I often encounter the idea floating out in the digital world that blogs are about brands. Let me just say, with the quantity of content on the internet, this isn’t accurate. For the most part, a blog is the only consumable form of copy on your website. As such, it is the richest and most straightforward way to improve your SEO ranking.
If you want to know how to write an SEO blog, read on.
There are a few different tools you can use to write an SEO blog. Things like Yoast pro and a myriad of other plugins that you can add to your website will offer on-page SEO analysis. This will alert you to things like keyword stuffing or a lack of proper keyword use. For the most part, SEO blogs are comprised of:
- Meta description/snippet
- Optimized photos
You can read more and see the basic flow of an SEO blog by going here.
Pretty straightforward. I find, though, that people fall into a few pitfalls, especially when the treadmill of creating regular content ramps up. What feels super doable at first (let’s write three blogs a week!) becomes excruciating after two months. Many people drop off and don’t sustain blog content. This happens because the results aren’t immediate (SEO is a long term play) and it doesn’t feel like high priority. This is why people hire writers.
Tools to Write an SEO Blog
Part of my strategy is to regularly create tools that make it as easy on a client to tell me what they want. One of these tools is an SEO blog survey. I use this to drive the first conversations around what a blog is intended to do and what it needs to include. This helps refine the strategy. After all, without a strategy, your best efforts are just a shot in the dark. So, here’s how I find the format for blogs that drive SEO traffic.
Format a Blog to Drive SEO Traffic
If a blog is going to actually drive traffic to your site, it has to be formatted correctly. The intent behind the blog has to be crystal clear and then you have to regularly populate it with great content. Here are the basic questions I ask every new client who wants me to write an SEO blog.
Want to see this as a Google form? That’s how I deliver these questions to my clients, giving me immediate and easy access to their answers. Click here to see a preview of a pre-filled version of the survey I send.
What do you want an SEO blog to do for you?
I always start with this question because I need to be clear about expectations. If a client is expecting an SEO blog to quadruple their website traffic in three weeks, well, we need to have a conversation. I’ve also found that there’s a wide variety of ideas about what an SEO blog is meant to contain. In other words, some people see it as news about their industry, other people see it as largely editorial, some people just want infographics. Clarity on that helps us all get on the same page about what copy is going to be created. I ask, do you want your SEO blog to:
- Establish you as an industry authority
- Inform/Support your brand identity
- Create traffic on your website
- Generate and convert leads
How long do you want your blogs to be?
This is an important area to clear up. There are so many different styles of blogs. Even experts have varying opinions. For instance, Yoast recommends at least 300 words but strongly suggests that you go for 1,000 words or more. In my experience, anything over 1,500 is veering toward pillar content territory. Some clients have no idea what they want or what word count is. Others have heard things from other people or Googled it and have an idea of what they want.
This is also important because of the concern of keyword stuffing. If a client has really strong ideas about their keyword list, they may want you to use 25 keywords per blog. For that to work without too much keyword saturation, the keywords will have to be spread out over more content. It’s pretty simple math but an important point to get clear about.
Word counts for a blog
- 500-800 words is a Newsjacking or editorial blog (AP style)
- 700-900 words is a regular, article-style or how-to blog
- 1000+ words is a research article or technical work
Tone for writing an SEO blog
I always ask clients about this because everyone has varied opinions. I do think there’s a general “web voice.” Most typically, every business wants to be a little bit casual, a little bit authoritative and a little bit funny. However, every company and brand has a different voice. This should be taken into consideration when you’re writing on behalf of a brand, even if you are the brand or work for the brand. The blog should be a little bit removed from your natural voice and speak directly to a target customer.
Click here for an exercise on how to establish your brand voice.
I ask clients if they want the tone for their SEO blog to be:
I’ve changed that list a few times and refined it down to these categories, which usually cover everything someone could be looking for. It may feel like something like “intense” is out of place, but I use that a lot for cybersecurity companies.
Who is going to read your SEO blog?
Getting clear about target readers is important. This is because you need to have a general understanding of where they are in the sales funnel before you can speak correctly to them. In other words, are these people cold, stumbling onto a “how to clean your air filters” blog? Or do you have a large blog following of people who are going deeper with your subject-matter and content? This will drastically change how you speak to them. I ask clients to select everything that applies to their target customer:
- Have a family
- 18-25 years old
- 26-35 years old
- 36-45 years old
- 46 years old +
- Don’t have children
- Are shopping for a product from me
- Are not shopping for a product from me
- Are looking in my industry
- Are looking casually and may find me online
- Read the news
- Don’t read the news
These demographic questions, as they relate to a blog, are slightly different and more nuanced than general customer demographic questions.
What kind of content do you want in an SEO blog?
This last question is all about the copy itself. It’s important to know what a client is looking for. If they have examples of other blogs they like, I always ask for that. It’s helpful to determine how graphic or interactive they want to be. How open are they to CTAs and how often do they expect them to be incorporated? Do they want a lot of variance in text size? Most clients don’t realize this is a coding thing and so they’ll ask for it without realizing it’s not a copy question. It’s helpful to get clear about these expectations as it reduces editing time and ensures a good delivery each time.
I ask if clients want:
- Light sarcasm or humor
- Research links
- Bulleted lists
- Colloquialisms (sayings)
- Pop culture references
- News references
- Cultural references (if your client base is 100% U.S.)
- How tos
Write a Great SEO Blog
There isn’t one magic formula for writing an SEO blog that drives traffic. Every industry is different and every website has a different history. Many factors go into your success. However, getting clear about what you want is the essential first step in the right direction. Reach out to us if you have any questions. Good luck!