How to Write and Optimize Blog Posts for SEO

  • Reading time:13 mins read

Write Optimized blog Posts

Do you want to get more traffic to your blog posts? Do you want to rank higher on Google and attract more readers? If so, you need to learn how to write and optimize blog posts for SEO.

SEO stands for search engine optimization, and it’s the process of making your blog content more relevant and appealing to both search engines and users. By following some simple SEO writing tips, you can improve your chances of ranking on the first page of Google and driving more organic traffic to your blog.

In this post, we’ll show you how to write and optimize blog posts for SEO in 5 easy steps:

  1. Find a keyword
  2. Check search intent
  3. Choose a winning format and angle
  4. Craft a data-driven outline
  5. Write the post

Let’s dive in!

Step 1: Find a keyword

The first step of writing an SEO-friendly blog post is finding a keyword that your target audience is searching for. A keyword is a word or phrase that describes the topic of your blog post, and it’s what users type into Google to find your content.

To find keywords, you can use a keyword research tool like Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer. Just enter a few broad words or phrases related to your blog’s niche, and check the Phrase Match keyword ideas report. This will show you thousands of keywords that contain your seed words or phrases.

For example, if you have a food blog, you might use seed keywords like:

  • Chicken
  • Pasta
  • Recipe
  • Recipes
  • Ribs
  • Steak

Keywords Explorer will find over 14 million keywords containing one or more of these phrases, but not all of them will make sense for your blog. You need to skim the list for topics that are relevant and interesting to your audience.

For example, it would make sense for a food blogger to write a post about “chicken tikka masala” but not “chicken pox.”

If your blog is new, you might also want to filter the keywords by Keyword Difficulty (KD) score, which estimates how hard it is to rank for a keyword based on the strength of the top-ranking pages. The lower the KD score, the easier it is to rank.

Step 2: Check search intent

Once you have a list of potential keywords, you need to check the search intent behind them. Search intent is the goal or purpose of the user when they type a query into Google. It tells you what kind of content they are looking for and what format they prefer.

To check search intent, you can simply look at the top-ranking pages for your keyword on Google. Analyze what type of content they are (e.g., blog posts, product pages, videos, etc.), what format they use (e.g., listicles, how-tos, guides, etc.), and what angle they take (e.g., informative, persuasive, entertaining, etc.).

For example, if you search for “how to make chicken tikka masala”, you’ll see that most of the top-ranking pages are:

  • Blog posts
  • How-to guides
  • With step-by-step instructions and photos

This means that users who search for this keyword want to learn how to make chicken tikka masala at home from scratch. They don’t want to see product pages, videos, or reviews.

To rank well for this keyword, you need to create a similar type of content that matches the user’s intent.

Step 3: Choose a winning format and angle

Based on the search intent analysis, you can now choose a winning format and angle for your blog post. A format is the structure or layout of your content, while an angle is the perspective or approach you take on the topic.

The format and angle of your blog post should be:

  • Aligned with the user’s intent and expectations
  • Differentiated from the existing content on the topic
  • Valuable and engaging for your audience

For example, if you want to write a blog post about “how to make chicken tikka masala”, you might choose a format like:

  • Introduction: Hook the reader with an interesting fact or story about chicken tikka masala and explain what it is and why it’s delicious.
  • Ingredients: List all the ingredients needed for the recipe and any tips or substitutions.
  • Instructions: Break down the steps into clear and easy-to-follow bullet points with photos.
  • Serving suggestions: Suggest some side dishes or drinks that go well with chicken tikka masala.
  • Conclusion: Summarize the main points of the post and encourage the reader to try the recipe and leave a comment.

And you might choose an angle like:

  • How to make authentic chicken tikka masala like an Indian chef
  • How to make chicken tikka masala in 30 minutes or less
  • How to make vegan chicken tikka masala with tofu

These angles are more specific and appealing than a generic “how to make chicken tikka masala” title, and they can help you stand out from the competition.

Step 4: Craft a data-driven outline

Now that you have a format and angle for your blog post, you need to craft a data-driven outline. An outline is a blueprint or skeleton of your content that helps you organize your main points and subpoints.

A data-driven outline is an outline that is based on data and research from credible sources. This can help you:

  • Support your claims and arguments with facts and evidence
  • Provide useful and relevant information to your readers
  • Boost your credibility and authority on the topic

To craft a data-driven outline, you can use a tool like Ahrefs’ Content Explorer. This tool lets you find the most popular and authoritative content on any topic, based on metrics like organic traffic, social shares, and backlinks.

You can use Content Explorer to:

  • Find the best sources of information for your topic
  • Identify the most common questions and subtopics that users are interested in
  • Discover the most effective headlines and hooks for your blog post

For example, if you want to write a blog post about “how to make chicken tikka masala”, you can enter that keyword into Content Explorer and sort the results by organic traffic. This will show you the most visited pages on the topic.

You can then click on each page and analyze:

  • What information they cover and how they structure it
  • What questions they answer and what keywords they use
  • What headlines they use and what hooks they use

Based on this analysis, you can create an outline for your blog post that covers all the essential information, answers the most common questions, and uses the most effective keywords, headlines, and hooks.

Step 5: Write the post

The final step of writing an SEO-friendly blog post is writing the post itself. This is where you turn your outline into a full-fledged piece of content that delivers value to your readers and ranks well on Google.

To write a high-quality blog post, you should follow these SEO writing tips:

  • Use headings to break up your content into sections and sub-sections. Use H1 for your main title, H2 for your main headings, H3 for your subheadings, and so on. Include your main keyword in your title and some of your headings.
  • Use paragraphs to make your content easy to read. Each paragraph should have one main idea and no more than four sentences. Start each paragraph with a topic sentence that summarizes the main point.
  • Use transition words to connect your sentences and paragraphs. Transition words are words or phrases that show the relationship between ideas, such as “however”, “therefore”, “for example”, etc. They help your content flow smoothly and logically.
  • Use related keywords to optimize your content for semantic search. Semantic search is Google’s ability to understand the meaning and context of queries, not just the words. By using related keywords, you can help Google understand what your content is about and rank it for more relevant queries.
  • Optimize the length of your article for SEO. According to HubSpot data, the ideal blog post length for SEO is 2,100-2,400 words. However, this is not a hard-and-fast rule. You should write as long as necessary to cover your topic comprehensively and thoroughly.
  • Link to existing content on your blog or other websites. Linking to other relevant and authoritative content can help you provide more value to your readers, boost your credibility, and improve your SEO. Internal links can help users navigate your site and reduce bounce rate, while external links can help users find more information and increase trust.
  • Let other people read your post before publishing it. Getting feedback from others can help you improve your content quality, readability, and SEO. You can ask someone to proofread your post for grammar, spelling, punctuation, clarity, logic, etc., or use a tool like Grammarly or Hemingway.

That’s it! You’ve just learned how to write and optimize blog posts for SEO in 5 easy steps. Now you’re ready to publish your post and watch it rank on Google.

We hope you found this guide helpful. If you did, please share it with your friends and leave a comment below. And if you want more SEO tips and tricks, check out our blog today!