Tag Archives: SEO

5 Ways to Improve Your SEO Copywriting Today

search-engine-optimization-1359427_1280

Search engine optimization (SEO) is a daunting topic: Because it’s ever in flux, you really never reach a point where you know everything there is to know about it—and that can be intimidating. Just when you think you’re a master, you realize how much you still have to discover.

That’s not to say that there are not some tried-and-true principles for you to lean on, though. This is especially true of SEO copywriting. The words you use to develop your Web content are crucial to SEO success—every bit as crucial as, say, page layout and navigation—and there are some reliable methods for making your SEO copy even stronger.

We’ll show you what we mean: Five ways you could improve the SEO value in your written content today.

Write for Actual Readers

This is so basic, but so important—and in many cases, so easily overlooked. You’ve got to break out of the mindset that you are writing for Google robots. You are, to some extent, but what those bots want is for you to develop content that is actionable and interesting to human readers—the people actually searching for information on the Web. That’s the audience to shoot for. As you write, ask yourself how you can answer questions and offer solutions to the people who might be seeking information on the Web.

Quit Keyword Stuffing

How many times should you use a long-tail keyword phrase in each piece of content? Two? Five? Ten? Three percent of the total word density? Frankly, if you’re getting caught up in these questions, it probably means you’re shoehorning words into places they don’t quite belong. Having a keyword or two to guide your content development is helpful, and including a keyword in titles and meta descriptions is always good, but beyond that, the best advice is to just be organic.

Don’t Let Your Words Stand Alone

Sharpen your words and enhance the impact of your copy by sprinkling in some other rich content—embedded videos, GIFs, and above all else some strong imagery. High-quality, relevant images can make the professionalism of your writing stand out all the more.

Spend More Time Writing Headlines

Your headline creates the first impression readers will have of your content, and in many ways the headline is what determines whether your content even gets read at all. It’s arguably the most important component in your online copywriting, then—so don’t rush through it. We’ve offered some specific headline-writing tips before.

Include Meta Descriptions

The meta description—a 150-characters-or-so snippet that’s displayed in Google search queries—is an invaluable piece of online real estate, and a free way to significantly boost your online traction. Make sure to use the full character count to provide a robust summary of your content; try including a keyword and a call to action, if you can.

Of course, you can also shape up your SEO copy by hiring the pros: Contact Grammar Chic at 803-831-7444 or www.grammarchic.net to learn more.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Business Writing, Content Writing, Web Content, Writing

Why Content is Still King—And Always Will Be

content-is-king-4

Content is king. That was a popular phrase in the early days of search engine optimization, more popular still once content marketing started to take off. The meaning of that phrase is pretty simple: For whatever other gimmicks, tactic, or strategies you employ, high-quality and compelling content is the single most essential, make-or-break component of your marketing strategy.

It’s a useful phrase for a couple of reasons. One, it provides focus. SEO strategies tend to ebb and flow, as Google’s search algorithms themselves are subject to change—but the importance of content is something you can rely on. So long as you don’t get distracted from that simple premise, you can’t veer too far off course.

In addition, it provides some practical direction for your blog and Web content development. Your starting point is always going to be more or less the same: Devise topics and themes that not only align with your company’s vision, but that also offer practical, actionable value to your targeted readers. That first step sets your entire content development process in motion.

But content is king, as a marketing truism, has long drifted into cliché—and in some ways, fallen out of fashion. It’s enough to raise the question: Is content still paramount to effective online marketing?

Google’s Value Proposition

To answer this question, we need to step back and make a few observations about how search engines work; for the sake of simplicity, we’ll just use Google as shorthand here. What is Google’s ultimate aim with its search engine results page? Like any company, Google is trying to provide its customers with a product that is useful and satisfactory. In this case, the customers are search engine users; the product is the list of search engine results themselves. What Google needs to do to keep its customers happy is simple: Continue to provide useful, to-the-point search results that answer the questions search engine users are asking.

