Tag Archives: Web Content Writing

Writing Content for Position Zero

Google introduced “featured snippets” in 2017—and marketers have been chasing them ever since.

If you’re not familiar with featured snippets, they represent one of the most significant elements on the Google SERP. A featured snippet provides users with a quick answer to their query, without requiring them to actually click on a hyperlink. For example, if you do a Google search for 33rd President of the U.S., Google will present you with an informational box with Harry S. Truman’s name and picture within it. You don’t have to scroll through any actual search results for your question to be answered.

It’s obvious why these quick-reference listings are helpful for search engine users—but why are they of such interest to marketers? Simple: They rank in position zero on the SERP. That is, featured snippets are displayed before the search results themselves—making this prime online real estate.

And yes, there are ways you can write content that gets your brand into position zero. It won’t be easy—but with the right strategy and the correct type of content, it’s an achievable goal.

Content That Ranks for Position Zero

Here are a few strategies for writing content that will land you in those featured snippets.

Answer Simple, Factual Questions

Featured snippets are most often used to present simple answers to factual questions. Of course, some questions are going to be way too nebulous, subjective, or complicated for any answer to fit within a small Google search box. But if you can identify those basic questions your audience is asking—something as simple as, well, who was the 33rd President of the United States?—you’re on the right track.

Of course, your users probably aren’t looking for information about former Presidents, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t basic questions you’re qualified to answer. For example, if you run an accounting firm, you might answer questions like:

  • Where do I get my income tax return forms?
  • When will my employer send my W-2?
  • What is the maximum home mortgage deduction?

Identify the questions your audience is asking, then write content that both asks and answers them—as clearly as possible.

Offer Instructions

Featured snippers don’t just answer questions. They explain how to do things. For example, recipes and step-by-step guides often find their way into position zero.

That’s definitely something you can use to your advantage. Make sure the content you create includes how-to guides and tutorials. Ensure that you format with bullet points or numbered lists. Offer your expertise to readers—because remember: Google is trying to offer its users helpful, substantive information. If you can assist with that, you may get a position zero ranking.

Define Terms

A lot of people use Google as a dictionary—and one way you can get a position zero listing is to define some complex terms, in particular terms that relate to your industry.

For example, a content marketing firm might develop an online glossary, where they define such terms as:

  • Pay-per-click ads
  • Enterprise SEO
  • Google Analytics
  • Buyer persona

This is closely related to our first tip, about answering questions—and again, the point is simply to provide users with clear, quick answers to their questions.

Make Recommendations

Many search engine users are seeking a particular product—and they want to ensure that the product they select is the best of its kind. So, offering top 10 lists and best-of recommendations can be another good way to make it into those featured snippets.

Are you a used car dealer? Write a blog post where you list your top 10 small sedans. That’s just one example of how best-of lists can help you rank for position zero.

Writing Content with SEO in Mind

Your content writing efforts should always be done with SEO in mind—and that includes ranking for position zero. That’s something our marketing pros can help with. Reach out to Grammar Chic, Inc. for a consultation. Call 803-831-7444, or visit us at www.grammarchic.net.

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Write YouTube Video Descriptions That Make Your Content Rank

Believe it or not, YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world; only Google outshines it. And the user base for YouTube has long surpassed the one billion mark. So if you’re looking for ways to generate visibility for your brand, you could do a lot worse than to embark on a YouTube SEO campaign.

There’s a lot that goes into making your YouTube videos rank. We’re not a video company, so we won’t get into all the nuts and bolts, but we can offer a few comments that fall closer to our wheelhouse: Writing video descriptions that improve your video SEO.

Why are YouTube video descriptions important? Simply put, they tell YouTube what your video is all about. If YouTube doesn’t know how to categorize your video, they’re certainly not going to rank it very high. Knowing how to write robust and effective descriptions is imperative, then. Here are a few tips to help you get started.

Write Long Video Descriptions

This is definitely a field of content writing where additional length is helpful. In fact, some YouTube SEO experts say that each video description should really be a “miniature blog post.”

We’re not sure that we’d go quite that far, but we do recommend writing 150-200 words for each post. And make sure it’s good, useful information that helps YouTube categorize your video. That brings us to the next point.

Offer Substance, But Don’t Give Everything Away

If your video description is pure fluff, it’s not going to help you communicate your intentions to YouTube’s algorithms. Yet, if you divulge all the main points of your video, then there may not be any reason for people to actually watch it.

