Posts

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

Last Updated on

Anatomy of SEO co-citation and authority transferIt never fails. A new year comes along or Google unleashes a new algorithm change, and SEO professionals start whirling theories and warnings about how SEO will never be the same. They claim SEO is dead.

Once you’ve been in this industry for a while, you learn to pay attention to what’s going on, but not to jump to conclusions and pull your hair out every time someone sneezes.

Link building has always been an integral part of performing effective SEO on any site, regardless of whether it’s a big brand or small mom-n-pop shop around the corner. But when Penguin hit the scene in April 2012, a whole new mindset had to be adopted.

No longer could you easily get away with ranking a lower-quality site merely by creating an army of backlinks for it. And in the SEO world, heads were spinning. To this day, many agree on some principles of links, building them, which ones are good, and which ones really help your site (or hurt them). Other times, there’s disagreement.

Co-citations are becoming a hot topic in the SEO world these days, and for good reason. Several years ago there was a lot of discussion about them; it was the hot new thing for SEO professionals to talk about. But the talk sizzled down… until very recently.

What are co-citations?

Co-citations can be a little difficult to wrap your head around. But I’m hoping you’ll leave here with a basic understanding of them. Co-citations mean that if someone links to your site as well as a well-known, authority site, within or closely related to your industry, in the same article, then you will share some of that authority site’s respect from Google.

Even that was something you had to read several times to try to understand, right?

Maybe this will help:

Co-Citation

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In essence, the authority or respect from Google flows both to and from a link. Article “A” links to authority site “B,” and smaller site “C.” The authority from authority site “B” transfers back to article “A” (which is why it’s always good to link an authority site to your content), but it also carries over to smaller site “C.” Got that?

Now, I can just hear you saying, “If I’m writing article ‘A,’ I certainly don’t want to link to a better-known, big-boy competitor’s site!” Well, yes, it can be tricky. What you want to do in this situation is find something relevant and helpful to the reader, but not something that would be a direct competitor to you and your content.

For instance, let’s say you’re a travel agent. You aren’t going to want to link to Tripology or some big travel company. An acceptable alternative might be to link to a well-known luggage store or travel guide books on Amazon for where your readers are interested in going.

This concept has also been referred to as SEO co-citation and similar terms. It shouldn’t be confused with local SEO citations, though.

The shifting perspectives on co-citations

This has been a pretty well-known concept in the SEO industry for a while. But today, the strategy of using co-citations seems to be shifting. The same principles still basically apply, but now we’re going deeper, due to the need to respond and adapt to Google’s constantly changing algorithm. We should be concerned not only about who we’re linking to and who’s creating content that links to us and authority sites, but also the anchor text.

The age-old practice of using keywords as the anchor text is out. Instead, Google seems to be factoring in the words that surround or are in close proximity to the anchor text, as well as the context and subject of the entire article.

Using the example above, in which we imagined you are a travel agent, here’s an example of a great link to have pointing at your site: A blogger for an African Safari company writes a piece about the new day trip they offer. They’ve noticed a spectacular deal you have right now for travel to Africa and link to you saying: “And if you’re looking for a great discount on traveling to Africa, click here.”

They’re using only the “click here” for the anchor text, but it has “discount on traveling to Africa” very close to it. Let’s say they’ve also linked to Wikipedia for the term “African safari” and to a guidebook on Amazon.com.

Essentially, you’re now sharing the authority of Wikipedia, Amazon, and that company’s blog. Plus, you’re keeping Google’s Penguin algorithm on your good side because the link anchor text isn’t keyword-rich.

So how do you make this happen?

I’m hoping this has helped you understand what co-citations are, how they’re shifting, and why you should be striving to get as many of them as you can. But that leads to the next question: How can you get them?

The best advice is to create content that’s not just for SEO, or purely for the sake of link-building, but to be helpful to the user. Every article, post, video, infographic, or whatever you create should focus on a targeted theme. It should be insightful or trigger an emotion among your readers so they feel encouraged to share it within their networks.

The more people who discover it, and like it, the more people will link to you; the hope is that they’ll also link to related authority sites.

If you’re actually creating content to use for linking back to your site (guest posts, for example), remember to avoid always using your keywords as anchor text. Instead, use different keywords in close proximity to your anchor text. And don’t forget to link to authority sites that are related to your industry.

If you create a post that links to resources the reader finds useful, and if you create content for your own site doing the same… co-citations will come naturally, along with better rankings, traffic, leads, and sales.

About the Author ~ Jayson DeMers

Jayson DeMers is the founder & CEO of AudienceBloom, a Seattle-based SEO agency, as well as Crackerize.com, a lyrics-humor website. You can contact him on LinkedIn, Google+, or Twitter.

image thanks to Dzhus (Dmitry Dzhus)

There’s still time: Join me in Phoenix May 22nd for personalized SEO copywriting certification training plus freelance business-building strategies! 

