Writing effective blog posts
Writing effective blog posts primarily comes down to intent. Both the intent of the blog post and intent of the user’s search.
Understanding intent to write effective posts
In the context of writing, effective content primarily means writing content that has a purpose. Therefore, in order to write effectively, we’ve compiled a list of important points that you should consider.
1. What’s your post’s intent?
To understand your post’s intent, you need to ask yourself a simple question:
“What do I need this blog post to accomplish?“
Asking yourself this simple question can help to provide different styles of intent, which can ultimately offer different values for your business/website.
Here’s a list of common intents:
- Increase conversions (for example, product purchases or newsletter signups).
- Provide information to customers (for example, a new service you’re offering).
- Inspire others by amplifying a topic (for example, producing content which encourages others to link to your post, for better domain authority).
- Help rank better in search engines for a specific set of keywords (often applies alongside other intents).
Once you’ve got this, you can then better understand which steps you need to take, in order to fulfil that specific intent.
For example, if you’re trying to increase newsletter signups through a blog post, you’ll most likely want to include the signup form somewhere on that post’s page.
2. What’s your user’s intent?
Understanding your user’s intent is not only going to help keep your post’s bounce rate low but also help maintain your post’s purpose too.
You don’t want to be creating content about “reasons to buy a new car” when your visitors are searching for “reasons to not buy a new car“. Even though it’s the same topic, they both have two very different intents; one is for and the other against.
Refine user intent through Google’s related search function
As an example, let’s take the topic of “reasons to buy a new car” further, in order to refine the user’s intent through Google Search.
Simply type the query into Google Search and scroll to the bottom. Here, you’ll find Google’s related search function (as shown in the image below).
In our example (for “reasons to buy a new car”):
- People are searching for a new vs used style of debate.
- People are searching for the disadvantages (specifically).
- People are searching for a pros and cons style of list.
- People are searching for the best times to buy a new car.
- People are searching for calculator/tool-based results.
Using the related search data above, you can instantly gather the intent of what people have been searching for, allowing you to create multiple effective pieces of content to provide to them.
To go even further, you should watch a Whiteboard Friday video provided by Moz on how Google gives us insight into searcher intent through the results. Specifically, the part where Rand mentions the intent to position ratio. As using this method can further help define your user’s intent.
By understanding the user’s intent, you will not only be able to better structure your post’s content effectively but also refine your keyword research in the process, which is extremely important if the intent is to rank better in search engines.
3. Create content to match both post’s and user’s intent
This means that you should conduct your keyword research (to match your user’s intent) and apply these keywords accordingly throughout your post, whilst still maintaining your post’s purpose (to match your post’s intent).
Examples of effective content, matching both post’s and user’s intent
- Post’s intent: Increase conversions
- Post’s specific intent: To sell hockey sticks online
- User’s intent: What’s the best hockey sticks for beginners?
- Post’s title: 5 Best hockey sticks for beginner players
- Post’s content:
- Outline each stick by providing an image, name and price.
- Answer why it’s one of the best hockey sticks for beginner players (consider E-A-T in SEO).
- Include links to buy each stick online.
- Post’s intent: Help rank better in search engines for a specific set of keywords
- Post’s specific intent: To outrank a competitor’s post
- User’s intent: Nikkon or Canon?
- Post’s title: Nikkon vs Canon, which is better and why?
- Post’s content:
- Do your keyword research, including finding which keywords your competitor’s post is ranking for.
- Cover everything your competitor is covering (only if it’s necessary) and then add more value (perhaps cover more points or go more in-depth if it helps to add value).
- Consider trying to closely match (not copy) your competitor’s post’s meta title (if it’s relevant for the intent of the user).
Further considerations for writing effective posts
The intent is important. However, when you’re writing your next blog post, you should know that there are also many other considerations to account for in order to write effectively.
These could range from a number of things such as;
- Breaking your content up into smaller paragraphs,
- Using headings and lists to make content easily scannable,
- Linking to external credible sources to reference your topic,
- Considering E-A-T in SEO.
With all that said; if you’ve understood both intents of the post and user and you’ve followed the list of further considerations above — you’ll be writing effective blog posts which work!