By Michael Premo

If you’re a small business owner, you may not be able to write a highly effective blog post or an article, but you should know what a good one looks like. This is especially important when looking for better positioning on a search engine results page (SERP).

A successfully created blog post or article lands on the first page of a search engine results page (SERP). The formula to get higher SERP rankings is not a secret, but it does require experienced writing and attention to detail. So, if you run a marketing department or are a business owner, you need to be able to recognize quality writing—what it is and how it works. If not, you may be appearing less credible steering traffic away from your website.

Highly Effective Blog Posts: The Basics

Google website evaluators look for common structures within a post or an article. Each need a headline. Without it, all Google has to go on is the URL. That’s not very helpful, nor descriptive. The search engine giant also looks for a series of paragraphs that comprise the body of the post. More paragraphs make a longer post, which readers will stay on the page longer and give it a higher quality rating.

Google website evaluators know what bad syntax and grammar look like. It’s probably the easiest thing to look for in any blog post or article. Microsoft Word is already doing it while you’re typing. And, you probably already know what it looks like, too. Software and website are available to check grammar, but the best litmus test is a quick read. If you stumble through sentences or get pulled out of the article from odd phrasing, then chances are it should get some much needed edits.

Whiteboard planning 16x9Target keywords

The headline and the body of the post need to have the specific keywords related to the topic. These should have been identified prior to writing the post. They should also be present in the headline at least once and in the body copy many times. But, not too many. Google can see it, so there needs to be a “judicious” use of keywords. This means that if it sounds repetitive, then there are too many.

Long Tail Keywords

Any phrase that has four keywords or more is considered to be a long tail keyword (phrase). Searchers using these phrases are more likely to know exactly what they are looking for and are trying to narrow the scope of their search. These can be short sentences or long phrases. Having one or two of these in the post is sure to capture more attention with the right people.

Hyperlinks for Credibility

Embedding links in website content works as a supporting role for search engine optimization. It’s not a major player, so it doesn’t get the credit it deserves. Google can see bad links and considers it as something that affects the user’s experience, therefore the page gets a lower ranking in search results.

Using hyperlinks in a blog can boost rankings for organic search results, but there are many factors to consider when linking text and images to other websites. Make sure the links you select are from reputable sources and the link is to a live page. You also don’t want to link to any disreputable pages, so they should at least align with your company’s persona.

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Does It Fit Your Goals?

Finally, any content written and posted to the website should fit your marketing goals. You’re trying to drive more traffic to the site while providing valuable information to your clients.

Another goal should be that it fits the target audience. They should find it relevant and entertaining to read, which doesn’t always mean funny or filled with suspense. You’ll know when you review any blog post before publishing it, whether its ready to go or needs more edits. The key is to take some time and read it before it goes “live.”

You want the best writing from your employees or someone you hired. That’s why knowing what good writing is so important. And, don’t be shy to ask for changes.