Tag Archives: SEO

3 Timeless SEO Rules Anyone Can Master

Google’s algorithms are constantly shifting, the technical rules of search engine optimization (SEO) regularly changing. That can be frustrating, especially for small business owners who don’t have a technical background. The good news is that, though details may vary, the big picture remains more or less the same: Google wants to provide its search engine users with value, and if you help them accomplish that, you’ll probably get decent enough rankings. That’s something that even the complete novice can latch on to.

Specifically, there are three basic SEO principles that we believe will guide you toward a smart, savvy approach—and they don’t require any great technical know-how on your part. Here are those three principles, which are timeless and evergreen.

It’s Always About the End User

Again, Google is a business, and it wants to provide its customers with a great product. In this case, that means providing search engine users with relevant and valuable results.

A lot of small business owners get caught up in writing for the search algorithms—but that’s backwards thinking. You don’t need to write for Google. You need to write for the end user. Write content that is clear, well-structured, informative, and full of actionable takeaways. Writing for actual human beings is the best way to appease the algorithms.

Be One of the White Hats

Do you know the difference between black hat and white hat SEO? Basically, black hat SEO seeks to cheat the system and circumvent Google’s stated rules, while white hat SEO abides by those rules. Black hat tactics can sometimes generate quick results, but they’re never lasting results. A solid, enduring SEO presence requires a white hat approach.

So, don’t try to game Google. You don’t need to resort to gimmicks, or buy links. Just focus on providing valuable content that includes natural, judicious keywords and that earns links from other websites. Skip the shortcuts and do the real work instead.

Make Use of Every Opportunity

If you’re wondering how many keywords you can cram into your content, you’re thinking about it all wrong. The key is to use keywords organically. With that said, you definitely want to optimize every square inch of online real estate that’s available to you. That means focusing not just on writing good content, but also writing strong title tags and meta descriptions.

Not sure that you’re following these timeless rules properly? Our team of SEO-savvy copywriters can help. Reach out to Grammar Chic, Inc. today to talk about getting your Web content ranked better. Find us at www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

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Content Marketing with RankBrain in Mind

How does Google determine which content ranks where on the search engine results page (SERP)? That question is at the heart of SEO, and it’s also important to content marketing. Answering it is, truthfully, close to impossible; Google’s algorithms are complicated, and ever-changing. There are a lot of factors in play, and the way Google balances and prioritizes them is somewhat veiled.

With that said, Google has been clear about one thing: RankBrain is one of the most important of all ranking factors. In fact, Google has stated that it’s in the top three. So, if you want to write content that ranks well, you have to know what RankBrain is—and how to appease it.

What is Google RankBrain?

RankBrain represents the artificial intelligence and machine learning aspect of Google’s algorithms. RankBrain works to understand user queries and content topics, and to match the right content with the search request— evaluating all the content out there and formulating the best possible results for the search engine user.

In other words, RankBrain is a machine that’s actually capable of learning about content and user search queries, and of judging which content provides the most relevant and actionable results for a search engine query. That’s really pretty cool, especially when you consider that these editorial decisions are made strictly by AI; there is no human assistance required for RankBrain to do its thing.

Again, RankBrain is not the only factor in determining search engine rankings—but it’s a major one. This brings us to our ultimate question: How can you design content that appeals to RankBrain? How can you get your website or blog ranked well by this AI system?

3 Tips for Mastering RankBrain

There are three tips we can offer here.

  1. Write content that is focused. RankBrain evaluates content to determine—basically—what it’s about, and whether it answers the user’s question. If your content is all over the place, jumping from topic to topic and presenting a hodgepodge of information, it’s unlikely that the algorithms will be able to reach clear conclusions. Content like this almost never ranks well. Make sure each blog post and each website has a strong, singular topic—and that everything within the content points back to that topic.
  2. Structure content in a logical way. Along the same lines, your content should be structured in a way that leads the reader (or the RankBrain algorithms) through a logical argument. Present your main topic or point in the first paragraph, then use section sub-headings to advance the content, one step at a time, until you reach a clear conclusion or CTA.
  3. Test everything. You won’t be able to guess your way to ranking success. Instead, you’ve got to constantly consult your data and analytics—seeing which content works and which doesn’t, learning from your SEO successes and failures alike.

Step Up Your Content Game

Effective content has to appeal to human readers and to Google’s machine learning system—and that’s a tall order. We can help. Get some seasoned, SEO-minded content writing professionals on your team. Reach out to Grammar Chic, Inc. to learn more: 803-831-7444, or www.grammarchic.net.

