Category Archives: Social Media

3 Ways Google’s SERP Changed Last Year—And What It Means for Your Business

Google is constantly tweaking its search engine algorithms—and often, those changes are plainly evident from the search engine results page (SERP) itself.

Why is the SERP such a work in progress? Simple: Google wants to provide its users with the best product possible—that is, quick, relevant, practical answers to their search queries. And it’s constantly devising new ways to make that product just a little bit more appealing.

The downside for business owners is that there’s a lot of fluctuation to keep up with. The SEO efforts that worked in years past may not work as well today. In fact, 2017 saw a few significant changes to the SERP—and those changes all have some implications for small business marketing efforts.

PPC ads take up more of the SERP than ever before.

There was a time when the SERP was occupied mostly by organic search listings—the kind of listings you could attain through the right mix of content marketing and SEO. But today, paid ads are placed more prominently than ever before. Users have to scroll further down the SERP before they even arrive at organic listings; meanwhile, PPC ads have infiltrated parts of the SERP they never appeared previously, such as the Google Map Pack.

Does this mean SEO and content marketing are dead? Far from it. It just means that a comprehensive approach is needed. If you want to blanket as much of the SERP as possible, you can’t rely solely on organic listings or on paid ads. You really need a strategy that encompasses both, and balances them appropriately.

If you’re not already augmenting your content marketing efforts with PPC, make 2018 the year you really get a handle on ad bidding, targeting, and copywriting.

Featured snippets occupy prime SERP real estate.

Another important change? Google wants to empower users to get the answers they seek from the SERP itself—without actually having to click through to a link. One way this is evident is in the rise of featured snippets.

You’ve probably seen these before, even if you didn’t realize what they were called. Have you ever done a Google search, and had the SERP give you a direct answer, in the form of a little “answer box” appearing just above the organic search listings?

These are featured snippets, and they occupy the “zero position” on the SERP—coveted online real estate. Getting your content to rank in the zero position can be a major boost to your brand visibility.

This is a tough thing to attain, but not impossible. The best bet is to format your content in the form of a bulleted list, a table, or a Q&A—especially when it comes to more fact-based and objective subject matter. Remember, Google wants to provide quick, clear, authoritative answers to its users, and it’s in your best interests to help it do so.

More people are arriving at the SERP through voice search.

We’ve blogged before about voice search, which is quickly becoming the most popular way to search for content on Google. But as more and more search engine users arrive at the SERP via Siri or Alexa, it’s important for your content to accommodate them.

Again, a lot of it comes down to formatting—with bulleted lists and Q&A formats being especially useful. Also remember to write your content in a conversational style that reflects the way real voice searches are done. A traditional Google search might be phrased like this: Jimmy Kimmel age. But with voice search, you’re more likely to ask: How old is Jimmy Kimmel? For content to rank well for these voice-based queries, it’s important to emulate that casual style.

Making Sense of the New SERP

As you seek to get your content ranked on this new and ever-changing SERP, don’t hesitate to seek guidance. Grammar Chic, Inc. has diverse experience in content marketing, and we always have the latest SEO strategies in mind. We’d love to consult with you about your content marketing and Google search needs. Reach out at www.grammarchic.net, or 803-831-7444.

 

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Write YouTube Video Descriptions That Make Your Content Rank

Believe it or not, YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world; only Google outshines it. And the user base for YouTube has long surpassed the one billion mark. So if you’re looking for ways to generate visibility for your brand, you could do a lot worse than to embark on a YouTube SEO campaign.

There’s a lot that goes into making your YouTube videos rank. We’re not a video company, so we won’t get into all the nuts and bolts, but we can offer a few comments that fall closer to our wheelhouse: Writing video descriptions that improve your video SEO.

Why are YouTube video descriptions important? Simply put, they tell YouTube what your video is all about. If YouTube doesn’t know how to categorize your video, they’re certainly not going to rank it very high. Knowing how to write robust and effective descriptions is imperative, then. Here are a few tips to help you get started.

Write Long Video Descriptions

This is definitely a field of content writing where additional length is helpful. In fact, some YouTube SEO experts say that each video description should really be a “miniature blog post.”

We’re not sure that we’d go quite that far, but we do recommend writing 150-200 words for each post. And make sure it’s good, useful information that helps YouTube categorize your video. That brings us to the next point.

