Ultimate Guide to Writing Blog Posts That Rank Higher
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Welcome to episode 11 of Websites Made Simple podcast where we are covering The Ultimate Guide to Writing Blog Posts That Rank Higher in Search Results.
In this episode, I’m covering everything you need to create an awesome blog post outline. One that is not only going to 1-up your competition but one that will help your content get ranked higher by search engines.
And, stick around because I have you covered with a freebie that will walk you through the entire process step-by-step. I’m talking about a guide that can be used as an SOP for you or your team. It has the tools you need to use outlined, screenshots of examples, and I even through in the Google Sheet document to go along with it. This thing is packed with goodness that will not only save you time but also help you create content with the right research done beforehand.
This thing is well…awesome.
So let’s get after it.
TL:DR — The Who, What, Where, When, Why…
- Who does this – anyone who creates content for your business or website
- What is it – an outline on how to write the perfect blog post on any topic within any niche taking into consideration your competition and keyword research
- Where is this done – in your browser, 3rd party apps, and the free Google Doc and Google Sheet in my freebie
- When is this done – every time you need to create a new blog post
- Why is this done – The content on your website helps you rank better on search engines, provides users with the information they need, and can convert them into paying customers. Content creation is time-consuming, but preparing an outline ensures that your time is well spent.
An outline is extremely important because it makes your content more effective, high-quality, and consistent. In other words, it increases your chances of hitting the mark with every piece of content you publish optimize blog posts for SEO.
How to Write Blog Posts that Rank Higher in Search Results
You will need to get access to a few 3rd party tools but don’t worry, these are all free or at the worse require you to register for a free trial.
This will contain a copy of the Google Doc with step-by-step instructions as well as the template outline at the end. It also has the Google Sheet title “content analysis worksheet” which you will need to stay organized. This is the Ultimate Guide to Writing Blog Posts That Rank Higher in Search Results!
Define Your Objective & Main Keyword
OK, now that you have your environment setup and ready to go, let’s start by defining your objective and your main keyword for the post.
For example today I am going to use “urban gardening for beginners” as my keyword I want my content to rank for. Don’t worry, we will refine this later as needed but start by writing your keyword down on the template.
I also want you to write down the objective you have for your post. In my example, it will be “offer ideas and advice on how to start an urban garden”.
Now that we have that, I want you to go to buzzsumo.com and enter your keyword that you just wrote down.
Once you get the results, pay attention to all the social media headings across the top. I want you to sort the results by the platform you are targeting to get the most shares on after you post your content. Just click on the social name and you should be good.
Once you have that I want you to take the top 3-5 links that are relevant to your keyword and read those articles or posts.
Next, I want you to open a private tab on your browser. If you are using Chrome the shortcut is ctrl+shift+n.
I want you to type in your keyword that you defined earlier. Why the private or incognito window? Because this will help avoid any history from your previous searches on this topic and show the actual raw results of that search.
Again, I want you to take the first 3-5 relevant results and read those articles. An easy way to do this is just to right-click on the link and open in a new tab of your browser.
Tip: avoid any results that point to places like Wikipedia or other places that have nothing to do with your content or objective. Make certain the three you chose are relevant.
Once you have read those 3-5 articles I want you to open the Content Analysis Worksheet that is included in my free download. Place the titles and links across the first couple of rows in the worksheet. Then for each article, I want you to complete the fields listed. They are all dropdown fields to help make it easier for you.
Next, I want you to paste each URL from your competitor articles into the free readability test tool listed in the free guide and on the show notes page for this episode. Right below the box where you pasted in the URL will be the average grade level the tool predicts the content is written for. Now depending on your audience and content, this could vary, but I know many of you would like a guide or rule of thumb to target…and for good SEO the grade level should be between 6-8.
This does not mean your audience or visitors can only read at that level. However, writing content for this level makes it easy to consume and understand the first time someone reads it. That is the goal. Great content that your visitors can consume quickly and gain immense value from.
Completing this part of the content analysis will inform you of what the top search results are for your keyword, what type of content is ranking, and most importantly, what you can do to beat that article with your own content.
Write Compelling Headlines
Moving on, let’s cover how to write a compelling headline.
I want you to write 10-20 variations of headlines for your post. The goal here is to make one that is better than the competitor articles you just read.
