SEO Copywriting: Content continues to be king

Content really is king.

This has never been more accurate. With each update to the search engines’ algorithm, content becomes more and more important.

Let’s take a second to understand why content is so important.

We’ve all done searches and have been less than thrilled with the results. That is not the kind of experience any of the search engines want its users to have.

If you get results that direct you to old, non-updated sites, or sites with just lists, the search engines risk losing you as a user.

Ideally, search engines want to send you to a site that gives you quality, relevant information.

As technology has improved and the search engines have gotten smarter, they have learned to pick out sites that are trying to trick them into thinking they are more relevant than they actually are.

The best way to move up the search rankings now is to provide fresh, consistent and quality content. The days of tricking search engines are coming to a close.

Now, what is good content?

As we mentioned earlier when discussing keywords, your text needs to be in grammatically correct, paragraph form and read like an article or story. It has to provide useful information and it has to be updated regularly. You can’t just right an About Us and leave it there for five years. Search engines will not look favorably on this.

If you don’t update your content, your ranking will drop over time.

But text isn’t the only content that search engines recognize.

Pictures, video, slideshows are all quality content as well. Having your social media networks (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) integrated to your site is excellent content too.

Blogs are also an excellent way to provide content on a site. A blog is an ongoing discussion about the business, invites feedback and is updated frequently – all things search engines value highly.

There is no question that quality content is valued highly by the search engines. And, if the trend continues, that value is going to continue to grow in importance.

The issue that most small businesses have is getting the content created. Many try to do it by themselves and some hire content creators to do it for them.

Either way, it’s an investment that can definitely move sites up in the search rankings. If that rise leads to enough new customers and more revenue, then it very well may be a good investment.

 

Getting traffic to your site

This is an obvious one – the more traffic a website gets, the higher it’s going to rank.

Simply, search engines see traffic as validation of a site. If a lot of people are visiting a site, they must be doing so for a good reason.

This means that you want to get traffic to your site. But how do you do it?

Clearly, the higher you rank in the search engines, the more traffic you’re going to get. There is no better promotion than somebody typing in the products you sell in a search bar and having YOUR site come up first.

This is a person that is actively looking for information on your products or services and – BOOM – right there is your site. You cannot get a more captive audience.

This is why it’s important to have quality content, an effective domain name and strong keywords. These are the things that are going to drive you up the search engine rankings. These are the things that are going to get you found and, ultimately, make you more money.

Marty Valania is a SEO professional. Follow him on Twitter @mvalania.

SEO Copywriting: Effective domains help SEO

Effective domain – this is one of the most overlooked and undervalued elements of strong SEO.

Most businesses and companies use some form of their own name in their domain. While this is great for people that already know your business and your name, what does it do for potential customers that don’t know your name? What does it do for people that are searching for your product on Google?

Let’s look at some examples.

Nick and Dom own a pizza joint in Elmira, N.Y. The name of their store is Nick & Dom’s. Their website is NickandDoms.com.

Anthony just opened up his own pizza place and even though the name of his restaurant is Anthony’s, he went with a domain of pizzaelmira.com

If you are in Elmira, looking for a pizza place but don’t know any specific stores, what do you search for?

Chances are you type “pizza Elmira NY” in the search bar.

If everything else about their websites is equal, which site is going to come up first?

Anthony’s site, of course!

Why? Because he has his keywords right in his domain and when Google goes looking for sites to match “pizza Elmira NY” Anthony’s domain nearly matches the search term identically.

More examples of effective domains include:

www.jewelrymiddletownde.com

www.insurancestatecollegepa.com

www.realestatevinelandnj.com

These are all effective because they contain the product and location.

SEO Copywriting: The importance of keywords

We now know why it’s important to be found online and we know why it’s important to be ranked high in the search engines.

But how do we get there?

Before diving directly into that it is worthwhile to get a basic understanding of the search engines themselves.