Offer Substance, But Don’t Give Everything Away

If your video description is pure fluff, it’s not going to help you communicate your intentions to YouTube’s algorithms. Yet, if you divulge all the main points of your video, then there may not be any reason for people to actually watch it.

We recommend a middle ground. Provide a basic outline of what your video is about, including its main themes and general points, but withhold the real, value-adding points. Make it clear what people can expect from your video, but don’t take away their incentive to sit back and give it a view.

Use the Right Number of Keywords

Here’s a point that may surprise you. When you use too many keywords in your video description, it can actually be counterproductive. Imagine if you chose 23 keyword tags for a single video. What you’re saying to YouTube is that the video addresses 23 different topics. It’s understandable that YouTube’s algorithms might have a hard time knowing how to categorize that content. Twenty-three topics is an awful lot!

So, for both your tags and the keywords you employ in the video description itself, we recommend sticking to some basics:

  • Always have one focus keyword—the main phrase you’re trying to rank for.
  • Include two or three alternate versions of that keyword; for example, if your main keyword is content writing, alternates might be content writing tips, content writing strategies, etc.
  • Finally, include a couple of broad category keywords to offer context. For this example, your broad keywords might be marketing or

Include a Call to Action

Finally, and as with most any content you write, include a strong call to action. Some users may view your video and want to learn more about your company—so ensure that your video description gives them an easy way to call you and/or access your website. Links to relevant blogs or social media profiles can also be useful.

Write Video Descriptions That Get Results

When it comes to YouTube SEO, success isn’t just about the video itself. Your written description can go a long way—so make sure yours is a solid one. Get help from the Grammar Chic content writing team by calling 803-831-7444, or by visiting our website, www.grammarchic.net.

 

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Infographics: Your Content Marketing Secret Weapon?

A strong visual content strategy can take your online presence to the next level, and help you cut through a lot of the social media noise. And one type of visual content that’s especially useful is the infographic.

People like infographics because they provide data in a way that’s quick, engaging, and easy to understand; a good infographic can be educational and paradigm-shifting without being too demanding of the reader’s mental capacity. On social media, this last point is critically important!

To get the most out of your infographics, it’s important to develop and promote them properly. Here are a few guidelines for doing just that.

Best Practices for Creating and Sharing Infographics

Pick a Topic People Care About

This is foundational. Your infographic should provide information that will actually be useful, or at the very least interesting, to your audience. Don’t just pick any old topic; pick something that’s relevant to your brand, has practical implications for your audience, and speaks to either the pain points you address or the solutions you provide. Bonus points if it’s something that challenges preconceived ideas—i.e. data with a surprising conclusion.

Write a Compelling Headline

As always, headlines are everything. There are a lot of things you can do to get eyeballs for your infographic: reference the surprising conclusions; note the expert source of your data; promise something unexpected, or simply point to the practical value that your information provides.

Write a Strong Introduction

Both for the purposes of SEO and simply for providing some context, a brief introduction is recommended. Three or four sentences is usually fine; include an SEO keyword or two if applicable, as well as related links and a call to action.

Provide Trustworthy Data

Your infographic needs credibility, so if you’re drawing from a third-party data source, make sure to include a proper citation. If it’s your own internal research, just say as much in your introduction. Proper proofreading and fact-checking are essential, too!

Get Social

Always promote your infographics on social media—using hashtags as appropriate. If you can, enable social sharing buttons on your infographic, too. Remember that this is a content type that lends itself to sharing, but it’s always smart to make it easy and convenient for your readers to pass it along.

Optimize the File Name

Google’s algorithms will crawl the file name of your infographic, so by all means make it something that conveys your specific topic. A generic file name, like untitled.jpg or infogaraphic.png, is a wasted opportunity. Optimize your alt-text, too, using a relevant keyword or two when you can.

Write an Accompanying Blog Post

To boost your SEO and back-linking potential, write a keyword-rich blog post to contextualize and explain your infographic. Make sure to share and promote the blog post, too!

Need Help Writing or Promoting Your Infographic?

Whether you’re looking for someone to script your infographic or to work it into a robust social media marketing campaign, Grammar Chic, Inc. can help. Reach out to us today at www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

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Do These Four Things to Land More Eyeballs on Your Content

If a tree falls in the woods and nobody hears it, did it really happen? And if your brand produces the world’s greatest content but nobody reads it, will it make any impact?

