Many readers want meatier content which is why long-form blog posts are popular. Not everyone on the web wants to scan. In fact, long-form blog content is one of the best ways to make your site stand out and get attention. But, you need to make sure there’s more to the blog than length. The content has to have depth. This is where SEO elements come into play. There are certain things your long content blog needs.
Chances are you have already put a lot of work into your content. It can be tricky to remember SEO on top of all that. But, you need this in order for your blog to be effective. To keep it simple, there are 27 SEO must-haves that you need to keep in mind for every long-form article. You can use each of these tips to help you get better ranking and more visibility.
1. Keyword Research
Research the best focus words for your blog post. It needs to be specific to the topic. It may also be helpful to choose a keyword that has lower competition already.
Make sure your content is actually long-form which means 2000 to 3000 words. Length for different sites will vary, but within this range, you should be safe. More than length is depth. Your content needs to be comprehensive and cannot just cover a few surface issues. Focus on a few important points and then go into extreme detail for the majority of the article. Deep content produces higher search results.
3. Use Long-tail Keywords
Having a keyword is one thing, but a long-tail keyword is even better. Not many people include these, but they are a great way to increase traffic. They specifically bring you highly targeted traffic.
4. The Perfect h1 Tag
The right h1 tag can make a lot of difference. In many cases, the h1 tag (title) is the first thing people see. In most cases, your title (or h1) tag is going to be the first thing people see and it will bring them to your post. It may seem like just writing the title as an h1 tag is all you need to do. But, focusing on the h1 tag is actually more important since it will help search engines identify your content more easily. It will also make it easier to direct traffic better.
You want the h1 tag to have the following:
- Along-tail keyword
- Minimal characters (20-70 characters)
- A clear idea of what the content is about
5. Helpful Subheadings
A common mistake is to use too many keywords in the subheadings. If the search engines see keywords everywhere, your content gets classified as “stuffed” with keywords. This reduces the visibility of your content and site. Your subheadings should help navigate the readers. They break up the article, so it is easier to follow. You should be able to get an idea of what the entire article is about from the subheadings alone.
6. Get Backlinks
Share your content with influencers to increase your backlinks. If you can grab the attention of influencers, they can provide a backlink and this will only further help drive traffic to your site. When it comes to influencers, you do not want to be pushy. Rather, get your pitch right and get in the door. Use simple statements to them such as:
- I follow you on (Social media platform) and noticed you shared one of my favorite articles.
- My readers have been asking for something similar, so I created this post (URL)
- If you have time, I would love for you to check it out.
- The goal is to get backlinks, but you don’t want to come right out and ask for it. Give them the chance to look it over and if they like it, they will give you a backlink.
7. Optimize Your URL
A shorter and cleaner URL is better for search engines and will provide a better user experience. Make sure the URL is concise and tidy and contains your keyword.
8. Outbound Links
One of the simplest ways to enhance blog post SEO is through outbound links. Ideally, you want to aim for between 2 and 4 links for every 1000 words.If you have a topic that is very lengthy, you can use more links. Just take care not to go too crazy. There should not be a link in every paragraph.
9. Internal Links
Internal links are often overlooked but are just as important as outbound links. In the same way, you want to be careful not to overdo it. There should be fewer links to your own site than to others. Between 2 and 4 internal links per post will work best.
10. Use LSI keywords
Latent semantic indexing (LSI) refers to keywords that are similar to your focus keyword. If your keyword is “computer audio”, LSI keywords could be “computer speakers” or “desktop audio”. These will help you in the “related to” section on Google search to capture even more traffic. You can also enhance SEO by including LSI keywords in the h2 subheadings, so long as it is natural.
11. The Right Title
Title tags are important because they are the first thing someone will see if they find you on a search engine. A title tag is simply the title of each result in the search engine results pages (SERPs). You need to make sure your title tag describes the benefit of the article and also contains the focus keyword.
Additionally, use title modifiers. Add an extra word to your title as this can drive more traffic and give you an organic long-tail/LSI keyword at the same time. You also want to keep focus on keywords in both the title tag and h1, but they do not need to be identical. Use a long-tail keyword or phrase match keyword for one or the other.
12. SEO-Friendly Meta Description
The meta description, along with the title tag, helps your page stand out in the SERPs. You want the meta description to tell readers what the article is about in plain language. It needs to:
- Be short, about 135-160 characters
- Include the focus keyword
- Be clear and descriptive
- Stay truthful
- Convince the reader to visit the page
13. Mobile Friendly
For a blog post to be mobile-friendly, it needs to have a responsive design, but this is not enough. You also need to consider how the article itself will display on mobile. Content should use shorter sentences, ideally 3 to 4 per paragraph. Use media and white space to break the article up for easier readability. Finally, don’t forget to include h2 (or h3) subheadings.
14. Analyze Site Speed
Close to 50% of consumers expect web pages to load within 2 seconds. If your site is not fast, you will lose traffic. Simplify your design, reduce server response time, and enable compression to help increase your site speed. Make sure you test your site speed once you have made the changes.
15. Optimize Body Text
Make sure you don’t forget to include your focus keyword in the body of your article. Be careful not to overuse it and make sure you mix your long-tail and LSI keywords.
16. Use Focus Keyword Early
You want your keyword to appear within the first 100-150 words as this will best help Google crawl your content, thus identifying your focus keyword as important.
17. Keyword Frequency
This refers to the number of times your keyword appears in your content. The opinions on this number vary widely. For long-form content posts,aim for about 4-6 appearances of the keyword. Also, use your long-tail keywords and LSI keywords, spaced out every few paragraphs. Make sure you read through the article, to make sure it reads naturally. Don’t force the use of the keywords if it is unnatural.
18. User Intent
User intent is what makes keywords effective, so knowing about the different kinds of user intent, can better optimize your keywords for that intent. There are three types:
- Navigational intent, when a consumer is trying to get to a certain site or page.
- Informational intent, when the consumer is looking for information.
- Transactional intent, when the consumer wants to buy something.
- Think about user intent when choosing your keywords, then select and place them accordingly.
19. Easy-To-Find Social Buttons
Sharing on social media platforms means free links. You can make the most of this by making sure social buttons are highly visible.
20. Implement Schema Markup
Schema markup is a type of code that helps search engines better analyze your content. It breaks down your content into components and tells the search engines what each part means. For example, you can use schema markup on your title, and then search engines will know that’s your title. If you are unfamiliar with this, there is a free tool, Google’s Structured Data Markup Helper, that can help you with this.
If you’ve been pushing out long-form content without the kind of results you want, I If you are writing long-form content but have not seen the results you hoped for, these 20 tips will help. Studies have shown that Long-form content does work when coupled with solid SEO. You don’t have to be an SEO expert, you just need to know what to include and what to avoid. SEO is a long-term strategy that will deliver traffic, and this simple checklist is the first step in getting your long-form content all the way to the top.