71% of consumers never make it past page one on Google on any given search according to Moz, an SEO software company. If you want your blog to be seen by new readers you need to know how to get higher on google search. For this, you need to incorporate a search engine optimization strategy into the creation of your blog content. No matter what the goals or niche of your blog are, this guide will provide tips that any blog writer needs to increase their chances of reaching page one on google.
We will explore:
- Why You Should Conduct Keyword Research
- How to Create Your Content Strategy
- How to Write an Introduction
- How to Write a Conclusion
- How to Use SEO Effectively
- How to Format Your Article
- How to Create an Effective Title
- How Often Should a Keyword Be Used
- What is the Ideal Content Length
- Why Images and Video Matters
- What are Hyperlinks and Why They Matter
- Why You Should Add a Table of Contents
- What is a Featured Snippet
- Why You Should Update Content
The first step to writing any successful blog post is to conduct keyword research. First, consider a topic that interests you. Next use a keyword research tool to find out what terms readers are searching for when looking for that topic. Many businesses favor paid search tools such as AHrefs, Moz, or SEMrush since there is no limit to the number of keywords you can search and they provide solid data.
If you are just starting out your blog though, you may want to opt for a free keyword tool such as WordStream, Keywords Everywhere, or Google Trends. A personal favorite is WordStream. This tool allows you to see an important feature that many free tools lack: seeing the competition.
The focus keyword that you select after conducting your keyword research will form the SEO strategy of your entire article from your title, meta description, URL, headings, and more so it is important to select one that is relevant and will most likely get you to page one. A common mistake many first-time bloggers make is assuming that you should target any keywords that have the most volume.
More doesn’t always mean better. If a keyword has a large volume of readers searching for it but has high competition it will most likely become buried under a large number of google pages. Google will prioritize other pages that have higher domain authority therefore it’s important to also consider the competition of a keyword.
The ideal keyword will have high volume but low competition. This will ensure that your page will actually rank on page one of Google and will be seen by as many readers as possible looking for that topic.
Look at the Competition
After conducting keyword research, search your focus keyword and look at the competition, ideally on the first page. Consider how they got to page one of google. What did they do and what didn’t they do?
- What points did they include in their content?
- How did they structure the article?
- Do they have images?
- Do they have a video?
- Did they have a featured snippet?
- How long is their content?
- How many internal links did they include?
How to Write a Blog Article that Ranks High on Google
Once you have conducted the research necessary to make a quality article that ranks high on google, you can start writing. The introduction and conclusion will be very important elements of your article.
Write an Introduction that Grabs Your Readers Attention
When writing an introduction you must be able to capture your reader’s attention quickly. Often this can be done by creating a hook with an interesting statistic (like I did in this article), joke, or by telling a story. In that introduction identify a need the reader has and tell them what solutions you will give. Let them know what topics are covered in your article with a table of contents. You will also need to integrate your focus keyword in an organic fashion into the content. If it sounds out of place to you it will to the reader.
Write a Conclusion that Sells or Drives Engagement
It is best to name your conclusion just “conclusion” like I have done in this article. In fact, Neil Patel, the co-founder of NP Digital, found that most readers immediately scroll down to read the conclusion before they begin reading the article. Naming it appropriately will help them quickly identify it.
When writing the conclusion, give a summary of the main points discussed in the article. Then end with a call to action or a question. What goal do you want your consumers to conduct after reading the article? Maybe you want to generate a lead or gain a sale. If you want to drive engagement, ending your article with a question will encourage more comments. Engagement looks great to Google’s algorithm and to new readers.
Content is King but so is SEO!
You can create a well-researched and interesting article, but if you do not consider SEO best practices no one will see it.
To have a great article you need to consider:
- Format: (ie. Headings, Spacing, etc).
- The Title: Power Words and Front-loading
- Meta-Description and URL
- Content Length
- Images and Videos
- Keyword Usage
- Internal Links
- Table of Contents and Featured Snippet
- Content Updating
WordPress is the most popular CMS for bloggers and the one I have the most experience with therefore this section will be tailored towards its use. When creating a post on WordPress the format is an important consideration. Google’s algorithm analyzes it and takes it into consideration when determining whether or not to index your site. Not having proper formatting could affect your ranking.
When formatting your blog your headings need to follow a specific order. Every section would be an H2 tag and any subsections underneath would have an H3 tag. It has to be chronological. An H4 tag can never be after an H2 tag.
