What should you write about? Where do you find inspiration? How will people find and read your blog? And how do you attract new customers with it? If you’ve ever found yourself pondering any of these questions, this blog post is here to help! Read on for a step-by-step guide on how to create a successful SEO blog.
Writing blogs helps your business grow
What is blogging?
A blog is a space where you regularly publish and promote new content. Content that relates to your business and industry; here at BBN, we might write about content marketing, for example.
The main purpose of a blog is to help your visitors. Your blog has to be relevant and visitors should learn something new so that they leave with a positive feeling about your brand or business.
Why should you blog?
Maybe the better question to ask is: why not? Blogging offers a whole host of benefits. Sure, it takes time to find a topic, do your research, write your content, optimise it for SEO, design your blog and promote it. But once your blog is online, it will keep ‘working’ for you.
Blogs can help you:
- build trust amongst your readers (by promoting yourself as an expert in your business)
- get found by your target audience, especially if you’ve created an SEO blog
- attract ‘strangers’ and turn them into ‘visitors/customers‘ (inbound methodology)
If you can’t find the time to write a blog yourself, simply contact BBN and get our specialists to give you a hand!.
Four tips for writing a successful SEO blog
Realising that you should be blogging is one thing, but actually writing an SEO blog is a whole different kettle of fish. With these tips, you’ll be up and running in no time.
1. Blog topic and title
Topic: one topic per blog
Think about your audience when choosing a topic: which questions and problems do they face? You should treat your readers to informative content that is worth saving or sharing. Don’t write about yourself, but do write about your expertise in your sector. And always remember: focus on a single topic per post.
To help you decide what to write about, draw up a list of potential blog topics. The following questions might be useful while brainstorming (as might the HubSpot Blog Idea Generator):
- Which questions are customers or prospects asking?
- What do your buyer personas need help with?
- What do people want to know about your industry?
- What are your competitors or industry communicating about?
One handy tip: bundle together topics that support the same conversion or CTA, such as all blogs about content marketing that offer a Content Marketing e-book as a download.
Next, find out which keyword combinations score well for the topics you’ve listed: which keywords do your buyer personas and your industry use? What is it they type into Google? It’s important to research this aspect to make sure you rank highly in their search results (there’s more on SEO in point 2).
Title: the more specific, the better
Your title is what draws people in, so it’s crucial to get it right.
- The more specific your title, the better: that way, your readers will know exactly what to expect.
- Clearly mention what value your blog can bring: what are your readers about to learn?
- Incorporate a specific keyword group in your title that describes what your blog is about. Even so, always make sure your title flows naturally: you’re writing for your readers in the first place, not for Google.
- Limit your title to 50 or 60 characters, so that search engines like Google are able to display it as a neat preview.
Take a look at the title of this blog, for example: ‘Writing SEO blogs that work? Check!’
- You know exactly what to expect: this is where you find tips on how to write successful SEO blogs. The question teases a little, and the exclamation mark entices the reader in (make sure you don’t go overboard with titles, as you might come across as too ‘shouty’).
- The keyword group is ‘writing SEO blogs’: that’s what our target audience is looking for on Google, so that exact search term combination is embodied throughout the text.
- Our title has 34 characters, so it will look perfect in a list of online search results.
2. Blog design and SEO optimisation
Design: structure, white space and images
You want your blog to be read, so aside from its content and writing style, you need to make sure its design draws readers in.
- Start with a fitting, attractive, high-quality image at the top — this often doubles up as a preview. Remember to also use images or video in the blog itself, to break up longer sections of text.
- Leave enough white space between titles, paragraphs and so on. This creates a sense of calm, which will encourage readers to read on. In addition, white space allows your readers to concentrate on what really matters.
- Provide structure with titles, (numbered) lists, bold text or quotes. Lots of readers will skim a text before deciding to read all of it, so make sure your main message is contained in these easily skimmable blocks.
