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Ready to get more search traffic and take your SEO to the next level? That requires a plan!
There are a zillion parts to SEO, but the part that can make the biggest difference AND that you have full control over is how you use SEO in your blog posts.
In this tutorial, I walk you through how to optimize blog posts for SEO. I cover everything you need to do from how to write SEO articles to SEO title best practices to how long should a blog post be for SEO.
A good place to start is by clicking here to download your free “Zero To Hero” blog post SEO checklist/roadmap that you can use to walk through each of these steps every time you write a new post.
This tutorial is for serious bloggers who want to take their traffic to the next level. If you are new to SEO, I recommend you work through this tutorial first.
Want more search traffic? Join the FREE 7-Day SEO Boost Challenge by clicking here.
You’ll get a task every day aimed to get your more traffic to your site.
My 10-Step Process For How To Optimize Blog Posts For SEO
You will learn my ten-step process...
- Step 1: Find your keywords
- Step 2: Write your title
- Step 3: Write your URL
- Step 4: Write your meta-description
- Step 5: Write your blog post
- Step 6: Add images
- Step 7: Add external links
- Step 8: Add internal links
- Step 9: Do a full proofread
- Step 10: Hit publish!
- Next steps
Step 1: Find your keywords
Keywords are one of the most important parts of SEO.
So it’s really important you get this step right because the other steps are nowhere near as important.
Lucky for you, I have a whole tutorial dedicated to finding the perfect keywords.
For this step, click here and follow this article.
It will show you how to get your main keyword and additional keywords. Do not leave this step until you have these!
Step 2: Write your title
Now you have your main keyword, you should have an idea of what your title will be – this is because it should include your main keyword.
This is important for SEO for blog posts.
Your title doesn’t just have to be your keyword – you can add extra words to the beginning and/or end of it. You should keep the keyword exactly as is, however.
For example, for this tutorial, my keyword is how to optimize blog posts for SEO.
But I added some words to the beginning. This is fine.
If you use SEO Yoast, you may be wondering what is SEO title. This appears in the Yoast box underneath posts.
This is what appears in the title bar of the browser when your blog post is open.
This should also include your main keyword and generally is the same as your article title. You shouldn’t need to edit it.
Some bloggers do change this when they want to write a more creative title for their blog post thinking that as long as they know how to write a SEO title for that including their keywords that they have followed content SEO best practices.
This is not true.
While it is better to have your keyword in the SEO title than nowhere, your article is not optimized for SEO unless you have your keyword in the main title. It is really powerful when Google sees it in that main heading.
Also, Google usually shows your SEO title in their results but they may show the title of your blog post instead. It’s more powerful when people are looking in search results to see their keywords as the heading of the article – it makes them more likely to click on it.
If you don’t use the Yoast SEO plugin or another equivalent plugin, I recommend you install it. The free version is sufficient. However, I recommend you turn off the keyword and readability analysis and follow the tips in this tutorial instead. It does not encourage up-to-date practices.
Step 3: Write your URL
The next step is to write your URL. In WordPress, this appears just under the blog title where it says Permalink.
By default, this might be fine.
What I recommend is that it contains your main keyword. I usually remove all other words so the main keyword stands out. This is mainly so in search results, people searching can see the blog post is relevant more easily.
You can edit it by clicking the edit button next to it.
Step 4: Write your meta-description
A meta-description is a description that search engines read and it should describe what your post is about, include keywords (more about these below) and entice people to click your article when they read it. All within 160 characters!
Meta-descriptions are usually shown in search results when your posts are listed, but note that Google can show whatever it likes so this is not always the case and you can’t control exactly what they will show.
However, since it is usually the meta-description, it is worth putting some effort into this.
You need a plugin to be able to edit the meta-description.
In step 2 above, there is a screenshot which shows you where to do this in the Yoast SEO plugin under your blog posts.
Step 5: Write your blog post
When it comes to how to write SEO friendly blog posts, mostly it’s about writing quality content that will answer all your readers questions.
This means it should be thorough and detailed but also means it should be easy for people to read.
How to use keywords in blog posts
I recommend you write a plan for how you will use your keywords before you start. I cover this in depth in SEO Freedom, but, basically, I recommend you plan your sub-headings and which section you will use each keyword before you start.
