Tag Archives: Content Writing 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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Filed under Blog Writing, Business Writing, Content Marketing, Content Writing

The Art of Writing Strong FAQ Content

There are certain website pages that are more or less standard. Every company website has a home page, for example. Most have an About page, and perhaps a page for Products and/or Services. A Contact Us page is also commonplace.

And then we come to the FAQ. While this is not a requirement for your business website, it is by no means uncommon, either. But would your company website be improved by an FAQ page? And if so, how can you write one effectively?

Do You Really Need an FAQ Page?

We’ll note from the get-go that not every company website needs to have a page for frequently asked questions. The Grammar Chic, Inc. site does not currently have one, for example. However, there are a few good reasons why you might consider adding an FAQ:

  • You actually do receive a lot of common or repeat questions, and wish to provide your customers with a quick and convenient resource.
  • You have a product or service that is a bit unusual or unfamiliar, and wish to build confidence and trust.
  • You believe there are some specific things that set your company apart from the competition, and want to articulate those in an FAQ. (For example, having a “how much does it cost?” section can be beneficial if you know your business bests all the competitor’s prices.)
  • You simply want to create a page that includes a lot of content/topics/keywords for SEO purposes—an FAQ can certainly be a good place to put a big bunch of content.

Again, the FAQ page is not for everyone—but if any of these bullet points resonate with you, perhaps it’s time to consider drafting one.

Writing a Good FAQ Page

The next question is, how do you write effective FAQ content? Here are some pointers.

  • Remember that—as with all of your online content—it’s not really about you. It’s about your readers and your customers. Make sure you’re writing an FAQ that’s actually helpful and value-adding—or else, don’t write one at all.
  • Going back through customer comments and emails to find real questions or areas of interest/concern is the best way to ensure your FAQ is relevant.
  • Be concise; offer the necessary information, but no fluff.
  • Remember to format for easy skimming, as most people aren’t just going to read an FAQ from top to bottom. Numbered lists and bullet points are key.
  • Remember that a good FAQ page will build trust, so avoid your sales pitch or marketing spiel here. The point of this content is to help the reader feel more at ease, not like you’re hammering them with your talking points.

Professional FAQ Writing Services from Grammar Chic, Inc.

One more thing: The Grammar Chic, Inc. team provides diverse Web content writing services for businesses all over the world, and as such as have plenty of experience writing compelling FAQ content. We’d love to write one for your business. Learn more by reaching out to us for a consultation. Hit us up at www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

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Is Your Content Marketing Working? Take Inventory.

When you publish a new piece of online content—whether a video, a blog post, or a simple tweet—it can be exciting. It can also be very uncertain. You have big aspirations for how your content will impact your brand, but no way of knowing, in the moment, whether those lofty plans will pan out.

That’s what makes data so important, of course; by digging into website analytics, you can get some sense of how well your content is (or isn’t) working.

But even armed with numbers from, say, Google Analytics, it can be a little bit challenging to determine just how well your content is working out. As you take an inventory, consider these seven questions. Your honest answers may reveal much about the quality and efficacy of your content marketing endeavors.

Ask the Right Questions About Your Content Marketing

What keywords do people use to locate my content? Hopefully, you have a list of keywords you’re using on blog posts as well as PPC ads. And ideally, your Google Analytics show you that these keywords are indeed relevant to your website traffic. But if you don’t even know your keywords, it probably means you haven’t laid a good foundation for content marketing success.

What types of content do my readers engage with the most? Do you have a sense of which topics and channels get the most traction—and do you have data to back that up? Again, if you don’t know the answers, it suggests that you’re flying blind.

How long do readers stay on my website? A high bounce rate means the content on your site isn’t doing its job, plain and simple—and that it’s time to make your online presence more valuable and appealing.

Is your social engagement increasing? Using your social media dashboard of choice (say, Hootsuite) or simply the internal data provided by Facebook and other channels, you should have a good idea of whether your social engagement is growing, shrinking, or remaining static. Hopefully, your likes and shares are becoming more numerous over time.

Is your content creating website traffic? Are your social media pages primary traffic referrers for your company website? It’s always a good sign when they are!

Is your email list growing? If more people are signing up for your company email list, it bodes well for the kind of content you’re producing.

How is my online reputation? Do a quick Google search for your brand, and see what comes up. If it’s positive reviews, favorable mentions, and your own digital assets, that’s definitely a good sign.

Get Content Marketing That Works

If you’re not pleased with your answers to these questions, maybe it’s time for a consultation with content marketing professionals. The Grammar Chic, Inc. team can help you develop content that gets real results. Contact us today at www.grammarchic.net, or 803-831-7444.

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7 Things to Do Before You Start a Content Marketing Campaign

It’s never too late for your company to launch its own outbound marketing strategy—building authority, establishing trust, and boosting conversion rates though compelling content distribution.

Though content marketing is nothing new, we still encounter many business owners who are coming to it for the first time, eager to drive value through blogging, video, social media, and beyond.

Enthusiasm goes a long way in content marketing, but wait: Before you get swept away, we have a few foundational steps you should take.

