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3 Ways SEO Can Ruin Content

Do you think keyphrase usage destroys well-written content?

Well, you’re right. Up to a point.

Way back in 2011, Lee Odden wrote “Content Strategy and the Dirty Lie About SEO.” At the end of the post, he posed the question – the question that’s been debated ever since “writing for search engines” started:

Do you think SEO ruins content?

My first reaction was, “Of course not. Good SEO writing is good writing — period.”

I still feel the same way.

But…the haters have a point.

Six years later, there’s still a bunch of SEO writing B.S. floating around:

  • Focus on one keyphrase per page, and repeat it at least X times.
  • Focus on X keyword density (why won’t keyword density die?)
  • Include a keyword every X words.
  • Exact-match your keyphrase at least X times in your copy.

Maybe you believe some of this B.S., too (it’s OK. This is a judgement-free zone.)

This B.S. is why some SEO copy is horrible.  Is it any wonder why some folks think SEO ruins everything?

So, here’s the real deal:

Yes, SEO can completely decimate content — if you’re doing it wrong.

Here’s how:

When the content is written/optimized by someone who has no idea what they’re doing

Most keyphrase-stuffed content I read comes from folks operating on incorrect information.

They do what their clients tell them (for instance, focus on one keyphrase per page) without knowing it’s wrong. These writers don’t know there’s a better way, so they keep doing the same (incorrect) things. Over and over and over.

The result is stuffed, stilted-sounding content that has no conversion flow. The page doesn’t position. The page doesn’t convert. It’s sad.

via GIPHY

Sadly, many writers think ALL SEO writing is poorly-written content. So, here’s a news flash:

Folks, if you ever think, “This post sounds bad. I had to work hard to add all those keyphrases,” you’re doing it wrong.

When the content is written “for Google,” without readers in mind

Raise your hand if you’ve been asked to write “1,000 words for Google.”

Yeah, me too.

SEO writing isn't "writing for Google"

Sadly, some folks believe that following a strict writing formula will help them magically position. These folks don’t care about the content’s readability. They only care about the keyphrase usage.

They may even come right out and say, “I don’t care if anyone reads this. I just want the page to position.”

Ouch.

This magical SEO copywriting formula may include things like:

  • Specific word counts because “all posts should be X words for Google.”
  • Exact matching a nonsensical long-tail keyphrase multiple times (for instance, [portland relocation real estate oregon].
  • Bolding or italicizing words that shouldn’t be bolded or italicized.
  • Repeating all keyphrases X times in the first paragraph.

If you find yourself following a weird writing formula that makes the content read like gibberish, know it’s not true SEO writing. What’s more, following a writing formula won’t help you position. The best bet is to learn the right way to do things and throw those useless old rules out the window.

Don’t believe me? Check out Google’s Quality Raters Guidelines and see how Google defines low-quality content.

When the Titles are filled with keyphrases, with no conversion focus

This is a pet peeve of mine.

Get rid of Title pipes

I’ve discussed before how overly-optimized Titles are an inefficient branding method. The search results page is your first conversion opportunity. A Title that’s chock-full of keyphrases isn’t as persuasive as one that’s benefit-rich:

Which listing would get YOUR click?

GEICO’s “you could save $500+” is a fantastic benefit statement, and blow’s Progressive’s keyword-focused Title out of the water. Esurance is a runner-up since they include the benefit “fast” — but the Title could still be better.

Need more “good” and “bad” Title examples? Here’s a great post from Search Engine Watch.

SEO doesn’t ruin content. It’s “stupid” SEO that messes things up

Smart SEO doesn’t ruin good content. It enhances it – making it easier to be found in search engines and shared via social media. If you’ve mastered the art of online writing for both engines and people, you have a very valuable skill set.

On the flip side, yes, stupid SEO will ruin content. And your conversions, too. As my father used to say, “You can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear” – and repeating a keyword incessantly will not suddenly transform the page into “quality content.”

It reminds me of what some folks say about sales copy being too “sales-y.” There’s a way to include a call-to-action that gently leads someone to the next action step. And there’s a (wrong) way to do it that beats them over the head with hyped language, bold and italics (Hmm. now that I think about it, what IS it about bolded and italicized text?).

What do you think? Is SEO the death of good writing?

Looking for a low-cost way to learn the SEO writing ropes. I’m running a 3-part webinar series! Check it out!

Want to Write A Sizzling Services Page? Check Out These 7 Tips!

Want to know the secrets to writing a top-converting services page?

Unlike product pages, which are all about landing the sale, service pages are different.

It’s all about getting the lead.

With that in mind, here are seven smart strategies for capturing leads with savvy SEO copywriting.

Watch the video for all the juicy information, or check out a summary of the tips below:

1. Focus on benefits, not features

Don’t bury your benefit statements! It’s important to address how your service can specifically help your prospect. For instance, will your service save your customers money? Help them make more money? Streamline their operations? Tell them!

Features are important– but it’s your unique sales proposition (U.S.P.) and benefit statements that will grab your prospect’s interest and make them contact you. Merely listing features makes you sound the same as everyone else providing the same or a similar service. Who wants that?

2.  Consider persona-specific landing pages

Creating landing pages specifically addressing your main targeted audiences is a powerful strategy.

Constant Contact, an email platform, used to show vertical-specific landing pages targeted towards individual industry niches. I LOVE this approach. Why? Vertical-specific pages have very cool SEO and reader benefits.

From the SEO side, vertical-specific landing pages allow you to target highly specific keyphrases, for example [email marketing for real estate agents].

From the reader side, you can tie your writing back to your customer persona and drive home the “what’s-in-it-for-them” benefits. For instance, in the case of Constant Contact, people won’t just read about how cool email marketing is — instead, they’ll read an entire page focused on the benefits of email marketing for their industry. That’s a pretty powerful message!

