Blogging for SEO - Beginner's Guide

Blogging for SEO: A beginner’s guide

Contents

This is a search engine’s mission:

To match its users up with the most relevant, authoritative and valuable articles on the web.

If you want your website to be found on Google, creating lots of relevant, authoritative and valuable articles (ie. blogging for SEO) is a great way to do it.

What to blog about?

Imagine your blog posts as articles that back up and support the main services you offer. Anybody who might be interested in purchasing your service is going to have a series of questions around the topic.

Let’s look at some examples.

You’re a private dietitian, specialising in working with menopausal women, supporting them with their nutrition on a 1:1 basis.

You might blog about:

  • Menopause and energy levels
  • How can diet help to manage symptoms of menopause
  • Maintaining a healthy weight during menopause

Or:

You’re a business consultant, specialising in improving productivity and workflows for businesses wanting to scale.

You might blog about:

  • Best automation software for beginners
  • Common pitfalls of scaling your business too quickly
  • How to increase team productivity

Regardless of the service you offer, it’s important to consider your target audience, and think about questions they might have in the same area as the service you provide. Remember, these are supporting articles that we’re going to use to drive traffic to your website and make people aware of your services.

But we’re blogging for SEO here, so we also have to make sure that our blog posts have a chance of appearing on the first page of Google. Once you have a list of possible blog titles, a little keyword research is neccessary.

Want a simple way to do keyword research? I’ve got ya – check out this article: How to choose keywords for blog posts.

Writing the first draft

So, you’ve got a few topics you want to write about to get started, and you’re pretty sure they’ve got a good chance of ranking on Google.

Pick one that you’re comfortable writing about without having to do too much research. Set aside 30 minutes, get rid of distractions, and just write. Don’t worry about word count – your article should be as long as it needs to be to get the information across.

If you find that your article is getting way too long, or you find yourself going off on a tangent, you might want to consider taking out a section and turning it into a standalone blog post.

For example, I was going to include a section on keyword research within this guide, but realised that it’s a whole topic in itself, so I decided to write about that seperately.

Quick tips:

Don’t get stuck on the intro

It’s common to feel like you need to start your blog post with an introduction, which can often be a real sticking point. Skip the intro for now, and focus on writing the main content of the article.

Add headings as they come to you

If you can come up with a rough outline of your article before you start writing, that’s great. However, I usually find it’s easiest to start writing, and organise my writing into sections with headings as I go. If I think of a new point I want to add, I’ll write down a heading for that section, and fill it in as I get to it.

Don’t get hung up on keywords

I know you’ve already thought of a great keyphrase for this article (which should also be the title of the post), but don’t worry about repeating it over and over in the content (which may be advice that’s been given to you in the past).

For now, just write!

Adding your keywords

Right, now you’ve got a rough draft down, it’s time to check how many times you’ve included your keyphrase in the content. You don’t want to overuse it, as Google might see this as ‘keyword stuffing’ and will penalise you for it.

Aim to have an exact match of your keyphrase in the title of your article, a similar match in the first paragraph (now might be the time to go back and write a brief intro, if you haven’t done it already), and a similar match in at least one of your headings.

If your article is very long, try to include your keyphrase a few more times throughout the content.

You might need to rewrite or rephrase one or two sentences for this, because you want to get the keyphrase in there in a natural way – think of the reader before you think of Google.

Formatting your blog posts

Formatting your blog posts properly is great for your readers, but also essential when blogging for SEO.

HTML headings

Most text editors within websites (you even have this option in Google Docs or Microsoft Word) will let you add HTML markup to your section headings. Don’t just bold your heading, find the option to turn it into an actual heading.

We use HTML within published content on the web to give context to search engines, signalling to them what exactly your article is about. This enables the search engine to be more accurate when producing search results. It’s also a reason why you should use your keyphrase in your title and at least one of your headings.

Your title should always be an H1 heading, and the only H1 heading in the article. Then, structure your headings in a logical way – broad sections can have H2 headings, with H3 subheadings to introduce various points within that section.

Take a look at this article by Yoast for more guidance on heading structure.