SEO Copywriting Checklist: Does your web content pass the quick-scan test?

Last Updated on

Structure your SEO web content for readability and conversionsGreetings and welcome to another installment of the SEO Copywriting Checklist video series! Today, Heather discusses why your readers prefer “quick-scan” writing, and how to achieve that with your own web content.

A visually overwhelming page filled with dense copy isn’t inviting. More likely than not, a reader confronted with such a page will bounce off it in preference for a competing site with more reader-friendly content.

So tune in to learn how to structure your copy for quick scanning to leverage time-on-site and conversions!

Do You Really Want To Read This Copy? Really?

This first screenshot is an example of a visually overwhelming page. Chances are, when you’re looking at this page, you might see the headline, and a lot of text – but you’re probably not going very deep into the copy and reading it.

That’s the challenge for really copy-dense pages. You don’t see a lot of white space, and the text is structured in such a way that it looks like a whole bunch of paragraphs that just go on, and on, and on…

If you think about your own searching behavior, it’s likely that if you were to land on the page like that shown – even if you might be interested in the information – you might back out of the site to find another source, because this is just hard to read!

Much Better!

Now compare this to a page from 37 Signals (I’ve written about how much I like their site before).

As you can see from the slide, there’s certainly a lot of text on this page, but it’s structured in a way that makes it easy to read: you have bullet points, you have a headline, you have sub-headlines, and smaller paragraphs.

Things To Think About

– Write shorter paragraphs, use bullet points…anything to add more white space.

– Sub-headlines are great for quick-scan readers.

– Remember your mobile readers!

Besides breaking up your content with shorter paragraphs and bullet points, you want to think about using sub-headlines: they’re great for quick-scan readers!

Looking at the 37 Signals example, you’ll notice that even if you don’t read what’s in the paragraph copy, you can really get a feel for what they’re saying just by scanning the sub-headlines: “Great service is everything” and “Our customers are our investors”.

Also, you’ll want to remember your mobile readers! Going back to the example of visually overwhelming, dense copy, try to imagine looking at that page on your smart phone – it’s really going to be difficult to read!

If you’re getting a lot of mobile traffic and have these kinds of challenging pages, you’re missing a lot of conversion opportunities! So you definitely want to structure your content with your mobile audience in mind, as well.

Thanks for joining me for this week’s SEO Copywriting Checklist video! As always, if you need any help or have questions, or if you have feedback on today’s post, I’d love to hear from you: zip me an email at [email protected], or find me on Twitter @heatherlloyd.

image thanks to Naomi Ibuki

Why work for peanuts? Learn how to grow your own SEO Copywriting business from 12 of the world’s business-building and copywriting experts! My next Copywriting Business Boot Camp starts June 3rd.

 

 

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

Last Updated on

Editor’s note: This is the third in the Content Criminal Minds series by Angie Nikoleychuk. You may want to check out her first post, Why Your Content Needs a BAU, and her second, 11 Essential Goals of a Solid Content Strategy, as they are every bit as creative and resource-rich as this third! – LJC

If you are familiar with the show Criminal Minds, then you know that Aaron Hotchner, the exalted leader of the Criminal Minds BAU Team, makes sure everyone meets their goals – but that’s not his only job. He also needs to organize and track everything they do. You need to do the same thing with your content strategy.

Sounds easy enough. But, if you publish frequently, or work with more than one site, you can spend just as much time tracking everything as you do creating the content. Don’t worry. There is a solution…

What Your Content Strategy Needs

No matter what type of content you create or what industry you work in, a quality content strategy will have the same traits and goals.

It should:

  • Contain a good mix of content styles each week — Having list posts, longer pieces, short tidbits, funny images, controversial discussions, etc. ensures there’s something for everyone.
  • Have a nice mix of content types including images and video.
  • Include clearly defined and easy-to-use themes (categories and/or series) — Can readers get from one part of a series to the next?
  • Take advantage of current hot topics. — If the big topic of the week is women in tech, publish an interview with a leading lady, an opinion piece, or news items that you could tie into the topic.
  • Get readers emotionally involved. — It’s harder for readers to forget about you when you make an impression on them. Do your best to make them feel something. Bonus points if you can get them to act or react.
  • Include notable resources visitors will return to over and over again.
  • Address the needs of each of your target audiences at each phase of the life cycle.

 

This is just a short list, of course. Your content strategy could have any number of additional needs depending on your assets and where you are in your journey to success.

The real issue for many of us is figuring out how to actually track and do all of this!

How to Make Managing Your Content Strategy Faster and Easier

The answer? Work smarter.