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6 Non-Technical Ways to Boost Your SEO

Search engine optimization isn’t rocket science—although, to be fair, it can sure seem that way at times. You can get pretty deep into the technical dimensions of SEO, which for small business owners who lack a tech background can be daunting. But here’s the good news: There are some completely non-technical, novice-friendly SEO strategies that can actually have a big impact on your site’s visibility and rankings. In this post, we’ll share just six things you can do to make Google love your site more—no advanced technical training required.

Simple Ways to Ramp Up Your SEO

Make a User-Friendly URL

Sometimes, URLs will default to random strings of letters and numbers—but that’s obviously not very helpful to users (or search bots) trying to determine what the page is about. Make sure each page of your site (and each blog post) has a short and descriptive title—for example, the page where you can learn more about the Grammar Chic content marketing services is www.grammarchic.net/content-marketing-services. Right to the point! Content management systems like WordPress usually make it quite easy to change your URL to whatever you want it to be.

Structure Your Site for Readability

You can enhance user experience (UX) and SEO by designing a website that guides the reader from top to bottom—that is, from headline to call to action. Make sure the headline itself is compelling, and that you break up the content with descriptive section sub-headings. Use bulleted lists when you can.

Place Keywords in Strategic Places

You don’t have to do a lot of complicated math to figure out the desired keyword density for a Web page. Instead, just naturally and judiciously insert keywords in titles, section headings, and meta descriptions, then perhaps once or twice in the content itself. Always make sure they feel natural, not cumbersome to read.

Enrich Your Content

Make sure each page has an image, video, GIF, infographic, or something else to provide added interest. You shouldn’t have just isolated blocks of black-and-white text.

Link to Relevant Resources

Internal linking is key to SEO success. If there are other pages of your site—or blog posts, for that matter—that augment the page in question, include strategic links to them. There’s really no right or wrong number of internal links. We’d just caution you to make sure the links you include really are relevant and helpful.

Encourage Social Sharing

When a piece of online content is shared on social media, that signals to the search algorithms that it’s useful—that is deserves a prominent ranking. Share your own content on social media, but also make sure you enable the social sharing buttons that let others quickly and conveniently share your content. Again, WordPress and other content management systems make this pretty easy.

Going Further with Your SEO

As you can see, there are plenty of small steps you can take to seriously improve your SEO effectivity. To go even further—to get content that’s written to rank and to convert—we encourage you to call the Grammar Chic, Inc. team today. Reach out to us at www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

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Give Google Exactly What it Wants

Here at Grammar Chic, our pet nickname for Google is the Content Monster. You see, the world’s most powerful search engine is like a beast that’s constantly hungry; if you want to stay in its good graces—that is, maintain online visibility and SEO prominence—you’ve got to throw it some chow on a pretty consistent basis.

And it helps to know exactly what kinds of grub this Content Monster likes to devour.

Regular content publication is certainly crucial, but it’s especially beneficial to post content that fits within the Content Monster’s regular diet; in other words, you don’t want to feed it just anything. There is such a thing as bad content—stuff Google just spits back out. No, you want to make sure the Content Monster is enjoying all of its favorite delicacies.

So what does that mean, exactly?

Allow us to show you, with a quick rundown of Google’s favorite kinds of content.

This is the Content That Google Loves

Long Form Articles

We’ve blogged before about word count, and noted that in some cases, a shorter article just makes more sense. With that said, Google is in the business of providing substantive answers and thorough solutions to its users—so if you’re able to put together a really rigorous and in-depth article that spans 1,500-2,000 words, that’s certainly something the Content Monster will eat up.

Evergreen Posts

If you’re writing about a topic that will be old-hat or out-of-date by tomorrow morning, you can’t really expect to score long-time search engine prominence. While flashy, hot topic posts have their place, those timeless topics are the ones that will more likely win you the Content Monster’s favor.

Lists and Galleries

The human brain seeks organization, and tends to like information that’s laid out in a clear, easy-to-follow format—like a top 10 list. Google knows this, and lends priority to articles that are structured in this way.

Resource Banks

What we mean by resource bank is, any article that will lead search engine users to still more good content. For example, a used car dealership could post its list of the top 10 best family cars, and under each entry on the list it could have a link to a separate, in-depth review of the vehicle. Google likes its users to be able to keep clicking, keep searching, and keep discovering more—so use that to your advantage with inter-connected posts.

Videos

You don’t want to post a video without some kind of caption or written synopsis, but you can make video a focal point of your content marketing campaign. The Content Monster isn’t going to object.

A final note: What Google ultimately wants is anything that provides good, relevant, and actionable information to users—period. Make that your guiding concern in content creation.

Feed the Content Monster

Keeping up with the constant demands of the Content Monster is tough—but we can help. Let’s talk about Grammar Chic’s content marketing services and how they can benefit your business. Reach out to us at 803-831-7444, or www.grammarchic.net.