Table of contents

Just like the headings, adding a table of contents to the beginning of your article helps to give search engines an overview of what your post is about, as well as improving user experience for the reader.

Many website blog editors have a way to automatically add a ToC to your article, based on your headings. If not, you may be able to install a plugin that can do this.

You can also create a ToC manually by typing it out and adding hyperlinks to various sections of your article.

Readability

Formatting your article for readability and skimmability is also important. It’s not directly linked to SEO, but it’ll help to keep readers on the page, which signals to search engines that your content is engaging and valuable.

Don’t use walls of text and long, unbroken paragraphs, because honestly, people will switch off and move on. Instead, break your writing up with headings, bullet point lists, and use shorter paragraphs.

External linking

Search engines love it when you add links to relevant, highly authoritative sources. Not only does it provide them with more context about what you’re writing about, but it shows them that you’re serious about providing extra, valuable information to your readers.

(Side note: an authoritative source counts as an article that gets a lot of good quality traffic, or a published piece of research which also has high quality references.)

It’s a good idea to link to external articles that you’ve referenced in your writing. And if you haven’t referenced any, then have a quick google search for supporting articles and work in a reference or two! As long as they genuinely add value then it’s ok to do that.

If you have the option, make sure these external links open in a new browser tab, so that readers can click on them without being directed away from your website.

Internal linking

Internal linking is creating relevant links to either your main website pages, or other blog posts on your site.

When done well, with enough articles, this practice is one of the best ways to boost your SEO! Internal links provide more context to search engines, add value to the reader, and keep the user on your website for longer by encouraging them to check out more pages of your site.

You can also strategically send what’s known as ‘page-authority’ to various other pages on your site. If you have one blog post that is doing really well and getting a lot of hits from Google, it’ll have high page-authority.

Linking from this article to your service pages, for example, will boost the page-authority of those pages too increasing their chances of showing up in search results.

Just make sure the pages you link to are relevant to the topic you’re writing about. Linking to completely irrelevant pages will confuse search engines and harm your SEO.

Here’s a great article on internal linking and page authority, if you want to find out more.

Give your blog post a boost

Once you’ve written your article, made sure it includes your keyphrase, added some internal and external links and formatted it properly (phew!) it’s time to publish!

But don’t just hit publish and expect the traffic to start rolling in. Search engines need time to ‘crawl’ your site and index your new article, adding it to their database of pages that can show up in their search results.

To speed this process up, you can request that Google indexes your post using Google Search Console.

If you have access to GSC, open it up and click on ‘URL inspection’.

Screenshot of how to find the URL inspection tab within Google Search Console when blogging for SEO

Next, add the URL of your published article to the search bar at the top:

Screenshot of where to input your new URL when requesting indexing in Google Search Console

As your article is new, the result of your URL inspection will probably tell you that your URL is not yet on Google.

You can click on ‘Request Indexing’ to alert Google to the fact you have a new page to index, helping to speed up the process of getting your new article found on Google.

Screenshot of the message that comes up on Google Search Console to tell you that your URL is not on Google

It’s also a good idea to push a bit of traffic toward your new article by posting the link on social media. This also helps to kickstart the flow of traffic, and provides a few backlinks to your blog post.

Blogging for SEO: getting the best results

If you’re just starting out with blogging for SEO, you probably won’t see results straight away. It takes time for your posts to get indexed on Google, and to build up page-authority. But the more you publish, and build up a good structure of internal links, the more you’ll start to see your articles appearing in search results.

Just make sure to keep track of what’s going on by keeping an eye on your website analytics!

Let’s not lose sight of the bigger picture as well. Your blog posts exist not only to drive traffic to your website, but to make people aware of your own expertise, products or services. Make sure to reference these in your articles if relevant and appropriate.

Further resources

I’ve written a few more articles on both blogging and SEO – you might like to check these out:

If you have questions about anything in this article, feel free to reach out for a chat with me!

If you’re wondering how to generate more leads and enquiries through your website and you’d like my support, I offer one-to-one website consultations to help you develop a strategy for improving your website.

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