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How to source low-cost, quality SEO content

SaveAre you wondering how your company can actually afford quality SEO content?

You’re not alone.

Companies are drowning in content needs. The existing marketing department (assuming there is one) may be too swamped to consistently write articles and blog posts.

Finding outsourced vendors can be equally frustrating. Companies are often looking for Cadillac-level SEO content when they have Yugo-level budgets.

The results are rarely positive. Especially with how Google has tightened down on content (see Eric Enge’s article for more information.)

I’ve chatted with many frustrated marketing managers who are faced with this dilemma. They don’t have the budget for a top-notch outsourced vendor. Yet they are looking for a certain quality of writer – one who understands their industry, understands their customers and can speak their language.

The answer?

Look internally for your SEO content producers. And by “internally,” I mean your sales people, project managers, engineers and other people with product, service and customer knowledge. These people are already passionate about your product/service, your customers and your company mission. Why not let that passion shine through?

I’m aware of the myriad of objections. For instance:

– Not everyone is a good writer

– Non-writers have no business writing sales pages.

– People won’t do it. They say they will – but they’ll flake out.

– They don’t know how.

Let’s break down those objections.

Not everyone is a good SEO writer

True. However, I bet you have people on your team who are good writers. Or they are OK writers with a lot of potential. The goal isn’t to push someone into writing who hates it. It’s to help someone grow who wants to learn how to do it better.

Non-writers have no business writing sales pages.

I totally agree. It takes a skilled copywriter to write a high-converting sales page. However, you don’t need someone with 10 years of copywriting experience to write a blog post. You can train internal staff to do that.

People won’t do it. They say they will – but they’ll flake out.

People will do it if they have a sense of ownership, understand the process and there are realistic expectations. If you tell someone to “Write a blog post on anything and have it by tomorrow,” you probably won’t see very good results. If you take the time to work with them, assign topics and provide feedback, magical things can happen.

They don’t know how.

You can teach your team how to write SEO content (or bring in someone who can teach them.) Plus, you can hire an outsourced SEO editor who can assign topics, set reasonable deadlines and optimize the content.

Existing team members can be transformed into fantastic article and blog writers. Yes, it takes some negotiation. No, it won’t happen overnight. But the final results can be incredible, with team members happily producing content every month.

And that allows you to focus your SEO content budget on other important things – like fixing those stale sales pages that haven’t been updated in years.

Next week, I’ll discuss how to set up a happy, healthy internal content team. In the meantime, what are your biggest obstacles around sourcing content from existing team members? Please leave your comments below, or you can respond on Google+. Thanks!

Training your internal team in SEO content development doesn’t have to be painful. Or scary. Or frustrating. Let me help you find the best option for your company. Review my training options and contact me today.

 

 

 

 

How to thrive post-Hummingbird: A guide for SEO content creators

These hummingbirds process the Google Hummingbird algorithm overhaul.Like, whoa! In case you’ve missed the Internet the past couple weeks, Google overhauled it’s entire search algorithm with Hummingbird.

Did the Hummingbird update kill SEO copywriting? No. But now, marketing departments and freelance writers have more room to move in their SEO content creation efforts. Additionally, the “old way” of creating keyword-stuffed content is officially dead.

In our revamped roundup, check out this compilation of expert articles on writing the write way for Google’s new era – and share your favorite Hummingbird writing tip in the comments below.

Brad Lawless writes “Google Hummingbird and Influencer Marketing – Quality Content Always Wins” for Business 2 Community.

Gini Dietrich gives us “Hummingbird Update: What it Means for PR Pros” over at Spin Sucks.

Forbes says “Google Hummingbird: A Mobile Content Marketing Strategy Just Became Essential” by Jayson DeMers.

Search Engine Journal’s Rick Egan writes “3 Ways Content Will Be Affected by Google’s Latest Hummingbird Update”.

“Google’s Hummingbird Update: What You Need To Know” comes from Sam Lowe on Business 2 Community.

