“Keywords | Headings | Meta Descriptions | Categories | Title Tag”
These terms might not seem familiar now, but by the end of this article, you will be far more familiar with effective SEO writing than the average small business. This is because 20% of small businesses do not have a website, and out of that, 54% do not have a budget for SEO.
At Hagadone Media & Creative, we believe in empowering businesses to push the boundaries of brand recognition through the use of visual and textual story-telling. Videos and written content are great for getting word out about your business. Think of content like a free form of advertising that doesn’t have a budgeted shelf life.
A Good Content Strategy
Never write a blog just for the sake of populating your site with content. That’s basically like if you were to shoot a shotgun at a far-away target and hope one of the pellets hits the mark. The best content pieces start with an intention. In our previous article [LINK], we wrote that intention will help you craft a blueprint for effective content. Once you have a solid blueprint, you can write your blog and include the SEO techniques that we highlight in the next sections. Once you understand SEO techniques and the reasons for them, effective content writing should be much easier.
Here are some strength-trained SEO techniques that are guaranteed to attract the interest of viewer and search engine-alike:
Content Writing Length
“You should match your goals and your content goals with searcher goals. That’s how you should determine the length that you should put in there.”
–Rand Fishkin, co-founder of Moz.
The best blog post length will depend on your end game. Do you want to inform? To engage? To visualize? Depending on the blog topic, a reader might expect a lot of information. Conversely, short blogs are better if they serve as mild interest pieces intended to funnel traffic further into the site. Pictures, charts, and videos take up page length as well, and in a visual-heavy blog, textual content should be kept shorter.
There are rules, though.
There is a huge difference in what the blogging community considers the “best average blog post word count”. That is because blogs inherently have an element of creative freedom. Your readership is asking a simple question, and it is up to the blogger to decide how to answer it. How much information do you intend to put in? Intention is a major factor.
Content needs to be a minimum of 300 words, ideally around 1,700. This might make it seem like you’re back in school, just writing enough words to please the teacher. In reality, 1,700 words allows ample opportunity to pepper your content with chosen keywords. This boosts the quality score for search engines. The large disparity in standard deviation means that it is impossible to pinpoint an average word count. In fact, other studies claim an even wider gap, placing the ideal word count at 2,400 words and above. So who do we listen to?
Several studies have shown that the ideal blog length actually satisfies a combination of word count and time. You might have seen a time indicator at the beginning of an article: “7-minute read”. Writing gurus at the popular blog forum Medium claim that blogs with an average length of seven minutes statistically see more views.
Be aware, though, that these numbers will not always be true. There are going to be times when a web user has a complicated problem, and a very specific query to go with it. You have the answers that no one else on the internet has. You’ve done a lot of research, and your article is going to give the reader a super-strength dose of reading time. 1,700 words is not going to cut it. Will that harm your rank potential? No, but it will solve your readers problem, and provide brand awareness. That’s a win.
If you have a good keyword strategy in place, that means that you have a list of keywords that speak to your business’ identity and, if used correctly, will get your website organically found on the web. Use those keywords in your content.
You do not have to use every single keyword on your list. Rather, choose a blog topic that 1) highlights a part of your business or interests your typical readership, and 2) can organically include at least one of your top keywords and any others that you have found in your keyword research.
The more the better. Without ruining the grammar and flow, use every opportunity to saturate your content with keywords. Also, be sure to indicate the blog’s target keyword if your CMS (Content Management System) allows it.
There are headings and subheadings. These are usually called H1, H2, H3, and H4, with H1 being the main headings and largest font size. Rather than adjusting the font size as you write, most CMS’s will have an option to highlight text and turn it into a heading.
Headings are a secret weapon when it comes to powerful content. Here are two reasons why:
- Headings space out text. This way, scroll-happy viewers read through your content slower and retain more of the information. It also helps readers who only need to read one part of your blog. When scanning the blog, the heading will help them find it.
- Most importantly, tactical headings signal to search engines that “this is what this article is about”. During a routine crawl, a search engine will note every heading and incorporate it into the blog’s assigned identity. If that heading contains one of your keywords, it will have a better idea of the blog’s intention. This will boost the blog’s significance, and next time someone searches for that keyword, a search engine will have more reason to show them your blog.
Link to previous site content
Linking to other blogs that you have written on the same subject will add authority (quality) to your new blog. Search engines that have crawled that blog before will recognize keywords from the previous blog and start displaying your site more prominently on the SERP (Search Engine Results Page). This will entice readers to click through to other pages on your site, giving them more time to form a good impression about you!
Content Management Systems always give you the ability to include a category, meta description, and image descriptions. It will take more than this blog to explain what those are, but the WordPress site is very good at that. These SEO details are not necessary, but they give the blog post a huge leg up in the eyes of search engines. You should also pay attention to the snippet preview to see how the search result would look. Saturate every one of these details with your keywords.
End with a CTA
Every blog is another opportunity for a conversion. You should be writing your blogs with the intention of brand awareness. You’ve got their attention, now tell them about your business.
A “Call-to-Action” is an image or line of text that invites someone to take action. Common CTA’s are “Click Here” buttons, “Call Us Today”, and “read more” hyperlink within a paragraph. End with a CTA inviting the reader to interact further with your website. Link to another page within the website that contains further info for the reader. Here’s an example:
“Wanda’s Flowers is passionate about helping live your story with flowers. Call us today to discuss arrangements for your next event at 555-5555, or order online at [LINK].”
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