Create a routine that works with your personality/strengths and take advantage of automation. No, I’m not talking about buying cheap articles and spinning them thousands of times. Or, auto-posting and “curating” tons of content published elsewhere. I’m suggesting you automate the mindless stuff, and optimize your time, so you can focus on the things that need your attention: creating content and running your business.

Here are a few ways to make content management faster and easier:

Content Ideas & Generation

  • Make use of programs such as Yahoo! Pipes, Huginn, DERI Pipes, or even an RSS reader with a decent tag system to collect and track the latest happenings in your industry and those related to you.
  • Need some inspiration? Try the Content Idea Generator V2 Google Spreadsheet tool from Daniel Butler or the Ultimate Link Building Query Generator (Google Doc) from Gaz Copeland.
  • Short on content? Break longer pieces up into a set of smaller ones and add internal links. You may even want to manage it with plugins like Organize Series.
  • Ideas come at any time. Do yourself a favour and write them down along with links to related images, videos, media, and the source of your inspiration. Then, you can return any time to create the content and finish it up.
  • Don’t sweat the big stuff. Not everything you write has to be a massive undertaking. Usually, I find a quick rant I knock out in 30 minutes will often do better than the pieces I spend hours putting together.

 

Content Management and Tracking

  • You might be tempted to blog every day, but don’t overdo it. Decide what you can comfortably commit to and stick to it. Remember that all marketing costs time or money. It’s up to you how much of each you’ll “pay”.
  • Plan your content ahead of time. If your brain doesn’t work that way and you can only create when you’re inspired, plan out the basics like a category or content type. Then, create as you get inspired and schedule it in. If you find there are certain goals or topics you can’t seem to cover, find someone else who can or an alternative way of meeting the demand. It might sound silly, but I often find this leads to new and creative ideas I wouldn’t have come up with otherwise.
  • Track everything in a spreadsheet. Include details like the goal of the content, the audience it’s intended for, and how it performed. Getting into the habit can be a bit tough, but you’ll find it gets faster and easier when you train yourself to do it as you go. It will also prevent you from having to keep looking it up.
  • Bring existing and former customers into the conversation. You and your readers will be able to learn a lot from their experiences. Besides, you never know what will happen when customers start interacting with each other.
  • Use an editorial calendar to track your ideas, what’s waiting to go live, and what has gone live. Tools like Trello work great for this, too. In reality, there are tons of other methods and tools. The important thing is to find something that works the way you do.

 

And don’t forget to track the results of all your hard work:

  • Content shares are important. Who shared? Where? This will help you identify patterns and improve future content.
  • Did you get any backlinks for it? If so, where? What kinds of sites?
  • Who commented? Which audience do they fit in? Can you make use of this connection later?

 

One Tool to Rule Them All

I know this is a TON of information to remember and track. Want to know how I do it? With a content management spreadsheet. (I’ve made templates available in .xlt and .xltx format.) Enjoy!

 

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.

 

Did you know? You can become certified in SEO copywriting FREE when you register to join me in Phoenix next month for a seminar on freelance SEO Copywriting business-building & advanced SEO topics. Apply by April 30thDetails here

 

 

 

 

Content Criminal Minds: 11 Essential Goals of a Solid Content Strategy

Last Updated on

Does your content strategy have a team leader? It should.

When I first wrote about the characteristics of a strong content strategy in Content Criminal Minds: Why your content needs a BAU, I introduced you to Aaron Hotchner, the team’s leader. He’s known for making sure the team meets its goals. He keeps everyone focused and makes sure everything gets done. It’s a big job, but he does it with a devoted, professional air.

How do you handle all this? Are you dropping the ball?

Does your content strategy address all of your business goals?

Content strategy is a lot like a cake. You have to have just the right mix of ingredients to end up with the perfect dessert. Miss something, and it might be edible, but it’ll be a struggle to turn it into something you can use. (Angel food cake in Jell-o. Yum!)

Your business is the same. It has a range of needs that your content will need to meet.

Like Aaron Hotchner, a solid content strategy should corral and direct your organization’s content so that it accomplishes these 11 essential goals:

1. Generate Customers – Sales copy accomplishes this goal, but it’s not the only example. Customer stories or how-to’s that demonstrate the value of your products or services can do this, too. This content is written directly for people who might buy or convert.

Learn more: How to Write Great Copy Using Storytelling Techniques – Men with Pens

See the technique in action: The Business Case for SEO Content Development: Turn Words Into ACTION! – SEO Copywriting

Case Study: Stitches Online Marketing Campaign and Website – Angie’s Copywriting

2. Attract Links – Written for related businesses and those who already sell to your target audience, content that earns links by triggering an emotional response or providing superior value. Either way, it needs to get attention from the right people.

