Are you writing blog content but worried your SEO content writing strategy isn’t quite up to scratch? Do you want to be a better content writer? Keeping up with the latest in content writing for SEO isn’t an easy feat - no matter how good of a writer you are! We believe that building digital skills is the key to thriving in a rapidly changing world.That’s why we’ve decided to open up the Anchor toolbox and share the ultimate checklist for writing engaging, search-engine optimised blog content with you. Our content checklist covers the following essential parts of blog writing:
- Copywriting fundamentals - how to plan a successful blog post.
- Writing a great blog post - from finding the right words to final formatting.
- Optimising a blog post for Search Engines - and why it matters.
- Plus, a few handy resources to keep you ahead of the game!
Our senior copywriting team created this roadmap to facilitate the lives of every writer and editor joining our rapidly expanding crew. Looking at it after completion, we realised that we just couldn’t keep it to ourselves. Are you ready to upgrade your SEO writing skills? Then keep on reading!! What is a blog post? A blog post is an article published in the content or news section of a website. It typically covers a specific topic, is educational in nature, and is 1000 words long.
1. SEO Content Writing Fundamentals
Before you put the pen down on paper, you need to know where the journey is going. Therefore, here’s how to:
- Plan your blog post
- Choose what type of post to write
- Research keywords
Start planning your blog post
Before you start writing your blog post, make sure you have a clear understanding of the brand you’re representing and their target audience. Well-established brands may have a brand guide that you can follow, but that is not always the case.
- Check out the company’s website and social media profiles to understand the brand’s tone and voice.
- You may need to do your own research to better grasp what readers want to know about and what will resonate with them. It can be helpful to check what their competitors and big players in the industry are doing.
Identify your unique angle. Once you have a clearer picture of the brand and target audience, think about what you’re bringing to the table. What will make your work stand out from the crowd? Besides ensuring their content is SEO optimised, every great content writer has to think about the long-term trajectory of their articles and how they can ensure their work stays relevant. Some of the questions you may want to ask yourself include:
- What problem will you solve for readers?
- How will you ensure your article is interesting, helpful, and educational?
- What valuable opinions, feedback, or insights can you share?
Choose what type of article you will write. When you know who you’re writing for and what you’ll be writing about, this next decision should be pretty easy. There are different types of articles that may be more or less appropriate for your topic and audience. A few popular examples include:
- How-to article: “How to Write a Great Blog Post”
- List ("Listicle"): “The Top 5 Ways to Improve Your SEO Content”
- Curated Collection: “Three Tried And Tested SEO Strategies To Impress Google”
- News Piece: “New Study Shows 50% of Companies Don’t Have an SEO Content Strategy”
What is SEO? The term SEO stands for search engine optimisation and encompasses all strategies to improve a site's ranking on search engine results. For content writers, that means improving the effectiveness of blog posts to help them rank higher than content from other sites that target the same search terms.Since it is a vital part of content writing for SEO and planning blog posts, we’ll address researching and using keywords next and discuss more SEO content writing strategies in detail below.
How to find relevant keywords
Keyword optimisation is one of the keys to writing great SEO content. As a copywriter, you will most likely be given an objective or topic when a brief lands in your inbox. That means you’ll need to do some keyword research before you can move on to the next part. The best paid tools to use for keyword research include KWFinder and SEMrush. But there’s plenty of free SEO software available that will help you get the job done!
Look for keywords relevant to the objective. For example, if the objective is “guide to writing search engine optimised blog content”, you want to focus on keywords surrounding “SEO Content”. Pick one main keyword and two to three LSI keywords - keywords that are semantically related to the main keyword. So if your main keyword is “search volume,” LSI keywords could be “keyword research” and “paid search”.
- The main keyword needs to be competitive enough to rank but not so competitive that it won’t appear on Google. You should be looking for keywords with at least 30 searches per month and a KW difficulty of under 45.
Use focus your keyword a minimum of 3-4 times and additional LSI keywords.
- Utilise the main keyword at least once in:
- The H1 heading
- The first paragraph
- The H2 heading
- An H3 heading
- Make sure to also use the main keyword and LSI in the blog posts meta title and meta description. Most clients will ask you to complete this as part of the job, but it isn’t always required.
- Don’t force keywords if it hurts the quality of your copy.
2. Writing a Great Blog Post
Let’s look at the two things many writers struggle with the most: Finding the right words to start and finish with. Once you’ve got these two straight, the rest pretty much writes itself. Well, almost.
