Creating a search-engine-friendly blog post is very different than just putting some words together and turning them into website content. There are several important factors — multiple steps — that go into making a blog piece optimized for search engines.

As you go through each of those steps, you keep optimizing your blog post for search engines. Other than your keyword research and post-publishing backlinking processes, these optimization steps pretty much remain the same.

Once you understand what those optimization steps are — the on-page SEO factors that really matter — you can apply the same techniques to almost every piece of content.

In this blog post, we take a look at all those search-engine optimization factors that make your content pieces more search-engine friendly and ripe for higher search engine rankings.

1. Keyword Selection

Although we won’t dive too deep into the keyword research or selection process in this post, it’s still too important to ignore altogether. It is the core foundation of your content’s success, and if you don’t get this right, you will face a lot of difficulties in the subsequent steps.

Moreover, this is the most common step where most content marketers fail.

You see, when you are about to write an SEO-friendly content piece, you need to be realistically aware of your capabilities and your website’s potential to rank for certain keywords.

For instance, if you have an absolutely fresh domain with no blog posts or backlinks, you can’t realistically rank for an extremely competitive keyword like “weight loss”.

You can write the best piece of content there ever was on the topic, but you will still find it difficult to rank on Google’s 1st position.

This is why it’s important to pick your battles.

Be aware of your site’s ranking capabilities and select keywords accordingly. Especially if you have a relatively new website, it’s important to pick keywords with low difficulty and competition.

As you start ranking for those keywords and start building more and more backlinks, you can climb the ladder towards more difficult and, potentially, higher search volume keywords to target.

2. Keyword Targeting

Once you have identified the primary keyword that you can realistically rank for — and a few secondary keywords to include in your content — the next step would be to strategically place those keywords in the text.

Although keyword inclusion isn’t as important as it used to be, say, 10 years ago, it is still crucial. If you do not strategically include your target keywords in the blog post, you won’t be able to give yourself the best chance of getting ranked in Google’s SERPs.

The next few headings will mention the high-profile spots where you should consider including your main keyword.

3. Headline or the H1 Tag

The headline of your blog post — which is also usually the H1 tag — is probably the first place you should include your main keyword.

As a simple rule to remember: if your blog post title doesn’t have the primary keyword that you want to rank for, rewrite the headline until it is there. It not only helps search engines understand what your page is about but also shows online readers what information they would find if they click on it.

Pro Tip: Try to introduce your main keyword as early as possible in the heading or title tag. Also, after the first 60-65 characters, Google truncates your keyword and the rest of the headline in the search engine results pages.

You can also use the free search-engine-snippet-preview-tool by to see how your post would appear in Google’s SERPs.

4. Body Copy

As mentioned earlier, it is not as important to maintain a 2-3% keyword density in the body copy as it used to be a few years ago. However, it is still a good idea to include your primary keyword a few times in the text — especially in the first and last 100 words.

Just make sure that the keyword inclusion looks natural — not forced.

5. H2 Tag

Just like the H1 title tag (which is the headline of the blog post), it also helps very much if you include your main keyword in the H2 tag. Generally, the H2 tag is used for any subheading in the blog post.

6. URL of the Blog Post

The URL (or Slug) of the blog post is one of the more important places to include a keyword. Ideally, the URL of a blog post must serve at least the following two purposes:

  • It must include the primary keyword that you are trying to rank for.
  • It must give human readers an idea of what your post is about.

It also means removing all the necessary clutters, dates, special characters, stop words, etc.

Following is a good example of an ideal URL slug. As you can notice, it is short, concise, tells users exactly what the content is all about, and also contains the main keyword.
Screen Shot 2017-08-18 at 9.23.14 PM.jpg

If you want to learn more about URL structures, read this guide on creating the perfect SEO-optimized URLs.

7. Meta Description

As you can see in the previous screenshot, the search engine snippet consists of a few different things: the title of the blog post, the URL slug, and a description of the post.

As a content publisher, you decide what that description should say. If you do not choose it, Google will pull random snippets of text to fill that space. This is why it is important to do it yourself.

And while you are doing it, pay extra attention to including your main keyword in it. It can be very helpful in determining your search engine rankings.

8. Internal Links

While external backlinks aren’t totally in your control, you can definitely influence internal links to your blog post from other pages on your website.

Once you publish your blog post, make sure that several other pages from your website are creating contextual and meaningful links to your newly published post. It passes some of the much-needed SEO juice to your new post, propelling it higher in the search engine rankings race.

Secondly, don’t forget to create some new links to your existing pages within the new post. It helps search engines understand that your new blog post is important and a part of your content strategy.

9. Content-Length

Content length is another factor that matters in today’s online marketing world. 10 years ago, a 300-word blog post would have served the purpose efficiently, but now the dynamics have changed.

Lengthier blog posts — of 1,000, 1,500, and 2,000+ words — perform better now. A recent study by SerpIQ revealed that for 20,000 sample keywords, each of the top 10 Google search results had at least 2,000 words of content.

10. Readability and Engagement 

Last, but not least, the readability and engagement level that your content has also played a vital role in its search engine success.

If your content is difficult to read, it will lose your reader's attention. Google focuses on behavioral factors, such as exit rate, bounce rate, and average time on a page, to measure how efficient a page is optimized for higher search engine rankings.

Make sure that your web design and content quality are up to par.

Final Words

So here are the 10 factors that work on almost every blog post and piece of content. If you check these 10 boxes off, you can rest assured that you’re giving yourself and your blog post the best chance to rank higher in the SERPs.