The Sarky Type – content with more bite

Knowing how to write an SEO friendly blog sounds like pure witchcraft. But is it really that hard?

Nope.

Sear into your brain the idea that brilliant writing is already SEO friendly. I read something written by a copywriter who made the mistake of saying, “keyword cramming might mean you rank well on search engines but it will read like utter tripe.” I’m paraphrasing but that just isn’t true. It’s a viewpoint that’s very 90s SEO, and probably from someone that doesn’t know much about the subject.

BUT brilliant writing needs a few other things to help it along the way. Trying to cheat the system by stuffing the motherload of keywords on a page will work againts you. Crawler bots are sophisticated, they know what you’re trying to do. Finding that happy place between engaging content and SEO perfection takes skill and time.

But before you write your SEO friendly blog…

Think about why you’re writing your blog. If your blog is part of a website that sells a product or service then all content should be created with your client in mind. If you don’t have an ideal client, fixing their challenges will make your job much harder. Take a look at my post on how to start a business blog.

1. Research your keywords

It’s the second time I’ve mentioned ‘keywords’ and now you’re looking at me blank.

Ok, this is what I’m talking about:

  • Keywords – words you want your post to be found for

And my personal favourite:

  • Long-tail keywords – specific words and phrases that describe exactly your chosen topic

Free tools such as Answer The Public are great to see what people are searching for. You can export the data too.

You need to think about the search intent your audience has when they’re googling for things that sit around your industry. When any of us are putting a search query into Google, we have a clear reason for doing so. We might want to buy something, we might be looking for a specific website or we might want an answer to a question.

The latter is what we’re looking to focus on when to blog. We want to capture those people looking with informational intent about a subject.

If you wanna know more about your targeted keywords and how they relate to user intent, take a look at this article: Smash your keywords with customer intent

Think about the questions your audience will want answers to. See what other bloggers are doing around the subjects you’re interested in and research the keywords on those subjects.

But wait, there’s more…

When you pop a request into Google (there are other search engines available) you will also see a list of popular searches related to your topic.

Take a look: 

Keywords for blogging

And when you get the search results you’ll also get this: 

Keywords for writing great blogs

The ‘People also ask’ field, how cool is that for more help with your keywords? It’s really bloody cool!

2. Write a decent blog title

I always start with a title or at least a working one. All my content springs from there, other bloggers do it differently and you probably will too.

Just like before, google the type of content you want to write about BUT this time concentrate on the blogs that make the first page in the SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages).

Pay close attention to the title structure and the description below it (these are your meta title tags and descriptions). This will give you clues on how to write eye-catching blog posts: 

Search Engine Results

Create a title to hook the reader. When users are searching with the intent to find information, a blog post will give them the answer. You want your blog to do the same. That’s the main purpose of a business blog. To strategically target your chosen market and provide the knowledge they need.

3. Write the body of the post

Where you can, tell a story. If you’re old enough to remember, invoke the spirit of Max Bygraves. If you were born after 1989, ignore that reference. Narrative gets the reader invested because humans function that way, it’s in our DNA to like a good yarn.

Pepper your content with your keywords. Add them when and where it makes logical sense to do so. I can’t stress enough how bad keyword stuffing is!

It will hurt your search engine ranking if you use too many keywords. Just like us, the algorithm also hates shit content

Talk to your audience directly, imagine they are sat beside you. We each have an individual voice and you will develop yours through practice. Use words that are easy to understand, and avoid jargon if you’re writing for a broad audience.  

4. Blog structure

Plan your layout. Maybe think in terms of intro, middle, and end. Lead your audience through the content. Make sure the text is relevant to the actual title. Break up large chunks of text into smaller paragraphs and use bullet points and pull quotes to make it look visually more appealing.

Other points to remember:

  • Table of contents: Place one at the top of the post. It helps users see what they can expect from the content.
  • Headings: Your page title will be the only H1 heading on your page. The rest will go down in hierarchy from H2, H3, H4 etc.. Use proper headings when you need them, don’t just bold the text.
  • Fonts: Be consistent with your choices.
  • Writing guide: It’s really helpful to develop a writing standard for how you communicate to your audience, check out my blog post on that very subject.
  • Internal links: Link to other related content on your website.

5. Images

When you upload your photos don’t leave their original file name in place. Change them to a title that makes sense to your post. Always add something in the “Alt. Title ” field.

Add a CTA (Call To Action)

How to get your prospects to take action on your website

Good job if your reader has read all of the post but don’t leave them hanging. Give them something to do next in the form of a CTA button (like the image above) or a ‘subscribe’ link to your blog. Make it really easy for them to get more information and to get in contact with you.