Take this article as an example. The section title “How to Write a Blog Article That Ranks High on Google” is an H2 tag. Following it is an H3 tag “Content is King but so is SEO!” because I needed to break the topic into sections. Then for the H3, I needed to divide the section topic further making “Format” an H4 tag.
When it comes to formatting you will also want to be consistent. Do not bold some headings and not others. Remove any extra spaces and make sure it is visually appealing to the reader. Do not have giant paragraphs and incorporate some lists.
The title needs to use your focus keyword, ideally at the beginning of the title. Google’s algorithm favors front-loading, putting the important keywords at the beginning of paragraphs, titles, headings, etc. Adding a power word also helps with SEO like “best” or “amazing.”
Meta-Description and URL
If you haven’t already, adding an SEO plugin like RankMath will help you with SEO greatly. It makes it easy to see how you rank and will allow you to easily edit elements like the meta description and URL slug. You will want your URL slug to be the focus keyword.
When writing your meta description you will want to sell the article as if it were a Twitter post. Google only shows the first 160 characters so make it short and enticing. Identify the value you will give to the reader and use the focus keyword.
Google favors long-form content. The more words you write the better, as long as it provides quality information and does not sound like you are stretching an essay assignment to meet a word limit.
Think about it. The more words you have in your content the more keywords you have the potential for ranking for. It also shows Google that you have quality informative content to provide. Ideally, you should aim to have your posts around 2,000 words or more when possible.
Images and Video
It is important to have images in your articles. Images help with engagement, break up the wall of text for readers, and can be used to provide information. Create infographics, highlight examples, and paint a picture of what you are trying to convey to the reader.
Sometimes images can take a long time to load on a web page, slowing down your website’s speed. To minimize this issue, upload the image that you would like to use to TinyPNG before adding it to the WordPress site. This will save on some pixels while still providing a high-quality image. Rename your image to your heading or subheading for that section and update the alt text to the title of your heading.
You should also include a featured image that will show at the top of your article page. A featured image is a great opportunity to incorporate your brand strategy. Add the keyword or article title and your brand logo.
Video marketing is on the rise, in fact, a study by Wyzowl found that when provided the option of text or video “72% of consumers would rather view a video to learn about a product or service.” If you have the time to add a video to your article, it will elevate it to another level both in terms of SEO and reader retention.
Don’t go overboard with your keyword usage. If you use a keyword too many times Google will flag the page as keyword stuffing. A good role of thumb is to weave your focus keyword into the content about 2-3 times.
Link Building is an important part of SEO. This is done through inbound and outbound links, also referred to as internal or external links. Incorporate hyperlinks to other relevant articles on your site within your blog article.
Outbound links are created when other people create hyperlinks to one of your web pages on their site. You can get outbound links of your site on another’s blog page through guest post submissions, and journalist press releases if you are a new business. Most often you will have to pay a fee to submit a guest post on another person’s site, but sometimes newer sites will do this for free.
Table of Contents and Featured Snippet
Adding a table of contents after your introduction will improve the user’s experience and improve your chances of being selected for a featured snippet. Featured snippets highlight parts of an article often in a list format or as a definition box before the FAQs on a google search. This would make your article the first on page one of Google and improve click-thru rates.
HubSpot has a great guide on what to consider when creating a table of contents.
After you have completed your article using this advice on how to get higher on google search results, eventually Google will index your page. At this point, you will need to update your content. Google loves when writers continuously update their content.
- Is there anything that could be added to the content that would provide value to the reader?
- Is there any information on the page that is now outdated?
When writing a successful blog article, SEO needs to be considered as a part of your strategy from the beginning. Your focus keyword will help form the rest of your content from the title onward. Keeping this article handy or writing down a list of the steps for great content SEO will help guide you when conducting quality assurance on your work before hitting publish. This guide is a great start on how to get higher on google search, but there is so much more to learn as google’s search engine evolves.
If you would like to gain hands-on experience in content marketing and other areas of digital marketing, the International Institute of Digital Marketing™ offers a globally recognized certification course taught by licensed experts in the field for those with varying levels of experience in digital marketing.
About the Author
Jack Leduc is a Brand Marketing Analyst at the International Institute of Digital Marketing™ and a Digital Marketing Coach at Easy Event Planning, LLC.