10 Tips for Creating Blog Posts That Will Rank Well With Google
10 Tips for Creating Blog Posts That Will Rank Well With Google
Blogging has been around for a while, yet not every business does it. And of the ones who do have a blog, even fewer do it well. And when I say “well” I mean blogs that are good enough that they actually help a website’s rank by Google.
No one knows exactly how Google determines a website’s rank, but there are plenty of experts who have some good ideas how it works.
So here are 10 tips for creating blog posts that will rank well with Google, posts that will get some Google “juice” or “points” or whatever you want to call it that will benefit the website.
1. Do it.
By that I mean go to the trouble to have a blog in the first place. It’s not easy to create a long-term blog strategy—which is one reason to hire an expert—and lots of people are inconsistent about publishing regular content. However, “marketers who prioritize blogging efforts are 13x more likely to see positive ROI.” (HubSpot, 2019)
You can’t gain any of the benefits from blogging if you don’t have a blog. And get a website, too, while you’re at it. A shocking 60 percent of small businesses don’t even have a website even though 55 percent of individuals will look online for reviews and recommendations before hiring someone.
2. Have a strategy.
As mentioned earlier, you really need a strategy for your blog. If you want any hope for ranking with any specific words on a specific topic, that means you need a method and a calendar for talking about specific things over and over in different ways.
You have to define a target audience, and then satisfy them. More than satisfy them. You need to give them interesting and original content on a regular basis. At least once week. Twice a week would be better. Your content has to be so good that your readers want to read what you have to say above what others have to say on the same subject.
And you also have to be able look up and identify what questions people are asking about your topic of interest—so you can answer them. This means somebody needs to be doing some keyword research and long tail keyword searches. Is that going to be you? Because if not, then you better hire someone who knows how to do it.
And if you think that what I’ve mentioned in just the last three paragraphs is easy stuff—then think again. I’m a professional writer, and an expert on Twitter and Facebook, and I hired someone to handle my Instagram account. Why? Because she’s going to do a better job. She’s an expert on Instagram, and I’m not. My husband lets me turn an occasional wrench in his shop. Do you want me fixing your car? I didn’t think so.
3. Have original content.
You or somebody needs to write original content. If you can do a good job, then hats are off to you. If not, then hire a professional. Am I starting to sound like a broken record?
Writing in perfect English (or whatever language you use), with correct grammar, spelling, and punctuation is important to Google. And that’s not all. The content needs to be new. You can’t take content that someone else wrote, change a few words, and call it your own.
Checking for plagiarism is not something that you should have to be doing on a regular basis, if you hired someone to write, but often in writing you get what you pay for. So, if you’re paying a screaming good price to a writer for content, then you might want to check occasionally.
There are several places in the internet where you can check for free if content is plagiarized, but I honestly never looked at any of them until writing this article. I copied and pasted three paragraphs from this article into one of the free tools I found, and it says my copy is not plagiarized. Of course, I knew that, but I wanted to show how it works. See screenshot below.
4. Format your blog posts correctly.
What this means is you need your posts to be written in an organized fashion. Ideas should flow smoothly with transitions from one paragraph to the next. You don’t want big blocks of text— you want paragraphs to be short, like not more than two or three sentences each. Sometimes a paragraph may be just one sentence, and that’s okay.
Neil Patel, the marketing guru, is famous for this, and many companies point to his blog as an example of how to do it right. Personally, I think he overdoes it, and I don’t think that each sentence should be its own paragraph. I think that Neil Patel is famous and gets a lot of his traffic for other reasons.
But you will have to decide yourself how you want your blog posts to look. The idea is to make the content easy to read. And the shorter the paragraphs are, the better. Remember reading William Faulkner in school? That’s what you don’t want.
Also, using bullet points or numbering ideas is encouraged because these are again things that make your copy easier for people to read, especially on small devices or on the go.
Regarding keywords, according to Willy Grieve, the owner of Cityline Websites, the current recommendations are for a 5-7% keyword density for Bing and Google, and the first 200 words are the most important. You can use different versions of the keywords like tenses or parts of speech. If the page is about a long tail phrase, for example, then naturally that phrase will appear throughout the text and at the end. The writing should feel natural, but focused.