This will ensure your article is detailed and thorough and answers all questions – the additional keywords you found earlier will give you lots of ideas of what people want to know.
For your main keyword, I recommend using it in your:
- A subheading
- Article text – once or twice is enough. The earlier in the article the better.
For other keywords, once each is enough. For keywords you would particularly like to rank in search results for, try to use them in a subheading. This is all you need to do for keyword SEO optimized content writing.
It does take practise to get good at writing to keywords. In the beginning, it will feel awkward and you’ll worry they stand out. Most probably, they don’t! And you will get faster and better doing it in time. I don’t even think about it now.
SEO blog post length
When it comes to the best blog length for SEO, the general rule is that longer is better. However, it’s not better to write a whole lot of content that isn’t helpful.
You should focus on being detailed, thorough and answering all questions.
Whatever length that turns out to be is the right length although I would suggest in most cases that will be over 2000 words. In many cases, a lot more.
If you are writing something like a recipe, obviously this will be different. In these sorts of cases, a way to get an idea of the best article length for SEO is to look at what articles are currently in the top 10. How long are they? If they are all short, you can be too.
Some other SEO content writing tips
- Use sub-headings wherever you can containing keywords. Keywords used in sub-headings get a boost and it helps people skim your article and skip to relevant parts.
- Use a table of contents plugin like this. This helps readers skip to relevant parts and also puts your keywords in the post another time when they were used in your sub-headings
- Keep paragraphs short. It’s easier to skim and read
Step 6: Add images
Once your article is complete, it’s time to add images and possibly videos.
This helps to break up the text which makes it easier and nicer for people to read. It’s an important part of how to write SEO content for websites.
Of course, images also add to the article – who doesn’t want to see pictures of a destination they are reading about or a dish they would like to cook.
Or, in my case, I use images to illustrate what I’m teaching.
Videos can also be great when they add to your content. They help SEO friendly content writing because they keep people on your post for longer which is good signal for Google.
When you are adding your images, you can also add keywords to the title and alt tags. This gives some benefit but isn’t as good as using keywords in your article text or caption. Also remember that alt tags are read out to people who are vision impaired so they should also describe your image.
Step 7: Add external links
Part of how to write SEO friendly articles is to add external links. This helps to show Google you are a complete resource.
Try to have at least one external link per article. Affiliate links don’t count because these should be nofollow (more about that here).
Any external links from your blog posts should be to quality sites – don’t link to spam 🙂
Step 8: Add internal links
You should also add links to other posts on your blog. This also shows Google that you are a complete resource with additional articles to support what you are writing about.
Internal links are not just good when it comes to how to write SEO friendly content but also encourage people to click around your blog which is a win. They are also helpful.
For example, when you are reading this, you may have clicked to one of the articles I have linked to already, like how to find your keywords in step 1. This helps this article be a more complete resource.
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Step 9: Do a full proofread
While the occasional error is not going to cause you issues, it’s important you do whatever you can to avoid them and this is one of the most important steps in my SEO content writing guidelines.
I recommend doing several proofreads. One where you concentrate on grammar, puncutation and spelling errors. One where you concentrate on flow and that your article is in a good order and makes sense.
Finally, I recommend you do a scroll through your article without reading it to make sure it *looks* nice. Let me show you what I mean in the following video:
Step 10: Hit publish
It’s finally time to hit publish knowing you have done the best job possible to create a SEO friendly blog post that will hopefully bring lots of traffic!
After publishing, I recommend sharing your new post across your social media accounts. Hopefully, this will give you traffic, but it also helps when it comes to how to write SEO optimized content as social signals plays a part in Google’s algorithm.
You should also add some internal links from other posts on your site to your new one.
The next step then is to be patient! SEO takes time to work. A year is not unusual. You can speed this up by building links from other sites to your article, but if you have picked a great main keyword, this should not be necessary to get in the top 10.
Then rinse and repeat with a new article 🙂
Click here to download my “Zero To Hero” new blog post roadmap which you can use for every new blog post! And join the 7-Day SEO Boost Challenge which will get your more traffic to your site.
Any questions? Ask below!