graphic illustration with rocket launching and blog title: how to write an seo-friendly blog

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How to Write an SEO-Friendly Blog + Free Checklist

Search engine optimization (SEO) may seem like a played out marketing buzzword, but it’s very much still relevant considering that 93% of online experiences begin with a search engine.

Quality content is one component of on-page SEO. In addition to publishing relevant, high-quality content, on-page SEO includes optimizing your headlines, images and important elements that are only visible to search engines (HTML tags, meta descriptions, alt text). Adding or improving these details will help increase your rankings, traffic and conversions.

Learn more about each component of an SEO-friendly blog post.

Title

Use the main target keyword in the heading, as close to the beginning as possible. Keep the headline 50-60 characters because search engines truncate after 60.

The best headlines:

  • Create curiosity.
  • Ask funny questions.
  • Use numbers.
  • Create a sense of urgency.
  • Show “How To” do something.

Intro

Your introduction is another chance to hook your reader in. It should tell people why they need to read your blog post. Don’t overwrite this, a punchy intro is more effective. 

In the introduction, strive to include the focus keyword once and an internal link.

Body

Your header tags provide structure and context for your article. H1, H2, and H3 tags should be used to clearly illustrate the structure of your page so Google can map it onto the phrases it would expect to see mentioned on the topic being covered.

H1: Title that introduces the topic your page is all about

H2: Describes the main topics you’ll cover in sections of the article

H3-H6: Serve as additional sub-headings within each section, just as a book chapter may be split up by multiple sub-topics.

Conclusion/Call to Action

You may have multiple CTAs for your blog’s purpose, but only include one type in each blog. If you have a newsletter signup, don’t also offer a 50-percent discount. And vice versa.

Focus Keywords

We highly recommend installing an SEO plugin, like Yoast SEO for WordPress. This will allow you to establish a focus keyword and provide valuable tips for how to improve your blog.

Consider using long-tail keywords which are at a minimum, three words long. Long-tail keywords get less search traffic, but will usually have a higher conversion value, as they are more specific.

Short-tail keyword: SEO

Long-tail keywords: SEO Friendly Blog

Meta Description

Use the same targeted keyword in your title in the meta description but only use it once. Again, try to get that targeted keyword as close to the beginning as possible. Keep the character count to 150-160 characters max.

URL

Keeping URLs as simple, relevant, compelling, and accurate as possible is key to getting both your users and search engines to understand them. The shorter the better.

Use hyphens to separate words. URLs should not use underscores, spaces, or any other characters to separate words.

If possible, eliminate stop words like a, an, or, and but. These don’t necessarily impact SEO negatively, but they use up your character count and don’t add value.

Ex: targetmarket.com/blog/how-to-write-an-seo-friendly-blog

targetmarket.com/blog/seo-friendly-blog

Featured Image

The most ideal WordPress featured image size is 1200 x 628 pixels. This size is also best to ensure the image displays well when the blog is shared on Facebook.

Creating descriptive, keyword-rich file names is crucial for image optimization. Search engines not only crawl the text on your webpage, they also crawl your image file names.

Keep things simple by using a consistent image naming system. 

Ex. company name_abbreviated blog title including keyword.jpg

TargetMarket_seo friendly blog.jpg

Image Alt Text

Alternative text is used by screen readers for the blind to decipher what an image is about. It lets you specify an image description that is fed through an audio-based prompter that tells blind people what is currently on the page as they are scrolling through the page.

Make sure to use keywords within your alt text – especially the target keyword of the blog.

Internal Linking

Use internal links within your blog naturally and with the correct anchor text.

Internally link to deeper content like other blogs or white papers, and avoid linking to the homepage or contact us page (except for in the call to action).

External Linking

Make sure to attribute any used sources within your blogs by externally linking to the respective web page. Use strong anchor text and make sure any external link opens in a new tab or window.

Category

Categories are meant for broad grouping of your posts. Think of these as general topics or the table of contents for your blog. Categories are hierarchical which means you can create sub-categories.

At least one category per post is required. If you forget to do so, the post will be added to the default category. That would be “Uncategorized” unless you set a default category in WordPress.

Tags

Tags are smaller in scope compared to categories and focused on specific topics. Think of them as keywords used for topics discussed in a particular post.

Tags are not automatically added to a post unless a user adds them, which makes them completely optional, but there is no limit as to how many you can add.

Category: SEO (broad)

Tags: Blog Writing, WordPress, Keywords (narrow and specific to the post)

SEO-Friendly Blog Checklist

Before you hit publish on your next blog post, download our free SEO Blog Checklist to make sure you don’t miss any of these essential elements.

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