If you’re considering starting a written blog for your website, it’s probably because you’ve heard it’s going to boost your site’s search engine ranking.

And you would be correct in believing that. But writing a blog for your website’s clout and clout alone isn’t going to cut it. Once you’ve ranked for certain keywords, you also need to keep people there – and to do that you’re going to have to think like a content marketer, and therefore think about your audience.

Indeed, good audience-focused content has the power to add power to your website for search, as well as adding value for your audience and building a database for your brand. Optimised for search + optimised for audience. Now that’s powerful content.

Here’s a few tips for creating audience-focused written content for your website that will help grow your website’s search strength and deliver value for your potential and existing customers.

Consider your title

Writing headlines for web is very different to writing them for print (which are often attention-grabbing, and full of puns and wit).

Search behaviour has changed a lot since the inception of Google, as people move towards more long-form search queries. So when you choose a headline or title for your article, think very specifically about what your audience would be looking for and how they would be searching for it.

People are no longer looking for ‘monstera care’, they’re looking for ‘How to keep monstera plant alive during SE Queensland winter’. Well, that’s what I’m looking for. And the nursery that answers it will be my new favourite.

Key takeaway: Titles need to have the keywords you’re hoping to rank for in them and should be very specific to the content and question you’re hoping to answer.

Write for your audience first

When developing our clients’ content marketing strategies, we always look at personas (audiences) and the brand’s tone of voice.

This helps us to work out what kind of language we will use when writing their blogs and articles – whether it’s authoritative thought leadership, informative e-books or student-facing foodie blogs.

This crossed with a quick check that you’ve covered off both the keyword(s) you want to rank for AND some associated categories will ensure your content is the most authoritative according to Google, and hopefully your customer too.

Key takeaway: Know your audience personas and write for them in a tone of voice that will resonate. Keywords should be included but not prioritised at the expense of clear, concise writing.

Make it snackable

Breaking your content up into snackable sections (short paragraphs with sub-headings rather than an essay of body copy), help the reader to stay focused and keeps them on the page for longer.

Sub-headings are also great as Google actually recognises keywords in them as more authoritative than in your paragraph copy, so it’s a good opportunity to break down the contents of your article.

Key takeaway: Make your written content snackable by using sub-headers that make sense. This will make it easier to read and keep people there for longer.

Make it as long as it needs to be

Google loves long-form content, but it’s for your audience first. And if you take 2000 words to explain what could be a 800-word blog for landscaping during the wet season, your audience is going to take a hard bounce over trawling your content for the information they’re looking for.

Key takeaway: Yes the average ranking blog length is 1900 words but if you’re rambling, your readers will head straight for the X sign.

Add images and links only if they’re helpful

If you’re suggesting the best cheap eats for students in your area, they’re going to want to see an image, and to be able to easily find the menu. Help them get there by linking to the relevant restaurants (always setting external links to open in a new window).

And while images don’t necessarily help with your search engine optimisation, they do help with time on page and reader engagement. Remember to add alt text explaining what the photo is of so Google can read it.

Key takeaway: You don’t need to pack your article with links, only the ones that are helpful.

Side note: Back links to your site also aren’t the holy grail any more. Moz recommends focusing on the quality and length of your site content over asking for links to your site if you want to rank on the first page of Google.

Suggest some relevant content

There’s nothing wrong with an in-text link to something relevant. Remember, you’re trying to help your customer so if they’re reading a blog about business strategy, ‘How to host a business strategy day with your leadership team’ will be right up their alley too.

Key takeaway: Suggest other relevant content on your site throughout your article and at the end.

Give them a chance to tie the knot

Include a subscribe CTA at the bottom of your article – if they get to the bottom they’re probably happy with what they have read and may want to enter an email relationship with you. Now you just need to respect that relationship until they’re ready to go to the next phase.

Key takeaway: Use your content to create an email database and bring readers back to your website again and again.

All of these tips will help you to write great blogs and articles that will add value for your audience and improve your website’s search engine optimisation. You may even get an email address out of it, maybe even a sale. Now go, create great audience-focused content that drives your site traffic.