To write a super successful blog post in 2020 you need to focus upon and write your posts not just for your readers [the human factor] but also for the search engines [ basically just Google 🙂 ] or search engine optimization [SEO].
As far as search engines are concerned it may be worth keeping in mind that Google commands the lions share or 86.86 % of the search engine market. Bing has just 6.43 % and Baidu 0.68 %.That said, writing blog posts with only SEO in mind will rarely get you very far. Click To Tweet
Well, that was not the case in the past where you could get away with writing only for the search engines and indulge in things like ‘keyword stuffing’ and still get ranked on Google.
Search engines have moved past those early days and have evolved into a much more complex piece of software that does not rely only on the actual words that you type into the search window but also very often can accurately guess your actual ‘intent’ behind typing those words.
That may not be a bad thing for a user but makes optimizing your blog for SEO a little more difficult now than it was in the past.
I say that this is not a bad thing because if you think about it from the perspective of a user then search engine result pages [SERP’s] today offer the user a much better experience with precise results. You are more likely now to get results that are much more relevant to what you are searching for.
It wasn’t very far back when you would be searching for something and end with a list of webpages containing nothing more than lot of ads and filled with gibberish that did not make any sense at all.
Well that does not happen now because Google and other search engines have gotten smarter.
SEO techniques that worked in the past could very well land you a penalty from Google if you tried them today.
They are best avoided because they are unethical and manipulative practices and could even get you in trouble. You could get penalized and even get thrown out of search results altogether.
Some of these techniques commonly called black hat SEO techniques are – Private Blog Networks [PBN’s] to build backlinks, content scraping, comment spam, keyword stuffing, buying paid links, and even website hacking.
Some of these may still work today in the short term but will cause more harm than good in the long run so are best avoided.
So what are the points to remember when writing a great blog post in 2020?
The 7 Steps to Write a Successful Blog Post.
- Know what Your Readers want.
- Create an Eye-Catching Title.
- Make your post Easy to Read.
- Add Images and Illustrations.
- Optimize your blog post for SEO.
- Optimize your blog post for Mobile.
- Include a Summary.
1. The Right Topic [Knowing your Audience]
Knowing your audience and knowing what people are searching for online related to your chosen niche is crucial in deciding a topic for your blog post
If you are still undecided about the niche that you are going to blog about read this post on how to finalize a niche for your blog.
But how do you know what people are searching for online related to your niche?
Most importantly how do you know what it is that your readers are really interested in reading about?
There are several ways that you can do this.
If you already have a huge readership and want ideas for a new post then you could run an email or online survey and ask your readers what they want you to write about.
But what about a new blog that does not have huge traffic yet?
A good place to start looking for ideas is Google! Let me show you how.
Let’s say that your chosen niche is ‘Travelling’ and you have a travel blog and are looking for ideas for a blog post in that niche.
Go to the Google search page and type in something like ‘how to travel alone’ and you will get a bunch of suggestions in the drop-down list populated by Google from its database of what people are searching for on its search pages.
Using Google to find Keywords.
As you can see, the google database shows the various topics that people are searching for related to that keyword.
Each one of these can become the topic of your new blog post.
Similarly, Reddit, Quora, Answer the Public along with ‘autosuggestions’ from search engines like Bing, DuckDuckGo, or Yandex can throw up tons of ideas related to your niche that people are actually looking for online.
A search on reditt for the same keyword throws up the following suggestions.
And a siimilar search on Quora shows the following results.
2. Create an Eye-Catching Title.
A great headline is like a great first impression.
In fact, people will decide whether to read the rest of your content based upon the opinion they have made regarding the title of your post.Most people will share a post on social media simply based on the title of your post. Click To Tweet
How to Write a Great Blog Title?
7 tips for writing great blog titles.
The 7 tips for Writing Great Blog Titles.
i) Include a Number
Numbers provide structure and draw attention.
Compare these two examples
Example 1: “HOW TO WRITE A BLOG POST”
Example 2: “11 EASY STEPS TO WRITE A SUPER SUCCESSFUL BLOG POST”
Which one from the above examples would you click?
It is easy to see that most people would be drawn to example 2.
The above is an example of a blog post title which includes numbers.
The title of this post is “How to Write a Blockbuster Blog Post in 2020 [ in 7 Easy Steps ] – The Ultimate Blog Post Writing Guide”
The numbers in this title have been included for a specific reason. The year ‘2020’ in the title conveys to the reader that the post is updated, current and valid in 2020.