We recommend a middle ground. Provide a basic outline of what your video is about, including its main themes and general points, but withhold the real, value-adding points. Make it clear what people can expect from your video, but don’t take away their incentive to sit back and give it a view.

Use the Right Number of Keywords

Here’s a point that may surprise you. When you use too many keywords in your video description, it can actually be counterproductive. Imagine if you chose 23 keyword tags for a single video. What you’re saying to YouTube is that the video addresses 23 different topics. It’s understandable that YouTube’s algorithms might have a hard time knowing how to categorize that content. Twenty-three topics is an awful lot!

So, for both your tags and the keywords you employ in the video description itself, we recommend sticking to some basics:

  • Always have one focus keyword—the main phrase you’re trying to rank for.
  • Include two or three alternate versions of that keyword; for example, if your main keyword is content writing, alternates might be content writing tips, content writing strategies, etc.
  • Finally, include a couple of broad category keywords to offer context. For this example, your broad keywords might be marketing or

Include a Call to Action

Finally, and as with most any content you write, include a strong call to action. Some users may view your video and want to learn more about your company—so ensure that your video description gives them an easy way to call you and/or access your website. Links to relevant blogs or social media profiles can also be useful.

Write Video Descriptions That Get Results

When it comes to YouTube SEO, success isn’t just about the video itself. Your written description can go a long way—so make sure yours is a solid one. Get help from the Grammar Chic content writing team by calling 803-831-7444, or by visiting our website, www.grammarchic.net.

 

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5 Things Your Web Content Should Do in 2018

Astounding though it may be, the time for year-end reflection is here. As we head into 2018, one thing business owners might consider is their website content. Good content is almost like a full-time employee, promoting your brand and explaining your company to online customers 24/7. The question is, is your Web content pulling its weight?

There are five basic jobs your Web content should do—and if it’s falling short, there’s no time like the present to augment, revise, or even write all new content from scratch.

Here, basically, is your Web content’s job description.

Being Found

The bare minimum for any employee? Show up to work each day. Your Web content needs to show up in search engine queries, in particular—which means good localized SEO. In particular, you need written website content with:

  • Judiciously-employed keywords
  • A compelling and keyword-rich meta description
  • A compelling and keyword-rich SEO title
  • Your company’s NAP (name, address, and phone number) info displayed on every page

Offering Value

Your company website shouldn’t actually be about you—at least not entirely. Really, it should be about your customers. What are their pain points? What are the solutions they seek? And how can your company deliver value? Your written website content should address each of these things. Some examples:

  • An About Us page with a clear value proposition
  • Product and service pages that focus on benefits
  • Tutorials or how-tos that demonstrate how your products add value

Building Trust

Another important job for your website content? Earning the trust of your readers—and in particular your potential customers. Remember that your website is the capstone of your online reputation, and it should always make people feel more comfortable doing business with you. Consider including:

  • Thought leadership (such as a blog), proving that you know what you’re talking about
  • Product demos or guides, showing that they work as advertised
  • Testimonials
  • Reviews
  • Any guarantees or warranties you offer

Gathering Information

A good website offers information to its readers, but also harvests information for your business. This is usually done through a form, wherein visitors are asked to provide some basic contact information in exchange for something valuable. Ideas include:

  • Subscription to your email newsletter
  • A white paper or e-book
  • A one-time discount or coupon

Closing Sales

Finally, your website should convert. Ideally, when all these other parts are in place, your website can function as an around-the-clock sales generator, enticing customers to make purchases, set appointments, or reach out to your sales team directly. Some vital aspects of this include:

Is Your Website Doing its Job?

Take a little time over the holidays to give your website a performance review—and if it’s not doing all that it’s supposed to, consider a Web content overhaul. Our team can help, from strategizing through the writing itself. Reach out to Grammar Chic, Inc. at 803-831-7444 or www.grammarchic.net.

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Is Style the Missing Ingredient in Your Online Copywriting?

Online content creation is often spoken of in a purely functional capacity: You need to generate some words that will, in turn, give the search engines something to chew on, all while conveying your branding message in a clear and effective way.

But your writing can be technically precise, grammatically correct, and loaded with all the right SEO keywords, and still fail to make much of an impact—especially if it doesn’t start an emotional connection with your audience.

That’s something that happens only when you write with the right style—including all those old writerly concepts like diction, tone, and voice. Style is the oft-neglected aspect of content marketing—a field too often made dry, colorless, and technical—that often spells the difference between failure and success.

