Write a better blogpost without losing your mind
Guest post by Marieke van de Rakt, Yoast.
The first rule of SEO copywriting: don’t write for search engines. The second rule of SEO copywriting: don’t write for search engines. It’s true that search engines can bring you loads of traffic, but what good is traffic if it doesn’t convert visitors into customers? You should put awesome content at the center of your site strategy. Still, writing an engaging blogpost that satisfies both your audience as well as search engines, like Google, is no easy task. In this post, you’ll get some practical tips on how to improve your writing.
Start with keyword research
The first thing you should do is to make sure you write about the correct subject. Not just that, you have to start using terms your audience uses. Therefore, you’ll need to get into the head of your potential customer and find out which keywords they use to search for your product or service. It’s possible that they utilize something entirely different than you think or make typical keyword phrases to narrow down the results.
After finishing your keyword research, you have a good idea about who your potential customers are, how they search and what terms they use. Now, you can almost start the writing process. Before you put your pen to paper, you have to think about what you want to say. What’s the message of your text? Why should people believe you when you say your product is the best? In addition to that, make sure readers know what to do when reaching the end of the text. Should they hit a big call-to-action button to buy your product? Or subscribe to a newsletter? Or something else entirely?
Build a structure
Well-written articles need a solid structure, consisting of at least three parts: an introduction, a body and a conclusion. Consider what you would like to say in these parts and write it down. If you do this well, you have now formed the basis of your post or article.
Use paragraphs correctly
Correct use of paragraphs helps to guide your readers through the article. They should make sense and can’t just be two pieces of text separated by a random blank line. A good paragraph is self-contained and must present its own subject. Every sentence in a paragraph has to earn its place therein. If it doesn’t, you need a new paragraph. What’s more, the first sentence of a paragraph is the core sentence and must represent the main idea of the paragraph.
To enhance the structure of your text and make it easier to read, you should use headings. Readers use these headings to quickly grasp the main message of a text. In addition to that, Google loves headings as well, because it helps them to figure out what a text is about. Headings make your post instantly scannable. It’s also a good spot to place your keywords, but don’t overdo it.
Use transition words
Transition words organize the text and make it easier to scan. These words indicate the relationships between sentences and therefore an essential part of a good text. There are different kinds of transition words. You could use, for instance, transition words to compare something (to illustrate, for example), add a sense of time (immediately, in the meantime) or to add a part to a sentence (furthermore, moreover). However, if you use them, make sure you know the correct meaning.
Read it and read it again
Your first draft is never perfect, so reread your text and edit accordingly. If you’ve grown too attached to it, set it aside and go for a walk outside. Or leave it until tomorrow. Create some space between you and your text. It’s easier to edit a text when your mind is uncluttered. Get an outsider to read it and ask for their honest opinion. If you’re writing a blogpost try and aim for at least 300 words. Although Google loves longer articles, you should, however, leave your James Joyce aspiration at the door.
Avoid bad content
You may or may not be a natural writer, but you can still produce a decent piece of text. That’s only possible if you put in the work and follow a structured process. In addition to that, if you do this regularly, you will get better at it. Or, at least, it will hurt your brain less.
It is possible to become a better writer, but by trying to achieve that, it’s easy to fall into the ‘bad or unoriginal content’ trap. Yes, it is hard to write something original about a subject you have already turned inside out. That doesn’t mean that you should deliver garbage. Your readers will thank you.
If you want a successful website, you have to produce fresh, quality content. Google loves it and so do your customers. At Yoast, we know how important content is. Content is at the heart of everything we do. Our eBooks, newsletters and blogposts are carefully crafted following well-proven guidelines. We study the use of languages to continuously make the content analysis feature of our Yoast SEO for WordPress plugin better. It’s becoming an all-in-one tool for your site more and more. Not just for hardcore SEOs, but everyone who wants to produce awesome content on the web. Be sure to try it out. And remember: don’t write for search engines!
Joost de Valk, Founder & CEO at Yoast will be joining us at #DMWF Expo Europe in Amsterdam, 3-4 April 2017. To find out more and register visit: #DMWF Expo Europe
Written by: Marieke van de Rakt