Imagine typing out the final sentence of your best blog post ever… knowing this one will connect with your audience like no other, opening hearts and wallets throughout the wide world of internet readers.
Maybe that could happen… if people know to read your blog in the first place.
So, while it’s tempting to think every blog you publish gets promptly escorted by internet angels onto the screens of your ideal prospect…
The truth is, nobody will know your blog is there unless you do a few key things to get noticed — no matter how great your writing is.
Today, we’re going to cover the eight most important things to do before you publish your blog.
1. Write a Quality Post
We all know any blog post you publish online should be well-written.
But the reasons for doing so go beyond simply having a quality piece available to your readers.
That’s because every sentence in your blog is potentially searchable, post-worthy, or tweet-worthy. So, make sure your blog post includes the following:
A headline and subheads written with persuasive magnetism, so any snippet grabbed by Google that appears in someone’s search feed is capable of immediately capturing the attention of your ideal prospect.
The “Power of One” as taught by AWAI — which speaks to the importance of focusing your post on one key message that leaves your reader with one key takeaway. Don’t try to make a dozen points in a single post.
Enough white space, so the post is reader-friendly — especially because many people these days read blogs on mobile or tablet screens. A big chunk of text to wade through is a turnoff to readers.
Copy that focuses on the reader, not the writer. In other words, make sure you’re using the words you and your a lot more than me, my, and I. (For example, “So you want to write a blog post… here’s what you should do first” holds greater influence over your reader than, “So I wanted to write a blog post… here’s what I decided to do first.”
Copy that’s written anywhere between the sixth- and eighth-grade reading level — because that’s our conversational norm, and it will register faster with readers. (Assuming you use Microsoft Word, you can figure this out by looking at the Flesch-Kincaid score found under readability statistics.)
A call-to-action at the end of the post that directs the reader to whatever action you’re hoping for, whether that’s to sign up for your mailing list, click a link to read an additional post, or share your post with others.
2. Use Keywords and Phrases That Appeal to Humans
Next most important in writing a blog post that ranks high in the search engines is your use of keywords and key phrases.
And, though you’d think it would go without saying, you should make sure your SEO words sit comfortably within your sentences in the same way you’d use them if you were having a conversation.
The biggest mistake writers make when it comes to search engine optimization is succumbing to the temptation to repeat a word or phrase over and over, so it appears countless times in your post, and with the hope it gets noticed faster by any search engine looking for that keyword or phrase.
But Google’s pretty smart, and that technique doesn’t always work. These days, it almost never works. More importantly, nobody will read your post, if it sounds like it was written by a robot.
An easy way to make sure you’ve been savvy about keyword placement is to read your copy out loud. If something sounds awkward, chuck the keyword or phrase in favor of a reader-friendly sentence. It’ll help you more in the long run.
In addition, focus on putting more keywords and phrases in your headlines and subheads than in your actual content — they’ll have greater search value there.
3. Build Links Into Your Post
Any time you mention a person, article, study, or product within your blog post, add a link.
You’ll want to add internal links that go to other pages within your website, as well as external links that connect to credible websites you’re happy to associate with. And, whenever possible, reach out to the owners of those other websites to let them know about the post where you’ve linked to them — they might decide to link back, which is a good thing.
4. Invite Comments… If You’re Up for That
The more comments you get on a blog post, the higher your post will rank in the search engines.
Comments aren’t worth the search value they could bring, if you’re not able to keep up with them. So, if you have the time and interest to wade through comments and reply to them, answering questions and thanking commenters, then go for it — it will only help you.
If it’s unlikely you’ll have a chance to stay on top of comments, then it’s not worth the risk. Unanswered comments could hurt your blog more than help it.
5. Add SEO Tags to Your Images
This is a lot simpler than it sounds, so don’t worry if you’re not a tech-inclined person.
In just about every blog post template, there’s a way to upload images. When you upload images, there should be an option to name the image and add alternate text. (Alternate text is the text that appears when your mouse hovers over the image. It is also read out to those with visual disabilities.)
Both the title and the alternate text of an image help search engines understand what an image is about. This goes a long way toward upping your rank in the search engines.
6. Make Use of an SEO Plugin (Like Yoast SEO)
A lot of blog themes available these days make it simple to add keywords and phrases to your blog post. But often, adding a plugin will amp up the power even more.
Yoast SEO is one of the most popular, if you’re using WordPress. Like other plugins, Yoast helps you fill in SEO content for your meta-descriptions, page titles, and targeted keywords. This helps make your site as search engine-friendly as possible.
7. Pull Out Your Best Social Media-Friendly Lines
Go through your post prior to publishing and find the best Facebook-friendly phrases and tweet-ready sentences. Ideally, find the ones that include your keywords and phrases.
Schedule these for Twitter and Facebook, so they appear in news feeds when you publish your blog and in the days and weeks following publication. All that social traction around your specific keywords will help you gain high-quality search rankings and get seen by the right readers.
8. Check Your Length
There’s no magic word count for blog posts. A longer post that goes beyond 2,000 words will have more space for keywords and will be more searchable… but is it as reader-friendly as possible?
Shorter posts of around 600 words are more digestible for readers, but don’t necessarily have the real estate for a lot of keywords. They also cannot go as in-depth on a topic, so they don’t necessarily convey the same value. But, they do get read in full more often.
Posts around 1,500 words are the most likely to get shared on social media.
The length you choose is up to you. Just remember, your overall goal is to provide your reader with value, so that’s the first thing that should dictate your length.
Take These Steps for Blog Posts to Pack a Powerful SEO-Punch
Follow these steps — all of which get easier and faster each time you take them — for every blog you publish.
Doing so means your blog will have a higher SEO rank, better social traction, and is hundreds of times more likely to get noticed by the right readers.