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10 tips to write an SEO-friendly blog to rank at the top of the search results

7 million blog posts are published every day. You can’t just string words together and hope Google sends readers to your blog. It doesn’t work like that. In this post, I'll share what does work.
10 tips to write an SEO-friendly blog to rank at the top of the search results
10 tips to write an SEO friendly blog to rank at the top of the search results

In this post, I’ll tell you the 10 tips you can use to write an SEO-friendly blog.

Why write SEO friendly blog?

Search engines are a free traffic source. Take Google, for example.  It’s the number 1 search engine with 92.47% market share. In fact, it has generated 82.6 billion visits in the last month alone.

So people are searching for everything. That includes your blog, too.

But, 7 million blog posts are published every day. You can’t just string words together and hope Google sends readers to your blog. It doesn’t work like that.

You have to write quality content + help Google to index your blog to let readers read it (i.e. do search engine optimization). This will increase your website traffic and blog views.

But, how to write an SEO-optimized article? That’s what this post is about.

10 tips to write an SEO friendly blog to rank at the top of the search results

1. Start with keyword research

Start with keyword research
Start with keyword research

How did you find this blog? You would have searched for 'how to write SEO-friendly content’ or ‘SEO writing tips' on Google. And because we used those keywords in this blog, Google sent you to this post.

This is what keywords do. Keywords are terms your users are using to search for you. It connects you with your readers and potential customers.

Here’s keyword research 101:

a) Come up with a list of seed keywords for your business. Think of words your users would use to search for you. For example, if you sell email software, your seed keywords would be ‘email software,’ ‘email productivity,’ or ‘inbox zero.’

Use Google autocomplete suggestions to get keyword ideas.

b) Type your seed keyword into Ahrefs. It will give you related search terms.


c) Choose high-volume and low-competition keywords.

d) Make sure the keywords have a high organic click-through rate (Ahrefs will let you know this). This tells you that people are clicking on it.

Read how to do keywords research using Ahrefs

2. Sprinkle your keyword in the right places

You now know the keywords to use in your blog post. It’s time to include those in your article. Here’s where:

a) URL

b) Blog title

c) Within 50 words of your starting paragraph.

d) Headings and subheadings.

e) Throughout the blog post (Include your keywords 4-5 times in your article)

f) Conclusion

g) Meta description

3. Avoid keyword stuffing and use semantic keywords

Keyword stuffing is filling your blog post with keywords to rank higher on search engines. It includes unnecessary repeating of words, adding keywords without context, and using random keywords irrelevant to the topic.

Example: If you’re writing a blog around the keyword ‘best SEO practices,’ and use the following copy:

“If you want to learn the best SEO practices, read this blog. This blog will teach you the best SEO practices to rank higher on Google. Some examples of the best SEO practices you’ll learn in this blog are using keywords and earning backlinks.”

Spamming irrelevant keywords in your post to manipulate rankings doesn’t work. Google hates it. It pushes down your rankings. Here’s Google’s definition of irrelevant keywords and its effects:

That’s where semantic keywords help. Semantic keywords (also known as secondary keywords) are terms closely related to your primary keyword (blog topic).


Instead of stuffing keywords, use related terms. This helps Google to better understand your blog content. Plus, ranking higher on search engines becomes easier.

Here’s how to find semantic keywords to include in your blog posts:

a) Google related search suggestions

Search for your seed keyword on Google.

Scroll below to find the related suggestions

b) Use Google Keywords planner

Google Keywords planner gives you a list of common search terms around your keywords. All you have to do is enter your term. Choose keywords with low competition and high search volume.

c) Use Google Trends

Step 1: Go to Google Trends

Step 2: Enter your search term

Step 3: Click enter. Scroll below to find the related topics and queries

d) Use LSI graph

Step 1: Go to LSI graph

Step 2: Enter your keyword

Step 3: Click on generate. You’ll find the LSI (Latent Semantic Index) keywords

4. Optimize your headers

Divide your blog post into headers and subheadings.


Headers and subheadings are on-page SEO factors Google uses to rank your web page. Google itself has confirmed they use H1 tag (title of the post) to understand the content of the page.

Here’s how to optimize your headers and subheadings:

- Include your main keyword in the title of the article.

- Break down the post into subheadings to better explain the topic.

- Include your semantic keywords in the subheadings.

5. Optimize your URL and meta descriptions

a) URL:

Google itself talks about the importance of SEO-friendly URLs in its SEO starter guide. So it makes sense to optimize your URL in order to rank higher on the search engines.

Example of an SEO friendly URL:

Here’s how to write one:

- Include the keyword in the URL

(The above URL is a link to the post ‘How to build a remote-first company.’ Hence, the keyword ‘build a remote company’ is included in the URL).

-  Use hyphens in-between words instead of an underscore.

- Keep your URL short (ideally less than 8 words)

- Avoid special characters like ampersand (&), commas (,), percentage (%) and other characters.

- Remove numbers.

- Remove unnecessary words (JUNK) that make it hard for the readers to read the URL.


Google ignores these types of URLs.

- Use lowercase words

b) Meta descriptions

The meta description is a summary (under 160 characters) of the page’s content that appears beneath the search results.


Users read it before clicking on the page link. Edit the description to persuade the users of what they will learn in the blog link.

Here’s how:

- Write a one-line summary of your blog post.

Example: If your blog post is on ‘best SEO practices,’ the description can be:

Learn the 10 best SEO practices you can use to rank higher on search results.

- Mention the benefit of reading the article

In the above example, I wrote: “to rank higher on search results.”

- Include the main keyword.

