How to Create SEO Optimised Blogs
Blogs are powerful tools for businesses and individuals looking to increase their online visibility. Providing the platform to demonstrate expertise, authority and trust, blogs are a great way to create an interest around your brand and promote products and services.
To attain the most traffic and maximise visibility, a selection of search engine optimisation techniques must be implemented prior to publishing. Since the overall goal of a blog is to offer valuable insights to audiences and search engines, it is important that your content is entertaining, informative, or useful.
In this guide, I will be discussing the process in which to follow when creating blog content that provides your audience with the value and information they need, along with offering Search Engines the data they require to rank your website highly on the SERPs.
What is SEO?
Before discussing the process of creating B2B SEO optimised content, it is important to cover the bases of what SEO is.
SEO is otherwise known as “Search Engine Optimisation” and is recognised within the Marketing industry as the process of optimising a website to get organic traffic from the SERPs (search engine results page).
The process of SEO involves making “changes” to your website design, content, and structure, with the goal of making it more appealing to a Search Engine.
These changes are carried out over a period and are done in the hopes that the search engine will display your website as a “Top Result” on the Search Engine Results Page.
How does SEO Work?
Search engines work to provide the most effective service for their users. This means they need to deliver results on the SERPs that are not only of high quality, but also relevant to what the user is actively searching for.
Search engines do not work to deliver results to a user query on the Search Engine Results Page on a whim and do in fact, work to base their results through a process known as crawling.
A crawler is a program used by search engines to collect data from a website. When a crawler visits a website, it scours through the entire content (for example, a blog) and stores this data, in what is referred to as a data bank. All the external backlinks and internal links that navigate to the website along with the data obtained surrounding your content is then stored within the data bank.
This process is used to help the search engine deliver relevant results to those who are searching for a certain topic or product, known as “keywords”.
The data is then used to determine how easy it is to navigate and read the content, rewarding websites that are user-friendly with higher rankings for keywords on SERPs.
For example, you have a blog piece written around “How to Plan a Music Event”. To be able to get your content the right visibility it needs, you will need to optimise the content so that it will show up as a top result for users who are searching for the phrase “plan a music event”.
The optimisation process can be carried out whilst creating your blog (or any other type of written content), ensuring it is SEO friendly throughout the creation process.
Creating SEO Friendly Content
Creating SEO Friendly content is not as complex as it may sound. Through the following steps, you will be able to develop a clearer understanding around how you can create content for the business that is appealing to both users and search engines.
Determine Your Content’s Purpose
Once you have the idea behind your blog, it is important to determine the purpose of the content. You could be looking to create content surrounding a new product that has been introduced by the company, or possibly something more entertaining such as the “Top 10 Performing Arts Shows to Watch in 2021”.
Whatever you may be considering, it is important to ask yourself questions from a business perspective throughout this stage and look at the purpose of the content through the user’s perspective.
Questions to consider include:
- What useful information will be provided in this blog?
- How will this information benefit the user?
- What can we expect the user to do after reading this blog?
Once you have answered these questions, be sure to keep your answers in mind when creating the content.
Define Your Target Audience
This step is an effective way to really flesh out the purpose of your content, specifically how you will look to structure it. Consider what tone and language you will use, what industry related terminology will be incorporated and so on.
An easy method in determining who the business’s target audience will be is by looking at your customer base and why they would want to do business with your company. In this instance, it will be important to consider creating content that is positioned to interest those working in a B2B environment, within the Hospitality and Events industry. Once you have gathered enough of an understanding around your target audience, you can look to tailor your content, accordingly, considering how they will perceive the information provided.
Define your Target Keywords
This part of the content creation process focuses on optimising and is the most crucial element of making your content “SEO Friendly”. Keyword research is the most critical step in the blog-writing process since this is one of the largest determining factors of how your website will rank in the SERPs.
With your list of keywords at hand, consider what keywords would best fit within the content you are producing.
For example, you are planning to create a blog surrounding “The Best Branded T-Shirts To Consider for Your Event”.
This title directly focuses on one product category – T-Shirts. As such, the keywords that are used throughout the copy (ensuring the content is not stuffed with the keyword) would focus on T-Shirts.
Example Keywords to include in the content can be:
- Branded T-Shirts
- T-Shirts for Events
- T-Shirts with Company Logos
- Branding Services for T-Shirts
These defined keywords can then be included in your content, through exact match and broad match.
