Diving down the black hole that is Search Engine Optimization (SEO) can be extremely overwhelming. Between constantly changing algorithms and contradicting advice from internet marketing gurus, SEO can quickly become something that falls lower and lower on a business-owners list of priorities. However, if you can somehow manage to cut through the clutter, SEO can be a very lucrative and low-cost method for driving organic traffic to your website. A great place to start is by creating and optimizing blog posts on your website.
This guide to blogging and SEO will provide a simple and realistic strategy that anybody can implement for their business. You don’t need any prior SEO knowledge to do this. If you find this guide helpful, you can download a free copy of our Blogging and SEO Checklist at the bottom.
STEP ONE: Write a blog post
The most important thing when producing content for your blog or website is to write content that you care about and actually want to write about. For that reason, we’re going to focus on writing the blog post first and optimizing for SEO second. If you’re struggling to come up with topics to write about, here are a few questions you can ask yourself:
- What do I enjoy doing in life or business?
- What unique experiences or stories have I had that I can share lessons from?
- What do I get asked about the most often?
- What have I written about in previous articles that I can add a new perspective to?
Aim to write a post that’s at least 1000 words long. While your first instinct may lead you to think shorter, quicker reads are better, research has found that long, in-depth content often ranks higher than shorter content.
If you want to find long-term success with blogging and SEO, you should focus on the writing first and the SEO later.
STEP TWO: Identify the main keywords of your blog post
Once your post is written, step back and think to yourself, what is the main idea or phrase that stands out? When I finished writing this post, the main keyword that came to mind was “SEO”. Now since the phrase “SEO” will yield millions of results on a Google search, we should expand this into a short phrase that’s a little more specific. For this article, that phrase might be “SEO for blogs”.
- Main keyword: SEO
- Keyword phrase: SEO for blogs
STEP THREE: Search your keyword phrase using an SEO keyword explorer tool
Now that we picked out a keyword phrase for our blog post, we’re going to search the phrase using a keyword research tool. These tools will show us how much traffic that phrase gets per month, how competitive the phrase is, and it will also show us related phrases that may be better for us to target.
Here are a few tools you can use to conduct SEO keyword research:
Using one of these tools, search for the keyword phrase you came up with in Step Two. For my example, I used Google Keyword Planner to search my keyword phrase “SEO for blogs”. You will likely receive a massive list of various phrases and data points. Here are the 3 main things you should be looking for in these results:
- A phrase that relates to your topic
- Has at least 100-1k monthly searches
- Has a low competition ranking
After scrolling through the results, I realized that the original keyword phrase from Step Two, “SEO for blogs”, wasn’t the best I could do. I ended up finding the phrase “Blogging and SEO” which relates to my article, has 100-1k monthly searches, and has a low competition ranking.
STEP FOUR: Incorporate your keyword phrase into your post
Now that we have picked out a good keyword phrase, we can begin incorporating it throughout our blog post. Here are the main places that you should make sure your keyword phrase appears:
- Post title (more info below)
- Post URL (www.thirdcupcreative.com/blogging-and-seo)
- Meta description (short blurb that appears underneath the title in Google search results)
- Post content (sprinkle in this phrase throughout the content)
STEP FIVE: Write a great title for your post
Write a unique and thoughtful title that captures the reader’s attention without misleading them. Avoid clickbait titles at all costs. A great tool for optimizing your title for readability, uniqueness, and SEO is CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer tool.
For this post, I began with the title “A Quick Guide to Blogging and SEO”. After inputting this title into CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer tool, I received a title score of 65/100. Along with the score, they provided me with a list of suggestions for improving my title:
- Increase the number of uncommon words
- Increase the number of power words
- Headline structure = Generic
- Increase the length of my headline
- My headline has a neutral sentiment, try using something that conveys strong positive or negative emotions
After spending time playing around with various titles, I landed on the title “Everything You Need to be Successful with Blogging and SEO”. This title had a score of 80/100.
Headline Score Before: 65/100
Headline Score After: 80/100
While creating a great title won’t singlehandedly bring you a top-ranked blog post, it can do wonders to grab attention and build trust among readers
STEP SIX: Publish and track!
Time for the best part! Publish the blog post to your website, share it with your email list, and post to social media.
Now that we’ve put in so much work into optimizing our blog post, let’s track our progress and see how it does. I recommend using tools like Google Analytics and Google Search Console to see how much traffic your post gets and how well it ranks on search engines.
- Google Keyword Planner – Keyword research tool, completely free
- SEMRush – Keyword research tool, free for up to 10 searches per month
- KWFinder – Keyword research tool, free limited-access account
- CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer tool (Create amazing titles for your article)
- Google Analytics (Monitor traffic)
- Google Search Console (Monitor search rankings and keywords)