The anatomy of a great blog post
A Great SEO Blog Post
In researching how to create an effective blog I've encountered a number of things worth pointing out.
- Effective is a term that can relate to SEO or just content so I'm going to cover SEO effective.
- SEO blogging means every day posting of about 400-700 words.
- The subject of your posts only needs to be interesting and not the same every day (that's a whole different kettle of fish).
- Write like you are explaining to a fifth grader (don't get carried away by things you know, because your reader probably doesn't know it and requires simple explanations).
- Never forget the great graphic or photo.
Here's one “expert's” take on blogging.
Blogging, like any other form of the written word, has a certain anatomy to it.
While I have never come across a standardized “rule book” for how a blog post should flow, I believe every great blog post include a few basic elements.
You may have others (and please discuss them in the comments below), but these are mine.
Element #1: A Catchy Headline.
It’s obvious that the first thing a potential reader encounters is your headline. It’s the thing that is tweeted on Twitter, posted on Facebook, sent out through RSS or email subscription.
The headline is very important in the grand scheme of a great blog post.
Play with headlines on your blog. Have fun with them. Write a great one and watch your blog post go viral!
Element # 2: Fluctuating Structure
What the heck is fluctuating structure? Well I’m glad you asked.
Have you ever read a blog post that was set up in long sentences strung into long paragraphs that lead into more long sentences and more paragraphs until your head is about ready to bust because the writers has not let you take a breath and you are wishing that he would just shut the #$@* up and get to the point?
Yeah – you know what I mean eh? (I nearly wore myself out writing that sentence)
Fluctuating structure happens when you allow the reader to read at a pace that is comfortable. You can achieve this by use of different formats like:
- Tantalizing item #1
- Powerful point # 2
- And so on
Sectional headlines marked in bold (ex. Element #1, Element # 2)
You can also fluctuate your structure by writing shorter paragraphs. Yes, even a one sentence paragraph.
Anything to not wear out your readers eye.
Element # 3: A Rockin’ Image
It took me a while to truly realize that impact that a powerful and cool image could have on a blog post. An image draws the readers eye to your content. It evokes all different kinds of feelings and sensations.
Element # 4: Oh, btw you’ll need great content
Everybody under the sun has written about how your blog post must be full of great content. The cry has gone out: Content is King!
You know why everybody under the sun has written about it?
Because it’s true.
You can have a great headline and fluctuated (I just love saying that word) structure and powerful images, but if your writing sucks – you are sunk.
In order to get readers – you’ll need to write great content.
In order to keep readers – you’ll need to write great content.
In order to move, inspire, teach, motivate, market, sell or do anything else with your readers – you’ll need great content.
Write great content.
And here's another word on SEO for bloggers:
I won’t go into how to best develop your keywords or keyword phrases (be sure to read Discovering the Keyword Matrix and Choosing Your Best Keywords). Today I want to focus on the best places to incorporate those keywords on your blog site.
Where to Use Keywords in Your Post Content
There are a few critical areas in each blog post where you need to focus the majority of your SEO efforts.
First, you’ll want to ensure that you use some keywords in your post title. For example, the title of this post is Anatomy of a Good SEO Optimized Blog Post.
SEO, blog post, optimized are some of the keywords I’m hoping my reader will use to search for that type of information in Google (well I did more than hope, I did a littlekeyword research!)
You’ll also want to make sure that you use your keywords and keyword phrases in your post content a few times but make sure that your content reads well to a human! After all, what your readers think matter much more than what a search engine robot thinks of your content. So make sure your content is readable and not just a series of keywords slapped up on a page.
A few other tips for using keywords in your blog post content
- use keywords in your post subtitles and be sure to use H1 and H2 tags as appropriate
- use bold and italics on key phrases, as appropriate
- be sure to include images where the file name of the image itself has been optimized to include keywords as well as including keywords in your alt and title tags
The Post Permalink
Once your post content is written, there are other ways in which you can include keywords on each individual post. The post permalink is perhaps the most often overlooked area that can really help optimize your blog posts. The permalink is the permanent link to a post within your blog.
Every blog has an index page where all of the most recent posts are posted in chronological order. …
Right now, if you were to look at the page, you would find this post displayed at the top. When the next blog post is written, it will be posted at the top and this post will fall into the second position. As additional posts are added to the blog, the position of this post moves down the page until it is no longer visible on the first page of the blog.
The permalink is the permanent link to this post allowing me to navigate directly to the page rather than linking to it from the blog home page or one of the blog categories or tags.
The permalink is automatically generated for you once you create the post title but the permalink can be edited.
The default permalink for this post was ideborah.com/blog/anatomy-of-a-good-seo-optimized-blog-post. I changed it to http://ideborah.com/blog/seo-blogging-tips/ so as to include the keyword phrase seo blogging tips.
Post Categories & Post Tags
Two additional areas where you can include keywords are the post categories and post tags.
Categories are the different areas of your blog. They are the sections that you want to break your blog into. Think of them as different subjects that will be used to group your blog posts.
On this blog, you’ll see the categories listed at the right. They are general topics: blogging, new media marketing, tutorials.
Tags are words or phrases that are specific to each individual post and are more specific. For example, the tags for this post are: blogging tips, seo, permalink, tagging, categories, blog optimization.
Why Does This Matter?
You’re probably wondering why I’ve been rambling on about permalinks, categories and tags. After all, you’re thinking, aren’t categories and tags designed to benefit my reader, giving them a way to organize the content that they’re looking at? Yes, it’s true that blog categories and post tags help to provide the structure and framework for your blog. But they also aid in SEO in that they become part of your blog’s URL. And the search engines give greater weight to keywords that are part of your domain.
And another perspective:
1. State the Problem
What is the problem you are trying to solve? It might not be a problem at all. It might just be an observation that people often overlook.
For example, say we are writing a post on “How to Get Your Website on the Top of Google Search”. The problem is that the website is not at the top of Google’s search results.
This is really only a problem if we are relying on Google for traffic to our website.
If the reader gets all of their traffic from other sources then we have toconvince them why this is a problem for them and why they need to be concerned about it.
2. Emphasize Why This is a Problem
Stating a problem is a good start but you really need to drive it home and make your problem so convincing that people will feel like they need to know the solution. Give examples and show differences between the good and bad.
Show how the problem is negatively affecting them. Statistical graphs are great for emphasizing your point.
For example, smoking is bad for your health. You could have a field day with charts and graphs to highlight why smoking is bad. It would be very easy to convince.
3. Reveal the Solution
When you listen to a great speaker you will notice that they follow this same formula. It’s like a musical composition. It has it’s tension, climax and release and it leaves the reader or listener feeling satisfied.
For many of us it’s easy to see the problem. But, a great blog post will tell ushow to fix the problem. It will go into detail if necessary.
4. Finish the Post with a Call to Action
I love the word “action”. Action is good. It means you are living. You are a do-er. Give your reader an action that they can do at the very moment they read your final words.
Most people don’t do things because they don’t know what to do. Tell them exactly what to do even if it’s just the first step.
I encourage you to analyze your favorite posts, listen to some great speakers and see how they effectively use these simple techniques. Start incorporating this formula into your blog and you will see your bounce rate decline significantly.
Your Call to Action!!!
Write with enthusiasm so your readers will become enrolled in your excitement and words. Write daily (7 days a week and no exceptions) – you can use the built-in scheduler in WordPress. Use categories and tags to enhance keywords.
Write when you are “up” and have two days to two weeks of postings in the hopper.