Blogging takes time. Unfortunately, that’s the one thing you don’t have.

Since you’re short on time, you want to have the biggest impact you can when you’re writing your blog.

I mean, it doesn’t make sense to devote time to a marketing activity that isn’t producing results, right?

Looking to save time and get better results with your blog? Hire a blog writer! LEARN MORE >

Each time you write, your content needs to appeal to both humans and robots to take advantage of the marketing aspects of your blogging.

There are lots of business blogging goals you may have. But, in general, you’re writing with at least two overarching goals in mind:

1) to attract people to your products/services/brand

2) to tell search engines what your content is about

That’s why you want most of your posts to follow these SEO blogging tips.

Remember, SEO blogging simply means that you’re blogging with search engines AND humans in mind. Writing for both optimizes your content and increases its impact.

No good comes from content that no one cares about and search engines can’t find.

Does blog content that no one cares about & search engines can’t find help your business? No!Click To Tweet

Use these tips to help optimize your blog for SEO and boost your content marketing results in the process.

I’ve incorporated these tips into my regular blog routine and more than doubled my blog traffic and reach!

SEO Blogging Tips to Help You Attract Your Audience and Get Found in Search

You want to do everything in your power to reach your target market. After all, you’ve got a message to share and lives to change!

That’s why it’s important to make a few tweaks to your writing to help people and search engines find you and your awesome content.

SEO Blogging Tip #1: Write longer, in-depth, evergreen posts

You used to be able to churn out 500-word blog posts to have an impact on your business. Well, those days are long gone!

Your audience wants more comprehensive blog content. And Google prefers it too.

This isn’t your average blog post. I’m talking in-depth, relevant articles that cover topics in mega detail. You can think of them as resources, guides, how-to’s, tutorials, white papers, etc.—any content that provides a broad, deep view on a specific topic.

You need to be writing long-form blog content, which is 2,000 words or more.

Longer form posts tend to appears on the first page of Google’s results. In fact, according to Backlinko and SEMRush, the average Google first page results contain 1,890 words.

Longer posts do better in search.

Image Source: Backlinko website.

And that’s not the only advantage of longer content. Repeated studies prove that people share long-form blog content more frequently.

With the consistent publishing of comprehensive articles that your audience likes, you not only rank better and get shared more but also you gain:

  • backlinks
  • longer page view/time on site
  • higher engagement
  • credibility
  • thought-leadership

Quick Takeaways:

> People and Google prefer longer blogs.

> Write comprehensive, in-depth, evergreen posts of 2,000 words or more.

Pro Tips:

> Add 500 words of extra value to your regular writing process to improve your results from blogging.

> Review your older posts and add more information, value, and impact by incorporating statistics, graphs, and detailed data.

> Experiment! You may discover that blogging 2x/month with longer form posts produces better results than publishing 500-word posts 4x/month.

Do you see the spike in traffic I received after writing only ONE long form post in March and one in April? Those long-form posts sent more traffic to my site than my shorter weekly posts. 😉

Content Marketing Metrics - A traffic overview from SimilarWeb.com

A traffic overview from SimilarWeb.com of Smart Bird Social’s website.

SEO Blogging Tip #2: Use Long Tail Keywords

Don’t confuse using keywords in your writing with sounding like a robot.

You know that stuffing your content with keywords will repel readers and hurt your search ranking. However, using relevant, comprehensive content written naturally appeals to both your audience as well as search engines.

Google is looking for semantic relevance, which you can achieve by covering in-depth topics and long tail keywords.

What is a Long Tail Keyword?

Long tail keywords are longer, more specific words or phrases that your target market is more likely to use.

Additionally, long tail keywords are search terms and phrases that are semantically connected to the main keyword.

For example, in this post, the keyword is “SEO blogging tips.” Examples of related long tail keywords are:

  • seo tips for bloggers
  • how to optimize your blog for search engines
  • how to make blog seo friendly
  • blogger search engine optimization
  • does blogging help seo
SEO blogging tips - Use long tail keywords in your posts.

Using an SEO tool like SerpStat can help with keyword research.

Using these related words in this post helps Google understand my content and know that it’s relevant to people looking at a variety of topics.

I’ve had a noticeable increase in my page views and organic search results since changing my writing to include more long tail phrases.

Don’t underestimate the impact that keyword research and inclusion has on your writing goals and effectiveness. It’s worth the extra 30 minutes to an hour to determine your long tail phrases.

Keywords help humans and search engines find you.

