Tag Archive: blogging

  1. The Key: How Keyword Research Can Get Your Content Read

    keyword research

    It’s not sexy. That’s the first thing I need to get out of the way before I tell you more about keyword research. Smart use of keywords, however, is a highly effective way to help readers find your content. Before I jump into some simple strategies for choosing the right keywords, let’s back up and define exactly what they are and how they function.

     

    What is a Keyword?

    First off, you may be surprised to find that when most experts say “keyword” they often actually mean “keyword phrase.” Keywords (or keyword phrases, when discussing multiple words) help search engines figure out what your content is about and whether it’s the right content to share given a certain search. For instance, say I’m looking for a plumber to fix my sink. Being an Orlando resident, I might pop into Google with a search query like “best Orlando plumber.” 

    Turning the tables on this example, if I’m Johnny the Plumber and serve the Orlando area, I’d be wise to craft content that includes the keyword phrase “best Orlando plumber.” This will increase the chances that I’m found when Orlandoans search for plumbing services.

     

    How Does it Work? 

    Google and other search engines are notoriously tight-lipped as to exactly how their algorithms work. However, we do have some idea about how keywords help your content. Google does something rather remarkable: It takes all content published to the internet and has bots review and test its relevancy and reputability. These bots can often sniff out copy/pasted content, spam and other less valuable resources, throwing them to the bottom of search results. 

    It’s in Google’s (and any other search engines’) best interest to deliver only the most relevant, most helpful results to any search query. Keywords come into play because these bots are also looking for recurring phrases that users often search for in part or even verbatim. If a Google bot notices your content mentioning the user’s search terms (keywords), it may deliver your content above others.

     

    What’s the Catch?

    So, what’s keeping content creators from stuffing their content with keywords? In the early days of search engines, nothing. But Google has pulled the curtain back on their algorithm enough to tell us that simply stuffing content with keywords isn’t going to get you far – in fact, doing so will be counted against you. If a keyword is obviously thrown into your blog or webcopy in an attempt to game the system, Google will spot it and flag it as less-than-quality content. 

     

    Picking the Right Keywords

    Keyword research is invaluable to finding the right phrases for your content. You may think that you need expensive apps and years of training to conduct such research but I promise it’s not as intimidating or complex as it sounds – at least when it comes to understanding the fundamentals. 

    At its core, keyword research is driven simply by understanding who your audience is, what they want and how they will ask for your product or service. By putting yourself in your audience’s shoes, you can more accurately assume what they’re searching for and, thus, what keyword phrase to use in your content. After all, it’s not you, as CEO or brand manager, who will be searching for your product or service – it’s your audience.

    Still not confident in your keyword research skills? As a common blind spot for many marketing and brand managers’ content strategies, there are plenty of keyword research tools available, some including free versions or free trials. Though helpful, it’s important to think of these tools as supplementary as opposed to a singular solution. The most powerful keyword research tool at your disposal is your deep understanding of your audience.

     

    Boiling it Down

    Though all of this information is good to know, you may be asking yourself what takeaways you can bring to your company’s content strategy. Here are some key questions you need to ask when trying to choose the right keywords.

    • What is my content about? Remember, the main job of search engines is to connect people with the content they’re looking for. If your keywords don’t match your content, the search engine gives you a big thumbs down and throws your content lower on the results list. Ensure the keyword is indicative of the content itself, and not just a poor attempt at gaming the system.
    • Who is my audience? As stated earlier in this post, knowing who is asking the question will help you better guess how they’re going to ask it. If you know how your audience will search for your services, you can choose a more effective keyword.
    • How vague or specific is my keyword? Something else to consider is the vagueness or specificity of your keyword. Though you may assume selecting a keyword like “plumber” would net you into more searches, it might be too vague to make an impact. Why? Well, the person searching for “plumber” could be looking for anything from a stock photo of a plumber to the definition of plumber. Something more specific, like “best Orlando plumbers,” would be more effective.

