As with all writing, writing blog posts requires skill. To keep your reader interested, you should think about the structure of your piece and write appealing articles. You can help your readers grasp the core concept of a post by providing headings, subheadings and clear paragraphs. If people understand and like an article, they will be much more inclined to share, like, tweet and link to it – and that will increase your rankings. So, if you want to improve your Google rank, improve your writing skills!
For some, writing for SEO purposes and writing to attract and captivate your audience could seem like two conflicting goals. I totally disagree. Indeed, if you want a readable and SEO-friendly blog post, the words you want to be found for should be in a very prominent place. But, over-using keywords severely hampers the readability of your text, which you definitely don’t want to do.
This post provides tips on writing blog posts that are both readable and SEO-friendly. These two goals should always go hand in hand.
Key writing tips for good blog posts
Above all, your blog post has to be a good piece of writing! When starting a new blog post, many bloggers just start writing, typing whatever comes into their heads. While this may work for some people who have natural writing talents, others may need some help. Personally, I always follow these ‘rules’ when blogging.
1. Think before you write!
Think carefully about the message of your piece. What do you want to tell your readers or which central question do you want to answer? What’s the purpose of your article? And what do you want your readers to do at the end of the page? Write down the answers to these questions before you begin.
2. Devise a structure for your blog post
Start your post by creating a clear structure. Every post should have:
- some sort of introduction (in which you introduce your topic);
- a body (in which the main message is written);
- a conclusion (which should summarize the most important ideas or draw a conclusion).
Write down what you want to say in all three sections. You now have a kind of summary of your post. Now the real writing can begin.
3. Use paragraphs
Everybody uses paragraphs, but not everybody uses them well. Don’t start each new sentence on a new line, just because it looks nice. There should be a logical reason for starting a new paragraph. Each paragraph should have its own idea or subject. Ask yourself what the main idea of each paragraph is. You should be able to summarize that main idea in only one sentence. If you need more sentences, you simply need to use more paragraphs.
4. Use headings
Headings structure the whole page, so use them. They’re important not just for readability, but for SEO as well. Headings also help Google to grasp the main topics of a long post and therefore can help in your ranking. If you want people to find their way through your articles, you should use subheadings to lead people, help them scan your page, and clarify the structure of your articles. Make sure you use your keywords in some of the subheadings, but not in each and every one of them, as it will make the text clunky and unnatural, which will put people off reading further.
5. Use signal words
Signal words help people to scan through your text and grasp the main ideas. Let’s say, for example, that there are three reasons for people to buy your product. You should use signal words like: ‘first of all’; ‘secondly’ and ‘finally’. Also, words like ‘nevertheless’, ‘surely’ and ‘indeed’ give a clear signal to your readers. Readers will instantly get that a conclusion will follow after words like ‘consequently’, ’so’ or ‘for this reason’. Signal words are therefore very important to add structure to your text.
6. Let other people read your post
Before publishing your post, let someone else read it first. Ask them whether they understand the main concept of your post and invite them to correct any typos and grammatical errors.
7. Optimize the length of your article
Make sure your articles have a minimum of 300 words. Google likes long articles, however, if your article is too long, it might scare users away. The ideal article length is around 700 words. Also, as a general rule of thumb: try to put your search terms in about 1 to 2 percent of your text. So in an article of 300 words, you should mention your search terms 3 to 6 times throughout the piece.
8. Link to previous content
If you’ve already written content on the same topic as your current post, don’t forget to link these posts together. It will make your post stronger because you show some authority on the subject. As well as that, your link structure is also important for your Google rank. And of course, readers may be interested in reading these related posts too. If you want to read more about this you should read Joost’s post about cornerstone articles.
9. Add content regularly
Regularly adding new blog posts to your website tells Google that your website is alive. If it’s not an active website, Google will crawl it less often, and this might negatively affect your rankings.
10. Use our Yoast SEO plugin
The content analysis tool in our Yoast SEO plugin helps you write SEO-friendly blog posts. Start by choosing your focus keyword because this is the most important search term you want people to find this particular page for. Our plugin checks your post to see whether you have used the keyword in the right places and measures many other aspects of your writing. The most important ones are:
- It allows you to add a meta description.
- It analyzes your text and calculates the Flesch reading ease score, which assesses the readability of your article.
- It checks that you have used your keyword in 5 important locations: the article heading, the title of the page, the URL of the page, the content of the article and the meta-description.
- It checks for links and images in the article.
- It calculates the number of words and the density of use of the focus keyword in the article.
- It also checks if other pages on your website use the same focus keyword, to prevent you from competing with yourself.
If you write a relatively SEO-friendly blog post (based on the aspects discussed above) the plugin will indicate this with a green bullet. Pages with green bullets will help you improve the ranking of the pages on your website.
Note that not every dot has to be green for the overall score to be “good”. For instance, these are the results of this post, which does have a “good” score:
If you’re not using WordPress, we also have this Page Analysis tool available on our site. It’s still in beta, so we’d love your feedback!
Looking for more optimization? Check out our Yoast SEO Premium plugin!
The days when a few SEO tricks were enough to get your website to rank well in Google are long gone. Nowadays, quality content is king. And good content also leads to more Facebook likes and shares, tweets and return visitors to your website. Of course, there are always other things you can do to maximize the SEO friendliness of your post, but most importantly, just write very, very good posts!
Read more: SEO copywriting: the ultimate guide »