“Can you SEO-ify this article before we publish?”

This sentence makes my skin crawl. There’s a chance you know exactly what I’m talking, and you’re air high-fiving me in your mind right now. But for those of you who don’t see the problem with this phrase – this article is for you.

Research shows that organic search drives an estimated 51% of traffic to B2B and B2C websites. Because of this reality, the importance of SEO and improving your site’s organic presence is widely accepted. Blogging happens to be one of the most powerful tools in a digital marketer’s toolbox.

Unfortunately, when it comes to blogging, there are quite a few marketers who still put the cart before the horse and write about what they think their audience ought to know. While sharing your expert business insight will always be valuable, this approach only works if you have a platform from which you deliver content to your target audience.

Blogging without a keyword-informed strategy could be one of the main reasons why your site doesn’t show up on search engines. For anyone without an already robust email list or social media following, blogging for SEO is a must.

How to blog for SEO

Like any marketing strategy, there is a right and wrong way to go about writing blogs for SEO. While having a bias for action is generally a good thing in business, you can create a lot of headaches for yourself in the SEO arena if you aren’t making informed decisions from the start. Take a look at the wrong way to approach SEO blog writing so you don’t cause yourself unnecessary stress.

Blogging for SEO the wrong way

If hear the following in your marketing department, there’s a good chance your blogging efforts aren’t being leveraged effectively:

  • “Can you SEO-ify this article before we publish?”
  • “Can you find keywords for the article I just wrote?”
  • “What can you get this to rank for?”

All three of these phrases are positioning SEO as an afterthought in your blogging process.

Putting supply before demand

In a broad sense, doing keyword research is really the process of identifying market demand. A keyword with recorded search volume indicates that someone is searching for a resource that you have the potential to create.

If keyword research is identifying market demand, then finding relevant keywords and superimposing them on a completed article is putting supply before demand. Do your market research before you invest in a solution. Figure out what your target audience wants to know, then build the content asset that will deliver that information to them.

Learning how to blog for SEO with a keyword-informed, data-driven plan is a solid start to your organic traffic growth.

That being said, it is also unwise to let SEO blog writing be the determining factor in your business’s content marketing strategy.

Becoming too entrenched in tactical execution

“When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.” ~Abraham Maslow

Early in my career, I struggled with finding the balance between writing blogs for SEO only, and writing a truly engaging content asset that will move visitors through the inbound marketing funnel. I thought that SEO was the be all, end all of blogging, and I got too tactical in my writing.

When your SEO blog writing is too tactical, your content won’t stand the test of time. Future-proof your business blogging by learning how to write SEO blogs that are both data-backed and genuinely useful if you want your content to survive search engine algorithm updates.

Blogging for SEO the right way

Overhearing the following at your business is a sign of a healthy approach to SEO blog writing:

  • “Are there any good keyword opportunities we should be blogging about?”
  • “What are our competitors’ blogs ranking for that ours aren’t?”

If you still haven’t nailed down a strategy for creating blogs for SEO improvement, then your competitors likely have.

The bad news: Google has been around for just about 20 years, and you’re late to the game.

The good news: Your competition has laid your strategy out for you.

You can use online keyword research tools, and even learn how to do keyword research for free to start mimicking your competitors’ SEO blogging strategy. Simply find out what they’re writing about, if it’s ranking for any particular group of keywords, and then build an outline for the blog post you will need to create to outperform them.

The logic behind this process is simple – with about half of all website traffic coming from organic search, you can improve market share by beating your competitors in the organic search results.

Doing your keyword research before writing blogs for SEO will help ensure that your investment generates a real return. Scaling this process will turn your website into an informational powerhouse within your industry. The more useful your site is, the better chance you’ll have of ranking your product or service pages that turn website visitors into money.