also include other search engines such as Bing, DuckDuckGo, Yahoo, Yandex (Russia), and Baidu (China).
Additionally, you want your blog post articles to appear at the top of the Google search results for a popular search query, as well as fulfill user search intent.
This can be a long process for a brand-new website or e-commerce store. It can also seem like a mountain to climb for established brand websites, that either has new online competition, or they find that they are dropping down the search rankings for some reason.
There can be many reasons for dropping ranking in the SERPs (Search Engine Results Page), but in this article, we are focusing on the part that SEO Optimized content plays in this dynamic.
Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness (E-A-T)
In order for your blog posts to have great page quality, meet the Google Quality Guidelines, and then begin to start ranking, you have to understand the Google principles of E-A-T, as well as 'Your Money or Your Life' (Y-M-Y-L).
These are not buzzwords in the least. In fact, these 2 guiding principles are what Google is currently expecting you - as a content creator - to understand and implement in your blog posts. Now in 2021, and definitely forging into the future.
E-A-T was initially for highly technical content, such as Medical, Legal and Scientific articles, but it has subtly evolved to any content piece that is produced and then published on the Internet.
Implemented correctly, a reader will visit, read, and share your blog posts. They need to feel that an article is written by an expert in their field, that there is authority earned from industry peers, and that the content is factually true and trustworthy. Your blog posts need to be beyond reproach, well researched, and written in a way that conveys that the writer is highly knowledgeable in their specific content niche.
If you cover the three pillars of E-A-T and incorporate each into your content strategy, your new blog posts should eventually rank for the best search terms in your industry niche.
Your Money or Your Life (Y-M-Y-L)
There is also “Your Money or Your Life” (Y-M-Y-L). This type of relevant content is what you need to get right to not fall foul of the Google Quality Guidelines.
Y-M-Y-L is defined as the type of information that, when posted as blog content or website copy, needs to be presented accurately, truthfully, and without deception. You cannot present any form of content that could directly impact the reader’s health, safety, happiness, or financial stability.
In other words, Google takes this type of content VERY seriously. Because, if you create a Y-M-Y-L page or content piece, with bad information or bad advice, it could negatively affect people’s lives and livelihood.
Some examples of Y-M-Y-L content are:
- Current events and news on topics pertaining to business, science, politics, and technology.
- Offering financial advice on investments, retirement, loans, taxes, bitcoin, etc.
- Providing Medical advice, information on drugs, hospitals, and emergencies, etc. This is particularly noteworthy given the current Covid-19 epidemic.
- Articles about Government, law, and civics-related topics (voting, social services, legal issues, government bodies, etc.).
- Information or thought pieces on people of a particular ethnicity, race, religion, nationality, sexual orientation, etc.
Building Your Outline
The right title is vital!
It all starts with Keyword Research. You need to do this effectively so that your outline covers the related keywords specific to the title of what you are writing about. You want your blog post to climb up the rankings of the search engines, after all. And by also using long-tail keywords in the copy of your various article sections, this will only add to the ranking potential.
Type the first part of your blog post title into Google and look at the other various Search Terms (queries) that people have been typing into the search bar.
Scroll down the Google results and look at the various Also Asked questions. A nifty trick is to type your title or keywords into Google, check the Also Asked, and then hit your browser back button. Then type a different variant of your title, as well as mix your keywords around, and then search again. You should see some different Also Asked questions every time you do this.
These Also Asked questions are the current trending and highest search volume queries that users are typing into the search engines, and are PERFECT to add in your blog post as content section headers, or H2's and H3's.
The 3 above outline methods should be used to create an article, that when posted, will hopefully rank as fast as possible.
The Importance of User Intent
When creating your blog post outline, as well as writing your article, do not forget about User Intent.
Internet users are typing in very specific questions when they are searching for answers and information. These questions are literally a free article outline template, and if you use them in your blog posts to effectively answer these questions, your content piece is providing valuable information and feedback, thus satisfying user search intent and E-A-T.
Writing Your Article
Now that you have a well-structured and SEO optimized article outline, you'll find that breaking up your article into focused sections, will really help with reducing stress when writing.
It's also much quicker to research and write, per section. But most importantly, when completed, your article will flow and read better. This should result in a higher user engagement, with most users reading through the entire blog post.
This is GREAT for SEO, as Google favors blog posts, where there is a high level of user engagement and organic sharing.
Hints and Tips:
- Google currently uses the article title AND first paragraph for displaying in Search Results. So remember to spend a bit of time using the words in your title, and flesh them out, to write a 2-3 sentence first paragraph, that contains the main keywords in your title.
- Always look for link opportunities.
- If the blog post is for an e-commerce website, look for Affiliate opportunities.
- Treat your blog posts as potential Pillar Content, and as you are writing, you should notice split-off article ideas. Keep a note of these ideas and add them to your long term content strategy.
- Focus per article section, but don’t lose sight of the overall tone, flow and intent of the piece.
- DO NOT implement keyword stuffing! The search engines and especially Google are wise to this old-school technique. Your blog post, and the website the article is on, can suffer significant penalties if you do this.
- Never directly copy information from a research resource. You have to rewrite it to make it your own, and to fit the tone of your piece.
- Try to add in 1 or 2 highly emotive content headlines (H2’s). Take the motor vehicle industry, for example: “How to tell if my car has ever been in an accident?” or “Will I get into Legal Trouble if my second-hand car was ever in an undisclosed accident?”. These kinds of headlines, as well as the subsequent content, answer the burning questions that users are feeling and searching for. Do this well, and you will more than satisfy E-A-T and Y-M-Y-L.
- Lastly, create internal links to other articles that are ranking on your website. NO MORE than 2-3 links per piece. This creates the opportunity for the reader to "learn more", by navigating to other articles on your website with similar information, and it's also great to have users spending a lot of time on your website, absorbing your posts.
We hope that these blog SEO tips, pertaining to a solid strategy, will help you on the path of being able to regularly craft an SEO friendly blog post.
We'll expand on the key aspects covered in this article, in further content pieces, as we further break down how to develop the skills of optimizing blog posts.