According to Google, it asks over 200 questions for every search query made. In other words, it has over 200 characteristics that it uses to rank each site. Whichever sites have the highest rankings go to the top of the organic search listings.

In addition, we know that Google tweaks and changes its algorithm (its formula) over 500 times each year.

How in the world can business owners keep up with all that?

They can’t, of course.

The search engines have highly technical and specialized people to handle that. The average person doesn’t have those skills. In fact, Google keeps its algorithm a highly guarded secret.

Just as in sports – or music, dance, art or whatever – there are fundamentals associated with good SEO. If you do the fundamentals correctly, you have the opportunity to be successful. The fundamentals of SEO are manageable and are effective on all the search engines.

What are these fundamentals?

-       Keywords

-       Effective Domain

-       Content

-       Traffic

-       Credible Inbound Links

 

Keywords

 

What are keywords?

Keywords and keyword phrases are words that reflect your business. Typically, good keywords are the products and services that you offer and the location of your business or from where you want to draw customers.

For example, if my business is insurance and it’s in Newark, Del., then my keywords would include insurance, car insurance, life insurance, etc. Those are the products I offer.

Keywords for this business should also include Newark and Delaware.

These keywords should appear on each page of your site. But that doesn’t mean that you should just list them.

So this is not a good example of content on a page:

 

-       Auto insurance

-       Car insurance

-       Home insurance

-       Life insurance

-       Auto insurance

-       Car insurance

-       Home insurance

 

Your keywords can’t be all over the place. Some people want to list every product they have and try to list 50 keywords. This is not a good practice.

Search engines are trying to return the best possible results to users. Think about what you type into a search bar.

It’s generally a service or product and a location.

Examples:

-       Restaurants Marietta GA

-       Pizza West Chester PA

-       Plumbers Wilmington DE

-       Appliances Towanda PA

 

If you throw tons of keywords into your site, the search engine won’t recognize your site as being completely relevant to the search terms.

The optimal amount of keywords is no more than five and they all should be tied strongly to your main products or services. This displays to the search engines that your site will return the searcher quality information relating to the search terms that were input.

If you have a large amount of products that you sell, you should pick out the ones that you want to sell the most. Maybe you already sell a ton of washing machines but you’d really like to sell more stoves. Then you would optimize your site for people searching for stoves.

Another idea is to optimize for the products that have the biggest profit margin. Or you can continue to optimize for your top selling product.

It doesn’t matter to the search engines which choice you make – just know that you can’t optimize for everything in the same site.

Content should be in article form. It should not appear just in lists. Search engines will actually penalize you for just listing products over and over.

The content should read like a newspaper or magazine article. It should be informational to the reader and contain the keywords at the same time. However, you can’t overuse the keywords. Search engines have the ability to detect overuse and will penalize you for “keyword stuffing.”

Keywords should not comprise more than 5.5% of the total amount of words on the page. Anything over that is not good.

So if you have a 400-word article on your home page about your business, your keyword should not appear more than 20 times.

Next up: What is an effective domain?

SEO Copywriting: Why SEO is so important to the small business owner

Experts on search engine optimization don’t need a lesson on its importance, but what about the small business owner?

To many business owners, terms like SEO, SEM, PPC and other lingo are just confusing. A lot of business owners don’t understand search engines, their websites and the relationship between the two.

Let’s start with the basics.

First, all businesses want to get found by potential customers. Twenty years ago business owners accomplished this by making sure they were in the phone book.

Think about it, if you had a leak in your bathroom and water as spewing all over, you ran to the phone book, flipped to the plumbers section and called the first one that had a credible ad.

Well, that thought process hasn’t really changed at all. We’re all still looking to find that plumber quickly. What has changed is where we look.

Technology has changed how we search.

We no longer run to the phone book – we now look online. Think about your own habits. Think about people you know and how they search. Think about how your kids search.

Clearly, if you’re a small business owner and you want to get found nowadays, you have to be on the search engines.

