Your blog posts need to be formatted for SEO

Writing a blog post can be one of the most cathartic experiences for a writer. He or she can gather their thoughts, organize them in a logical sequence, and then lay out their case on digital paper. But unfortunately, if you want anyone to see and read your work, you can’t simply follow Hemingway’s advice about writing and bleed all over your keyboard. 

If you want your work ever to be seen by anyone besides your mother and your youth pastor, you need to learn a little bit about ranking factors, and you need to have a working knowledge of how to format your blog posts for SEO. Let’s take a look at this and see how it all shakes down.  

Include keywords in your meta description

Recently, I heard meta descriptions referrred to as ‘micro copy’ and I thought that is just about the best description ever. Since a meta should be 160 characters or less, you’ve got to focus really hard on maximizing the few words that you can use.

When you write micro copy, make sure to work your core keywords into the meta, and it still needs to sound good.  Because it is such a short snippet, you need to write your metas to capture attention fast, and you use keywords to catch the eye of search engines.

Include descriptive image alt text

Alt text, short for alternative text, describes the appearance or function of an image on a web page and is read aloud by screen readers used by people with visual impairments and low vision. If it fails to load, it displays in place of an image and is indexed by search engine bots to understand an image and page content better. 

Alt text should accurately describe the image for people who have images turned off on their browser, and each image should have a different description and a good reason for being on the page.  

Include external links to authoritative sources

You need to work plenty of your own links into your text, which I’ll cover in a little while. But again, you need to link to reputable external sources liberally. The key phrase here is reputable.

You should only link to high-quality sources; never jeopardize your credibility by linking to a disreputable source.

I think brand recognition matters as much here as the metrics of the site you’re linking to. That’s why, as a rule of thumb, I only link to articles by Moz, Ahrefs, Search Engine Journal, or SEMrush. There are a few exceptions to this, but I stick with reputable brands that are respected in the industry.

This goes for all of my different niche topics; I am very selective about where I link from. .gov and .mil are usually safe bets, especially since my work often involves military contracts. 

The point is you need to get to know the industry you’re writing in and make yourself crazy familiar with the most reputable companies that aren’t competitors.

Include your keyword(s) throughout your content

The last thing you want to read is unreadable trash that is stuffed with keywords. Thankfully, Google recognizes this; authenticity is an important part of the search process.

When you write, you do need to be cognizant of your keywords, but not at the expense of your writing quality.

The keywords should flow naturally and should make the content valuable. What do I mean by ‘valuable’? If the keyword builds into the article’s overall message and adds depth to the content, then it is valuable. If it is there only to check a box, then you are keyword stuffing, and it will eventually catch up with you. Keywords are basically the architecture of your content; the content must be built around them.

Make internal linking a habit

One of the hardest things about your first few articles is that you don’t have anything to link to internally.

Internal linking practices are one of the most important things you can do to increase the reach of your content. You not only want people to read your stuff but also to then go to your next article and read it, bookmark it, and so on.

Yes, you absolutely need to have external links. Think of it as adding validation and credibility to your content. But here’s the thing: all you are doing is creating a backlink for someone else when you link externally. The ultimate goal is to keep them on your site, going through various pieces of your content, and eventually buying a product or service from you. 

Get more backlinks

Finally, as your presence starts to grow, you need to do some outreach in the form of backlinking. In its most boiled down state, backlinking is just the process of reaching out to other domains, hopefully, those with some sway, and seeing if they will link to your content in their content. This signals to search engines that your content is both valuable and trustworthy.  

Parting thoughts

Is this stuff hard to digest and kind of complicated? Yes. 

But in reality, it is just a numbers game. Here is a client that I have been writing for since their first article a year ago. Is it staggering? No, but it is consistent. Most people overthink it, but it is all about playing the long game. 

Push content consistently that builds on a core concept, and you will eventually get noticed. Why? Because nobody else is willing to do the work. You will set yourself apart because you are willing to either 

  • Do the work yourself (great expense of time)
  • Or pay someone like me to do it for you.

Either way, it’s a serious commitment. 

Get started today, push content weekly (or more), target keywords that matter to you, win biggly. 

That’s it. 


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