Tag Archives: business blogging

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 Turn Website Visitors into Subscribers

Getting 150,000 hits on your website is pretty good, right? Well, yeah, maybe—unless all 150,000 of your visitors leave the site without taking action. Then, it might turn out, all you’ve got is sound and fury—a lot of buzz, but nothing that directly improves your bottom line.

Traffic alone isn’t the most meaningful metric. What matters are conversions. Ideally, you want all your website visitors to buy a product from your business, though of course this is a lofty goal. A more reasonable one is to convert as many visitors as possible into subscribers; this, in turn, can help build brand loyalty and awareness, and ultimately lead these visitors down the sales funnel.

Okay—but then, how do you turn your website into a subscription hub? How do you coax as many visitors as possible into joining your inner circle? Here are five methods we’ve found to be highly effective.

How to Convert Website Visitors into Subscribers

Provide valuable content that matches user intent. What are search engine users really looking for—and how can your website provide them with relevant solutions? Those are the questions you have to ask as you develop your website content. If you’re a plumber, you can assume that search engine users are probably looking for authoritative answers to all their plumbing needs. If you’re an attorney, your users may want to know when, where, and why to engage your services. Your content should always convey valuable solutions, and provide the information search engine users are after.

Create fresh content regularly. If your website blog hasn’t been updated in a year, and if the top entry in your Company News section dates to 2011, then it may be hard for your visitors to imagine why they’d want to subscribe. You’ve got to show them that by taking the time to subscribe, they will receive meaningful updates on a regular basis.

Fill your website with diverse content. The goal here is to write content that appeals to as many different people as possible—that is, blog readers, video watchers, e-book downloaders, and so on. Be robust and varied in creating value-adding, solutions-focused content.

Include strong calls to action. If you want people to subscribe to your list, you’ve got to ask them to, and provide them with an easy lead-capturing form. Do so on every page of your website, if subscriptions are your goal.

Analyze your results. In marketing, analytics are everything. Make sure you track the results of your content, and pay attention to what works and doesn’t work in terms of subscriptions.

Does Your Website Convert?

The bottom line: Your website shouldn’t just be an online placeholder. It should be a conversion machine—and in many cases, that means a subscription generator. If you’re not seeing those results, reach out to our team for a consultation. Contact Grammar Chic at www.grammarchic.net, or 803-831-7444.

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5 Things to Do When Your Business Gets a Bad Review

No small business owner likes to see negative reviews pop up. Criticisms posted to Facebook, Google, or Yelp can sting. They can feel personal. What’s more, they can damage your business’ online reputation—causing potential customers to think twice about giving you their hard-earned money.

Still, negative reviews happen, despite your best efforts to make every customer happy. When you see a bad review, don’t panic. Instead, follow these five basic rules.

What to Do When You Get a Negative Review

First, acknowledge it. Ignoring online reviews doesn’t do any good. It might just encourage the reviewer to troll you even harder. Plus, other customers who see the review may wonder why you haven’t taken the time to help the customer with the complaint. The bottom line: Unaddressed reviews look bad.

Keep calm. If it looks bad to leave negative reviews unanswered, it looks even worse to fly off the handle and respond to a customer in rage. No matter how unreasonable you think the customer is being, remember: People are watching. They want to see how you respond. Take some time to cool off, and don’t reply until you’re able to do so without any anger or hostility.

Offer a solution. A negative review presents you with an opportunity to show real customer service skills—and if you can do so effectively, it might end up enhancing, rather than detracting from, your brand. Try to think of some ways to make things right with the customer who’s complaining. Go above and beyond, because again—people are watching!

Flip the script. Negative reviews also provide a great chance for you to reiterate what makes your company great. Saying something like “We’ve been in business for 10 years, and maintain 99 percent satisfaction scores from our clients” can be a great way to emphasize that your reputation is for excellence, and that you’re committed to impressing your clientele.

Ask to take the conversation offline. Arrange to speak with the customer privately, over email or phone, to make things right—rather than airing your dirty laundry for all the world to see. If you can turn that unhappy customer into a happy one, you might even ask for them to revise their review accordingly.

Now, there’s just no pleasing some customers—so if you follow these tips and still can’t get through to them, don’t beat yourself up about it. Just focus on providing great service to your other customers, and hopefully winning some positive reviews to offset the bad ones.

Need additional tips for responding to online feedback? We’d love to offer our advice. Reach out to Grammar Chic, Inc. at www.grammarchic.net, or 803-831-7444.

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How Your Blog Can Sell Without Selling

Content marketing is sometimes described as the art of selling without selling. That is, content marketing is meant to facilitate conversions in a way that is decidedly non-salesy; the focus is always supposed to be on providing real value (not hard sales pitches) to the consumer, but doing so in a way that ultimately helps your bottom line.

