Blogging is a powerful tool for entrepreneurs, businesses and individuals of all walks of life looking to increase their online visibility. Not only does it afford them with a platform to demonstrate expertise, but it also allows them to showcase their passion. To achieve optimal traffic and maximize visibility, a variety of digital marketing strategies has to be used before an article is published. The ultimate goal of blogging is to provide information that both users and search engines will enjoy and find useful.
Below are a few important tips, compiled by our online digital marketing training team, to help you write a blog post that is perfectly optimized for SEO in 2020. Some are simple, others more complex, but making sure to check off all the boxes, will ensure the time you spend writing your blog will achieve its SEO goals. Let’s get started!
1. Define the Purpose & Determine the Target Audience
Okay, so this one sounds simple right? Well it is, but it’s also the most important, and often the most overlooked. ‘What is the purpose of my blog post’ and ‘who will be reading it’ are very important questions to ask yourself in the early stages of SEO writing in 2020.
When determining the purpose of writing ask yourself the following questions and try to answer them through the reader’s lens:
- What is the motive for writing the article? Are you selling a new product or service? Are you sharing news? Are you offering inimitable tips?
- What useful information will the reader be able to extract from the article?
- How will the information in the blog help resolve the readers’ pain points?
When defining your target audience, it is important to look at the current customer or fan base. Ask yourself:
- Who are my current blog readers (or customers)?
- Why do they come to my blog?
- How long do they stay on my website and onsite and engage with my content?
2. Write an Article that Readers will find Useful
User Experience is also important in the SEO world in 2020. Most search engines, such as Google and Bing, and social media platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter, place great emphasis on delivering the best results to their users by serving them with the best quality and most relevant content. It is therefore very important to make whatever content you are publishing useful and high quality for the intended audience. When thinking of a topic and writing a blog post, asking yourself and answering these 3 questions with a yes will help you determine if you are writing a high-quality article:
– Is my Blog Article Worth Reading?
Simply put, don’t waste your time writing a blog that leaves your audience wondering why they ever bothered to read it. Asking yourself this question while you’re choosing a topic is a good idea. Find out what questions your audience has and answer them. Find out what your audience is talking about and engage them. Find out how you can entertain your audience and make them laugh. If you’re running low on ideas check out our post The 5 Best Free SEO Tools of 2019 to Optimize Your Blog Writing, which has some great suggestions for tools that can help in this process.
Simply put; don’t waste your time, or that of your readers!
– Have I Done Extensive Research?
This isn’t rocket science, right? If you don’t know what you’re talking about, don’t pretend you do. Credibility is everything, and if you post an article that leaves people wondering if you really know what you’re talking about, they will question all of your content. Do your research before writing, and update your blog, or write new articles as your content becomes outdated.
– Is My Blog Easy to Read?
Please don’t post a blog article (in 2019!) without having it edited! There are multiple free tools that can help with your grammar and spelling (see link above), but whenever possible, have a colleague or friend (with excellent grammar skills) read it over. Sometimes the grammar is technically fine, but a little time and love in editing could make for an infinitely more enjoyable read.
3. Make Your Content Easy to Read
Making good use of a headline, trending keywords, low-competition keywords, subtitles, headings, lists, bolded words, and italics is another important 2020 SEO blog writing tactic.
Write in short paragraphs. And get your information across in a quick and understandable way.
We are living in a generation of low-attention span. Attention is a rare commodity. People nowadays are looking to find information in as little time as possible and with minimal effort too.
It is not enough to write high-quality content; you need good content that is readable for today’s generations. Try to start each point of your content with a heading, give them subheadings if necessary. Use a list when applicable because both readers and search loves them.
4. Perform Keyword Research
When writing an SEO blog, it is important to identify any low-competition and trending keywords that relate to the topic you have decided to write about. Keyword research tells you what topics people care about and how popular those topics are among your target audience. It also tells you the competitiveness of the desired keywords. By researching keywords for their popularity, search volume, and general intent, you can tackle the questions that people in your audience want to find the answers to.
Useful Keyword Research Tools
Google Keyword Planner
5. Use Relevant and Trending Keywords in Content
The keywords you choose should be found throughout your article where possible, but most importantly in your Title Tag and H-tags.
Keyword density is a tool used to measure the number of times a targeted keyword shows up on a page compared to the total number of words on it. In the SEO world, the keyword density should be around 1-3%.
The most common mistake our digital marketing training team sees when reviewing SEO blogs is ‘keyword stuffing’, which can result in a manual action penalty from Google. This is the practice of inputting your keywords throughout your blog simply to manipulate Google bots. The practice has been deemed as black hat by Google, and simply put unprofessional. When you are using your keywords in the post, make sure it is seamless, use synonyms, and make use of words that relate closely to your topic.
SEO Readability Tools
Webfx readability tool
Yoast (WordPress websites)
6. Make Sure Your Blog’s Meta Tags Are Maximizing Your SEO Performance
If you are completely new to blogging, even the mention of meta tags can be a bit overwhelming. However, there is no reason to worry; meta tags are simply little bits of text describing the content on a page. They help search engines clearly identify what is on a page. Simple, right?
Now that you know what they are, it’s time to focus on how to properly use them. Below, we identify and explain how to use the primary meta tags you need to be aware of:
- 65 characters with spaces
- Include your major keywords, a geo tag, and perhaps your company name
- Include 7-9 keywords (more than that is considered “keyword stuffing” by Google).
- 250 characters with spaces. This remains a moving target since Google has regularly changed the maximum character limit for this over the years. We recommend sticking to 175 – 250 characters.
- This is best described as a summary of what your blog post is about and the major keywords that are touched upon throughout the post.
- Second most important tag behind the title tag
- This is the title tag that your readers will see and we know that Google rewards anything that makes the user experience (UX) more refined.
- Need to get your major keywords in coherently into the H1 tag
<h2> & <h3>
- Use <h2> tags to break up your article into manageable segments and highlight important points
- Use <h3> as sub-headers in your <h2> sections
- You can put keywords in these tags, just make sure to continue focusing on readability
Image ‘alt’ tags
- This has become a major meta tag in Google’s eyes. This tag describes to the visually impaired what is in your image. Google gives great emphasis to this tag and it is important for SEO purposes
If you need a little more help on these tags read our article How to Creating Winning Meta Descriptions
7. Add Internal & External Links
With the content being written and ready to be published, it is time to add some link equity. Links are a major ranking factor for all major search engines and social media platforms. Internal links are links that go to other pages of the website the blog is posted on, and external links are links that go to an outside resource. Add links as hyperlinks around a phrase or word, rather than just placing the page URL at the bottom.
8. Keep Your Content Fresh
Google tends to approve of fresher and newer of content more than the older and archived content.
Imagine reading a magazine from the year 2010 and the year 2020, which do you think will be more applicable to readers? It most definitely will be the 2020 article.
This is the same with content on the web.
What Else Can I Do To Optimize My Blog’s SEO?
First, it’s important to note that SEO hasn’t changed much this year. If you’re up to date from 2018, there aren’t many changes in 2019. That being said, it is crucial that your website be secure and has an SLL certificate and loads via HTTPS. In the past if your website wasn’t taking credit cards it wasn’t emphasized by Google. However, Google now penalizes sites from an SEO perspective if they aren’t secure.
Finally, make sure any images on your blog post are condensed so that they don’t slow down your page’s load time. Your site upload speed is critical to your site’s SEO, but also to your readers’ overall experience on your page.
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