3.  Don’t write skimpy copy

67% of the B2B buyers’ journey is done digitally, according to Forrester Research. That means if your site offers skimpy information and little copy, you run the risk of prospects leaving your site and checking out another vendor. Remember, people won’t “just call” or send you an email. No solid services information = no sale.

4. Include solid, vertical-specific testimonials

Yes, testimonials are smart to have on your site as social proof — but they are only as credible as you make them. Whenever possible, use the full, real names of your testimonial clients rather than just initials.  The latter can look fake (however real they might be) and could prove counter-productive.

5.  Highlight your company’s overarching benefits, too

Besides individual, specific service benefits, you want to highlight the larger, big-picture benefits that your company has to offer on every single page of your website.

Do you offer free, fast shipping? Does your company offer “white-glove” services, while your competitors offer a DIY solution? Shout your overarching benefits from the rooftops!

Boring B2B and B2C companies list technical features and facts, assuming that’s all their prospect wants (or needs) to know. Don’t be like those companies! In the words of Theodore Levitt from Harvard University, “People don’t want to buy a quarter-inch drill, they want a quarter-inch hole.”

6Pay close attention to your page Titles

Yes, Titles are very important to readers and for SEO purposes — and it’s crucial to write them right.  If you create vague, non-descript Titles with broad keywords, such as “marketing services” or “web design,” you won’t see the positions you want — nor will you see much organic search traffic.

If your Titles are so-so, consider revisiting your keyphrase research and making some strategic tweaks. You may see a boost in page positions (and search traffic) if you do!

7.  Consider conducting keyphrase research before you name your services 

A cool-sounding, unique service name may seem edgy — but it may not be intuitively searchable. Naming your service something like “Revenue $ucce$$” when you offer “accounts payable services” may make your service hard to find online.

Some companies will conduct keyphrase research before naming a service. That way, they know what words people are using to search for what they offer — and they can consider using those search terms as part of the service name.

Looking for more how-to information? Learn how to write a killer home page and a revenue-driving product page!

Want to learn how to work where you want, when you want and make the money you want to make? Discover profitable SEO writing tips, business strategies, and proven productivity hacks.

Learn how to be a rebel writer — sign up for my weekly newsletter!

 

SEO Editing vs. Copywriting for SEO

Should you create original content? Or, should you SEO optimize a page that’s already on the site?

Freelance and in-house writers ask this question all the time. Their emails say, “My boss (or client) wants me to add keyphrases to this existing page. The problem is, the page isn’t very good. Will the keyphrases help? Or is better to rewrite it?”

That’s an excellent question that I address in the video  — or, you can read the modified transcript, below.

SEO copywriting and SEO editing — what’s the difference?

First, let’s go over the differences between SEO copywriting and keyphrase editing.

Keyphrase editing is also known as “on-page optimization,” “optimizing the text,” or “SEO copyediting.” The technique is to add keywords — either derived from the writer’s keyphrase research or received from an SEO — to existing text.

When a page is optimized (or edited,) the content is not rewritten. The writer may edit the page Title and meta description, but for the most part, she’s working with the existing content.

SEO copywriting usually refers to creating original content. The writer still conducts keyphrase research (or receives the keyphrases from an SEO.) However, rather than editing the existing content, she would write brand-new content and include the keyphrases (along with synonyms and related words.)

So you see, SEO copywriting and keyphrase editing are very different: one is working with existing text, and the other is throwing away the existing text and starting fresh.

Should you optimize your site? Or rewrite your pages?

So, when is a better strategy to edit existing pages rather than rewrite them?

It’s best to optimize a page (keyphase editing) when:

  • You (and your readers) already love the content
  • The page isn’t crucial to the sales process
  • The bounce rate isn’t too high

If you have content on your site you (and your readers) already love and it’s performing well, but it wasn’t written with keyphrases the first time around, the page may be a good candidate for keyphrase editing.

It’s also OK to edit the page when it isn’t crucial to the sales process. For example, I’ve worked with companies that have edited old blog posts and saw a great bump in search positions as a result. Editing FAQ pages and articles can offer the same benefit.

Finally, optimizing the page is OK when the time on page (or bounce rate) isn’t too high. You know that people are sticking around and reading the page once they’ve landed on it, so adding in some strategic keyphrases here and there is typically fine for that page.

An SEO content editor or an SEO copywriter usually handles the keyphrase editing. He may be someone you employ in-house, or a freelancer.

There are also certain times when it’s better to write original content, such as:

  • When the page is crucial to the sales process
  • When the page is a duplicate
  • When page conversions or time on page is low

If a page is crucial to the sales process, or is somehow intended to make money — like the home page, and subcategory pages such as products and services — it’s better to rewrite it.

You also want to rewrite the page if it’s a duplicate. This is common with  local landing pages, where two (or more) pages may be basically the same (outside of the city name.)

Also, when you know that the page isn’t working — you’re not getting conversions, the time on page is low, and people are bouncing out quickly —  rewrite it. Readers are telling you they don’t like the page by leaving as soon as they can.

Sure, you can edit the keyphrases into a poorly performing page and sure, hypothetically that page might position a little better, but it won’t help boost conversions.

Either a freelancer or an experienced in-house SEO copywriter can rewrite your pages. Also, an SEO content strategist could do the keyphrase research for you, as well as dovetail her research with the rest of your SEO plan.

Make sense? There’s clearly a difference between when you would write original content and when you can work with the existing content — and it’s smart to know those differences before you proceed.

(Editors note: I originally wrote this post in 2011. A lot has changed since then, so I updated the video and the transcript. I hope you enjoyed the post!)

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Photo thanks: © Bakhtiar Zein | Dreamstime.com

 

Going Beyond Shareable Content with BuzzSumo’s Steve Rayson

children-sharing-milkshakeToday we’re happy to share our interview with BuzzSumo’s Steve Rayson. As BuzzSumo is a relatively new company, we asked Steve to talk a bit about its founding before answering the seven specific questions we had for him. You’ll want to be sure to read his intriguing take on the future of social sharing. Enjoy!

