Tag Archives: Blogging advice

5 Ways You’re Botching Your Blog’s SEO

Blogging is one of the things we’re most proficient in here at Grammar Chic, Inc., and it’s a true honor to have so many small and medium-sized businesses entrust us with their blogging needs.

When new companies come to us wanting help on the blog front, they tend to have a couple of different emphases. First, they want something that will be compelling to their customers—compelling enough to elicit social media shares and perhaps even light up their phone lines. Second, they want something that will rank well on Google. After all, what’s the point of a business blog if no one can see it?

And here’s the tricky thing about blogging: It can be an absolutely critical tool for improving search engine visibility, but only if careful attention is paid to a few technical dimensions of the blog itself. Far too often, we see business blogs that have been written well, but not necessarily optimized well. Simply put, there are some key blunders that make otherwise-good blog posts less than SEO-friendly.

Naturally, you’ll want to avoid these blunders. Allow us to point out some of the most common ones.

Forgetting Keywords

There’s been a curious shift in the way people perceive keywords; where they used to be overemphasized, now they’re all too often overlooked. So let us clear this up: You definitely don’t want to force a bunch of ill-fitting keywords into your content, but you do want to have a couple of target keywords to guide your content creation. Use them as organically as you can, and try to smoothly work them into the following places:

  • Your title
  • Your meta description
  • Section sub-headings
  • Body content—not excessively, but wherever they naturally fit

Not Creating a Meta Description

Speaking of the meta description, each individual blog post should have one—roughly 150 characters to summarize your content, lay out your value proposition to readers, work in a keyword or two, and end with a call to action.

Not Formatting for Readability

Keep in mind just how many of your blogs will be read by people on their mobile devices, waiting in doctor’s officers, stuck in traffic, or taking a quick break from work. Making for fast, easy readability is key. Think:

  • Bullet points
  • Lists
  • Section sub-headings
  • Short paragraphs
  • Images and/or embedded video

Not Including a Call to Action

Every blog should have a strong call to action, inviting the reader to take the next step. Include your company contact information here for best results, especially in terms of local search.

Not Offering Value

A good blog post should be substantive and value-adding—which means providing take-away points for your readers; enough length to do your topic justice; and some external and/or internal links to related resources. Remember that by writing for the end user, you’re ultimately making your blog more appealing to Google.

Blog Better. Avoid SEO Blunders.

These are all potentially serious errors, yet they can also be very easily avoided. One way to steer clear of them: Trust your blogging to the pros. Learn more by contacting Grammar Chic, Inc. at 803-831-7444 or www.grammarchic.net.

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The Right Way to Use SEO Keywords in Your Company Blog

One way to add SEO value to your written content is to include keywords. This is one of the oldest practices in all of digital marketing, yet also one of the least understood.

There have been a lot of pendulum shifts in the way marketers understand keywords; for a time, keywords were gleefully stuffed into every piece of content, and then there was a season when many wondered if keywords were on their way out.

The truth is that keywords still matter a great deal, and inserting them properly can add tremendous SEO value to your writing—yet judicious and strategic keyword use is something that requires some forethought and some discipline.

In this post, we’ll offer some basic practices for ensuring that, when you add keywords to your content, you do so effectively.

Keywords Drive Content—Not the Other Way Around

First, it’s really ideal if you use keywords as your starting point. Come up with your targeted keywords before you do any writing, and allow them to guide your approach—your topic selection, your structure, etc. This way, the keywords are worked into your content more organically.

The alternative is to write a piece of content and then add keywords after the fact. This isn’t optimal because it means the keywords will likely stick out like sore thumbs, or disrupt the flow of the writing. The goal should always be for your keyword use to be natural and seamless.

Keywords Reveal Something About Your Readers

Another important concept is keyword intent. If someone is searching for a particular keyword, it’s because he or she is seeking a certain kind of information. Think about why your buyers would be searching for a particular set of keywords, and what it says about their pain points and their ideal solutions.

This allows you to craft content where your keywords are not only present, but used in such a way to address the reader’s questions and provide a real sense of value. In other words, your keywords are in the content as answers, not just as SEO add-ons.