We can tell you with certainty that the answer to this last question is no. Content creation is innately limited by content promotion; if you can’t get eyeballs on your blog posts and other written content, you’re not going to reap any of the benefits of improved brand recognition, consumer trust, etc.

Yet getting people to read your content is one of the true challenges of content marketing. It’s something small businesses especially struggle with. Sure, it’s easy for Fortune 500 companies to generate interest in what they do—but what can the little guy do to build buzz?

Actually, there are four practical steps you can take today to boost your content’s reach and its readership. These aren’t flashy or gimmicky strategies, but they do really work, and Grammar Chic uses each of them on our own content.

Here are those four recommendations.

Tag Industry Influencers

First and foremost, you should always be sharing your content on Twitter—but don’t stop there. Start a conversation around it. Bring in the movers and shakers within your field, inviting them to be part of the dialogue.

There are different ways to do this. If you can, cite their work in your own content—then tag them on Twitter, giving them due credit and encouraging them to share the content. Or, you could simply ping their Twitter handles and ask them to weigh in with their feedback. Whatever attention you can bring to your content is good, especially when it’s attention from industry stalwarts.

Use Facebook Ads

There’s a time and a place for Promoted Posts, but what’s even more effective is going into Ads Manager, where you can actually target the people you want to reach with your content—by demographics, by relationship to your brand, etc.

Yes, this will involve some financial investment on your part—but did you know that solid content is one of the keys to ad success? If you have a good content offer, paired with some ad dollars, that can really make waves.

Include Content in Your Newsletter

A periodic email, including links and summaries of your best content, is a great way to win a few clicks from people who might not otherwise be following along with your blog. Plus, it allows you to repurpose your content; not only does it show up on your blog, but it’s fodder for your email list, too—killing two birds with one stone.

Publish to Medium or LinkedIn Pulse

Finally, remember that you can publish on many different channels—and we’ve had great success sharing some of our best posts on Medium and Pulse. Both publishing platforms have good, built-in SEO traction that makes it so much easier for your content to be discovered, even by people who aren’t otherwise familiar with your brand.

The bottom line? There are small steps you can take to make sure your content isn’t invisible. To learn more about bringing in traffic, reach out to Grammar Chic, Inc. at www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

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Filed under Blog Writing, Brand Management, Content Marketing, Content Writing, Social Media, Web Content

The Time to Start Your Holiday Marketing Campaign is Now

You may be the sort of person who grimaces at the sight of early-display Christmas candy and other holiday goods, so often pushed onto store shelves before Halloween even arrives. For consumers, it can certainly be annoying how much earlier the holidays tend to arrive. For marketers, though, these are giant opportunities to snatch—but to do so, you’ve got to act quickly.

The Data on Holiday Marketing Prep

How quickly? Quicker than ever. According to a new report published in Marketing Land, 37.5 percent of businesses say they’re going to be launching their holiday season marketing preparations earlier than they did last year.

And that’s not all. “Overall, online retailers are feeling good about their preparations, with 88 percent expecting an increase in holiday revenue,” the article states. “Forty percent of the survey respondents are forecasting a more than 25 percent increase in holiday sales over last year’s earnings.”

Finally, the Marketing Land report finds that 64 percent of businesses expect the majority of their holiday sales to come through their company website. Brick and mortar stores come in second, trailed by Amazon and Facebook sales.

Is Your Holiday Marketing Ready to Roll Out?

The implications of this data are twofold. One, the holiday season can potentially be a very big deal for online sales. Two, it’s only going to happen if you prepare—and the sooner you do so, the better.

So the question is, what can your company start doing to prepare its holiday marketing efforts right now?

Here are some of our tips:

  • Start planning holiday sales, including Black Friday or Cyber Monday promos. Know what discounts you’ll be offering, but also how you’ll market them. Start preparing some sales copy, ad text, etc.
  • Set up landing pages for any holiday-specific products, discounts, or deals you want to offer. Have them ready to launch a bit later in the year.
  • Start segmenting your email list into different groups or demographics, and write compelling emails you can send out later in the year.
  • Start bidding on Facebook or AdWords ads to build brand recognition and lead consumers down the sales funnel.
  • Create content—blogs, white papers, etc.—that you can use to boost your authority and educate your holiday shoppers.

It’s not too early to start thinking about holiday marketing. There’s much at stake, so do it right. Reach out to Grammar Chic, Inc. for help. Contact us at www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

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Your Brand Can Now Post a Facebook Story—But Is There Any Point?