When was BuzzSumo founded?

The first version of the free product was created in 2013 by James Blackwell and Henley Wing. This tool allowed people to search for the most shared content published over the past 6 months.

At the time they were employed and developing the product in their spare time. I was so impressed by the tool that I approached James and Henley about developing a paid product, creating a company and working on the product full-time.

We first met face to face in December 2013, where I agreed to invest to allow James and Henley to work full-time on developing BuzzSumo Pro as a paid product.

We established BuzzSumo as a company in March 2014, with the three of us as directors. The first paid product, BuzzSumo Pro, was launched in September 2014. The paid version includes content alerts, reports and influencer analysis. We have continued to add to the product, including our latest trending features.

What was the inspiration for its creation?

In essence it was about searching for content that was resonating with people. Google is great, but it is based on authority sites. Thus if you search for, say, e-learning, it will start with Wikipedia. We were interested in the content that was resonating, e.g., what was the most shared content during this week or that month.

We were also interested in how content gets amplified, meaning who shares and links to the content and why? Our tool will show who shared an article and who linked to it so you can understand how it is being amplified. I think promotion is a much neglected area — people should spend as much or more time on promoting content as researching and creating it.

We are a small team so we tend to cover lots of bases. I tend to focus on marketing and strategic development, and relationships with partners. We have recently done joint webinars with Cana, Hubspot, Uberflip and Wordstream. On any given day I can be doing anything from researching new feature ideas and talking to customers about what would be helpful to them, to writing articles and answering support queries.

Any milestones in BuzzSumo’s growth that you’d like to share?

We recently passed 100,000 subscribers to our free product and more importantly 1,000 paying customers.

The key to any successful SaaS (software as a service) product is minimizing churn, which is the turnover of paying customers. Thus you want to make sure you have a product that provides value and that people use as part of their daily work.

You need to track things like active daily users and your ongoing churn rate, as well as your monthly growth in revenues and users.

It is important to focus on customer service as you grow and help your customers to get the most out of the tool. They are also your greatest asset in that they can help you identify features that will be really valuable to your audience.

BuzzSumo was once described as a “fusion of human intelligence and digital intelligence”. That seems to be a good descriptor – can you talk a little about that?

I am not sure where that came from but I understand the sentiment. It is difficult to define “good content” but we can define content that is resonating with audiences as we can see people share it and link to it. We can draw insights from this data.

Thus we can see that posts with images get more shares than posts without, that infographics are well shared in some areas, that list posts get more shares than other content formats, that quizzes get well shared, etc. We can then improve our odds of producing content that resonates by understanding this data.

We have found that the best content formats depend a lot on the topic and the audience. It is important to research what works with your audience.

Tracking content trends is also important. A BuzzSumo top content search will show you the most shared content in the last month or last 24 hours so you can see what is resonating. The BuzzSumo trending section will show you today’s most shared content for any topic, providing real time insights into the content that is engaging your audience.

We are fundamentally about helping people create better content: content that resonates and gets shared. We hopefully do that by providing insights through data such as what is working in your area or for your competitors.

Many companies push out large volumes of content to “please Google.” How can big data streamline a company’s content marketing efforts and gain better results?

I think you need to start with content research and produce a content plan. I think one of the most important aspects of content marketing is being consistent. You need to consistently produce content as the benefits accrue over time. You need a schedule, whatever that is — e.g. one blog post a week — and you need to stick to it.

Data helps you to focus on creating content that works, and getting a balance of content to support the various stages of the sales funnel. Here are some examples below:

sales-funnel-content

 

 

 

 

What matters as much as the content itself is distribution and promotion, which we come to below.

Some experts believe that it’s better to write one really good piece of content a month (that’s properly promoted,) than multiple pieces of content with little or no promotion strategy. Have you seen data that supports this?

All content should be “good” and it can be better to produce one really good, well-researched article than four poor pieces of content. The key is that you are producing something of value to your audience. If you have limited resources you need to be realistic about what you can produce.

Sites like the Harvard Business Review produce good content but it doesn’t mean they only publish one blog post a week. In fact they average 50 blog posts a week. They do this through guest authors. Guest authors and curation are one way you can seek to increase the volume of content.

The key is that you promote your content. It doesn’t matter how good your content is, people will simply not find it if you don’t promote it. My view is that you need to spend as much time, if not more, promoting and amplifying content as creating it.

You need to think about this before you write your post. For example, can you involve influencers in the research or interview them? Be clear how you are going to promote the post – which social channels, how many people will share it for you, which forums are you going to submit your content to, what paid promotion you will use, etc.

From your research, how does the underlying emotion of a blog post impact its shareability? What can this mean for, say, B2B content that’s typically considered “boring?” Is there an opportunity there?

Emotion can help improve shareability. Last year we analyzed the top 10,000 most shared articles across the web, and mapped each one to an emotion, such as joy, sadness, anger, amusement, laughter, etc. Here is how the breakdown of how the emotions looked:

popular-emotions

 

 

 

 

 

However, I don’t think you need to focus on emotion to get good shareability. In B2B, people are time pressed and want to do their job better and faster. Thus if you can produce content that is helpful, people will value it and share it.

So you can identify the key questions people are asking and produce good answers. The aim really is to be the best answer to the question. The top ten thousand “how to” posts this year were shared more than 19,000 times on average.

You can also experiment with list posts and picture lists. List posts provide a promise, such as “5 steps to improve your landing page”.

Posts that are well structured and skimmable also do well. Below is a good example. This post has clear numbered steps, links to further resources, good use of images to explain points, and top tips to make the post actionable.

skimmable-content

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Images work well because we process images much faster than text and they help us to skim articles faster. They also work well if you are taking someone through a process, telling a story or making comparisons. One post format I think will continue to do well is a picture list post, i.e., a curated series of images.

