5 Blog Format Tips for Engaged Readers and Happy SEO

September 4, 2020
September 4, 2020 Desiree Cunningham

Blogs are an invaluable small business digital marketing tool.

A blog can build credibility, educate readers, and, most importantly, increase conversions; however, with as many 31.7 million blogs in the US, writing is only one piece of the puzzle.

Blog format influences click-through rates, time on page, and readability, and SEO.

So how do you find the sweet spot of SEO and quality content?

Deliberate blog format is the common denominator in this equation.

Keep reading to learn how to use strategic blog formatting to improve SEO and readability.

5 Blog Formatting to Improve Engagement, Readability, and SEO

You don’t need to overhaul your writing process to improve engagement, readability, and SEO. The following tips and tweaks to your process can increase time on page and click-through rates, improving the page’s SEO and ranking. Read on to learn more.

Table of Contents

In the battle of SEO, long-form blogs trump shorter blog posts.

Several factors influence the optimal blog length—target audience, type of content, etc.—but, one thing is for sure, the 500-word length standard is obsolete.

A study found that the average content length for page one results is 1,900 words.

What does this mean for engagement, readability, and SEO?

A 1,000-plus article can make any reader go weak in the knees, so make it easier for them to jump to the information that is pertinent to them.

A table of contents is your best blog formatting tool, especially long content.

There’s more to learn about header tags—keep reading to learn about incorporating headers into your blog format.

💡 Rule of thumb: Use a table of contents for articles that are “excessively” long. The definition of “long-form content” is dependent on your readership and content; however, generally, anything longer than 1,000 should have a table of contents.

Headers

Headers play an integral role in blog format, especially when you have a table of contents. They provide structure, organize like topics and break up large blocks of text.

Headers aren’t just a blog formatting trick; they are also an HTML element that helps search engines crawl your web page. Search engines, like Google, can use keywords strategically placed in your headers to contextualize your page and determine your page’s value. The better search engines can crawl your blog, the more likely you are to rank in search engines.

It’s a small piece to the SEO puzzle, but it is important to consider if you want to produce competitive content.

💡 Rule of thumb: Organize similar topics under relevant headers. Break down blocks of texts that are longer than 300 words.
blog format

Use visuals that are visually stimulating, original, and tell a story. How many times have you seen the same generic smiling office workers across the internet?

Visuals

Stock photo sites:

  • Shutterstock
  • Unsplash
  • Pexels
  • Creative Commons

Visual aids are the perfect complement to a well-written blog. Web content with visuals add variety, further context, and, most importantly, perform better than plain text web content.

And properly SEO-optimized images can also populate in Google Images.

Don’t limit yourself to overused stock images! Visuals are meant to add diversity to an article, so don’t use visuals that are commonly used—you know, the same smiling office worker that is used everywhere.

A picture is worth a thousand words. When it comes to content, every word is vital.

Visual is an overarching term for an assortment of illustrations, including, but not limited to:

  • Infographics
  • Videos
  • Graphs
  • Images
  • GIFs
💡 Rule of thumb: Use a wide variety of visuals liberally to break up large blocks of content and add further context.
blog format tips

Lists

You don’t have to look any further than Buzzfeed’s witty listicles to see why this blog format is popular.

Listicles are easy to navigate and even easier read, but you don’t have need campy article titles like “Smart People Who Were So Smart They Made They Made Me Feel Extra Dumb” to write an engaging article.

Listicles, when done correctly, are quick reads that allow readers to skim an article and find information that is important to them.

Conversely, listicles aren’t the only way to engage readers, and, for some types of content, listicles are not the appropriate way to present the information. Bullet point lists can effectively break up large text blocks, organize a series of items, and create a visual variance.

Take a look at the following example:

During the city’s monthly meeting, council member Jane Doe opposed the motion to continue the meeting without addressing funding for the new municipality building, the next paid holiday, and park renovations.

During the city’s monthly meeting, council member Jane Doe opposed the motion to continue the meeting. First, she wanted to address funding for the following:

  • New municipality building
  • Next paid holiday
  • Park renovations

Now, which example is easier to read?

It’s a small tweak to the blog format but can mean the difference between readers quickly exiting the page and excitedly reading to learn more.

💡 Rule of thumb: Use listicles and bulleted lists where appropriate to improve readability and SEO.

Call to Action

Last, incorporate a call to action into your blog writing process.

Your main concern should always be the quality of the content, adding value to the reader; however, your next priority is converting readers.

Pepper internal links and call to actions throughout the entire article. Dedicate a few sentences or paragraphs, or create a call to action banner to encourage the reader to encourage readers

💡 Rule of thumb: After the content, your call to action is the next important aspect of a blog’s format.

A few changes to your writing process can vastly improve your blog format, improving SEO and readability. In return, increasing your probability of converting readers. For more small business SEO blog writing tips, including our favorite writing tools, keyword research tips, and more, check out Markitors’ blog.

Desiree Cunningham

Desiree Cunningham is a Digital Marketing Manager at Markitors, a digital marketing company in Old Town Scottsdale that connects small businesses with customers. In her free time she can be found cuddling one of many foster cats from a local animal shelter, browsing the aisles of Barnes and Noble, or exploring the untouched corners of Arizona.