Blog SEO is the process of writing and optimizing blog content to rank it on search engines like Google.
Common tasks associated with blogging SEO include keyword research, content writing, on-page SEO, and link building.
Although there are many ways to drive traffic to a blog, search engine traffic tends to be the most stable and consistent.
To rank the keywords that people search for and maintain those rankings, the posts will attract consistent targeted traffic from Google.
Many other sources of traffic tend to cause an initial increase in traffic, but it is quickly followed by a sharp decrease.
To write blog posts for SEO, it is important to understand that one cannot just create an old blog post and expect the post to attract thousands of visits from Google.
To have the best chance of ranking, need to do the research and create blog posts for SEO.
1. Search for a keyword:
Every blog post to write should be optimized for the main keyword, and that keyword should be something that people are searching for month after month.
It is impossible to drive search traffic to a blog post on a topic that no one is looking for.
Use a keyword research tool like Ahrefs Keyword Explorer.
Enter a few general “seed” words or phrases related to the blog topic, then check out the Phrase Match Keyword Ideas report.
If the blog is fairly new, someone might want to set the Keyword Difficulty (KD) filter low to focus on low difficulty ideas.
2. Verify the search intent:
Ranking high on Google is the secret to getting consistent search traffic on blog posts, but unless people are searching for blog posts when searching for the keyword, chances of ranking are slim.
This is why it is important to understand whether most users are looking for a blog post or something else. This is known as an evaluation of search intent.
Type the keyword into Google and look at the search results.
Because Google’s goal is to deliver relevant results to search engines, its search results are a great way to identify search intent.
3. Choose a winning format and angle:
Even if search engines are looking for blog posts, one can’t just write any old post and rank first because search engines are often looking for something specific.
I need to find out what this is in order to develop a winning format and angle for the post.
Choose a winning format
Most blog posts are written in one of these formats:
How to guide
Step by step tutorial
Go with what the top-ranking page is doing.
Find a common ground between the top 2-3.
Make the best guess.
Choose a winning angle.
The angle is harder to quantify than the format, but it is effectively the main selling point of the content.
Here are some common content angles to look for in search results:
Personal experience → The 21 best online marketing tools we use at Ahrefs.
Best → 6 Best Marketing Podcasts.
Expert Commentary → 33 Expert-Endorsed Sorting Tips.
For Beginners → 17 Blogging Tips For Beginners.
Specific Result → 12 Quick SEO Tips to Increase Organic Traffic.
Tried and Tested → 26 Best Free Chrome Extensions for SEO (Tried and Tested).
Freshness → Content Marketing: A Complete Guide for 2021.
There are many SERPs where one doesn’t see a dominant content angle.
4. Build a data-driven schema:
Having an idea of what to include in the blog posts will make it much easier to write them.
It’s always better to take a data-driven approach to understand what search engine users are really looking for.
Look for common subtitles.
Captions are often aligned with subtopics.
If one wants to see common captions on multiple high-ranking posts for the keyword, it’s probably something search engines want to know about.
It would probably be worth including a similar section in any post targeting this keyword.
To speed up the caption search process, use the free on-page SEO report in the Ahrefs SEO toolbar to view all captions in a post.
Search for common keywords:
Most pages that rank on the first page of Google for one keyword also rank in the top 10 for hundreds of other keywords.
Some of the keywords will represent subtopics that may want to include in the blog post.
5. Write the post:
It’s time to start playing the keyboard to write the first draft.
Create a data-driven schema, no need to worry about “adding keywords”.
To optimize blog posts for SEO, most of the optimization work is already done by aligning the blog post with search intent and taking a data-driven approach to the content itself.
It’s worth doing a few more optimizations so that the post has the best chance of ranking on Google.
Here’s a quick SEO checklist that can be followed for each post to be published to put the icing on the cake:
Include the keyword in the title:
Most blogging platforms like WordPress wrap the page title in an H1 header, so probably including the keyword in the title is SEO 101.