You conducted an interesting interview with SEMrush where you outlined how BuzzSumo and SEMrush go hand-in-hand for competitive intelligence efforts. Are there other tools you’d recommend for writers?

I use tools like BuzzSumo and Feedly to keep on top of new content and to generate content ideas.

On BuzzSumo, I use top content searches to find new content ideas, but what works better for me personally is setting up content alerts and custom trending feeds. I then turn each of these into RSS feeds that I pull into Feedly. I then get a constant stream of posts on specific topics such as data driven marketing.

For trending content, I will also use Hashtagify to see related trending hashtags.

Many smaller companies are direct competitors of large brands with big followings. What are some competitive intelligence steps their writers could take that could build authority faster and increase their content’s shareability?

There has never been a better time for small companies. They can move faster than larger brands and can achieve reach through web publishing combined with promotion and influencer marketing. They can really punch way above their weight.

Smaller companies can also jump on trends much faster and engage in relevant discussions.

They can build a personal voice, as well. I feel social is very much about people. I rarely follow someone unless they have a face; I don’t like to follow logos. When you think about whose articles you want to read on the web it is normally a person not a corporation.

If you peer into your crystal ball — where do you think social sharing is headed?

I think it is interesting that more people discover content now via social than via search. Social overtook search for the first time last year — in fact the volume of Google searches fell last year for the first time. A recent research project published by the American Press Institute found that young people get most of their news from social channels.

Social media’s role as a content discovery platform is only just beginning. I think people will become more sophisticated in how they build personal learning networks using social media and how they mine social data for trends.

social-and-search

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Connect with Steve on Twitter and LinkedIn

Take your content marketing to the Super Bowl

footballIf you follow the NFL, you know that the Seattle Seahawks and the Denver Broncos are in the Super Bowl. And, you most likely know who is not in the Super Bowl: the San Francisco 49ers and the New England Patriots.

For this post, I want to focus on the Broncos and the Patriots; the two teams who played each other for the AFC Championship and the chance to go to the Super Bowl.

New England was playing without one of their key offensive players: Rob Gronkowski. How key was Gronkowski? Let’s look at how the Patriots ranked in the league this past season:

  • Scoring in the Red Zone (within the 20-yard line): with him: 4th; without him: 30th
  • Passing yards: with him: 3rd; without him: 19th
  • Gaining first downs: with him: 2nd; without him: 16th

Not having him on the field definitely affects the team’s effectiveness … and may have cost the team their shot at the Super Bowl. Although there was an entire team, one player made such an impact.

Speaking of one player making an impact, you don’t have to watch football to know who Peyton Manning is. The quarterback for the Broncos is definitely an impact player. In fact, when he was the quarterback for the Indianapolis Colts when he was injured for a season, the entire team seemed to fall apart.

The Colts learned the hard way that you couldn’t put all of your hopes in one player. The Denver Broncos built a team around Manning, but they made sure they had a solid team with other diverse and strong players.

You need more than one strong player

When it comes to your content marketing, don’t put all of your efforts in one place. If you want to take your marketing “to the big game,” you need a solid team.

As you have seen, Google is constantly updating its algorithm. If you’re thinking, “But Amy, Google likes X,” stop it! There are a lot of things that Google once “loved,” but now the search engine actually penalizes you for. Remember:

Those tactics worked great for a while, but companies who relied on one of these ended up paying the price when Google updated its algorithm – plus they were probably already losing conversions thanks to bad copy.

Build a diverse team for your content marketing

Even if you have a solid player, like customer-focused quality content, you need to have a full content marketing team. I’m not talking about people; I’m talking about strategies.

You can stop worrying about Google updates if – in addition to superior content that targets your specific audience – you have a:

With a strong team and just not one star, you can take your content to Super Bowl levels.

 

Photo credit:  American Football ©  | Dreamstime.com

Upping your B2B content game? Get B2B SEO Copywriting certified! Sign up now!

Search Siren: Irresistible SEO copywriting content – Nov. 6, 2013

Time's running out on your blog post!This tantalizing collection of SEO content comes at exactly the right time – because time’s running out!

It seems like everyone’s running out of time for blog posts this week, myself included, with a server glitch holding up the site as I type! (Tuesday night)

A few of this week’s expert posts assure me that I’m not the only one blogging out at the last minute. (And, yes, I just coined “blogging out,” meaning to freak out over a looming blog deadline. Feel free to use it … with attribution.)

To help out with the mad rush, the Internet-marketing Gods, aka HubSpot, hath released upon us this brand new collection of blog post templates. Write, my friends, write!

Oh yeah, and there’s a bunch of other helpful SEO stuff in here, too, that you can check out for yourself. Sorry, I’m totally blogging out right now!

Enjoy! 🙂

Ian Lurie writes Content Marketing and SEO: Proceed With Caution for Entrepreneur.

Shanna Mallon tells us how to Build Your Content Calendar: 3 Easy Steps on Content Marketing Institute.

Search Engine Journal shares What Do The New Google Updates Mean For Content Marketers: Interview With Greg Secrist At #Pubcon 2013 by Murray Newlands. (like, whoa! I can’t link that whole title!)

HubSpot’s Inbound Hub gives us Here’s How I Wrote This 1,000-Word Blog Post in 10 Minutes by Ginny Soskey.

Here are 20 Ways To Get Your Content In Front Of Early-Stage B2B Buyers by Derek Edmond on Search Engine Land.

Lee Odden writes Integrating Public Relations & Content Marketing – It Doesn’t Have to be Scary over at TopRank.

Rae Hoffman writes WHAT YOU NEED TO UNDERSTAND ABOUT GOOGLE PENGUIN RECOVERY on her Sugarrae blog. (And, why yes, that is the best industry nickname ever.)

Search Engine People’s Amanda DiSilvestro shares What is Reverse Guest Blogging and How Can It Help?

