SEO Blog Writing – A Guide
What Does Blog Writing Have to Do With SEO?
Blog articles are a significant part of on-page SEO strategy, which refers to content that you control. Unlike other SEO strategies, blog writing is the most within your control, which is why mastering it is beneficial.
Blog writing aims to create trustworthy, accessible, and authoritative content that will impress Google enough to raise your website’s ranking. The better the content, the better the rank.
Sounds simple enough. However, blogs optimized for SEO have been fine-tuned with specific practices in mind.
Let’s delve into then.
SEO Blog Writing Structure
Optimized blog writing is simple, as long as you understand the proper structure and intent of an article.
Blogs optimized for ranking must be clear, concise, and informative. In other words, they must provide accurate information written plainly, so that every person can understand the content.
While keyword stuffing and other algorithmic-satisfying tactics no longer work, some key trends indicate a well-ranking article.
Word count and Article Length
The minimum word count of an optimized blog sits at 300 words. This is because Google chooses wants to provide its users with high-quality, informative content. Marieke van de Rakt of Yoast suggests that, “You have a higher chance of ranking in Google if you write long, high-quality blog posts, of 1000 words or more. “(Van der Rakt, 2020)
The benefit of longer text means the opportunity to include more information, pictures, links, and keywords. However, overoptimizing by stuffing in keywords will only hurt your chances.
The key here is to write at least 400 or more words. The ideal word count may change depending on how much there is to say on a topic. All that matters is avoiding any padding or stuffing to reach a word count.
An exception to this rule happens with cornerstone articles, which are supposed to be lengthy by default. Ideally, cornerstone articles should be at least 1000 words and more to rank well.
These articles encompass everything about a topic, so don’t worry about fulfilling the word count. There is plenty to write about for any cornerstone article.
For more detailed information on word count and article length, visit our SEO Blog Writing Guide.
Chapters are valuable to books because they break up the text, and determine what area of text represents a topic. They are also put to provide a logical flow of congruent information.
This is what headings are in the realm of blog writing. Headings are used for segmenting an article by topic, while also determining their order based on importance. This comes in the form of H1, H2, H3, and so forth.
H1’s tend to be grand, and encompassing, like titles or representing the entirety of a topic or section.
H2’s and below narrow down information to its specifics, while keeping the ‘topic’ together, since they will appear under the H1. These lower headings are also separate from other H1′ zones’, making it easier for both Google and consumers to analyze content.
For more information on the importance of headings visit another blog that goes more in depth.
By itself, alt-text is a text written in HTML code to help both machines and users identify an image. The text describes whatever image displays.
Machines use alt-text as markers to crawl through and sort images, since the engine itself cannot ‘see’ and image as we can. Having good alt-text makes it easier for the Google spider to understand the image content on your page, and potentially increase your ranking.
Another use of alt-text is linked to accessibility. The written alt-text is translated and read aloud by a program to users with disabilities. Since SEO’s core aspect is to create the most accessible content, alt-text is essential to do correctly.
We’ve created a more detailed blog on Alt-text for SEO.
Meta descriptions serve as summaries of the content on a webpage. They are found beneath the clickable link of a website on a Google search.
Typically they are short, being between 50 -120 characters for optimization. This is because anything higher than that will not appear after the word limit on the results page.
Meta descriptions are an opportunity to create compelling ad copy for your content and use your featured keywords.
Visit our blog How to Write Compelling SEO Meta Descriptions for more details.
Internal and External Links
Linking is also an essential part of optimized blogs, as they increase the reliability of your information.
Internal linking creates a one-directional link to content on your website. This may be directing a user to another blog or service page, for instance. Staying in line with relevancy, the word that has been turned into a link should be relevant to the linked content.
Linked content also boosts the ‘trustworthiness’ rating of an article. The more links pointing to an article, the more importance Google gives it.
For more specific information on internal links we’ve written a more detailed blog for you.
External linking refers to links that lead to articles or sites outside of your website. Using links that go to authoritative, well-written content shows that you have done your research, improving the user’s experience with you.
The same law about links increasing article importance occurs with external links as well. External links pointing toward your article increase its significance, and vice versa.
Either way, both serve as an incentive to write and research quality content that everyone will enjoy.
A Note About E-A-T and SEO Blog Writing
Google came out with an acronym called E-A-T, representing everything that Google is looking for in a high-quality website.
