A beginners guide to blogging for great SEO

mmBy Sarah S 2 months ago
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Screenshot of a WordPress blog

Not everyone loves to blog. But in terms of ranking in Google, you’re missing a trick! 

A blog is a great way to get new content onto your site, new keywords in there, but also fabulous for getting you new clients. Writing is not as daunting as you think, with just a few simple tricks and tips, you too can write a great blog!

A quick recap on SEO

OK, SEO (search engine optimisation) is one of those love/hate topics. But it’s an important part of being a website owner, so sadly we have to deal with it somehow. 

There are a few things which you need to remember in order to rank well. 

  1. Keep your site relevant
  2. Keep your keywords fresh
  3. Keep people on your site
  4. Keep your site content well structured

Yes, we know there is a heck of a lot more to it than that, but this is just a recap, right? 

The good news is that blogging hits all these, in some way or another. So let’s get into blogging!

What do you want to talk about?

Lots of people hate blogging because they think they have nothing to say. As someone who literally cannot shut up, I can’t use this as an excuse. I know not all of you have as much rattle as I do. But believe me when I say the fact that you’re in business, means that someone is going to be interested in what you have to say! 

It doesn’t matter what business you’re in, your customers will be looking to you for some sort of advice, so start there. What do people always ask you about? What are their pain points? Is it relevant to all your customers? 

We write about all manner of things, but our best performing blog is our WooCommerce shipping blog (you can read that here)

This blog was basically an aide memoire for us because postcode dependant shipping can make us swear. However, it has turned out to be the best blog ever in terms of traffic. We get traffic on it every day. So if we go back to the SEO points above, it’s hitting all 4 for us. 

Case studies, opinion pieces, hints and tips or even product reviews, they all count.

Structure, it’s actually really important! 

There are two bits of structure we’re concerned with here. 

One of them is the flow of the article. You need an introduction, a middle and a conclusion. A bit like when you wrote up experiments in Chemistry at school. This structure will draw the reader in and keep them on a journey with you. But you also need formatting. 

SEO is quite strict when it comes to headings. Think of these like newspapers. Each page on your website is like the front page of a newspaper. There is always just one h1 heading. This would be like the name of the paper. On each page, you then may have one or two h2 headings. These are like the main headlines. After that you may have some more h3 headings, these are like the well placed smaller headlines to explain a paragraph. 

These are all there to help Google understand what you’re talking about, and so present your information correctly on a search. But they also help the reader to understand your piece. 

Now that wasn’t too bad, was it?

Keywords, they’re what we’re all after really. 

This is the bit where things can get a bit, well, opinionated. There are lots of schools of thought that say you should do your keyword research before you start writing. I totally get that, but that’s not how I do it! 

I am not suggesting for a moment that my way is the right way. It’s just what works for me. I do feel though,  that I need to explain myself, so hang onto your blogging hats! 

So if you’ve remembered the 4 points above in the SEO section, you know that we’re aiming to get people to read our articles and stay on our site because we have lovely fresh content, right? So, if you’re sat there procrastinating about writing, and doing no blogs at all, you’re not fulfilling these four points are you?

So, the reason I like to just write; is that I feel that this is an easier habit to get into, than doing endless research and worrying about if I’m hitting the right keywords. Once I’ve written a blog, I may go back to it and look to see if I could add more keywords to it; but that’s all down to preference.  

The big bonus to this, in my view, is that we are looking at writing more naturally. It’s much easier for us to read and understand this way. If I was to start stuffing in keywords and write for SEO purposes, then things would start to look forced. We don’t do forced here! 

However, we do encourage you to do what works for you. If research is your thing, then go for it. The goal here is to get writing engaging blogs which bring traffic into your website. But they also need to have some structure, as above. 

Search is changing

I’ve saved the best bit to last, mainly because this could potentially terrify some people. So it’s best not to overthink this bit!

The way we search is changing. 

Just 10 years ago we didn’t have any of the voice-activated search tools we have now, think Alexa etc. But, this is very much here to stay. So what does that mean to the blogger/writer? Well, Google is now looking more at our intention when we’re searching. 

Rankbrain is part of the algorithm and it uses machine learning to understand our search intent. I often use an example about bread products – but I’ll spare you that one (it could start a riot) and go for something more local to us and less contentious! 

If I search for ‘the best pub in Urmston’ what is my intention? Is that different to someone else? It’s clear from that search that I want to go to the pub, but what about the Urmston bit? This is how I can explain my intention – hang in there! 

Urmston to me means all of M41 – but actually, M41 covers Urmston, Flixton and Davyhulme. So technically my intent could be to go to any pub in M41. This would be totally different from someone who actually means just Urmston! It would miss out a lot of pubs. 

This is where Rankbrain is having to learn what we’re actually searching for. 

For blogging, this means that we’re likely to need to start to think more about how we’d search, not just the easy to win keywords. We need to think more in terms of long-tail keywords – these are the longer search terms which tend to come into play with voice search, 

This is another reason why I just write! I write how I’d search, you can always tweak it later. 

So I hope this blog has helped a little. I honestly believe that writing is like a muscle, the more you do it, the easier it gets. The easier it gets, the more complex subjects you’re able to tackle. 

If you remember to write for human beings, what the 4 goals of SEO are, particularly remembering to format your blogs correctly, then you’re not going to go too far wrong. Of course when you get more proficient, delve more into keywords and the likes, but for now, just get into the habit of blogging. It will help your ranking for sure!

If you want more help with SEO, why not get in touch to see how we can help.

 

 

 

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