In reality, you can write a blog post any way you like. From listicles and microblogs to how-to guides and definitions, the possibilities are endless. But if you really want to make it shine for SEO, there are a few extra steps you need to take outside of just writing whatever you want and hitting publish.
- Find your keywords
- Plan your headings
- Write your body content
- Format your post
- Edit your content
- Add a title tag and meta description
- Optimize for technical SEO
- Start link building
- Review and update
Step 1: Find your keywords
Keyword research is best done before you start writing. It’s much harder to fit keywords into a piece naturally after it’s already been written than to do it while you’re typing away.
First, identify your primary and secondary keywords so that you know what to target in your headers and body content. Choose one main keyword to focus on and consider how you can use the others in headers and within your body content.
Step 2: Plan your headings
Headings are the perfect place to use search phrases and questions. Your topic can help to guide headers by covering what users are asking the most, which you can deduce from your keyword research in step one.
It’s also important to keep your headings relevant to the content, keyword-friendly, and properly formatted. Remember to use headings in a way that promotes an inverted pyramid format so that you answer general questions in the beginning and move on to more specific content in the body.
Step 3: Write your body content
Once your headers are written, fill in your blog with body content. Remember to avoid keyword stuffing by including keywords naturally and never try to force them where they don’t fit. Pay attention to which stage of the funnel you’re writing for to ensure that you hit the right tone, language, and information.
If you’re rewriting existing content, avoid duplicate content by switching up your headers, using alternate names, and considering a different format altogether.
READ MORE: What is black hat SEO?
Step 4: Format your post
A well-formatted blog is easy to read, scannable, and broken up into thoughtful sections. Formatting includes using:
- A title
- Headers to separate sections (usually H2s and H3s)
- Bullet lists
- Internal and external links
- Calls to action (CTAs)
- Images and descriptive text
- An author bio, related reading, or other footer content
- Consistent fonts and colors
Step 5: Edit your content
After you format your content, use your style guide to edit it. Consider running through it with a tool like Grammarly as well, so that you can catch any hard-to-see errors or typos. Think about the flow, readability, and audience of your piece as you read through it and make any necessary adjustments.
When possible, have someone else take a look as well.
Step 6: Add your title tag and meta description
Next, you’ll need a title tag and meta description to publish your piece. Even though Google will provide one for you if you don’t select one yourself, it’s better to customize it so that it makes sense and reads well. Make sure that you optimize both to increase clickthrough, rank, and traffic.
READ MORE: Do I need individual meta descriptions for every page?
Step 7: Optimize for technical SEO
Some optimization plugins include additional features like checking your Open Graph previews, schema markup, URL, image, and more. If you don’t have these plugins or your site doesn’t support them, optimize your post for technical SEO on your own. The more you optimize, the better your chances of getting indexed.
Step 8: Publish
Once you hit publish, review your content to make sure everything is as it should be. Review images, links, and formatting for any issues. And, before you share, remember to create a trackable shortlink using a service like Bit.ly.
Step 9: Start link building
After your content goes live, it’s time to share it and add it to your link building strategy. You can send cold emails and reach out to your contacts, or you can explore some more creative options for getting backlinks. The more links you get, the more likely your content is to succeed.
Step 10: Review and update
Just because your content is live doesn’t mean you never have to look at it again. You should update evergreen content at least once a year to make sure it’s relevant and follows best practices. You don’t want to get flagged for accidentally engaging in black hat SEO practices and see your traffic take a nosedive because you took a “set it and forget it” approach.
READ MORE: How often should I update SEO content?