Writing a blog post is no easy task. You need to research keywords, write a compelling headline, design images, craft content that keeps your readers hooked, the list is endless! But learning how to write a blog post that gets traffic will rank you faster on search engines.
Here are 9 tips to drive more traffic to your blog:
- Find Keywords that indicate search intent
- Identify Content Gaps in Google
- Identify sub-headers
- Write for Featured Snippets
- Answer Questions
- Include Original Research
- Use passing mention Keywords
- Optimize content for your audience
- Fix your blog posts that are not ranking yet
Find Keywords that indicate search intent
Keyword research is the most important step of any blog. Think about it, people visit Google to search for something, they have a purpose to solve, questions to get answered. You want Google to know that your blog post addresses those pain-points – in detail.
What is search intent? Explained with examples…
For that, you need to meet the search intent of searchers. For example, if someone searches for cute dogs. They are probably looking for cute dog images or videos, that’s their search intent. So Google may serve some images.
But, if someone searches, how to groom my dog at home, the search intent is different. Google will show a step-by-step process to groom a dog at home.
You want to create content that aligns with the search intent.
Often, keywords with a search intent are 3-4 words long. They are called long-tail keywords. When you write for such keywords you have better probability to rank on the first page.
Identify content cracks in Google
Google is always in search of content that is relevant to search intent. However, at times, there is not good content available with Google to serve the searcher. So the algorithm pulls content from forums like Reddit and Quora. And that’s where opportunity lies for you.
How to select a topic for your blog that generates traffic?
Google needs content that meets the search intent. Often, the algorithm serves a partial matching result as there is no content that answers the exact question. And such are the topics that you try to cover.
This means, you must avoid writing about topics that have already been written to death. Do not write a bigger version of content that your competitors already wrote, instead, write on topics that they have not covered.
It is no easy task finding such topics as almost every industry is saturated today. But it’s not impossible if you know what you’re doing. And you sure will know that after reading the next few steps.
Steps to select a topic for a blog post that ranks.
- Collate Ideas
When you read an article from a competitor you might notice some gaps. For instance, if they wrote about best ways to groom your hair, you might relate it to something going on in your life and come up with a topic like how to groom hair fast before an interview. Or if you write on business topics, you can extend the blog topic of – how to start a marketing campaign to how to start a marketing campaign for your small business.
You can also get ideas while writing your own articles. Every once a while, you’ll have this thought, “Ah! Here’s another topic I can write about” or “Here’s another way I can cover this content.” Make sure you jot those ideas down. With the help of the next step, you can start your Google research with a working title.
- Find blog ideas related to your main idea
Very often, your main idea will have huge competition. It’s not worth writing just another blog post because it will not rank, you will not get any traffic.
You need to find related topics that have no competition or that have not been written well.
How to find blog ideas with low competition?
You only need access to a Google Search Results page to find blog ideas with low competition. You can find quality keywords using Google tools.
- Soon as you type your main keyword into Google search bar, you will get some suggestions in the drop down format. If your main topic idea is – how to stop my dog from barking, you will get the below suggestions.
All these are suggestions that people typed into the search bar. No tool has a list of real keywords as Google. You can find a bunch of topics right off the top. Note down all those keywords, for each of them, you will have even more auto-suggest options!
- Paste each keyword from the list and observe the search results. Are the top results unrelated to the search query? Are most top results from forums like Quora? In that case, it’s a keyword topic worth a blog post.
It’s a content crack that Google desperately wants to fill but no one is writing about it. If you provide the content, it will shoot straight up to the first page of search results.
For example, for the keyword – how to get my dog to stop barking at my boyfriend. Here are the top results –
Notice how the featured snippet doesn’t have the boyfriend aspect of the search query. Also the snippet is from 2012. This is a strong indication that you can win the top ranking for the said keyword.
If you scroll further down, you’ll find a bunch of links from forums.
This is another clear sign that this topic will rank and drive traffic to your blog post. Also, you can paraphrase and use the content from the forums, or at least get more content ideas for the post.
That’s how you find blog ideas that stand a chance to rank in spite of fierce competition.
Alright, now that you have identified quality keywords and content cracks related to those keywords, it’s time you find related topics and use them as sub-headings in your blog posts.
Identify sub-headers for your blog post
With content marketing exploding in recent times, you need bigger sized blog posts that cover a specific topic thoroughly. That doesn’t mean you blow in some fluff, it just means you find more related topics to cover within the same blog post instead of covering it in another smaller blog post.
For example, if you write a post on how to get my dog to stop barking at my boyfriend. You can consider covering the topic of how to get my dog to stop barking at my dad, and more such topics. These sub-topics can be written as H2 tags in your blog.
You can find sub-headers using the below methods:
- The Google Alphabet Soup method.