If you need some inspiration, you can visit Sumo’s Headline Generator which I have the link in the freebie “The Ultimate Guide to Writing Blog Posts That Rank Higher in Search Results.“
I’ve covered the Headline Generator in the past but as a quick reminder, just fill in the boxes based on the type of headline you want to create. The types are listed at the top of the Generator and include things like numbered lists, how-to, DIY, etc.
Remember that this tool offers you inspiration. Don’t take all the headlines as great suggestions, select the ones that make sense.
Once you’ve got your 20 headlines, it’s time to check how good they are.
This is another completely free tool you can use to check the length of your title. Ideally, your title should be under 65 characters. Otherwise, it can get cut off on search results.
Besides the appropriate length, a good headline should have some of the characteristics from the “General Blog Post Checklist” heading found in the free guide I created for you. The characteristics include:
- Numbers, stats or data
- Written in the second person
- Target keyword present
- Communicates clearly what the blog post is about
- Active verbs
Take a look at your headlines and compare them with the checklist. For example, “The Ultimate Guide To Urban Gardening For Beginners” has 4 characteristics. Do this for all of your headlines and select the top 10 from your list.
Next, I want you to open CoSchedule Headline Analyzer and test the 10 headlines you have selected. For example, the “The Ultimate Guide To Urban Gardening For Beginners” got a score of 64 out of 100, which is not great. According to the tool, you want to try and get above 70.
After you have tested all of your headlines, select the top three ones.
Improve them according to the checklist and CoSchedule suggestions and aim to score over 70 with them.
Re-test the improved headlines with CoSchedule tool. Pick the headline with the best score.
Complete the Outline
Alright, we are getting close to the end. Now that we have covered the headline it is time to complete the outline.
Go back to your outline file (Google Doc) and decide which will be the sections of your post. In our example, these sections could be the following for “Urban Gardening for Beginners”:
- Urban Gardening Supplies to Get Started
- Easy Top 10 Vegetables to Grow
- Common Problems and Fixes
Let’s cover each one of these in order.
Write what the lede of your post will focus on. A good post lede meets the following criteria:
- Is specific – explains exactly what your post is about
- Contains a teaser – E.g. “Learn how to get started and grow your first 10 vegetables with ease.”
- Short and crisp – 1 – 2 sentences, but no fluff. Right to the point, tangible and interesting/funny/creative.
- Contains the keyword and data/numbers
In this example, it will be a lede focused on the top 10 easiest vegetables to grow. If you want to make your job easier, plan your content further.
Write down in your outline the concepts that a user needs to understand in order to get the most from your post.
In this example, it could be “supplies needed to get started” and “common problems and how to avoid them”.
Follow a basic Q&A structure in your text body. Establish the questions a user might have and aim to answer them in your post. Go from broad to specific.
Talk about the problem in general, then go deeper and deeper. This way you make sure that the visitors understand your post.
Before starting to write your post, take a look over the checklist. Write down what you can add to your post to make it better than anything you have found. In this example, there are a couple of things we can add. The Checklist is a great tool that gives you ideas about a blog post.
Look at the list below to determine where you can make improvements. These might include:
- A call-to-action (E.g. Buy Now)
- Testimonials (E.g. A reader who has tried the recommendations and has experienced great results)
- Giveaway (Free How-To guide on a specific planter)
- Video (E.g. How to use the basic gardening supplies)
- High – quality visuals (E.g. before/after results of an urban planter)
- Finish your outline, by completing the rest of the sections for “Concepts”, “Q&A”, “Broad ⇒ Specific”, and “To add”.
- Review your outline when you are finished and double-check the list of characteristics you identified earlier.
That’s it. Now you have an awesome outline to use every time you need to create a blog post better than any other on the same topic. And don’t forget to download your free copy of “The Ultimate Guide to Writing Blog Posts That Rank Higher in Search Results.“
I am a proud affiliate of some of these tools. That means if you click the links and then make a purchase of those products, I will earn a small commission. Affiliate links absolutely do not cost you anything additional.
All of the affiliate links are clearly marked for your benefit. Please know that I recommend these products and chose to be an affiliate because I truly believe in them, use them, and know they work.
About the Show
Created for the non-techie entrepreneur, John Dockins reveals all of his website and online business strategies, income sources and killer marketing tips so that you can be ahead of the pack with your website and online business.
Self proclaimed “coffee addict”, you’ll learn how to build authority online using content management systems like WordPress, email marketing, search engine optimization, content marketing, and much more so that you can create something amazing without burning yourself out.
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John is a family man who also owns his own web design agency and has won several design awards for his work.