The good old days of blog writing when you just needed 300-500 words and a photo are gone. Oh, you can still do that if you want to, and I have been known to do it here and there, but if you want to ensure your page and your website perform better in search engine results page rankings (SERPs), then let me politely suggest you follow the advice below as it relates to optimizing your blog posts in these five areas:
- Page titles
- Page descriptions
- Main content
- Miscellaneous items
Blog writing secrets
Did you notice the main content of your blog is the fourth item in the list? There is a lot to blog writing that many people do not realize. While the fourth item on the list is main content, I hope you realize having great content for your post is extremely important. Regularly produced content (whether words, photo galleries, videos or white papers) is what keeps people coming back to your website to see what is new.
In order to fall under the best practices for search engine optimization, your page title needs to be add least seven characters and not more than 65. It is easy to think of the page title as being the headline for your page, but it is not. Many blog posts have the same headline and the same page title, but they do not have to be, and they are technically two distinct items. The page title is what appears in your browser’s web address bar. The page title for this blog post is blog-writing-secrets, and it appears in the browser as http://www.woostermediagroup.com/blog-writing-secrets.
Having said that, whatever keyword (or keywords) you want to focus on in the blog post should be used in the page title. My keywords for this post are “blog writing.” While you need at least seven characters, you should also have at least three words. The goal of this post is not to teach you how to write compelling page titles and headlines, but you would do well to read up on how to do so.
Page descriptions, often called meta descriptions, are the words that appear under the title of your page in Google searches. There are SEO plugins, like Yoast SEO and WebTextTool (both have free and premium editions; I like WebTextTool and an using it to write this blog post) to help you write this separate piece of information. Readers of your blog will never see it if they visit the page, however, they will see it on the search engine listings.
When writing your page/meta description, you want at least 50 characters. Recent guidance was to stay within 155-160 characters so this “snippet” wouldn’t get cutoff in search results, however, MOZ and Search Engine Land are reporting seeing snippets of greater lengths: 230 to 300-plus. Google confirmed to SEL it is allowing for more characters in the page/meta descriptions and snippets, however, they are not sure just how many. MOZ recommends staying within 300 characters.
And, I am sure you know by now, make sure you use your keyword at least one time in the page description.
The main headline on your page is the H1 header/tag. You should only have one H1 tag on your page, else it will cause confusion. And, of course, you want to use your keyword one time in your H1 tag. The H1 for this post is “Learn blog writing secrets in 5 areas to improve search results” — a total of 62 characters. The length of the H1 really is not limited, however, Neil Patel suggests between 20-70 characters. Over at MOZ, they say “long enough and no longer.”
While your use of the HTML H1 tag is limited, the use of others (H2, H3, H4, H5 and H6) are not. These are generally headers of different sizes, with the size getting smaller as the number gets larger. You should also use additional header tags, too.
In this blog post, I am also utilizing the H2 tags. These tags help to break up the page, make it easier on the eye and add a design element. While the recommendation is to have at least one H2-H6 tag, I recommend having more, at least three. Just as you used your keyword in the page title and H1 tag, make sure to use it at least one time in your H2-H6 tags.
There is still some debate about what the length of a blog post should be. As I mentioned previously, the good old days of blogging and writing 300 to 500 words are over. However, they are not over for some. I have heard of people writing 200-word posts. Websites could get dinged by Google in search engine results page rankings by having too many short pages, which are pages with word counts fewer than around 250. An article in June 2017 from SEOCopyWriting.com noted how it appeared pages ranking high had nearly 1,000 words. Hubspot pointed out 2,500 words were the sweet spot. Still, another study showed pages with 3,000-plus words were going viral?
So, what should you do when it comes to word count? I recommend between 1,000-1,500 words. WebTextTool recommends 450. When I wrote to them to share my insights, the reply was: “Webtexttool always adapts to the newest SEO rules. If we notice that the minimum amount of words should be longer, we’ll adapt it to our rule sets.” I wouldn’t go fewer than 500 words, but remember, you are the master of your blog, not me.
You want to use your keyword at least a couple times with a blog post of around 1,000 words. Make sure when you use your keywords it comes across as natural. You don’t want your content to sound stilted, like you were just trying to insert your keyword or its synonym, which in this case is blogging. You also want to be careful not to use it too many times, else Google’s search bots will think you are keyword stuffing.
Be sure to use the word(s) you are focusing on with the first 50 words of your page. Your synonyms should be used at least once. Have at least one image on your page. On my wife Wendi’s site, which is a food, travel and fun blog, she uses a lot of photographs. On my blog here, I stick with generally one, and I typically place it after the first paragraph.
In your content, you will also want to add one or more links to external websites, and one of more links to other pages on your site. I typically end my blog posts with a link on how to contact me or to schedule a free SEO consultation. For this post, I just did it.
Some other things to think about while writing your blog post: Add a bold/strong tag on you page; put your keyword or synonym in the bold/strong tag (you will see I did that in the main content section); add an italics tag to your page, and put your keyword/synonym in an italics tag at least once.
So, that’s it. And this blog post came in at 1,119 words.
p.s. The WebTextTool SEO score for this page is 100 percent. The content score is 98 percent.