How do you write a blog post to attract readers and Google?
To attract readers and Google to your blog, you need a few essential elements: choose a topic around a strong keyword phrase, write an attention-grabbing headline, use subtitles to break up your topic, incorporate helpful, keyword-rich content, use internal and external links, choose appropriate categories and tags, add an attractive feature image, and enable comment and share features.
Does that sound like a lot?
At first, these steps might seem cumbersome. But once you get in the habit, you’ll write a blog post to attract readers and Google instead of just checking writing and posting off your to-do list. You’ll find writing is much easier and much more effective. If readers never find your words, you won’t be able to help, inspire, or entertain them. Why do all that work for nothing?
Let’s break down each element of writing a compelling blog post.
Choose a blog topic around a strong keyword phrase
A keyword is one word that describes your content. A keyword for this blog post might be “blog.” Someone searching the keyword blog may find information about creating an affiliate blog, describe how to use categories, an array of celebrity blogs, or produce results for various blogging platforms. A single keyword is good but too general. A keyword phrase holds even more power. A keyword phrase incorporates the keyword but dives even deeper with more explanation. The keyword phrase for this post is “write a blog post to attract readers.” If someone types that phrase, or something similar, into Google or another search engine, there is a greater chance that the search engine will show my blog post as one of the results. The phrase can be just two words, but using a descriptive phrase helps Google know what the post is about and better helps those searching.
To choose a keyword phrase, consider what someone will query. What will searchers ask of Google or other search engines? You can use paid services like SEM Rush or Moz, you can also use free keyword tools like Google Keyword Planner (if you have a Google Ads account), or Ubersuggest has a free option that will help narrow down your keyword options.
One of the best reasons to use a keyword phrase is to focus your attention and stick to the topic at hand. You don’t have to write everything in one post. As I’ll discuss later, you will link to related posts on your site if all the information doesn’t neatly land inside the one you’re writing. Your readers will appreciate your focus on exactly what they need.
Include an attention-grabbing headline
Get the headline right, and people will click. Write a boring or confusing headline, and readers will scroll by. Tell people what you’re giving them and the benefits to them. You can help people “Plant a garden,” or you can help people “Grow a bountiful vegetable garden.” You can also help readers identify themselves in your post by using a headline like “The beginner’s guide to changing your oil.”
Use numbers to attract readers to your blog. “5 Reasons to handwrite thank you cards” may compel someone who needs more than one reason to justify their time. You can ask questions, give them “secrets,” “the truth,” or “never before revealed.” Who doesn’t want to know what’s behind the magician curtain? And, make sure you use your keyword phrase in your title. It’s the first thing Google will scan when looking for the appropriate content to curate for queries.
Use subtitles to break up your content
Readers often skim the material in blog posts and do not get much past the headline and subtitles. They’ll look for relevant content to meet their needs. If the blog has the information they’re searching for, they’ll read on. If you neglect the subtitles, readers may exit quickly. If enough readers abandon your blog post, Google will push you further down in their search results as less helpful. Google rewards blogs and websites that are easy to navigate in terms of content and navigation structure. Subtitles are one way to accomplish that. Use your keyword phrase in one subtitle to boost your SEO (search engine optimization). – maybe talk about this earlier
Write helpful, keyword-rich content
Make your content useful, inspiring, funny, or entertaining. Think about what people want to know or feel. What do you know most about, and how can you use it to attract the most readers to your blog? It’s ok to write about yourself if it has a great takeaway or entertains readers. Blogs started, to some degree, as online journals, but unless the blog has a point, WIIFM (what’s in it for me) will rule, and all your great writing may be ignored.
Before you decide what to write, think about the length of a blog post. The length can vary from 300 words to 3,000 or short-form vs. long-form blogging. Long-form blog posts often attract more attention from search engines because they can potentially tell more of the story or be more helpful. After all, the blogger explores the topic more deeply. You also have the space to add more keywords to the article. But long-form blogs are more time-consuming to write and don’t guarantee SEO success. Short-form blogs allow you time to communicate with your audience more frequently. Obviously, you can vary the length from blog post to blog post.
You can also choose to write evergreen content or write about something more topical or trendy. Evergreen content will likely be the same now as a year or five years from now. This blog post will likely be relevant years from now, and the post I wrote about publishing on CreateSpace has become irrelevant.
You’ve already used the keyword in your title and a subtitle. Now, it’s time to sprinkle your keyword into your article. Note the word sprinkle. If I used my phrase “write a blog post to attract readers” in an unnatural way or bent over backward to fit it into too many places in the blog post, it wouldn’t make for a great reader experience. Google also frowns upon keyword stuffing. Long ago, this tactic worked, but no more.
Use internal and external links
Use internal links to keep people on your website and give people additional resources not covered in your writing blog post. It’s helpful to the reader to gain more knowledge about a topic, and search engines will reward you because readers find your post helpful and relevant.
If you write a post about 5 Fabulous Cities in Italy, you can write one summary post including each of the five cities and five in-depth posts about each of the cities with links between them. Link to other posts, a product or service page, or your contact page, if applicable. You also want to update other posts to link to the current one.
While keeping people on your site is essential, external links to other websites are also important for enhancing SEO. Link to credible outside sources to boost your authority with Google. Also, give readers additional resources in their search for answers.
Assign appropriate categories and tags
To help search engines find your blog post, assign appropriate categories and tags using your blog platform’s built-in system. Categories are the broad topic areas you use to describe your overall blog. The categories I use for my blog are writing, publishing, marketing, and inspiration. For this particular blog post, I chose writing and marketing since blogging fits neatly into both.
Tags help identify specific things about the individual post. I’ll use tags like blogging, how to blog, keyword phrases, write great blog headlines, and one or two others. They are like hashtags on Instagram or Twitter. If my blog post mentions someone well-known or respected or a book, I’ll tag those, as well. These will be different from your keyword or keyword phrase.
Choose an attractive feature image
Images have the power to attract readers and, hopefully, the content will keep them there. The featured image will be used on your blog page and whenever you share your post on social media. You can use free stock photos or pay for them using sites like canstockphoto.com or shutterstock.com. Use the free graphic platform Canva to design beautiful feature images for your blog pages.
To attract the search engines, arm your ALT tag with your keyword phrase. Google algorithms don’t search images. They search ALT tags. Find that in the info section of individual stock photos or graphics.
Finally, enable plugins to allow readers to like, comment, and share your post. Google rewards bloggers and blogs with have more engagement. Readers look for a sign that your blog is popular (and therefore credible). Comments and shares accomplish this and will likely encourage more blog comments and shares. Search for WordPress plugins, Wix apps, or plugins for your blog platform to get these features if your web developer didn’t already install them for you.
While it may sound daunting to put that all together, many of these things take just a couple of clicks once you get them set up. Mostly, concentrate on writing helpful, engaging content to attract readers to your blog and Google to your blog.