Once you type the headline of your blog post, start appending alphabets after it. For instance, if the headline is how to get my dog to stop barking at my boyfriend. You can take a step back and type how to get my dog to stop barking a. And you will get some suggestions. You can then try other alphabets – b,c,d,etc.
You will get a bunch of possible sub-headers.
- People Also Ask
Google populates a set of keywords in question format in the People Also Ask section of Google SERP.
This is what that section looks like for our search term.
All these questions can qualify as sub-headers. Or you can include them in the FAQ section at the end of your blog-post.
- Related Searches
When you scroll down right to the end of the search page, you’ll find the Related Searches section.
There are loads of keywords there to include in your blog post or even write a separate blog!
Write for Featured Snippets
Featured snippets are snippets of text that appear at the top of the search results page. They are short paragraph answers that Google serves.
You want to optimize your content to get featured snippets. You can learn more about featured snippets and how to get them. In the next few lines we will tell you how to give searchers a glimpse of what you offer, but not give away too much, otherwise they will never click on your link.
Here are steps to optimize for featured snippets.
- Set-up the context for the snippet
You want to segue your content into the paragraph that you want to feature as a snippet. For example, when you use the phrase – here’s how to groom your dog in 10 minutes, you tell Google that the upcoming test answers that question.
- Embolden the content you want to feature
After the phrase, you want to write the exact paragraph or list that you want to feature. Continuing the example from previous step, your text will read – here’s how to groom your dog in 10 minutes:
Step 1: Fill the bathtub with warm water
Step 2: Make sure your pooch can tolerate the temperature.
Step 3: …
When you embolden the text, the algorithm will focus more on it as it stands out. This increases the chances of featuring your snippet. Make sure you do this for different types of featured snippets.
- Optimize your snippet text for clicks
You don’t want potential visitors to walk away from the Google SERP once they consume your featured snippet. You want them to click on the associated link. Here’s how you optimize your snippet for more clicks.
- Add a featured image with text.
A featured image is the face of your blog post. It shows right next to your featured snippet as shown below.
You want to include text in this image and pack it with information that is not there in the snippet text. For example, if the text in the image reads 9 steps to something but Google shows only 8 steps, it will generate curiosity in your readers to know what the 9th step is.
- Make the clickable anchor text enticing
After the featured image, the page title gets more eyeballs. Make sure you include the search intent keywords in the title. Also, try to make the headline enticing. Coschedule’s headline studio can help with writing clickable headlines.
- Include at least 9 steps or tips in your blog post
Google often shows up to 8 steps or tips for a list type of feature snippet. If you include 9 or more steps, you give more incentive to searchers to click on your listing. There’s no sure number, but 8 is the maximum that Google shows in a list snippet, per our experience.
By now, you know that Google has a section called People Also Ask. It contains questions related to your keywords. People ask a lot of questions on Google, so if you have answers, you will be featured!
Write a lot of How-to articles and include Whys, Whens, and Whys in the FAQ sections or your lower header tags.
Again, make sure you optimize for featured snippets and write that one emboldened paragraph when you write for these questions.
Include Original Research
Original research is a sureshot way to win featured snippets. When you provide exact data that no one else has, you shoot right to the top to SERPs.
For instance, if you answer the search term how long to clean AC vents in June, boom! You shoot right to the top, as not one really calculated the time it takes to clean a vent. This research does not take too long, but can make a world of difference in your rankings.
In addition to organic traffic, it can generate natural backlinks.
Use Passing Mention Keywords
During your keyword research, you will find some phrases that people do search but they are not potent enough to support a complete article.
For example, for keyword how long to clean AC vents in june, these are some keyword suggestions.
The phrase air duct cleaning ripoff can’t be used for snippets or main headers. You can, however, insert similar passing mention keywords in your content to rank for it.
Optimize content for your audience
Google Analytics will tell you what your audience looks like. For instance, you can find out what age, gender and nationality form your audience. If, for example, your audience is pouring in from Luxembourg, you want to optimize content to include terminology that is local to Luxembourg.
You can head over to Audience report in Google Analytics and get a deeper understanding of people who visit your website and optimize accordingly.
Fix your blog posts that are not ranking yet
You probably have a bunch of blog posts that are not ranking yet. You can tweak your content based on the above steps to increase your chance of ranking on page 1 of Google search pages.
Another effective tip to optimize existing content is using Google Search Console. Here’s how to use Google Search Console Keywords to improve your ranking.
- Head on to the performance tab and click on Pages
You will get a list of posts along with clicks and impressions they get.
- Click on a page that gets low traffic, then click on Queries.
- GSC will populate a list of keywords that are relevant to the page, get it a few impressions but not sufficient clicks.
- You can then write content focussed on those keywords. This content can be full fledged header topics, or passing mention keywords that we discussed before.
Now you have a complete SEO checklist for blog posts. We covered some crucial tips to rank your content on Google that drives traffic to your website.
Implement them and see how your blog posts perform.
Which tip did you like the best?