How to write a blog for SEO
When I first began writing blogs for Search Engine Optimization (SEO), I was worried that having to work within the confines of the Google algorithm would limit my ability to write creatively and tell stories the way I wanted to. I was anxious that I wouldn’t be able to choose my own words because keywords and phrases would dictate the type of language I could and couldn’t use instead.
At first, it did feel this way. It was an awkward transition from blog writing only to tell a story to blog writing to make sure people actually read those stories. But as I shifted my approach to blog writing to account for SEO, there was an immediate improvement in how many clicks our clients’ blogs were getting.
Here are some helpful tips and tricks regarding writing for SEO your organization can use when crafting blogs to get people to explore your site.
Why is SEO important?
SEO is important because it accounts for what people are actually searching for on Google so that you’re directly answering their questions through the stories you’re telling. Google then takes this into account when sorting web pages for internet users and privileges stories that answer their questions. In a nutshell, blog writing for SEO ensures your stories are relevant.
Writing to write can be a fun practice, but if nobody is interested in what you’re writing, especially when you’re investing time and money into writing for your organization to get people to your website, you’re dropping the ball.
How do I know what people are searching for?
As I mentioned earlier, writing for SEO was an awkward transition for me. I was used to telling stories with no criteria apart from my own verbal sensibilities. I had to get used to the fact that I was blog writing for specific audiences searching for specific things, and I had to think strategically about who those audiences were.
The best way to do this is through using an SEO keyword search tool such as Google Keyword Planner, my personal preference because it’s free with Google Business accounts. Before you start writing, poke around in Keyword Planner and make sure you understand the question you’re trying to answer through your blog. After all, people primarily use Google to answer their questions. You want to be the one doing that for questions people have regarding your nonprofit’s field.
How should I approach blog writing for SEO?
After you’ve researched keywords and understand your audience, that’s when you can start writing your blog. When working on first drafts, I don’t worry about using specific keywords so much as I try to write to that audience how I would want the question answered. I basically try to write as uninhibitedly as possible to get my thoughts out as informed by the interviews I’ve conducted or research I’ve done.
Knowing my audience and keywords in advance helps me spin that information in such a way that the keywords often insert themselves naturally. Other times, it requires a second pass to find phrases you’ve already used that could be replaced with similar keywords, or areas that could be elaborated on in ways that incorporate keywords.
It’s also important to add subheadings throughout your blog that incorporate keywords and organize the blog in such a way that it’s easy for readers to follow.
At the end of the day, writing blogs for SEO shouldn’t be seen as a hindrance but as a necessary creative boundary in which you can explore the best ways to reach your audience by answering their questions. I’ve found it to be a fun strategy game, and framing it that way makes it a much more rewarding experience than seeing it as just another box to check.