We are a huge community out here on the internet. By ‘we’ I mean bloggers, freelance writers and content writers. Regardless of how diverse our professional platforms are, we have one thing in common: writing. Yeah, no matter who we write for, we all love writing and we also share a common aim between us. What is that? We want traffic; because we know traffic will bring both readers and income. That brings us to a very important aspect of online writing: SEO. So this post is targeted at helping writers achieve search engine optimization for their writing.
Speaking of SEO, there are several aspects that need to be taken care of such as:
- On page Optimization
- Off page Optimization
- Keyword Research
Let us discuss about each of these aspects in detail here.
Keywords are certainly the key to all your SEO attempts. Knowing which keywords to target is the basic step in SEO and if this step is not done correctly it can defeat the very purpose of doing SEO. There may be many different tips that talk about the right way to choose keywords but here are the fundamental steps that I use.
- First of all I would sit down with a pen and paper and write down all probable terms related to the niche that I am writing on. Let us suppose that I am writing about ‘writing’. There are many different keywords related to this niche like writing tips, freelance writing, writing jobs, content writing, blog writing etc.
- Next I will try out each of these keywords in the search engines like Google, yahoo and Bing. If I can see a trail of ads related to the search terms that I am using I decide that it is safe to go ahead with those terms.
- Finally I would buy a paid ad campaign from Google for my chosen keywords to confirm the ability of these keywords in bringing targeted traffic towards my blog. I make sure to direct the traffic towards the most appropriate page of my blog for those keywords. The final step is to assess my inbound traffic for impressions and conversion rate over the course of at least 200 -300 clicks. If my keyword is in great demand, I should see results within 1/ 2 days. In case the traffic takes more than a week to trickle in, I drop those keywords like hot potatoes because I know for sure that they are not going to be of any use to me in terms of bringing traffic towards my blog.
Now that I have got a handful of keywords that have passed the 3 step test mentioned above, let us now move on to on page optimization
On page Optimization
On page optimization is something I spend quite some time on, because this is one aspect of SEO that is under my direct control and also because I thoroughly enjoy doing it. Here is a quick synopsis of my on page optimization tactics.
- I use All in one SEO pack, which in my opinion is an awesome plugin from the WordPress guys to get your blog SEO done.
- I make sure that I have got all the settings of this plugin right. For instance, I make sure to check the option for using tags for META keywords, check option for ‘use no index for tags and archives’, and check option for ‘canonical URL’. By doing this I am making sure that this plugin will work seamlessly in optimizing my posts.
- Using keywords in my title and post is a top priority and I pay a lot of attention while doing this. I try to keep my keyword as close to the beginning of the title as possible. So if I am writing about writing tips, I make sure that I begin my title with the terms ‘writing tips’ or at least keep it as close towards the beginning as possible
- Repeating keywords within my post is always done at a fixed rate of approximately 1 time per 100-150 words. This helps me maintain a fair balance in using keywords for SEO while maintaining the readability for my visitors. Anything lesser than this will defeat the purpose of SEO and anything more than this is going to make my post look spammy and hateful to both the bots and my readers.
- Many a times, I am forced to repeat the keywords at a higher rate than mentioned above, because the post calls for it. But I avoid this trap by using alternative phrases for my chosen keywords instead. Let me explain by examples. My keyword is ‘writing tips’ and I have already used it 5 times in a post of 550 words. Whenever I need to use this keyword for the 6th time, I use something else as an alternative like ‘tips for writing’ or ‘tips to write’ etc.
- I use images to go with my writing and I make sure that my selection of images is never random. Only images that are related to my posts are used and the alt attribute of the img tag is same as the chosen keyword.
- My posts are always broken up in to 4/ 5 sub-sections and whenever relevant I try to use the keywords in the sub-sections as well. But the total usage of the keywords in title, sub-sections and body of the posts never go above the 1 per 100- 150 words ratio.
Off page Optimization
There are 3 different parts of off page optimization:
- Keyword Research
- Selecting appropriate anchor text
- Choosing the back links according to quality
The starting point of getting off page optimization done is getting to know about the keywords related to your niche. Keywords are the keys that people are using to search to unlock info related to your niche. Until and unless you know what keys these folks are using there is no point in expecting them to come in through your door (to reach your blog).
Billions of people use the internet to search the web each day to find info related to their topics of interest, and each of them uses different set of words in the search engine. How do you get into the head of these folks and find out what words they use? Thankfully there are both paid and free tools to get this job done. I use the free version and am quite happy with it. I am speaking of Google keyword tool, which lets you find out the keywords/ key phrases being used by internet users and also offers detailed statistics like number of searches per month locally and number of searches for that keyword/ key phrase internationally and so much more…
Using the Google Keyword Tool
While using the tool I select the ‘exact’ search option so that I get exact keywords that people are using. If I use the broad option then all the keywords that are related to the particular keyword will be displayed. I choose only those keywords that display at least 300 searches by people each month. But again that will vary according to the niche related to the keyword. Some niches are so narrow that there are not many searches related to it, so expecting 300 searches a month would also be asking for too much.
I also evaluate according to the competition and CPC and finally take a decision based on the combined factors.
Selecting Appropriate Anchor Text
I guest blog on other blogs and also post my articles on article directories to get traffic towards my blog. When I do this, I make sure that I do not use words like click here, or go here to read more etc. The anchor text that I choose to point towards my blog is always one of my keywords that are used on the page that the anchor text directs towards. This is not only great for SEO but also allows your readers to know what to expect on clicking the link.
