Blog SEO: how to make people stay and read your post

When you succeed in getting visitors to one of your blogpost, you want them to stay and read your stuff. Readers (and especially first time visiting readers) are bored really quickly. You should grab their attention extremely fast and help them to understand the main message of your blog. In this post, I will give five tips on how to get people to stay on your site and read your post.

1. Limit the length of your posts

You should limit the length of your text as people tend to stop reading (or don’t even start) if a web text is too long. However, for SEO purposes, your blogs or articles shouldn’t be too short either (minimum of 300 words). A lengthy article has more chances to rank in the search engines. We advise writing blog posts between 300-400 (for inexperienced bloggers) and 700-800 (for more advanced bloggers) words. Also make sure you write short paragraphs. A bunch of short paragraphs is much more pleasant to read than one big lump of copy.
(At Yoast we tend to break the do-not-write-lengthy-posts rule every now and then, producing blog posts which are much longer. If you choose to write a lengthy article, you should focus even more on style and structure!)

2. Make sure your post is readable

Make sure people can read your texts properly. Reading from screens is hard, so make sure you do not make it any harder than it already is. Use a decent font size. A large(r) font will help people to read your content better. Use at least 14 px and preferably 16 px, with an appropriate whitespace (1.5em for the larger font sizes, more toward 2em for smaller font sizes). Using more whitespace (to a degree, obviously) has been found to actually increase comprehension of the text in people. Also make sure the lines of your text aren’t too long. Try to keep it limited to 50 or 75 characters per line. The longer the lines, the harder it is for people to understand your message. And last but not least, choose contrasting colors for your text and your background. Green text on a yellow background tends to read quite hard.

3. Write about one topic

Your blog post should have one subject. It should have one main message, one point you want to make. Every blog, every piece of content on your website has some kind of a message. This message is the purpose of that piece of writing: what do you want to tell your readers? You should be able to put the message of your post in one sentence. That sentence should contain one topic, not two. If you have a message containing two topics, write two separate blog posts!

4. Pay special attention to your first paragraph

Make sure that the first paragraph of your blog post is clear, well written and contains the message of your blog post. I read somewhere that blogging is writing upside down. Some writers want to surprise their readers with the main message of their article in the final paragraph. Bloggers shouldn’t do that. You’ll have lost your readers by then. Write upside down: the most important conclusion of your blog post in the first paragraph and the elaboration and argumentation of your conclusion following in the next paragraphs. Make sure you repeat your main conclusions in the final paragraph of your post.

5. Provide scannable content

Your post should be scannable. That means the structure of your post should be really awesome. Make good use of headings and subheadings within your posts. And write short, on-topic paragraphs. I always make sure the first sentence of my paragraph tells what that paragraph is about. Then a bunch of sentences follow that elaborate on that first key sentence. These first sentences are the sentences people read when scanning a text. Definitely pay special attention to those important first sentences.

Use our tips!

Writing blog posts is hard work. It would be unfortunate if the blog you put so much effort in, wasn’t read by your audience because people are bored too quickly. Use these tips to your advantage and make your visitors stay and read your posts!

Read more: How to write a blog post: A step-by-step guide from preparation to publication »

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9 Responses to Blog SEO: how to make people stay and read your post

  1. Tim
    Tim  • 8 years ago

    All in all write it in what we could call good seo practice, one question thou. Should you give your readers the steak upfront or save it for last.
    As a user i preferrer to get the info I’m looking for right away, but to get users to stay longer on my website it might be better to save the info they are looking for to to very end.
    Thoughts on that??

  2. Mark Guertin
    Mark Guertin  • 8 years ago

    Thanks for the excellent article! These are some great points and I’m curious what your thoughts are on incorporating photos and/or videos? My understanding is that good quality photos and videos can improve the post but I would love to hear your thoughts on this. Also, could you comment on including internal and external links in the post… do you feel this is beneficial as well?

  3. Francis Quarshie
    Francis Quarshie  • 8 years ago

    Yes, I agree with you Marieke. This is a must follow guide to be used.

    I have realized that most longer posts are much more detailed than shorter ones.

    Shorter ones just inform you of something. Whiles the longer ones informs you with in depth facts. And that is what Google likes.

    The two can be useful content that can be indexed and ranked depending on you following current SEO copywriting guidelines.

    You can most likely include many relevant long tail keywords in long posts than short ones.

    All that matters is to create a relevant and valuable piece for you Avatar/Persona.

    @Gaurav, hope this will help you.

  4. Jack oliver
    Jack oliver  • 8 years ago

    Its really good information totally agreed with you , we should follow above topic for our site for good ranking . really thanks to you

  5. David
    David  • 8 years ago

    We have noticed to a trend of long post but as you pointed out Marieke long posts can become boring and people bounce, the last post we did for linked In got 3500 engagements, but my partner can write extremely well, personally i feel that whatever you do the focus should be on giving value to the user, and to the quality of your writing, To many companies are just making long rubbish posts now days to try and push rankings up and get more traffic, the focus is on making money rather than delivering value and engaging users. Really looking forward to your academy starting ?(???)?

  6. Marty Rogers
    Marty Rogers  • 8 years ago

    Excellent post as always guys, and couldn’t agree more about the length of posts. It’s important to know which kind of post requires longer formats over the majority of others that can and should be a lot shorter to ensure maximum readership.

  7. Gaurav
    Gaurav  • 8 years ago

    Good points Marieke. Lately, I have been seeing a trend of very long posts (more than 2000 words). Many “SEO gurus” seem to think that search engines prefer longer posts.

    Personally, I would like to believe that one should write concise posts that communicate the idea instead of writing long verbose posts.

    Do you think that a longer post will better rank, as compared to a shorter one? Although both will be communicating the exact same idea.

    • Marieke van de Rakt

      It’s a tough question. Joost en I have long discussions over this one. The writer in me says that your articles should be short. But Joosts is convinced that longer posts seem to rank better than shorter once… however, this only counts when your article is really well written. Otherwise people will quickly bounce (you will scare them of). So: do not write articles that are too short (remember the 300 word limit) and do write articles that are too long either (unless you are a real good writer)

  8. Professional CV Writer
    Professional CV Writer  • 8 years ago

    There’s some great tips here, most of which I think I am following on thanks to the in-built guide on the Yoast Seo plugin.