6. Publish and promote

Spread the word across all your social media. Preach the gospel that is your wonderful, helpful blog! If your post is useful to others, some nice sorts might want to feature it on their website. Getting a backlink (your website URL) on a credible and trusted site will help no end with SEO. The more quality backlinks the better!

If you’re posting on social media and you have blog posts that are related to that content – say so! Add a link so people can go direct to that great information.

And wait…

SEO friendly blog

SEO ranking doesn’t happen overnight. You’re going to need to create consistent, top-notch content to win the SEO race. But remember SEO is a shifting sand. Algorithms change, you never have time to rest when optimising your blog or website.

If you want to know more about how I can help, hit the button.

You’ve decided to start a business blog. This is excellent news, and welcome.

Some years ago, I freelanced for a wedding venue. The owners were keen to start a blog. They didn’t know why they wanted a blog and at that time I didn’t understand the value of long-form content. I was a terrible blogger.

That was a true story, that’s why it lacked an exciting narrative.

I don’t want you to be a terrible business blogger, so here’s my beginner’s guide.

1. Come up with a plan

If you’re a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants kind of person then I have no time for you.

Most things you do for your business should have an objective. They most certainly need a strategy. Leave the spontaneity for the bedroom.

Get yourself some means for making notes, and hold on tight.

You should know who you want to read this blog. Call them your ideal client, target market, specific audience – whatever, you need to be writing for somebody.

Your blog will likely live on your business website, a website that probably serves a purpose. If it doesn’t, see my other post about crappy websites. You’re giving something to the people reading your content, only you can determine what that is.

Here are a few reasons why I blog:

  • To create searchable helpful content
  • To showcase my skillz
  • To demonstrate my expertise
  • To build authority and trust
  • I bloody love it!

If your motivation to start a business blog is to talk about you, that’s going to be a really boring read for those unfortunate enough to find it. You might be interesting, sure but if it’s not providing something else, all you’re doing is writing an online diary.

And if you want to start a personal blog for that reason, great, go do that.

No one likes a show-off, the idea is to keep visitors reading, self-absorbed wankers don’t usually induce people to stick around. And that’s what we want, and there’s a name for it – dwell time and we absolutely want that on our websites.

It’s a bit like going on a date with arrogant Jonathan.

He talks all night about how he trained as a pilot. He also spent 4 years running a multi-million-pound investment company. He only usually dates women with a perfect waist-hip ratio but you’re the exception to this rule due to your “tremendous knockers”. You’ll soon realise you’ve made a big mistake and should have gone out with Jim who enjoys country walks and staring longingly into your eyes (not your knockers).

People are searching for a solution to a problem.

Let them happen upon your amazingly titled blog post that offers that solution. They will begin to trust you, see if you’re the right person for them and BUY FROM YOU.

2. Find your tone

Pull up a chair and get comfy because we need to figure out how you want to communicate.

Take a load off and grab a coffee and start to think about how you talk to people. How you chat to your mates might not be how you talk professionally. Or it might be exactly how you talk professionally. This stuff is personal and it’s about letting your personality come through, whatever that might be. So when you start your business blog, what will it sound like? Are your target customers going to respond to that tone? More importantly, are you going to attract the clients YOU want with that tone?

Certain things should be left at the door.

Certain things should never be spoken of and yet I’m going to have to. 

Talking in the third person: ‘Patricia has been an event photographer since 2003’. Patricia is writing this about herself. Jesus Patricia! 

It doesn’t matter if you’re a sole trader or part of a huge organisation, writing using ‘I’ or ‘we’ is the only way to go. But never ‘we’ when there really is only you. It’s disingenuous and you’re not the queen.

3. Get SEO savvy

Search Engine Optimisation will be helped tenfold by blogging. And as an SEO content writer, I’m always banging on about the lovely long-form.

But wait, if you think it’s all about keyword cramming, you’d be royally wrong.

Write as you would for your chosen human. Don’t ever let me hear you’ve been shoehorning keywords and phrases around some terribly written copy. That’s not the blogging way and it’s certainly NOT the SEO blogging way.

There’s no difference between SEO content writing and great writing.

But there are other things to consider when you’re optimising your words and blog posts to get them seen on the web. I would urge you to find out more about content SEO before you start to write a damn thing, click here for more info.

4. Know when to use jargon

Many of your audience will know words and terms that are specific to your industry. If you’re talking exclusively to that audience, knock yourself out. I will say, that often, too many industry terms can make for a really boring read:

‘We can maximise your productivity and consolidate your output by using this great new CMV product.’

I have no idea what that means I only know it reads baaaaaaaad.

Corporate speak is one way to stop sounding like a human

Knowing your audience well will inform you when to use jargon.

