Alright, so you’ve decided to dive into the deep end of business blogging - nail that on-page SEO, promote your products and services, and make an inbound digital splash.
It’s daunting - we get it. Everyone has to start somewhere. Every journey begins with a single sentence typed across a Cheeto-stained keyboard (or however the age-old adage goes).
Media Junction is an award-winning website design company and HubSpot partner with over 25 years of experience.
We empower global marketing teams to pump out ever-green and well-executed blog content that garners results - increased blog traffic, revenue, and peace of mind.
Here at Media Junction, we have developed a checklist, a rigorous gauntlet, and a trial by fire for every single article before we hit the big bad publish button. And, because we’re friendly, we’ve decided to share it with you.
This article walks you through quality control for your introduction, body, and outro, in addition to blog staging best practices.
Killer Article Checklist
Optimize The Article Title
Titles, much like movie posters, are the first thing a reader sees when scrolling through the wild west of Google.
Odds are, there are millions of search results that revolve around the topic of your blog post. A great title makes your work stand out - think pink tux to the prom (and, no, not in the 80s).
- Receive an H1 Header (*Note - If your blog is housed in HubSpot, the title automatically populates as an H1 header)
- Remain under 70 characters (between 50-60 characters is the sweet spot)
- Include keywords (titles have SEO value)
- Include numerical numbers for listicles
- Be clear and descriptive
- Be engaging without becoming click-baity (utilize strong verbs and adjectives)
- Be framed in the form of a question: What is Foundation Settlement?
- Utilize the current year to establish relevance (i.e. Best Xbox Controllers 2022)
- Be changed (after six months, if an article is underperforming, an article can be tweaked to help increase traffic)
Write Engaging and Optimized Body Copy
The body of your article is where the meat-and-potatoes reside. The following bullet points provide a high-level overview for blog body optimization.
- Kick-off with an engaging introduction. An easy intro method is the PEP Method. Touch on the problem the reader is facing, plug your expertise, and end with a preview of what the article will cover.
- Utilize headers (H2’s, and H3’s) to give the body of your blog post an easy-to-navigate structure and to allow Google to easily outline, crawl, and understand your piece in terms of search intent.
- Implement targeted long-tailed keywords in your headers to build a robust on-page SEO (Search Engine Optimization) foundation.
- Ensure your headers act as guideposts and are relevant to the copy beneath them - providing a concrete preview of the topic/copy below.
- Bold key phrases, essential words, and whatever you wish to draw attention to. (DO NOT CAPITALIZE AND BOLD AND STACK EXCLAMATION MARKS!!!!!! IT LOOKS TACKY).
- Ensure there is a fluid, logical progression in your copy. The aim is for the words to go down smoothly - think Johnnie Walker Black Label, think “Smooth Criminal” moonwalking.
- Use bulleted or numerical listicles so your readership doesn’t have to wade through thick, dense blocks of text.
- Develop an engaging, distinctive blog voice to keep your readership engaged and to reflect your personality.
- Embed external and internal links — the general rule of thumb: you should include a minimum of two internal links and one external link per 1000 words. Google likes to see you’re a part of the larger, global conversation. Linking out helps build credibility for your site and helps connect the dots in Google’s mainframe brain.
- Make sure external links open up in a new tab (no sense sending your reader out into the world wide web of rabbit holes without providing an anchor for them to return to - we’re all mad here, Alice).
- Are your paragraphs easy to navigate? Paragraphs two to three sentences long are easy to read and digest.
- Sprinkle keywords and LSI (latent semantic indexing) keywords throughout the copy of your blog post. *Note - latent semantic indexing refers to synonyms and other semantically-related phrases.
- Do your best to present the information in an educational, unbiased tone. No one wants to read an article that feels like one big advertisement. We shoot for our posts to be 80% educational and 20% promotional (keeping the promo to the intro and outro).
- End your blog post with a solid conclusion - a high-level overview of what you covered, reemphasize the problem, highlight your company’s competence, and wrap it up with an appropriate next step.
- Conclude your article with a relevant CTA (call to action) - book an inspection, reach out for an estimate, download an asset, or purchase an item today.
Important SERP Fundamentals
SERP (Search Engine Results Page) features prove prime Google real estate. Examples of coveted SERP features include: featured snippets, video carousels, image packs, and knowledge panels, related questions, etc.
Below are examples of how to optimize your article for search intent and SERP best practices:
- Utilize a descriptive, clickable title (70 characters or less) that encompasses the heart of the article. And, yes - front load those keywords at the beginning of the title.
- Research your title on Google to fine-tune search intent (is there a better possible title?).
- Optimize your URL (Uniform Resource Locator) slug by using keywords upfront, hyphens in between words (like-this-example), and eliminating unnecessary words - numbers, pronouns, etc.
- Write a concise, tight meta description (155 characters or less) that implements keywords and previews the article's value.
Optimize Photos, Gifs, and Other Multimedia
Images, videos, and gifs can make your blog pop. However, it’s important to size them correctly in order not to bog down the loading speed of your page. So -
- Embed relevant images that are optimized:
- Optimize for size (100 KB or less)
- Add alt text (explain the image)
- Use original photos when possible (highlight your brand)
- Are the images, gifs, and videos placed in optimal locations and aid the logical progression of the piece?
Review the Blog Post for Grammatical Mistakes
Before you hand off your writing to your editor or subject matter expert, review and polish your piece.
There’s nothing an editor hates more than a rougher-than -rough draft. There are an abundance of free editing tools that check spelling, grammar, and syntax.
- Utilize Grammarly to check for grammatical errors and delivery hiccups. Shoot for a Grammarly score of 85 or higher.
- Use the Hemingway App to check the article’s readability score. Writing from the 6th-9th grade level is the sweet spot.
If your writing hits the 10th or 11th grade level, you may lose readers due to the sophistication of the text.
Remember, the goal is to convey information in simple, easily digestible terms - not charm the reader with the enormity of your limitless lexicon.
Stage. Publish. Bring in the Revenue
In this article, you learned how to write easily accessible body copy optimized for SEO, the basic fundamentals of snagging SERP features, and how to optimize multimedia.
Now - down some espresso, crank your writing playlist, and let those fingers fly.
Throwing your hat into the blogging ring feels intimidating - we get it.
Whether you’re considering starting a blog from scratch (like grandma’s bread) or optimizing an existing blog (soup up that inbound-marketing-engine), we’re here to help.
Media Junction empowers marketing teams across the globe to develop, execute, and optimize their blogging strategy.
We are an IMPACT partner and implement their They Ask, We Answer blogging framework.
To continue improving your digital marketing efforts, check out the offer below to get The Content Writer's Toolkit: a collection of templates to help you organize and fine-tune your content.