7 Features of a Great Blog Post That Will Rank For Its Main Keyword(s)
Why do you write blog posts? Maybe you just love the craft of authorship and want to share your work with the world, or perhaps you’re determined to build a personal brand and that’s your chosen method. There’s also a reasonable chance that you want to promote a specific action, whether it’s buying a product or paying for a service.
In the context of this article, though, it doesn’t matter why you maintain a blog — because getting your posts to rank is important regardless. The better your rankings get, the more traffic you’ll get, meaning your work will be read more widely, your personal brand will get stronger, and you’ll have more chances to pick up conversions.
Most significantly, you want each blog post to rank for its primary keyword: whatever it’s primarily about. So how do you achieve this? Let’s look at 7 features you’ll find in every blog post ranking well for its main keyword:
A succinct title
There isn’t too much complexity to a solid SEO-friendly title. It needs to include the main keyword, cover one or two secondary keywords, and clearly communicate the purpose of the post without being too long (the shorter, the better). There are plenty of title preview tools out there, so even if your CMS doesn’t have one, you can use something like Portent’s SERP tool.
A clear URL structure
URL structure does make a difference for SEO, because it gives search engines valuable information about where a page sits within the context of its website. It can also clarify the nature of the topic. For instance, a post about a piece of basketball news could fit into this type of breadcrumb trail: /sports/basketball/news/post-name.
A relevant featured image
Google likes to extract images for use in featured snippets, but it also uses imagery to better understand what posts are about. Your featured image should not only match the topic but also have alt text clearly explaining what’s pictured.
A logical set of subheadings
There’s a simple structure that works extremely well, and it involves nested headings: you have your title, then the main heading, then subheadings set out as needed. For instance, this post has the page title, then the H1, then the seven H2s to introduce the features ahead of these paragraphs. It makes content easier for search engines to parse, helping it rank. It also helps break things up to be more readable on mobile (this is very valuable).
A responsive design
Mobile-friendliness has been a ranking factor for some time now, and pages that don’t work well on mobile devices are now flagged in search results. A responsive page is more valuable in general, making it an easier recommendation. There’s also little excuse for not having a mobile-first design at this point, with template-driven tools like GoDaddy’s GoCentral builder and the Shopify storefront designer making it fast, cheap and easy to build optimized sites.
A short loading time
Page speed is also a ranking factor these days, and the faster a page loads, the more likely the visitor will be to stick around and improve on-page metrics that feed back into the rankings. How fast does it need to be? Well, if you can get it under a second, that should be sufficient.
A suitable length
If this sounds a little vague, it’s because there are no set rules about content length. While it’s true that longer content ranks better in general, there’s no way to know if it’s actually due to the length or merely the added complexity and relevancy, so padding a piece with fluff might well make it rank worse. Include the amount of detail that a relevant visitor would expect from a great piece — that’s the most important thing.