How to Write a Blog Post That Actually Gets Traffic

How to Write a Blog Post That Actually Gets Traffic

You write a blog post, hit that publish button, and then… no one reads it. The problem isn’t necessarily your writing. It doesn’t mean that people don’t like
you. It just means that your content likely isn’t
optimized to be found. So in this video, I’m going to show you how to write a blog post that drives consistent readers to your blog that you probably should be getting. Stay tuned. [music] What’s up bloggers? Sam Oh here with Ahrefs, the SEO tool that
helps you grow your search traffic, research your competitors and dominate your niche. Today, I want to help you clear the confusion
and turn that blank screen into an absolutely epic blog post that a.) people want to read
and b.) attracts the target audience you want. Now, rather than focusing on subjective techniques
like writing style, I’m going to show you how to build a consistent stream of readers
with strategic topic selection and workflows. Let’s get to it. First, I want to give you an idea of what
consistent readership looks like and what it definitely does not look like. In order to gain readers, you need to get traffic. They’re essentially the same thing. But the way you get traffic to your website will vary. For example, I’m sure you’ve seen multiple traffic
source channels in your analytics platform like organic search, social, direct, and referral traffic. All of these people fall into different buckets
in terms of how they discover and consume content on your website. You might also be using paid ads or email
marketing to send readers to your posts. These are all great, but paid traffic is only
good for as long as you’re willing to pay. The same goes for your email list. You blast out an email, then the traffic fades to nothing. Now, what about social? Same thing. You might get some nice spikes of traffic,
but that will likely drop back to normalcy. These peaks, as Rand Fishkin calls them,
are “spikes of hope.” And if you’ve used any of these marketing strategies, then I’m sure you’ve experienced what comes after. The “flatline of nope.” Organic traffic on the other hand can produce
the opposite effect. Free, passive, and hopefully growing traffic
that doesn’t fade over time. And this is the primary strategy we used to grow Ahrefs blog to over 220,000 monthly search visitors. Now, I’m not telling you to stop sending
emails to your list or reduce your PPC ad spend. What I want you to take away from these
examples is that billions of people are searching for
informational content. And if you have a blog, you should make its
purpose to satisfy the needs of searchers and in return, get the traffic you deserve. With that said, let’s jump right into step 1,
which is to come up with topics that are proven to generate traffic. The most common problem I see with new bloggers
is that they write “me-centered” posts. Now, there’s nothing wrong with creating
content about what you ate for breakfast. But it’s all about how you frame it. For example, if I had a recipe blog, how many
people do you think would search for, “what did Sam Oh eat for breakfast today?” No one! People go to Google for solutions to their problems. So as you generate topics to write about,
you should focus on the reader, rather than yourself. Here’s an example: Rather than creating a post called, “My kids
love these fluffy blueberry pancakes,” go with a helpful approach like, “How to Make Fluffy Blueberry Pancakes That Your Kids Will Love.” Now, this is just an educated guess based on
what I think people would be searching for. But you can actually find how many people are searching for any keyword using Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer. Let’s run a search for our main topic,
“blueberry pancakes.” Next, I’ll go to the Phrase match report
to find keyword ideas on this topic. Right away, you’ll see some great keyword
ideas like “blueberry pancakes recipes,” “how to make blueberry pancakes,” and “vegan blueberry
pancakes” along with keyword metrics like search volume
beside them. Now, the thing with search volume is that it
can be a bit misleading. For example, “how to make blueberry pancakes”
gets 1,000 monthly searches in the US alone. Now, if we click on the SERP button, and look
at the traffic column for the top ranking pages, you’ll see that these pages get significantly
more traffic than the estimated search volume. And this often happens because these pages are ranking for hundreds or even thousands of keywords. Now, if we look at the SERP for the keyword,
“vegan blueberry pancakes,” you’ll see the opposite effect. Top ranking pages only get around 27% traffic
compared to the main keyword’s search volume. This is why it’s critical to look at the total traffic potential of a topic so you can get the most bang for your buck. Now, this is just one topic you might want
to write about. You can generate a whole list of content ideas by entering a more generic topic related to your niche. So let’s change this to “recipes.” And just like that, you have a list of over 2.4 million
keywords that contain the word “recipes.” Let’s narrow this down to some low-competition
topics with high search volume. I’ll set the Keyword Difficulty filter to show keywords that have a maximum score of something low like 10. And then I’ll set the Search Volume filter for keywords that have at least 1,000 monthly searches in Google. From here, it’s just a matter of clicking on the SERP button and analyzing traffic potential of each topic that might be worth creating a post on. Another thing you can do is find topics that
are generating traffic for your competitors and then create content around those topics too. So since I have a recipe blog, I’ll go to
Ahrefs’ Site Explorer and enter in one of my competitor’s domains. And it looks like they get around 874,000 search visitors per month! Next, I’ll go to the Top pages report, to
find out which pages are generating the most search traffic for them. So looking at this report, I can immediately
see that chocolate chip cookies, lo mein, and cooking tofu, might be good topics to write
blog posts about. And as you can see, finding topics that people
care to search for isn’t hard. Just make sure you check the total traffic
potential behind the topic, so you don’t waste time writing content
that people don’t care to read. Let’s move on to step 2, which is super
important and that’s to assess search intent. Search intent represents the reason behind
a searcher’s query. For example, if someone searches for “how
to make pancakes,” what do you think they want to see? Probably recipes, right? But what about if someone searches for the
query “slow cooker?” What are they looking for? Do they want to buy one? Read reviews? See a list of recipes or something entirely
different? The good news is that search intent is really
easy to identify. All you have to do is search for the keyword
phrase you want to rank for in Google and the search results will reveal what I like
to call, “the 3 C’s of search intent.” The first C is content type. This can usually be categorized into blog posts,
