OK, let’s write and publish a heckin’ good blog post.
Specifically though, let’s make a heckin’ good blog post that helps us with link-building and gets traffic to your website.
There are a lot of posts about writing blog posts for link-building and SEO, so why should you read this one?
Over the years, I’ve written hundreds of blog posts.
I’ve proofed or edited hundreds more.
In all this time, I have found a blog-writing formula that works incredibly well for me and the people I’ve worked with that I will share with you in this post.
And on top of all that, I have data to back this all up.
So, what do you need to get your blog post to rank in Google and get you tons of traffic?
A few things that we’ll cover, including:
- What to do before you even start writing
- How to research your blog topic and what tools to use
- Outlining content so you stay on-topic
- How to actually write your blog post
- The “brain dump”
- How many words do I need?
- An “F” in writing
- Conversational flow that keeps people reading
- How to keep people reading
- Using images and where to get good ones
- You need outbound links for link-building – here’s why
- What you need to proof and edit your post – both for readers and for SEO
- Proofreading without needing another person
- Blog SEO best practices
- Hitting publish and what to do next
TL;DR Takeaways for This Post
(In case you’re way too busy to read all of this post)
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Research your post before you even start writing, preferably with data-driven tools like Ahrefs, SEMRush, and Buzzsumo.
2. Bullet-outline your post before you start writing to keep your article coherent and on-topic
3. Start writing by just doing a “brain dump” and writing down everything that’s in your head; don’t even think about editing and having it “perfect” until later
4. Write 2,000+ words
5. Think of your blog post as a 1 to 1 conversation with another person, and write like that
6. To make your content readable, be mindful that people tend to “scan” content in a pattern that looks like the letter “F”
7. Add images. Images = traffic
8. Add outbound links so you can do link-building outreach to promote your post and get even more traffic
9. Proofread with Hemingway app or Grammarly
10. Use Yoast to optimize your content and your SEO metadata, and follow Yoast’s recommended best practices
11. Once you publish your post, it’s time to promote that content / link-building (either performing the link building yourself or through a link building company). Use a free tool like Postaga to get more links and traffic for your post.
Now, let’s talk about the meat of writing a great blog post.
Before we even think about writing the blog post, though, you need a topic for your post. You can check out some ideas on how to start a blog and how to choose some blog content.
There are many posts on how to come up with blog topics for SEO and link-building, so we’re not going to cover that ground here.
Instead, we’re going to start with the premise that you have a topic, and now you need to write a post about it.
Before You Start Writing, Do This
We’re not going to immediately start writing our post once we have the topic.
This is a blog post for SEO and link-building, not a journal entry.
First, before doing any writing, you will need to research your topic.
Even if you think you know what you are going to write, do research.
Research with the Right Tools
See what else has been written about the topic. Borrow some ideas, if you feel so compelled.
Take copious notes.
For link-building and SEO, it is also going to be beneficial for you to reference and link to other websites in your post.
So, save and take note of websites that you might want to link to.
Aside from just doing Google searches, though, keyword research tools can be especially helpful.
Tools like Ahrefs, SEMRush, Buzzsumo, and Linkio. I should note that these are paid tools. They have a ton of features that are helpful not just for blogging, but for bigger-picture SEO strategy and ranking as well.
So, search for your topic keyword in these tools.
You’ll see some competitors that are already ranking, which content is ranking, and profiles for each of these websites. This should give you some idea of the competition you’re up against and some inspiration, maybe, for what you can do in your post to set it apart.
Choosing Your Title
You already know what you’re writing about, but what’s the best way to phrase your topic?
Having the right keywords matters a lot for search.
So, what are people searching for and what terms are they using?
Answer the Public is a free database that shows you popular searches in Google and Bing related to your keyword.
So, for example, if you input “write a blog post”, you can get suggestions like “how to write a blog post” or “writing a blog post every day.”
Bullet-Outline to Stay On-Topic
Once you feel like you’ve done all the research that needs to be done for the post, it’s time to organize that information.
Next, outline the sections of your post in a bulleted format.
I recommend you doing bulleted a outline because this will help you to get a big picture of what it is you are trying to accomplish in the post.
Seeing your post mapped out from start to end in a simple outline can also help you ensure that your post answers the question it asks, and it does not veer off-topic.
Writing Your Blog Post for Link-Building
Next, let’s step into the territory of getting words on your screen.
Once you’ve got the sections outlined, and only then, should you start writing.
How Do I Actually Write This?