Writing blog post introductions
First impressions matter. To ensure a grand entrance, we ask our writers to stick to the AIDA Formula: Attention. Interest. Desire. Action. It’s quite simple: First, grab the reader’s attention with an exciting headline. Then, drum up interest with a bold promise. Next, tap into the #1 desire the reader has - think, why have they clicked on the article? What have they come looking for? Cap things off with a clear call-to-action to encourage the reader to keep scrolling and stay on the page for as long as possible.
Wrapping up a blog post
End your blog post with a call-to-action - this one will be different to the one you used in your introduction. Here’s where you need to clarify what you want the reader to do next.
- In most cases, this will be “contact us today”, “book now”, or similar.
- Again, you don’t want to annoy or overwhelm the reader, but let them know that this blog post comes with an action item.
Don’t forget to proofread! Read through sections as you write them and again once you’ve finished the article.
- We find that Grammarly is a great tool to fix spelling errors and check your tonality. Install the Grammarly desktop browser version to automatically check your Google Docs.
Formatting a blog post
Blog headers and subheaders
Headers are also called H tags, which refer to the HTML tag that dictates the order of titles. So, your H1 is the page title, H2s are your subheaders, H3s are your subsequent levels, and so on. Use H1 for the main title, Use H2 for subheadings, Then use H3 for subsequent levels Headers help guide readers through your article. Not only that, but they also help search engines understand and rank your post. For that reason, keep headers short, clear, and to the point. Here are a few additional tips from our editors:Use Title Case for all H1 and H2 headings Except for with, and, or, for, of, on, a. Subheadings should be formatted with 1., 2., 3. … if it the article is a ‘listicle’. There should be two hard-return spaces before each headline and one after. Don’t end subheadings with a period, though an exclamation point or question mark is acceptable. Use bullet points and not ‘-’ when making a list.
Sentences and paragraphs
Sentences and paragraphs should not be too long so that the content is easily skimmable. For ease of readability and to keep your writing interesting, follow these rules: Break up paragraphs so they don’t take up more than four lines. Change up your sentence length! You don’t want a blog post full of long, complicated sentences that’ll bore your readers and have them abandon the blog post, never to be seen again. Break up text with bullet points. Bullet points help draw attention and
- Add more white space
- Stand out from the rest of the text
- Make concepts more digestible
- Are easy to read through quickly
Bold important sentences and words. If there’s any information you want the reader to remember or take away from your blog post, bold it. But don’t overuse this tool - not every bit of text is critical to your content.
Adding images and other creative assets
Add a minimum of three images to each article, including a header image. To source the right images, we recommend using free image data banks such as:
For SEO, use relevant keywords in file names like so:
- “Keyword 1.jpg”,
- “Keyword 2.jpg”
- “Keyword 3.jpg”
3. Search Engine Optimisation
Search engine optimising your blog posts doesn’t end with the proper use of keywords. We need to cover a few more things, including backlinking and using Schema to enhance the chances of your blog post being featured in search engine results.
Backlinking describes the act of linking one page or website to another to show search engines that the content within is valuable and credible.
Internal links give readers the option to “read more like this,” which could keep them on the site longer and improve other site metrics, as well. Add internal links to the clients’ main page, service page, contact page and relevant articles to your blog post.
- Internal links to relevant pages are more important than external links, so try to include them early in your article.
- The anchor text of both internal and external links need to be keyword rich - so don’t link words or phrases such as “click here”.
- A word of caution: The content you link always has to be relevant to the article’s objective and keywords.
Include external links to high authority sites to support your statement and facts.
- Try not to stuff external links, only include them if they’re truly relevant to the article.
- A word of caution: Do not link a competitor’s website into the article. This will only help their cause!
Schema is a computer language that the Google search engine uses to understand a web page's context better. It provides Google with more helpful information about the content that is written. In turn, search engines can provide their users with better and more accurate search results. Schema has many different uses, but the ones you need to know about as a content writer are FAQs. As the name implies, FAQs are just that; frequently asked questions that people type into search engines. This is something you can use to your advantage!
- When code is written in a FAQ format, it enables a blog post to be eligible for an enhanced search result.
- Unlike a normal search query, these enhanced search results fall right underneath the search bar and take a more significant portion of the screen percentage.
That means they take up more “real estate”, which can provide better click-through rates, increasing website traffic. Here’s an example of an enhanced search result:
Don’t worry, you don’t need to learn how to code to make use of Schema! The aim is to write blog articles that answer common search queries surrounding the subject of your article.But most importantly, remember to write content for humans - not search engines.That means giving thorough answers, writing quickly scannable paragraphs with plenty of white space, organising headers and subheaders, and using visual aids such as bullet points and bold text where appropriate. If you're looking for more direction, we’ve got a chock-full of valuable resources and writing advice on our blog! Head on over to learn more about SEO writing! Got questions or suggestions? Contact us anytime; we’d love to hear from you!