Our very own Heather Lloyd-Martin tells What Lou Reed can teach you about SEO writing.

State of Digital’s Neil Walker writes Focus Groups and Knowing Your Audience.

Nick Wilsdon shares The Discovery Process Behind Mature Content Marketing Strategies, also on State of Digital.

Jennifer Horowitz introduces us to Google’s Newest Little Friend: Hummingbird over at Level343.

Google Hummingbird and its role in the promotion of content marketing by Colleen Lewis on memeburn.

Nick Whitmore gives us 5 Ways Persistence Pays For Online Content Creators on Copyblogger.

Joe Pulizzi shares the 2013 Content Marketing Prediction Hits and Misses on Content Marketing Institute.

Shawn Rosko writes SEO Techniques for Increasing Website Trust After a Penalty over at overit.

Doc Sheldon asks Writing Content for Users vs. Search Engines: Is There Still a Difference? on Search Engine Watch.

UpCity’s Julie Zare tells us to Ask An Expert 10/30: Local Keyword Selection, Kancart for Mobile, and Backlinks from Directories. (Dang – also too long to link the whole title!)

Julie Zare’s killin’ it over at UpCity with another one! Find out How to Ensure the Content on your Website is Unique.

Ginny Soskey asks Memes vs. MBAs: What Is Quality Content, Anyway? over at the HubSpot Inbound Hub.

David Portney gives us an SEO Makeover for 2014: A Practical Guide for Businesses at Portent.

Kimberly Krause Berg tells us What Google’s Machine Learning Can’t Know About Us on Internet Marketing Ninjas.

WordStream’s Phil Kowalski writes Clearing Up Negative Broad Match in AdWords.

Eliza Steely at TopRank writes 2013 SES Chicago – Wind, Shoulders, and Search.

Maria Winters DiMarco gives us the Top 5 Reasons to Set Clear Goals for Your Content over on SEER Interactive.

Danny Sullivan Shares What He Has Learned About Hummingbird with Eric Enge over at StoneTemple Consulting.

Sugarrae’s back and IDENTIFYING THE MONEY KEYWORDS FOR AFFILIATE MARKETING & SEO for you on her blog.

Lyena Solomon says “I’m Just Not That Into SEO” Is No Longer A Problem After This Post on Search Engine People.

Our own Amy Teeple helps you avoid the Oh no! I have a blog post to write! panic.

KISSmetrics’ Sherice Jacob tells us More Content Marketing Isn’t Necessarily Better.

Photo thanks to Jackie (It’s Official)

Why do some freelance copywriters rake in the bucks while others struggle to make ends meet? Hint: It’s all about tightening up the back end of your business. Learn how to make more money, faster with the Copywriting Business Bootcamp. Save 10% until 11/13/13 with coupon code SECRETS.

SEO content & social media marketing synergy: 3 perspectives

Three takes on the interplay between social media and SEO content are featuredIt’s that time again, when we feature some of our best guest author content. And this time, we’re showcasing authors who have touched on social media and its role in SEO content marketing.

As we all know, SEO copywriting and content marketing don’t occur in a vacuum. Optimizing for the human reader has become paramount, and Google has made it clear that in its algorithms, content quality and source authority are key. And so in both establishing and reflecting content relevancy and credibility to readers, social media promotion and sharing have become integral to the SEO content marketing process.

Read on to learn what some of the best minds in the online marketing industry have to say about the synergy of social media and SEO content!

 

Wake up! You're in the social SEO copywriting businessWake up, you’re in the social SEO copywriting business!

Miranda Miller notes “there are literally hundreds of factors affecting your content’s search ranking, not the least of which are trust, authority, and engagement” and that “social media is hands down the best content promotion tool out there.” Indeed. She then goes on to share solid strategies to “bake” social promotion into your content “right from the planning phase.” If you missed this reader favorite on holistic marketing the first time around, be sure to read it and bookmark it for reference!

 

SEO co-citations:What they are & why they matterSEO co-citations: What they are & why they matter

Jayson DeMers explains the anatomy of SEO co-citations and why we should care about (and utilize) this strategy. With the demise of traditional link building and the end of tactics aimed at passing page rank (which of course is a good thing), co-citations are an indirect way to “share” authority with a well-established site already endowed with “Google respect.” As DeMers writes, “co-citations can be a little difficult to wrap your head around,” but he does an excellent job of explaining (and illustrating) what they are, how they work, and most importantly, why they matter in the brave new world of social SEO.

 

Leveraging content relationships & social proof for CROLeveraging content relationships & social proof for conversion rate optimization

Andrew Isidoro focuses on optimizing conversion rates by using social proof from content marketing and content relationships developed through guest blogging to drive qualified traffic to your site. Using social proof examples from Blueglass UK as well as the content relationship between Distilled and Moz, Isidoro also delves into how to use custom, personalized landing pages “to help create a seamless transition from your guest content onto your own website, and maintain the brand connection between the two.” A must-read for any serious SEO content marketer!

 

photo thanks to webtreats

 

SEO content marketing roundup, week ending Oct. 2

Cat hunts for birds and keywordsHi everyone and welcome to my inaugural roundup!

Laura Crest did such an awesome job getting the roundup going, building it up to what it is today and keeping you updated on the latest industry news. I’m continuing the roundup where she left off to keep on giving you more of the content you crave!

Anything you’d like to see in the roundup? I’d love your suggestions!

This week, the search world is abuzz about Google tossing all search terms into the (not provided) basket. Businesses and search professionals need to adjust to the changes, and we’ve got you covered with insights and strategies from around the Web.

Content Marketing

Convince & Convert’s Barry Feldman tells us how to create content for a boring industry in “7 Content Marketing Poop Scoops”.

Learn “What the Best Business Bloggers Do (And You Should Too)” from HubSpot’s Corey Eridon.

