Post updated, April 2023.
An SEO-friendly blog people yearn to read… bleurgh! Sounds like an oxymoron—sounds outmoded—sounds like utter bullshit—sounds like I should be on Give Us a Clue, with the much-missed Lionel Blair.
Not only does a readable SEO blog seem contradictory but it also seems boring, very square and very bloody hard.
You’ll be delighted to know that it’s none of the above.
I invite you to sear into your brain the idea that brilliant writing is already SEO-friendly. Superb, we can all go home now.
Well, not quite yet.
I read something on the socials (a few years back now), something written by a copywriter bloke that made my blood pressure climb (it doesn’t take much). He made the SEO rookie error of saying this: ‘Keyword stuffing might mean you rank well on search engines but it will read like utter tripe.’ I am paraphrasing but that statement leans on an old tired view of SEO. The reality is, these days, you cannot rank well by writing crap content. That opinion is as dated as the 70s Bullworker™️ your dad still keeps behind the wardrobe, in the hopes it will one day transform him from flabby dad bod to Grecian god. Don’t let your thoughts about SEO reveal you as out of step, don’t get caught behind the SEO times.
Now you know brilliant writing is already you SEOing like a muthafucker. But gorgeous words require a few other things to help them along the way.
Trying to cheat the system (the search engine system) like you did back when Steps were on the radio, will work against you. Crawler bots are smart, they know what you’re trying to do. So my beauty, write good, write for the human you’re writing for but include on-page optimisation. Ah! THAT’S the secret sauce! Yes, Joan, yes it is.
REMINDER: If your blog is part of a website that sells a product or service, all content should be created with your client in mind. If you don’t have an ideal client, fixing their challenges with your blog, will make your job much harder. Take a look at my post on how to start a business blog.
Research your keywords.
These are the words you want your blog to be found for. Just so we’re clear, these are the phrases people are typing into search engines.
Free tools such as Answer The Public are great for seeing what users are looking for. And what’s really nice is you can export the data too.
Knowing keywords is not enough, you must also research the intent of those keywords. That’s how you perfectly marry the content with the query. Your audience has a desire when they google—we all do when we google. We might want to buy a bathroom blind because pervy Norm, from next door, keeps peeking when we take a shower. Perhaps we’d like an answer to a question, like how to get dog piss out of a sheep’s skin rug. We all search with an intention and if you’d like to know more about that, go here >> Smash your keywords with customer intent <<.
Think about the questions your audience will want answers to. See what other bloggers are doing around the subject and research the keywords on those subjects. Wanna free keyword tool? Try WordStream.
Google leaves keyword clues.
When you pop a request into Google (other search engines are available) you will also see a list of popular searches related to your topic.
Take a look:
And when you get the search results you’ll also see this:
The ‘People also ask’ field is handing you other keywords that are being searched for.
If you want to read everything I’ve written about keywords, >>click here<<.
Blog titles that pop.
Once you have your keyword you can build a title around it. I usually start with a working headline as I often go off-piste and end up writing something I really meant to say, rather than what the working title says. In that instance, I’ll tweak the title and potentially the keyword, to make sure it matches the blog post.
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 titles and descriptions). This will give you hints on how to write eye-catching blog titles:
The first example above isn’t great because the title is too long—it cuts off which is ironic considering it’s telling us how to write catchy headlines and blog titles.
The second example above is bang-on. It gets to the point, it gives us numbered tips (which Google loves because humans love them) and you can read the entire title. Note that it also includes the business name at the end, this means you know where the content is coming from.
The perfect body.
Damn, your body is fine! Look at all that tempting content!
That’s what we hope our readers will think when they see our written goods. Narrative piques our interest, enjoying story time is in our DNA—we can’t help but like a good yarn. Humans get invested when they relate to what’s being said/typed on the screen. It’s the same when you watch a film. There’s always a character you hope won’t die. The protagonist you wish to succeed (despite their flaws and shortcomings).
The person reading your blog is the only one that matters—not a crawler bot. Write as though you’re revealing something to only them. That’s the art of bringing your blog to life, the precious something that elevates your content to other-worldly good. (Or you could just use filthy metaphors for cheap laughs and blog sign-ups—hi, nice to meet you.) We each have an individual voice and you will develop yours through practice.
As you weave your enticing tale, use words that flow—don’t be afraid to loosen up and experiment with style. Always be a merciless editor. Cut anything that reads clunky. Clarity paints pictures in the minds of your audience.
Think of your blog body in terms of intro, middle and end. Lead your audience through the content. Break up large chunks of text into smaller paragraphs. Use bullet points and pull quotes to make it look visually more appealing. Always include a call to action. End on an instruction. Ask them to sign up for more cool content stuff.
However you choose to write, keep it consistent. Develop your own writing standard. Check out my blog post on that very subject.
Brawny blog structures.
Create a strong swoony blog structure and use that as the blueprint for your blogs.
Table of contents.
If you can download website plugins, install a table of contents to show on each post. You can configure it to display certain headings in the table. It allows the visitors to your blog to see what’s coming up in the article. You give them a choice to skip to the info they really need.
Headings and subheadings.
Look, love, make sure you’re using the correct heading hierarchy. Don’t make a line of text bold and tell me it’s a heading—it is NOT. The main page heading is known as your H1 heading. The subheadings go down (or go up?) in order, H2, H3, H4 etc.
Individual blogs and articles require structure but the same is also true of your entire blog. What a lot of bloggers do is create one-off pieces of content, pages of stand-alone blog posts about a single subject. That’s ok if the content is good but it’s not completely optimised for search.
An SEO-friendly blog (that people yearn to read) involves you being a know-it-all. Enter topical authority. This is where you build cluster content around a core subject (or subjects). You become the go-to blog for certain information. And more great information about a single topic means people reading for longer. If you’d like to understand how you do that, >>click here<<.
The End (thank god).
Listen, I hope you now understand that striving for excellence in your writing is the overriding factor to SEO right. If you do nothing else, make sure you favour quality above quantity.
I’m a freelance business content writer at The Sarky Type®. My thang is SEO-informed blurb that sets your words on fire (ablaze with LOLs and engagement not to be confused with real fire that destroys everything in sight. Metaphors are better when they don’t require explanation. Note to self).