You’re probably familiar with the social media “Stories” that have been popular over the last couple of years—an idea pioneered by Snapchat, the Story has also found great success on Instagram. Basically, the Story is a temporary post where users can briefly share photos and videos from their day, along with captions, emoji, graphics, and more. These ephemeral posts disappear after a short span of time, yet their impact is sizable; Stories have been wildly popular among users of all kinds, including individuals, celebrities, and brands.

And then there’s Facebook.

Facebook is Floundering

In an effort to keep pace with this popular new social media feature, Facebook introduced its own version of Stories earlier this year. It hasn’t gone over well. Just open your Instagram or Snapchat apps and see how many Stories you see; then open Facebook and count the Stories you find there. Chances are, you’ll find the Facebook number to be pretty lame, comparatively.

But Facebook isn’t giving up on Stories. In fact, it’s expanding them. Now, it’s not just individual users who can share Stories. You can share Stories from a branded page, too—even from your small business page.

Expanded Stories

Obviously, Facebook hopes this will kick up the popularity of its Stories feature—but whether this gamble is successful remains to be seen.

It’s worth noting that, according to Facebook’s own product managers, this push for expanded stories has been met with some demand. A lot of people in the community want pages to have their own Stories, it seems—so perhaps a new wave of branded storytelling is coming.

Then again, Stories are closely associated with Instagram and Snapchat, and it could be argued that they simply don’t align with the Facebook experience; most of us don’t sign into Facebook to check out the latest Stories, and seeing a bunch of brand storytelling isn’t likely to change that—especially not when our real-life friends aren’t also posting Stories for us to consume.

Should Your Brand Share Stories?

If you’re interested in using the Stories feature on social media, you might have better luck starting out on Instagram or Snapchat—at least until Facebook’s feature proves its mettle and its staying power.

By contrast, to use Facebook effectively, you don’t necessarily have to jump on this new trend. There are plenty of ways to find success using organic posts and Facebook Ads. We’d love to show you how.

For now, we’ll take a wait-and-see approach to Facebook Stories. Know that the option is there for you, but also know that there are plenty of ways to promote your brand on Facebook.

Any questions? Contact Grammar Chic, Inc. at 803-831-7444, or www.grammarchic.net.

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5 Words Fortune 500 Executives Use on Their LinkedIn Profiles

Language matters, even in your LinkedIn profile. That’s why Grammarly recently combed through hundreds of LinkedIn profiles from Fortune 500 employees—entry-level workers all the way up through the C-suite—to see if any words or phrases stood out. The results offer some compelling insights into how truly high-level jobseekers brand themselves online.

Specifically, Grammarly found that director- and executive-level employees tend to use certain keywords that distinguish their LinkedIn profiles from those of their lower-level counterparts. Five words in particular stand out—and they may be words worth adding to your own LinkedIn account.

Five Smart Words for Your LinkedIn Profile

Leader. How would you describe yourself? As a worker? An employer? Or a real leader? Apparently, asserting your authority is a good way to make your LinkedIn profile persuasive.

Strategic. Close to a third of all director-level employees use this word in their LinkedIn profile—compared to just five percent of entry-level folks. Use it to show that you take a long-term, big-picture view.

Solution. Your future employer doesn’t want someone who will spin their wheels and do busywork. They want someone who will solve problems. Make sure your LinkedIn profile demonstrates this.

Innovative. When you use this word, and pair it with specific examples of when you’ve gone against the grain and it’s paid off, you can expect recruiters to pay attention.

ROI. Can you show that you boosted your company’s return on investment? As in, I increased ROI by more than 135 percent? That’s one concrete way in which the ablest jobseekers set themselves apart.

Branding Yourself on LinkedIn

As ever, we stress that simply using buzzwords is not enough to make your LinkedIn presence winsome. You have to show, not just tell, which means including specific examples of how you’ve shown leadership, innovated, been strategic, etc. Statistics and lists of key achievements matter more than mere buzzwords.

Even so, there’s obviously something to be said for these keywords, when used judiciously within a robust LinkedIn career summary. They can help you stand out, and put you into the upper echelon of jobseekers.

We’d love to show you the ropes with your own LinkedIn profile optimization; to start presenting yourself as a truly A-level candidate, reach out to the Grammar Chic, Inc. resumes team today. Contact us online at www.grammarchic.net, or call us directly at 803-831-7444.

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