Now that we’ve established that people are looking online when they are searching for products and services, where are they looking?

Again, think about your own habits.

When you do a Google search for a product and location, what does Google return?

You get a page that generally has paid ads at the top of the page and down the right hand side.

That page also has a map section. On a Google page, it’s called Google Places. It’s free to register your business in Google Places but not every business does so.

Finally, there are the organic or free listings. This is where most of us click. In fact, studies show that we are seven times more likely to click on the organic listings than the paid ones.

So now we know that people are looking online and we know they are looking at the organic listings – whether it be on Google, Yahoo or Bing.

But how many pages do we go through before clicking on a link? Think about your own habits – do you go to page seven or eight?

According to statistics, more than likely you’re not going to page seven or eight. In fact, 75% of us don’t go past page one.

So let’s review. We know people are searching online. We know they are clicking on the organic listings and we know they don’t go past the first page.

If you want your business to get found online, then you need to be on the first page of the search engine rankings.

It’s that simple. SEO is the way your business is going to get found online.

In our next part, we’ll examine what makes your site optimized for search engines.

SEO Copywriting: Despite newspaper troubles, content creators still in high demand

With the news of the New Orleans Time-Picayune cutting itsprint publication to three days a week, there has been a lot of hand wringingand despair among writers.

As somebody that has spent over 22 years in the print media industry, I feel the pain.

The Times-Picayune isn’t alone. It’s just a big name and the most recent. Advance Publications actually cut daily newspapers to just three print days in the Alabama communities of Birmingham, Huntsville and Mobile.They plan to keep a seven-day a week, 24-hour a day operation on their websites.

However, this shouldn’t signal an end to content creators.Yes, most of the most influential writers of past generations were at newspapers and other print publications.

As we move forward, though, people that create content will still have an important place in the information landscape. And the ones that create great content will still have the most impact – just like they have hadin the past.

These writers and authors will just have different platforms.

Google’s latest updates to its algorithm have gotten a lot of attention for the emphasis they now place on content. This trend is only going to continue.

Websites that provide users with the most relevant information are going to be rewarded. Somebody has to create that content.

Not everybody is a good writer. Just read a lot of websites out there. Not everybody can come up with good content on a regular basis.We’ve all seen websites that haven’t been updated in a year or more. These sites are not going to fare well in the search engines.

People that want to write for a living will actually have more options than ever – they just won’t come from traditional print products.

As the expert in this video notes, authors will still be valued highly – in fact, even more highly than curators.

So don’t give up on that writing career. There are still plenty of options out there.

SEO Copywriting: Content key to startups

Starting a business? As explained in this excellent article on unbounce.com, If you want potential customers to find your brand new website, then you need to be a prodigious producer of content.

Obviously, there are a lot of factors that will decide whether you business will be successful. One of those factors is your website – and producing consistent and relevant information about your business and industry is a great way to help it.

Whether you generate this content yourself or hire a SEO copywriting service, it is important that the information gets on your site.

First of all, it’s going to offer some help, in the form of information, to a reader of your website. This could be as simple as information about what products and services you offer and where you’re located. It could be tips. It could be special offers or a promotion of your Grand Opening event.

Any of this content is viewed as quality and relevant by both search engines and readers.

The issue that business owners need to be wary of is making sure the information positively viewed by the search engines.

It has to be enough to be relevant and it must contain the keywords that are appropriate for your business. This will be good for SEO.

But those keywords can’t appear too much or the content will be classified as keyword stuffing and your site will be penalized.

SEO is a tricky and ever-changing process. Google changes its algorithm over 500 times each year so it’s important to stay on top of it – or make sure you have somebody staying on top of it. This is where a professional SEO writer could help.

Regardless of who does it, the key thing to remember is that it is putting relevant content on your new site on a consistent basis is the best thing you can do to help attract people to it.

