Module 4: How To Write SEO Ranking Blog Posts

In the first part of this section, we looked closely at keyword optimization for your site. This section looks at the other elements of on-page, off-page, and technical SEO you should optimize to help your blog rank high on Google’s SERP.

How to write an article

Content Structure

Your blog post content should be a mixture of words, images, and sometimes videos. These three must be structured appropriately. A well-structured blog post is easy for web crawlers to access easily. A well-written and researched article with a poor structure will not rank well on Google search.

Before you begin writing, create a content outline. An outline will guide your writing, making sure you focus on the most critical aspects of the topic you are writing on.

Below are elements to consider when structuring your blog posts.

Title

The title of your blog posts must be distinct,well-written, and catchy. This is quickly done on your WordPress editor.

Headings

Mind your headings. The accepted hierarchy for headings is H1, H2, H3, etc. Each has its own font feature, the most important being the font size. H1 has the largest font size, followed by H2 and H3.

Headings are designated with HTML heading tags. However, the editor on WordPress is similar to Word editor and Google Docs. You must highlight a heading and choose the correct heading tag (HI, H2, H3, etc.).

Below is an example of the right structure for your blog post.

TOPICH1: 5 Cheap Indian Restaurant In Louisiana

H2: Restaurant 1

H3: Dishes served in Restaurant 1

H4: What makes Restaurant 1 unique

H2: Restaurant 2

H3: Dishes served in Restaurant 2

H4: What makes Restaurant 2 unique

Images

Images are essential to your blog posts as they are among SEO ranking factors. There are two classes of images:

1. Featured Image

The featured image acts as a thumbnail for your blog post when you publish it.

Your images must be well-titled. You should reference these sites if you got them from a third-party site. You should also provide alternative text (Alt Text) for each image. An Alt Text describes the image when it can’t load.

2. Images within the content

A picture is worth over a thousand words. Search engines take images within the section of your blog very seriously. The reason isn’t far-fetched, as statistics show that users prefer content punctuated with images rather than words.

Note that optimizing images on WordPress is relatively easy. The in-built editor is powerful; you can assign descriptions, alternative texts, and other attributes to an image.

Bullet Points

It is better to list items in your blog post than write them out in long sentences. This type of content is better optimised for visitors and if they stay at your site longer, it will boost your SEO because Google always prefers to rank that content higher which is helpful to visitors. 

Meta Description 

A meta description is summary of your blog post. It is the 150-160 characters that feature directly under your blog title on a SERP (however, as per Google, there is no word limit restriction on meta description). Google claims it is not a consideration when determining SEO ranking, but for what it is worth, it can greatly increase the click-through rate of your blog post if done correctly.

Meta Description

Below are the things to consider when writing a Meta Description:

  • Length: Your meta description should be at most 160 characters.
  • Keyword: Include your primary keyword at the beginning of the description ( putting at the beginning will be better, but have the keyword in title)
  • Informational: The meta description of each blog post should be informational. It should answer an audience search query enough to make them click on the blog post. Actually this is a pitch which should attract visitors to your site, and if your meta description does not have the information they are looking for they may jump to other sites. 

Yoast SEO makes it easy to add meta descriptions to your blog post.

HOW TO WRITE SEO FRIENDLY BLOGPOSTS

URL Structure 

Like your meta description, optimizing your Url structure can help increase your click-through rate, as the audience will understand what your page is about from the SERP.

URL Structure

Below are a few key points to consider when optimizing your Url structure.

Make it short: Your URL structure should be as short as possible. Google only displays a few characters from every URL structure. Also, as per Google's recommendation, create simple URLs that are easily understood by a human.

Include a keyword: Although a keyword in a URL structure isn't a major factor in SEO ranking, including it is a good idea.

Standardize the case: This means sticking to either uppercase or lowercase. Lowercase is, however, preferable.

Use hyphens- Google recommends using hyphens (-) instead of underscores (_) to separate words in your URL. 

Words in URL joined together- It is not recommended. If you use greendress not green-dress, then it is not recommended by Google.

Edit out dates in the URL structure: Certain blog posts convey accurate information for a season. Hence, the titles of such posts have "years" in them. An example is "Top Indian Dishes In 2023". When you update the post next year, it also changes the URL, making the old URL a dead link. So, remove the year from the URL link. But you can update the year in your blog post title.