E-A-T represents ‘expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness,’ which are the factors that Google monitors.
If your article can display these three characteristics, then you will reap the benefits. All of these goals can be achieved by following the rules set thus far. Create quality content that is based on fact. That is the basis of E-A-T standards.
Cornerstone Content / Content Silo
Part of the blog structure goes beyond the blog itself. For SEO, blog structure extends to the network and organization of articles through internal links.
The first and most essential articles to write are called known as cornerstone content, or ‘evergreen content.’
Cornerstone content articles cover everything related to a topic by lightly touching on it as its paragraph. By now, you should know headings organize each section of a topic!
This is why cornerstone content has a high word count.
Each of these separate topics can then be elaborated on in smaller, future articles that link back to the cornerstone. It tends to relieve writer’s block as well, since your topics are pre-planned this way.
The Content Silo
Content silo refers to the link structure of a website. To make it easy to understand, imagine one category representing a ‘section’ or ‘topic.’ This could be like a blog page, or cornerstone content article.
Specific pages tend to be further linked from the ‘source,’ while the more general topics are the top parts of the silo.
Internal linking plays the main role in this as well. By linking smaller, specific articles back to cornerstone articles, you create a pyramid of sorts. All of those links point to one main article, making it seem extremely important to Google.
It also allows users to quickly skim through and find the information that they are looking for.
We’ve written a blog with more detailed knowledge on content silos and cornerstone content.
Keywords and LSI Keywords
SEO blogs wouldn’t be complete without keywords.
Without keywords, there is no way to determine what your consumer wants to read, and thus no way to reliably rank for anything.
Keywords are found on regular Google search pages in the ‘people also asked’ section. This section contains phrases that other people on Google are actively searching for. Some of these terms are concise, while others are much longer.
Either way, you can choose to optimize and write for one or multiple keywords by incorporating them into your articles. Putting keywords in headings, titles, and meta descriptions are all efficient ways of increasing optimization.
You should be careful to avoid stuffing these words unnecessarily at the same time, as Google will punish you for this. Avoid forcing the keyword in places to meet a word count, and use it as many times is necessary.
A companion to keywords are LSI-keywords, representing google’s attempt to create the correct context for search terms. The term stands for ‘latent semantic indexing’ and appears at the very bottom of Google search results pages.
While scanning a webpage, Google still looks for regular keyword density. However, Google also looks for any words that are related to the selected keyword.
Not to be confused with synonyms, these words can be anything related to a word.
An example would be the word sandwich. LSI keywords for a sandwich may include ‘club,’ ‘recipe,’ or even ‘hotdog.’
Adding the correct words can help Google determine what you are trying to rank for.
For more information, visit our dedicated blog for Keywords and LSI Keywords.
Images for SEO Blog Writing
Images are a great addition to any article, as it is one of the more attractive features to users. Humans are very visual creatures, and thus will gravitate toward high-quality images.
Images also show up in search snippets and links, giving your article a leg up over the boring ones with no pictures. Yet there are still guidelines when it comes to image use for SEO.
Stock photos are a primarily free image resource that most blog writers use. They are often well-edited, professionally taken photos that cover almost any topic. Because of how general these photos are, they tend to fit in with any context.
The problem with stock photos occurs due to how well-edited they are and whether they are free.
Most stock photos look so perfect that they can create a sense of the uncanny. In other words, some stock photos look so ideal that it is obvious they are staged and edited.
In some ways, this reduces trustworthiness because the user knows what they are seeing is fake and not a real-world product.
Additionally, other writers are inclined to use the same free stock images. After a while, Google notices the frequency of these images appearing, which may look like spam to the algorithm. This, of course, can harm your chances of ranking.
An alternative to stock photos is taking pictures by yourself, which is called ‘original content.’ Original content is interesting because it can be of less quality than a stock photo, but still increase ranking.
This is because even inferior quality original content increases trustworthiness by displaying gritty reality. If the picture is a real-life example relating to the topic, the user is more likely to trust what you have to say.
Stock photos vs Original Content
As a general rule, stock photos are an excellent and appealing way to put images in your articles. However, the original content will always be more trustworthy in the long run.
Ideally, it is worth the time to create well-edited original content!
For more information on the SEO impact of original image content, we’ve written a detailed blog on the topic.