5. Mix it up and keep it fresh

Vary your content by all means but always have a purpose for writing.

Focus on helping and informing your audience with your business blog. You want to create searchable content that gets found on a Google search. People want you to talk to them, and if what you write gives them an answer, they’ll get the impression you know stuff.

Adding graphics, video and various different mediums are a brilliant way to make your blog interesting and engaging.

6. Make ’em laugh (if you wanna)

You don’t have to make anyone laugh.

When I’m looking for information via the Internet, I usually want the solution to a problem. I want it quick and in easy to understand terms. Making me laugh is not essential. Sometimes though, it helps me to digest a really dull or tough subject better, especially if the author has used some funny metaphors.

And sometimes I like reading a blog (business or otherwise) because I like the author’s style, I couldn’t care less what they’re writing about because the writing is so good.

Start a business blog

If you’re a comedian, I would expect your blog to be funny but humour is subjective and not everyone will see the funny side. But that’s ok, it will attract the people who find you hilarious and repel the ones who think you’re a dick.

If you want to know more about how I can help make your dry-ass content funny and engaging, hit the button.

Blog for business? Seriously? Who the hell is going to read that shit? Plenty of people, the trick is to make your business blog worth reading.

“Actually Sarah, I have someone writing my business blog for me.”

Oh, do you? Who, your mum? Your mate’s BF? If you do have someone legit writing your blog (your mum or whatever) then great, this probably isn’t for you.

But maybe what you’re really doing is typing some guff around a few stock images once a year, if you are, that isn’t blogging.

Whether you’ve begun a half-arsed blog or have yet to start a blog (half-arsed or otherwise) stop right now and read why it’s ruddy important.

1. It’s great for your website

Adding consistent quality content will increase your organic traffic.

That’s free website traffic that builds over time – but only if we keep blogging, yeah. And what do I mean by quality content? Well, that really depends on who you’re writing for and what their interests are. Once you figure that out you can research keywords and phrases that centre your blog posts around certain topics.

If you want more info on blogging with SEO in mind, click here.

2. It’s a stage in your buying process

We’re all internet users and we’re all looking online for products and services but we’re also looking to be educated.

When that happens we’re searching the net with informational intent. And blog posts nearly always have the answers.

The idea is to create the kind of blog that provides sexy, searchable content. You need your audience to find those lovingly crafted posts. If what you got going on is good, those visitors will remember you.

But wait…

Don’t reveal all your methods.

Tease the audience just enough to get them started (and be well impressed by you). They’ll often lack the motivation to do the work themselves but now they know someone who can do the work. (You. I’m referring to you.)

3. It talks to your client base

You know what your clients need, you know what things they’re going to be asking. And if you don’t, you absolutely should. There’s no excuse to have not done your homework on this, it’s pretty basic business marketing stuff.

Research your audience.

Think about the things they want to know that surrounds your industry. What solutions do they need that a blog post could provide? How will your blog speak directly to them and help with the burning questions they have?

4. It showcases your knowledge

This is pretty bloody important to those people who want to hire you.

If you can clearly demonstrate how good you are, your prospects will be in no doubt of your expertise. They will gaze upon you glassy-eyed wondering where the hell you’ve been all their lives. My blog is my portfolio. I work hard creating and amassing useful (and hilarious) content for business owners. It’s the only example of my work they’ll need.

And if they need more convincing, they’re not the right client for me.

5. It builds trust

There’s a little SEO principle called E-A-T and that stands for expertise, authority, trust.

As we’ve covered expertise, let’s take a look at the other two.

Authority is what you get when you demonstrate your expertise. Not only will prospective customers feel the weight of your abilities but your peers will also. Imagine how powerful it is to be regarded as someone who knows their stuff by others doing the same job. That my friends will lead to trust. People will rest easy in the knowledge that you’ll get the job done.

6. It can be repurposed

Blog posts are long and they have plenty of useful information that can be used elsewhere.

Just one article will inspire so many shorter social media posts. You can dine out on that content for years (if it’s evergreen, obvs). Think about creating different kinds of content with them. Podcasts, videos, and infographics can all be born from a blog. Get the most out of your long-form writing.

Last things to remember when you blog for business.

If done right, this shit takes time.

The act of researching and writing takes time but so does SEO (the organic traffic bit). Don’t consider blogging if you don’t have the resources.

If you decide to get serious about blogging, the long term benefits will be immense.

Remember what I said about traffic building over time? Well, the more relevant blog content you create, the more that snowball grows. And if like a good little blogger, you get busy promoting and sharing what you write, others will share it and refer back to it.

A blog for business is exciting stuff (no, seriously, it is).

Do you have a terrible business blog? Thinking of starting one? Hit the button.