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Written by Caroline Cox on Oct 26 , 2020

Here’s how to make sure your blog content is poised to rise through the rankings. 

Here, you’ll find:

  • Elements that make up an SEO-friendly blog
  • Why making sure your posts are SEO-friendly is key
  • Tips for formatting your blog posts
  • What search engines look for when it comes to blogs

Having a search engine optimization (SEO) strategy without SEO-friendly blog content is like entering a pie-making contest with a sugar-free pie. Sure, you can compete, but it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to beat the competition.

So, what is an SEO-friendly blog in the first place? Basically, this refers to blog content that’s poised to rank well in search engine results because of how it’s written and structured. 

SEO-friendly blogs are set up to rank higher in organic results, which means more eyes on your content and, ideally, more quality traffic to your site.

As HubSpot explains, “blogging helps boost SEO quality by positioning your website as a relevant answer to your customers’ questions.” And that should be one of your ultimate content goals anyway: to help as many people as you can by providing them with quality, accurate information.

Ready to get your blogs in tip-top SEO shape? Let’s dive in.

seo-friendly blog - hawksem

At its core, your content strategy should be about educating your target audience. (Image via Unsplash)

1. A designated topic and keywords

Ideally, each blog article on your site should have its own dedicated keyword it aims to rank for. However, it’s important to note that pages can have more than one target keyword if they’re closely related. 

When creating your content, you want to start by knowing what keyword the post is trying to tackle. That way, you can make sure the article sticks to the chosen topic and refers to it enough for it to start rising through the ranks. Just be mindful to avoid keyword stuffing, a black-hat SEO tactic that search engines can penalize your page for.

2. An optimized structure

If you’re formatting your marketing content in the same way you’d format old Livejournal posts, then your blog likely isn’t optimized. For a post to be SEO-friendly, it’s got to have a few certain elements.

These include:

  • A header
  • Subheaders
  • A meta description
  • A page title that includes the target keyword(s)

All of these features are beneficial because they help search engines understand what’s being covered. The better search bots can understand your content, the more likely it is to rank in organic search results. 

3. Thorough, original content

Yes, the concept of SEO-friendly blog content is about optimizing for search engines. But at its core, your content strategy should be about educating your target audience. That means that it’s imperative to write for people, not search engines.

If you’ve already fleshed out your ideal client persona, you can keep them in mind when determining the voice and tone of your blogs. From there, it’s wise to have parameters or a checklist during either the writing or editing process so you can stay consistent and on track. 

This includes not publishing content that is:

  • Considered “thin” content (generally less than 600 words for blogs)
  • Based on keywords you’ve already got content for
  • Already published elsewhere online (known as “duplicate content”)
  • Out-of-date or that features inaccurate info or statistics
hawksem - seo friendly blogs

Your URL should explain the content’s topic so someone would know what to expect before clicking on the link. (Image via Unsplash)

4. An expert voice

We’ve talked before about keeping Google’s E-A-T rating standards in mind when thinking about SEO. The acronym stands for expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness. The search engine uses these parameters to help determine the quality of published content.

Part of E-A-T means that Google looks at the blog’s author to gauge authority. Because of this, it’s a good idea to include author bios with links to other work or even a LinkedIn profile so the writer’s authority and expert knowledge base is clear.

5. Alt tags with any images

Most blogs these days include some kind of visual, whether it’s a photo, graphic, or video that complements the post. Depending on the platform you use when you’re uploading images, you’ve probably seen a box that says something like “Alternative Text,” along with areas to add things like a caption.

This is where your image’s alt tag goes. An alt tag is meant to describe what the image is, since search bots can’t exactly “see” these visuals. Adding alt tags is a quick and easy way to ensure your blog is SEO-friendly. It also helps your blog posts be more inclusive to those who are visually impaired.

6. A descriptive URL

URL structure may or may not be something you’ve thought much about. But the truth is, it can impact your SEO and rankings. That’s because URL structure is yet another way that search engines can gather context about what a page or blog post is about. 

Rather than having the URL be your web address followed by a series of random letters and numbers, your URL should explain the content’s topic so someone would know what to expect before clicking on the link. Ideally, it should also contain the page’s keywords if possible. Depending on your blog platform, you should be able to easily modify your URL structure before publishing your post.

seo friendly blogs - hawksem blog

Internal links are great at guiding both readers and bots to other important pages on your site. (Image via Rawpixel)

7. An easily readable format

Let’s circle back to Livejournal (or Blogspot, or Xanga, or your other preferred online journal method, because the internet never forgets). Gone are the days of posting large, ambling paragraphs with little structure. People are busy, and they want content that’s easy to digest, scannable, and that gets to the point.

With that in mind, it’s wise to stick to elements like shorter paragraphs, active voice over passive, and plenty of transition words. Some SEO pros also recommend going for shorter sentences (less than 20 words) when possible, and not relying too heavily on business jargon or complicated terms. Depending on your audience, too much insider-y verbiage may alienate some readers.

Pro tip: To keep the reader on your site, it’s a good idea to add a call to action (CTA) somewhere within or at the bottom of your blog post that links to a “contact us” page, submission form, or related piece of content.

8. Internal and external links

Adding links to your content has a few different benefits. First, it provides external sources to any statistics, quotes or other anecdotes that were originally published elsewhere online. (Obviously, you only want to link to credible external websites.) 

And internal links are great for guiding both readers and bots to other important pages on your site. Internal linking falls under the technical SEO umbrella, which is a key component to an SEO-friendly website. Just make sure the anchor text (aka the text you hyperlink) is relevant to the page you’re linking to, rather than using generic phrases like “click here.”

The takeaway

We know that regularly publishing high-quality content is a great way to boost SEO. But even the most educational, well-written blogs need a few certain elements to ensure they’re set up for maximum exposure on the search engine results page.

Follow the tips above to make sure the content you’re churning out is optimized and the best it can be.

Need more content (or digital marketing) help? That’s why we’re here.

Caroline Cox

Caroline Cox

Caroline is HawkSEM's content marketing manager. She uses her more than 10 years of professional writing and editing experience to create SEO-friendly articles, educational thought leadership pieces, and savvy social media content to help market leaders create successful digital marketing strategies. She's a fan of seltzer water, print magazines, and huskies.

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