    At the end of the day, SEO and keyword research are far from exact sciences and, no, they’re not the sexiest of content marketing topics. However, producing original content that includes well-strategized keywords is, and will remain, a vital best practice. As long as search engines prioritize quality content that best serves users’ queries, keywords are a component of content strategy you can’t afford to ignore. 

  2. The Power of Positivity: How Positive Framing Can Improve Your Copywriting

    positive framing

     

    In life and marketing, the delivery is just as important as the message. Whether you realize it or not, you probably frame your messaging every day. Though some may interpret that thought as permission to tell half-truths, that’s expressly not the point. Instead, it is meant to teach a valuable copywriting lesson – the way you say something matters.

    There are two main strategies when framing your message: positive or negative. If I’m a plumber, I might frame a new ad for pipe replacement as:

     

    Negative: Your pipes may be ready to burst.

    -or-

    Positive: Strengthen your pipes for years to come.

     

    As you can see, the negative take may seem direr, but it’s also a downer that could turn consumers off from your services. That’s not to say that going negative is always the wrong choice. Anti-smoking campaigns, for instance, often focus on the negative effects of tobacco to emotionally resonate with their audiences. At its worst, this “loss framing,” as it’s called, can come off as unnecessarily alarmist.  

    The power of positive framing is perfectly illustrated in the famous framing experiment conducted by Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman in 1981. The experiment presented a hypothetical question about a risky treatment for 600 people afflicted with a deadly disease. Participants were presented with one version of the following treatment. 

     

    Negative:  The treatment has a 33% chance of saving all 600 people and a 66% possibility of saving no one.

    -or-

    Positive: The treatment has a 33% chance that no people will die and a 66% probability that all 600 will die.

     

    The result? 72% of participants presented with the positive framing said the procedure was worth the risk. Only 22% presented with the negative framing followed suit. Similar results came from other negatively and positively positioned scenarios. 

    There are plenty of ways to choose positivity over negativity in your copywriting, and doing so can attract new clients and keep the ones you already have. For example:

     

    Negative: You could be overspending

    Positive: You could save money


    Negative: Don’t use unsafe equipment

    Positive: Use safer equipment


    Negative: Stop being unhealthy

    Positive: Be healthier


    Negative: Stop being a bad writer

    Positive: Improve your writing

     

    When promoting your business, you should understand that your clients have a problem that your product or service can solve. Instead of focusing on the problem, focus on your product or service as the solution. That not only makes your content less of a downer but also inspires your audience to see your company in a positive light.

  3. Audience Above All: A Can’t-Miss Tip for Blogging and Content Writing

    It’s a muggy Friday night. Looking for a laugh, you shuffle into a packed comedy club as the lights dim and a silhouetted figure takes the stage. A spotlight suddenly floods the stage, revealing…wait…is that? Yes, that’s Dr. Phil, here to discuss the dangers of repressed anger in long-term relationships.

    -record scratch-

    This is not what you signed up for. How do you feel? Probably a mix of shock and anger (the non-repressed kind) at not getting what you wanted or came for. Understandable, right? Yet many people still risk this reaction by not understanding their audience.

    This is especially true in the case of content writing. So, before you ever put pen to pad or fingers to keyboard, do your research and know your audience.

    Why?

    Simply stated, if you’re not writing to a specific audience, you are writing something made for no one. Your content may connect with someone but not as deeply as it could if you had written to a specific audience. That allows your content to be more concise and, ultimately, more helpful and valuable. Blog posts, web copy, social media posts and any other content you produce can all be improved by knowing who it’s for before deciding how you will write it.

    Your audience informs you of everything from your tone (casual or professional) to your vocabulary (verbose or simple). Though you certainly have creative license to craft your messaging, it is wise to know who wants to read your work, as well as their preferences, expectations, wants and needs.

    How?

    Break down your audience into personas. For example, a dog walker may have target audiences that include 1) people who already use other dog walking services, 2) those who walk their own dogs regularly and 3) those who want a dog but don’t think they can adopt one without a dog walking service. Would you write tips for dog owners for someone who doesn’t own a dog yet? I’d think not. Would you write about the big benefits that come with using a service like yours to someone who already uses a dog walker? That may be overkill, so probably nothey already know how dog walkers are helpful.