Before You Start Content Marketing…

  1. First, make sure you understand what content marketing actually is. Don’t do it just to do it. Do it because you really understand how value-adding content enhances your brand, cultivates loyalty, adds SEO power, and leads your buyers down the sales funnel. Take some time to read up on content marketing and to understand the merits of “selling without selling.”
  2. Set some goals. What do you hope to achieve through content marketing? How will you measure results and define success? Are you seeking better online reviews? Increased website traffic? Higher search engine visibility? A more robust and engaged social media following? Define your objectives and your major benchmarks before you get started.
  3. Know your audience. For whom are you creating content? Which values, pain points, and common queries should your content address? Create detailed buyer personas so that, when you start building a content portfolio, you’ll have someone specific to whom you can address it.
  4. Define the right channels. Most small businesses simply can’t spare the resources needed to maintain activity on a half dozen social media platforms, plus a blog, a YouTube channel, etc. Trying to do so can actually dilute the impact of your content, so it’s generally better to be focused and strategic in the content distribution channels you choose. Both your goals and your audience are relevant to this decision.
  5. Research your industry. What do your competitors do for content? What are the hot topics? What seem to be the best ways to garner attention? What room is there for your brand to carve out a niche for itself?
  6. Make an editorial calendar. You won’t succeed by creating new content on the fly, with no broader timeline or plan. It’s important to exercise some forethought in your content creation.
  7. Consider ghost bloggers and content marketing strategists. Content marketing can sometimes be a full-time job, and one that requires a high level of strategy. If you feel like it’s going to be a strain, reach out to the content marketing team at Grammar Chic, Inc. We’ll offer a free consultation about our services, answer any questions you have, and provide a detailed proposal.

Get Grammar Chic’s take on things, and make sure you have the foundations for content marketing success. Reach out to us at www.grammarchic.net, or 803-831-7444.

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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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Make it Easy for Local Customers to Discover Your Business

When people want answers, they turn to Google. That includes those who have questions or inquiries about local companies. New to town and need to find the best Chinese takeout? Google can show you. Looking for a reliable plumber in your neck of the woods? Google can show you. Not sure where the nearest Laundromat happens to be? Google can show you.

But if Google is where people turn with their local business questions, it’s up to you to position your brand as an answer. In other words, you’ve got to show up on those search engine results pages. You’ve got to make it easy for local consumers to discover you.

That’s what local SEO is all about. And this is not just an abstract marketing concept. This has real, bottom-line significance for your business.

A recent Forbes article puts it this way: “50 percent of consumers who conduct a local search on their smartphone visit a store that same day. And if your business’s visibility is not ranking highly in your area, your brick and mortar location could be losing out to competitors.”

So how can you improve your visibility among local consumers? How can you make sure your brand is discoverable by people in your area who are asking the right kinds of questions? Allow us to offer a few suggestions.

Improving Your Local Visibility

  • Put contact information on every page of your website. It’s especially critical to include a local phone number, with area code, that helps Google know which customers count as “local” for you.
  • Seek opportunities in the local press. This isn’t necessarily something you’ll be able to do overnight, but reaching out to local papers and blogs—or sending out press releases—can help you get some off-site citations. This is an important ingredient in local SEO.
  • Get local links. Seek out opportunities to have your website linked from a local business bureau, professional organization, or chamber of commerce.
  • Improve internal linking, as well. Your website should have a lot of interconnectivity—specifically, links to relevant blog posts or evergreen Web pages, guiding website users through your site.
  • Don’t forget meta data! Both your title tags and meta descriptions provide useful opportunities for you to insert geographic keywords.
  • Make sure you have a Google My Business profile. It’s an important way to shore up some SEO cred.
  • Seek out customer reviews. We talk about reviews all the time, and it’s because they are really important. If you want to show Google that your business is a trusted resource, you’ve got to ask customers to furnish you with five-star ratings.
  • Provide meaningful content. There is no better way than a blog! Create helpful and informative content that local customers will want to bookmark, send to their friends, or even share on social media.
  • Promote your blog. Writing is half the battle. Going out there and promoting your content with other bloggers in your industry helps you get more backlinks and grow your SEO visibility.  Use a tool like Linkio to plan and track your backlink campaigns and be consistent about performing blogger outreach and getting your content in front of people who would find it valuable.

Remember: Local SEO is all about bringing in new, paying customers. To get started, follow some of these tips today; and for help with content creation, reach out to Grammar Chic, Inc. Find us at www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

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How Social Media Can Drive Brand Loyalty

In most areas of life, quality is of considerably greater importance than quantity. Case in point: Social media followers. It’s definitely significant for your company Facebook page to have a lot of followers, for instance, but it’s not especially meaningful if those followers don’t ultimately become faithful customers. Most businesses would surely prefer 10 followers—if they are loyal, paying customers who recommend your business to all their friends—to 100 followers who are casual and uninvolved.

And as it happens, social media can be a powerful tool for cultivating this kind of loyalty. We’ll offer you a few ways how.

Using Social Media to Enhance Brand Loyalty

Focus on value. We say this all the time, but it’s important: The best question you can ask when considering content shares is, what’s in it for my customers? Everything you offer should address their pain points or their needs, or at the very least make them chuckle. Remember to follow the 80-20 rule here, and keep roughly 80 percent of your posts strictly informative. You can directly market your company the other 20 percent. Providing real, free value over spammy self-promotion is how trust is formed.

Post with consistency. If you want your social media followers to stay connected and engaged with your brand, and to keep your company in the forefront of their mind, you’ve got to post regularly. We really recommend a post or two daily; posting once every nine months, meanwhile, is really just a waste. You might as well not post at all.

Remember the social in social media. A lot of companies post content to social media sites, but are they actually interacting with followers? That shows you’re willing to go the extra mile. Be vigilant in answering questions, responding to complaints, and being a part of your own online community.

Position your brand as the solution. When you do promote your brand directly, it shouldn’t be portrayed as just another consumer product, or a faceless online company. Instead, connect the dots. Show how your brand solves the problems your customers are facing. If you’re also building authority by giving away free, valuable information—as we noted above—then this will really help you appear as a trustworthy ally.

With a smart, strategic posting strategy, you can use social media to develop a faithful user base—and we can help you develop just such an approach. Reach out to the content marketing experts at Grammar Chic, Inc. to learn more. Connect at 803-831-7444, or www.grammarchic.net.

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