My advice – write everything.
And write in a word processing app like Google Docs or Microsoft Word.
I don’t recommend writing your post in your blogging software just because, no matter the software, “things sometimes happen,” and your work doesn’t get saved, and then you lost everything.
I have been in situations where I spent a lot of time writing something and then lost my work because it didn’t save and then my program crashed.
In particular I recommend Google Docs to write your post because your work is constantly being automatically saved. While I have lost unsaved works in progress before, I have never lost a significant amount of work in Google Docs. Also, it’s easy to collaborate with others in Google Docs if you have others reviewing or proofing your work.
Another thing to note – don’t edit as you go along, it’ll take much longer that way.
Get all your thoughts written out, then you can go back and edit later.
We’re not even going to think about editing until you have spilled the contents of your brain onto your Google Doc.
I know some people who just cannot write this way and have to edit as they go along. But, in my experience, it just takes a lot longer to get to a finished blog post that way.
How Long Should My Blog Post Be?
Longer content ranks better:
Studies by Ahrefs, Backlinko, and Neil Patel all back this up.
When writing for link-building and SEO, shoot for over 2,000 words.
As an example of practicing what I preach, this post you’re reading right now, it’s over 2,000 words. Nailed it!
Some corners of the Internet will say, “Your post needs to be at least [400/500/750] words for SEO,” but that’s trash.
We’re writing for link-building and SEO here, not the absolute bare minimum.
People don’t typically link to short posts. There’s not a lot you can say authoritatively with 400 or 500 words. Ultimately, a short post is going to be less appealing to other websites that are considering linking to you.
More is better.
Writing Style and Flow Tips
We could have an entire course on copywriting.
Unfortunately, it can be hard to talk about flow and copywriting because everyone has their own natural writing style.
But, I want you to try and break your writing habits when it comes to writing a blog article for SEO and links.
And I’m not saying it because I want you to write a keyword-stuffed article. That’s garbarge and as of almost 10 years ago, that stuff didn’t work.
Writing for link-building and SEO is not like writing a creative writing piece or a journal entry. It needs to read a different way for a different reader.
So, let’s briefly cover a few tricks and tips for writing more compelling blog copy.
We’re starting with one thing that has helped me more easily write content that readers have told me makes my content easy to digest and follow:
First, think of your blog post like a one-to-one conversation.
Think of it like you’re trying to explain something to a friend. For this, it can be helpful to have a buyer persona in mind.
Try to write with a dialogue in your head.
Keep your tone conversational (and not pedantic).
Second, keep your sentences and paragraphs shorter and punchier.
People have a tendency to “scan” when they read website content. A study by NN/g found that 79% of people tend to scan new pages rather than reading the content word-by-word.
So, the shorter and punchier your sentences, the more attention-grabbing they are, the more likely your reader will be engaged.
You can have a paragraph that’s just one sentence.
This is a paragraph.
So is this.
If you pay attention to how you are reading this very article, you might notice how you scan from left-to-right and then down.
Eye-tracking studies show that people tend to read in an “F” pattern – from left-to-right at the top, then vertically down, scanning.
Try and be mindful of this when you write your own articles.
Write for the “F” and how people scan content visually. Don’t clump all your sentences together in dense paragraphs.
Third, forget any of the hard steady rules you may have learned in school about writing.
Writing for the web, and writing for link-building is a different beast entirely.
You can have sentences and paragraphs that are one word.
You can use bold and italics to make a point.
And, you can begin a sentence with the word “and” if you want. I know that may sound like it breaks some rules you learned, but the point of writing is to be readable and understandable. People start sentences with the word “and” in regular life when they talk, so you should have no qualms about doing it in your writing.
The main thing that matters with your blog content is readability.
If your content is appealing and digestible, then you’re doing it right.
When I first started blogging, in the back of my mind, I had my high school English teacher critiquing my writing. Now, I ignore that completely. And I think my blog writing is better for it.
Spicing Up Your Blog Post for SEO and Link-Building
The Importance of Images
You can have a 3,000 word masterpiece of content, but breaking up a wall of text with images can help your content have a bigger impact on the reader.
More than that, though, images get views.
According to a study by Jeff Bullas, posts with images on average get 94% more total views.
Relentless content can sometimes be exhausting.
Here are a few free stock image websites to check out:
Unsplash – Free, high-quality stock images
Pexels – Free, high-quality stock images
Undraw – Free, high-quality color-customizable illustrations
Photosonic – AI-generated images
And if this isn’t enough, here’s a chart of a bunch of different free image resources.
