Why the Structure of a Blog Post Is Vital To Getting Your Message Out There
You have to think of the internet as a vast library or superstore. You don’t go to a store and find all the products jumbled up. They are neatly arranged by categories and by product. The same is true of a library – when you arrive the shelves are not stacked in a random order. They are arranged by genre and author surname so that you can easily track down what you need. This indexing is done by people who have the visual ability to recognise what an item is and where in the indexing framework it belongs. Search engines do not have the same skills that humans do. They are getting smarter, but they are still not brilliant at identifying what the content is exactly and how it relates to any given topic. This is why your content marketing and content strategy can benefit greatly from the structure of a blog post.
Does SEO Stifle the Creative Process?
I’ve heard it argued that search engine optimization has a negative impact on the way in which people write and that it can totally block their creativity.
To my mind this is not true it just means that they are approaching it the wrong way.
You can write about anything that you want but if you want your content to be indexed and found by the right audience then you need to give the search engines some clues to guide them to the right conclusion when indexing your article. You do this by applying some structure to your articles.
Your creativity need not be stifled. And done properly this process will make your content better and more robust so that it is received by its intended audience.
Getting Your Content Formatted With as Little Stress as Possible
So what do you need to do? You can either think about the structure of the content before you start working on it – perhaps when you are writing your outline – or after you have finished your draft and are ready to review and tweak it.
It doesn’t really matter at which end of the process you do this work, just as long as you do it!
Here’s a quick check list of things to do to the structure of a blog post without being spammy:
- URL – make it descriptive and include the main theme (keyword) of the content
- Title Tag – this is another opportunity to indicate what your page is about. Again, make sure that it is relevant and not keyword stuffed.
- Meta description – this is what will appear under your title in the search results. You should use this opportunity to entice people to click through to your page. Make your description interesting and relevant to the topic of your page.
- Good headline – it’s all about relevance write a headline that is engaging and informative. Again include the main theme.
- Use the <h></h> tags for your headings – each heading as you go down the page should lea the reader and the search engines through the narrative of your content.
- Images – I would also make sure that you use relevant images and name the files accordingly; adding alternate text and titles to the meta data. You don’t need to do this. It will help the overall structure of your blog post as search engines still have a hard time determining the exact content of images.
Some Words Of Caution About Over Optimising
You wouldn’t consider writing a letter, a piece of marketing collateral or a report on behalf of your business without making sure that it addresses the issues that you want it to. You would also ensure that you cover the topic(s) that are of interest to your target audience.This is exactly what each piece of content you produce for your web presence should also look to achieve.
So don’t go from minimal structure in your blog posts at all to producing over optimised content that only has the search engines in mind.
Too many forced insertions of a keyword in a piece of content makes article hard for your audience to read. You may also be penalised by the search engines for this behaviour.
When you’re optimising your content make sure that you do it as naturally as possible by varying the text that you use for titles, descriptions, headings and file names. Be creative they should not all be exactly the same!
Do you find your creativity stifled by having to optimise the structure of your bog posts? In my opinion it is all about finding a way of making the optimisation process fit into your workflow at the place where it has as little negative impact as possible.
I’d be interested in hearing any tips and tricks you have found along the way to help you optimise the structure of a blog post. Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.