That’s the one constant thread in search engine optimization and content marketing. Algorithms may change and trends come and go, but Google is always going to have an interest in providing a valuable product to its customers—which means that algorithms are always going to be looking for content that gives users what they came for.

Not only does this mean content will always be king, but it suggests some helpful ways of thinking about what good, effective content really is. Consider this checklist of what high quality content should be:

  • Easy to navigate
  • Descriptive and accurate in its headlines and meta descriptions
  • Formatted to ensure easy skimming and reading
  • Engaging and well-written
  • Enriched with graphics, videos, and supplemental links
  • Actionable in its practical takeaways
  • Relevant to the targeted search engine queries

Keep this in mind as you develop content with search engine optimization in mind: You’re ultimately helping provide Google with its product—and so long as you develop something that Google’s customers want, you’re on the right track.

For help with this, don’t hesitate to contact the Grammar Chic writing and marketing team right away. Reach us at www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

Leave a comment

Filed under Content Marketing, Content Writing, Web Content

5 Ways to Sync Content Marketing with SEO

iStock_000013846060XSmall

Content marketing and search engine optimization are not mutually exclusive, and in fact the overlap can be significant. Many of our clients hire Grammar Chic to handle content writing, and separate SEO firms to handle the optimization; we work closely with these SEO pros to make sure the content we write is not only high-quality, but also ready for integration into a wider search engine marketing campaign.

Maybe your company has some irons in the fire both with regard to content marketing and SEO—and maybe you’re not sure how to make sure these two disciplines work together in tandem. The good news is that high-quality content tends to be a boon to SEO, and good SEO is usually transparent enough that it doesn’t tarnish the quality of written content.

How to Make Content and SEO Work Together

Still, it’s important to be strategic in how you integrate these two disciplines. Here are some tips to help you:

  1. Start with your goals. We’re always telling our content marketing clients that they need to know their destination before we can provide them with the road map—and that’s equally true of SEO. You need to know what you’re trying to accomplish, and what benchmarks you want to hit—whether it’s increasing traffic, getting links, or improving your online reputation. Set goals and make sure you have the same goals, or at least complimentary ones, for both content and SEO.
  1. Create buyer personas. There’s an old saying in SEO circles, that Google won’t love you until everyone else does. What this means is that the way to search engine success is to develop content that human readers find valuable. So, by developing buyer personas that help you tailor content to consumer preferences, you’re not just ensuring better content. You’re also ensuring more effective SEO.
  1. Do some keyword research. Use Google AdWords’ keyword research tools—or something comparable—to discover some useful search terms that relate to your business. Don’t overstuff your content with keywords, and in fact try to avoid a keyword density of much more than 1 or 2 percent—but do use those keywords to give some structure to your writing.
  1. Marry content writing with link building. Link building is very much an SEO activity, but it can also make your content more effective. Through link building, you may do some guest posting on authoritative industry blogs, which will only amplify your written content and expand your reach—a win-win.
  1. Conduct a content audit of your company website. You want to make sure your website is well-written and user friendly, but you can also look through it to appraise the SEO impact of your titles, headlines, and meta descriptions—all of which can make the site more palpable to search bots and Google algorithms.

And remember: Having high-quality content written is always an SEO boon. To enlist our writing services, we invite you to contact us at www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444 today.

Leave a comment

Filed under Content Marketing

How to Write Killer Meta Descriptions

blogging_tips

If your aim is to write engaging content, it’s important to pay attention to every single written component, from the headline down through your call to action. Of course, this also includes the meta description.

The meta description is sometimes an afterthought—in fact, some content writers don’t author one at all, leaving Google to create one automatically. Actually, the meta description is nearly as important as your headline in terms of getting eyeballs onto the page. If you’re not sure what a meta description is, go to Google and conduct a search; it doesn’t matter what you search for. Once the Search Engine Results Page comes up, look at each individual result. You will see a blue link, and underneath it a line or two of descriptive/summarizing text.