HubSpot‘s Steve Haase tells us “Why Google’s Hummingbird Algorithm Is Perfect for Inbound Marketers”.

Steve Rayson shares “10 Ways Google’s Hummingbird Will Shape Future SEO and Content Marketing” on Social Media Today.

Venture Beat’s Ricardo Bilton gives us “Things, not strings: How Google’s new Hummingbird algorithm sets the stage for the future of mobile search”.

Jeff Quip writes “What Does Google Hummingbird Mean for SEOs?” for Search Engine People.

TechCrunch‘s Matthew Panzareno writes “Why Did Apple Buy Cue? Because Google Now Eats Siri’s Lunch”.

Doc Sheldon writes “After ‘(Not Provided)’ & Hummingbird, Where is Google Taking Us Next?” for Search Engine Watch.

Molly Hoffmeister shares “What Google’s Hummingbird Means for Content Marketers” on pardot.

The New York Times Bits blog posts “Google Alters Search to Handle More Complex Queries” by Claire Cain Miller.

Christopher Penn writes “How PR can affect your Google Hummingbird SEO” for SHIFT Communications.

Ken Wisnefski talks about “What changes come with Google’s Hummingbird?” on Market Watch.

Adam Stetzer tells us “What ‘(Not Provided)’ & Google Hummingbird Mean for Small Business SEO” on Search Engine Watch.

SMARTT‘s Ray Wang shares “3 Tips on how to take Advantage of Google’s Hummingbird”.

Streetwise Media‘s Caroline Lyle gives us “Why Google Hummingbird Will Help, Not Hurt, Your SEO”.

Kyle Kam posts “Google Hummingbird: It’s About Time” on Social Media Today.

Paul Bruemmer writes “Future SEO: Understanding Entity Search” for his All Things SEO column on Search Engine Land.

Ron Callari posts “Google’s Hummingbird Algo Shifts Search From Keywords To Semantic Technology [Web 3.0]” on Inventor Spot.

Business 2 Community‘s Joana Ferreria writes “Google Hummingbird Algorithm Update – What’s New?”

Sara Angeles writes “What Google’s Hummingbird Algorithm Means for Small Business” for Business News Daily.

Internet Marketing Ninjas shares “Website User Experience Design and Google’s New Hummingbird Algorithm” by Kimberly Krause Berg.

Vikram posts “Hummingbird and what it means to your knowledge base” for The Freshdesk Blog.

Search Engine Land‘s Eric Ward writes “How Will Google Hummingbird Impact Links? Here Are 6 Ways”.

Stay tuned for Heather’s take on Hummingbird, coming soon!

Photo (Hummingbirds) thanks to Coconino National Forest.

Bored? Here’s how you can spice up your SEO content

Has your SEO content gone stale? Here are some ways to spice it up!Whether you consider yourself a niche writer or not, chances are you tend to create content for similar websites. Maybe you tend to write websites for medical or legal professionals. Maybe you have many small business clients. Perhaps you have mastered B2B writing.

Regardless, if you are comfortable writing similar sites, you may be stagnant and not even know it.

When I first started out, I wrote websites for many dentists. I could write about the various types of teeth whitening systems, the differences between an inlay and an onlay, and even the various methods to overcome dental phobia.

The bonus: I could write these websites in my sleep. There was a quick turnaround and very little effort.

The problem: I could write these websites in my sleep. The websites started sounding the same and I lost my desire to write something different. I was bored.

Then I received a referral and things got interesting.

This client sold “marital aids” and wanted an extensive guide.

Was this outside of my normal comfort zone? Oh yeah. But writing about something else was fun and exciting. I couldn’t turn off my brain and mindlessly type. I had a new target audience to write for, new perspectives to consider and new products to discuss.

Plus, I noticed even more benefits – ones that carried through to my other jobs.

The gig shook up my thinking and let me approach the next dental website with a refreshed outlook. I saw new opportunities and broke free from the same boring structure.

All from trying something new.

This week’s SEO content challenge: Spice things up!

