10) Structuring Your Posts

While there are many elements to a good, optimised piece of SEO content, one of the most important things is the post layout. There are different areas of each post that have various purposes. Each one fits together to make a powerful SEO puzzle.

Here’s how you should be structuring each post, and what to remember when writing each section.

Title

The title of your post is EXTREMELY important. For the most part, it’s what will convince the reader to click on your post and read it. Here’s how you should write your title:

  1. Use the topic/keywords given to you (unless given instruction that you can use a stronger keyword)
  2. Write the complete post
  3. Go back to the title and expand it

Blog Title Rules

Use your keywords close to the beginning

  1. Add numbers (odd numbers usually work best) and the year
  2. Remove unnecessary words (the, and, in, etc.)
  3. Use modifiers – check for these in your keyword sheet
  4. Expand and explain your post in your title
  5. Not too short & not too long – between 30 & 70 characters

blog title rules

The Introduction (4-part intro)

This can be three to four paragraphs that will provide details about the subject or the process that you will address in the body. It should be 100 – 200 words long, and combine elements of the 4-part intro:

Part 1: Set the context

This is where you’ll immediately hook your reader, and give them a feel of the post’s main topic. It’s also a good place to present them with a problem. Good examples:

For Summer Vacation in Cape Town

‘Those who have visited Cape Town know just how much the Mother City shows off in summer. The sun, sand, and sea make for a stunning vacation spot.’

For How to Grow a Veggie Garden

‘We all know how important vegetables are for a healthy diet, but supermarkets aren’t always a reliable source of fresh and tasty products. Which is why anyone with garden space should consider growing their own.’

Part 2: Invoke a sense of fear/panic

This is not as mean as it sounds. What we want from this section is to introduce the reader to the problems that many face with this topic. Good examples:

For Summer Vacation in Cape Town

‘While spending summer in the Cape can be glorious, it can also be expensive and somewhat overwhelming. The mother city is not small, and it is jam-packed with activities, attractions, and something happening around every corner. So how do you plan a fun-filled, yet relaxing summer vacation in Cape Town?’

For How to Grow a Veggie Garden

‘But do you know which soil to use? When to plant your seeds? How often they need water and how much sunlight they require? Growing a vegetable garden at home is more complicated than it may seem at first.’

Part 3: Invoke a sense of relief

Now, you want to let them know that this post actually has the solution to the problem above. Good examples:

For Summer Vacation in Cape Town

‘Lucky for you, we’ve planned plenty of summer holidays, and just happen to love Cape Town, so this guide is full of useful tips and tricks. From where to stay, how to get around, and unmissable things to do, we’ve listed them all.’

For How to Grow a Veggie Garden

‘It may seem like mission impossible right now, but we’re here to help! With the right tools, knowledge, and some handy tips, you’ll have a healthy veggie garden growing in no time.’

Part 4: Reassure the reader and draw them in

So now you’ve probably got them interested in your post – they want something, they know their obstacles, and they believe you have the answers to help them. All that’s left to do is convince them to scroll down and continue reading. Good examples:

For Summer Vacation in Cape Town

‘With this travel guide in hand, your warm Cape Town trip will be as memorable as anything. It’ll make planning a breeze, and the only sweating you’ll be doing all summer long, is on Clifton Beach. Find all our insider advice below.’

For How to Grow a Veggie Garden

‘You now get to benefit from our tried-and-tested ways of gardening. This guide includes indoor, outdoor, small, and large gardens. So get your seeds ready and prepare to cultivate a rich veggie bounty.’

What the intro should achieve:

  • Grab the reader’s attention
  • Present the reason for the post’s existence.
  • Explain how the post will help address the problem.

What you can do

  • Relate to your audience – think how they got here, why they’re reading it and place yourself in their shoes.
  • Captivate them – let them know how awesome or inspiring it is or how it changed your thoughts or perceptions. Make them curious, enticing them to read more.
  • Introduce your topic. If your intro can be read alone, it’s not an introduction.

introduction dos and donts

The Body of a Blog Post

This is the value section. It will contain the majority of your words (break this up into several sections with a subtitle each).

Use H2s and H3s for each subsection. Most of the time, your headings can easily be decided using your keyword research.

Examples

If the keyword is “best places to see in Cape Town”:

DON’T

  • Write about the things do in Stellenbosch
  • Write about the exact costs of things (these change – so you may use a range or vague description “around R100 – R200” (if you are writing on a .com use $ if you writing on a co.za use R – if not specified, use what you think would be best)

DO

  • Write about what makes it a good thing to see
  • Write about how far it is from certain points (city centre)
  • Add useful info that the reader would need (opening times, etc.)

Here are some ideas of info to add:

  1. Where to go?
  2. What will you find?
  3. Things to look for / shows and restaurants
  4. Why it is a good place to see?
  5. Address controversy
  6. When is a good time to go?
  7. Where should you stay?

The Conclusion

Write around 100 to 150 words in the conclusion.

Tie it back to the information you delivered in the value section and show how the product/place fulfils all the needs of the user.

Whenever possible, end the conclusion with a call to action, i.e. “Book your trip to Cape Town now.” or “Why not share pics of your veggie garden with us on Instagram?” or even, “If you enjoyed this post, read our more in-depth guide on a road trip around South Africa.”

Other Guidelines

  • Don’t go too in-depth in your descriptions, we’re writing a blog post, not a novel. If you feel your sentence can’t explain it well enough, find a picture that does.
  • Capitalize words in headlines (unless you’re instructed not to by specific website requirements)
  • Use lots of subheadings
  • Write small bite-sized paragraphs
  • Use lists and bullet points where possible
  • Users love images, please use as many as you can.
  • Avoid adding unnecessary sentences – i.e ‘Rome is just absolutely magical.’ May sound nice, but adds no value to the reader and is, essentially, wasting their reading time.

Over to You

Now, we want you to write your first post.

Think about a topic that you would like to write about – this can be anything you’re interested in, that you feel will offer value to the reader.

  • Come up with 3 topic ideas and post them in the Slack #Training channel – someone will help find the best topic based on keyword opportunities. 
  • When you have a topic, head to this Asana task, make a duplicate, and start your post – follow the subtasks in Asana and tick them off as you go.
  • Write the post using keywords and good structure, and then paste the Asana task link into the #Training channel to be edited and receive feedback. 
  • Once the post has been edited, make the necessary changes and upload the post to the relevant website (get this info from the #Training channel).
  • Once the post is uploaded, paste the live link into the #Training channel, then click on ‘Complete’ and move on to the next lesson.