You can write a masterpiece, share it 24/7 on social media and have no visitors. After almost two decades of blogging, I couldn’t begin to explain how much SEO matters. Writing a SEO friendly blog post is not difficult. It’s very helpful to have a plugin, but you’ll feel happier with your copy if you stay true to yourself first, and then do the SEO twist.
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, which basically means that if you followed a few rules, search engines (Google, Yahoo, etc) will see your post as something worth sharing. Ergo, when someone googles about what you’ve written, Google will show your post among the top list of results (sometimes).
Once upon a time, after having discovered that there was a plugin to help me positioning my posts on Google, I became a little bit obsessed following all the SEO tips I could find on how to write a blog post. Highly obsessed, ok.
But then, I read a post by one of the authors of the plugin I was using (YOAST SEO) where she had written, basically, that at the end of the day what we want to say and how we want to do it is what truly matters. Needless to say, I rolled with that.
However, when the money commenced to show up, I wanted more! I began paying attention to my data (from Google Analytics and Google AdSense) so I could increase my revenue; and it worked.
Fixing my posts following the plugin’s recommendations, truly worked. And now that I’ve learned how to do it, I can write a SEO friendly post without a plugin.
How to Write a SEO Friendly Post in Four Phases
Bloggers, even YOAST SEO, have published countless lists on the rules we need to follow to write a SEO friendly post. However, as we work on our post, we don’t need to have all of them hammering our brain.
Some of those rules are to be followed as we write our copy, and a few others as we edit that copy on our WordPress editor to make it a blog post.
And this is my contribution for you: a path follow, with four phases, where you won’t need to use a plugin (except for two extra items):
- Turn your idea into a Keyphrase (no more than four words) and research about it
- Write your copy and edit it (with the structure of any decent article)
- Head over to the WordPress editor, paste your copy and fix the Readability (structure of a blog post)
- Also on WordPress, fix your blog post for SEO
Phase 1: Turn Your Idea Into a Key Phrase
The term “Keyphrase” is used for SEO purposes. However, it is basically the idea you are going to work on, a topic you are going to focus on.
When we start writing we begin with a topic in mind. If you shrink that topic to a few words: that is your keyphrase. The maximum recommended is four (4) words. The one for this post you’re reading, for instance, is “SEO friendly blog post”
Think about your key phrase as your goal; what you are going to master and compete for. Eventually, how you play with it in your post, is going to determine where you end up in the Google race… so they say.
Phase 2: Write Your Copy and Edit It
If you are not a writer, it might help you to have these little tips:
- Turn your idea into a question that needs to be answered, or a statement that needs to be proven. Write it on your first paragraph.
- Continue with your thoughts, reflections, what other are saying (if necessary), trying to answer that question or prove your statement
- Wrap it up with a conclusion
Writing an outline, with all the above, might really help you. Sentences with questions, ideas, even notes. This way, you’ll have a map of what you want to say, and a clear way to see if some paragraphs need to be arranged.
“My blog is not suitable for SEO”
If you’re publishing at your blog content that has its own structure (such as photos and galleries, poems, cooking recipes), you may feel there’s no way to write a SEO friendly blog post. But, you can find a way. For instance:
- for a blog portfolio: one blog post will certainly have a photo or group of photos with a theme. This is your keyphrase. So, tell a story, why did you choose your subject, add the tech aspects of your photos, share your process!
- for poems: write a separate blog post about that poem. Have an “About” page with all the YOAST SEO plugin’s green faces. Not all your post are to be SEO friendly. The total score of your blog matters.
- for recipes: do a mix of the above. Introduce your recipe with a nice story, cooking tips to bear in mind, etc
Bear in mind that – as we’ll see – besides the structure of your article, there are a lot of elements that you can add (at the WordPress editor) to make your blog post SEO friendly.
Edit Your Copy
Before copying and pasting your article in the WordPress editor, edit your copy as much as you can, until you have the “final draft”.
If you do your first edit at the WordPress editor, and you have the YOAST SEO or AIO SEO plugin, they might lead you to destroy your copy.
Phase 3: Edit the Readability for a SEO Friendly Blog Post
Once you have your copy, it’s time to turn it into a blog post.
The readability has to do with how nice we write. It is basically about having a good structure and grammar. To achieve this, bear the following in mind as you are editing your copy:
- Passive voice: Avoid using the passive voice too much.
- Consecutive sentences: Spice things up when you begin your sentences. For instance, don’t use the same word to begin consecutive lines and/or paragraphs.
- Subheading distribution: Use subheadings and keep the text of each section with no more than 300 words. If you’re copy is not suitable for subheadings, add a Separator Block between sections.
- Keep your paragraphs decently short (no more than five lines looks delicious)
- Use transition words
Over time, you are going to write your article with the readability tips in mind, because they are basically a guidance to write well. Hence, this 3rd phase will actually be part of your second phase.
Phase 4: Edit the SEO
The final phase is purely the edition of a copy, to make it a “blog post”, one that Google will love.
1. The Keyphrase
Where does it have to be?
- in the title
- on the first paragraph, and then two more times (at least)
- on the alt attribute of an image
- in the slug
- in the meta description (this is one of the two things for which you’d need a plugin)
- keyphrase length: no more than four (4) words
- text length: at least 300 words (shame on you if you aim for this only)
- meta description length: no more than 142 characters, including spaces (this is the second thing for which you’d need a plugin)
On a side note: for some reason, the plugin YOAST SEO doesn’t pick up the keyphrase within the copy if it’s inside a “block quote.”
3. Elements: Subheadings, Images and Links
- Subheadings: we covered that on phase 2 and 3.
- Images: add at least one image and write your keyphrase in the “alt” box
- Links: add at least one internal link (a link to a post or page at your blog) and one outbound link (one to another website)
4. SEO Title Width
Last but not least, the length of your title.
According to the YOAST SEO plugin, no more than 56 characters (with spaces)
However, you may want a larger title… In this case, you can use a plugin and do the following: write your title as you wish in your post, and then write a shorter version in the YOAST SEO’s panel.
A Final Reflection and a Final Tip
What matters the most, is to be happy with our copies, to deliver our readers good content. Then, try to edit your post according what I shared with you.
If you’re not going to use a plugin, the only thing that is not absolutely necessary is the subheading distribution.
If you feel you need to have a plugin, and you have a free blog that doesn’t allow you to install one, you can set up a local host on your machine, install WordPress and your plugin. There you’ll be able to test your post, for free, offline!
A decent structure and grammar, with a decent length (500 to 800 words, at least). An image to add some color in your posts. A couple of links. If you think about it, it’s not “a lot” nor difficult at all.
Good luck on the race!