Blogging For SEO

Blogging may seem simple, but there’s a lot more to content SEO than just putting words to a page. Just because you’re able to write doesn’t mean your content will do well on the internet. Years ago all that mattered was what you said (i.e., keywords), but modern SEO needs you to pay close attention to how you say it.

If you want your content to rank, of course it needs to be optimized, but search engines are getting smarter every day. Google can tell when content is well-written, engaging, and informative by analyzing your content and monitoring how people interact with it. If you take nothing else away, remember this one key: content SEO relies on good writing.

Blogging for SEO

Long tail Keywords

Before getting started, you need to decide on the key words you want your content to rank for. The best way to think about this is to put yourself in the shoes of your ideal customer and think about what they would type into their search box.

Of course, some key words will be harder to rank for than others. If you sell t-shirts, you’ll never rank for the term “t-shirts,” but you might rank for longer keywords more relevant to your business. These are called “long-tail” keywords.

Instead of “t-shirts,” your long-tail keywords could be “custom designed t-shirts in Toronto.” The longer the search input, the more unique it is and the easier it is to rank for it.

Titling Your Blog Articles

There are two things that you need to think about when deciding on a title for your blog article:

  1. Making it catchy and attention grabbing
  2. Optimizing it for search engines

The best written blog is nothing if no one stops to click on its title. To grab your readers’ attention and make them want to click, figure out what would be appealing to somebody stumbling around on your site. Try to pique your readers’ curiosity with catchy words and a captivating concept.

Optimizing your title is relatively simple: just make sure your long-tail keyword is present. Search engines, not surprisingly, put more weight into a title when deciding where your content fits.

And don’t forget about subtitles. While not as important as the title, Google also uses the subtitles to decide what your article is about.

Writing a Blog Introduction

The introduction of your article is, arguably, the most important part. Unfortunately, it’s also often the weakest for new writers.

The introduction needs to set up your entire article, and be interesting and captivating enough to get someone to decide to continue reading. The best advice is to figure out why someone will stop to read your blog, and quickly tell them exactly what they want to hear. If you’re writing about how to clean a

carburetor but begin your article with a history or guide of all the engine components, you’re going to quickly lose your reader.

If there’s any part of your blog that you should focus on, it’s the introduction. Unless you can read it and picture a reader saying, “and then what?” or “oh wow, this is going to tell me exactly what I need,” you need to go back and rewrite.

In terms of SEO, Google also weighs the introduction of your blog heavier than any other paragraph in your article

Writing the Body

This is usually the easiest part for a writer. You already know what needs to be there, you just need to get it on the page in a way that’s easy to read and absorb.

Here are some quick tips for SEO writing:

  • Avoid being wordy. This is a sign of an inexperienced writer. Sentences that are too long or have unnecessary words are extra work for the reader. Be short and to the point.
  • Do NOT keyword stuff. Keyword stuffing is using the same key terms over and over again. This is not only bad SEO, it’s bad writing. Writers will always try to avoid using a word more than once. Why limit yourself when there are so many words in the English language? If you’re hyper-focusing on optimizing every word— don’t. Google and other search engines are smart enough to know that different words can have the same meaning. Your keywords should be in your blog organically. If they aren’t, your blog article has taken a wrong turn somewhere.
  • Use your subtitles as an outline. Without an outline, it’s easy for a blog post to go off the rails. Keep yourself on track by creating an outline and sticking to it.
  • Longer is not always better. Yes, longer content is better for Google, but not at the expense of readership. If you’re saying the same thing repeatedly, consider cutting out the fluff.

Proof Your Articles

It’s incredibly easy to write the last sentence of an article then sit back and think you’re done. Just read over a piece you’ve done this with after a few days or so and you’ll see the error of your ways. No writer has ever been happy with their first draft, and for good reason. A first draft of anything will always have errors, omissions, and poor wordings.

Editing and proofing is an absolute must. Not only will Google spot your errors, online readers are notoriously ruthless for jumping on any errors they find. Read over your writing out loud. It’s the best way to catch spots that don’t sound quite right or sections that seem to ramble on.

And if possible, get someone else to read it over. It’s not an easy task to catch all your own mistakes. That’s why even professional writers have editors.

Improve Your Writing with Practice

If you’ve finished high school, you’re probably confident in your ability to write. But even though we’ve all learned the nuts and bolts of writing, as with any other skill, you won’t just be good at something because you know how to do it. Do you think Tolstoy just decided to start writing one day and put together War and Peace?

Being a good writer takes practice, and becoming a great writer requires a lifetime of writing.

