How to create a blog post that will rank in Google search results

Do you want your parenting blog posts to be found in search engines like Google? Yes? Do you have a strategy that will help your content with google ranking? No?

Then this blog post is perfect for you.

There was a time when I just wrote content that I wanted to share for my family travel blog and I hoped that other people would find interesting. Sadly, that strategy didn’t get me very far. But why?

Who is your reader?

The key is put your potential reader at the heart of your writing and think about the queries and questions they are likely to enter into a search engine like Google. Once you’ve made that shift in mindset, you are ready to work on creating content for your blog that will show up in Google search results.

writing a blog post

Investing time in driving traffic from Google to your website is always going to be time well spent. Social media platforms come and go, but the one thing that will always be yours is your blog.

Creating blog posts that consistently drive traffic to your parenting or food blog for example is a far more reliable source of traffic than say Twitter or Facebook.  That being said, don’t rule out social traffic, I’m just saying don’t put all your eggs in one basket and definitely don’t leave the search engine one empty!

 

Google Search Results Strategy Explained

 

Pick the Right Keywords

So you’ve picked your topic and you want to write a blog post that covers everything your reader could possibly want to know about their search query.

To make sure that your article reaches your potential audience you need to pick the right keywords for your post, but how do you do that?

The best place to start is Google. Brainstorm some blog post titles and keywords and put them into Google search and see what comes back.

Take a look at the Google search results for ‘how to wean a baby’ above. You can already see the types of blog post titles and keywords that are being used, but Google search gives you a whole lot more than this.

 

example of google search results

 

You can also see other questions that people are entering into Google related to baby weaning. There are potential blog post titles for you to use right here:

 

example of related google search results

 

If you carry on right to the bottom of the search results you will see that Google gives you even more keyword ideas that you could potentially use in your blog post.

 

examples of related google search results from end of page

This information is really helpful, but you still need more insights to help pick the right keywords for your blog.

You want to aim to get your blog post on Page 1 of Google but it’s highly unlikely that your article about ‘how to wean your baby’ will appear higher than the NHS article on the same topic.

When you look at the search results take notice of the websites who are featuring on page 1.  The search term ‘how to wean your baby’ looks pretty competitive and some major websites are covering this topic really well. The question is, is there still room for your blog in the search results?

Absolutely there is, we just need to find keywords on this topic that you could rank in Google for. There’s a free chrome plugin called Keywords Everywhere which will get you started. If you are looking for a paid tool then Keysearch.co is the best in my opinion and will take your keyword research up a level for sure.

For now, we will focus on Keywords Everywhere, and you can already see it in action in the screenshot above.

For any Google search you make, Keywords Everywhere will give you two sets of related keywords.  

As well as the keywords it will also give you the monthly search volume, CPC and Comp. The CPC and Comp gives you an idea of how competitive the search term is as this is how much websites are prepared to pay per click to feature an ad on the front page of Google.  

examples of related google search results from end of page

You now have a some great information to help plan your blog post. You want to pick a search term that has a healthy amount of Google searches per month so it has the potential to drive traffic to your website. Ideally you want to look at keywords that are medium to low in competition. If your website has a high DA though, you may want to target more competitive keywords.

Generally speaking you will be looking at ‘long tail keywords’ and this is where you want to focus your energy. The keyword ‘weaning’ for example will be very competitive but the long tail keyword ‘baby weaning schedule’ is less competitive and you could potentially drive Google search traffic to your blog by using it in your article.

From the keyword research we’ve done in this post some good titles for an article on this topic could be:

 

‘How to create a baby weaning schedule’

or

‘How to create a baby weaning plan’

 

It’s also a good idea to pick two or three other related keywords that you could use as headings or text in your article.

 

Write a Blog Post that Answers Your Reader’s Google Search Query

Content is king, right? Well, yes, it is, but it’s slightly more complicated than that. It’s more like a jigsaw puzzle, and the content is the centre. You are aiming for a complete picture, and having missing pieces in the middle could affect your position in Google search results. We will talk about completing the edge of the jigsaw in a minute.

You want to aim to answer every question your reader could possibly have on the topic of baby weaning in your article. Google wants to give people the best search results and if your article doesn’t answer the question, and the reader goes back to Google to find another article, your position in Google will drop and you will lose potential traffic.

A blog post will rank in Google faster right now if it is between 1,500 and 3,000 words, but I would say aim for 1,000 words as a minimum for any article you write if you can. Google likes long-form content as it’s highly likely to answer the reader’s query better than shorter articles on the same topic.

Part of your research could be looking at other articles on the same topic and seeing what they talk about and how long they are. If there are any gaps in the articles be sure to cover these in your blog post.

 

Don’t Forget to Use Headings

It will also help your Google search results and your reader if you give your blog post a good structure.  A WordPress plugin like Yoast can help you with this. It’s basically a traffic light system to help you to see if your blog post is SEO optimised.