Learn more: Golden Rules of Linkbaiting – Smashing Magazine

Copywriting Master Class Sneak Peek: Creating Successful Link Bait

See the technique in action: Thomson’s Evolution of Music

David Mihm’s Local Search Ranking Factors

3. Make Specific Connections – Certain people have enough pull in your industry or in related industry to give your business a huge push. You know who they are. Content made to get the attention of these people is the right topic, in the right format, the right tone, and written in just the right way to get their attention and compel them to share.

Learn more: Beyond Social Scoring – The Situational Factor of Influence – Danny Brown

See the technique in action: Stop Writing for Google. Really. Stop it. – Jim Connolly

Crime and Punishment: Are Big Bloggers Taking Dirty Money? – Angie’s Copywriting

4. Generate Buzz – Usually created with a high shock value, this stuff gets a LOT of attention, and not necessarily from a specific audience. News items, current hot topics, reports, and some opinion pieces fit in this category.

Learn more: How to Generate Publicity for Your Business – Entrepreneur.com

See the technique in action: Where Are All the Women SEOs? – Search Engine People

How to Generate Scientific Controversy – Live Granades

5. Build Authority – Pillar content and resources that show your knowledge and expertise in an area. These are the things that set you apart from others — what you’re KNOWN for — but they’ll also get readers returning to your site again and again. This is content you’d want to bookmark if you were a customer.

Learn more: How to Write Great Blog Content – The Pillar Article – Yaro Starak

Killer Flagship Content – Free Ebook – fellow Canadian Chris Garrett

How to Develop the Strategic Pillars to Hold Up Your Content Marketing Strategy – CMI and Chris Moritz

7 Tips on How to Write Sticky, Memorable Blog Posts – ProBlogger

See the technique in action: Remarkablogger’s Diamond Business Blogging Framework (Free eBook with newsletter signup)

31 Days to Build a Better Blog?- ProBlogger (eBook for purchase)

Ultimate Guide to AdWords Remarketing – PPC Hero

6. Retain Customers – Designed for existing customers, this content adds value to those who have already converted. It’s an excellent way to keep them engaged, push upsells, and address issues as they arise.

Learn more: Customer Life Cycle & Content Marketing – Where Do You Stand? – Lee Odden

Marketing Content During the Customer Lifecycle – TopRank

Understanding the Customer Life Cycle – David Loshin

See the technique in action: SEO Copywriting’s Certification Grad Interviews (scroll down a bit to see the interview series) – SEO Copywriting

Trello helps existing customer get even more value from the Trello software (“How to use Trello like a pro”) – Trello Blog

7. Battle Competition – Content that counteracts moves made by your competition. For instance, when your competition releases a new product or takes steps to best you, this content counteracts it and lessens its impact.

Learn more: In Search, Your Competition Isn’t Who You Think – TopRank

Stop Trying to Be Better Than the Competition – Duct Tape Marketing

See the technique in action: While this is a technique that’s done in a bit of a sneaky way, through several bits of content and marketing moves, there is always a more direct route…

Gravity Charge Kills Your Members… – Your Members

(Woothemes Sensei Integration is another good example from the same company)

8. Recapture Lost Sales/Customers – Customers leave for a reason. Usually, it’s because you failed to satisfy a need. This content is designed to address these issues and may even include special offers.

Learn more: Winning Back “Lost” Customers: Who Do You Woo – and How? – Revenue Performance (The formatting is sucky, but the information is solid.)

Designing Effective FAQ Pages – Six Revisions

See the technique in action: The Trello development board addresses this, as well as helps keep current customers excited and tuned in.– Trello Development

9. Expand Your Audience – While serving your target audience is great, it’s not your only option. Content that meets this need often talks about alternative uses for your products or services, but it can also talk about topics on the fringe of your industry.

Learn more: How to Expand Your Blog Audience When Traffic Plateaus – Problogger (section 4)

Why You Shouldn’t Stick to Your Niche – Men with Pens

See the technique in action: Alternative uses for Trello – Trello Blog

10. Trigger Loyalty – This content talks about the traits your customers love most about you – the things that make you special. The idea here is to remind customers of their loyalty to you and share it with others.

Learn more: How to Get Your Customers to Compete With Each Other and Why You Should – Duct Tape Marketing

Building Brand Loyalty 4-Part Series – AYTM

See the technique in action: HPSauceUK’s Movember Competition videos – HPSauceUK’s YouTube Channel

11. Engage – If you hope to build authority, convert visitors, and maintain your existing customer base, you need to engage with others. This content type (like user-generated content or pieces asking for opinions) encourages others to get to know the “real you” — you show your personality, your strengths, and your core values.