The Best Places to Include Keywords

Getting caught up in how many keywords is usually a dead end, but we do recommend trying to include keywords in a few strategic locations. Here are the places where keywords offer the most SEO value.

Headline

Include a keyword within the first 65 characters of your headline, if at all possible.

Body Text

The body of your blog post should have keywords used naturally throughout. Remember to never force them or stuff them; just use them where they fit naturally, ensuring that the content still reads well.

URL

A vanity URL slug, with your keyword included, is a great SEO feature.

Meta Description

Another great, often-overlooked place to add keywords is in your blog’s meta description.

Write Blogs with SEO Value

Keywords aren’t everything, but they can make your content more discoverable among search engine users. The Grammar Chic, Inc. team offers unsurpassed expertise in writing blog content with SEO value in mind. To talk to one of our ghost bloggers today, contact us at www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

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Boost Your Online Reputation in 5 Tiny Steps

You probably know the old saying about having a good reputation: It takes a lifetime to build one, but just an instant for it to be torn down. That to say, cultivating a positive reputation is hard work, both for individuals and for businesses.

But that’s not to say there aren’t some tiny steps you can take to boost perceptions of your brand, including online perceptions. In fact, online reputation management is something you can invest in every single day, by taking just a few very small, simple steps. Allow us to explain.

5 Ways to Fortify Your Online Reputation

Check Your Social Mentions

It takes just a moment to sign into Twitter to see if your brand has received any mentions; you can go a step further by doing a Twitter search for your brand name, and seeing what comes up. From there, you can check Facebook and any other social platforms on which you are active, and see if your company is being talked about. And if you do have some mentions, it’s generally a good idea to respond to them—answering any questions, offering thanks for positive mentions, providing customer service to those who have concerns or complaints.

Check Your Online Reviews

After you check social media, spend a minute looking at any online reviews you’ve accrued in the past day or so—again, Facebook is important, as are Google, Yelp, and any other platforms on which your company gets notices. Offer thanks for positive reviews; respond to negative ones appropriately.

Google Your Brand Name

It is always a smart idea to know what’s being said about your business, and to have a good sense of what people see when they search for you online. Hopefully you won’t run into anything unwelcome, but if you do, that’s a good reason to reach out to a digital marketing company. Also note that setting up a Google alert for your brand name can be a major time-saver.

Post Content

It doesn’t take too much time to share a helpful or informative article on social media—and again, there’s a way to maximize your efficiency, specifically by setting up an editorial calendar for a week’s or a month’s worth of posts. Remember that posting solid, actionable information, when it’s relevant to your brand, gives your company added authority and thought leadership.

Research Your Niche

Take five minutes to read the major blogs or publications that relate to your vertical. Take notes of any hot topics you need to address in future blogs or social media posts. Jot down any inspiration you have. Again, this is just about building thought leadership—and it can be pretty quick and painless!

Build Your Brand Through Content Marketing

There is much you can do to establish your brand as the brand of choice among consumers—and if you want to go beyond these simple steps, we can help. Learn more about the value of brand-enhancing content by reaching out to Grammar Chic, Inc. Connect with us at www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

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5 Ways to Become a Lean, Mean, Blogging Machine

Many business owners recoil at the notion of regular blogging—and their concern is a perfectly fair one: They simply feel as though they can’t afford the time investment required for consistent, high-quality blogging.

To be sure, maintaining a robust business blog is going to require some man hours. With that said, there are ways to make your blogging endeavors more efficient—requiring less time, but still getting good results.

Indeed, with the right tweaks to your blogging strategy, you can become a lean, mean, content-creating machine—and we can show you how!

