Looking beyond the conversation of determining the topics of your blog posts (which we know stem from user interest as well as SEO value), there are several practices that will ensure a positive interaction with your posts towards your desired outcomes. In this first of two blog posts, we look at the first five practices.
Keywords, Title Tag and META Description
Your blog post should use the same META tag strategy that your web pages do. Understand the key messages your are writing about, and see if you can incorporate your keywords into the content and your META tags. Make sure every blog post has a title tag and META description, both of which will appear on the search engine results pages.
If you are using WordPress for your blog CMS, it is highly recommended that you install a plugin like the Yoast WordPress plugin, so you can easily keep track of your tags and your SEO.
Length of Your Blog Post
Much has been argued about the ideal length of a blog post. Web pages are an ideal length at 200-250 words, as the visitor is scanning for information in order to make a decision. Readers of a blog post, however, are slightly more engaged; therefore the length is more – 300 – 800 words.
In the case of more technical or educational pieces, that length can reach over 1000 words, and still be engaging. But how you structure the post may be even more vital to your engagement than length.
Titles, Headings and Sub-Headings
Just as your web pages tell a story from top to bottom, so too, do your blog posts. Similarly, a reader will scan your post for its content before choosing to sit down and read it in its entirety.
Use your title to grab the reader’s attention: either with focus keywords (which help for SEO value as well, or for tone (questions, numbers, even a provocative slant to the article). This is the “billboard” to grab your users attention. It is also, in many cases, the title tag of your page, especially if you are using a WordPress installation.
Keeping that META info in mind, make sure your title is short and sweet: 70 characters with spaces not only satisfy the SEO value, it also grabs the user’s attention.
Use heading and sub headings to draw the user’s eye through the length of your blog post, pointing out key components or messages in the post, while also allowing the user to scan to see if this post will interest them enough to read in detail. It also allows you to easily break up your post into paragraphs, which are another key area in the successful structure of your blog post.
Search engines crawling your blog posts will also index the headings and subheading first to digest the context of your page, therefore helping you with placement on the search engine results pages.
In our next blog post, we’ll look into five more practices for creating your compelling blog posts.