From our own SEO Copywriting blog, Courtney Ramirez gives us “Adapting to visual content: 3 musts for the SEO copywriter”.

Joe Pulizzi writes “How to Create an Influencer Plan that Drives Your Content Marketing” on Copyblogger.

Content Marketing Institute‘s Mike Murray gives us “Editorial Plan Best Practices: Prime Your Content Marketing for Success”.

Mark Schaefer shares “The truth behind why my blog sucked for two years” over on Schaefer Marketing Solutions.

Seth Godin tells us that “Category of One is a Choice”.

Here are “5 New Content Monetization Services You May Not Know About” from Social Media Today‘s Kay Singh.

Inc.‘s Dave Kerpen shares “6 Reasons Companies Fail at Content Marketing”.

Vertical Measures gives us “Top 7 Reasons Why Your Content Pages Load Slowly” by David Gould.

Paul Santello tells us “How to achieve true video integration” at iMedia Connection.

SEER Interactive gives us “10 Quick Ideas for Producing Video Content” by Chad Gingrich.

David Edelmin writes “Creativity Is Hard Work” on LinkedIn.

Social Media Explorer‘s Jason Spooner shares “Planning for Spontaneity”.

Joe Pulizzi writes “2014 B2B Content Marketing Research: Strategy is Key to Effectiveness” over at Content Marketing Institute.

Search Engine People‘s Alicia Lawrence says “Let Your Eyes Guide Your Content Marketing”.

Events:

(John Hall lists a number of great conferences for online marketers, businesses and entrepreneurs at Forbes).

 

SEO & Search

Rand Fishkin gives us “The First Existential Threat to SEO” at Moz.

There are “5 Reasons You’ll Need to Increase Your SEO Budget in 2014”, according to Search Engine Journal’s Jayson DeMers.

Search Engine Watch’s Glenn Gabe shares “The Relentless Pounding of Google Panda: Why SEO Band-Aids Won’t Work”.

Search Engine People’s Darla Grant-Braid tells us “How Google’s Keyword Encryption Will Bring Buyer Personas to The Forefront”.

Danny Goodwin gives us “Google Hummingbird Takes Flight: Biggest Change to Search Since Caffeine” from Search Engine Watch.

HubSpot’s Jeff Quipp explains “Why You Should Stop Using Google Rankings as Your Primary SEO KPI”

Magnitude Media’s Leslie Poston says “Google Killed Keywords, And Savvy Content Marketers Are Fine With That”

“Google introduces new ‘Hummingbird’ search algorithm” and Reuters explains.

George Freitag shares how “Team Portent Weighs In On the Loss of Organic Keywords”.

Econsultancy‘s Graham Charlton writes “Google’s keyword data apocalypse: the experts’ view”.

Haukur Jarl shares “Updates to AdWords Conversion Tracking” at State of Digital.

ReelSEO gives us “Google’s Hummingbird Update And The Implications For Video SEO” by Carla Marshall.

Barry Schwartz writes “Reporting Delay In Google Webmaster Tools Search Queries for Search Engine Roundtable.

Courtney Ramirez reports “Google Playing it Safe With Search” for Endurance Marketing.

Kate Gramlich Roumbos shares “Hummingbird: Move Over Caffeine, Hello Sweet Nectar” on GHERGICH & Co.

Lukas Oldenburg tells us “Why branded search traffic from Google Chrome has almost disappeared” over at Web Analytics World.

Bill Slawski writes “The Google Hummingbird Patent?” over at SEO by the Sea.

SEO Theory‘s Michael Martinez posts “Keyword Magic, or How I Learned to Be an SEO (again)”.

Duane Forrester writes on Bing’s Webmaster Blog “Loss of Data Needn’t Mean Loss of Direction”

Events: 

 

Social Media Marketing

Matt McGee fills us in on the latest Google+ integration in Search Engine Land’s “Google Launches Hashtag Search, Shows Google+ Posts On Search Results Page”.

Corey Shelton tells us how to “Kill It on Facebook by Being TAGFEE” on The Moz Blog.

“Pinterest launches Article Pins to target readers” Social Fresh’s Nick Cicero posts.

Social Media Examiner’s John Lee Dumas shares “3 Unique Ways to Get Started With Business Podcasting”

TechCrunch’s Josh Constine shares the news everyone’s been waiting for: “Facebook Lets You Edit Posts After Sharing On Android And Web Now, iOS Soon”.

WordPress‘ Social Media Buz Blog gives us “10 Questions to Ask Yourself Before you Start your Social Media Strategy”.

Mila Araujo writes “Using Hashtags in Social Media: A How-To Guide” for Social Media Today.

Fast Company‘s Belle Beth Cooper gives us “A Scientific guide to Maximizing your Impact on Twitter, Facebook and Other Digital Media”.

“Not Verified? Here’s The Twitter View From Where I’m Sitting” Alex Wilhelm reports from TechCrunch.

UpCity shares a “Beginner’s Guide to Creating a Pinterest Account for your Business” by John Anyasor.

Belle Beth Cooper shares “The surprising history of Twitter’s hashtag and 4 ways to get the most out of them” from The Buffer blog.

Marketo‘s Maggie Jones writes “The State of Native Advertising: Are Pinterest’s Paid Promotions a Bad Idea?”

Zeke J. Miller and Denver Nicks report “Which Tweets Will Survive the Government Shutdown?” at TIME Swampland.

Social Media Examiner‘s Jamie Turner posts “6 Powerful Ways to Improve Your Social Mobile Marketing”.

John Anyasor writes “How to Engage your Google Plus Followers and 20 Examples That Prove It” for UpCity.

memeburn‘s Lauren Granger posts “Facebook gets creepier, adds status updates and posts to Graph Search”.

