Creating an outline before writing your blog post is a great idea. Not only does it ensure you cover the topics you wanted to, but it will also help you write much faster. You also won’t risk forgetting what you want to say in the post, which can ruin the entire article.
Plus, if you’re hiring a writer, it will also ensure that they get the article right and include the correct topics.
Throughout this article, I’ll be showing you how to write an outline for a blog post. But, the process I’ll be showing you will be focused on ensuring that the article includes everything it needs for it to rank in Google and other search engines.
Note: A lot of this article focuses on writing an outline for another writer. If you plan to write the article yourself, you can include reminders that help you without being as detailed that someone else can understand it.
With that being said, let’s jump into the article.
How To Write an Outline For a Blog Post (The SEO Way)
Here’s how to write an outline for a blog post while ensuring it follows SEO best practices:
- List all the topics you want, including
- Please take a look at the pages ranking on Google (Their headings, topics, etc.)
- Write Out Your Headings
- Explain The Headings In More Detail + Any SEO Guidelines
- Optional: Send it to your writer
Below, I’ve explained all of these individual steps in more detail. Keep in mind that I have assumed that you already have your keywords and title for this tutorial. However, if you don’t, you can read my post on how to do keyword research for your blog posts.
Once you have your keyword(s) and title, you can proceed with the steps explained below.
Before Starting: Check On-Page SEO Factors
If you are competing for a keyword where all sites on the first page have 3,000 words… You’re probably not going to rank with a 500-word post. Feel free to prove me wrong on this one, but I think it makes sense to do something similar to what the articles on page 1 have done.
The same goes for keyword density and all of the other on-page SEO factors. For this, I like to use a tool called Audiit.io, as it displays all of these factors in just one click. From here, you can use them to create a better-optimized outline, which will result in more traffic for you.
Audiit.io has a lifetime option for $47 now, which you can access using the button below.
1. List All The Subtopics You Want Including In Your Post
As you have your title, you probably also have some subtopics that you imagine are a great fit for your article if you don’t. Just think about what you want to cover in this blog post.
For example, if you’re reviewing a product, you’d probably naturally want the following topics:
- About Product
- Product Features and Benefits
- Product Pricing
- Is Product Worth It?
Make a bullet-pointed list of them. Or if it’s easier for you, you can also keep them in your mind until the steps later on. At this stage, you may also want to include anything that makes your article different from the others on the internet, which may be through:
- Personal experiences
- Recent news
- Case Studies
- Interviews with experts
I say this because it’s an excellent way to set yourself apart from your competitors. It’s not essential, but if you’re trying to create the best possible piece of content, including those is a pretty good way to do so.
2. Take A Look At The Pages Ranking On Google
After you have the topics you want to include, I suggest looking at the pages already ranking on Google for the targeted keywords. Why?
Because it’s also important to include topics that Google wants, including, i.e., common headings.
For example, if you target a review keyword, and most of the reviews on the first page include “(Product) alternatives,” you may want to consider doing the same.
You don’t have to include the same headings as all the results on the first page. However, if there are one or two headings, which most of them have, it may be essential information that you should include too.
3. Write Out The Headings/Sub-headings
Now, you’ll want to create the actual outline using headings.
I usually like to do this in my WordPress posts, but you can also use Word, Google Docs, or whatever you prefer. I like to write the headings out in H2’s and use descending sub-headings for any sub-topics. This is usually the best way to help Google and readers understand your content.
For example, if my keyword is “How To Boil an Egg,” it may look something like this:
- Intro (no heading, just a couple of paragraphs)
- How To Boil an Egg: Step By Step (H2)
- 1. Start Boiling Water (H3)
- 2. Add The Eggs & Let Them Boil (H3)
- 3. Take The Eggs Out (H3)
- Final Thoughts (H2)
That’s a very basic example, but I think you get the point. I’ve also seen people jump straight into the instructions with H2 tags or doing the same for items in a list post. So, for this example, going straight to “Start boiling the Water” with an H2 tag.
That also works usually, and it’s up to you.
However, I prefer doing it this way as it allows you to add more topics around the main tutorial or list. For example, “Things To Keep In Mind Before Boiling an Egg.” Otherwise, they are under the same headings as the steps.