The sentence “Easy 7 Step Guide” informs the reader that the post is structured or broken down into easy to follow steps. So the reader gets to know from the title exactly what the post is about and what to expect. A vague title like “How to write a blog post’ does not convey much information about the blog contents so the chances of getting a click are much less.
Research has shown that readers are more likely to click if the title contained a number than if it did not.
ii) Use Emotion.
Emotion is an extremely powerful tool to make your blog title stand out.
Emotional words like
are powerful and draw attention to themselves and to the blog post itself.
iii) Be descriptive
While following all the other points to writing a successful blog post like adding a number, using emotion, etc. you should never lose sight of your main goal, i.e. the main function of the blog title!
The main function of the title is to provide a short peek or an introduction to what the main content is all about.
While being catchy and witty and all is alright, remember that in the end, the title has to be followed by quality content that delivers what the headline has promised.
A blog title that promises a lot but is not followed up with matching content is nothing but just ‘clickbait’ and should be strictly avoided.
iv) Keep it Short
Google result pages display blog post titles up to a maximum length of 600 pixels.
Anything beyond this is cut off at the nearest word break.
Try to keep your title length to below 60 characters to avoid this and to make your blog post title look meaningful in the search results page.
This is how you want your blog post title to look like on the Google search results page.
Although the blog post title is not fully visible it still looks complete and meaningful, unlike the one shown below.
You can see here that the title has been truncated because it is too long which is not ideal
v) Create Curiosity
Human beings are inherently curious creatures. Creating curiosity around the post is guaranteed to get a click.
Create curiosity around your title. Reveal just enough about your post in the title to create curiosity and encourage and invite the reader to read the rest of the content to get the full information
How’s this to create curiosity? Wouldn’t you have clicked?
vi) Use Parentheses
Use parentheses to highlight or draw attention to a point in your title.
This can help to draw attention to your post especially on search engine results pages.
Example of using a number and parenthesis in a blog title.
This example uses a number, parentheses and emotion ‘foolproof system’
vii) Include a keyword
Whether or not the use of keywords in the SEO title tags influence ranking on serach engine results and has been much debated but we believe that it matters.
Including a keyword your title in a natural way will help you rank higher in search results.
As the graph shows, the correlation between using a keyword and ranking is quite low but it still helps both humans and search engines to understand what your blog post is all about and hence is a good practice.
3. Make your blog post easy to read
People tend to read more quickly when reading online compared to if they were reading a page from a real book.
When reading from a screen most people don’t even read every single word on the page.
Instead, they tend to scan the page from left to right, then down a bit, then again from left to right and then scan the left side of the page all the way down [like the shape of the letter ‘F’].
In the modern age of ‘instant gratification’ and where the next web-site or blog is just a click away it is important to keep the reader interested in your page.
Short attention spans mean that it is important to give the reader what they want quickly.It has been shown that if your page loads too slowly then 32% of people will abandon your page between 1 and 5 seconds. Click To Tweet A 1 second delay in page load time can see an 11% decrease in the number of page views. Click To Tweet
This means is that even if your content is top-notch it still means nothing if your page load time is not fast enough.
As per the research done by Google, the bounce rate of your page increases as page load time increases
What does ‘Bounce Rate’ mean?
The bounce rate is the percentage of people who land on your page and then leave immediately without doing anything else.
What is ‘Page Load Time?
The most simple explanation of Page Load Time is that it is the average time interval between a user clicking a link and the requested webpage showing up on the screen.
So how can you counter the short attention span, need for instant gratification, tendency to scan or skim through a page rather than read every word?
How can you get your readers attention?
Other than optimizing your site for speed by ensuring fast page load times, you must also do the following.
- Make good use of headings and subheadings to convey key points.
- All headings and subheadings should be prominent and stand apart from the rest of the text by the use of proper font size and formatting.
- Highlight important information and text by use of appropriate formatting, different background color, bold type or larger font, etc.
- Create bullet lists like this one.
- Use question and answer format to provide useful information.
- Stick to small paragraphs and sentences which are easy to read.
- Use illustrations and images to create interest and arouse curiosity.
4. Add Images and Illustrations
Images help your blog post look good.
Moreover, images are good for SEO.
Name your image files creatively. Do not name your image files with meaningless names like ‘Image 1.jpg’ or ‘screenshot.jpg’ and the like.
Instead, name your image files with meaningful names eg.’ Bar chart showing a correlation between use of keyword in blog title and search engine ranking.jpg’
This helps search engine bots make sense of what your blog is about and helps ranking.
Your image may even show up in Google images with a link to your blog.
Use the alt tag and image description wisely and remember to use your chosen keyword in both of these.
What is ‘ALT Tag’?