Mixing Business with Pleasure: How To Be Vigilant About Keeping Personal And Business Accounts Separate And What To Do If A Mistake Gets Made

When tennis legend Serena Williams announced her pregnancy, the world rushed to express its joy, however, because of an errant snapchat, these well wishes came earlier than she had wanted. Though accidental premature good news doesn’t seem like that big of a deal, hitting share to the wrong account can have far graver consequences than an early congratulations message; just ask the (now former) director of the Webster Parish, Louisiana Tourism Board, who inadvertently posted a racy video meant for her husband to the Tourism Board’s official Instagram account. Thankfully, there are some tricks and tools you can use to keep this from happening, and some strategies for damage control if a slip up does happen:

Instagram for business and personal

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, especially on the Internet where things live forever. Some ideas for stopping a gaffe in it’s tracks are:

  1. Keeping company and personal social accounts as separate as possible. This means not only preventing employees (or yourself) from associating the business with what you get up to in your spare time or private opinions, but also keeping these accounts as far away from each other as possible to prevent accidental posts. Way to do this include using different browsers for personal and business accounts and separate apps on your phone, so that you have one more step before being able to post.
  2. Be sure to limit the number of people who are reasonable for your company’s social media or who have access to it, and be sure to update passwords when people leave the team. This not only limits the pool of people who might post something inappropriate by accident, but it also prevents a disgruntled former employee for doing so on purpose.
  3. Always be sure to log out of a company account when you’re done working on it, and make it a policy for others to do the same. In that vein, don’t auto-save passwords. The extra step of having to log in every time you want to make a post will remind you which account you are about to access.

What if despite all your safe guards, a mistake happens anyway? There are some good (and some not so good) ways to address and correct a gaffe. In fact, if you play your cards right you can even make some solid lemonade out of a social media lemon:

  1. Confront the mistake head on, with humor if appropriate. The most cited example of this is from Red Cross America, who turned a mis-tweet about craft beer into an opportunity for fun, and fundraising.
  2. Apologize quickly, and sincerely. Taking too long to say sorry, or doing so in such a way that abdicates responsibility can do more harm than the initial mistake and can give more fuel to the fire if you’ve created controversy.
  3. Don’t let it happen again. People will forgive once, but if your social media becomes a mess of accidental personal posts and inappropriate or insensitive comments, your brand can remain tarnished for quite a while, as we all know, nothing truly disappears from the Internet.

Sources:

Image: gregorylee

How to Take Advantage of Pinterest for Business

Should your business be on Pinterest? The answer is a resounding yes. It is one of the fastest growing social media platforms out there right now, and is especially popular among the coveted millennial generation (though older cohorts are also getting in on the act). In addition, it is an explicitly visual platform and images are a much more effective way to draw people to your brand and get them to remember you and your products.

How to Take Advantage of Pinterest for Business

Pinterest is also steadily increasing their offerings to those with business accounts, allowing you to study the analytics of who is visiting and liking your posts, which helps cultivate new followers and respond to already committed ones by providing them with content that they want to see.

Pinterest is also both making it much easier for you to sell to customers directly on the platform (in conjunction with Shopify), so that people can purchase your products as soon as they see it. Even if online sales are not a goal, or even possible for your business, Pinterest (like Instagram) is becoming an important tool for promoting your brand’s lifestyle or message in an appealing and memorable way. By posting how-to infographics or behind the scenes tutorials, you’re letting potential customers and clients into your world and making them feel more connected to your brand. Before you dive right in though, there are some tips and best practices to keep in mind:

  • Make sure your account is business and not personal, this will give you access to analytics, as well as Rich Pins and Promoted Pins. Rich Pins are an ad on to business accounts that allow your Pins to provide more context to the viewer without them having to leave Pinterest-making them more likely to absorb the information you’re providing. Pinterest offers four kinds of Rich Pins (app, product, recipe, and article) so there’s something for everyone. Promoted Pins are native ad units that can be used to boost the visibility of your Pins and make it easier for people to discover your brand (you will pay per action with these i.e. clicks, re-pins, or close-ups)
  • Longer images increase re-pins, as they take up more of the viewers feed
  • Images can have an aspect ratio of 2:3 to 1:2.8 and must be at least 600px wide
  • Make sure your images don’t have background images, images embedded in iFrames or within Flash websites as Pinterest doesn’t recognize these
  • Pinterest caters to people who are, or who want to be, creative. Therefore, your Pins will need to be creative and engaging to attract attention. Be sure to create and curate content that is not only appealing, but useful to the demographics you want to interact with your brand
  • In the same way that re-tweeting creates goodwill and engagement on Twitter, pinning your customers when they’ve used your product is a great way to not only show them you’re paying attention, but it’s also a great opportunity to showcase your brand in action
  • Encourage your employees to create and pin to their own boards, or use one as a way of showing the behind the scenes of your company. Not only does it make customers feel more involved and invested in your brand, it can also be a great way of utilizing your team’s other talents and making them feel more connected to the brand