A Beginner's Guide to writing SEO-enabled blog posts

What to expect from this brief guide?

This guide has been curated with some of the best practices of writing SEO-enabled content. Reading through will give you a basic understanding of SEO and content writing. The following resources are helpful for non-SEOs looking to drive more traffic to their blog organically, or for SEOs just starting out. In no way does this guide promise to cover underthing under the sun about SEO. But the SEO journey is a long one, and this will at least get the wheels rolling.

Basics of SEO

What is SEO?

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It is a term which encompasses a set of practices and tactics that help you bring your content in the top results on search engines like Google, Bing, Yandex, DuckDuckGo etc.  for search terms that people enter. SEO is a way you can drive organic traffic to your content from search engines.

What are SEO keywords?

SEO keywords are phrases and words that search engines use to match with search queries entered by users.

Short, concise keywords are called short tail keywords. These are very generic and talk about broad topics. (Example: Content Writing.) Longer, more specific keywords are called as long tail keywords and have a more detailed focus. (Example: How to write content for SEO.)

What are search rankings?

Search Ranking is the search result position you appear on, for a particular keyword. Considering that typically there are 10 results per Google search page, and you rank on Page 2, position 3 for Web developers in Pune, then the ranking for that keyword is 13.

There are tools like Ubersuggest, SEMRush, Ahrefs etc. that give you these metrics through easy-to-digest dashboards. They do have free plans but these come with limited scope and may not satisfy all your expectations. If you’re serious about progressing on your SEO journey, it might be worth taking a paid subscription, but that can be done at a later stage.

Tip: An easy way to find out your ranking on Google, is to enter the following query in Google Search: google.com/search?q={your chosen keyword}&num=100. Then you do a Ctrl+F and enter your brand name. This will tell you where you rank among first 100 results.

If you are within the Top 10 pages of Google search results (100 results) for a keyword, you have a fighting chance to rank higher. Otherwise, you need to change strategy and put out a different type of content for that keyword.

However, a common joke among SEOs is: “The best place to hide a dead body is Page 2 of Google Search.” Your goal should Page 01, and a more challenging goal should be Top 3.

What is search volume?

Search volume is the number of searches for a particular keyword on a search engine. Search volume is a solid indicator about interest on a certain topic. You can use this metric to gauge the estimated visibility your content is going to get. Google Trends is an excellent free tool to analyze this metric. While other more advanced tools exist that give detailed inputs, they are typically costly and geared for SEO professionals. Google Trends is a good platform to get a general idea about the interest on a particular topic.

The above-mentioned tools all report on the Search volumes for a particular. You might want to take a free subscription and check it out. Also register your website / blog on Google Analytics and Google Search Console. This will clarify your understanding on how you are faring in terms of impressions (the number of times your content came up on search for a keyword) and clicks (the number of times someone saw your link and clicked through to your blog post). Google Search Console also reports on the Click-thru-rate (CTR) which is very helpful for analyzing what percentage of people who are seeing you pop up on search results actually follow through. If it is lower than expectations, time to optimize!

What is search engine crawling?

Crawling is a search engine’s way of reading your content and filing it away in its huge repository. Search engines use bots and crawlers (simply put, pieces of code) to scan the internet for new content it can add to this repository. It can then serve your content from the repository for search terms that match search intent.

What is search intent?

Search intent is the purpose with which a visitor enters a search term. Matching search intent is a critical step in boosting your chances of ranking higher. Broadly speaking, search intent can be informational or commercial. (There is a more detailed breakdown but these nuances don’t matter much at this stage.) What is WordPress? indicates an informational search intent whereas Affordable WordPress Developers in Pune indicates a commercial search intent. The prior is likely entered by a person who’s still getting introduced to the field while the latter by someone who already understands it and is now looking to take a step further.

Basic Process for SEO

  1. Research your keywords and make a broad list of keywords you want to target.
  2. Use search volume as your guide for optimizing this list. The higher the search volume, the higher the chances of a wider audience.
  3. Identify the search intent for your chosen keywords. This can be easily done by typing the keyword on Google and looking through the Top 10 results. Are the search results giving people information or prompting people to take action?
  4. Adjust your write-up structure to match the search intent. If Google is indicating your keyword has commercial search intent and you write a ‘what-is’ or ‘how-to’ article, chances of ranking are low. Clicking through and reading the content served by Google’s Page 01 results will clarify what kind of article you need to write.
  5. You can now begin writing.

SEO and Writing Styles

Keyword Occurrence

Make sure your keywords appear several times in your content. They must appear in your headings. But don’t force them into the content; they should appear in a natural flow. Remember, your article has to please human readers as well as search engine bots. There is no golden ratio of keywords-to-word-count but

Content ‘Scanability’

Organize your content with engaging and descriptive headings. Avoid big walls of text without any separation. Your content will be read on multiple categories of devices. People tend to glance through the headings and get into details only if they get hooked. For reference, just recall the last time you read a newspaper. The ToC at the top of this blog is another example.


SEO often works best if you write with the lowest common denominator concept in mind. Assume that the person reading is a complete novice. You need to introduce and elaborate on the topic in the simplest of words. Writing short paragraphs and concise statements is also favourable for search bots.


People stay on your page only if they feel you know what you are talking about. Cite resources that inspire credibility. Give concrete data and examples. Quote from your own expertise and experience which will make your authority immediately apparent.

List posts

If you find search intent for your keyword is informational, check if the top search results are how-to or what-to-do type of ‘guides’. If you realize this is the case, you can improve your chances of ranking by making similar ‘list posts’. List posts are articles structured as lists of steps or a set of things to do. ‘7 things to consider while writing your first blog’ is a type of a list post. ‘5 factors to consider while deciding your target audience’ is another example.

Side Notes

  1. SEO is not purely a mechanical, mathematical process. While search engines have their defined algorithms for deciding whether your content is worthy of appearing on page 01, there is still a lot of subjectivity.
  2. Researching competitors and the kind of content they are publishing will help you fine-tune.
  3. If we were forced to choose between pleasing search bots and pleasing human readers, we would go with the latter. If complicated long tail keywords cannot be accommodated naturally in the content, don’t force it. The caveat is that the more time your readers stay engaged with your content, the more authoritative Google thinks your content is, so it will start ranking you higher.
  4. Marketing your content on social media gives it a much-needed boost in the initial days of a newly published article. All that extra social media traffic alerts search bots to the buzz around your content so it can begin evaluating whether it is ready to be bumped up in rankings.