The ‘Alt tag’ is an HTML attribute applied to image tags. It is a brief description of the image that shows up instead of the image itself in the event the browser is unable to load the image for any reason. The ‘Alt Tag’ is also useful to differently-abled persons who rely on screen readers to make sense of the image without being able to see it.
5. Optimise for SEOSEO optimization starts with knowing your audience. Click To Tweet
We touched upon this briefly earlier in this post. However, while the method explained above tells you what people are searching for it does not tell you how many people are searching for a particular keyword or term related to your niche.
For example, if you have decided to write a blog post on ‘how to travel alone’ then typing this keyword into the Google search box, throws up ‘autosuggestions’ from Google’s database of related keywords which people are searching for online.
But what this method cannot tell you is how many people are searching for a particular keyword [i.e. the search volume] or how many pages are ranking for the same keyword [competition].
Ideally, you will want to choose a keyword or topic to write about which has a large search volume and low competition.
But how can you find out exactly how many people are searching for a particular keyword or phrase?
How can you know the level of competition for that keyword or phrase?
Online tools like SemRUSH help you to do this
So you are not shooting in the dark and are writing your blog posts after careful research and planning and knowing the exact number of people searching for that particular keyword or phrase online and also the level of competition for that keyword.
This knowledge will be a crucial factor in making your blog post super successful.
Check out how SemRush can help you with keyword research and to optimize your blog post for SEO.
Detailed data through keyword research is your best preparation to easily optimize your blog posts for SEO.
6. Optimize your blog post for Mobile
Over 60% of Google searches happen on mobile devices and the use of mobile devices is only increasing by the day.
So it is extremely important to optimise your blog post for mobile devices.Over 60% of Google searches happen from mobile devices. Click To Tweet
Find more statistics at Statista
In order to optimize your blog post for mobile devices the first step is to ensure that your chosen theme is ‘responsive’.
Responsive means that the theme should automatically adjust your blog page to the screen size so your blog will look great not only on a desktop or laptop but also on mobile devices.
Before you install your favourite WordPress theme check the documentation to ensure that it is responsive.
This blog uses one of the most popular and best theme available called ‘Astra‘.
It is lightweight, fast and ‘responsive’.
You can check if your blog post is mobile-friendly by using Google’s ‘Mobile-Friendly Test‘.
Just enter the URL of your blog page and click the ‘test’ button to see the results.
In addition to being mobile-friendly, you should also ensure that your blog posts are AMP compliant.
What is AMP?
AMP is short for ‘Accelerated Mobile Pages’ is a Google initiative. It is an open-source HTML framework created by Google. It allows pages to load faster on mobile devices by creating a lightweight, stripped-down version of your pages basically sacrificing form over function.
How can I enable AMP for my blog?
Just install the WordPress official AMP plugin. The plugin automatically creates an ‘amp version’ of all your blog pages. You can see the ‘amp’ version of any blog post page by appending ‘/amp’ at the end of that blog post’s URL.
Will AMP impact SEO and my ranking in SERP’s?
As per Google, while AMP itself is not a factor for ranking in SERP’s [search engine result pages], page speed is an important factor. And because AMP enables pages to load faster on mobile devices, it could indirectly affect your page ranking on mobile devices though not on desktops. But considering the fact that over 60% of Google searches happen on mobile devices, AMP will have a significant effect on your page rankings in general.
Page speed is an important factor for ranking higher in search engine results on both desktops or mobile devices.
One way to ensure that your blog post’s load quickly is to host your blog with a reliable and fast hosting provider like Hostinger.
In addition to fast page load times, Hostinger is also great value for money, reliable, have tons of free stuff and great customer service.
7. Include a Summary.
A summary helps to revisit and buttress key takeaways and reinforce concepts discussed.
So to summarize, the key to writing a super successful blog post in 2020 is to first and foremost understand what information people [lots of people] are searching for online [search volume] and then finding a topic which has a large search volume but [hopefully] low competition and creating your blog post around it.
Use tools like SEMRush to achieve this.
Create a blog post title using numbers, parentheses and emotion to create interest, and encourage the reader to click.
Remember to keep the blog post title short and relevant.
Make your blog post interesting by including images and illustrations.
Optimize your blog post for SEO.
Make your blog post mobile friendly and AMP compliant. Use a theme like ‘GeneratePress‘ or ‘Astra‘ which is lightweight and responsive. So your blog pages load fast and look good on both desktops and mobile devices.
Was this post useful to you? Did you learn something new? Let us know in the comments below.
- F-Shaped Pattern of Reading on the Web: Misunderstood, But Still Relevant (Even on Mobile) by the Norman Nielsen Group