September 16th, 2009
We’ve all heard the phrase “content is king,” and yes, this is true. Content is essential if you’re trying to build an authoritative domain and strong following for your niche. Providing value to your readers, receiving feedback, and getting involved with your customers is key in any online business model. When writing your first blog post there are several elements to consider including: title, description, and URL optimization, article structure and clarity.
The title is the most important part of your article. It is the first chance you have to entice the reader to read on, and it needs to be appealing, and SEO friendly to receive the full benefit.
Social media and keyword research – If you’re looking to reap long-term social media traffic benefits then focusing time on an appealing article titles (70 characters max) and descriptions (160-200 characters) is highly recommended. If you happen to go over the title/description limits it’s not a big deal but do avoid keyword stuffing and anything that might look spammy. Also note that the article title is considered separate from the HTML Title Tag on the source page, let me explain. Number 1 listed below is the article title for this post, while number 2 is the HTML title tag for the same blog post. Number 1 targets the end-user, while Number 2 is optimized for search engines using strategic keyword placement for two keyword phrases "how to write seo" and "seo article writing."
In addition to optimizing your article title and HTML title tags, you should always optimize the URL of your blog post. Most CMS platforms like WordPress and Drupal automatically generate the URL for each post, but you have the ability to change this manually. I’ve provided an example for the default URL and my keyword targeted URL which focuses on "seo article writing" as the primary keyword. Not only does the optimized URL look more descriptive to the eye but also sends a stronger signal to the engines that this page is about "seo article writing".
Use free keyword research tools to easily find keywords to incorporate in your article titles, HTML title tags, and URLs. (Listed by relevancy)
After all, if nobody gets to read the article, then what’s the purpose, right? I’ve provided a Digg.com submission example below, which targets “marijuana arrests” as its primary keyword.
For more information on writing Digg friendly titles visit DoshDosh.com. Also, consider reading my case study on how social media can improve organic search rankings.
Introductory paragraph – A quick 2 to 3 sentence summarization of what your article covers with the purpose of educating and enticing the person to read further.
Break up paragraphs – Anytime you cover a different point this should be separated into a new paragraph, with the possibility of a its own sub-heading.
Leader sentence – The first sentence of each paragraph should highlight what the subsequent paragraph covers, similar to the introductory paragraph but in a shorter fashion.
Summary paragraph – A quick rundown of what your article covered is always good, with a conclusion when necessary.
Strategically Placed Headers – Anytime you cover a different topic. i.e. article titles, and paragraph structuring, separate the sections with an <h> tag. This will clearly separate your article, and make it easier for people navigate to their sought after section. In addition, this will make your article SEO friendly.
Keep readers interested – As opposed to strictly writing long chunks of text, use bullet points to manage your lists, and embed media elements like videos, images, music, and more to compliment your story. Also, don’t hesitate to link to external websites if you believe it will add value to your readers experience.
Clarity – When writing blog posts, be specific in your message using brief words, and short straight-to-the-point sentences. Users don’t spend much time on your website, so take advantage of this real estate while you have it.
Writing targets – Depending on your goal, you may want to diversify your styles of writing. Focusing on controversial topics can encourage user comments and participation on your blog. Below I’ve listed several common angles you can take with an article title:
Once again, properly outlining the structure of your article, doing keyword research, and optimizing titles and headers are all essential elements when trying to dominate Google, Yahoo, Bing, and the social media networks. The guide above is meant as a best practice but is by no means required and in many cases you can still do well without certain elements. All in all though, be creative try to follow best practices and you’ll reap the long-term organic search rewards.
• 9 years ago
Good that you hit on paragraph structure. I hate long, rambling paragraphs in blog posts. Keep it short and sweet. I also live by "write for humans tweet for robots". Meaning make it easy to read, and then optimize the keywords.
• 9 years ago
Thanks for sharing these tips and information.