    Categorize these audiences into buckets that specify who they are, what they care about and what their pain points are. Then, you can accurately tell if your story is one they need and want to hear, told how they want to hear it.

    In Practice: The Bagel Shop Scenario

    Using the above information, let’s map an example based on a personal joy of mine: bagels.

    You own a hip bagel shop, The Bagel Bae, in a high-foot-traffic, metropolitan area known for its high-end shopping and dining. Your bagels may be a bit pricier than others, but they’re also made by hand every morning with only the freshest, locally sourced and organic ingredients. It’s time to, at long last, begin your bagel blog.

    Where do you start?

    Choose your target audience: Being in a relatively high-end part of town and offering quality, organic ingredients over affordability, you can safely presume your audience is:

    • Middle-to-upper class
    • Urban/suburban
    • Conscious of food sourcing
    • Interested in breakfast/lunch

    Much more can be sussed out based on a deep dive of who you’re serving, your local demographics and overall marketing planall of which should also be considered. These details about your audience should be well-realized at the inception of your brand (or re-brand), so your responsibility will primarily be in deciding which of these pre-identified audiences you want to target.

    Question your content: You have a vision for a blog post, which is great, but that idea needs to pass the usefulness test. Let’s say you choose the target audience of “Young Professionals.” This demo is 25-35 years old, may live in the city or commute from nearby suburbs and is extremely busy, trying to make a mark in their new careers. They may be health conscious, so your proposed blog post on “The 5 Ways Bagels Make for a Surprisingly Healthy Breakfast” should be spot-on.

    Write with intent: Knowing that your topic is suitably useful and interesting to your target audience, you can move on to writing. As you write, be sure to do so while keeping your audience in mind. Perhaps within this blog post you can mention the benefits an early carbohydrate load in your day can give you energy in the workplace.

    Always remember: Your brand has its own unique persona and voice, but it should be malleable enough to speak directly to each subsect of your audience base. By choosing a target audience, ensuring your topics and content are valuable to that audience and writing with clear intent, your content can be dramatically improved. In other words, with some focused and strategic thinking, you can make sure your content doesn’t end up a Dr. Phil at a comedy club.

  4. The Big Picture: Are Your Uploaded Images Affecting Your User Experience?

    User Experience

    I admittedly fall for the mantra of “bigger is better” more often than I’d like to admit. Burgers? Stack em high! TVs? Take up my entire living room wall, please. But when it comes to finding imagery for blogs, I know better than to upload the highest quality file I can find. But wait…don’t our dear readers deserve the biggest and best?

    Well, yes–yes they do. But ginormous (scientific term) images come at a price and provide little benefit past a certain point.

    How Oversized Images Can Ruin User Experience

    Though larger images are of higher quality, that quality can be wasted on your website. Why? Oftentimes, the naked eye can’t tell the difference between an oversized image and one that’s been appropriately resized; however, you’ll be able to feel it. Oversized images take longer for users to load, and if your blog post has multiple massive files, your site can slow to a crawl. Knowing the average modern attention span is next to nil, this can be bad news for your content and website.

    According to a handy article from OM4:

    • Images should be about 80Kb-100Kb or 20Kb-30Kb if the image isn’t the full width of the page
    • 2Mb-3Mb images can be resized to 80Kb-120Kb without too noticeable a dip in quality in most situations
    • Image quality can often be dropped by 30-50% without much consequence to the naked eye
    • When in doubt, after lowering the size of your image, test it side-by-side with the original to ensure your resized image isn’t becoming too pixelated

    It’s great to understand that images can be lowered in quality for the web without much consequence to the naked eye, but how, exactly, can you accomplish that?

    As a Mac-based agency, it’s extremely simple for us and the rest of the Apple fanboys/girls (cult). Simply open your image in Preview, select Tools, Adjust Size and export/save as needed. PC (and Mac users, if so desired) can use third-party image editing tools or Photoshop if available.