Style Defined

Style can be understood in many different ways; a recent Marketing Land article says it’s “a way of communicating,” which sounds right to us. After all, the style of clothing you wear says something about you, your tastes, your personality; and in the same way, your style of writing can convey communicate something even beyond the literal meaning of your words.

Of course, style can’t be relegated to just one aspect of your writing; it encompasses a few different things, among them:

  • Your diction, or the actual vocabulary choices you make.
  • The reading level you write on—simplistic? Elevated? Technical? Layman-friendly?
  • The author’s “voice”—the personality you inject into your writing.
  • The level of formality you employ.
  • The way your text looks on the page—for instance, short vs. long sentences, etc.

Why Style Matters

In the end, though, does style really matter? It does, and for a simple reason: Effective marketing copy must appeal to more than just the rational mind. Emotions are just as impactful to purchasing decisions. (Have you ever made an “impulse buy” that you couldn’t really explain, just because it felt right to do so?)

That’s not to say that writing has to be a direct appeal to emotions; in some contexts, something a little more formal and impersonal might actually be more appropriate. Yet style can have an effect on the subconscious, and make a reader either more or less agreeable to trusting your brand. For example, a style that’s technical and erudite will lead to a deeper innate trust of your highly-technical product, while something warmer and more casual would work better when trying to appeal to the readers of a parenting blog.

For marketers, style can be relied on for three basic purposes:

  • It can help establish and earn trust, as in our example of high-level style for a highly technical product.
  • It can help establish a connection with your reader, really lodging information in the brain.
  • It can have aesthetic appeal unto itself—causing readers to take notice.

Bring Style to Your Marketing

Are you ready to inject some style into your marketing copy—helping it become powerful and resonate? Our writers can help. We’re well-versed in creating marketing copy to fit any asked-for style or voice. Learn more about our style-savvy ghostwriting services by contacting Grammar Chic today—www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

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Can Outsourced Content Writing Maintain a High Level of Quality?

Whether because they lack the time, the ability, or some combination of the two, more and more businesses are outsourcing their content writing; when it comes time for a new company blog post or press release, they farm it out to an agency or a freelancer, where the work is done relatively hassle-free.

This method obviously has its advantages, but there can also be compromises—especially when it comes to quality.

It doesn’t have to be that way. You can get high-quality work through outsourced content writing, but to do so, you’ve got to hire the right people—and manage the process wisely.

Why Content Quality Matters

First, a quick word about quality. It can be tempting to approve of any half-decent writing that’s sent your way, but business owners can and should be pickier about what they accept. There are a couple of reasons for this, and the first is branding. The writing on your website or blog reflects your brand, and as such you want it to be authoritative, clean, and helpful; you want to provide value to your customers, without errors or typos. Sloppy writing makes you look like a sloppy company.

In addition, you need quality because Google demands it—and if you want your blog or website to rank well within Google searches, keeping the algorithms happy is a necessity. Google wants its search engine users to have relevant answers to all their quandaries, so to ensure high visibility, you have to be helpful and solutions-oriented.

Hiring Quality Writers

That’s a high threshold for your writer to meet—so how can you ensure that they rise to the challenge?

  • First, make sure you hire the right people. A writing company, as opposed to an individual freelancer, can offer a real business track record, including reviews and testimonials. Always ask for work samples, too. Of course, checking out the company’s own blog helps you see what they are capable of.
  • Always make sure you’re getting your writing done by native American English speakers.
  • Do your part to provide clear directions. Be ready to offer topics, a sense of your voice/desired tone, and any SEO keywords you’d like the writers to employ.
  • Also be prepared to educate the writer about who your audience is, and what you wish to accomplish with your writing. Clear goals are vitally important.
  • Provide constructive feedback whenever you can, which will help your writers better understand your voice.
  • Finally, make sure you know quality work when you see it. This goes beyond just checking for typos and grammatical errors. Also make sure the writing that’s submitted to you is tailored to your audience and advances the goals or agenda you’ve set forward.

At the end of the day, good writing is something you can offer to customers and potential customers—and optimally, it will offer both value and professionalism. Or, to put it more succinctly, it will offer quality­—and yes: That is something you can get through outsourcing, so long as you approach the process shrewdly.

To learn more, reach out to the writers at Grammar Chic, Inc. Be sure to ask us about our own standards of quality. Contact us at www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

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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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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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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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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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