5. Use images
Include an image or two. Blog posts with images perform better than blog posts without images, all other things being equal—which they rarely are. But there’s a caveat. The images need to be small file sizes so the pages will load fast. If the pages load too slowly, then the images will work against you.
Get yourself a subscription to a company and buy stock images, or use a company that provides free stock images like Pixabay (although there are some risks associated with using free images), use your own images, or use images that you’ve asked permission to use.
The one thing you absolutely should not do is just take images that you found at random through a Google search and use them as your own. Do not do this. It doesn’t help anything, and you can find yourself in a lawsuit.
6. Be consistent.
See #2, Strategy. Whatever it is that you want your blog to be known for, like interior design or gutters or commercial flooring or fireworks, stick to that.
You have to be consistent with your blogging efforts in order to rank well with Google for anything. If you write seven blog posts on gutters—because you have a gutter business—and three blog posts on your family vacations, this hurts your ranking.
Why? Because the audience that wants to read everything about gutters isn’t interested in Charlotte’s first steps or how Nicky fell asleep in his high chair.
As an aside, I’m guilty of this myself. I try to write in my blog on topics that would be of interest to web design and digital marketing agencies like Cityline Websites, who kindly invited me to write this article, my target audience. But sometimes I digress and can’t resist writing about something or someone like my Aunt Evelyn, who gave me a recipe for her famous tall-and-light-as-a-feather nut cake except she left out a few ingredients so mine looked like a crepe.
There are exceptions to this consistency rule. Dooce is one good example. Heather B. Armstrong, the person behind Dooce, writes about anything and everything, but the eclectic and witty personality of her blog is her brand.
Furthermore, she’s been doing this for many years and became famous years ago for getting fired after blogging about her day job environment. Most of us are not as good as she is. Stick to being consistent.
7. Create appropriate Meta Tags, Title Tags, and Descriptions.
A lot of people have no clue that meta tags are really important. Learn how to do them well. They matter. Cityline Websites has a good article to read on that topic. Do yourself a favor and read it.
8. Do some keyword research.
See #2, strategy. If you want to compete with other blogs that are ahead of you in time or content or depth, then it’s a good idea to do some research on what kinds of questions people ask Google and what kinds of information the public is looking for.
For example, say you have an acoustic guitar business. You may research and find out that a lot of people research on Google what kinds of strings are best for beginners (I’m making this up.)
If this is what you found, then you want to write articles answering this question every which way from Sunday. This kind of thing—answering questions that are actually being asked—helps with ranking in ways that we don’t fully understand.
This is a big topic, a complete discussion of which is beyond the scope of this article. There are paid tools and some free tools available. Either do the research, learn to do the research, or pay someone to do the research.
9. Use adequate blog post length.
There are many different theories on how long blog posts should be. I’d say that 250 words is a minimum, 1200-1500 words is a maximum.
Some say there’s a sweet spot between 800 and 1200 words. No one knows for sure, but varying the length somewhat might be a good idea.
Of course, if you’re paying someone to write the posts, then you may be paying by the word, and longer posts will be more expensive.
My point is that posting 100 words as a blog entry twice a week won’t cut it and will not help you rank well. Either commit to a 250-word minimum on a regular basis or don’t bother.
10. Say something useful.
In your blog posts, make every effort to say something useful that contributes to all the online knowledge floating around.
There is a lot of junk on the web. Don’t let your blog contribute to that. Try to write about topics that people will genuinely want to read and share because they are so good, so new, so interesting, so helpful, so unique, and so well written.
If you’re going to take the time and trouble to have a blog, then make it good. You may not be saying something totally new, but you can say it well and make it worth reading, no matter what the topic is of your blog.
About the writer:
Cynthia White is freelance long-form business writer with a BA in English and over 20 years of experience writing and editing professionally. She was also formerly a marketing VP for an oil company. Her idea of fun is reading the dictionary on Saturday nights. She lives on Vancouver Island with her husband and three special-needs dogs.