So you’re writing a blog.

Good writing starts with a good SEO blog outline, but in the age of search engine optimization, “good” can mean a lot of different things.

Should your outline be optimized for top search engine results placement? For maximum reader engagement? For clarity and economy of language?

In the attention ecosystem, a good SEO blog outline requires all of the above. Your outline should be tailored to the search terms you want to be ranked for, but it also has to support your specific goals and speak to your specific audience. All of this can feel like a juggling act, but don’t worry—in this guide, we make writing a high-performing SEO blog outline achievable in just 3 easy steps.

Step 1: Select High-Quality Keywords

Before you can start writing your perfect SEO blog outline, you have to first identify what you’re writing about.

There are two kinds of keywords you should be aware of: focus keywords and secondary keywords.

Focus Keywords

Focus keywords are the primary words or phrases you target for search engine results placement (SERP). High-quality focus keywords should be specific enough to accurately describe your content, but broad enough that related web searches still return your page.

For example, “SEO” is too broad to be a helpful focus keyword for this blog post. A web search for “SEO” will return too many results on too many overlapping topics. However, a keyword like “SEO blog outline” is more specific to the content of this blog—that means users who search for “SEO blog outline” are more likely to be looking for articles like this one.

A best practice for focus keywords is to include them in the title and at least one major heading within your blog.

Secondary Keywords

As the name suggests, secondary keywords are less central to your SEO blog outline. They may describe the broad ideas and subjects of your blog or highlight niche topics within your content.

While you don’t necessarily have to include secondary keywords in your blog outline itself, they should be present in the content of your blog. Secondary keywords don’t have to be as targeted as your focus keyword—think of them as additional context for your focus keywords. For example, “writing” is too broad for a focus keyword, but in tandem with the focus keyword “SEO blog outline,” “writing” can add additional context that improves SERP for your blog.

Step 2: Know Yourself and Know Your Audience

Think about the way teachers communicate with their students: it’s different from the way they communicate with parents, isn’t it?

It’s likely that the way you communicate with loved ones is different than the way you communicate with colleagues or bosses. The way you might talk to a potential client is different from the way you might talk to a competitor.

Communication is always in service of a goal—whether that be to order your morning coffee, run an efficient meeting, or convert a new lead. 

When it comes to SEO blog writing, understanding your goal is pivotal. However, motivation isn’t the only component—you must also consider your audience. Just like you might adjust your communication style based on the situation, you might also adjust your style based on the person you’re talking to.

Blogs are typically audience-oriented. Blogs change minds, break down barriers, and encourage change, but blog posts themselves are not just productive monologues, they’re a kind of secret dialogue between a writer and their audience.

Knowing your own goals and identifying the audience you wish to speak to is the vital first step in writing an SEO blog outline. As easy as that is to say, “knowing” and “identifying” are ambiguous concepts in practice. Here’s what this looks like in action:

Tone

As you write the body of your blog, you’ll quickly realize that there are a thousand and one different creative decisions you can make. Should you take a conversational style? Should you incorporate jokes? What about emojis? It’s helpful to think about tone in several dimensions:

  • Formal vs Conversational. Factors may include your target audience’s age and the context they’ll be reading your blog in. In a corporate finance blog, a formal tone could convey expertise and certainty. However, a blog geared towards personal finance for beginners might benefit from a more conversational tone that feels engaging and personableeven if the factual content of the blog is exactly the same. 
  • Humorous vs Informational. Humorous writing is engaging and can be enjoyable for readers, but not every topic or audience lends itself to humor. In the wrong context, humor can make a writer appear unserious, especially if the joke obfuscates something more important in your writing. An informational approach can feel more “dry” to readers, which can work against you if you’re trying to create a memorable connection with a reader, but can be a benefit when your goal is purely to convey information. 
  • Enthusiastic vs Factual. Finally, enthusiastic writing can increase the readers’ motivation to take action, while a more reserved presentation of facts has greater educational value. Enthusiasm is contagious and can inspire confidence in your readers, but it takes a balance between enthusiastic presentation and factual grounding to find the right tone for any blog.

Authority

As you think about your target audience, what level of experience do they have with the topic? Are you writing to seasoned experts who already understand the foundational concepts of your writing? Or are you writing to newcomers who need a thorough explanation of the background of your topic?

In practice, the distinction is never that black and white—your audience will most likely be somewhere in between the two extremes. For this blog, for example, I’m assuming most readers are familiar with the concept of search engine optimization.

Your target audience’s level of authority on the topic should guide the way you structure your article, what topics deserve their own headings, and which ones can safely rest on the cutting room floor.

Motivation

Finally, consider the action you’re hoping your readers will take after reading your blog. Some blogs simply want to create a positive experience for readers—perhaps to increase brand loyalty or awareness. Others seek to add value to their readers’ lives through conveying important information. Still others are hoping to convert readers to make a purchase.

Your motivation plays a large role in how you structure your SEO blog outline.

The Problem, Solution, Proof formula works well to efficiently break down barriers and change readers’ minds, while informational blogs like this one benefit from sequential organization.

The Problem, Solution, Proof formula is effective for persuasion, but not always the most efficient for conveying information.

Image source

Step 3: Revise and Iterate Your SEO Blog Outline

Vincent Van Gogh frequently painted over his existing paintings, iterating on them to create great works of art. Similarly, Da Vinci painted the Mona Lisa over an existing sketch. The greatest works of art weren’t executed in a single stroke of genius—they’re the result of revision and iteration.

In your SEO blog outline, iteration is pivotal. You should plan to iterate on not only the wording of your headings, but also on the content and structure of the blog itself.

Some practical ways you can iterate on your outline are to experiment with adding and removing subheadings, reordering sections of your piece, or simply trying out different wordings. The secret to creative iteration is experimentation, and it’s in the outlining stage of your blog that you have the most agility and freedom to experiment without consequence.

Once you’ve written the body of your blog, major restructuring has an exponentially higher time-cost. This is why revision and iteration are a part of the outlining phase of SEO blog development, because it’s your best opportunity to let your creative juices fly.

Work With the Best

Writing a SEO blog outline is doable, but it isn’t easy. It takes time, experience, and skill. Express Writers writes high-performing blogs for every industry, taking the guesswork and legwork out of your content strategy.

Content Marketplace Cta

Visit our content shop to see how Express Writers can help.

The post How to Write an SEO Blog Outline in 3 Easy Steps appeared first on Express Writers.