Writing an effective blog post that targets the correct keywords can be a real struggle for many online businesses. Trying to balance the context of your content between your users' needs and the ability to rank for a particular word can lead to stale content that is ineffective for your business in the long term. Sometimes it is worth slowing down to stop and think about your content creation efforts and how to get the most out of your writing. Here are a couple of tips that can help you create blog posts that are loved not only by search engines, but by readers as well.

Do the Research

Begin by assessing the subject matter of your business. What words would you use to define your blog? Narrow down the general topic of your site and the types of categories it will branch off to. Use this as a starting point to begin planning your keyword research. Start by creating a list of words that describe the content of your site and blog posts. Once you have a list, it's as easy as plugging the terms into search engines to see how competitive and relevant they are. Pay attention to the data you find and note where you have room for opportunity. Finding the right topics and phrasing allows you to hone in on your target audience, possibly even new markets, thus helping build your blog and business.

relevant keywords

Sometimes it might be difficult to find ideas or variations of words, but don't get stumped by a creativity block. There are many free tools that can assist you in the planning process. Google Adwords is a useful resource that can help you find relevant terms and phrases to avoid repeating the same terminology. Once you look over the various terms, check the competitiveness of each one. Does the keyword have a high search volume? Check it on Google and assess the possibility of you ranking for it. Ideally, the targeted word should be less competitive but strung along with a few high volume terms. After all, writing an effective blog is about its content and readability.

Find the Right Balance

While it is tempting to try and stuff keywords into your blog content with as many variations as you can, this can be less helpful than you might think. From a user perspective, having a word repeat in quick succession more than a few times can be a bit tiring. Not only does it make what you're saying less interesting to the user, but it is also disruptive to their reading experience. For example, if you were to sit down to read a book and saw the word digital marketing 15 times on a single page, you'd have real questions about the education level and writing proficiency of the author. This doesn't change for readers on the internet, and should not be forgotten. That is why doing keyword research is so important. It gives you more phrasing options to avoid creating a post that is filled with business jargon your users might not understand. That's when the balance of word relevancy and long-tail phrasing come into play. To optimize your blog, it doesn't matter how many times you include the keyword as long as there are terms that relate to it, or even a longer phrase that supports the targeted word. Google has become more aware of word relevancy and will acknowledge any phrases in your post that match with the topic.

keyword search

According to most "best practice" guides, you can hypothetically have a keyword on a single page up to 15 times before a red flag is raised. However, making content that is tailored for your audience should come first. Ultimately it is people that will provide you the best link equity and garner traffic to your site. By primarily focusing on creating content based around a topic that users actually want to read you will naturally satisfy your optimization needs and provide the best overall results to users in the long-run.

Contextualize the Keyword

While it is a bit rudimentary, sometimes the best approach to take when trying to incorporate a particular word into a blog post is to try and contextualize it once you've written the rest of the content. This means that ideally you would take the time to map out a blog post in a way that is aimed to bring value to your users first and worry about adding the keyword to the mix later. This is probably the best way to begin writing a blog. Since you already have the topic in mind, the key phrases will naturally occur throughout the post, then when editing you can either remove or insert words wherever necessary. Focusing on the overall subject rather than the keyword is better because if you begin with a particular word in mind, you may find yourself forcing it into the writing. Remember, users want to be entertained, not overwhelmed, when reading a blog.

Choose the Right Blog Format

Just like novels and other works of writing, blogs also have different types of formats. Since users are often looking for solutions to problems, informative blogs are popular for answering their queries. However, if you see yourself repeating the same kind of post and looking for something to improve your overall SEO, there are some other types of blog posts that often perform well. As mentioned, users search the internet to be informed, but there are ways to increase their interest and engagement with your posts. One of the more common well-performing layouts is a "how to" blog because of their ability to drive organic traffic due to their impactful educational nature. People want to know how to do things and it's likely that any "how to" post has a specific topic you can begin basing your keyword targeting around.

blog format

Another type of popular blog formats are list posts. These are often known to be very concise and give readers a straightforward idea of what they will begin reading. Even though numbered lists may be clichéd, the right content can reach a large audience, especially considering the opportunity to add targeted words within each point. Some consistent examples include a number of tips, ideas, and advantages, as well as "top 10" posts of the best items in a category, such as "10 Best Website Designs." Fun blog posts are definitely good for entertainment value and keeping the blog content fresh. Being able to share an anecdote that relates to your business can personalize your brand and gain traffic in a natural way. When you make a clear effort to add keywords to posts like these, users often overlook them because they are thoroughly enjoying the content itself.

Utilize the Tools

One of the best tools for figuring out whether or not your blog content is as effective as possible is to use a page grader tool like Moz's Page Grader. By taking the time to run this tool on your blog content you can see what you can do to further optimize your post for search engines. This includes things like title tags, image attributes, keyword usage, internal or external links and other key search engine optimization elements.

Keyword Optimization Example

This can be particularly useful if you first write your blog content with the audience in mind and then take the time to go back over it to see how effective it is for SEO purposes and edit accordingly. By taking the time to write your content this way, you'll be sure to get the most out of your content for both real people and search engines.

Writing for SEO

Blog content should read fluidly even when your content is targeting a specific set of keywords. While writing for SEO can be a valuable tool, it is the content that captures the imagination of real people and makes them want to link back to your website that provides the most SEO value for you and your business. Breaking down your blog writing process into steps can effectively answer your users' questions, resulting in higher traffic and better optimization. Take the time and effort to do the research and determine your audience. Focus on keyword planning and research, so you can easily write creative content that will help improve your search engine results.