That is the meta description—basically, the summary of your content that all search engine users will see. This can obviously play a huge role in convincing people to click the link and read your content—or, you know, convincing them to do the opposite. As such, writing engaging content requires you to write an engaging meta description, and then to add it to your page. (If you are working with a CMS like WordPress, you will see a field for entering a custom meta description; if you have a professional webmaster, you can get the webmaster to do it for you.)

But what do you need to know in order to make a really killer meta description?

Tips for Writing Compelling Meta Descriptions

A few pointers:

Make it brief, but not too brief. Your meta description should be somewhere between 130 and 150 characters. If you go over that limit, you run the risk of Google clipping it, leaving you with an incomplete sentence at the end of your meta description. But if you just use 60 characters or so, you’re not really making full use of this important online real estate. Try to avail yourself of that space by hitting 130 characters or so, then wrapping things up.

Make it active. Don’t use the passive voice, but instead use strong, compelling verbs. You can basically phrase your summary like a call to action, perhaps even leading with a strong invitation to discover, explore, encounter, or something similar.

Make it accurate. Your meta description should actually summarize the content itself; don’t try anything tricky or misleading. Google doles out harsh penalties for this kind of manipulation.

Make it keyword rich. Don’t stuff it with a dozen keywords, and don’t make it sound forced or inorganic, but do include whatever keyword you are focusing on in your content—ideally toward the beginning of your meta description.

Make it unique. Don’t recycle the same old meta description for every blog you post; Google hates redundancy!

Those are the basics. Writing meta descriptions doesn’t have to be complicated: Just summarize the value you’re offering to readers, in as action-oriented a way as you can. For assistance, contact the Grammar Chic team at www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

Leave a comment

Filed under Blog Writing, Content Marketing, Content Writing

SEO Elements: What’s Essential for Your Web Content?

iStock_000023616857Small

We talk to countless small business owners who want help with their website—and the #1 question we’re asked goes something like this: Sure, I want you guys to write some compelling, persuasive Web content—but what can you do for my SEO?

Business owners know that the reports of SEO’s demise have been greatly exaggerated, and the only way to ensure that your website is found by search engine users is to take it seriously. That doesn’t mean you don’t also need quality content; what it means is that quality content and search engine optimization can and should go hand in hand, feeding and supporting one another.

In fact, the single most essential SEO element for your company website is quality written content. Google knows gibberish when it sees it. It can detect if your content is vague, grammatically troublesome, or simply not engaging—and it will punish you in kind. Getting truly strong website content is an SEO must.

But what are some of the other SEO elements you need to think about as you prepare your Web content? A few considerations:

  • You need to have targeted keyword phrases included on your site, preferably toward the beginning of your content; you also need to keep from overdoing it. Keyword stuffing is a big SEO no-no. You may want to rank for the phrase Charlotte property management, but saying Charlotte property management 50 times on a 200-word page is going to do more harm than good. Be natural. Don’t force anything.
  • Remember to use keyword variants—something Google increasingly prizes. Say Charlotte property managers a time or two, but also throw in property mangers in Charlotte, or managing Charlotte properties, or something similar.
  • Remember that, both in terms of your human readers and search engines, the first 100-200 words of text are make-or-break. Convey what the page is about. Get to the point. And use your keyword early on!
  • Make sure your title is compelling for human readers and succinct enough for Google to display it; that means 55 characters or less!
  • Use different headlines– H1, H2, H3 tags—to convey your message and organize your content. Note that these headlines are good spots for keywords!
  • Ensure, for the search engines’ benefit, that each page of content you write has a short meta description—150 to 160 characters long. If you use WordPress as your CMS, there is a field where you can add the meta description, quite easily.

Your written Web content matters—for your readers, and for search engines. To learn more, we invite you to contact Grammar Chic today at 803-831-7444, or www.grammarchic.net.

Leave a comment

Filed under Web Content

5 SEO Myths That are Killing Your Content

seo-myths

Think search engine optimization is a thing of the past?

Think again.