    If your website is on the popular WordPress platform, resizing your images is just as simple. Once you upload an image to your desired page, it is automatically loaded with options for Full Size, Medium or Thumbnails–essentially, large, medium and small. This makes choosing a smaller version of your selected image as easy as selecting Medium and moving on. Again, just ensure that your medium-sized image isn’t suffering from blurriness before hitting publish.

    Uploading images to your blog post (and site in general) is all about balance. Finding the perfect size that looks good and “feels” good by avoiding massive photo files that slow down your site is paramount to user experience. So, if you want people to read your content, make sure supporting imagery isn’t making your site a slog.

  5. Bright Idea: How to Brainstorm for Your Blog

    how to brainstorm

    If you’re anything like me, when you set out to write a new blog post, the creativity flows from your fingertips like a geyser/power washer/waterfall combo. Coming from the ether, your ideas are precious jewels of which the world is lucky to bear witness.

    …wait. Is that…just me? Oh. Well, this is awkward.

    Of course, as a blogger and copywriter, I know full well that the above is complete fantasy. Putting aside the rare occasion in which you’re hit with a lightning bolt of inspiration, the early steps of crafting a blog post worth reading often involves a whole lot of brain-wracking thought and research. Many blogs can be front-loaded time investments that can leave you wondering if they’re worth the effort.

    The good news? If done correctly, blogs are an effective form of creative content your brand needs to position itself as a trusted thought leader and share its insights with the world. But again, that first step (coming up with a killer idea) is a doozy.

    As the author of hundreds (gasp) of blog posts, learning how to brainstorm for blogs in a more effective fashion has been crucial for not only my efficiency but also the quality of my writing–and it could be for you, too.

    Top Tips on How to Brainstorm for Better Blogs

    Brainstorming is more than just sitting in silence and waiting for the good ideas to come. Brains often don’t work that way. Though everyone has different needs–some prefer silence while others prefer the clamor of a coffee shop, for example–I have some tips that may help jumpstart your brainstorming session and yield new blog post ideas that pop.

    • Google Alerts: As much as you have your finger on the pulse of your industry, you can’t expect to know everything at all times. Luckily, Google Alerts is here to help. This tool allows you to track any subject under the sun by simply choosing keywords you’d like to keep an eye on. For instance, if I want to be kept up to date on kittens, I can easily input “kittens” into Google Alerts and then tweak the alert to my liking by selecting the “Show options” drop-down. This allows you to choose the sources you’d like Google to pull from (news articles, blog posts, videos, etc.), what region of the country or world you’d like these stories to be pulled from and how often you’d like to be alerted about such stories.
    • Know Your Audience and Listen to Them: Before putting pen to pad or finger to keyboard, it’s vital to know your audience. Identifying exactly who your intended reader is will inform everything from tone to the actual content of your post. If I’m writing a blog on kittens, it will read dramatically different depending on if my audience is made up of lifelong cat owners versus people sans-cat.

      Once you have an audience in mind, open your ears to them and take a moment to do a bit of mental roleplay. Using my example, what would a longtime cat owner find interesting, engaging or helpful? Are any of my clients longtime cat owners? What have I heard them ask about in the past? What are their pressure points and worries? Many of the most helpful blog posts were spawned by addressing frequently asked questions from our clients, colleagues and community.
    • Talk it Out: We get by with a little help from our friends. If you’re feeling an idea drought coming on, I’d highly recommend getting into a room with two or three creative thinkers who may have some insight on the subject you’re trying to tackle. I can’t tell you how many great ideas were developed just by collecting coworkers in a small office with a big whiteboard.
    • Come Back Fresh: Take a break. Yes, it may feel like I’m giving you permission to procrastinate but that’s not what this is. Frustration and fatigue go hand in hand, and if you’ve been hitting your head against the brick wall of writer’s block trying to come up with your next big blog idea, you’re going to need a break. According to research cited in an article from Inc., “…the brain gradually stops registering a sight, sound or feeling if that stimulus remains constant over time.” As it turns out, variety is also the spice of creativity. So, take five minutes, grab a cup of coffee, have a snack, go on a walk or just daydream for a bit. If you can, move on to another task and come back to your blog brainstorm fresh. Though stubbornly trying to fight through the frustration of writer’s block can seem like the “right” thing to do, you may do more harm than good, taking more time and yielding weaker ideas.
    • Get Out of Your Cave: Though your desk, cubicle or office may be your comfort zone in the office, sometimes it can lead to a bit of stagnated thinking. Go to a coffee shop, sit on a park bench or even simply relocate to another space in your office that is out of your norm. It may sound a little silly, but your environment can play a big part in inspiring new, fresh ideas.

