Google processes over 3.5 billion searches a day.
That equates to 40,000 search queries every second and 1.2 trillion global searches every single year.
Marketers are taking advantage of this incredible traffic by implementing Search Engine Optimization (SEO). This digital marketing strategy optimizes online content for specific searches.
The right SEO campaign can make your content more visible in search results and drive traffic to your site.
One of the best ways to leverage any SEO campaign is to maintain a blog. SEO-friendly blog posts can be your secret to earning a higher Google ranking in no time!
Blog formatting is important, however, when blogging for SEO purposes. In this post, we’ll discuss what you can do to achieve an SEO-friendly blog format.
Read on for insight!
What is Search Engine Optimization?
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a digital marketing strategy available to anyone seeking greater online visibility.
Users turn to search engines to locate information on-the-go. Whether they’re online shopping or browsing the news, users rely on Google to populate results for searchable keywords and phrases.
When these results appear, consumers are most likely to click on ones at the top of the first page of results. This is because Google ranks results according to authority–the best matches surface at the top.
SEO can optimize your online content such that it appears more prominently in search results, boosting your “clickability” factor.
Most marketers will begin with some keyword research to see what phrases their ideal customers are likely to type into Google or Bing. They will then implement these terms into online content, including landing pages and blog posts.
There’s much more that goes into an SEO campaign. Google doesn’t just assess your ability to knit keywords into your content. It will also pay attention to your domain authority, SEO-friendly practices, and more.
It’s also possible to craft a local SEO campaign, which optimizes content for location-based keywords. Local SEO campaigns can be valuable for businesses looking to attract more community members.
Blog Formatting for SEO
No matter what industry you’re a part of, your SEO campaign will depend on high-value content. Most business owners will optimize the pages of their website for trending keywords.
Others will take it further, creating a blog in order to have endlessly optimizable content. Blogs are an excellent means of engaging with customers and demonstrating your authority in a certain field.
Each blog post has a chance to appear in search results, however, giving you one more means of bringing customers to your site.
Blogs can, therefore, be the heart of any SEO campaign. But they have to be formatted correctly in order to actually help–not hinder–your Google ranking. Here’s how you can format your blog correctly so that it aligns with SEO principles.
1. Read Google’s Guidelines
A lot of marketers are surprised to learn that Google actually has guidelines when it comes to SEO. They assume either that SEO relies on a lot of common sense or that Google keeps these guidelines secret.
Google is actually remarkably public about its algorithms, the tools it uses to assign rankings. It also gives marketers multiple tools and guidelines for crafting Google-friendly SEO campaigns.
Before you dive into blog formatting, it’s important to brush up on your knowledge of these rules. Begin with Google’s Webmaster Guidelines and follow this up with its Steps to a Google-Friendly Site.
While you’re at it, you may even wish to check out its SEO Starter Guide, which can be helpful for people navigating SEO for the first time.
One thing that Google’s guidelines emphasize is the standard for high-value content. According to Google, it will prioritize sites that “give visitors the information they’re looking for.”
If you write blog posts that aren’t likely to be useful to your readers, your Google ranking may suffer. For this reason, generating high-value content should be your priority when thinking about crafting your SEO-friendly blog.
2. Perform the Right Keyword Research
Keywords are the heart of any SEO campaign, although they aren’t its sole defining principle. Yet performing the right keyword research before writing a blog is essential.
In fact, beginning with a list of viable keywords can actually help you craft your blog topics. Identifying the keywords that your ideal readers or customers are likely to type into Google can help you write the posts that they will want to click on.
There are many ways to begin your keyword research. You may start by putting yourself in your customers’ shoes and writing a list of words you’d search for. Some marketers use Google’s Keyword Planner, especially if they already have an AdWords campaign in place.
Others will use subscription-based tools like Ahref’s Keyword Explorer to identify high-value terms.
The key to keyword research is flexibility. It’s important to choose a mix of long-tail and short-tail words, for example. But it’s also key to keep in mind that your customers’ preferences are likely to shift.
Keywords gain and lose popularity for this reason. Your keyword list should be ready to adapt to industry standards accordingly.
3. Optimize in the Right Places
We definitely recommend writing blogs based off of the keywords that you discover, in addition to any other ideas you may have. It’s also wise to think about how you want to optimize each blog post before writing.
In general, aim to insert a maximum of five keywords per 500 words of content. This is a rough rule, but it’s an important one to follow, as Google readily penalizes any marketer that “overstuffs” keywords.
You should also include keywords in the following places: the blog post’s title, at least one secondary header (Header 2), the introduction, and the conclusion. Keywords should appear naturally sprinkled throughout the main body of the post itself.
You’ll also want to knit your keyword into the URL of the blog post itself. This is more crucial than most marketers realize. Try to keep the URL as short as possible, too, as lengthier URLs may harm your ranking.
If you use WordPress, you may have the Yoast plugin installed. This is WordPress’s SEO plugin, and it offers optimization pointers for individual pages of content. If you haven’t installed it, give it a try!
4. Keep it Concise and Easy-to-Read
Remember Google’s suggestion that you write content your customers are looking for? Users may be looking for a certain type of content, but they’ll also want content that’s direct and easy to read.
For this reason, as you write your blog post, keep it concise. Break big paragraphs up into miniature ones consisting of two or three sentences max. Also make use of a bunch of headers, bullet points, and numbers.
Write simply, too. A shorter sentence is much easier to digest than a long one.
Once again, if you use Yoast, you’ll be aware of your “Readability” score. Keep your blog posts as readable and skimmable as possible.
5. Don’t Forget About Images
The best blog posts incorporate at least an image or two. Consumers are often drawn to image-based content, so don’t forget to include some relevant pics!
You can also optimize images for SEO. When formatting your blog for SEO, don’t overlook this key principle.
When you open an image’s file, be sure to title it with your SEO keyword. Incorporate the keyword into its ALT description, too. If you have a video, the same stipulations apply.
6. Inspect Links
Links have a lot to do with SEO. In general, aim to include a handful of links per individual blog post. These include both internal and external links.
Internal links are any embedded links that send readers to another page on your website. This may be a “Contact Us” link, for example, or one that directs a reader to a similar blog post.
A lot of marketers assume that internal links don’t really mean anything. But they can actually support your page authority and integrity in a powerful way. Include at least 2 relevant internal links per blog post.
External links are equally as important. These direct visitors to relevant pages outside of your website. Most external links will function as supporting evidence for facts or statistics.
Others may be news articles or other non-competitors. Include 2 external links into each blog post and make sure each is reputable.
7. Optimize Meta Descriptions
Every blog post will have a “meta description,” a blurb describing what the post is about. This will appear under your post’s title in search results.
Optimize this meta description for your keyword of choice. Also be sure that this blurb will “look good” in search results. It should be eye-catching and concise. It should also accurately summarize what the post is about.
The same goes for your post’s title. Choose something that is likely to resonate with users who are browsing search results.
Blog Formatting for SEO
Blogs can offer a powerful means of leveraging any SEO campaign. However, they require proper formatting in order to support your Google rankings.
When formatting a blog post for SEO, be sure to familiarize yourself with Google’s rules ahead of time. Perform adequate keyword research and, if possible, choose your blog topics based off of this.
When writing the post itself, optimize wisely. Don’t forget to optimize images, URLs, and meta descriptions. And keep it concise!
Interested in how your content is ranking on Google? Check out your ranking now!