Write something different. You don’t have to write about marital aids, just something outside of your normal writing realm.

If you don’t have the luxury of breaking out of your niche (especially if you are an in-house writer), find another outlet. Write a short story. Create an unrelated blog post. Do whatever you can do to shake up your creativity.

You’ll be amazed at how much it helps.

Happy writing!

(And if you have your own tips of how to break through from “boring” into “brilliant,” please let us know in the comments. Thanks!)

Photo thanks to Clyde Robinson

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Is your home page doing its job?

Your home page should capture and covert prospects. Is it doing its job?When is the last time you really looked through your website pages?

I mean REALLY looked them over, with a critical eye?

It’s all too easy to “set and forget” them, thinking all is well. But is it?

Starting with your home page – you know, your online storefront and the one most indexed by the search engines… do you see it positioning well in the SERPs?

And more importantly, is it capturing web traffic and funneling visitors to your sites’ sales pages?

In short, is your home page doing its job?

Your home page will perform its work much better if isn’t laboring under content that’s all about you. Mission statement? No. Please.

You need to check your corporate ego at the door.

Do you find your home page languishing from too much verbage? Say, laden with wasted words to achieve some mythical ideal wordcount “for Google”? Stop it. Strive for an economy of words, always. If it can be said in 50 words rather than 500, do it. Be ruthless in your editing.

And please tell me this isn’t so – are you trying for an equally mythical keyword density in your content? Knock it off. Matt Cutts even said so – some time ago! It’s time to move past that. Let it go.

A killer home page resonates with your readers with content informed by a well-researched, sculpted customer persona. It will grab your readers’ attention and inspire them to dig deeper into your site.

Next week, we’ll talk a bit about how to optimize that content. But for now..

This week’s SEO content challenge: Make your home page the absolute best that it can be! Then try doing an A/B test to fine tune your revisions.

You may find yourself surprised at what a truly difficult assignment this is. But what a difference it will make for your site’s conversions!

Good luck, and please let me know how it goes – or how I can help!

photo thanks to nikcname

Does your website suffer from sluggish conversions? Let’s whip your SEO content into shape! Contact me today to see how I can help.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Content Criminal Minds: Eye candy, passion & community dedication

Your content needs to be attractive, passionate, and show dedicationIn “Content Criminal Minds: Why your content needs a BAU” (the first of my Content Criminal Minds series*), I introduced the stunning Derek Morgan. Yes, he’s eye candy, but he’s functional eye candy. While he adds beauty to the show, he also shows a lot of passion for his job and dedication to his community.

Content and content strategies need that same functional beauty. After all, first impressions make all the difference. If your content and website look spammy and low quality, it won’t get the attention it deserves and no one will see the value.

 

Content and Content Strategies Should Be Pretty

Whether you’re looking at an individual piece of content or all of your content as a whole, it has to look good and reflect well on your brand. (And yes, I mean it should be high quality, but it should also have visual appeal.)

For example, a piece of content should have images, video, audio and other mediums instead of just text. This will make it easy for people to read, it’ll make the page look nice, but it will also help with things like SEO, social sharing and comprehension. Your content strategy should be the same.

Including a variety of mediums in your content strategy will:

  • Keep your site (and your brand) fun and interesting.
  • Expand your reach by catching those who prefer alternative media.
  • Improve your authority and value by further exploring a topic.
  • Make your content easier to consume and share.
  • Better show the value and benefits of your products/services.

 

Use Content to Show Your Passion and Personality

Part of what makes Derek Morgan attractive and such an important member of the group is his personality and passion for what he does. And it shows in everything he does. He knows when to have fun and when to get serious. Your content and content strategy needs to do that, too.

It’s important to get down to business and get your information out there, but that doesn’t mean it’s your only option. Even if your brand is highly professional and refined, you still need to be personable and show your personality. You might even want to have a little fun.

Take Nike, for example. They’re a huge company and very, very formal and professional. Their advertising also screams quality and professionalism, but they’re not afraid to have a little fun, either. And they’re passionate, too.