Your potential customers are using long tail keywords to find business just like yours. It’s up to YOU to help them find your business, which is why you’re blogging in the first place.

Keywords help humans and search engines find your content.Click To Tweet

It makes sense when you consider it: if your post doesn’t have terms in it that relate to the searches people are doing, then how will algorithms find your content?

These terms not only help search engines locate your content but also humans, who are also searching with common terms to discover what’s available on their topic.

In fact, consisting publishing quality long form, in depth content (Tip #1 above) with long tail keywords will increase your search traffic, attract paying customers, and grow your brand.

Long tail keywords have less competition. Less competition means that you’ll have a higher chance of getting found in search engines.

Less competition also means that you’ll pay less for ads if you’re using pay per click.

How to Find Long Tail Keywords

There are many blog posts detailing how you can find longer phrases to use in your writing. But here are two easy, fast ways that I often use.

Google

Type your primary keyword into Google then scroll to the bottom of the results page. There you’ll find long tail keywords to incorporate into your post.

SEO blogging tips - Use Google for long tail keyword suggestions.

KeywordTool.io

Another way to figure out phrases related to your primary keyword is to use a free online site called Keyword Tool.

Type in your primary keyword, and the results will display other related terms that people search for similar information.

SEO blogging tips - Keyword Tool can suggest additional search terms.

Once you identify the popular phrases relative to your primary keyword, you can usually incorporate them easily into your writing.

You don’t have to use all keywords, terms, and phrases. In fact, you don’t want to overuse key phrases. However, adding a few can help provide context to your content and boost your results.

Quick Takeaways

> Using long tail keywords helps customers and Google find you.

> Incorporate long tail keywords, terms, and phrases into your writing to reach more people and get better results from your content marketing.

Pro Tips

> Use free tools such as Google search and Keywordtool.io to find long tail keywords.

> Find natural, cohesive, and meaningful ways to add these phrases into your posts.

SEO Blogging Tip #3: Format Your Content with Headers

Do you use an outline to write your posts?

The thing is, both people and search engines look at your content’s formatting to understand it.

With people, they want to see a logical hierarchy to the content.

  • Main title
  • Sub-headers
  • Section titles
  • Bullets
  • Images
  • Bold text

You get the idea.

Formatting makes your content skimmable and easier to read as well as to comprehend.

I’ve quickly abandoned blogs that don’t use formatting. A bunch of text on a page is overwhelming and boring.

Case in point: which of my two blog posts is easier on the eyes and more likely to attract readers? The one on the left has more white space and is easier to skim, so it’s the winner.

SEO blogging tips: Format your content with headers

Your visitors have short attention spans. And with millions of posts published DAILY, you’re competing for eyes on your content.

Let’s take that same logical hierarchy that people use and apply it to search engines. In the case of algorithms, coding expresses hierarchy and emphasis.

This is the coding I use on my site to help search engines better understand my content.

  • Main title = H1
  • Sub-header = H2
  • Section titles = H3
  • Bullets = li or ol
  • Images = image alt text
  • Bold text = h4

As the Yoast blog explains, headings give structure that divides your content into blocks, which both search engines and visitors like.

The formatting rules for writing on paper don’t apply to the online space. Remember when you were forbidden to write a single sentence paragraph?

With today’s smaller screens and mobile devices, long paragraphs are difficult to read and scan. It’s okay to use one sentence paragraphs!

Quick Takeaways

> Giving your page hierarchal structure with tags and formatting gives meaning to your content for both people and search engines.

> Sparingly and naturally use keywords in your title and headers.

Pro Tips

> Use only one H1 title per each post so that people and search engines know what your content is about.

> Keep your headline’s keyword in the first 65 characters or it will get cut off in search engines.

> Short paragraphs are optimal for online reading and will increase your readability.

SEO Blogging Tip #4: Include Images Every 350 – 400 Words

Most blogs have at least one image. My guess is that people understand the need for a “featured image” because it’s the graphic that is automatically pulled when your post is shared across different platforms. Hence, the obligatory one image.

If you have heard, people love images.

Images have proven to:

  • Improve effectiveness of content
  • Persuade more effectively
  • Establish credibility
  • Increase readability
  • Increase engagement
  • Improve viewer retention

And, including more images in your post helps in search too. One study showed that in 100 of the highest ranking blogs, there was at least one image every 350 words.

Don’t forget to include alt text on each image. Within the alt text, include your keyword phrases.

Images help convey concepts, perspectives, and ideas better than text does. Generally, eye tracking studies reveal that people spend more time on images. The exception is overused stock images, which tend to get overlooked.