    Asking how to brainstorm for blogs is a little like asking how to make the perfect pizza: there are plenty of methods that people swear by, but a lot of it comes down to personal preference. Also like pizza, in the end, as long as it yields something people want to consume, you’re probably doing it right. So, don’t be afraid if the muses aren’t pulling their weight as soon as you sit down to take on your next big blog post. Prime your creativity pump with Google Alerts, think about your audience, make it a group effort, take a break and get out of your comfort zone. Your blogs will be the better for it.

  6. 3 Quick Blog Writing Tips to Command Your Audience’s Attention

    Blog Writing Tips

    Attention! It’s a word plastered on many a warning sign, meant to tell people, “Hey, this is important.” Oh, if only you could just slap one of those bad boys onto the header of a blog and call it a day. Keeping an audience’s attention is unfortunately far more complicated than that, especially with modern attention spans something like water in the Sahara–in desperate demand and more valuable than diamonds.

    So, how does a modern blogger keep the reader from drifting off to his or her Facebook feed or the next Netflix original series? Spoiler alert: it’s difficult. However, I have a few quick tips that will help keep your readers engaged.

    Quick Blog Writing Tips to Keep Your Readers Engaged

     

    • Lists: Meta, I know. Though often unfairly derided as a cheap “Buzzfeed” style that’s lacking in substance, lists make your article far easier to read. Not only breaking up what would otherwise be a wall of words, lists allow readers to scan your article for its main points and (hopefully) come back for more when they have the time.
    • Visuals: Just like lists, images and videos can help break up your content into easily digestible sections. Imagery can also work as an attention grabber, keeping eyeballs on the page longer. Just ensure that you have the right to use the imagery within your blog post.
    • K.I.S.S.: If you, like me, love creative writing, you may be tempted to craft deeply illustrative long-form content. That’s great, and can be an effective way of humanizing your brand or providing an informative deep dive on a concept, but always make sure you trim the fat on your content. If you can say it with fewer words, that’s often the way to go. Keep it simple.

     

    By implementing lists, adding vivid visuals and keeping it simple, you just may notice even the most scatterbrained of readers stick around and potentially even click through to more content. Though keeping a modern reader’s attention is an uphill battle, the written word is far from obsolete. These blog writing tips can be the finger snap your content needs to command your audience’s attention.

  7. Check, Please!: One Writer’s Blog Post Checklist

    You see that overly serious woman at the typewriter down there? Yes, her, in what appears to be a hazy nook, probably situated between a quaint haberdashery and a sleepy pub, tucked somewhere abouts London or Cork. This, my friends, is what many people fantasize as a writer’s life. It is also patently false (unless you’re an Irish or English hipster who can afford some prime-time real estate). Us modern/non-Irish or English hipster writers instead often fold open a laptop and get to work on a standing desk, sitting on a beanbag chair, lying on the floor or slouching at the kitchen table. Writing has become something that no longer requires setup and preparation — at least for the physical act of it. The creative planning process and strategy of writing is another story altogether.

    Blog Post Checklist

    At Findsome & Winmore, I write a lot of blog posts. That’s an understatement — I’m a blog-post-writing machine (official title change pending). That being said, I still have to put in time to prep for every single blog post I commit to writing. It’s an unglamorous-but-necessary step toward not only writing with quality, but also writing proficiently. This is a factor that many writers forget — speed is as important as consistency is as important as creativity.

