How to Write a Blog for SEO

Bring Your Website to the Top of Search Engines

Photo courtesy of Lagos Techie.

SEO, KPI, MRNA, LOL. It can feel like we are constantly swimming in a sea of acronyms. Sometimes, all you can do is nod along and pretend you understand when a colleague is rattling off terms like B2B or ROI. While we might not be able to explain the life-saving science behind a coronavirus MRNA vaccine, we can break down another buzzy acronym: SEO. In short, SEO stands for “Search Engine Optimization” and it is one of the most crucial aspects of modern marketing every business—from local Mom & Pop’s to multinational corporations.

There are many different factors that determine a website’s SEO, ranging from keywords to images to number of organic clicks. Blogging is one of the best ways to boost your SEO; posts can be created for little to no cost and can have a long term effect on how your website and business rank in search results. Starting with a blank page can be intimidating for even the most experienced writers, but there are simple formulas you can follow for maximum results.

Photo courtesy of Domenico Loia.

What is SEO?

SEO stands for “Search Engine Optimization.” Great, you might be thinking, they already said that. What does it mean? Let’s work through it word by word.

Search engines are how we navigate around the Internet. The most famous search engine is Google, but many people are familiar with Bing, Yahoo and DuckDuckGo, as well.

There are probably a handful of sites that you access without going to a search engine. This would include things like Facebook, Twitter, or your favorite local or national news source. However, without search engines, that’s where the Internet would stop. Say your stomach is growling and you’re craving an Italian feast. You can’t just type in “”. Instead, you head over to Google and type in “best pasta”. You’ll be presented with an overwhelming 1.32 billion results. How does Google decide which of the 1.32 billion webpages claiming they have the best pasta is actually the best? This is where the optimization in SEO comes in. 

Google trolls through trillions of webpages looking for the phrase “best pasta” and presents the ones it believes are the most relevant to you. The way Google decides this can include things like geographic tags and other recent searches you’ve made. You can also narrow your search by adding terms like “recipe” or “near me”. This is why it’s important to use a handful of different SEO tactics, because you’ll never know exactly what a person is using to find your business.

Photo courtesy of Arkan Perdana.

Let’s go over a few of the ways to improve your blogs for SEO.

Pick the Right Keywords

The most important part of search engine optimization is choosing carefully selected keywords. You will want to think about what words or phrases someone who is in need of your business or product will be searching.

Back to our hungry pasta searcher: since “best pasta” returns billions of hits, keywords can be used to stand out from other search results. Adding simple adjectives like “fresh”, “organic”, etc. can make a huge difference.

Make sure to use synonyms. The recipe on your blog might be authentic pomodoro sauce from the Old Country, but someone might be searching for “red sauce” or “marinara sauce.” Pepper the terms throughout your blog to make the blog flow naturally while still helping the SEO.

On the backend of many blogging sites (WordPress, Squarespace, Shopify, etc.) you have the option to set different sizes of text for various subheadings. These are typically known as “H1” (for the title), “H2” (for the subtitle), “H3”, “H4” and so on. It is imperative to use your top keywords or synonyms in these subheadings. Search engines give preference to keywords that appear in headings in addition to the body of your blog.

Photo courtesy of Neonbrand.

Use High Value Hyperlinks

You’ve no doubt come across hyperlinks on blogs before. Not only are hyperlinks a great way to seamlessly credit your sources, they also boost your SEO.

Search engines use internal and external hyperlinks as data points to prove websites are trustworthy and provide good content. This is why backlinks are especially important. A backlink is when a webpage or blog is linked to by an external website. When other sites are backlinking to a specific page, it shows search engines that the linked page has high value. Accordingly, it is moved up search engine ranks. It might seem like a breeze to dash off a quick blog, but well-researched posts that promote thought leadership in your industry will pay for themselves tenfold when other blogs backlink in the future.

Don’t forget to include internal links to your own website. This will help SEO by increasing the click rate and view count for your own blogs. An important little trick is to set all of your hyperlinks to open in new tabs—people can easily navigate away from your blog and forget where they came from if new links open in the same tab.

A general rule of thumb is to include two internal and two external links per post. Feel free to add more depending on the length of your post, but you’ll want to use at least four total for every blog.

Write for the Average Reader

There is a lot of debate amongst marketing experts about how the reading level of blog posts affects SEO and, honestly, not much consensus. There are tools like Hemingway that will tell you the reading level of your writing in real time. The average American reads at an eighth grade level, so most of these tools will say to stick to a middle school reading difficulty. This can be a good starting place, but keep in mind your personal audience. If your desired audience is full of post-graduate students, don’t be afraid to write at a college reading level.

What’s more important than reading level is the quality of your writing. One of the things that can be forgotten when writing strictly for SEO is once you get people to your blog, you want them to stay on your blog! A well-structured, well-formatted blog filled with good writing (and a funny running joke about pasta) is significantly better than an incomplete, spam-filled post loaded up with keywords but light on information. 

Just like there is no hard guideline on the reading level, your word count is flexible. However, it is wise to have a minimum of at least 500 words (otherwise your blog might get passed over by search engines). On the opposite end, if you see your word count drifting towards 3,000 or more, that might be time to break up your blog into two separate posts.

Photo courtesy of Lycs Architecture.

Make It Look Nice

It might sound strange to say making something look appealing will help it do better amongst a dataset of 1s and 0s, but it’s true. Blogs with a variety of content will rank higher than blogs lacking images or videos.

There’s also a sneaky reason why you should be including pictures on your blogs. Every blog site provides you with a function for “Alt Image Text” under image editor settings. This is an opportunity to really load up your webpage with keywords. A beautiful picture of a delicious plate of pasta can be tagged with all the keywords and synonyms we have already talked about, but also extras. Think “garlic bread”, “garden salad”, local search terms, or any other things that are relevant, but would have stuck out as odd in the main text of your blog.

Maximize Your Marketing Plan for SEO

Meerkat Media Group has a vast range of experience with everything from daily content creation to complete brand marketing. If you’re looking for guidance on how to effectively convey your message, we’re here to help. Contact us, today, to learn how to take your take your digital marketing to the next level!