If you can’t get excited about your industry, products and services, your target audience won’t be able to, either. So, get excited, show the love you have for what you do and open the window to all the benefits, value and opportunities your industry can bring. You’ll find it will get a far better response and be much more effective.

 

Be Easy to Work With and Make Sure People Know What You’re About

Derek Morgan may have the occasional disagreement with other characters on the show, but he’s easy to work with and they always know where they stand with him. There’s no beating around the bush or playing games. Your content and content strategy should be the same.

Everything you do should have a single purpose. If you add something to a page (or to your strategy) that doesn’t meet that specific purpose or goal, it doesn’t belong. This strengthens your marketing, adds clarity and strengthens your message. Visitors will be more likely to get your message and you’ll be more likely to meet your goals.

Navigation through your content and your content strategy are also important. Everything you create should be easy to find. People should be able to find what they need without digging, and most importantly, they should find it in the right order.

In other words: You need clear content funnels that move visitors from the landing page to the “goal” or “money page”. That being said, your content strategy can’t just be a stream of advertisements and product pitches.

Your content should be well rounded. It should be a well rounded strategy filled with relatable, confident and valuable content that informs or entertains. And it should all have an emphasis on serving your community (your target audience).

Derek Morgan adds good looks, passion, a fun personality and an unwavering dedication to his community. Your content and content strategy should do the same.

*The Content Criminal Minds series:

Content Criminal Minds: Why your content needs a BAU

Content Criminal Minds: 11 essentials goals of a solid content strategy

Content Criminal Minds: Fast & easy ways to streamline your content strategy

 

About the Author ~ Angie Nikoleychuk

A seven-year veteran in the war against boring, crap content, copywriter Angie Nikoleychuk loves writing, but she loves content strategy even more. She’s always up for a challenge and enjoys showing others how much fun (and effective) content can be. When she’s not running Angie’s Copywriting or on Twitter, she can be found doing other weird and wonderful things like geocaching, crafting, or performing as a professional oboist.

photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Learn the latest in content marketing and SEO copywriting best practices – check out my SEO copywriting training options and find the best program for your needs!

The Veg-O-Matic approach to SEO copy development

Earlier this month, I was honored to speak at SMX West. I was originally going to chat about how content strategies have changed over the last year. Then, Chris Sherman (one of the conference organizers) said, “I really like your Tweets and how your firm repurposes content. Can you talk about that?”

Sure thing!

My slides were based on this 2011 blog post. When I originally wrote this, Google+ wasn’t even on the radar. Now, it’s yet another platform that marketers have to use and measure.

Feeling overwhelmed? Relax. Take a peek at my slides, and then read how the Veg-O-Matic approach to SEO copywriting can make your life easier than before.  Really!

 

One of the areas where many site owners get “stuck” is content creation. There are more SEO copy opportunities than ever before, including:

  • Tweets
  • Facebook posts
  • Product/service pages – new pages, as well as updates to existing pages
  • Case studies
  • Blog posts
  • White papers
  • Videos
  • Webinars

(I’m sure you could add more to the list.)

The challenge with “content overload” is that nothing gets done. Planning an editorial calendar seems impossible. There’s too much to write in too little time.

That’s when you bring in the SEO content Veg-O-Matic to slice and dice your content into little bits.

For those not familiar with Ron Popeil’s Veg-O-Matic, it was a hand held appliance that made slicing and dicing vegetables easy. You could cut a carrot into small pieces. You could shred it. You could even create thin julienne slices. Cutting it up was effortless – and one carrot could take many different final forms.

You can do the same thing when you plan your SEO content. Rather than thinking, “Oh, man. I have a month’s worth of tweets to plan,” think of how you can “slice and dice” existing content many different ways. Here’s what I mean:

Say that your company creates one white paper a month. Once the white paper is complete, you could:

  • Pull out tasty 140 character tidbits and use them as tweets
  • Transform some of the main topics into 500 word blog posts. Each week, send out an email newsletter featuring the posts.
  • Create a video based on a white paper topic (I’ve been creating YouTube SEO copywriting video tips, and they’re pulling in great traffic.)

