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There’s no hard and fast formula to a high performing blog post.

That may not be what you want to hear after scouring the internet looking for tips on how to make your content rank better (sorry)!

What I do have though, is five key ingredients that will help your content have a fighting chance in the competitive arena of the SERPs.

  1. Create a detailed buyer persona

First things first, know your audience. Spending all that time ironing out buyer personas may seem like a lot of leg work but it really pays off when it comes to writing content that speaks to exactly the right people. Hive explain that “understanding the needs, wants and goals of your personas allows you to better understand what type of content will appeal to them”.

Creating fictional characters that personify your target audience helps you craft content that is highly relevant and useful. One of our clients in the healthcare sector deals with a controversial and largely underdiscussed treatment for babies. As part of our content strategy, we spent time clarifying the key people in the decision process including worried parents, grandparents and influential healthcare professionals. Noticing there were lots of questions surrounding the condition that affects babies, we set to work creating content that answers those concerns and supplemented this with research and credible studies.

As a result, our client now dominates a large proportion of the highest ranking content relating to this subject area. One blog post in particular has seen over 120,000 page views (and rising) over the past four years. We have tweaked this post on and off during this time (leading on to my next ingredient) and what started as a short, succinct answer to a very specific question is now an in-depth piece which addresses a number of closely related concerns.

Buyer Personas

  1. Don’t just publish and forget about it

I’ve explained how you can breathe new life into your content with republishing before but the importance of tweaking and editing your content to compete with the highest ranking content is still just as important.

New research may be published, a new question may be asked or a news story may break and if it is relevant to your blog post, it should be included in your content regardless of when it was published.

Google prioritises freshness in its search results but also values content with a long and valued history. So keeping older blog posts up to date and republishing content every time major changes are made will help your post perform better.

  1. Never underestimate the power of a headline

Headlines are usually no longer than a few words but they often have the power to make or break a blog post.

There are a couple of common mistakes that people make when crafting the perfect title which should be avoided if you want that all-important visibility:

Firstly, don’t just jump on the bandwagon of what might be considered ‘popular content’ and go with a similar headline to the 10 blog posts that are already appearing on the first page for a topic you’ve been itching to write about.

If you’ve spent the time adding unique insight on a well-researched topic, don’t just pop a yawn-inducing generic title on top. Give that post the respect it deserves and spend the time crafting a headline that will bring in those clicks. Be specific and explain exactly why your post is better than the rest and how it will benefit the reader if they spend the time reading it.

Secondly, never write your headline before you’ve written your blog post. Seems illogical, right? However, if you write a headline before you’ve written your content  you’re at risk of being confined to those few words before really knowing what you’re writing about.

Have a topic in mind and the key aims you want to achieve in your blog post before writing but leave the title right until the very end. By that time, you will have a much better idea of the headline that’s going to make the most impact.

  1. Think about context

Search engines scour millions of resources in order to provide users with the best answers to their questions. So why shouldn’t we?

We may not have the time to go in quite as much detail as Google but we should always be thinking of the wider context behind a single search query and the other related questions and search terms that feed into the same search.

Answer the public is a great resource and provides you with all the long tail questions that are relevant to a single search term, giving you a number of different angles to approach the same topic.

Google’s related questions are another great way to see what other people are searching for in relation to a particular search query. If you structure your blog post around a number of different related questions, you will have a better chance of ranking higher in the search results as Google will recognise that you have provided a detailed and well-rounded answer.

Blog Post Questions

  1. A picture is worth a thousand words

It’s a bit of a cliché, but it’s true.

Making sure you have engaging and relevant images to work alongside your content does impact how well your blog post ranks in SERPs.

Search engines are continuously evolving their algorithms to recognise the importance of reading and analysing images in their quest for providing the most valuable content.

So not only does that mean we have to choose the right image, we have to use the right alt tags too.

This also helps when you’re able to capture a featured snippet as an image is often pulled through with the snippet. So the more eye-catching the picture, the more chance users will be tempted to click through to your post.

Incorporate these five basic ingredients in your next blog post and rest assured, you will definitely have a recipe for success. For more digital marketing tips and advice, visit our blog and keep up to date with the latest news and insights from our experts.