In terms of writing blogs, long form articles are the way to go. Writing blogs that are over 2,000 words can help in terms of your SEO i.e. building traffic, etc. You should never underestimate the power of writing an extensive blog post!
I certainly practice what I preach and you will never see a recent blog post written by me that is under 2,000 words! If you want to know more benefits of writing a longer blog post, have a read of the article I wrote; “Why You Need To Be Making Long-Form Content For Your SEO And How”.
Basically if you want to be on the first page of Google, your content needs to be over 2,000 words. As well as this, there is a trend that shows the more words you include, the higher your ranking. To top it all off, Neil Patel explains that the more words you write, the greater total amount of shares you are likely to receive.
Writing long form content is hard. And if something is hard, not many people will do it! This means that writing long form content is a great way to get your website to stand out from the rest. Everyone else will be writing their short 500 word blogs, but not you! You will be up there with your fantastic 2,000 word blog.
Now I know what you are thinking, “but I don’t have a lot of time, how can I write 2,000 blog posts multiple times a week?”. Well, you are in luck, I wrote a previous blog post on “How To Write A Blog In Record Time”. Here I provide you will all the tips and tricks to help you write a high quality blog and fast.
It is also important to note:
Your blog post doesn’t just have to be long; it also has to be of high quality.
Almost anyone can waffle on for 2,000 words. Just because you write a piece of really long content doesn’t necessarily mean that you will get lots of views and followers. Your blog needs to offer some sort of value to readers.
On top of this, I see people becoming disheartened because they do write long, great quality blog posts but they aren’t getting the type of traffic they want. This is where SEO comes into play. If you don’t optimise your blog post with the SEO fundamentals, it makes it that much more difficult for readers to find you!
I know, I know you are probably thinking, “so I have to put my blood, sweat and tears into every blog post, and that still isn’t enough, I have to then optimise for SEO?!”. It does seem like a lot of work, but I can assure you that in the end it is totally worth it.
To make your day even better, I have put together this list of SEO fundamentals that you must include in every long blog post. That way you don’t even have to think of what you need to include yourself, it is all here presented nicely for you in this list (aren’t I great!?).
These SEO fundamentals will do wonders to improve your content’s ranking as well as achieving higher visibility and generally driving up traffic to your website. The great thing about these fundamentals is that they aren’t difficult to implement and they don’t take up much time. Even if you aren’t an SEO whiz, you can still put these basics to good use!
Less talking, more listing! Here are the top 7 SEO fundamentals you should always include in your long form blog content:
1. H1 Tag
What is usually the first thing readers see? Your title (i.e. h1)! This is why it is so important to create a great title. A dull title may result in people not giving your article a chance. You may not think it, but the right h1 tag can make the world of difference.
When you place more focus on your h1 tag and produce something amazing, it means that search engines will be able to easily identify and index your content. When this is done, it subsequently makes it easier for humans to find you!
There are a few important things that your h1 tag will need to include:
- Short – usually between 20 and 70 characters
- Keyword – include a long tail keyword
- Explain – ensure readers have a good idea of what the blog is about
2. Subheadings (h2 & h3)
You’ve got your h1 down pat so now you have to focus on your subheadings. Subheadings are certainly necessary in long form content. When writing long form blogs you are probably going to talk about a lot of various things, each new component should have a different subheading.
Subheadings are great because they break up the content and they signify when you are moving on to another section. I personally love headings and subheadings. It gives order and structure to my blog. I usually write all the headings and subheadings first and then fill in the content later.
Some people do fall into the trap of putting too many keywords in their h1, h2 and h3. Don’t do this! It’s called keyword stuffing and Google dislikes this! Stuffing your headings with keywords seems like something easy you can do to help improve your SEO, but if Google deems you to be keyword stuffing, you could be slapped with a penalty.
Your subheadings should be in place to assist the readers when they are going through your content. Let me take an example from a blog post I previously wrote:
Heading 1 is –
Now here are the h2 (and then h3) from this blog –
As you can see these headings do the job of breaking up the blog. Without even reading the actual article you have a solid idea of what is going to be included in each section.
Keywords are a very important part of your blog. But I’m not saying that you should focus your entire blog post around keywords and fitting as many as you can into your blog. Here it is important to do your research and only chose relevant keywords that will actually add value to your blog.