SEO: keyword combination and links
Do some research into what your target audience is looking for online: what questions do they have, which keywords are they using, which combinations of terms are they typing into search engines? You can go a long way just by using common sense! In addition, use these tips to find out which specific keyword combination (long-tail keyword) is best for you to use:
- Type a few keyword combinations into Google yourself. Watch which suggestions Google offers, both in the search field at the top and in the search results below: these are the combinations searched for most often. Take a sneak peek at the pages that rank highly in the search results — the masters in the art of SEO, in other words.
- Check the popularity and competition for different keywords or keyword combinations using online tools such as Google Ads keyword planner, Yoast, Ubersuggest (by SEO guru Neil Patel) or Moz. Alternatively, you can ask an experienced specialist for help.
Once you’ve decided on a long-tail keyword, you’re all set to optimise your blog. You can do so by using your keyword combination (or parts or variations of it) at strategic locations:
- In the page title
- In the URL
- In the blog title (H1)
- In the other titles (H2, H3 etc.)
- In the body text
- In the alt text for the image
Make sure everything keeps sounding natural: if not, your readers will lose interest. In other words: don’t go overboard — you don’t have to include the exact keyword in every single title or paragraph. Regularly use variations or synonyms of your keyword to keep the text flowing naturally — Google is smart enough to recognise these terms.
Last but not least: try to incorporate a few interesting links to other content in every blog. This will push you up the Google ranks, as it proves you’re trying to help your readers.
- Internal links: to your own company’s content, such as blogs, white papers or e-books
- External links: to reliable (and preferably popular) sources, which will tell Google you’ve done your research
3. Blog CTA for lead generation
So, what have we learned so far? Your readers should always come first: you’re writing a blog to help your visitors. Of course, you’ve also got a brand or product to sell. There’s no need to shy away from that fact — but you do need to make sure it’s not too obvious. By showing your readers that you know what you’re talking about, you’re putting your faith in them to take the next step.
A strategic nudge in the back — in the form of a CTA (call to action) that ties in with the topic of your blog — might just send them down the right track. Consequently, you should try to find an offer that’s of interest to your readers and that fits in neatly with your blog content. In doing so, remember the following tips:
- Include a subtle CTA, such as a text link, after the first few paragraphs of your blog. We did exactly that at the end of the ‘Why should you blog?’ section by including ‘…simply contact BBN and get our specialists to give you a hand.’
- Place a clear CTA at the end of every blog post. In our case, we’ve included a suggestion to download our Content Marketing E-book, which will take your content marketing skills to the next level — have a look for yourself at the end of this blog (and whatever you do, don’t hesitate to click!).
- Experiment with CTAs to find out which ones work best: try different forms (text, buttons, images etc.) and positions(top, bottom, side, middle etc.). And don’t forget to analyse the results.
4. Social media buttons in your blog
Useful blog posts will be shared on social media before you know it. As such, you should include clear social media buttons that make sharing as easy as possible. That way, your readers are just one click away from spreading the word.
Remember: every blog presents an opportunity to attract new visitors, so allow yourself the time to make sure every single post is worth your readers’ while. Also, try to post frequently and ensure your writing style is consistent.
If you’d like to offer readers the opportunity to have your blogs delivered straight to their inbox, make sure you’re fully compliant with the GDPR legislation on personal data.
Quick checklist for creating successful SEO blog posts
1. Have I chosen the right topic?
- Informative, specific and clearly defined
- Ties in with the interests of our buyer personas/readers
- About our industry (not our company)
Does my title draw readers in?
- Does it say why this post is useful?
- Does it stand out in terms of language and design?
- Does it contain a specific keyword combination (in under 60 characters)?
2. Does my blog look attractive?
- Image at the top
- Plenty of white space
- Clear structure (titles, lists etc.)
Is my blog SEO-optimised?
- Page title
- Alt text for images
- Titles and body text
3. Am I promoting my offer?
Does the CTA tie in with the blog topic (e.g. ‘download e-book’)?
4. Can visitors easily share my blog?
Are social media buttons (clearly) present?
Would you like to find out more about content marketing?