4. Explain The Headings In More Detail/Add More Information
Next, you’ll want to add more information to each heading. These may be reminders, resources with more info, or anything else that will help you write it. This information would be for yourself or the writer.
As you can see in the screenshot above, the writer will know exactly what to say. This allows you to get the content spot-on as you want it without actually writing it.
Of course, this can be anything that you want to include, or that you think may help such as links to resources. And if you are sending this to a writer, you could explain the headings more and tell them what to say using 1 or 2 sentences/bullet points.
For example, at the conclusion of a review keyword, you could say:
“Summarize the article while emphasizing the strengths of the product. Encourage the reader to click the CTA below and try the product.”
Including The Wordcount
Another thing that helps ensure that your writer is creating the exact article you want is including the word count for each individual heading/section. This way, you can choose how detailed each part of the article is instead of making the writer guess.
If you let the writer guess, they might write a book on a section you don’t really care about… And a sentence or two on the section that should be detailed.
So, give them an estimate of how long each section should be.
If you have SEO guidelines that you like to follow, make sure to include them in the article. For example, most people, including myself, like to have the main keyword in the intro & final section of the article.
To ensure this happens, you can include it as a reminder in the outline.
Bonus Tip: Featured Snippets
In case you don’t know what featured snippets are, they look like this:
As you can imagine, they can bring you a lot of traffic. The best way to get them is by looking at how the existing featured snippet has formatted its answer that Google has recognized.
For example, if the featured snippet for your keyword is a bullet-pointed list, you’ll want to do the same. In a lot of cases, this will be a paragraph with around 40 to 90 words. You’ll want to add a specific section like this to your outline, as this will enable you to generate more traffic.
If you are sending this to a writer, tell them how to write this part in the outline. For example, in a comparison part, you may have a heading called “key differences,” which you want to use to target the featured snippet.
If the featured snippet has 7 bullet points, you can tell the writer to “explain this section using 6-8 bullet points”.
5. Optional: Send It To Your Writer
Finally, you’ll want to send this to a writer, unless you are writing it yourself. When sending it to a writer, you can also make writing guidelines to ensure your writer follows the same rules you usually do.
This could give them guidelines on writing style, general rules, etc., to ensure that it’s written to the right standard. This usually helps either way, but I definitely suggest doing this if you are using a low-ticket writer to cut costs.
Places you can hire writers:
- Hire me
- Check out Legiit
- Researching your competitors’ writers
- Go to authority blogs in your niche and find their writers
Outline For a Blog Post: Free Templates To Download
I also wanted to give you some templates that you can download and use. Below are 4 choices for different styles of blog posts.
- Product review template. (Coming soon)
- Listicle Template (Coming soon)
- How To Template (Coming soon)
- Case Study Template (Coming soon)
Even if not all of your blog posts fit into one of these templates, I’m almost certain some do. You can download all of them by clicking the button below and entering your email address on the next page. From there, they will be delivered to your inbox.
That’s it; I hope you have enjoyed this article on how to write an outline for a blog post. But keep in mind that if you are using it for yourself, it doesn’t have to be extensively detailed. If you just add in a couple of words that remind you of what you want to say, then that should be enough.
However, if you are outsourcing the writing, I would suggest explicitly mentioning everything you want your writer to include. This could be the featured snippet, related keywords, or anything else.
How to do keyword research for blog posts
Frequently Asked Questions
Finally, I just wanted to answer some frequently asked questions about writing a blog outline.
What is a blog outline?
You can consider a blog outline the road map of your blog post. It’s there to guide you through the process, so you can write faster without forgetting anything. Additionally, it also helps you keep the structure of your article, which will make it clearer and easier to read.
Do you need a blog outline?
In most cases, yes. However, this isn’t necessarily the case, especially if you are writing for fun. An outline will help you structure your article and ensure everything you want, including is said. But, it’s not necessarily needed if you can write without one. Although, for most writers, it improves the end product.
What’s the difference between an outline and a brief?
An outline is more detailed than a brief. A brief may include topics and keywords that you or the writer should include. On the other hand, an outline will also structure those topics and keywords under their own headings or even tell the writer what to write.