product pages, category pages, and landing pages. Looking at the top 10 results for “how to
make pancakes,” you can tell just from the titles that they’re
all blog posts. The second C is content format. When it comes to blog posts, a few common
formats would be “how-to” guides, step-by-step tutorials, list posts, or opinion editorials. There are a lot of different formats, but
this should give you an idea of what you should be on the lookout for. So for our example, “how-tos” are the dominant format. The final C is content angle. The angle is often depicted in the title as
the “benefit” as to why someone should click and read their article. So this page is talking about creating “perfect” pancakes, this one is pushing the “easy pancakes” angle, and this one down here is about “fluffy pancakes.” Generally speaking, you don’t want to stray too far
from the angle that the top 10 results are taking, but note that angles will vary from topic to topic. Now, just to show you how important this step
is, let’s type “slow cooker,” into Google. Immediately, you’ll see that the search results are dominated by Ecommerce category pages. If you don’t have a similar page on your
site, you probably shouldn’t target the keyword, because your chances of ranking will be slim to none. We have a full tutorial on doing keyword research,
assessing search intent, and also knowing how hard it will be to rank on Google, so I highly recommend watching that tutorial
which I’ll link up. For now, let’s move on to step 3, which
is to write a data-driven outline. A data-driven outline might sound strange,
but hear me out. A page doesn’t rank for just one keyword. In fact, our data shows that on average, the
#1 ranking page also ranks for nearly a thousand other keywords. So when you’re creating your outline, it’ll pay to know which keywords the top ranking pages are ranking for so you can get the most mileage
out of your blog posts. To do this, go to Keywords Explorer and search
for the target keyword you want to rank for. Then scroll to the bottom of the page, where
you’ll see the top 10 ranking pages along with their SEO metrics. And as expected, a bunch of these pages are
ranking for thousands of keywords. To see the keywords that this page ranks for,
let’s click on the number in the corresponding row, which will open up the Organic Keywords
report in Site Explorer. Now, to keep these keywords relevant, let’s
set a filter to only show keywords that rank in position 1 through 10. This will weed out a lot of irrelevant keywords
that we don’t need to target. A few interesting words that pop out to me
are “from scratch,” “recipe,” and “batter.” Now, rather than trying to stuff these keywords
into your post, it’s best to think of these as subtopics. You can also use them to solidify the angle
you want to take for your post. So I may take the angle of creating homemade
pancakes from scratch. As for the subtopics, I would likely have
a section on “making the batter.” And under the subheadings, I may include descriptive
words people are searching for like “delicious and fluffy.” And I may even include a substitute to make
the batter without milk. Finally, just add some bullet points below
each of the subheadings to ensure that you stay on topic once you get to writing the draft. Speaking of which, let’s move on to step 4 and that’s
to write your first draft. Now, the purpose of this step isn’t to write
a perfect blog post that everyone’s going to love. It’s to get your thoughts on screen and
into full sentences. If you’ve created a detailed outline, it’s just a matter
of looking at your bullet points and making them flow together. These are two tricks that I use that work
particularly well for me. First is the Pomodoro technique. In short, you set a 25-minute timer and a
goal you want to achieve in that time. For example, my average typing speed is around
115 words per minute. But since blogging requires more critical
thinking than a typing test, I’ll set my goal to 20% efficiency. So this translates into around 575 words
every 25 minutes. Now, the key to succeed using the Pomodoro Technique when writing blog posts is to not hit the back button because of spelling mistakes or to reword your sentence 15 times before you find the perfect phrasing. After your first 25-minutes are up, take a 3-5 minute break and rinse and repeat until complete. This step is all about efficiency and you
don’t want to do anything that would stop you from reaching that goal. In the next step, you need to edit your draft. From my experience, it’s best to take time
away from your piece before editing it. There are usually two parts to this. First is to fix spelling and grammatical issues. This is pretty straightforward and tools like
Grammarly can help ease the process. The second part is to make sure that your
blog post flows and provides value to readers. Common blogging advice is to “write as you speak,” so reading your post out loud as you edit can definitely give some perspective. If you find that it sounds unnatural, robotic
or whatever, then make edits where needed. Remove anything that’s fluffy, or add in bits and pieces to provide additional clarity or evidence. One last tool I recommend is Hemingway Editor. Just paste your post in there and it’ll
give you a readability grade. A general rule of thumb is to aim for sixth
grade level readability. This will ensure that your blog posts are
easy to read and understand. Now step 6 is my favorite part of writing
blog posts and that’s to get honest feedback. In my opinion, this is one of the most critical
steps in our content creation process. And it’s what allows us to consistently get positive feedback from various online communities. Here’s how we do it at Ahrefs. Josh, our resident blog master, is responsible
to ensure that every post that goes live on our blog is absolutely epic. But epic is subjective. So for each post that he writes, my job is
to provide feedback, question any claims, and offer suggestions where relevant. Now, my job is to create videos that are always
providing value to you, our viewers. So Josh will review and provide feedback just
as I do for his blog posts. And to add an extra layer of quality control,
we loop in Tim and Nick to make sure that everything we publish is top notch. I cannot recommend this step enough. Ask your colleagues, friends, or whoever to
review your content, so your team can consistently produce your best stuff. The last and final step is to create your final draft. By this point all feedback should have been given. It’s now your job to take that feedback and make decisions on what goes in the final version and what’s not. Go through each touch point, and once all
points have been resolved, you just need to do one final read through. Then upload, publish, and enjoy the fruits of your labor. Now, if you enjoyed this video, make sure to
like, share and subscribe, and if you have any questions about the writing process, leave
a comment below, and I’d love to help. So keep grinding away, and I’ll see you
in the next tutorial.