    In an effort to build your blog posts on a consistent foundation and make the entire writing process altogether quicker, I present to you my blog post checklist.

    Adam’s Unimaginatively Titled Blog Post Checklist 2016

    Title

    Your title needs to run the line between SEO friendly and creatively intriguing, unlike my blog post checklist title. This is no easy feat, but crafting a title that includes search terms, or even an entire search phrase, can dramatically boost your chances of being read.

    Article Titles

    Though it’s a point of contention for many content writers and SEO strategists, I have to err on the side of creativity. If an SEO term is in a cage match with a catchy title that may hook my audience, SEO’s getting tapped out. Sorry SEO, you’re still valuable and I still love you. But as often as you can, do try to combine both SEO and title catchiness.

    Imagery

    People love pictures. I can write for days, eloquently describing a concept to the best of my ability, but if there is not some kind of visual break to give my readers a breather, chances are, they’ll be out quicker that you can say, “short attention span.”

    Camera

    However, never include imagery that you do not have the right to use. Though there are a multitude of free image sites, always ensure that the image does not require a specific level of attribution before plastering it on your post. My personal favorite resource: Pixabay.com.

    SEO

    As mentioned above, SEO plays an important role in getting your content discovered. I focus less on inappropriately stuffing my content with keywords and, instead, use my selected keywords strategically. For instance, section titles and passages in which keywords naturally fit are prime ways to enrich your content for search engines without sacrificing readability.

    Keywords

    Also, I make an effort to minimize linking to outside websites, unless necessary for the reader’s education or reference on a given subject. On the other hand, linking to one’s own website is a best practice if you have additional information that can enrich the reading experience. Lastly, and most importantly, writing quality, original content is always a major SEO boost.

    Metadata and More

    Utilizing the WordPress platform with the Yoast SEO plugin, I am able to add an SEO title, meta description, categories and tags. We recommend using your keyword and brand name within the SEO title, writing a meta description that also utilizes the keyword and quickly states the purpose of your blog.

    Beyond that, categories should be established on your blog so readers can easily navigate to the content they care most about. If I’m on a boating blog, for instance, but I only care about sailboats, I don’t want to slog through dozens of articles on powerboats or jet skis. Set categories like you may set up file folders on your computer and try to limit each blog post to only one or two categories, max. These are meant to be specific, so adding a “Boats” category to your boating blog may not make much sense.

    Metadata

    Tags, on the other hand, are a bit more free to use, but still not irresponsibly. Continuing the boating example, if I write a blog on fishing, I can tag key terms that I discuss within the article (such as “tuna” or “fishing rods”) but I would not tag “Miley Cyrus” just because she’s a popular search term and may have, at one time or another, been on a boat.

    When you combine an attention-grabbing title with eye-catching visuals, appropriately implemented keywords and accurate metadata, you may just find yourself ready to write a blog post that delivers the goods. Create a template from which you start every one of your posts. I use Google Docs, mostly for its ubiquity on desktop and mobile, but also because it allows for quick sharing and copy proofing from my compatriots.

    Whatever your subject or limitations, building content from a solid foundation always leads to better results. Taking the above points to heart, do yourself a favor and work from a template that frees up more valuable time to do what you set out to do in that imaginary, vaguely European nook in the first place: be creative.

  8. How to Write an Effective Blog Post in 5 Easy Steps

    So you’ve heard that content is king and you should be blogging? You’ve got an idea of what you should blog about, but you’re not quite sure how to go about it. When content is being created, you want to make sure that you are getting the most out of it, just like anything you invest your time and money in. Below are 5 easy steps to follow when creating content for your blog.

    Step 1: Cut a Hole in the Box.

    Just kidding! First things first, write your post with a keyword (1-2) in mind. The primary keyword is what you are optimizing your content for and the secondary keyword is important, but note that it is not generating as much traffic as the primary one.

    Your keyword also doesn’t necessarily need to be confined to a one-word keyword. You can use long-tailed keywords that typically come in question form. Users search for not just one or two keywords, but will often type in whole questions.

