Author blogging strategy: 14 principles of effective content

Embarking on an author blogging journey to promote your books? Learn the essential elements of crafting compelling blog posts tailored to elevate your online presence. From optimising keywords for search engines to ensuring readability and engaging content, this guide provides valuable insights on writing impactful blog posts as an author. Explore the crucial aspects of SEO-friendly author blogging, including the role of professional editing services, to enhance your content and captivate your audience.

14 principles of effective, SEO-friendly and reader-oriented blog posts include: 

  1. A keyword with high search volume and low difficulty
  2. Good-quality and original content
  3. Engaging title
  4. Appropriate word count
  5. Balanced sentences
  6. Well-structured paragraphs
  7. Transition words
  8. Minimal use of passive voice
  9. Heading hierarchy 
  10. Internal and external links
  11. Compelling images
  12. Helpful alt text
  13. Optimised slug
  14. Informative meta description
Author blogging principles with examples.

Keyword

A keyword is a word or phrase that you want your post or page to rank for. Moreover, it is often related to the topic of your content. For a blog post, the keyword density lies between 0.5 and 3%. Keyword density is the number of times the keyword repeats in your copy compared to the total number of words in the text. So, in a 1,000-word blog post, the keyword should occur between 5 and 30 times (including the headings and main text), yielding 3% density.

Why is keyword density important?

Keyword density is important because it informs Google what the text is about so it can match your blog post with a user’s search query. Because keywords usually reflect the topic of the content, they usually occur naturally in the text. However, repeating them too often becomes unpleasant for your visitors. This should be avoided at all times.

How to find the perfect keyword?

To find a perfect keyword, balance keyword difficulty and keyword search volume. To achieve an optimal result, you need to use a keyword with the highest search volume and simultaneously the lowest difficulty. Let’s look at a specific example below to illustrate this.

Keyword search example

Let’s say you have done the research and established that a review of bestselling memoirs may interest your target readers. At the same time, you have expertise in the topic, which allows you to create authentic and informative content.

Keywords search process using Mangools.

According to Mangools, the keyword ‘best memoirs’ has high difficulty (36) and high search volume (7,700) as of February 2024. But especially at the beginning of your author blogging journey, aim for easy (green) keywords below 30 (but the lower, the better). So if we make the keyword less general — for instance, ‘best 2023 memoirs’ or ‘bestselling memoirs’ — we receive lower difficulty of 18 and 26, respectively. Narrowing the keyword further, by specifying the target reader of the memoir (‘good memoirs for young adults’), we arrive at a keyword with a difficulty of 20 with a search volume greater than the easier ‘best 2023 memoirs’ keyword. You could do more research around this keyword to optimise it, but this is a good start.

What tools can help find the perfect keyword?

  • free Google Ads Keyword Planner
  • beginner-friendly Mangools (starting from $49 per month or $358.80 per year)
  • advanced Semrush Keyword Magic Tool (starting from $130 per month or $1,300 per year)

Where to place the keyword?

Keyword placement is also important in creating highly optimised content. Keywords should occur throughout the text, but there are 3 key places which should always feature the keyword:

  • the title beginning
  • the first sentence of the introduction
  • headings H2–H6

Placing the keyword in these strategic spots will help convince Google that the content of your text is relevant to the keyword.

Quality and originality

High-quality texts are readable, well-structured and contain original content that is helpful to the target audience.

  • Write for your audience: When creating blog content, you should first and foremost write for your audience. For instance, consider what questions readers may have about the topic you write about. Next, provide clear answers to those questions backed by research. Your text should be simultaneously informative, well-written and readable.
  • Structure the paragraphs: A well-written text follows a logical line of thought. To this end, start every paragraph with a topic sentence — that is, a sentence that introduces the main idea of that paragraph. Then, use the rest of the paragraph to elaborate on and support the topic sentence. At the same time, keep your sentences and paragraphs concise.
  • Be clear: To improve the flow and clarity, connect the ideas you present in the text by using transition words. Moreover, limit the use of the passive voice.
  • Research competition: Once you have a keyword that your audience is interested in, look at the existing content using the same keyword for inspiration. Analyse the questions and sub-themes covered and consider how you can provide more informative content.

Title

Blog post titles are a critical part of the author blogging strategy. They are the first thing the readers will see. Thus, titles play a big role in determining whether they will click on the link and read that post.

How to write engaging blog post titles?

  • start the title with your target keyword phrase
  • add a number, for instance: ‘5 steps to…,’ ‘10 ways to…,’ ‘8 tips for…’
  • use power words, which appeal to readers’ emotions. Words like simplestraightforwardfor beginners or 101 can emphasise that your post will be easy for the reader to put into practice. Likewise, words like todayinstantly or quick imply a ready solution.
  • make it max. 50–60 characters, as that is all that Google shows on a mobile search
  • reflect the search intent, which is the motivation behind a user’s online search. It represents what the user is trying to achieve with their search.