Become Ruthlessly Efficient in Your Blogging

Here are our five tips:

  1. Always start with an outline. One of the most time-consuming parts of blogging is going back through a post to review, to add or subtract points, and to bring shape and focus to your argument. One way you can cut back on revisions is to have a clear blueprint of all your primary points before you start writing. A simple outline will take a couple of minutes to put together, but it could save you a lot of time on the back end.
  2. Know your call to action in advance. A lot of time can be spent trying to land the plane—figuring out how you want your blog post to end and what results you hope to achieve. Those are things you should know before you start writing. Have a goal in mind—a specific call to action—and allow that to guide your writing. Again, this is a small investment of time on the front end that can make your process more efficient overall.
  3. Keep buyer personas handy. You should always know who you are writing for. Once more, this is imperative for keeping your writing focused and on-point. Start each blog post with a clear sense of who’s in your audience, and which problems or pain points you need to address on their behalf.
  4. Block off time for content marketing. Schedule an hour each week (or more) for content marketing activities, and treat it just like an appointment with a client—that is to say, don’t blow it off! Use this time to write a blog post, but also to put together the accompanying social media posts you’ll use to share that blog. Get all of these like tasks done at the same time.
  5. Keep a running list of blog ideas. Always be ready to write down a topic for some future post—meaning that, when you sit down to write, you shouldn’t feel stuck or have to spend too much of your time brainstorming.

Another Way to Save Time on Blogging

Of course, another way to minimize your blogging time—and still get great results—is to outsource the entire endeavor to the ghost bloggers at Grammar Chic, Inc. We’d love to talk to you about that. Reach out to our team today at either 803-831-7444, or www.grammarchic.net.

 

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4 Things to Include in Your Meta Description

Do you know what a meta description is? It may sound like an overly technical term, but really it’s not. Here’s how SEO Moz describes it: “Meta descriptions are HTML attributes that provide concise summaries of webpages. They commonly appear underneath the blue clickable links in a search engine results page (SERP).”

HubSpot, meanwhile, goes into a little more detail: “Meta-descriptions play a big role in search results. In case you’re unfamiliar with the term, a meta description is the snippet of information below the link of a search result. Its purpose is to describe the contents of the page to the searcher. The end goal is to convince and persuade the searcher to click through to your website. Any words that match the search term are bolded in the description.”

Why Meta Descriptions Matter

In a nutshell: When you conduct a Google search, you’re given a list of links that match your search criteria, and under each link is a quick summary of what the page contains. That summary is the meta description. And it’s important that your own Web pages and blog posts have their own meta descriptions so as to take full advantage of this precious online real estate.

The meta description is an invaluable opportunity to capture some keywords and to make a strong first impression on search engine users—persuading them to actually click the link and visit your website. But in order for this to happen, you have to write a good, persuasive piece of copy—all while keeping it to 160 characters or less. (If it is more, Google will likely cut it off mid-sentence.)

4 Elements of a Strong Meta Description

There are four key elements that make any meta description effective:

  1. Your branded keywords. What we mean by this, generally speaking, is your company name. Grammar Chic blog posts always have our company name in the meta description, to start building some Google collateral and to make sure our content is clearly marked as our own.
  2. Additional keywords. One or two focus keywords, designed to attract search engine users, should also be worked into the meta description. For example, in a post that offers content marketing tips, we might include content marketing or content marketing solutions as our focus keywords.
  3. A statement of value. Why should search engine users click through to your content? Your meta description should summarize not only what the content is about, but how someone will benefit from reading it.
  4. A call to action. We’d also recommend a call to action—an insistence that your search engine user click through to read your content.

That may sound like an awful lot to encompass in 160 characters, but it’s more than possible. We’ll show you. Here’s the meta description used for this very blog post:

Writing meta descriptions is key to owning the Google SERP—but how is it done? Get meta description tips from the team at Grammar Chic, Inc.

You’ll see there our company name, a focus keyword (meta description tips), value (learning tips to own your Google SERP), and a call to action (Get…).

That’s just one example—but maybe you’d like to see how meta description writing could work for your content. We’d love to show you. Reach out to Grammar Chic, Inc. to start a conversation. Contact us at 803-831-7444, or www.grammarchic.net.

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How to Write Great Content for Short Attention Spans

There is always more and more online content vying for readers’ attention—yet it seems like the average online attention span is getting shorter all the time.

This is something that any content marketer has to take into consideration. You need your content to be read and interacted with, yet your audience may have very little patience to sit through anything that isn’t totally optimized to keep them engaged.

So how do you optimize your written content? Here are a few tips to consider.