Why Add Outbound Links?
One thing I’m mindful of when writing a blog post these days is outbound links.
There are many different types of link-building outreach you can do for your blog posts- from Skyscraper Technique to Uber Skyscraper to Link Roundups to Resource Outreach, etc. But, one that I always do, no matter the content, is Mention Outreach.
Mention Outreach is when you have external links in your published post, and then you reach out to the websites that you mention in your post, letting them know you mentioned them, and try to get a backlink or a share of your post.
If you want to easily do mention outreach without having to look up all your external links, find contacts’ email addresses, and build email campaigns, Postaga can automate that process for you.
Postaga is a link-building outreach tool that helps your content get more links and shares with AI-assisted, automated outreach campaigns. With Postaga, you can choose an outreach campaign type, enter in your blog post URL, find contacts to share your post with, and build links, in just a few minutes. You can try Postaga here.
After You’re Done Writing (You’re Not Done Yet)
Proofing and Editing Your Post
Do you want to become a better writer?
When I was in school, I appreciated that teachers would give constructive feedback on writing assignments. This way, I could continually improve and become a better writer.
But, since leaving school, I have not had much opportunity to get feedback on my writing.
And, being the main person responsible for content marketing in a small team, often I am the only person who reviews my content before publishing.
For many companies, maybe yours too, this tends to be the norm.
Then, I came across a few apps that have made a marked improvement in my writing.
First, there’s Hemingway App – an online text editing tool that helps you refine your writing. It grades your text readability and lets you know if your sentences are too difficult to read.
This one is my favorite and my go-to. When I’m done writing a post, I paste it all into Hemingway App and it highlights all of my terrible sentences.
Hemingway App lets me know:
- What’s difficult to read;
- When I’m using too many adverbs;
- When I’m using passive voice too much.
After using it for several months, I noticed my writing was tightening up. Hemingway App would have fewer highlighted sentences for correction.
Another option is Grammarly – a browser plugin that gives you feedback on all of your communications. It also has an editor, similar to Hemingway App, where you can paste your text and get feedback on typos, sentence structure, and more.
Grammarly has a free and premium version, with more features like suggestions for “clarity”, “engagement”, “tone”, and plagiarism in the premium version.
Using Yoast to Improve Your Post’s SEO
Once your post is just about ready to go, it’s time to do your on-page SEO business.
If you’re using WordPress to publish your blog post (and you should), you should also have the Yoast SEO plugin.
Use it to vet your post. Follow its guidelines to make your post more SEO-friendly, including having the right keyword density, title tag, and description.
For title tags, the optimal length is around 50-60 characters. With more characters than that, you risk your title getting cut off in Google searches.
With your title tag, try to put the important keyword at the beginning of the title.
Also, keep in mind that click-through rate is important for SEO and ranking, so you may find that with a limitation of 50-60 characters, there can be a trade-of when it comes to using the right keywords and having a sexier title that gets you more clicks.
As far as SEO goes, the meta description is not a ranking factor. That being said, the description you have for your post is going to be relevant to getting people to click on it. So, make the description appealing to people searching for your type of content.
Lastly, with your blog post URL – it should use keywords. Use your keywords, but don’t use unnecessary words like “the” or “and”.
Hitting the Publish Button & Next Steps
Once you’ve taken care of your post, it’s time to get ready to hit that publish button.
By this point, you should have:
- Come up with a topic
- Researched your content and found sites to link to
- Written 2000+ words, proofed and edited
- Added images
- Added outbound links
- Optimized your post for SEO
But, don’t just hit publish once your post is ready to go.
You may be feeling “done” with this post, and just want this to be over.
But, the next steps are some of the most important.
Publishing a post is half the battle. The other half is promotion and outreach.
Promotion is what is going to get you links, SEO, and ultimately, traffic. So, don’t skip this step.
When you hit publish, your promotion campaign should get going right away. This is going to include:
- Putting it in your next email newsletter
- Social network account sharing
- Sharing in social network groups
- Email outreach campaigns
There are a few paths you can go down at this point. You can promote the content yourself, or you can work with a third-party link building company (it’ll cost you but save you time).
As for next steps in your journey, I recommend checking out Postaga so you can easily and quickly build outreach campaigns to build links and traffic for your post once it’s published.
If you have any specific questions or comments about blog writing for link-building and SEO, please feel free to ask in the comments section below.
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