We recently wrote about SEO and its relation to content marketing—about how the two things, when done right, compliment each other. Here’s what we said: “Ultimately, content marketing and SEO can be used together, working toward the same end. So long as your focus is on content quality—on delivering value to the user—there is no reason why you cannot also incorporate some thoughtful, well-balanced elements of SEO strategy, including some judicious SEO keywords.”

True enough: Just because you’ve invested in content marketing, that doesn’t mean you can turn your back on SEO. As such, it’s to your advantage to put these five SEO myths to rest:

Myth #1: SEO is dead.

The first myth to put to bed is the idea that search engine optimization has been killed off by Google and its algorithms. Not true. While Google has started penalizing various disreputable SEO practices—“black hat” tactics, cheap content, keyword stuffing, and the like—smart, content-centered SEO is still very much a thing, and very much a winning strategy. If you want to write engaging content that also ranks well in search engine rankings, SEO is a non-negotiable.

Myth #2: SEO is a quick fix.

If your SEO guy promises you overnight results, odds are he’s either conning you or using some duplicitous practices that Google will punish, in time. Search engine optimization, like content marketing, is a process. It takes time and commitment.

Myth #3: SEO doesn’t matter.

If you want to see your content performing well in Google searches, then you need to do what you can to optimize it for search engine use. Remember, good SEO is about working with Google to make sure your content gets seen by the people who could benefit from it. Of course it matters.

Myth #4: SEO and content marketing are opposed to one another.

Nope! So long as your focus is on creating compelling, customer-centered content, there is no reason why you cannot also strive for search engine relevance. The two are not mutually exclusive.

Myth #5: SEO is magic!

There are many who regard SEO as some kind of voodoo, something inscrutable and elusive. It’s part art and part science, perhaps, but the basics are pretty concrete: Focus on providing valuable information—thus, a good product for Google to deliver to its customers—and you’re on the right track.

SEO and content marketing are a dynamic match—and potentially game-changing for your business. Learn more by contacting Grammar Chic, Inc. today: Call 803-831-7444, or visit www.grammarchic.net.

Leave a comment

Filed under Content Marketing

SEO and Content Marketing: The Perfect Match?

online-love

Some online marketing pundits lend the impressions that content marketing has effectively replaced search engine optimization (SEO)—that you can do one but not both, and that content marketing has basically killed SEO, or at least exhausted its usefulness.

A Complex Relationship

There is a grain of truth in this, of course. Changes to search engine algorithms have made content quality the key metric for search engine success, whereas many of the older, exploitative SEO strategies have been heavily penalized. If you want to boost your search rankings, then, writing compelling content works way better than keyword-stuffing or other questionable SEO tricks.

But even this statement points to the complex relationship that content marketing and SEO have: They are not as easy to separate or to consider on their own merits as some would have us believe. Ultimately, content marketing and SEO can be used together, working toward the same end. So long as your focus is on content quality—on delivering value to the user—there is no reason why you cannot also incorporate some thoughtful, well-balanced elements of SEO strategy, including some judicious SEO keywords.

How Keywords Help with Content Marketing

Not only do keywords have SEO value, but, when used properly, they can actually make your content even better—of even higher quality, that is. Consider:

  • A keyword will help to focus each blog post or article on a single idea; it will provide you with your topic and your central thrust, and ensure that you’re not veering too far into tangents. Keywords help you stay organized.
  • A keyword can also make the blog or article more helpful and readable for the user, providing a clear sense of what it’s about.
  • Using keywords means researching keywords, which will help you develop a better understanding of your topic and your audience’s needs.
  • Keyword research can also be invaluable for prompting new thoughts and fresh ideas.

In addition to all of the above, of course, SEO keywords can increase the chances that your content actually gets found and read. That’ not to say that all keyword use is helpful, and there is certainly such a thing as being inelegant and clumsy with the way you shoehorn keywords into a piece. When done properly, though, keywords can enhance the quality of your content.

To learn more about content marketing, please don’t hesitate to contact the Grammar Chic, Inc. team today. Learn more by visiting www.grammarchic.net, or call 803-831-7444.

2 Comments

Filed under Content Marketing