Learn more: How to Find & Engage Your Target Audience Online for Profit – Matthew Woodward

See the technique in action: GiffGaff’s Do This Better Campaign – GiffGaff

A1 Steak Sauce’s “Sing For Your Beef” video competition – A.1. YouTube Channel

It’s important to note that, while content may fulfill more than one objective, and some objectives may overlap, your focus should be on one main goal. You also need to make sure your content strategy has balance.

If you only publish content designed to generate customers, you’ll find yourself lacking in other areas, which can make the actual conversions of customers more difficult. The same principle holds for the other core goals – all must work in concert for your organization’s long-term success. Just like Aaron Hotchner’s BAU team.

What goals would you add as an essential part of a strong 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.

Learn SEO copywriting and content marketing best practices. Earn more money. Check into my SEO Copywriting Certification training – today!

 

 

Keeping it real: using news in your SEO content strategy

Last Updated on

Using the news in your content marketing mixThe rules of SEO have fundamentally changed – and I welcome it! Long gone are the days where a client will ask me to optimize a page to a certain percentage of density. Hooray! I can’t tell you how hard and frustrating that was. Now that quality is the cornerstone of online marketing and SEO, I’m having a lot more fun – and my clients are getting better results.

But I’m not going to pull a Pollyanna. Creating quality content – and lots of it – is not without its obstacles.

The biggest challenge for the new rules of SEO is producing enough content at a high enough quality to keep your ideal customers and search engines happy. It’s gotten even more complicated now that your brand has to be socially active in order to rank well.

You’re tasked with being interesting, helpful and shareable along with covering the topics that your clients might be looking for. With each Google update, we’ve gotten hints that social activity is important to search engine results – and Google Plus authorship is a further indication that you need social response to your content to rank well.

So there are two major content publishing challenges your brand is looking at if it wants to rank well – frequency of content and interest to your audience. Without these bases covered, SEO is going to become harder from here on out.

What’s the solution? It’s news.

By using news articles as part of your SEO content strategy, you can build authority with search engines, maintain your production schedule and create social conversations.

Why News?

News-based content marketing helps you position yourself right where your target marketing is looking. 78 percent of Internet users use the web as a source for finding and reading news – and 137 million Internet users get news online at least three times per week. You can bet that your target audience is part of that number.

By developing a news component to your existing website or integrating news-based articles into your existing blog, you can develop content rapidly without sacrificing quality. Research has shown that consumers love brands that they associate with the news – and search engines do too.

When you publish industry news on your website you:

  • Continually update your website with fresh, SEO-optimized content.
  • Keep your readers coming back to your website – or RSS feed.
  • Create a large pool of content to share on social sites.
  • Increase the chances of spreading your brand name (and awesome content) across social sites.
  • Create multiple inbound links to your site from other sources.

And best of all – you can do it without having a full-time journalist on board.

How to Create News Content for SEO

So now that you know the benefits – how do you get started? It begins with keeping your finger on the pulse of your industry. If you haven’t already, set up a listening board for your target audience. Subscribe to blogs that they are likely to read and create a “swipe file” of great resources that you can rely on. I use a combination of Feedly (to prep for Google Reader’s exit), email newsletters sent directly to Evernote, and Google Alerts.

Then I look for something eye-catching, news-worthy and super timely. For example, the recent LinkedIn algorithm change would make a great news-based article for a marketing company. If you’re working on this strategy for a client, you’ll need to spend some time determining what would be considered news worthy and interesting for their target market. I have a short swipe file of what makes great news for my clients (also in Evernote).

Once you spot a worthy news article, put your spin on it – but make sure you keep it news focused and not like a standard blog post. For example, if I were writing a standard blog post for a client on the LinkedIn algorithm change, I’d come up with some tips or ways to apply the new tool for the best results. The algorithm would be an aside to the article.

But with a news article, your approach is a little different. It’s “just the facts” – you need to cover the who, what, where, when and why of the story. Read a few separate articles on the news piece and then create an original piece based on your research (always making sure to cite your sources).

Work in your important keywords naturally, just like you’d do with a web copy page, then publish your content on your site and on social media. That’s it! Listening, summarizing, optimizing and publishing are all you need to do to make use of news content marketing for SEO.

In addition to the SEO benefits, you’ll also be able to keep your regular blog post idea file growing strong. Since you’re keeping a closer eye on industry news, you’ll run across ideas and angles that others might not be considering.  In the case of that LinkedIn example, I’d probably create both for the client – the news piece and then the longer, in-depth “how to” article to maximize the topic completely.

Are you going to make news a part of your SEO content strategy? Or have you already?

About the Author ~ Courtney Ramirez

Courtney Ramirez is the Director of Content for Endurance Marketing and owner of Six Degrees Content. 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 Google Plus, LinkedIn or Twitter.

The Veg-O-Matic approach to SEO copy development

Last Updated on

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.