Use unique URL structure: Use a unique URL structure for each blog post. Using the same keywords in different URL structures will confuse web crawlers, and it would take time to assess each page to pick one that best suits your audience's search query. 

Internal linking 

Internal linking is crucial for SEO. Search engines give precedence to blog posts with links to several other posts within a blog. Linking several other posts in your blog shows you are well niche, presenting you as an authority.

Backlinking

Backlinks are links on other websites, blogs, and platforms on the internet that lead to posts on your website. Backlinks are in the top three search ranking factors. The more backlinks you have on a post and to your site, the more it shows you are an authority in your niche.

However, this does not mean every backlink would help you rank high in a SERP. Some may even drop your rankings. So, the quality of the backlink matters a lot. This means the authority of the sites that link back to your sites determines the quality of the backlink. Therefore your target site for backlinks should be top blogs and websites in your niche. Achieving this is tasking, but it is worth it.

Below are ways to get quality backlinks for your blog posts.

Write linkable blog posts: 

A linkable blog post has information to which other blog posts in your niche can link.

Linkable posts include:

  • Reports on surveys you carry out on specific areas of your niche.
  • Quizzes 
  • Surveys
  • Infographics
  • Software and solutions 
  • Reports
  • Something unique and interesting which is developed by you
  • A great way to develop ideas for linkable posts is to note areas in your blog posts where you would need an outbound authority link.

    Getting authority backlinks is hard, but it is possible. Below are some easy ways to go about getting them.

    Poach the backlinks of dead authority websites:

    Find Authority websites in your niche that are no longer in business, have changed website domain, or are inactive but have linkable posts to which other blogs have linked. Note all the linkable posts, and write a better linkable post.

    Then combine a list of all the websites that have linked to this website, and inform them you have created better linkable posts on your blog they can link to. Be specific in your email to these websites.

    To do this, you need a powerful SEO tool like Semrush or Ubersuggest, which can provide you with all the backlinks of any blog or website.

    Look for deadlinks in your target websites and blog:

    List all the top blogs you desire a backlink from. One after the other, use your SEO tool to fish out all the dead links on their site. Dead links are links that lead nowhere.

    Write better linkable posts and contact several websites with these dead links, informing them of deadlinks on their site and proposing your own posts as an alternative.

    There are some basic requirements for a backlink to be effective;

    • The backlink in the external blog's post should be written (the anchor text) in the keyword for which your blog post wants to rank for.
    • Backlinks from sites that are within your niche are better. If your website is about games and you're getting links from a website or blog about movie then such types of links have a little value in SEO. Getting even a few links from top gaming websites will be more valuable than getting tens of links from low authority blogs or websites.
    • A backlink is recognized per one external blog post. This means 200/backlinks from the same external blog post are meaningless in fact it will look spammy and your website may be penalised if you do so. The goal is to have different sites linking to your website.

    Guest Posting 

    Guest posting is publishing your article on another blog. Posting your well-researched and written articles on others' blogs may seem counterproductive, but it comes with many benefits.

  • Guest Posting is a way of establishing one's self as an authority in a niche.
  • Guest posting is used to drive more traffic to one's site.
  • Guest posting is used to create backlinks.
  • Much like backlinking, not every guest post offers benefits, as a few conditions must be met. Some of these conditions include:

    • The blog where you publish your blog post should have a high domain and page authority.
    • The blog must be within the same niche or industry your blog is.
    • The blog should be active on social media so that your blogpost could be shared. 
    • The blog should have an active audience that it engages with.

    However, the biggest hurdle to cross when it comes to first posting is finding a blog open to guest posting. However, there are several ways to go about this. These are discussed below.

    Research Your Competitors

    By researching your competitors, you can quickly get the blogs and websites they guest post to.

    An example is to input your competitor's website into Ubersuggest. The tool would automatically list out all the backlinks on the site. Go through them and source out the backlinks that come from guest blogs. These are blogs you can contact.

    Ubersuggest
    Google Search

    You can easily search blogs open to accept guest posts on Google. Do this by inputting a keyword and adding some phrases.

    • keyword and "guest post guidelines." 
    • Keyword and "guest post."
    • Keyword and "accepting guest post."

    Be creative in your search and you will discover some amazing sites that would be open to your post. 