This is not an easy balance to strike. Take your company blog, for instance. You can probably understand why it’s not a good idea to make each post a straightforward advertisement for one of your products or services: Simply put, it wouldn’t be very engaging, and not many people would read it. On the flipside, if you write blog posts without ever even mentioning your products and services, you may fear that the blog won’t have any practical effect on your sales.

So how can you write company blog posts that sell without coming across as too confrontational, too over-the-top, or too aggressive? We have some tips for you.

Write Blogs That Sell (Without Being Salesy)

Always focus on your audience. The guiding question of each post should be, “What’s in it for my audience?” Write to provide value not just to your brand but to your readers. Make sure your topics and your takeaway points are relevant to the people you’re targeting with your blog.

Give away valuable information. In keeping with the point above, make your blog a place where you give away expertise that your customers can use. Don’t hesitate to give away your “secret weapons” and your tried-and-true practices. This is how you build trust in your own expertise—by being confident enough to give it away.

Don’t write about yourself. Your posts don’t actually need to be about your brand. In fact, to keep them relevant to your readers, it’s probably smarter to write about your industry more broadly, or about the way your trade/profession brings value to consumers.

Don’t mention your brand in every sentence. Your blog can absolutely mention your company name—in fact, we recommend it—but a couple of mentions is probably fine, perhaps in the call to action at the article’s end. Too many mentions of your brand will definitely cause the post to read as “salesy.”

Maintain a conversational tone. Read your blog post out loud, and simply ask yourself: Does it sound like something you’d say in real life? If not, you may want to modify it a bit so that it’s less formal.

Include a CTA. By writing blog posts that earn credibility through giving away free and valuable information, you create the opportunity to end your post with a strong sales pitch—just a sentence or two inviting your reader to contact you for further value.

We Can Help

Writing blogs that are credible, value-adding, and effective is a big part of what we do here at Grammar Chic, Inc. We’d love to handle blogging for your brand. Reach out to us today to learn more: www.grammarchic.net, or 803-831-7444.

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Why Should You Improve Your Meta Descriptions? Because Google Says So.

Here’s a lesson from SEO 101: When Google makes announcements or recommendations, it’s always best to listen. Believe it or not, Google tries to help Web developers, marketers, and small business owners thrive in their SEO efforts, and that includes all aspects, ranging from site layout to meta descriptions.

Meta descriptions just happen to be the subject of the latest Google proclamation. In a recent announcement, Google indicated some changes to how they generate meta data—and also offers some advice for writing meta descriptions that get results.

What is a Meta Description?

Before we get into that, here’s a quick reminder: The meta description is the text you see accompanying each listing on the Google search engine results page (SERP). When you conduct a search, Google will provide you with a list of links, and under each link you’ll see some brief text that explains what the site is about. That’s Google’s way of helping users determine which of those links are most relevant to their interests.

Having a good meta description is important—but you don’t have to take our word for it. Here’s what Google says in its latest announcement: “Good meta descriptions are short blurbs that describe accurately the content of the page. They are like a pitch that convince the user that the page is exactly what they’re looking for.”

Short version: You want Google to display a really compelling meta description for your site—one that will convince people to click the link and read your content.

How Google Determines the Meta Description

So how does Google generate meta descriptions? According to the new announcement, Google’s algorithms will first scan the site itself and try to extract content that fits the search query—in other words, seeking something relevant to whatever search terms the user entered.

If Google’s bots cannot find a good passage to extract, though, they will display the meta description you wrote yourself. Of course, it’s vital to make sure that you’ve got some good, engaging text for Google to use. Google has helpfully shared some pointers on how to make your meta descriptions compelling.

What Not to Do with Your Meta Descriptions

Specifically, Google notes that meta descriptions fail for a few different reasons. One reason is that there simply isn’t one; when you forget to manually write a meta description, you’re sacrificing a key SEO opportunity.

Other common errors include using the same meta description for every page of your site; writing meta descriptions that are off-topic; or making meta descriptions that are spammy rather than informative.

One more thing: Word count. Technically, there’s no limit on your meta description, as Google will display as many characters as will fit on the device in question. Our rule of thumb is 150 characters or so, which will generally prevent your meta description from being cut off due to screen limitations.

Need Help with Your Meta Descriptions?

There is both art and science to writing good meta descriptions, and Grammar Chic, Inc. can help you strike the right balance—all while complying with Google’s directives. Let’s talk about meta descriptions, and any other content writing needs you may have. Connect with us at www.grammarchic.net, or 803-831-7444.

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