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How to Survive a Google Algorithmic Update

Do you know Fred?

No, we’re not talking about a person. We’re talking about the latest update to Google’s algorithm, which appeared like a thief in the night to steal traffic and website state. Seemingly without warning, completely out of the blue, Fred caused some website to lose a full half of their organic traffic; for a handful of sites, there were drops of more than 90 percent.

But Fred’s not the only such offender. Google rolls out these algorithmic updates every so often; you may have heard of Panda, Penguin, Hummingbird, Mobilegeddon, or some of the others. Generally, they cause a fair amount of panic in the SEO community, who rightly fear that they could lose their hard-earned Google rankings.

More updates will come. Always. You can count on it. So the question is, is your website prepared for them?

Why Does Google Update its Algorithms?

To understand how you can prepare for algorithmic updates, it’s important to understand why they happen in the first place. Google doesn’t change things just to keep SEO folks on their toes. No, Google changes things to provide a better product to its consumers. That is, Google changes things to provide high-quality content that is relevant to search engine queries.

If you look closely at some of the changes made by these past Google updates, from Fred on back, you’ll notice that they are essentially quality control measures. For example, Mobilegeddon penalized websites that didn’t have mobile-optimized settings—websites that were difficult to read or to navigate on mobile devices. That may sound mean or it may sound harsh, but Google was only trying to ensure that, when a mobile search engine user tries to find information, he or she is able to do so without any problem or hindrance.

Other updates have penalized pages that have bad content, repetitive content, keyword-stuffed content, duplicitous backlinks—basically, lazy SEO tricks that make the actual website content less valuable or less readable.

Protect Against Google Updates

For small business owners who want to avoid their own websites being penalized, then, the solution is actually fairly simple: Focus on providing useful and easy to read content for your readers—plain and simple. Help Google do its job of providing really first-rate and relevant content to search engine users.

Some specific tips:

  • Make sure your page is mobile optimized. Verify it on multiple types of device. If you need help making it mobile-friendly, talk to your website developer.
  • Beef up flimsy content—pages of fewer than 400 words are especially in danger of algorithmic penalties.
  • Avoid keyword stuffing; use key search phrases naturally and organically.
  • Provide easy-to-read and value-adding content with actionable takeaways.
  • Focus on informing the reader—not merely pleasing the search bots.

It all comes down to excellent content—and of course, that’s something we can help you with. Reach out to the content writing team at Grammar Chic for a consultation about your Web writing needs. Reach us at 803-831-7444 or www.grammarchic.net.

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5 Things That Compromise Your Mobile SEO

When someone pulls out their smartphone to search for a local business—whether they’re sitting at home on the couch or walking down the street, plotting the next phase of their errand-running—you want them to find your business. That’s why you have invested in a good mobile website. It’s why you keep up with the rigors of mobile SEO.

But be careful: There are a number of things that can cause those mobile SEO efforts to fall flat. Here are just a few of them—things to be careful of as you try to reach as many mobile consumers as you can.

Where Mobile SEO Goes Wrong

Slow Site Speed

Did you know that a majority of Google search users say they give up on a site if it takes more than three seconds to load? Three seconds! That’s not a lot of time to get your page up and running. Do some tests, on multiple devices, to make sure it loads quickly—and if it doesn’t, talk with your developer about how to speed things up. (Some possible solutions: Remove large images and video files from your home page, or create shorter content for your mobile pages.)

Pop-Up Ads

Not only are pop-ups potentially draining to your site speed, but they can also take up the entirety of a mobile browser screen—and if they are hard to get rid of, users will likely just navigate away. Even if your pop-up has a really killer CTA, you should think seriously about jettisoning it.

Unplayable Content

Does your video/multimedia content play properly on all types of devices? Are you sure? Not only does this content cause slow speeds (again), but it can be really frustrating when it doesn’t work—and it frequently doesn’t.

Generally Bad Mobile Design

Your site should be easy to read and to navigate on all types of mobile device—period. Tiny fonts, cluttered screens, hyperlink text that can’t be read—these are all deal-breakers.

Bland or Mushy Content

Mobile users need you to get right to the point, which means your content should immediately convey value—and come with plenty of strong calls to action. If it doesn’t, you shouldn’t be surprised when the site fails to make much of an impact.

Step Up Your Mobile SEO

There are a number of potential problems that can drag down your mobile SEO efforts—but none of them are problems without solutions.

If your issue is content-related—if you don’t know the best way to make your value proposition punchy, or if you need help crafting the perfect CTA—we’d love to talk with you.

Contact the Grammar Chic content writing team for a consultation today. Reach us at 803-831-7444, or www.grammarchic.net.

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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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