5 Beginner SEO Writing Tips to Try

Last Updated on

Pre-launch Site Success:Video Roundup:031813Today we feature five of Heather’s SEO copywriting video how-to’s that address web content planning and strategies which tend to get overlooked – at the cost of traffic and conversions.

From defining your unique selling proposition (U.S.P.) and a customer persona to creating clickable web page titles and resonant tone and feel, discover all that goes into a successful website launch…before the launch!

Site Launch Considerations3 things to consider before a site launch

So you’ve a sexy web design and beautifully written content – you’re good to go, right? Wrong. Find out what’s missing from this picture – three critical elements, in fact – that will make all the difference between whether your site launch succeeds or flops. (Besides what the other videos listed here address).

 

So what defines you? Creating an irresistible U.S.P.What's Your U.S.P.?

What distinguishes you from your competition? What makes you unique? Learn what makes for an effective unique selling proposition (U.S.P.) that will appeal to prospective customers and set you apart from the rest.

 

Customer Persona How ToHow to create a customer persona

Just as you need to define who you are by means of a U.S.P., you need to define who your target customer is by creating a customer persona. Listen in as Heather gives examples of customer personas, and discusses how to fine-tune yours so your web content attracts, keeps, and converts!

How to resonate

How to resonate with your readers through web page “tone and feel

Now you’ve created a customer persona, you need to “speak” to him or her through your web pages’ “voice” – meaning, your site’s tone and feel. Does your web writing resonate with your target audience? Or is it generic – or worse, discordant? Learn how to tweak your web content for reader connection and conversion.

 

Clickable SEO Page Titles

How to write SEO Titles that get the click: 3 tips

The search engine results page is your first conversions opportunity. In answering a reader question about the use of “pipes” in webpage Titles, Heather first explains what “pipes” are, then goes on to discuss preferable, smarter SEO and conversion strategies for creating Titles that will lure the “click” on the search engine results page.

 

Photo thanks to Eric__I_E

Does Your B2B Content Strategy Target All the Key Influencers?

Last Updated on

I came across this great post on HubSpot the other day that answered and negated the commonly cited shortcomings of inbound marketing their sales teams often hear from site owners and marketing managers.

This section in particular really stuck with me:

Claim: Decision-makers don’t spend their time online researching products and services…The idea is that the typical C-suite executive doesn’t spend his or her time online reading blogs, conducting searches in Google, or participating in social media.

Rebuttal: Decision-makers are influenced by online channels when it comes to purchasing decisions…Even if a C-suite executive doesn’t spend a lot of their time reading blogs, using social media, and conducting research online, that doesn’t mean there aren’t others within their company who are doing those things. And chances are, these people have some level of influence on the decisions of those C-suite executives.

The B2B content marketing challenge: multiple influencers throughout the buying cycle

A lot of B2B companies struggle with content creation in one way another, whether it be coming up with topics to write about or having a hard time publishing a steady stream of content. Either way, most B2B companies realize the importance of content marketing but some still struggle with the actual implementation.

One of the most common issues I see is that B2B content marketing doesn’t take into account all of the possible influencers, nor each stage of the buying cycle.

B2B content marketing campaigns might be too heavily weighted at the beginning of the buying cycle, which is great for driving information-seeking visitors to your site, but not as good at actually converting them. Or, they are too heavily weighted at the end of the buying cycle, so companies are missing the opportunity to connect with potential customers early on.

For instance, say your company sold various enterprise software products. Your end decision maker is probably the CIO or CTO, right? But is that CIO the one actually doing the grunt work and investigating all the possible vendors out there? Probably not.

Perhaps the Director of IT is the one that does a lot of the leg work and presents the CIO/CTO with the top few choices. But is the Director of IT the only one involved in the research and information gathering process? Again, probably not.

A B2B content strategy scenario…

Say one of the products your company offered was a contact center software product. The CIO isn’t the one actually using that product, your enterprise’s contact center agents are. But they don’t have the authority to make a buying decision, so they turn to their contact center manager with their needs/complaints about their current system.

The contact center manager in turn might look up the chain of command to the Customer Experience Executive or the Chief Customer Office, and explain why/how a new contact center software solution can help improve the customer experience. They, in turn, have to get the okay from the CTO or CIO to make sure this new software will work within their existing system that in turn might have to check-in with the CFO to get the budget approved.

Each person, from the contact center agent all the way up to the C-suite, can influence the final decision in one way or another, and each individual is looking for different pieces of information.

The call center agent wants to make sure that your software will actually make their jobs easier, not harder. The contact center manager wants to know that your software will easily integrate and “play nice” with other applications already being used so their agents don’t have to waste time learning a new program.

The CCO wants to see how a software program can actually impact the customer experience and everyone wants to know how spending money on new software will help them make or save money in the long run.

