Writing the best blog post introduction means answering the post topic or title question. Give the reader a succinct summary of the answer to their question, or enough info to fulfil their search intent all within the first paragraph. Plus, you need to think about natural keyphrase placement, accurate data points, structure, and format. Remember, you only have around 8 seconds to grab a reader’s attention, let them know what the blog’s about, your site’s tone and personality, and what value they’re going to get from your post. So you have to make those early sentences count. And you have to write for both your readers and the search engines.
Blog post intros are arguably one of the most important elements of a blog, yet they get overlooked, ignored, or given little thought. But your intro is your chance to make it really, really clear to Google and your readers what you post is about and that you’ve got the expertise to talk about it.
See what I did there? I gave you a concise but accurate answer to the title topic, with no waffle or filler. Just pure, useful information. I gave you the succinct, basic answer and let you know what else we’ll be discussing in the post. I gave you an answer and let you know that I know what I’m talking about, all within a few short sentences. And I gave you an incentive to keep reading.
Get Your Keyword in Early
Now, as we’ll cover below, a great blog post introduction, or at least one that stands a chance of ranking, does not include keyword stuffing. But, it should contain the primary keyword or keyphrase early on. Having your keyword, or a close, grammatically correct variation of it, ideally in the first sentence, or at least within the first two sentences, is critical. It tells any search engine and your reader exactly what your post is about. Having your keyword front and center ensures people know exactly what to expect from your blog post and clearly tells google what your post is about.
Answer the Question Concisely ASAP
If you want a compelling introduction, alongside having the primary keyword early on, you should answer the question or fulfil the search intent within the first few sentences.
Tell your reader, and Google, what your blog post is about, right at the start. Aside from piquing a reader’s interest, giving clear context signals to Google, and just being a good introduction, getting the concise answer across right away gives you a much higher chance of grabbing the featured snippet for your primary keyword, or a close variation of it. As most content marketers know, Position Zero, or the rich snippet is extremely valuable. It gets eyes on your site and increases the chances of getting that all important click-through. And, if you’ve done it right, your snippet answers the question well enough that the reader wants to click through to your site to continue exploring the topic.
Now, answering the question doesn’t mean that you give away the whole farm. But you have to give enough to give the reader the basic answer to their question. Then, with your captivating blog introduction, you can hint at some of the deeper issues or other factors that give a more thorough explanation of the topic so that readers are encouraged to keep reading.
That’s exactly what I did in the first paragraph of this blog post. And you’re still reading, so it worked, right?
Let’s take a look at some examples and figure out what’s wrong with them and how to make it better.
Blog Introduction Examples That Need Work:
The keyphrase for this site is “best hip exercises for arthritis”.
You’ll see that there’s no mention of the keyphrase in here. Now, the content in the rest of the article is pretty good – it’s genuinely helpful and useful, and it’s a nice guide for people who need help with this problem. But the intro is terrible.
This next one is better, but still lacking:
They give a mention of the same keyphrase (a close variation, anyway), in the third paragraph.
Here’s how I’d write the blog post intro for this keyword:
“The best hip exercises for arthritis help you increase muscle and joint strength and flexibility. And they don’t take much time or effort. Stronger, more flexible musculature stabilizes the hip joint, reducing pain and increasing mobility without discomfort.
Aside from a combination of aerobic exercises for your general fitness and overall strength, specifically for the hips, the best exercises to minimize arthritis symptoms include muscle-strengthening exercises to stabilize the joint and increase muscle mass, and range-of-motion exercises to improve flexibility and mobility.
Take a look at the exercises we recommend working into your daily routine at least 3 times a week to reduce hip pain and improve your general wellbeing.”
See how I get the primary keyphrase in there right at the beginning? And split up into natural related terms throughout. So there’s no doubt in the reader’s mind (or Google’s) exactly what this post is about.
Also note that I cover what benefits or information the reader will get from reading the rest of the post.
I make it about both the topic and the reader. I do not make it about me. This is another tip we’ll cover in a minute.
Also note that I add another key point – “And they don’t take much time or effort”. Most people in this demographic don’t like the idea of spending hours working out. They have visions of sweating in the gym, and they know their aching joints just won’t cope with anything like that. So I take that fear away right from the get-go. These exercises are quick and easy.
Then I tell them the benefits they’ll get from the exercises.
And then I give them the answer to the title query – a succinct summary that tells them enough of the answer that they want to read more. The best exercises are aerobic, muscle-strengthening, and range-of-motion exercises.
And, because people most commonly scan instead of read every word, I make it easy for them by using carefully placed bolding. I highlight key points and phrases.
Can you see the difference between the sample blog post introductions and my own blog intro rework?
Of course, yours won’t read exactly like mine, because we all have our own writing style, but you can still apply all of the techniques here to your own blog posts to get better SERP rankings and more traffic to your blog. And, in the most basic sense, just to create better blog post introductions.
Giving value is critical. Remember, you’ve only got 8 seconds. Don’t waste your time with fluff – give your reader value, instead. Give them a reason to stay on your post, keep reading your content, and maybe click through to some of your other relevant pages. People won’t just stay on your site and click around because they’re nice. They’re on your post because they want something – often the answer to a question, instructions, or guidance. So give it to them. Make it clear, right from the get-go, that you value your readers by giving them value so that they value you and your site.
I know, I repeated “value” a lot just then. But it’s really important. Not just for your intro, but for your whole post. But your intro is where you showcase how valuable your site is. By giving readers real information and plenty of reason to stick around to see what else, of value, you have to say. That’s how you become a trusted, valuable resource that readers will come back to again and again.
Don’t Stuff Keywords
Yes, I told you keyword inclusion is important, and it is. But please don’t keyword stuff. Keyword stuffing is a really bad, outdated practice, and it won’t help you. Google got wise to keyword stuffing back in 2008-ish and has consistently worked since then to reduce the rankings of sites that deliver no value but simply type the same keyword string over and over and over through their posts.
Sadly, there’s still plenty of people who try this tactic, and it can work, temporarily on severely underserved terms, but it’s not sustainable, Google will catch up with you, and, even if you managed a respectable rank for a few days or weeks, you’ll quickly plummet and fall out of search, particularly with the emphasis on “helpful content” since the Q3 2022 core update.
“Keyword stuffing is bad. Keyword stuffing should be avoided because it’s not good. Don’t stuff keywords because readers don’t like it when you keyword stuff too much.”
This is obviously an extreme example, but you get the gist.
Yes, make sure you get your primary keyphrase in your introduction, or a close variation of it. And, if you have room, sneak in a few other keywords or NLP (natural language processing) terms. But be smart. Don’t go overboard. Work those terms in naturally, and don’t overdo it.
Remember, your reader should be able to read the introduction, understand exactly what it’s about, but not be able to identify the keywords you’ve deliberately placed. If, when you read it back to yourself, the keywords feel awkward or out of place, they are, and you should remove them or rewrite the sentence.
NOTE: You can learn about NLP on the SurferSEO blog, which has a great, comprehensive post.
I love SurferSEO, and I genuinely think it’s a great tool to help you know what terms to include where. A good blog introduction is critical, and SurferSEO can help you get there. Yes, I’m an affiliate for this platform, but it’s the only one of its type that I recommend, having tried all the comparable tools. If there’s one tool I’d recommend spending money on when you start a blog, it’s SurferSEO.
I write all of my content using the Surfer editor, not just the intro. But it helps with crafting a good introduction, too. Once you’ve set up the editor with your seed keywords and tweaked the competitor list and settings (if necessary), you’re good to go.
While it won’t write the intro for you, Surfer keeps all of the keywords/phrases in a side panel in priority order, helping you know what terms to include as you write. This is useful, as it can inspire new thoughts as you go, too.
Take a look:
It’s so elegantly convenient. I’ve been in this business for many years, and this is easily my favorite tool. I wish it had been around when I first started writing all those years ago.
So, whether you’re about to start a blog for the first time or you’re looking to grow an existing one, check out SurferSEO and give it a whirl. Remember, it can help with content strategy, keyword selection, and other cool stuff, too.
Avoid Filler, Fluff, and Waffle
No fluff! Just like you shouldn’t make your blog introductions (or the rest of your posts) about you, you shouldn’t include a butt-load of fluff, filler, or waffle.
Your readers want information!
Give it to them.
No long, rambly word vomit. Just clear, concise information with a little bit of personality.
You’re not trying to be Tolkien, right? You don’t need to pad your blog introductions with highly descriptive, flowery prose that describes the size of the doors of the hobbit holes or the general smell of Hobbiton – you’re not writing fiction and setting the scene for your fantasy world.
Blog introductions, whether they’re for list posts, how-tos, recipes, or question posts, need to get the point across, summarizing the answer as early as possible, while providing an incentive to lead your audience down to the remainder of the content.
Be compelling, interesting, and informative. Don’t just vomit empty words into the introductions of your blogs.
Make the Blog About Your Reader, Not You
This is something that most bloggers are guilty of. Honestly, people don’t really care about you and they don’t want a personal story. Yes, they might want to hear about personal experience on a specific topic, or with using a specific product, but they don’t want to know what funny thing your kid did last week, or what you had for dinner a week ago last Wednesday. A bit of personal experience, like, “I use XYZ for ABC and I think you’ll find it 123” is useful. You can use that type of personalization to reassure readers that you have first-hand knowledge and experience and it helps to reinforce your expertise.
But your entire piece, including the introduction, should be about the reader and their question, pain point, needs, not you, your littles, and your pet lizard. Whether you consider yourself a blogger, a content marketer, a creator, or a publisher, in general, keep the focus of all blog introductions (and the rest of the post) on the reader and the information you’re delivering.
Write for your readers, not yourself. Blogging is no longer about having a digital diary that anyone can read. If you’re running a blog, you’re a publisher with a niche site (or maybe a lifestyle blog). And if you want a successful business, remember that it is a business that’s providing a service (knowledge, in this case) to readers across the globe who need the answer to the question they asked Google.
Make Your Blog Introduction Fit Your Niche and Search Intent
There’s no one size fits all structure for every blog introduction. When you write a blog post, including the introduction, you should tailor it to your search intent and your niche.
Your introduction sells the rest of your post by piquing reader’s curiosity, but not all topics can use the same format, although they can all contain the same basic principles.
The arthritis exercise example above provides a lovely summary and a promise of more if the audience continues to the blog post’s body. But I wouldn’t use that format if I were writing a business blog post or for a sales post.
There are plenty of other methods you can try. And which one you use really depends on the topic and the audience. If I were writing a business post, like link building strategies, I might try the PAS method – Problem. Agitate. Solution.
Let’s take a look at another example:
Example keyphrase: Easy link building strategies.
In this example, I connect with the reader with a problem they’re having, and manage to work in all the terms in my target phrase in that first sentence.
Then I agitate the issue and make a deeper connection with the reader – I show that I’m empathizing and that I understand the issue.
And then I offer them the solution while simultaneously telling them why my post is better than all the other posts out there on this topic. Why my words are worth their valuable time.
Plus, you’ll see I’ve once again used targeted bolding to highlight important phrases and concepts for the visitors who like to skim instead of read every word.
And that’s it – my top tips for writing blog introductions that actually work. Be smart, deliver value, and write for your audience. Genuinely good content, with solid SEO will always eventually win over crappy word vomit. Keep these things in mind when writing every article, preparing your content strategy, or writing your writer briefs.