In 100 of the highest ranking blogs, there was at least one image every 350 words.Click To Tweet

Creating images and original visual content is time-consuming for most businesses. If you don’t have the budget to hire out this task, consider how Neil Patel uses images.

On NeilPatel.com, you’ll find images every 350 – 400 words or so. But the images aren’t usually originals. To back up his assertions, Patel uses personal screenshots or screenshots of other websites’ images. Of course, he credits the sources.

This is one way to cut down on your image creation time while increasing your readability and credibility.

Quick Takeaways

> Including multiple images in your posts improves your blog’s readability.

> More images also help in search engines.

Pro Tips

> You don’t have to create custom graphics. Use screenshots and graphs to increase the number of images in your posts.

> One quick way to make images is to pull out a quote from your post and use a free tool such as Pablo or Canva to quickly design a graphic. This will take less than five minutes!

SEO Blogging Tip #5: Link Internally to Your Other Content

Everything you do in your blog tells Google the context and meaning of your content.

When you internally link to other posts and pages on your site, you’re giving Google a bigger picture of your niche, industry, and business.

Internal links draw a map for search engines and your audience. This map helps site visitors navigate your site to find what content interests them. And, this map tells Google what your country—aka business—looks like in terms of content, context, and site structure.

If you don’t link to your other content, you’re doing a great disservice to your business, visitors, and search engines.

It’s up to you to draw the map!

As the Yoast blog explains, “By adding the right internal links you make sure Google understands the relevance of pages, the relationship between pages and the value of pages.”

Internal linking for SEO - Content Pyramid by Yoast

Yoast’s analogy works. If your website is a pyramid, then the most important content is at the top. At the top is your home page and your “cornerstone” content. Next are your pages, and below that are your posts. Linking this content together gives search engines a full picture of your site structure.

Internal linking strategy and site structure is an entirely different blog post. The point is that you must link to other pages and posts within your site to help both visitors and search engines.

Beware of the anchor text! Anchor text is the clickable text that you link to other pages and posts. The words you link matter.

You may think it’s a good idea to use keywords as your anchor text. However, Google could view that as keyword stuffing.

It’s best to use whatever sounds natural within the context of the sentence. Also, vary the anchor text across your site. Google will figure it out.

Quick Takeaways

> Link to other internal pages and posts within your website to help Google understand your site structure, which helps with SEO.

> Internal links assist website visitors in finding the content they care about, which means more value for them (and more time spent on your site).

Pro Tips

> Develop an internal linking strategy to maximize your site’s structure. Learn more from Yoast.

> Write anchor text that is relevant but doesn’t overuse keywords.

SEO Blogging Tip #6: Link Externally to High Quality, Industry Related Sites

Have you ever heard of the saying that the company you keep and the people you surround yourself with say a lot about you?

That rule of thumb applies to external linking as well.

Hanging around with crooks, thieves, and thugs makes you look like a miscreant too.

You don’t want to link to low-quality websites. If you do, your site won’t be as credible to humans or to search engines.

Don’t link to low-quality websites! You want to be credible to humans and search engines.Click To Tweet

Linking to external sites that are considered reputable and trustworthy aligns you with the best resources in your industry. As a result, you’ll gain credibility, reliability, and believability.

Plus, these sites might take notice that you’re sending traffic their way. Outreach like this is one way to support industry influencers. Sometimes you might even get a link back to your site.

One SEO benefit of external linking to sites in your industry is context. You’re helping Google understand your site’s context, niche, and topic. Linking to top authority sites may help with context.

How Do You Incorporate External Links in a Natural Way Without Hurting Your Own SEO?

When we’re discussing external links, I’m not talking about affiliate links and spammy content.

If you’re a landscaper that blogs about landscape design and you link to a site that ranks for beauty products, Google will see that link as spam (as it should). Your external links need to make sense in the context of your content.

My suggestion is to back your writing with external studies and research. Posts loaded with extensive research and data help you in many ways.

Studies from Buffer on research backed content showed that this type of content:

  • Makes your content more memorable and persuasive
  • Helps you stand out in a crowded environment
  • Gives people a reason to believe you

Quoting others and their research does not take away from you in any way. Quite the opposite! Using research in your writing gives you credibility.

Let’s say someone is reading your blog for the first time. They have yet to form a relationship with your brand, so they’re looking for clues that signal trustworthiness.