Content marketing that targets all of the influencers

Does your B2B content marketing campaign hit each of those influencers and their needs? If not, you’re missing out on valuable opportunities to connect with and influence each member of your target audience.

In a large enterprise, unlike a small business, no one person makes a decision that impacts the rest of the company on his or her own. Many B2B sales and buying cycles are extremely long and involved, and require a substantial monetary investment from your potential clients.

You don’t want them to have any lingering questions or doubts regarding your product or company, and your B2B content marketing campaigns are how you answer those questions.

About the Author ~ Nick Stamoulis

Nick Stamoulis is the President of Brick Marketing, a Boston-based search marketing firm that specializes in B2B SEO services. With over 13 years of industry experience Nick Stamoulis shares his SEO knowledge by writing in the Brick Marketing Blog and publishing the Brick Marketing SEO Newsletter, read by over 120,000 opt-in subscribers.

Content Criminal Minds: Why Your Content Needs a BAU

Last Updated on

I love the show Criminal Minds. I realize this just adds to my nerdy image, but I can’t help it. The show is usually well written. It has a fantastic group of characters, and does a great job of combining science (psychology) with entertainment. (I wouldn’t kick Reid out of bed for spouting statistics, either. Just saying.)

The Behavioral Analysis Unit (BAU) uses someone’s behaviors and character traits to predict their actions. And like the show’s characters, I’ve made a career out of analyzing and using people’s behaviour. I just use it to influence their actions rather than arrest them.

Introducing Your Personal Content BAU

You may be the only content person in your business, but your content still needs a range of characteristics to be successful. Leave one out and the quality of your content will fall. How you integrate these characteristics and what you do with them will depend on the behavior of your target audiences. (That’s another book…er… post on its own.)

Ready to meet your content BAU?

Management, Organization, and Focus

AhotchAaron Hotchner, the BAU’s exalted leader, is a straight-to-the-point kind of guy. And like Hotchner, your content and content strategy need a leader with the same traits. You need to keep everything organized, keep track of your to-do list (generating customers, getting attention from related businesses, building authority and trust, etc.), and monitor the results of your efforts.

Successful content creation requires a no-nonsense leader, too. Each piece you create has to be complete (introductions, summaries, META data, call-to-action phrases, etc.), and gone over by a ruthless editor.

Formatting, Confidence, and Community Dedication

DmorganCMDerek Morgan is the eye candy. He’s pleasing to look at (read: downright yummy), outgoing, confident, and devoted to his community. Don’t you wish your content strategy had these traits? It should.

Regardless of what industry you’re in, your content strategy should “be pretty” (contain a mix of text, images, and videos and have a balanced layout).

Your content should be pretty, too. Everything should be easy to navigate, easy to read, and include whitespace and images. It should be relatable and confident.

And don’t forget: Successful content is rarely self-serving. It should enrich the lives of your readers by providing them with information, entertainment, and solutions, not just advertise and push concepts.

Promotion and Communication

JjareauJennifer Jareau (JJ) is the team’s PR person. She deals with the media and acts as a liaison between the BAU, the families, and local law enforcement.

To add JJ to your content BAU, dedicate time to reputation management, audience interaction, and outreach programs. Make sure your message gets to the right people in the right way and always presents the right image for your business.

 

Facts and Information

SreidSpencer Reid is an eclectic genius who has all the facts, formulas, history, details, and information you could ever need on a subject. (Hey, some girls like bad boys. I just happen to like the ones best described as “a little odd” or “geeky”. We all have our addictions.) And guess what? Spencer is the Criminal Minds equivalent to the facts, links, and details you inject into your content.

While Spencer can often go a bit overboard (you might want to avoid that), his facts are irrefutable and usually pivotal to solving the case. By adding a little (or a lot) of Reid to your content and content strategy, you can have the same reputation. Fact check, fact check, fact check!

Lastly, Reid would never waste time on things that have no value, so why should you? Make sure each marketing effort is earning you some kind of ROI.

Fun, Balance, and Standing Out

Kirsten_VangsnessPenelope Garcia is the fun, outrageous, shocking computer genius in the BAU. She’s perfect for balancing out the dark topics and relieving the emotion strain. Your copy and content strategy needs that, too.

It’s ok to provide serious content like news items and informational/instructional content, but you also need to have fun and show some personality. The stronger and more unique your personality is, the more you’ll stick out, which means you’ll get noticed and be remembered.

Passion and Class

Joe_MantegnaDavid Rossi is notable for his old-world class, handsome charm, and Italian passion. He seems a bit more rough around the edges than the other characters, but he’s dedicated and smart, tactful and insightful. Rossi is key to the team and he should be key to your content strategy, too.

When you’re passionate about something, it shows no matter how hard you try to hide it. Passion will keep your readers enthralled and make sure you’re always doing your best. Rossi’s class, charm, and insightfulness will reflect well on your business and encourage readers to see you as the expert you are.