Exact Match Keywords
Exact Match keywords refer to search results or content that perfectly match all the keywords in the search query, precisely to how it has been entered. For example, the below extract presents the keyword “T-Shirts for Events” and “Branded T-Shirts” as an exact match.
If you are looking to find the perfectly branded batch of T-Shirts for Events of all nature, then Signatures Limited can offer you a bespoke range of premium quality, and carefully crafted Branded T-Shirts.
We can then look to further our optimisations in the above example through use of “internal links” (links that go from one page on a website, to another page on the same website). Considering that the title example above is targeting “T-Shirts” we will need to ensure that the internal link that is used is for that page.
Adding an internal link to a phrase or keyword is extremely easy and can be done through navigating to the “link” icon. To make the most of your optimisation efforts, be sure to highlight the respective keyword you want the page you are linking to, to rank for.
We can see here that I have added an internal link for the keyword “T-Shirt for Events” which will link to the product category page for T-Shirts, since this is the page that I want to appear for this keyword in the SERPs.
This will guide the spiders that crawl the website to recognise (when done consistently enough) that “T-Shirts for Events” is the keyword that is paired with the category page for “T-Shirts”.
Broad Match Keywords
Broad Match keywords refer to search results or content that appears when someone searches for similar phrases, singular or plural forms, misspellings etc. For example, the below extract presents the keyword “T-Shirts with Company Logos” as a broad match, with variations.
T-Shirts are the everyday choice for many across the UK, whether you are looking for something comfortable and stylish that sports a company logo, or a T-Shirt that screams chic, Signatures Limited have something to suit everyone.
It is ideal to use Exact Match keywords along with Broad Match keywords since the combination of both types can improve the overall Keyword Density through a higher volume of occurrences.
Within the SEO community, a keyword density of around 1-3% is seen as best practice. A high keyword density in a low volume of content is seen as “keyword stuffing” which could result in a penalty from Google.
Keep this in consideration when creating the content and be sure to allow the copy to read naturally without sounding “forced”.
Keyword Optimised Blog Title
As mentioned above, we can appreciate that target keywords will vary from blog to blog. Nonetheless, be sure to optimise your title according to the keyword(s) that will be targeted within the content.
For instance, if you are writing a blog titled “Branded Merchandise to Consider for Your Next Event”, you may think that since this is targeting the keyword “Branded Event Merchandise” it will rank highly on the SERPs.
However, using insight into data, we can see that “Event Merchandise” drives a higher volume of search demand, and as such would be more fitting to use. We can reconstruct the title with this in consideration to something like “Event Merchandise to Consider for Your Next Event”.
Consider the structure of your content, and keep it segmented into concise paragraphs. Using headers and sub-headers to introduce different topics and lay out your content in a clear way is the most efficient way in avoiding confusing users.
Using Headers (H1s, H2s, H3s, H4s)
Headers are used to add structure to your content so that it can be easily digested by both users and search engine crawlers.
To optimise your headings for search engine crawlers, you can look to implement H1 and H2 tags.
- The H1 tag is the header (title of your content)
- The H2 tag is the sub-header of the H1
- The H3 tag is the sub-header of the H2
- The H4 tag is the sub-header of the H3 (and this goes onto H6 tags)
The best practice for headers is to use only one H1 tag, with no constraints surrounding use of H2 tags – H6 tags.
Use List Content to Optimise for Featured Snippets
Featured Snippets are search results that are situated at the top of the SERPs above the organic search result and are structured to answer the query for the user straight away.
Shown above, is an example of a featured snippet. After searching for “best ways to lose weight” I was shown a bullet-pointed list of ways I can lose weight, subsequently giving me the option to click onto the article and learn more.
This is a powerful tool in which can enable your content to attain a featured snippet result. Bullet-pointed or numbered lists extremely user-friendly, and that is why Google likes to include them to the featured search result. This is not something that can be submitted, and in place is determined by Google crawlers.
Optimise the Meta Data
Meta data are snippets of text that appear on the SERPs along with your website’s URL. This is in essence, an advert and first impression of what a page, or blog is in relation to (for both users and search engines). These are also the first two elements that Google will check for when crawling the content.
Meta Titles are a direct ranking factor and not only do they need to include your target keyword, but will also conform to around 60-70 characters in length.
The title should briefly explain what your blog is about and entice users to click onto the page and find out more. Whilst brand names are not a critical ranking factor in a Meta Title, they do provide crawlers with the signal that all your website’s pages are related.