Research backed content shows you’re knowledgeable & informed, leading to trust & credibility.Click To Tweet

Referencing research backed content shows that you’re well-read, knowledgeable, and informed. You appear believable, insightful, and experienced. These feelings contribute to trust.

Also, packing your blog content full of relatable, relevant information makes it a good candidate for backlinks.

Instead of people having to go to multiple sources for information on a topic, they can use your post!

Quick Takeaways

> Referring to data and research makes your content more trustworthy and credible, which helps your brand

> Linking to high-quality external links gives Google context for your site

Pro Tips

> Link to external sites for research and data that supports your assertions.

> Always credit your source.

> Use sites like Google and Statista.com to find data, research, studies, and more.

SEO Blogging Tip #7: Design for Mobile

It’s no secret that Google is giving preference to the mobile experience. This focus on “mobile first” design means that your blog must conform to mobile best practices.

Check in your Google Analytics Home page to see how many website visitors are viewing your site from a mobile device.

SEO blogging tips - Mobile site visits in Google Analytics

My site gets around 30% of its visitors from mobile devices.

You can test your mobile site speed with Google’s online tool.

Test Your Mobile Performance and Speed

There are many things you can do to optimize your website for mobile. But that’s not the topic of this post.

What you need to know is that in terms of SEO, it doesn’t really matter how many mobile visitors you have. You still need to think about each thing you do on your blog from a mobile first perspective since the mobile experience affects search engine optimization.

Here are what I consider the top three things to focus on when it comes to making your blog mobile friendly:

Use a mobile responsive theme and customize the mobile view.

Format your blog with mobile in mind. Use formatting and avoid long paragraphs. (See the above section on formatting.)

Turn off interstitial pages and pop ups on mobile. Google doesn’t like these and neither do visitors!

Quick Takeaways

> Think about how your blog posts look on mobile and adjust accordingly.

> Google prioritizes the mobile experience in its search ranking factor, so you’d better too!

Pro Tips

> Use a mobile responsive theme.

> Turn off pop ups, interstitial pages, and take over windows for mobile views.

SEO Blogging Tip #8: Answer Your Audience’s Questions

This tip is gold. Here’s why.

Google loves when you answer questions, especially “how to” ones.

People are often searching the internet for how to do things, so they love when you answer their questions.

Often, Google will feature your answer at the top of page one on the search engine results page (SERP). It’s sometimes referred to as a “featured snippet.”

Answering a common search term with my blog post ranked me on PAGE ONE of Google in a featured snippet. BOOM!

SEO blogging tips - Getting noticed in search by answering popular questions

I’ve since lost that coveted featured snippet spot. However, I’m ranking number two on page one for the search term “how to get your tweets noticed”—right after social media industry influencer Social Media Examiner.

You can see from the image there are around 4 million results for this term. So, I think my SEO blogging techniques worked!

Notice that the term is a long tail keyword!  We talked about those above, and now you can see what I mean about them.

Much like the way you research long tail keywords, you can find popular questions in your niche to answer.

You may already have a list of frequently asked questions from your fans. Definitely, create content around those.

Just make sure you’re using the terms your audience use. A little research will make sure of that!

Quick Takeaways

> Answering specific questions in your niche may help your chances of getting to the top of SERPs.

> Sometimes answers to popular questions appear at the top of Page One in Google as a “featured snippet.”

Pro Tips

> Always research the phrasing of questions before you write to take advantage of keywords in your post.

> Be succinct in your answer. Well-formatted posts are more likely to appear as a featured snippet.

The Most Important Takeaway about SEO Blogging

Your number one goal is always—I repeat, always—about providing value in your blog posts.

My goal here is to give you insight into how you can optimize your posts for humans and search engines, not to show you spammy ways to rank on page one of Google. 😉

However, incorporating these blogging tips for SEO into your writing process can make your blog content more visible to people and algorithms.

After all, if no one sees your content, it isn’t helping your business!

Blog writing services by Smart Bird Social

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Meghan Monaghan
Meghan Monaghan
CEO/Co-founder at Smart Bird Social
Meghan is a digital marketer with expertise and certifications in visual content, social media, web design, email marketing, blogging/content marketing, landing pages, and sales funnels. She helps entrepreneurs and very small businesses get found in search and social via custom content and do-it-yourself marketing tactics, systems, and strategies that she teaches online.

In an effort to empower business owners with knowledge and confidence, she creates content that informs, educates, inspires, and entertains. She contributes to blogs, including Social Quant and AccessWP, and can be found wherever there are rescued greyhounds afoot.

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