Word count

Your blog post has a higher chance of ranking in Google if it is a high-quality text of 1,000 words or more. There are five reasons why you should write at least 1,000 words in your author blog posts:

  1. The more text Google has to analyse, the more clues it gets to determine what the text is about. 
  2. In longer, well-optimised texts, the keyword will appear more frequently, which is also a clue for Google. At the same time, the keyword should fit in the text naturally — do not try to force them into the text. This may make it more difficult to read and understand.
  3. A longer text will likely include more synonyms and related keywords, which also help Google analyse the text’s topic. 
  4. Last, a longer post includes more headings, links and images, which also mention the keyword. 

In a nutshell, the more content, the more opportunities for using the keyword. This, in turn, is a signal for Google that the texts have more relevant information.

Sentence length

Sentence length affects readability, making long sentences harder to read than shorter ones. Readability is the measure of ease or difficulty with which the text can be read and understood by an intended reader reading for a specific purpose. In other words, making your content and sentences more readable means that more people will likely understand it.

Therefore, use less than 25% of sentences longer than 20 words to make the content reader- and SEO-friendly. For effective author blogging, here are some ideas on how to keep the sentence word count under control:

  • use active voice
  • remove references to previous content, such as ‘as described in the previous section,’ and ‘the previously mentioned.’ They are usually wordy and may be redundant.
  • use plural nouns to eliminate the need for articles (‘a,’ ‘an’ and ‘the’)
  • minimise adjectives and modifiers. For instance, the difference between ‘powerful’ and ‘very powerful’ is unclear, and the modifier ‘very’ may be unnecessary. Likewise, choosing a more impactful adjective could help. For instance, instead of using ‘very important,’ try ‘essential’ or ‘crucial.’
  • replace the negation with a suffix. For instance, ‘It may be unnecessary’ is shorter than ‘It may be not necessary’ while carrying a similar meaning.
  • use a readability checker. For instance, Expresso is a free tool that can highlight passive voice and long sentences in your text.

Paragraphs

Paragraphs should be no longer than 150 words for two reasons:

  1. Properly sized paragraphs make your text readable. White space around paragraphs helps to break up the text, making it less intimidating and more inviting to readers.
  2. Properly sized paragraphs make your text scannable. People rarely read blog posts from beginning to end. Instead, they usually scan headings and text for the specific information they need.

Creating readable and scannable paragraphs involves:

  • discussing one well-defined aspect of the topic per paragraph
  • starting paragraphs with a core (topic) sentence that summarises the content of the paragraph
  • keeping paragraphs below 150 words
  • highlighting key terms in bold

Transitions words

In a blog post, 30% of sentences should include transition words. Transition words are connectors or linkers that guide readers through a text by indicating relationships between ideas and ensuring smooth transitions between sentences and paragraphs. Using transition words in your writing can help you enhance the readability of your content.

There are several different types of transition words, depending on their function:

  • Addition: additionally, moreover, furthermore, also, in addition, first, second
  • Clarification: that is to say, in other words, to clarify
  • Contrast: however, nevertheless, on the contrary, in contrast, conversely, but
  • Comparison: similarly, likewise, in the same way, just as
  • Cause and effect: therefore, thus, consequently, as a result, because, so
  • Time: meanwhile, afterwards, subsequently, later, before
  • Example: for example, for instance, to illustrate, namely
  • Emphasis: indeed, in fact, certainly, without a doubt, above all
  • Summary/conclusion: in conclusion, to sum up, in summary, ultimately

How to add transition words to your text effectively?

  • Consider the overall structure and flow of your text.
  • Identify key relationships between ideas in your text.
  • After writing, review your text specifically for transitions.

Passive voice

Less than 10% of sentences in a blog post should be in passive voice. Passive voice is a grammatical construction in which the subject of a sentence receives the action of the verb. In contrast, sentences in active voice highlight the subject who performs the action expressed by the verb. Therefore, active voice conveys a direct relationship between the subject and the action.

Active voiceThe construction crew is building a new bridge across the river.
Passive voiceA new bridge is being built across the river (by the construction crew).
A sentence example in active and passive voice

Here are the reasons why you should keep passive voice under 10% in your author blogging:

  1. Length: passive sentences are usually longer than active. In the example above, the sentence in active voice has 13 words. In contrast, the passive sentence is 11 words long.
  2. Clarity: passive voice usually makes your text less clear because it uses a sentence structure, which requires more cognitive effort. As a result, passive sentences may require more effort to understand and risk not conveying the message.

Headings

An SEO-friendly way of structuring a blog post is by using headings. Headings play an important role in a text:

  1. They show a top-down hierarchy, which helps readers navigate the topic from the most general information to the most minute details.
  2. They help readers scan the text. Headings inform readers what a section is about and whether it is relevant to their search for information.
  3. They improve the accessibility of a text. A screen reader can understand the article’s structure and read the headings out loud, which can help readers with visual impairments decide whether to read an article.

How to use headings effectively?

  • The text following a heading should generally be 250–350 words.
  • Headings should be informative and indicate the topic of the test that follows them.
  • Use only one H1 heading in each blog post. It should be the name/title of the page or post.
  • Implement text structure by using H2–H6 headings.