    Once you’ve found what keywords you want to work with, do a little research with Google AdWords, Google Webmaster Tools, or even Raven Tools to see if the keywords you have in mind are being searched for and to see what kind of traffic they are generating. The more traffic, the better!

    Lastly, include your keyword in everything from your title, to the body content, the URL and the meta description. Just. Don’t. Keyword. Stuff. You want your keyword presence to be at least 1.5% and no more than 3%. See the optimization formula below for help.

    Keyword Optimization Formula

    Step 2: Write!

    Okay, you’ve got your keywords. Now you’re ready to let the writing juices flow into the content river of fun. Just make sure that the total word count is at least 500. If the word count is a little less, that’s fine, but generally you don’t want the content to be less than that.

    For extra SEO fun, you can also add in anchor text (a word or phrase that a hyperlink is applied to) to your content. Google considers anchor text to carry more weight to it then just plain text. Be mindful of where you’re linking to though, and how often you’re directing the audience away from your website/blog post. You want a solid mix of inter-linking and linking out. For example, not all links should be directing users away from your website/blog. A good rule of thumb is 4 links for 500 words, with two of those links inter-linking within your site.

    Also, make sure to include alt text and an original meta description. Alt text is the word you can apply to a hyperlinked keyword. As for the meta description, don’t leave it blank and definitely don’t copy and paste content from your post. The meta description is prime retail spot and you can use that area to answer long-tailed keywords/questions, as well as give a teaser on what the post is about.

    Step 3: Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will only hurt you if there are no images.

    What do you find more appealing? An image of a gooey chocolate cake or me just writing about a gooey chocolate cake? Ding! Ding! Ding! The image of the chocolate cake will surely wet your whistle more so than me telling you about it. Be sure to include images in your post to appeal to the masses.

    Chocolate Cake

    By FotoosVanRobin from Netherlands – Chocolate FondantUploaded by Ekabhishek, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=10772719

    You also want to make sure that the image(s) you select are under creative commons or purchased via a stock photography site. You’ll also want to name the images before you upload them to your post and give those images alt text as doing so counts towards your SEO!

    Step 4: Tag! You’re It!

    After you’ve created your content with your nifty keywords and your awesome images, make sure to associate your post with categories and tags accordingly. No more than three categories should be applied to each post.

    Categories are more general to the subject material so general topics can be applied. Tags are more specific, and you can add a variety of tags about some of the more specific subject matter.

    Step 5: Cross the Finish Line!

    Just do one final review with the handy checklist below and you’re good to publish that post to the masses!


    Blogging Checklist

     

  9. The Top 5 2014 List Posts to Ring in the New Year

    It’s my favorite time of year: List time.

    Best of, worst of, top-selling, funniest, weirdest, most viral – I love those compact, summarizing, quick-hit catalogues of cool.

    When I was little, I read The Guinness Book of World Records cover to cover. It was my favorite Christmas gift. As an adult, I’m a grocery store, housework honey-do, holiday shopping, bucket list kind of person, so when you put anything on a list, I will probably read it. I especially can’t wait for those annual who-said-what, who-watched-who and what-sucked-most list posts because they’re a mind-blowing reminder of how fast 365 days actually pass by (the Olympics were a few months ago? Really?).

    List Posts = Efficiency

    How to Enjoy List Posts

    On social media and blogs, list posts are the most read social posts. There is so much content out there that searching for quick answers to your questions can be overwhelming. Because of this, simple, digestible bullet points are rewarded. When sifting through millions of Google results or clicking through to find out the 4 Steps to Creating a Marketing Strategy, people are more likely to take a look at this concise dose of facts than a vague title that…well…sounds loooong. Sad, but true. And when it comes to list posts, laziness is good. It is a promise of efficiency.

    So, my lazy and nostalgic friends, I give you my 5 Favorite “Best of 2014 Lists” List (listception!).