Meta Descriptions unlike titles, are not a direct ranking factor although does in place, impact the click-through rate of your website, which is a ranking factor. The provided description should be constructed to entice users to click onto your blog and should be relevant to the respective page it leads to. The best practice for descriptions is to be between 155 and 160 characters in length.
In the instance that a meta description is not written, Google will use text from the blog content (typically the first sentences), which is not ideal when considering that the description should be as relevant to the page as possible.
Some CMSs need an SEO plugin in place which is used to optimise meta data. An example of a reputable plugin is Yoast SEO, which is commonly used on WordPress.
Images and SEO Optimisation
From a Content Marketing perspective, images are a great way to break your content down into a combination into both written and visual assets. This makes it easier for a user to really digest the information they are reading, and as a result make them feel more engaged with the content.
Using images that showcase either a new product, a product in use or the team behind the magic, can be beneficial to the CTR (click-through-rate) of your content, since users are less likely to feel as engaged with something that is lengthy, unstructured and lacks visual appeal.
When selecting images or visual assets to include within your blog, be sure to select photos that are high-quality, compressed in size (the larger the size, the slower the page speed) and most importantly, relevant to the content.
From an SEO perspective, Images enhance the experience for the reader and offer a better UX (user experience), which is something favoured by Google. Images alone do not enhance the page for search engine crawlers since they are unable to view images, which is where Alt Tags and Image titles come into force.
Since crawlers can only read text, optimising your images to include both Image Titles and Alt Tags can ensure that crawlers can effectively crawl the content.
Optimising an Alt Tag
Alt Tags are referred to as text that provides a brief description of the image. These are read by crawlers which can then recognise that there is a relevant image included within the blog. Not only are Alt Tags beneficial for crawlers, but also ensure that the content is accessible to those who have a visual impairment and are using a screen-reader to understand what is on the page.
The key to optimising your Alt Tags is using target keywords – if relevant to the image. Alt tags need to be as descriptive as possible, whilst using less than 120 characters.
Author information is something that is not applied as often as it should be. From an E-A-T perspective, a bio surrounding the author of an individual within a business can be an effective method in demonstrating Expertise, Authority and Trust to both users and Google. This has followed on from Google’s updates to their Quality Raters Guidelines.
Whilst author bios do not result in any impact to traffic, they do in place help in building a relationship with your readers, allowing you to subsequently grow your audience.
There are three options to creating an author biography which includes:
- Author name only
- Name + headshot only
- Full bio (name, headshot, biography, and other elements)
The choice that is made by you is entirely dependent on the business’s preference and should remain consistent in future communications.
Internal and External Linking
Once your content has been written, you can progress onto adding link equity. Links are recognised as the “currency” of the web and are a critical ranking factor for search engines.
Internal links look to link to web pages within the same domain, this can be in any content including a blog. Whilst on the other end of the spectrum, we have external links that lead onto an external website.
As briefly mentioned previously, adding a link as hyperlink for a phrase or work is best practice rather than just pasting the link of the blog post.
External links should be implemented to provide the user with further information they are unable to source on the original content. These links add value to content created and are important to search engine rankings. When implementing an external link, it is vital to link to websites that are trusted with authority on the blog topic, since when done otherwise, can negatively impact your SEO efforts.
Internal links are used to improve the UX and correlate to increased ranking for said phrase or word. These links are used to assist a user in navigating to other pages within the website, either during or after reading content related to that next page. This is also a key opportunity to improve metrics such as bounce rate and average time on site.
Internal linking is also used to communicate to web crawlers that those pages are not only related but are important.
Optimised URL String
Last, but certainly not least in our guide on creating SEO Optimised Blog Content is your URL. The URL of your blog content should be both user-friendly and relevant to what is being published.
URLs are typically automatically generated using the H1 tag, although should be checked to ensure that it offers the best UX.
A poor URL can look to offer no real context around what the content is about, whilst an optimised URL string looks to offer insight to users before they land on the page.
To conclude the above information, it is vital to ensure that any content, be that a blog piece or on-page copy, is appropriately structured, optimised and written to engage the user, and please search engines.
This is not only vital when considering the impact that it can create on rankings, but also when looking to best innovate the ways in which content engages users and drives sales.
Polaris is an award-winning B2B SEO agency in London specialising B2B, PPC, e-commerce and the healthcare industry.