SEO distinguishes between two types of links: internal and external. Both types are essential for creating effective blog content. A blog post should include at least 1 internal and 1 external link.

The most important function of outbound links is to demonstrate the source of the information in your blog post. So they link to your sources and work like a bibliography or a list of works cited. In turn, properly linking to your sources contributes to the perceived E-E-A-T of your content. Following E-E-A-T guidelines helps you create reliable and people-first content.

Images

In author blogging, a blog post should include at least 1 image. Here are some considerations when choosing an image for your content:

  • An image should be relevant to the content. When used correctly, images can illustrate the content and help readers better understand it.
  • An image should have captions and alt text, which include the keyword. High-quality and optimised images could help your blog post rank first when people perform a Google (image) search.
  • An image can make a text more compelling and memorable.

For free images, consider using one of the royalty-free stock image sites like Pexels, Pixabay or Unsplash.

Alt text

‘Alt text’ is short for ‘alternative text.’ It is a short written description of an image that describes that image when it cannot be viewed. Well-written alt text is important for two reasons: your blog’s accessibility and its SEO.

How can an alt text improve blog post accessibility?

Screen readers, which are browsers used by, for example, people with a visual impairment, use alt text. The screen readers read the alt text to their users. Without alt text, people using a screen reader may not otherwise know what the image depicts and how it adds value to the content.

How can an alt text help make a blog post more SEO-friendly?

Search engines like Google also use information contained in alt text to understand what the image described by the alt text shows and what its purpose is. Thus, an image with an effective alt text will appear in relevant keyword searches. Furthermore, an alt text is another opportunity to use the keyword, which, in turn, will reinforce your content’s relevance to Google.

When does an image not need an alt text?

Not every single image needs to have an alt text. If an image is part of the content, it brings value (information) to your reader, then, yes — it should have alt text. For instance, an image with a chart should have an alt text describing the data the image features. On the other hand, a purely decorative image does not necessarily need an alt text because it has no functionality in the text except for the visual engagement.

A good rule of thumb is that the percentage of images with the keyword in the alt text should fall between 30 and 70%.

How to write an effective alt text?

Here is what Google recommends regarding writing a helpful alt text:

‘When choosing alt text, focus on creating useful, information-rich content that uses keywords appropriately and is in the context of the content of the page. Avoid filling alt attributes with keywords (keyword stuffing) as it results in a negative user experience and may cause your site to be seen as spam.’

Slug

A slug is the part of a URL that identifies a particular page on a website in an easy-to-read format. (URL stands for uniform resource locator, which means the address of a given unique resource, such as a website page or a blog post on the Web.) In other words, the slug explains what a page is about — what its content is. For instance, this blog post’s URL is https://www.mwediting.com/author-blogging, and ‘author-blogging’ is the slug part.

‘Author blogging’ is also this article’s keyword, which brings us to why the slug is integral in making a blog post SEO-friendly. The slug should contain the keyword that reflects the blog post’s content. Likewise, Google uses it to determine what a page is about and ranks the blog post’s relevance accordingly.

Meta description

The meta description is a tag that describes what the page is about in roughly 155 characters. When users search for a specific keyword, Google will show the meta description beneath the page’s title in the search results. This allows users to determine if the page offers what they are looking for.

Here is the meta description of our previous article, which is a comprehensive introduction to author blogging:

The meta description of the blog post titled 'Author blog 1010: Content, engagement, best practices.'

How to write an effective meta description?

  • Include the keyword
  • Make it less than 155 characters
  • Use an active voice
  • Include a call to action (for instance, ‘Find out more…,’ Learn…’ or ‘Discover…’)
  • Make sure it matches the content of the page

How to enhance blog posts with professional editing services?

While incorporating the 15 elements mentioned above can significantly boost the SEO-friendliness and readability of your author blog posts, consider taking your content to the next level with professional editing services. Experienced editors can provide valuable insights into refining your writing style, ensuring clarity and optimising the content for search engines and readers.

Professional editors can help with the following:

  • Grammar and style: Proofreading can help ensure your blog posts are free from grammatical errors and follow a consistent writing style.
  • Readability: Copyediting can improve the flow and coherence of your content, making it more engaging for your audience.
  • SEO optimisation: Copyediting can fine-tune your content to meet SEO standards, enhancing its visibility in search engine results.
  • Consistency check: Copyediting can help ensure uniformity in tone, formatting and language throughout your blog.

Final thoughts

Embarking on your journey into author blogging holds the promise of marketing your books and connecting with a wider audience. This guide unpacks 14 crucial elements, from skilful keyword integration and readability to captivating visuals, providing the tools for an effective author blogging experience.

In addition, consider professional editing services as your invaluable companion, ensuring your content is highly readable, optimised and correct. If you need help polishing the content for your author blog, I am an experienced editor working with non-fiction, academic, and business books. Contact me for a free sample edit (and remember to use my early bird discount). 

Photo of author

Magda

I am an editor, indexer and a lifelong lover of literature with a PhD in literary history. I am an Intermediate Member of the Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading (CIEP), a student member of the Society of Indexers and a vetted partner of the Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi).