Posts Tagged ‘content’
Friday, March 7th, 2014
Headlines and title tags are important web page elements. Whether you’re talking about blog posts, static web pages, social media content, or something else, your headline has the potential to attract loads of traffic or to send it away to another corner of the Web. You hope you’ll attract the traffic, but to do that you need to understand some basic things about writing headlines.
Here are 5 things you should know about headlines before you start writing them.
- The headline’s job is to entice the reader to read your content. If it does that, then it’s done its job.
- Your headline should tell the reader what your content is about. Don’t mince words. Be specific and not misleading.
- A well-written headline online is optimized for both search engines and social media.
- A headline should be as long as necessary to get readers to click the link and read your content, but it shouldn’t be any longer than that. Shorter is better, but a short headline that doesn’t tell the reader what your content is about and that doesn’t entice the reader to read the article isn’t a good headline.
- A good headline has an emotional trigger. Readers are looking for benefits. Give your readers something to hold onto – a benefit – and then deliver on the headline’s promise.
Writing good headlines is an art. If you do it well, you’ll have lots of readers.
Friday, February 28th, 2014
Matt Cutts was asked if clarity is important when writing content. The answer should come as no surprise to professionals who have been paying attention for a few years. Yes, he says, of course clarity is important.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t use jargon.
My rule of thumb is this: If you are writing to a strictly technical audience or professionals within your industry, then use jargon. But if you are writing to lay people who will be confused by jargon, write as clearly as possible. Nix the jargon. You can mix the two if your audience is mixed, but lean mostly toward clarity and away from jargon.
The most important thing is to be understood, especially with professional business content.
If you write clear, concise content, then your audience will stick around longer. They’ll also come back and visit more often. They’re also more likely to buy your products or services. In essence, your bottom line depends a great deal on the clarity of your content.
On the other hand, if your content is so technical that the only people who can understand it are industry insiders, then you are limiting your audience and therefore your potential.
It’s important to make sure that you communicate clearly in whatever format your content is in. Anything else is selling yourself, and your customers, short.
Tuesday, February 25th, 2014
A recent blog post on the Bing blog suggests that spelling and grammar errors may be punishable in the search engine ranking game. But not always.
This is a striking announcement from Bing because, until now, we’ve never heard Bing make a statement about spelling or grammar. Even Google stears clear of saying that spelling and grammatical errors could cause a fall in rankings, though I suspect that it’s been true for a long time.
The main concern for Google has always been quality. Google’s emphasis is on returning high quality content for its end user – the searcher. This has often been translated into quality in terms of information but could also mean quality in terms of spelling and grammar. It used to be that if you misspelled a word in search, then you’d get a list of websites returned with the correct spelling. That happens less often these days, however, Google does ask you the proverbial question, “Did you mean …?”
So what is Bing really saying?
It appears they may be forgiving with regard to the occasional typo, but if a website routinely offers up poor prose, then that could be a red flag for the search engine.
This announcement brings Bing a little more in line with Google, I think. Even though Google have never said that bad spelling and grammar equals poor quality, I think it is assumed. What do you think?
Friday, February 21st, 2014
Everyone knows you can improve your search engine optimization (SEO), and potentially gain new search rankings, by adding new content to your website. You can do this by adding web pages to your site or by blogging. But how about improving search rankings by not adding new content. Did you know you can do that?
Here are three ways you can increase your SEO potential without adding new content to your website.
- Rich Snippets – Rich snippets are a type of specialized markup that tells the search engines what your pages are about. There are a variety of types of rich snippets that can help you with your search rankings and increase the likelihood that your website’s content will rank better for your search terms. Learn more about rich snippets from Google.
- Improve Page Load Speed – Google is very concerned with page load speed. If your pages load too slowly, that will equate to a negative user experience on your website. Since Google is concerned with presenting users with a positive user experience, slow page load speed could cause you to lose rankings. Test your page load speed with this tool.
- Delete Pages – Instead of adding new content to your website, try taking some content away. If your website has been active for several years, you’ve probably got some outdated pages on your site. Those pages probably have links from other pages on your website and are siphoning valuable link credit from valued pages. Delete the outdated information, or rewrite the content so that it is more helpful to an identifiable audience, and that should improve your rankings.
Improved SEO does not always means adding new content to your website. It could mean improving the content you’ve already got.
Thursday, February 13th, 2014
Newbie online marketers can get the idea real fast that there’s some kind of secret to succeeding at online marketing. There’s no real secret, but there are four principles you should adhere religiously:
- Quality – Insist that your content is high quality. If you want to increase your readers and you want your current readers to share your content, then you’ve got to make sure it passes the quality test. No exceptions.
- Quantity - It’s almost cliche, but you’ll hear online marketers often claim, “quality, not quantity.” The truth is, you need both. Make sure you produce high quality content and do it often.
- Frequency – How often? As often as you can. If you can afford posts 2-3 times a day, great. If you can do it 5-10 times a day, even better. Produce high quality content as often as you can and put a lot of it out there.
- Longevity – It takes a long time to build a reputation. You can’t do it overnight. If you produce high quality content on a consistent basis and do it long enough, you’ll succeed. If you don’t, then you’ll see your content marketing strategy failing.
Your content marketing strategy is dependent on how well you satisfy these four principles. Don’t let yourself and your clients down.
Tuesday, January 28th, 2014
Your business is your content. Online, there is nothing more true than that statement. Whatever content you publish on your blog, in your newsletter, on your website, through social media … it’s all a reflection of you, your business, and your values. Have you conducted an inventory of your content lately?
A content inventory is important to the future of your business in a number of ways.
- First, it allows you to see if the content you’ve been publishing is a true reflection of your business and it’s values. If it isn’t, you can tweak all future content to be a true reflection of what you stand for.
- You can check to make sure you’re targeting the right audience.
- Is your content getting the results you want? If not, you should re-evaluate your content strategy to determine how to move from Point A to Point B.
- Are there any missed opportunities? Is there an audience attracted to your blog looking for content that you haven’t started publishing yet? If you can identify that demand, then you can keep your readership happy and grow it seamlessly.
Taking inventory of your content could be one of the most important things you do in 2014 to move your business forward. Your content is a reflection of your business. A solid content strategy will do more to position your brand in the marketplace than anything else you do online.
Wednesday, January 22nd, 2014
In the last couple of years you’ve likely heard a lot about link building, guest blogging, and Google algorithms. A lot of it is true, but a lot of it is based on false information. Some people are saying link building is dead – or close to it. Nothing can be further from the truth.
While Google has changed the way it ranks web pages, and that includes the value it places on links, link building is far from dead. In fact, without links, you won’t be able to get traffic to your website, so links are very important. And since links are important, link building is important.
The problem with link building is that a lot of people are doing it wrong. A lot of people are spammers, or they use spam-like methods of link building. That needs to come to an end.
If you examine link spam, you’ll see one common thread in virtually every type of link spam online. It’s all based on low quality content. Spun articles, poorly written articles, articles where every link is an anchor text link, a lot of self-promotion, and the list goes on. By the way, “articles” refers to blog posts too.
So you could say the real problem with link building is a problem with low quality content. The links are just one of the triggers that helps Google find the low quality content.
If you want high quality links to your website, produce high quality content. Otherwise, produce no content at all.
Wednesday, January 15th, 2014
Everyone wants to impress Google. But will Google pay your bills? Unless you have a Made For AdSense website, and even then it’s a crapshoot, Google is not going to send you a check at the end of the month to say “thank you” for posting your content. If you write great content that is helpful to your readers, then there’s more than a reasonable chance that some of them will become paying customers. That’s why they’re more important than Google.
And as the thunder claps, I can hear the naysayers say, “But, but, but … Google could cause my content to rank high and I’ll get more visitors.”
True. But what if all you get out of that transaction is a couple of high ranking web pages? No new visitors and certainly no new customers. What then?
The question you must ask yourself is this: Is it more important to have high Google rankings and no customers or to have a handful of customers with mediocre search engine rankings? If you said the latter, then congratulate yourself. You finally understand the stakes you are playing with when you undertake online marketing.
Of course you want high rankings. But you also want customers. In fact, without customers, there is no reason to have high rankings. So take the time to ensure your content is high quality and provides answers to your readers’ most pressing questions. If it’s relevant, it should do well where it matters.