7 Things Every High-Ranking Blog Post Needs

We’re gonna go ahead and spoil it for you: There’s no easy, magic formula for the perfect blog. In fact, The Perfect Blog probably doesn’t exist. Bummer, right? Don’t get too discouraged. While perfect blogs aren’t real, much like unicorns, we still hold out hope. That said, the best blog you can write, or even an improvement over the last one, is achievable!

When we set out to write a blog here at GPO, we strive to make it the best possible – often to great results. So, what’s currently in our ever-changing, boiling cauldron of blog writing? Here’s our recipe.

  1. Strategy and Planning
  2. Organization and Clear Headers
  3. The Right Keyphrases
  4. Appropriate Keyphrase Density
  5. Strategic Internal and External Links
  6. High-Quality Media
  7. Great Writing Made for Humans

1. Strategy and Planning

Much like any craft, great blogs don’t just happen. They require planning and strategizing before a single word is ever typed. What does that look like?

How to Strategize for Your Blog

Identify your marketing initiatives and goals, focuses for the upcoming month/quarter/year, and specific site goals. Then, decide how you will use your blog to achieve those goals!

How to Plan Ahead

Content calendars are a great way to plan your upcoming content per your specific goals and strategy. They help you see the bigger picture without getting bogged down in a single article.

Create content calendars on a monthly or quarterly basis and align the schedule with other marketing initiatives. If you have promotions running during a certain week or month, make sure you have an accompanying blog scheduled for that same time. Keep holidays and other seasonal factors in mind as you create your calendar to ensure your content is timely.

Pro tip: The points in the rest of this blog are great items to include in your content calendar!

2. Organization and Clear Headers

Have you ever opened a blog only to be greeted by a wall of text? Your audience shouldn’t have to use CTRL+F to find the information they want! A great blog is organized thoughtfully and utilizes clear, frequent headers. That doesn’t just mean H2s, either. Include H3s and even H4s if the site supports them.

Why Do I Need Headers?

Breaking down information into logical headers doesn’t just help your reader – it also helps search engines understand your content. We’ve seen Google replace our provided meta description with the numbered list of H2s we used in the blog. This is particularly common with question-related topics where the headers offer answers.

Pro tip: Play with different types of organization within the same blog. If your blog contains a lot of dense information, mix it up with H2s, H3s, and bulleted and numbered lists. Even italicized tips like this can be helpful for asides that don’t warrant their own headers.

3. The Right Keyphrases

Being able to select the most relevant and achievable keyphrases from a (literally) endless list requires effort and training. You have to understand the topic well enough to know common questions people might ask, understand how it’s relevant to your brand, and be able to use that information to plan a blog.

Additionally, choosing the right keyphrases means understanding authority and volume metrics. A particular phrase may have a high search volume, but your low-authority blog will compete with name-brand giants in the space. You have to balance aspirational goals with a realistic understanding of how your blog measures up to those already at the top of the SERP.

4. Appropriate Keyphrase Density – No Keyphrase Stuffing!

Choosing keyphrases takes a lot of work. It’s easy to cram a blog full of every keyphrase vaguely related to a topic. After all, a broad search in a tool like SEMRush will yield plenty of high-volume keyphrases. Isn’t it easiest to just jam them all into your blog?

This “strategy” is known as keyphrase stuffing. It can happen in the body text of your blog or even in the title. Google will ding you for keyphrase stuffing, and you won’t see the results you want. Your blog should focus on a few keyphrases and incorporate them naturally throughout the text.

Let’s look at one of GPO’s client blogs to understand how selecting just a handful of relevant, specific keyphrases can yield impressive results. 

screenshot of blog impression graph showing steady increase from september 2022 to july 2023 with a huge spike in november 2023

Here are some stats for this blog as of January 2024.

  • Upon publication in September 2022, the writers targeted five keyphrases.
  • In the first month of publication, it received 9,530 impressions.
  • In November 2023, it received 62,700 impressions.
  • This blog ranks #1 for fifteen keyphrases.
  • This blog has SERP features for twenty-eight keyphrases.

All that with only five target keyphrases?! You read that right!

Why Does This Strategy Work?

This blog benefits from excellent organization, quality writing, and, most of all, carefully selected keyphrases. Our expert writers researched and handpicked the best keyphrases for this particular topic instead of stuffing it to the gills with anything vaguely related. It’s easy to read and comprehend, and the semantically related searches will follow.

5. Strategic Internal and External Links

Links help search engines understand the context of your blog and how it’s related to other blogs and pages on your site and others. Building backlinks is important, but what about the links you use?

Internal Links

Internal links, or links pointing to other pages on your site, can help direct your readers to other content on your site that may be relevant to their questions. Strategic internal linking can help your authority score, keep readers on your site longer, and improve overall user experience.

External Links

External links point users to a different domain, like the link to Semrush at the beginning of this sentence! External links help Google understand how your blog relates to other content. It also can help build your authority by developing relationships with other, more authoritative sites. It’s essential to stick to high-quality links with factual information; .edu and .gov sites are almost always a safe bet.

6. High-Quality Media

I scream, you scream, Google screams for human-first content! One thing that humans love? Images! According to Google, in 2019, 50% of shoppers reported that images helped them decide what to buy.

Including optimized photos in your blog is a no-brainer for several reasons. 

First, it makes your page more engaging. Who wants an endless wall of text? Even with great headers, that’s hard to read and even harder to skim.

Second, it gives you another shot of showing up in the SERP using image search. That keyphrase you’re trying to rank for? Potential readers may search for it in images. Without any relevant media, you’re throwing away that opportunity to be found.

What makes media great? Quality, relevance, size, and accessibility.

  • Quality media is high-resolution and professional.
  • Relevant media is directly related to the content and helps to explain it further.
  • Appropriately sized media is compressed to load quickly, fits the page well, and looks great on both mobile and desktop. Crop with care!
  • Accessible media has optimized alt-text that is understandable for screen readers.

7. Great Writing Made for Humans

Informative, creative writing is the foundation of an excellent blog. Keyphrases, links, and media are necessary for your blog to rank well. But at the end of the day, blogs are for humans – not search engines. As Google said regarding the Helpful Content update:

Our advice about having a people-first approach does not invalidate following SEO best practices, such as those covered in Google’s own SEO guide. SEO is a helpful activity when it’s applied to people-first content. However, content created primarily for search engine traffic is strongly correlated with content that searchers find unsatisfying.

What does that mean? Content that utilizes keyphrase stuffing is full of useless information, and poorly organized writing intended to rank well is not rewarded. People-first content that answers questions, is easy to understand, and easy to read tends to rank better. Even simpler? Google prefers excellent writing that solves problems!

Boost Your Blog With GPO

Does your blog need an upgrade? GPO can help! With our blog creation services, our expert writers deliver SEO-optimized blog posts that perform. From keyphrase research to image selection, we include everything that makes a blog post rank high. Get in touch to learn how we can elevate your brand’s blog content.

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