Start with Buyer Personas

People are going to be a lot more willing to read your content if it feels like it was written directly for them. That’s why you need to start with your audience, and ideally with a well-composed buyer persona. What are the pain points you need to address? What are the values? What kind of language should you be using—highly technical or extremely casual? And what do your readers ultimately want to gain from your content? To answer these questions, you have to have a pretty good sense of who you’re writing to.

Structure it Well

It’s also important to make sure you organize your content in a way that makes it easier to read—and, for that matter, to skim. Some ways to do so include:

  • Write in short paragraphs
  • Avoid long sentences
  • Use subject headings to break up the content
  • Use bulleted lists whenever you can
  • Make sure you end with a good summary of your main takeaways/action steps

Don’t Let Your Words Stand Alone

A plain black-and-white page of text is inevitably going to be a little boring, and strain the average reader’s attention span. Images, infographics, and embedded videos can spice things up significantly, while also helping to break up the content and make it more digestible.

Be Clear in Your Value Proposition

Put yourself in the shoes of your reader, and ask: What’s in it for me? The reader should be able to walk away from your content with some value, some specific benefit. You need to emphasize that value up front, both in your headline and in your introduction, ideally in the first paragraph. Let readers know that they will see a benefit from reading your content.

Don’t Be Afraid to Go Long

A final note: Short attention spans do not necessarily call for short content. There is still plenty of room for articles that go in-depth and provide more specific value. In fact, a reader with a short attention span may prefer these articles; a flimsy blog post may seem like a waste of time, while something more substantive may seem like it’s a lot more worthwhile.

You can create content that engages even the ficklest reader—but if you need an extra hand in enhancing your content, don’t hesitate to give us a call. Grammar Chic can help you write content that gets read and engaged with. Learn more at www.grammarchic.net, or 803-831-7444.

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Choosing Between Long-Form and Short-Form Content

It’s a question that our content writing team receives on a regular basis, from business owners in virtually all industries and verticals: How long should my company’s online content be?

Our answer: Long enough.

What people are really getting at is whether there is some magic number they need to hit in terms of their word count. Technically, 400 words is all you need to write to ensure that your blog post or Web page is indexed by Google.

But if you’re trying to truly optimize your content—not just writing the bare minimum, but writing enough so that you can build trust, inform customers, reap ample SEO benefits, and position your brand for thought leadership—well, you may need to write a little more. Or in some cases, a lot more.

Long-Form vs. Short-Form Content

For the purposes of this post, we’re defining long-form content as blog posts, white papers, and other assets that exceed 2,000 words—give or take. Short-form content is usually closer to 1,000 words, sometimes less. In fact, a good short-form blog post can be as brief as 500 words and still be perfectly effective.

To decide which route is best for your business, you’ve got to think about your marketing objectives, and tailor your content length accordingly. We’ll provide you with some guidelines here.

Long-Form Content Makes the Most Sense When:

  • You have a brand new product or service, without much precedent, and you need longer copy to explain what it is and how it adds value.
  • You are writing about products or services that come with higher price tags, and thus buyers want as much information as possible before making a purchasing decision.
  • You are offering products or services that require more of a commitment on behalf of the buyer.
  • Your product is more technical in nature, and needs all its technical specs discussed in the marketing content.
  • You are in a B2B scenario, one in which the sales cycle tends to be longer or more complicated.

Short-Form Content Makes the Most Sense When:

  • You have a product or service with which most of your readers are already going to be quite familiar.
  • Your product or service is either inexpensive or quite commonplace, and therefore less explanation is needed.
  • You’re writing content that is going specifically to qualified leads.
  • You are writing for a channel that requires fewer words—an email, a Facebook ad, an AdWords ad, etc.

In other words, your content length should be determined by how much your buyers already know, versus how much they need to be educated; by how interested your readers are, or rather, by where they are located in the sales funnel; and by the basic marketing goals for the content.

Being Judicious About Content Length

As you seek to determine the ideal length for your content, it’s best to consult with marketing professionals. Grammar Chic’s experts can not only help you strategize, but we can also handle the content creation for you—no matter how long or how short!

Learn more by contacting us today for a consultation at www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

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