    Social Media Search

    Most sites promote their posts on their social media. This also applies to posts written by other guests, and they would include the term "guest post" in the caption. Take advantage of this, by searching for sites like this on X/Twitter, by repeating the same search query you did on Google.

    Social Media

    Social media is important for growth of your blog. Although it is not a consideration in SERP, it remains one of the most effective media to promote your blog posts and engage your audience.

    However, managing your social media platforms along with your blog will not be an easy task and you need to continuously engage in doing following important activities.

  • Updating new blog posts on your preferred social media platform
  • Urging the audience who read your blog posts to share the posts on their own preferred platform
  • Engaging with your audience on social media
  • Creating content specifically for your social media (promotions, quizzes, giveaways) 

  • Thankfully with the help of WordPress plugins and software, it will not be a daunting task anymore. Following is a list of WordPress plugins and software that can help you out in not only managing your social media platforms but also impacting your presence positively on the platforms.

    • Easy Social Share: Enables your audience easily share your posts on their social media platforms
    • Smash Balloon Social Photo Feed: Enables you to show your instagram feed on your blog
    • Social Media Share Buttons & Social Sharing Icons: This plugin allows you to add more than 200 social media buttons to your blog
    • Sassy Social Share: This allows you to display more than 100 social media icons, each showing a count of how many followers you have

    Install SSL Certificate

    This is a major ranking factor as it means your site is secure for your target audience to interact with. A site without an SSL certificate has just “http” in its url. It would look something like http://domain.com/. However, once you install an SSL certificate, an “s” is added to the “http” so it looks like https:/domain.com/.

    If your site is hosted on Bluehost or Siteground (as taught at the beginning of this course), you get a free SSL certificate. Irrespective, ensure you get one from your hosting provider if you don’t have yet.

    Website Speed 

    Site speed refers to how fast your blog or website opens when an audience clicks on it. It is a significant SEO ranking factor.

    Statistically, 53% of users abandon a website if it doesn’t load within 3 seconds. You cannot blame the users; with hundreds, if not thousands, of blogs just a few clicks away, it is not surprising they are impatient with a site that takes too long to load.

    To optimize the speed of your site, do the following:

  • Use dependable hosting service: Not all hosting service providers have the required resources to ensure the websites hosted with them are quickly accessible by web crawlers. Some frequently experience downtime, where a website hosted with them becomes unreachable. So, make sure you do your research on your preferred hosting service before deciding to host your website with them. You can visit the Pingdom and check how fast your website loads. You can also find out more tools to know and improve your website speed at Google Search Central
  • Optimize file size: The more images and videos you have on a page, the longer it might take to load. Hence, when using images, always reduce their size before uploading them onto a page. There are many websites where you can reduce the size of your images like https://tinypng.com/ before uploading them to your site. For videos, it is better to have your video on a video-sharing platform, more specifically Youtube, and then with a few steps, share them directly on your blog. This way, your audience sees your video on your blog while the video resides on Youtube’s server. 
  • Traffic: The more traffic into your website, there will be the need to upgrade to a larger disk size made available by your host.
  • Mobile Responsiveness

    Mobile responsiveness describes how easily your website adapts to the several screen sizes of mobile devices when opened. A mobile responsive blog, therefore, opens well on any mobile device and is easily navigable.

    Google factors in the mobile-friendliness of your site to determine its rank. According to Exploding Topics, More than 92% of internet users access the internet with their phones. You can read this course on your phone. Hence mobile responsiveness is essential.

    Thankfully, if you use a CMS like WordPress alongside site builders like Elementor, ThriveArchitect, Beaver Builder, SiteOrigin, Spectra, and Ultimate Blocks, among others, they are fully powered to offer your site extreme mobile responsiveness. Also, every WordPress theme is mobile responsive.

    Canonicalization

    If you have duplicate content on your site, it can be a headache for search engines, as web crawlers will need help figuring out what to do. If it happens, it will negatively affect the performance of your site.

    To solve this, you must inform web crawlers which pages should be taken as original. This process is called canonicalization. 

    To canonicalize a page, simply add this line of coding, <link rel=”canonical” href=”https://domain.com/original-page/” /> to the <head> tag of the page with the original content. https://domain.com/original-page/ is the url of the original page.