Your keywords obviously need to be closely related to your topic. Also, you will find when writing a long form blog, the keywords will tend to flow naturally. You shouldn’t think “okay in the next sentence I need to include this keyword”.
The problem with some keywords is that they are highly competitive. The more competitive the keyword, the harder it is to pull a good ranking. Because of this it is important they you choose both competitive and non-competitive keywords.
Are you having trouble thinking of good keywords and not sure how to get the most out of them? Don’t worry, like many things in SEO, there is a tool for that! Try using Google Keyword Planner (you will have to have a Google Account). This is a great and very extensive tool that will really help you in the area of keywords.
Google Keyword Planner can sometimes get a little bit confusing. Especially if you aren’t too confident in SEO. QuickSprout have written a great article (and video) that will help you get the hang of this tool and ensure you use it to the fullest.
4. Long Tail Keywords
When writing a blog you will probably have a particular keyword in mind. This will be your focus keyword. However, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t include other keywords!
Remember before when I said you should include a mixture of competitive and non-competitive keywords? Well, non-competitive keywords are usually long tailed. This means that they hold more than one word.
For example, in SEO a competitive keyword would be “SEO”. If that was the only keyword you focused on it would be very difficult for your blog post to improve in the rankings. However, if you add a long tailed, non-competitive keyword into your blog post, such as “SEO services Sydney”, you are more likely to gain some traction.
The great thing about long tail keywords is that they are more targeted, therefore the people who click onto your website have a better understanding of what to expect and will usually stay for longer.
Have a look at all this graphically:
If you are having trouble finding quality long tail keywords that people are searching then have a look at the bottom of the results listing page on Google. I searched for “SEO services” and it gave me a whole list of searches that are related:
5. Optimise your URL
Your URL is typically something that gets overlooked. It isn’t an actual part of your blog post, but it still has a great level of significance. You should always ensure your URL is clear and short. These types of URLs will provide a better user experience because they understand what this webpage is about. As well as this, it helps search engines when they index.
Have a look at one of SEO Shark’s URLs:
The title of the article is “Smart Ways to Plan your SEO Strategy” and we were able to shorten that down into just 3 words to ensure clarity.
6. Outbound Links
All types of links are important to include in your blog. Outbound linking is probably one of the easiest ways to improve your blog’s SEO. When you include outbound links you are including links from other websites in your blog.
You should always include outbound links in your work. Outbound linking should be very easy, especially if you have done your research. For example, when you include specific facts or statistics in your own work, you can link back to where it originated from. This is similar to referencing and you are acknowledging where you got the information from.
So far in this blog I have included 3 outbound links, to Backlinko, Neil Patel and QuickSprout. These links were vital to my research and they helped support the point I was making. I have also outbound linked to a useful tool website. I linked to Google Keyword Planner as this would help users further build their knowledge.
Experts from Backlinko suggest between 2 and 4 outbound links for every 1,000 words you write. You can do the maths to figure out how many outbound links you will need for your 2,000 word blog!
However, outbound links generally need to be of high authority. Use well known websites in your industry.
Don’t include random outbound links just for the sake of it!
7. Internal Links
Internal links have the same level of influence as outbound links, but I found that usually people forget about them when writing. As the name suggests, internal linking is all about linking back to your website’s other pages.
Again, try not to overdo it. Make sure that the page you are linking back to actually has some relevance to what you are currently talking about in your blog. You should always have more links to other websites than you should back to your own. Try to stick between 2 and 4 internal links for every blog post.
In this blog, I have placed two internal links back to other articles I have written. The links are certainly relevant to the situation and they each provide more information about a certain topic if the reader is interested to learn more.
If you want your blog to get onto the first page of Google it will probably have to be long (around 2,000 words). However, you can do all the right things (i.e. long post that is of high quality) and still not receive the results you desire. This is where you need to be implementing some SEO fundaments to help boost your ranking.
You need to ensure your h1 tag is optimised as well as including subheadings to help break up the text and make it easier to follow. Keywords also play a big role for your blog post. You should always look to include both competitive and non-competitive (i.e. long tail keywords) in your blog.
Optimising your URL is something simple you can do to enhance user experience and keep search engines happy. Linking should also be a focus of yours. By including outbound links you are easily improving your blog’s SEO. Internal links are usually overlooked but they should still play a significant role. Look to include 2 – 4 in every blog post.
Sarah is the head of guest posts outreach and an SEO expert. Her interests are search engine optimisation, social media and brand management.