SEO Content: Businesses need full social media integration

There is no question that using social media can help a business’s SEO. However, if you’re going to use it, then it needs to be used completely.

It turns out that many businesses are not responding to the criticisms coming through social media. This article on bizreport.com details this.

If you have somebody on your staff that handles your social media or you hire a SEO copywriting service to do it, you must have them do more than just pump out content. Putting out good information is a necessary strategy. But responding to customers is also necessary. 

The article on bizreport.com states that an astounding 70% of customer complaints on social media go unanswered.

That’s unbelievable in this day and age. Businesses spend a lot of money to set up call centers with customer service representatives answering calls. You can bet there would be a major problem if 70% of the calls went unanswered. 

Why then do companies ignore customers on social media?

It is our position that is better for businesses to respond on social media than to a phone call.

A response on Facebook shows to the disgruntled customer that you care. It’s a proactive response that could include an offer or discount.

Sure, you can give that same response over the phone – but only that one customer hears it.

The Facebook response is seen by 230 of the customer’s friends. You can bet that has a much bigger affect than the phone response did.

Having a social media presence is excellent for businesses. But having a presence means that you have to use the platform to its fullest capacity.

Whether you’re using Facebook, Twitter or some other social media network, remember it’s a two-way communication tool. Producing SEO content is just one aspect of social media. Remember to respond as well.

Click here for more information and pricing structure.

Penguin makes SEO content even more important

Here is an excellent article from PR Daily on the affect that Google’s Penguin update will have on your website’s ranking.

In short, the update will make SEO copywriting all that more important. Google continues to try and help the user by providing results that include sites with relevant and genuine content.

As Google continues this trend, it becomes more important for business owners to keep producing relevant content to get to or stay at the top of the search engines.

Why is this important?

Well, we know that people are searching online for products and services – 85% of targeted website traffic comes from search engines. And we also know that 75% of users never go past the first page.

If you want people to find your site when they’re searching online for your products and services, you need to have your site on the first page of the search results.

We can help you produce that copy. For more information, please take a look at our Rates and Information page.

Facebook’s IPO a day to celebrate social media and how it helps businesses and their SEO

With Facebook’s IPO today, it couldn’t be a better time to talk about how social media can help your business.

Facebook and Twitter are great ways for business owners to promote their businesses, interact with customers, recruit new customers and boost SEO all at the same time. In addition to all that, it’s FREE to set up accounts.

The trick, though, is keeping up a regular interaction with your fans and followers. I know, I know… you run a business and are already overwhelmed with tasks and duties. You’re busy!

On the other hand, it’s part of running a business in today’s world. You have to make time, assign somebody or hire someone to take care of this important marketing tool.

Think about what’s happening today. Facebook already is valued higher than Yahoo and Amazon. It opened at a whopping $43 a share this morning – even higher than the amazing $38 that was predicted. Why?

Well, let’s see – there are over 900 million users. That is a staggering number and quite a network to be a part of.

Think about all the people you know that are on Facebook. Think about how many of your customers are on Facebook. What a great place to be able to interact with them at opportune times.

Having a sale? A special event? Want to give tips or advice?

Social media is a way to accomplish that.

Facebook is deservedly getting all the attention today but don’t forget about other platforms. Twitter has over 400 million users. Pinterest is growing faster than any other platform out there right now.

Social media is a great way tool to market your business and the articles and blogs that you are posting will also give you a bump in traffic and SEO.

So take a moment today and salute Facebook on its IPO. It’s truly something that can help all of us.

If you would like to learn how we can help produce the content for your social media, please email martyvalania@gmail.com.

Study shows organic SEO still being undervalued

Even as more and more people recognize the importance of organic SEO, here is an excellent article that shows that it is still being undervalued.

There is no better way to promote your business than making sure it shows up when a potential customer does a search for your products and/or services.

For more information on our SEO copywriting services, please email martyvalania@gmail.com. Follow on Twitter @mvalania.

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