Just keep in mind that it doesn’t always make sense to include the keyword exactly as it’s written in the title. Sometimes it is better to use a variation to improve readability.
Keep the title tag short:
Title tags are important because they appear in search results:
Most blogging platforms like WordPress will set the post title as the title tag.
The title is particularly long, it may appear truncated in search results.
Use an evergreen URL:
The easiest way to do this is to set the URL bar of the post to the target keyword.
The added benefit of keeping URLs short and simple is reducing truncation in SERPs.
Create a compelling meta description:
Meta descriptions often appear as descriptive snippets in the SERP.
By crafting a compelling meta description, one can entice more search engines to click on the blog post in search results.
That leads to more organic traffic.
Look for common ground between the descriptive snippets of the highest-ranking posts.
Optimize the blog post images to be accessible and to help them rank in Google Images, which can send more traffic along the way.
Here’s how to optimize the images:
Use descriptive file names. Think cute-puppy.jpg, not IMG_95742.jpg.
Add descriptive alternative text. Describe the images in a few words to help visually impaired users who use screen readers.
Compress them. Use a plugin like ShortPixel or EWWW Image Optimizer for this.
Add a table of contents:
A table of contents links to important subsections of the publication and helps visitors find the information they are looking for.
Free plugins like Easy Table of Contents make it easy to add a table of contents to virtually any publication.
In addition to the benefits of UX, a table of contents can also help trigger site links in posts on the SERPs, which can potentially help to gain even more organic clicks.
Include “linkable snippets”
Linkable snippets are pieces of information that entice people to link to the blog posts.
Getting more links is important because they are a known ranking factor.
For more backlinks to post about SEO copywriting, one will probably include a couple of unique ideas in the post.
Add schema markup:
Outline markup is code that helps search engines better understand and display content in search results.
Rich snippets can increase clicks and drive more organic traffic to blog posts.
Add internal links:
Internal links are links from one page or post on the same domain to another.
They are important because they increase the “authority” of pages and help Google understand what a page is about.
This is why it makes sense to add relevant internal links to each blog post to publish.
This will return the site pages that mention the post’s target keyword:
So it’s simply a case of linking these words and phrases to the new blog post when relevant.
Also, find free internal linking opportunities using Site Audit in Ahrefs Webmaster Tools.
To improve and maintain blog post ranking:
Getting blog posts to rank high on Google and maintaining those rankings over time is an ongoing process.
Let’s look at some tactics used to improve and maintain blog post ranking.
Update posts regularly.
Optimize featured snippets.
Featured snippets are small pieces of information that appear at the top of some search results.
Create content hubs.
Content centres are interconnected collections of blog posts on a particular topic.
They consist of these three parts:
A “core” publication on a broad topic.
Secondary publications on parts of the general topic.
Internal links to and from the central page to secondary posts.
Many SEO professionals believe that creating a content centre from blog posts will improve the ranking of all posts in the centre.
There are a few reasons, the main theory is that it helps Google see the site as an authoritative source of information on a topic.
In terms of creating a content hub, one can either create one from scratch or build them from blog posts that have already been written on a similar topic.
Build more links:
Because there is a clear correlation between backlinks and rankings, one will likely have a hard time outperforming posts with high-quality links significantly higher than.
See the SERP overview for the target keyword in Ahrefs Keyword Explorer:
Dig into the link profiles to check the quality of the links and get a better idea of the true ranking difficulty.
Blog SEO is all about consistency.
Need to constantly write, optimize, and update search-focused blog posts.
It takes time and rankings won’t appear overnight, but it’s pretty much the only way to drive consistent search traffic to the blog.
If the blog is new and lacks “authority,” it may also be worth starting with low-competition keywords that are easier to rank for.
Learn more about starting and growing the blog to 100,000 monthly visitors and more in the free business blogging course.