You see? You’re taking existing content and working backwards. You’re doing what you can with what you already have. Granted, you’ll still want to plan bigger projects (like another white paper or a product page revamp.) But, finding time for big projects is much easier when you’re not reinventing the content wheel every time.

Instead of looking at your editorial calendar and thinking, “It’s mid-March, what do I write/tweet/blog about for the next 30 days,”it shifts to, “We just completed a blog post/case study/video. In what ways can we slice and dice it into tasty content tidbits?”

Once you’ve figured out how to leverage what you have, the content creation process seems much more effortless.

You can accomplish the same goal even if you don’t have one “big” content piece a month. For instance, say that your company blogs five times a week. You could probably pull a couple – maybe more – good tweets out of every post. You could track popular blog topics and develop a Webinar (which could even be an additional profit center.) Heck you could even produce a monthly “Twitter tips” list that you could offer as a downloadable .pdf. The possibilities are endless.

You don’t need to solely focus on existing Web content, either. Do you have an old how-to guide that you could dust off and transform into blog posts or tweets? Did you write an article years ago that you could repurpose? Have you written a book? As long as the content is updated and valid, looking to “old” content sources is a smart idea. Recycling is good for the environment, and it’s great for your content, too!

Consider taking a cue from Ron Pompeil and see how you can Veg-O-Matic your content. You may find that you’re releasing more quality content than ever before – and creating your monthly editorial calendar is easier than ever before.

All about content: 6 of our all-time favorites

Six of our all-time favorite guest posts about contentWhen putting together our 12 favorite SEO copywriting guest posts from 2012 (as determined by our readers), I began thinking about all the other guest authors that should be recognized for their outstanding contributions to the SEO Copywriting blog.

That thought stayed with me, as did the practical constraint on the number of contributing writers that could fit in one post.

Then the obvious hit me, as it seems to do eventually: we could feature our guest authors in a series of roundups, organizing their posts by a common subject much like the weekly SEO content marketing roundup.

Of course, this won’t be a weekly series, but it seems a great way to showcase the whole gamut of talent and expertise that has enriched this blog over the past few years!

So without further prefacing – here are some of our all-time favorite guest posts around content: creation, marketing, quality, and strategy.

 

Joe PulizziJoe Pulizzi discusses a time when “content marketing” was known as “custom publishing.” That is, before Junta42 and the Content Marketing Institute decided to “change the conversation” rather than fight for that intensely competitive keyword. Joe encourages us to do the same with Change the game of search by defining your content category.

 

George PasswaterGeorge Passwater assures us that analytics isn’t just for geeks anymore. In fact, you can uncover a wealth of content marketing opportunities in the data! You don’t have to be a techie to understand these 5 ways to use analytics to find content marketing opportunities.

 

Angie NikoleychukAngie Nikoleychuk loves Content Criminal Minds, even if it contributes to her “nerdy image.” She likens the show’s Behavioral Analysis Unit (BAU) characters to the range of characteristics your content needs to be successful. Investigate further with Content Criminal Minds: Why your content needs a BAU.

 

Ian LurieIan Lurie is amazed by “how many business owners and employees think good writing is optional.” With his signature wit, Ian shares some of his personal favorite justifications for having no content. You’ll be incredulous and highly amused, too, with Just write! Ian Lurie on why you have to, even if you think you don’t.

 

 

Marjorie SteeleMarjorie Steele started out believing that, like so many new freelance copywriters, “any business was good business.” But having been blessed with success, she quickly found herself wondering why living the dream as an independent was so exhausting. Learn what set Marjorie on the path of a balanced freelance lifestyle in Stay true to your SEO content marketing passion: word from the trenches.

 

Derek CromwellDerek Cromwell wrote this nearly two years ago when Panda first rolled out, so it seems appropriate to list it here to mark the latest update to Google’s quality algorithm. Derek’s words still ring true in Google’s Panda Update: how to win the war with quality content.

