If you’re a business owner, you’ve probably heard “you need a blog!” a thousand times. But how exactly do you get started writing a blog? What do you write about? And what should your blog look like? We’ve put together a primer on SEO blog basics for beginners – with the quick tips you need to write your first blog and start ranking in the search engines.
Choosing Your SEO Blog Topic
You can’t get started on a blog until you know what to write about. Luckily, the best topics you can choose are ones that you know well! Your experience and expertise are the exact things Google wants to serve up to others who are searching for information about your business and industry. For almost any keyword out there, the internet has some content that’s suitably relevant.
But Google is always hunting for the best content. If you have unique insights to offer that answer a user’s question, your content can be just what the search engines want.
So, what questions are people asking? According to digital marketing guru Marcus Sheridan, starting with The Big 5 is a great way to focus your writing:
Cost and Pricing – One of the most common reasons to lookup anything on the internet is for research before making a purchase. Cost or pricing articles that offer genuine pricing details, along with tips for saving money or getting the most for your dollar, are popular and can be a great way to land a high position in Google search results.
Comparisons – Another part of pre-purchase research is finding out which product has the best offer. This could be due to pricing, features, benefits, longevity, or dozens of other factors. If you know the industry well, creating a single resource shoppers can reference to make a decision is a great way to capture search traffic.
Problems – Google wants to answer questions, and another reason people turn to online search is to solve problems. Writing blogs that admit to problems a user/customer might face with your industry helps them understand your offering, and it tees you up for a chance to provide solutions.
List of “Best Of’s” – Everyone wants to avoid a lemon and find the best-in-class value. Searchers often use terms like “best” or “top” to find what they’re looking for. Creating a “best of” list gives them a quick way to narrow down their search and gives you a chance to introduce your product too! “Best of’s” can be about practices or techniques too, like “best SEO blog tactics.”
Reviews – The last of The Big 5 Topics, review articles, are a way for shoppers to see how others felt about a product or service. Providing real pros and cons about your product helps build trust with potential customers.
Regardless of your topic, the most important thing is to provide useful information with tangible benefits to readers and minimal fluff.
Structuring Your SEO Blog
Once you’ve pinned down your topic, you may still have no idea where to start. Fortunately for SEO blog basics, outlining the structure is straightforward and only relies on a few basic items.
Write for People First
A common phrase in SEO marketing is to write for the human first. While your goal is to get a high-ranking article, so is everyone else. Search engines know this and know to look out for articles that are “overoptimized” to try and check every box off the SEO list. The best articles are written to appeal to people – and then cleaned up to be SEO-appropriate.
So, when structuring your SEO blog, think of articles you would like to read. It should be organized sensibly, with critical information presented first, and then details following to support it. The language should be easily read by people, not just stuffed full of phrases you think will attract search crawlers.
You may be familiar with the concept of a keyword. For beginners, keywords are simply a word or phrase that should appear a few times throughout the article that helps Google understand the topic. The primary topic should show up in the main title, a subheading (see below) and in the paragraph content when relevant.
If you’re a bit more tech savvy, you can start with keyword research to narrow down the specific keywords you want to target. Marketers like Artonic use industry tools and software to find the best keywords, but anyone can start typing questions into Google and looking at the suggestions Google offers – these are a great starting point to see what other people are typing in!
Keep in mind the name “keyword” is a bit of a misnomer – it can refer to a single word or an entire phrase. And the longer the phrase, the more specific your topic can be. Writing an article about “dog toys” is pretty broad – but an article about the “most durable squeaky toys for dogs” lets you really home in your topic and capture traffic relevant to what you’re writing.
Headers in your article accomplish two primary goals. Firstly, they break up the content into easily skimmed sections for users to find the specific information they need. Secondly, they help Google get a better understanding of the primarily questions your blog may answer, so it knows when to show your article to searchers.
Don’t be afraid to use new headings frequently. Not only does it make your content easier to read, it also sends signals to search crawlers that your article has a lot of detail about a particular topic to discuss.
Software like Microsoft Word lets you select these simply as “Heading 1”, “Heading 2”, etc. Your title should be Heading 1, main sections should be Heading 2, and sub-sections should be nested under those as needed.
Short, Focused Paragraphs
When considering SEO blog basics, the way your structure your paragraphs is paramount. While you may have grown up learning to write paragraphs that consist of several sentences, blog paragraphs tend to be only about two to three sentences long depending on sentence length.
The main reason you want to break up your paragraphs is to make reading easier. Most blog readers don’t intend to read every word of your content – they’re looking for the specific answer they need. That means they’ll be glancing through for certain headings or words to catch their eye.
Long paragraphs can make content look hard or exhausting to read, and you may lose readers before they even start. Keep it short, keep it focused.
There’s a lot to be said about the length of what you write. In 2021, HubSpot recommended an article be between 2,100 and 2,400 words. In reality, there’s no hard and fast rule. While longer articles are theoretically stronger for SEO, as they’re more likely to contain the answers a user needs, articles should only be the length they need to be to share the information. Google prefers a 500-word article that definitively solves a query over a 2,500-word article stuffed full of keywords but forcing users to continue their online hunt for answers.
The short version: be comprehensive but concise.
Lists, especially bulleted lists, are a great way to present information when relevant. They’re quick to digest and almost anyone who is skimming through an article will notice these lists as they stand out among normal body text.
Lastly, when it comes to SEO blog basics, links are useful for both you and your readers. How you use links depends on your content, but here are some good ways to incorporate them into your article:
Internal Links (Links Going to Your Own Website)
Internal links are how you help users navigate your website after they find your blog. If you’re writing a review article about one of your products, you could include a link to the specific products mentioned. This gives users another way to move throughout your site, focused on bringing them to pages that are relevant to the topics in your blog.
Some examples of internal links can be:
- Link to Your Products
- Link to Your Contact Page
- Link to a Service Area Page
- Link to Other Articles on Your Blog
Because blogs are about providing information, there may be external sources that make sense to include, even if it means a user might temporarily navigate away from your site. External links build trust with readers by making them aware that your claims have support. It also shows them that you’re interested in educating them instead of simply selling to them.
Some great examples of external links are:
- Links to Relevant Statistics
- Links to Scientific Studies
- Links to Articles Referencing Your Brand
External links may seem counterintuitive, but they’re important when writing for people first. You can enhance your credibility, improve your article’s usefulness, and potentially improve your page authority (which means better rankings.)
Artonic Writes Impactful SEO Blogs for Your Business
If writing your own SEO blog still seems a daunting task (we get it, really!) then let us do the work for you. Our marketing team is experienced with advanced SEO strategy and industry tools, and can help your business climb the ranks in your local market.
Give Artonic a call or email us if you’re interested in website design, development, or marketing.
Based in Michigan, USA