The Blog Post Outline: My Secret to Super Easy Blog Writing

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When I discovered how to create a blog post outline for SEO purposes, it felt like I’d been granted a superpower. A blog post outline makes writing the blog post easy. The post almost writes itself! 

Creating the outline for your blog post is the key to optimizing your post for search engines. Don’t skip this step! It will also improve the readability of your post, which is good for SEO and UX (user experience). 

Before you create your outline, you need to complete your research. Find my anyone-can-do-it tutorial on keyword research in A Super Simple Step to Make SEO Blog Posts Easy. Then learn about easy content research in 5 Easy Ways to Make Your Blog Posts Rank Higher on Google.

Why You Need an Outline for Your SEO Blog Post

Have you ever read a blog post and thought, “What is this actually about?” or “Get to the point already!” Sometimes I read a promising post, but the writer has written in circles. This is bad UX, and it’s bad for SEO. 

An outline helps you organize your message to make it clearer and more readable. As you create the outline for your blog post, you’ll recognize information that doesn’t belong in this post, and clarify the structure of the post and the order in which you should write your message. 

How to Write a Blog Post Outline

A general blog post outline will include:

  • Title 
  • Intro 
  • Subheadings 
  • Conclusion 

Let’s get started!

1. Choose your target keyword

Your blog post outline should help you optimize your post for search engines, so you need to know what keyword you want to rank for in search results. This will be your target keyword. It’s a specific search query that people will Google, and your goal is to be in the top result for that search. 

Look back at your keyword research. Choose a keyword that makes sense to you. It needs to be broad enough that you can write a substantial post about it with subheadings, but not so broad that there’s too much competition. 

It also needs to be a keyword that you’ll use naturally in the body of your post. Choose something that makes sense to you. 

For example, if I searched “healthy lunches”, that would bring up a broad range of articles, but “healthy lunches for kids” narrows it down and adds enough specificity to reduce the results and make it easier to rank. 

Target keywords can be entire sentences. Remember: the “People Also Ask” questions can be good options. 

2. Organize your notes

When you do your research, you probably collect notes in no particular order. Most likely, you’ll have way too much information on your page, but that’s okay. It can all still be helpful for writing your blog post. You just need to organize it in a way that makes sense. 

As you look over the information you’ve collected, you’ll probably notice some themes. If you’ve referred to multiple sources about your topic, there’s likely some overlap—they all said similar things from a different angle or with different details. 

For an example, I’m using the topic “signs you should sell your home”. I’ve done my research, and here are my notes. They’re unorganized and unformatted. 

sample-content-research
This is an example of what your “raw” content research might look like.

When I look more closely, I realize I can group these points into a few key sections. I copy and paste them into those sections as I work on my outline. 

3. Choose your title

The title is the very first thing people will read of your post. If your title doesn’t interest them, they won’t click to read the rest. So you need to carefully choose the title of your blog post. 

Your title should also include your target keyword. Now your initial keyword research and content research comes in handy. For my topic, I noticed the top ranking posts were numbered list posts (also called “listicles”). Listicles statistically do better than other types of posts. So I’m going to try that, too. 

I use a free tool called Headline Analyzer to help me write an effective title. There’s a paid version, which might be worthwhile for you if you’re writing over 3 posts per month, or if you just want lots of practice to learn how to write excellent titles. The paid version also gives you SEO help. But it’s an excellent tool whether you use the paid version or stick with the free one. 

choose-a-blog-post-title-using-headline-analyzer
I use Headline Analyzer—a free tool—to write an effective title for my blog post.

This example shows the free version of Headline Analyzer. On the left sidebar, you see a few yellow circles with a green one at the top of the list. Those were all versions of my blog post title. Headline Analyzer rates each title I enter and suggests ways to improve it. I make adjustments until I get a good (green) rating. 

My target keyword is “time to sell your home”, so I’ve incorporated that into my title.

4. Choose your subheadings

People scan blog posts—they don’t necessarily read every word. So effective subheadings are crucial to a successful blog post. 

Think of your subheadings as titles for each section of your blog post. They should make it obvious what information is in your post and in each section. It’s like a table of contents for your blog post. 

In fact, if you post long-form blog posts on your website regularly, consider adding a table of contents at the top of your blog post design by default. This can boost SEO too. 

Choose a subheading for each information grouping you’re including in your blog post. Your subheadings can also include keywords you noted in your keyword research. Sometimes I use the Headline Analyzer to come up with my subheadings, too. 

Here’s my completed blog post outline for the topic “time to sell your home”. 

sample-blog-post-outline
This is my completed SEO blog post outline.

Well-planned, strategic subheadings can really boost your SEO, so don’t take them lightly.

A Blog Post Outline Checklist

When your outline is complete, you know exactly what you’re going to write and where you’re going to write it. You know your title and subheadings are optimized for search engines, and you know that even a quick scan of the page will tell the reader exactly what your blog post is about. 

When you’re ready to write your blog post draft, your structure and all the information you need is right there, exactly where you need it. It’s highly motivating and simplifies the blog-writing process tremendously. 

To help you create your own SEO blog post outline, I’ve created a free Easy SEO Business Blogging Research & Outline Checklist for you. You can download it for free—you don’t even have to give me your email address!—and refer to it for each blog post to ensure you’re optimizing your post for search engines and creating the best possible experience for your target audience.  
Got questions? I’m here to help! Contact me any time.

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Jana Carlson

Jana Carlson

SEO Content Writer & Strategist | I help small businesses attract more customers with a no-nonsense content strategy