- You can even tease the answer in the meta description

Example: If you’re writing on ‘best SEO practices,’ the description can be:

- Aim for 140-155 characters. More than 160 characters won’t display the description in full.

- Eliminate characters others than words.

Example: Signs like semicolon (;) or plus sign (+) or dashes (-) or ampersands (&).

6. Write for readers

It’s important to follow the SEO guidelines. But, if you write only for the search engines - focusing on adding keywords, word count, writing without context to suit keyword stuffing - you won’t attract readers. That means no search rankings.

Because Google ranks only those posts that are:

a) Reliable

b) Trustworthy

c) Answer the user's query

d) Has in-depth information on a topic

Remember: I'm not telling you to ignore SEO practices.

So to rank higher on search engines, focusing on writing for readers is equally important.

Some points to get you started:

- Go to social media. Engage with your audience. Interview them about what problems they want answers to. Ask what their frequent doubts are. Create a blog around it.

Now, onto how to write the blog post:

- Write short sentences and shorter paragraphs (for easy skimming).

- Use data and examples to make your point.

- Avoid using technical terms. Break down complex topics into easy-to-understand language. Explain acronyms and technical concepts.

- Cite experts.

- Use Grammarly to write grammatically correct sentences, correct spellings, and language/tone.

- Use Hemingway Editor to write shorter sentences and avoid passive voice and adverbs.

- Use ‘you’ and ‘your’ in your blog posts.

7. Add visuals

Both search engines and readers love visuals (images, videos, infographics).

Here’s the proof:

- Blogs with images get 94% more views.

- The human brain processes images 60000X faster than a plain text.

- Blog posts that include images produce 650% higher engagement than text-only posts.  

- People retain 65% of the information when an image is included.

Plus, visuals break down the giant wall of text in your article. It makes the article appealing and simplifies the complex topics.

Add images in your post. Use infographics, screenshots, and charts to represent data. Post video explainers. You can use free tools like Unsplash, Canva, and Pexels to download free images.

8. Add alt-text to your images

Alt texts describe images, and it’s importance to Google (and visually impaired users). Search engines crawlers scan your alt text descriptions to understand your images. If you don’t add alt text, the images won’t be scanned, and hence won’t rank on search results.

Google images are the 2nd largest search engine following Google search. You don’t want to miss an opportunity to attract traffic from Google images, do you?

Plus, here’s Google’s John Mueller recommending adding alt text.

This is alt text

Here’s how to add alt-text to your images:

a) If you’re writing on Google Docs, right-click on your image.

Example: I right-clicked on the above image.

Click on Alt text.

Write the title and description of your image.

For example, the title can be “Google’s John Mueller recommending adding alt text to your images.”

And the description can be, “Google’s John Mueller suggesting alt text improves search engine rankings”

b) Important points to note while adding alt-text

- Use target keywords in your alt text

- Never start with “Image of….”

- Don’t add alt text to all the images.

Read how to add alt text for SEO and optimize your images

Featured snippets are short bits of text that answer a query. It appears at the top of search results for the user to get a quick answer.

Example: I searched for the query “How to write alt text and descriptions” Here’s the featured snippet.

Here’s how to optimize your blog posts for featured snippets:

Semrush analyzed 46 million keywords on mobile and 160 million keywords on desktop. Here’s what they found on how to earn featured snippets:

a) Choose long-tail keywords (preferably 4-5 words)

b) Questions dominate featured snippets. So, add Q&A content.

For example, if you’re writing about SEO, include a section with “What is SEO?”

If you’re writing on “the importance of organic marketing”, include a section with “Why is organic important?”

Add short and relevant answers to the questions.

Here’s how to optimize your answer:

- Write it in the form of a paragraph of 40 words. Or

- Include bullet points (6 on an average). Or

- Tables of 5 rows and 2 columns on average. Or

- A video explanation.

c) Shorten your page URL.

d) Update your content. (70% of the featured snippets were published no later than 2-3 years ago)

There are two types of links:

a) Internal links

Internal links are links to another page of the same domain.

What is an internal link?

Advantages of Internal link building:

- Sends page authority to different pages.

- Helps Google to crawl and index your pages better.

- Boosts blog views.

So link to 3-4 internal pages of your website on a single blog post.

Read how to use Internal linking to rank higher on search results

b) External links

External links are links to another page of a different domain.

What is an external link?
What is an external link?

It’s further divided into two:

i) Outbound links

Outbound links are links to another site from your website.

What are outbound links?
What are outbound links?

Example: The link I have linked to Ahrefs above.

Linking to high-quality websites helps readers to understand the topic better. It also signals to Google that you have done the research. Plus, you get the benefit of building on the site’s credibility. These help in SEO.

So ensure that you link to 2-3 reputable sites in your blog.

ii) Inbound links or Backlinks

Backlinks are links from another site to your site.

Inbound links or Backlinks
Inbound links or Backlinks

- Establishes trust and credibility.

- Google sees backlinks as a vote of confidence. The more the number of votes (backlinks) you have, the higher you’ll rank on Google. Google itself confirmed backlinks are one of the top 3 search ranking factors.

- Develop brand authority.

- Increased organic (referral) traffic.

- Write guest posts.

- Create high-quality content. Focus on these content types: case studies, list-based posts, how-to guides, and round-up posts.

- Build free tools so that people can link back to them.

Read how to get high-quality backlinks.

Start writing SEO friendly blog to rank higher on the search results

Any blog has these 3 goals:

- Increased website traffic

- Loyal readers

- Revenue source

SEO is the base of all the 3. If you write SEO-friendly content, both readers and search engines will reward you. So start with these 10 beginner SEO-friendly tips to gain the most out of your blogging efforts.

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