Events:

(For an all-in-one listing and description of social media, content and inbound marketing events, check out Neal Schaffer’s “The 12 Best Social Media Conferences to Attend in 2013” at Social Media Today.)

photo thanks to Ian Barbour (Cat hunting for birds)

SEO content marketing roundup, week ending September 25th

Google's move to 100% data encryption headlines this week's online marketing news.In this week’s latest and greatest online marketing news, Google’s move towards eclipsing all keyword data (except for its PPC advertisers) grabs the headlines.

Other highlights include mobile marketing, visual and video content marketing, the question of the importance of content quality, YouTube’s introduction of a new (Google+ – driven) commenting system, and Pinterest’s new rich pins for articles.

On a personal note, I’ll be handing the SEO Content Marketing Roundup reins over to the most capable hands of Tracy Mallette, the new blog editor for SEO Copywriting. It’s been a great ride and a privilege to have served up the “latest and greatest” online marketing news to you all for the past few years. You’re the ones that have built it up from a handful of links to its present format. Thank you for making the roundup what it is today! I know Tracy will take up the roundup gauntlet with integrity, style, and class.

Now, enjoy this week’s picks!

Content Marketing

eMarketer reports that U.S. mobile online time surpasses desktop with “How Digital Time Spent Breaks Down by Device, Gender, Content Area.”

John Anyasor posts “20 Mobile Experts for Your Marketing Needs” at UpCity.

KISSmetrics posts an “Infographic: Email Marketing is Changing – The Rise of Mobile and Triggered Emails.”

Lee Odden posts “Content Marketing World 2013 Wrap-Up – TopRank Style” at TopRank.

Pawan Deshpande discusses “Content Curation: 6 Strategies to Add Value With Your Own Commentary” at Content Marketing Institute.

Rebecca Toth discusses “Content Quality vs. Quantity: Is There a Clear Winner?” at CMS Wire.

Reporting on a Hacker News thread, Barry Schwartz reports “Google: Higher Quality Content Might Not Be More Useful Content” at Search Engine Roundtable.

Carla Rover interview Bing’s Duane Forrester with “The Evangelists: Bing on Content” at eMarketing Association.

Neicole Crepeau posts “How to Create Living Content to Boost Brand Reputation and Visibility” at Convince & Convert.

Michael Brito posts “Extra Gum: A Lesson in Effective Brand Storytelling But…” at Newsroom CMO.

Jeff Bullas discusses “How Brand.com Reviews Your Online Reputation” at his blog.

Citing a new survey by Skyword, Amy Gesenhues reports “46% Of Marketers Have Content Marketing Strategy, Only 25% Track Social Media Results” at Marketing Land.

Courtney Ramirez discusses “Adapting to visual content: 3 musts for the SEO copywriter” at SEO Copywriting.

Shanna Mallon posts “Visual Content: How Starbucks Uses Instagram” at Spin Sucks.

Corey Eridon reports “Pinterest Announces Rich Pins for Articles” at HubSpot.

Brafton Editorial reports “Most outsourced content? Videos and graphics [stats].”

Thibaut Dehem posts “The Ultimate Go-To Guide to Choosing Your Video Format and Design Style” at ReelSEO.

David Moth shares “Six creative examples of product videos to inspire your own efforts” at Econsultancy.

Heather Lloyd-Martin posts “Does your SEO copy leverage the rule of three?” at SEO Copywriting.

Laura Crest discusses “The Resurrection of Content Mills in the Post-Panda Era” at Top Shelf Copy.

Seth Godin continues his Q & A series with “Poke the Box vs. meh” at his blog.

Events:

(John Hall lists a number of great conferences for online marketers, businesses, and entrepreneurs at Forbes).

 

SEO & Search

Danny Sullivan reports “Post-PRISM, Google Confirms Quietly Moving To Make All Searches Secure, Except For Ad Clicks” at Search Engine Land.

In a special Whiteboard Tuesday presentation, Rand Fishkin addresses “When Keyword (not provided) is 100 Percent of Organic Referrals, What Should Marketers Do?” at Moz.

Thom Craver posts “Not Provided is Not the End of the World” at his blog.

Josh Patrice posts “A Day in the Life or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love (not provided)” at Portent.

Rudd Hein posts “What Google’s Keyword Data Grab Means – And Five Ways Around It” at Search Engine People.

Michelle Noonan posts “Not Provided Keywords – SEO Reporting Without Keyword Data” at SEER Interactive.

Graham Charlton posts “Google’s keyword data apocalypse: the experts’ view” at Econsultancy.

Daniel Burstein posts the latest MarketingSherpa research chart on “How dependent are your fellow marketers on organic search?”

David Harry discusses “How Search Engines Rank Web Pages” at Search Engine Watch.

Eric Enge discusses “Direct Measurement of Google Plus Impact on Search Rankings” at the Stone Temple Blog.

Bill Hartzer posts “Do Google +1s and Shares Help Search Engine Rankings?” at his site.

Stoney deGeyter discusses “4 Ways To Avoid An SEO Disaster Of Monumental Proportions” at Search Engine Land.

Barry Schwartz reports “Google: Don’t Pay The Link Mobster For Link Removals, Just Disavow Them” at Search Engine Roundtable.

John Doherty posts “Building Your Marketing Funnel with Google Analytics” at Moz.

Jennifer Slegg posts “Google Trends Adds Trending Charts, 30 Days of Hot Searches” at Search Engine Watch.

Moz’s Dr. Peter J. Meyers and Denis Pinsky co-author “Deep Dive Into In-Depth Articles – Google’s Ultimate Evergreen” at Forbes.

Richard Kirk posts “Mobile & Table Click Curves Confirm: Your Site is Either Page 1 or Nowhere” at Search Engine Watch.

Greg Sterling reports “Study: 61 Percent of Mobile Callers Ready To Convert” at Search Engine Land.

Mark Traphagen posts “Google Authorship Troubleshooting: Article Attributed to Wrong Author” at Moz.

The team of Level 343 discusses building authority and relevance with “Effective Keyword List” at Level 343.