36 thoughts on “How to Write a Blog Post That Actually Gets Traffic

    As always, you keep providing VALUE to your readers and/or watchers. Keep up the GREAT WORK!

  2. Sam – always great stuff. I've been following you for a WHILE (Money Journal days). Thank you for everything you do!

  3. Love it Sam! How many KWs would you suggest we optimize a page for, speaking from a Title tag point of view?

  4. This is one of the best how to's that I have seen on blog writing. I appreciate the fact that you gave us a valuable procedure to use with the tools. Thanks!

  5. I'm not sure what you mean: I search for "What did Sam Oh eat for breakfast today?" everyday. Also, lunch, dinner…what is he wearing, where is he now?

  6. Hey Sam love the video! Been using Ahrefs for a while now! Got my DR upto 28 but I am still not ranking for any keywords, is this common? Iโ€™m going crazy haha.

  7. Amazing video Sam O! You're crushing it. FYI, if you folks liked this video you'll love the blog article. Si Quan Ong did a fantastic job.


  8. Here comes Sam again with another Fantastic video. Ahrefs is so great at this. Love your content alwaysss……

  9. Weird, I searched 'what did sam oh eat for breakfast' and landed here. ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. Hey, what did Sam Oh eat for breakfast this morning? Iโ€™m guessing the breakfast of champions because you just crushed it lol ๐Ÿ‘ Thanks ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿป

  11. Great video! Another tip: to find inspiration for hot topics, look at the biggest websites/blogs in your niche and check the popularity of their recent content – what gets the most social shares or engagement? You can easily build a list of hot topics this way, and then use ahrefs to figure out how to rank for those, and promote them on your social media! (which is much easier when you KNOW that it's a trendy topic!)

  12. Hello Sam OH ! Kindly clear me why this domain DR so powerful whenever ref domain =only just 8 I am waiting for your response Thanks ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. Super Video! Really powerful and helpful. Really Thanks for sharing it Sam You're doing great. Keep up the good work ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. I'll give you an answer tat isn't bullshit rhetoric like everyone else says. You can go to any Youtube channel on this topic and they all say the same things, its stupid! they say things like (Study trending keywords) or (Write about a popular topic). Instead of hearing the same advice over and over again, I will give you an idea that MADE ME MONEY because most people who write blogs do it to drive traffic and to create sales so here is my tip for effective blogging. In the beginning of your blog, post a video right at the top, this video is "YOU" reading your own blog to them. Give people the option to listen to the blog being read by "YOU" or if they want, they can just read the whole blog themselves. Giving people one more option like this worked for me. I got more traffic, people stayed longer and my engagement increased. A lot of people don't read because they don't like it, giving them an option to just "Listen" breaks that fear from them. This tactic is not SEO related or anything, its just a nice option to have for people to stumble upon. When "You" read the blog post, its quicker and you can read it with a certain tone of voice to increase the amount of attention you can get for a certain topic. In the end, always ask if people like the "Listen" option and ask if they had any questions. When you have someone talking to you vs just reading text on your own, it changes the expectation of the reader. Instead of reading my words, you are instead hearing them in the way that explains the content better. This idea seems like a small thing to do, but I was able to make money from trying this idea so in the end, most people just want to know about tactics that can bring them more income. Nothing wrong with that!

  15. On 3C technique, you searched for โ€œHow to make a pancakeโ€ then they will definitely come out of the โ€œhow to…โ€ content. So the 2nd C is not so clear.

  16. ??Let's say you are writing blogs for your site and getting it ranked, where is the revenue coming from??

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