It helps you tick off things like:

  1. Is the keyword in the title?
  2. Have you mentioned the keyword in the first paragraph?
  3. Have you used your keyword in the headings?
  4. How long is your blog post?

Google likes to see not only text or ‘good content’, but good use of headings, bold and italics as it uses ‘signals’ like this to determine what the article is about and how useful it will be in a search query.

 

Completing the Google Search Jigsaw Puzzle

Once you have written your blog post and you feel like the centre of your jigsaw puzzle is complete, it’s time to work on the edge of your picture.

Getting onto the first page of Google for any search results is a competitive business and you want to complete as much of the picture as possible. The most complete picture will win top prize if you like. It can make a huge difference to your ranking if hit (or miss) this section.

Images

Both readers and Google like images to illustrate your blog content. As Google can’t read an image it’s helpful to give them as much information about the image as possible.  

Firstly save the image as a relevant file name and avoid things like IMG1234.jpg that is assigned to the picture by your camera or phone.

When you upload the image into your blog post add a good ‘alt text’ description.  The ‘alt text’ helps visually impaired people or anyone with accessibility issues understand the content that is on your page.

Here’s an example:

stack of pancakes with raspberries and mint dusted with sugar

A not so great ‘alt text’ for the above image would be ‘pancakes’.

A good ‘alt text’ would be ‘stack of pancakes with raspberries and mint dusted with sugar’.

Where it fits with the image, use your keywords in the ‘alt text’, but don’t over do it!  Keep it natural and bear in mind what the ‘alt text’ does.

Always Add a Meta Description 

If your blogging platform allows it, it’s a good idea to add a good meta description to your blog post.  This is the short description that appears under the blog post title in the search results.  If you are not sure what to put check out the results already being featured.  Can you write something better? 

Always feature the keywords you are trying to target in Google search as these will appear in bold in the results.  You can draw more attention to your keywords by using bold text too.  A good meta description can make a huge difference to the clicks you receive from Google, but unfortunately Google doesn’t always choose to show it! 

Categories and Tags

You are now going to work your way around your dashboard and complete the other parts of the jigsaw puzzle.  Make sure you add your blog post to the relevant category on your blog menu and add relevant tags to the post.

Inbound and Outbound Links

It is most certainly good practice to add internal links to other relevant content on your blog with the correct keywords.  So if you you are linking to another article on your parenting blog about baby weaning recipes, your anchor text would be ‘baby weaning recipes’ or similar.

Google also likes to see some external links on your blog post to relevant articles that will also help your reader.  Some SEO surveys suggest 2 or 3 of these is enough and make sure they are relevant to the post you have written and good quality.

Other Helpful Tips

There is some evidence that the length of your URL slug can improve your Google rank.  I’m not sure how true it is, but every little helps right! You want to keep this short, so when your URL is created, take out any unnecessary words before you publish your content.

For example:

Change this

www.yourwebsite.co.uk/how-to create-a-baby-weaning-schedule

To this

www.yourwebsite.co.uk/baby-weaning-schedule

The reason I do this is because I may return to the blog post and change the title, but I’ll chat with you about why you would do this another time. If the ‘slug’ is short and clean it doesn’t clash with any changes you may wish to make to the blog post title later down the line.

Backlinks are also considered helpful but getting them can be easier said than done.  The best place to get the first backlinks to your newly created article is on your own blog. When your article is complete, search your blog archives and find any relevant articles that you could add an internal link to, again with a relevant keyword. For this example you would use ‘baby weaning schedule’ or something very similar.

As soon as you have written your article go to Google Search Console and ask Google to crawl it.  It’s the quickest way to tell google a new article has been published on your blog.

In the old version this was under ‘fetch as Google’, but in the new version of Google Search Console it is the URL Inspection tool.  If you don’t have Google Search Console yet, get it now as it’s packed with insights about how Google sees your blog and even more importantly where you rank in search queries!

Once your article is complete, promote it as you would normally.  Google does like to see some social sharing of your posts, as it takes social signals into account.

I hope you found this article about how to create a blog post that will  rank in google search results helpful. If you build these habits into your content creation you will see improvements in your Google traffic over time.

If you know any blogging friends who would find this an interesting read, please do share it on your favourite network now, tagging BritMums.

Do you use Google to strategically plan your content? 

Tell us in the comments below.

 

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About Zena Goldman

Zena Goldman is a UK based travel, family & lifestyle blogger who left her 9-5 job behind in the not-for-profit sector to follow her creative dreams and enjoy a more flexible family life. She began writing Zena’s Suitcase in 2011 and shares the holidays and adventures she goes on with (and without) her 2 young daughters. She wishes her son would join them more often but he’s carving out his own dreams now and enjoying university life.

Since beginning Zena’s Suitcase she has worked with a number of brands and also has a regular monthly feature in the ASDA Good Living Magazine feature, ‘Ask The Expert’ where she shares helpful parenting tips. In 2018 she was also a finalist in the prestigious BIBs Awards for Social Media and is also a proud member of the BritMums team.

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