Eric Covino discusses “How To Think About Your Next SEO Project” at SEO Book.

Jayson DeMers discusses “How to Integrate Social Media With Your SEO Campaign” at The Huffington Post.

Brian Massey posts “Is Your Site Foreign To Visitors? How To Present A Tourist-Friendly Experience” at Marketing Land.

Greg Sterling reports “Study: Google Reviews Determine Local Carousel Rankings” at Search Engine Land.

Events: 

  • SMX East 2013 returns to New York City, October 1st thru the 3rd.
  • PubCon Las Vegas 2013 is on for October 22nd thru the 25thEarly bird savings of $400 thru October 20th!

 

Social Media Marketing

Frederic Lardinois reports “YouTube Announces A New Commenting System, Powered By Google+, With Threaded, Ranked And Private Conversations” at TechCrunch.

Nicolette Beard posts “How Does B2B Marketing Work on Google Plus? 4 Top B2B Tech Company Examples” at TopRank.

Chris Taylor discusses “Why Google Plus Is The One to Watch” at Social Media Today.

Venu Satuluri reports Twitter recommends accounts and tweets in notifications based on @MagicRecs algorithms with “Stay in the know” at Twitter Blogs.

Belle Beth Cooper discusses “The surprising history of Twitter’s hashtag and 4 ways to get the most out of them” at The Buffer Blog.

Ritika Puri posts “Content Rescues Brands From The Edge Of Disaster” at The Content Strategist.

Sara Lingafelter posts “Are Social Fails Good Business?” at Portent.

Gini Dietrich discusses “Social Media Policy: When Are Your Own Opinions Not Okay?” at Spin Sucks.

Kim Lachance Shandrow posts “10 Questions to Ask When Creating a Social-Media Marketing Plan” at Entrepreneur.

Jay Baer interviews Flip the Funnel author Joseph Jaffe via podcast with “The Magic of Ignorance: Knowing What You Don’t Know” at Convince & Convert.

Danny Brown discusses “Why MyPeerIndex is a Major Step Forward for Social Scoring.”

Raymond Morin posts “Social Media Influencers or Ambassadors? How to Identify Them” at Maximize Social Business.

Carla Marshall posts “Exlusive: Dailymotion Launches Matchbox Curation Tool For Publishers” at ReelSEO.

Lee Odden shares his presentation on “How to Integrate Search, Social Media & Content Marketing” at via TopRank on SlideShare.

Events:

(For an all-in-one listing and description of social media, content & inbound marketing events, check out Neal Schaffer’s “The 12 Best Social Media Conferences to Attend in 2013” at Social Media Today.)

photo thanks to thierry ehrmann (Abode of Chaos)

Sale! Save 25% on the SEO Copywriting Certification training through September 30th with code SEPTEMBER

 

Adapting to visual content: 3 musts for the SEO copywriter

The SEO copywriter needs to adapt to visual content marketingWith each new photo-friendly social network (and updates to existing networks to make images look even better), I cringe a little. There was a time when the best way to get your message across online was through some high quality, optimized text. As writers, we were kings and queens among content creators.

But now the tide is shifting. The web has become, for many, a primarily visual experience. Here’s some food for thought:

  • 40% of people respond better to visual information than plain text. (Zabisco)
  • On Facebook, photos perform best for likes, comments and shares. (Dan Zarella)
  • Pinterest generated more referral traffic for businesses than Google+, LinkedIn and YouTube. (PriceGrabber)

(stats courtesy of Hubspot)

So what is the SEO content writer to do? It’s time to adapt. You can’t deny the power of images, and if you want your clients to reach their business goals through marketing you need to offer what is best.

Text is still important – but smart content writers need to make some strategic moves to stay on top of what clients (and search engines) are looking for.

Here’s how to do it:

1.   Think strategist instead of writer.

Many copywriters and content creators don’t realize that they are playing an important strategic role in their clients’ success. The writing you’re delivering isn’t just writing – it plays into your client’s ongoing success.

As content shifts heavily towards images rather than writing, put on your strategist hat. Help your clients understand how your writing is supported by images, and vice versa. Craft a strategy for them that combines your words with key images for maximum impact.

When you take this position, you’ll be able to overcome any qualms your clients might have about spending money and time with a content writing specialist.

2.   Partner with a graphic designer.

There’s never been a better time to form a strategic partnership with a graphic designer who can add beautiful images to your artwork.

Here’s an example: You write a lengthy, thought leadership blog post for  a client and the graphic artist creates a series of beautiful quote images from that article. Your client can use those images to market the piece on Facebook, Google+, Pinterest and more. Or you could formally offer presentation creation services so your clients can leverage SlideShare, LinkedIn and Google+ promotion opportunities.

3.   Make incredibly awesome content.

The goal of most visual marketing is to get your audience to click back to a website and take action. That’s where your role as an SEO content creator comes in.

You get to create an incredibly awesome landing page that speaks directly to your client’s audience and gets the conversions that they are looking for. Plastering the web with cat memes and dancing Picard gifs will only get you so far (it will get you really far with me…but I’m a unique case).

If your client wants to leverage visual marketing they need somewhere to send that traffic. Put effort into developing incredibly awesome content in the form of landing pages, websites and blog posts.

Is visual content here to stay? Most definitely. But that doesn’t mean that our days are numbered as web writers. We just have to adapt.

How are you incorporating visual content into your approach? I’d love to read your ideas.

About the Author ~ Courtney Ramirez

Courtney Ramirez is the Director of Content Marketing Strategy for Endurance Marketing. She’s an SEO Copywriter and content marketing specialist who creates clickable content for clients in both B2B and B2C markets. As a proud graduate of SuccessWork’s SEO Copywriting Certification training program, she geeks out on algorithm updates and content marketing metrics. She’s always in the mood for a good cat-based meme. You can connect with Courtney on LinkedIn.

photo thanks to Ron Mader (planeta)

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