 

 

photo thanks to ell brown (Elliot Brown)

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Write a (good) blog post in 1 hour – here’s how!

How to write fast when the clock is tickingAre you short on time and need to write a quality blog post – fast?

Sounds like it’s time for a quickie (blog post, that is!)

A quickie blog post is still high quality, informative and fun to read. The difference is, you’re writing your blog post fast and furious (and in one hour or less.).

Is it the ideal way to write? No. In a perfect world, you have hours to write, revise, and tweak. However, there are those times when carving out 60 minutes is the best you can do – and you need to write something engaging, intelligent and useful.

Here are some blog writing tips to consider:

– Write about something you enjoy. If you love your topic, it’s easier to write better blog posts – faster. I write motivational posts when time gets tight. They are fun to write, they come straight from the heart – and my fingers tend to fly over the computer keys.

– Narrow down your topic. This is not the time to write a highly-detailed 1,500 word post. Figure that you have between 300-500 words to work with – so choose your topic accordingly. Mini how-to articles or blog posts listing helpful tips are typically good for a blog post quickie.

– Gather everything you need in one place. Searching your desk for paperwork, surfing for source material and checking email wastes time you don’t have. Gather everything you’ll need to write your blog post before you start writing. This step alone will save you tons of time.

– Turn off distractions. There is nothing that will will break your flow faster than an email notification, a text coming through, or the phone ringing. Turn everything off while you write. If you have to, close down email and any browser tabs you don’t need. (I forgot to close my browser tabs, and Facebook is now notifying me that I have two messages. It’s taking me every ounce of willpower I have not to check them!)

– Spend 25 minutes (or so) writing your first draft. Get everything you can out on paper (or on the screen.) Don’t worry about editing. Don’t worry about tweaking that one sentence that’s not quite right. Just write. You can edit later.

(As a side note, I’m a big fan of the Pomodoro Technique, and working in 25-minute chunks. It’s made me a more efficient writer, and it’s nice to know that I get a built-in break every half hour.)

– Get away from the computer. You wrote your blog post in less than 25 minutes? Awesome. Now put it down and take a break. You’ll be able to see your mistakes (and see writing opportunities) faster if you come back fresh.

– Edit your blog post multiple times. This is the time to quickly flesh out what didn’t quite “click” the first time and fix any typos. I will edit a document at least three times, with a break between each edit. When I think it’s almost there, I’ll print out the post one more time, make any final edits, and then schedule the post.

– Ask someone to proof the post before it goes live. Writing fast often means you’ll make some inadvertent boo-boos. A quick proof by another person can free your post from typos and save your bacon. That no-big-deal typo you didn’t see may be a big deal to your readers – and can possibly even lose you business.

What about you? What tips would you add to this list?

(And P.S. – Happy Valentine’s Day!  Smooches!)

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5 steps to great content for readers and search engines

Kristi Hines

One thing that has become evident in the post-Google Panda world is that if you want to ensure that your site doesn’t lose rankings, you will need great content!

Not simply search engine optimized content, but content that both search engines AND visitors will enjoy alike.

Everyone’s content development process is a little different.  Today I’d like to share mine with you, particularly when it comes to writing.

1.  Figure out your target keywords

Sure, most people know a few keywords that define their site.  But chances are, they are not enough keywords to generate writing topics around.  In some cases, your keywords might be general enough that you can narrow them down into more specific topics of focus.  In other cases, your keywords may be so specific that you need to broaden your horizons in order to find topics to write about.

Keyword suggest tools are the best way to go for finding keyword phrases that people search for often. When you start typing in a keyword on Google, for example, it will start suggesting related search terms:

Google isn’t the only suggest tool out there though – be sure to check out Bing, Yahoo, Blekko, Topsy, Wefollow, Delicious, and YouTube for additional keyword ideas.

The best part about the latter four is Topsy and Wefollow will tell you what keywords are popular on Twitter, Delicious will tell you what is popular in articles that are frequently bookmarked, and YouTube, of course, will tell you what is popular in video content.