Who will be part of your content Behavioral Analysis Unit? And the important question: Who is your favorite Criminal Minds character?

About the Author ~ Angie Nikoleychuk

Angie Nikoleychuk is the senior copywriter, consultant & strategist at Angie’s Copywriting Services. She specializes in link bait creation, content strategies, and content optimization. Like to learn more about creating effective link bait? Check out her book entitled Copywriting Master Class: Creating Successful Link Bait.

Criminal Minds images courtesy of Wikimedia

photo thanks to California Cthulu (Will Hart)

Is your content in need of a BAU? Or some fine-tuning? Check into my SEO Content Review service for a low-cost, high-value assessment!

 

 

Website Owner or Writer: Who Should Optimize Content?

Last Updated on

Keypad with the letters s, e, and o in bright blue for "SEO"In an ideal world, the answer is both. If a writer and a site editor can work together to make sure a piece of content is optimized for Google as well as readers, then you have double the chance that it will actually get done correctly.

Unfortunately, there are amazing editors and amazing writers who simply don’t have a grasp on SEO. Online optimization is something that you really have to study and read about in order to understand, and those just starting might not have that background knowledge.

This is where the blame game starts. If a great piece of content isn’t doing well, you have to ask yourself: was it my job to help optimize that for Google and readers?

Where the writer can help optimize content best

The truth is that there are different aspects of SEO that should be handled by different people who deal with a piece of content. In a few cases, this is the writer more so than the editor. A few of these methods include:

  • Social Media Sharing. This is just one point that has to be put on both lists. Although a writer might not have the following that a company does, this doesn’t mean that a writer shouldn’t share content to readers. Any promotion helps, and the more a writer promotes his/her content the better for not only the company, but his/her personal brand.
  • Keyphrase Strategy. Google only recommends you use a keyword where you are trying to rank in 1-2 percent of the article. Because writers are composing the article, it’s easier for them to be conscious of the keyword and make it sound natural. The keyword that I, the writer, am trying to focus on in this article is “optimize content.”
  • Link Building/PageRank. Writers need to understand the importance of link building and include relevant links within the text of the article. Writers know the content better than website owners or editors, so it is the job of the writer to understand what links are important and beneficial for the content.

If you’re a writer and you really don’t know anything about SEO, don’t sweat it. The above is more-or-less all that you need to know! It helps to gain a background understanding of SEO to help, but until then your SEO responsibilities are some that you can, well, fake. Your number one job is to write great content, and your number two job is to do a couple of the things discussed above whether you understand them or not.

Where the website owner can help optimize content best

Website owners often don’t have as much trouble as writers because they can hire someone to help, but their responsibilities are usually more involved. If you can’t hire an SEO agency who really understands optimizing content, there are a few things that your website team needs to make sure it takes care of (and doesn’t put in the hands of a writer):

  • Keyword Research. A company is the one who should complete keyword research and then hand over those keywords to the writer. Keyword research involves analyze a lot of data and understanding the industry and the different competition. A writer should focus more on the creative, and the web editor needs to focus on the analytical.
  • Social Media Sharing. And here it is again. The website must promote all content (even guest posting content). With the increased importance of Google+, how often your content gets shared can make a difference in your Google ranking.
  • SEO Plugin Information. When it comes time to actually upload an article, consider putting this in the hands of the content editor. Many websites allow writers to upload his/her own content, but not all writers completely understand the software. Whether you’re uploading the content or the writer is, it should be the job of the site owner or editor to review and double check that your SEO plugin is giving you a solid score.

It is a bit more important for a web editor to really understand optimization in case something doesn’t go as planned. You can always re-optimize a piece of content (optimize for a different keyword, improve aspects such as keyword placement, etc.), so it’s important to continually analyze click-through rates and rankings so you know what needs to be done.

Other people involved in optimizing content

As most could have suspected, there are more hands involved in optimizing content (or that could be involved) than simply just the writer and the editor. A few other positions include:

  • Website owner/CEO of the company (whether he/she has a background in SEO or not).
  • The entire website team can help share content and read for errors/confusion.
  • Realize that bloggers sometimes differ from writers.
  • PR professionals and agency workers.

Do you think there are any SEO considerations that should be put into one of the two categories? Is there another third-party that you have found helped you optimize content? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

About the Author ~ Amanda DiSilvestro

Amanda gives small business and entrepreneurs SEO advice ranging from content optimization to recovering from algorithm updates. She writes for HigherVisibility, a nationally recognized SEO firm that offers national and local SEO service to a wide range of companies across the country.  You can find Amanda on LinkedIn, Google+, and Twitter @ADiSilvestro.

image thanks to SEOPlanter