    1. The most popular “word” in 2014 was not a word at all; it was an emoji. A heart-shaped one, to be exact. This “word” barely edged out Ebola, which makes it a little less upsetting that our most popular word wasn’t even a word.
    2. The best advertisements of the year featured people acting “like a girl,” Bill Gates dumping ice water on his head, and Matthew McConaughey acting weird normal.
    3. Of course we were appalled every day on social media about something “important” so why not make an Outrage List? Take for instance, on July 2 we found out that Facebook was doing mood experiments on us without our knowledge and on October 21 we were abuzz by Renee Zellweger’s new eyes! Yes. We. Were.
    4. The Top Ten Viral Videos of the year include a couple of my favorites, such as Emma Stone’s lip sync battle with Jimmy Fallon and President Obama on “Between Two Ferns,” but how did I miss the video with the Lion King cast on the New York subway? Wow!
    5. 2014 was the year many people tried to “break the internet” and the Masters of Photoshop were very bored…I mean…busy.

    What lists are you reading to ring in the new year?

    P.S.: I still can’t believe Pharrell’s hat was 2014. It seems like that was so 2013!

  10. Do Keywords Really Matter?

    SEO Blogging 101 Series: Part One

    Writing a blog post may be pretty straight-forward, but making it SEO friendly is another story entirely. If you have a great topic that you think your audience will be interested in, then it’s a good idea to go ahead and write it!

    However, it’s also important to make sure that as many users as possible see the content you took the effort to craft. That’s why using an SEO strategy and different content marketing tactics is so important, and why we’ll be exploring the different tactics and strategies that should be applied throughout this series.

    What Role Do Keywords Play?

    To begin with, SEO is not just about the keyword in a topic.  Since Google periodically makes updates to its algorithms that changes how it crawls, indexes, and determines what should appear on search engine result pages (SERPs), knowing how to make each blog post count is important. However, focusing only on a keyword or keyword count won’t get you the ROI you’re looking for.

    Why? Because Google – and even more importantly your audience – doesn’t consider just one specific word when they’re trying to find an answer to something. SEO is an all-encompassing strategy now and takes many factors into consideration. Yes, engaging content is still a driving force and factor, but long-gone are the days of keyword stuffing to get a website to rank as the number one search result. The emphasis now is quality – not quantity.

    HubSpot shares the following,

    “It’s not about choosing the right words anymore — it’s about providing context. Google doesn’t want to return results anymore; it wants to return answers. So, if you’re not doing a good job of answering your prospective customers’ questions, it doesn’t matter what keywords you choose — your SEO will suffer.”

    So what does this mean when it comes to your blog content? Keywords still matter, but they shouldn’t be the focus. In Part One of our SEO Blogging 101 Series, we’ll cover the role keywords play and why they’re still important to consider, but shouldn’t be the sole focus behind online and digital content.

    What’s Your Topic?

    Do you know what you’re writing about? SEO experts have different schools of thought on how valuable a keyword is and what the optimization percentage should be – or if there should be an optimization percentage at all. There is one new update that most SEO connoisseurs agree on: content should be developed with the intent of the searcher in mind.

    I recommend that writers try to optimize the content with a percentage of 1.5% for the keyword in mind, using the following formula:

    SEO Keyword Optimization Formula

    The reason for this is because at the end of the day, there’s no hard and fast rule for how often a keyword should be included in content. Writing with a keyword in mind, though, helps keep the main topic and intent of the searcher as the focus.

    This way the blog post will be included in search results for not just the individual keyword, but also long-tail queries such as: “How can digital marketing for restaurants help me get more customers?” or “What is social media marketing?”

    Remember to keep your writing, keyword phrases, and terminology natural as well. SEO has evolved from focusing on ranking and singular keywords to the overall intent of the searcher and user experience. So yes – write with the keyword “digital marketing” or “seafood for sale” in mind. But also write for what your audience wants to learn and know about. Is your audience really looking for seafood for sale, or are they trying to find a recipe that has seafood in it?

    Keywords have a role and a place, but be careful not to focus so much on one word or phrase that you completely miss the point of posting content in the first place: to engage with your audience.