2. Generate some content ideas based on those keywords that people will want to read

Once you have a great list of keywords, the next step is to create headlines that will appeal to readers.  The best way to generate some great content ideas is to use proven headline formulas, such as those given in the free guide, 102 Headline Formulas by Chris Garrett of Authority Blogger, and plug those keywords into the headlines in which they fit best.

For even more ideas, don’t miss Copyblogger’s How to Write Magnetic Headlines, which is an 11 part series on writing better headlines in no time.

3. Forget the SEO and write your content

Here’s what I consider the fun part.  This is where you forget about SEO for a while and just write your content.  Instead of thinking about optimization, think about the content – articles, blog posts, magazine pieces, etc. – that you have really enjoyed reading and write your content in that manner. Make it enjoyable, valuable, and exciting for readers!

I would also suggest during this writing spree to hold off on the editing as this can slow down your writing process. Let the ideas flow from your mind to your keyboard, then take the editorial run through to check for spelling and grammatical issues.

4. After your article is written, then you can work on the search optimization.

Now that you have a great piece of content that people will love to read, you should go back through and add the optimization features that will make the content easily searchable and targeted for your keyword phrase.  This includes the title tag and meta description, header tags (H2’s and H3’s especially), and optimization of your images (including the  ALT description), and a proper file name with keywords.

5. Get out and promote it!

Last, but not least, once that awesome piece of content is written, optimized, and published online, you will need to go out and promote it.  Content is not something where you create it and your audience will just naturally flock to it (unless you’re Mashable and already have a monster audience).

You will need to promote your content through social media, your mailing list (for those especially awesome pieces), instant messenger, forums, blog comments, and any other form of getting the word out in which you can participate.  Only then will your content be a success!

I hope these steps help you balance the fine line between SEO friendly and reader friendly content development when it comes to your blog posts, articles, and page content.  What additional tips would you like to give writers who have to develop content for both worlds?

Kristi Hines is a blogging and social media enthusiast.  She has also written an extensive guide on blog post promotion which will help you increase the traffic, social shares, and comments you receive for every article you write!

 

 

 

Are you asking the wrong question first?

I cringe every time I hear this question before anything else is discussed. Maybe you do too.

“How will (insert SEO copy idea here – usually a bad one) help with the search engines?”

On the surface, it doesn’t seem like such a bad first question to ask. After all, “SEO copywriting” stands for “search engine optimization copywriting.” Good writing = higher rankings has been a common mantra since the beginning of SEO time. It makes sense that folks would be considering the search engine implications.

But it also ignores a major part of the equation.

Aggressive SEO copy techniques don’t mean a thing if your audience isn’t buying from you – or taking whatever action step you want them to take. If your online content isn’t resonating with your audience, it’s failing your company – even if it has a top ranking.

Instead of focusing on search engines, there’s another question to consider: How does this content (or SEO copy technique) serve your customers? When that piece of the puzzle is solved, then you discuss how to maximize the SEO opportunities in a way that doesn’t detract from the message.

Not the other way around.

See how this changes the discussion? When you’re asking, “How does this serve our reader,” certain spammy SEO copywriting techniques don’t make any sense. You don’t think about bolding and hyperlinking every keyword (and making sure that keyword is on the page 20 times or more.) Writing a keyphrase-slammed post sounds like a stupid idea.

Because you know that wouldn’t work for the reader. Even if you could get those pages to rank, you couldn’t make the readers buy. Or read. Or even stay on your site.

Plus, focusing on your readers first provides a good reality check for other SEO content ideas. You may think that Twitter is fun and a fantastic free marketing idea. But if your customers aren’t on Twitter – and your carefully-worded tweets aren’t getting read –  it may not be the best marketing channel for you.

So consider your target audience the next time you’re examining a SEO content technique. Ask yourself if your idea serves any purpose other than possible search engine juice. If the answer is “no,” reexamine your technique.

Your readers will thank you.