Imagine this. You see 2 different links on a site, where one of them just says click here and provides a lengthy URL, while the other says get more writing tips and anchors a link to the keyword ‘writing tips’. Which one of them would you click first? The second one of course! Another benefit of using anchor text instead of lengthy and messy URLs is to maintain the aesthetics on the site / blog where you are posting the anchor texts.
Choosing the Back Links According To Quality
I have a peculiar habit of scrutinizing the quality of the back links that my blog receives. You can even call me picky, but I do tend to obsess over the quality of links coming into my blog. I really do not like low quality and spammy websites linking to me and putting me in trouble with the search engines. I usually check the page rank, Alexa rank etc in addition to checking out the quality of the content posted on a site and its social reputation before I place any anchor text on it for back links.
This post may have got quite lengthy, but it sure does summarize all of my techniques at getting my blog optimized for the search engines and also for traffic. While I am sure that most of you use all or some of these techniques mentioned here, I also know that some of you have some more special techniques that I don’t know of. I am curious to know all about them, would you please share them with me in the comments section?
This post was written by John Mak, who writes about free software reviews and web-conferencing tools.
How to Create More Clickable Google Search Snippets
Google search results are becoming ridiculously competitive. Plus, Google’s search results are becoming incredibly engaging: Many search users prefer to use search results (open “People Also Ask” results, clicks image and video carousels, etc.) that getting a click from search results is getting harder and harder.
With the introduction of new and flashier ways to be seen, you still have to learn how to creatively and dynamically exploit those offered tools. Being seen with so many others attempting the same technique is just as hard as it was when visibility relied only on ranking.
How to get more people click your search listing in SERPs? Here are three really effective ways:
1. Monitor Your Click-Through
The first step to improving your search snippet visibility is to set up monitoring of how your pages are performing right now and get alerted if anything changes.
Finteza is an advanced analytics platform allowing you to keep a close eye on your site performance in search and all the various channels.
To monitor your click-through from organic search:
- Register an account at Finteza
- Add their tracking code to your site and give it some time to accumulate some data
- Click “Sources” and there choose “Search”
- Go to “Pages” to see how your top landing pages are performing in search:
This gives you bird’s eye view on your site organic performance in organic search. It’s a great way to analyze and evaluate your old content. Using Finteza, you can also set up a retargeting campaign to target those search referrals better if they choose to return to your site.
Repeat steps above at least weekly to see if any of those pages start losing clicks from search: These might need some work. Here’s exactly what you may want to do:
2. Use Semantic Analysis
Google uses a variety of analysis methods to identify high-quality content that meets their users’ needs. One of the key components of Google’s content evaluation process is semantic analysis.
Basically speaking, semantic analysis is about clustering your key topic into subtopics and concepts that constitute it. To give a quick example, if we were to apply semantic analysis to [hiking], we’d come up with a variety of underlying concepts including, National Parks, Mountains, picturesque trails, being outdoors, and even birdwatching.
All of those concepts relate to hiking in some way or another.
Broadly speaking, semantic analysis helps machines understand natural language – the way that humans communicate – including context, goals, etc.
When it comes to search optimization, semantic SEO helps:
- Create more indepth and richer content that meets Google’s expectations
- Optimize for intent (what’s the end goal behind each search)
- Give Google enough context for them to create a more clickable search snippet for your listing.
Another example of semantic analysis in action is Google’s results for [where it was filmed]. While the query is seemingly absolutely generic, Google is able to understand this question relates to the movie “It”.
Text Optimizer is the semantic analysis tool that goes right to the source, i.e. Google search snippets. For each query you type, it would collect Google’s search snippets and apply semantic analysis to them to come up with the list of underlying concepts:
[TextOptimizer’s results for [where it was filmed] – as you can see the tool got the actual context of the query and clustered it into related topics]
Including 20-25 of these concepts into your content will help Google better understand your text, and create richer more clickable search snippets. Here’s a more detailed review of the site I did previously.
3. Optimize for Rich Snippets
Rich snippets have become the new keywords. These little details are what causes your listing to “pop” in a search, catching the eye of the user no matter what place on the first page you occupy. Proper use of rich snippets are a requirement for being seen.
“Rich snippets” are search results providing the user with more answers right within SERPs. To qualify for rich snippets your web page should have rich markup:
Here are the supported types of rich snippets:
If you have reviewed a tool or a product, use Aggregate Rating structured data for your search snippet to look like this. This will populate stars in search that definitely draw an eye!
Recipes will have some nutritional and preparation information, like how long it takes to cook and how many calories are in each serving.
Events will show dates and times for each event for quick reference. Every event name is linked in search results giving you more clickable links in search.
There’s a number of structure data types that allow you to add more details to your brand knowledge graph (NOT for local businesses though).
These include: Official social media accounts, logo, and the corporate contact:
Movies and Books
Movies and books will also show off a ranking system, and some product pages have a star rating alongside price.
HowTo markup will help Google to locate more information from your tutorial, for example, number of steps, time to complete, etc.:
HowTo Schema shouldb’t be used for recipes though. Other than that there are no official restrictions to certain types of tutorials that can have it.
One word of caution here: Only use structured data when it absolutely makes sense. Google frowns upon using Schema just for the sake if rich snippets. If it is not an actual review, don’t use the ratings markup, as it could backfire. Google actually sends manual penalties for a structured abuse, so read the documentation properly to make sure you follow all the rules!
Optimizing for rich snippets relies heavily on whichever website builder and/or CMS you are using. For most of them there are lots of plugins and addons allowing to quickly integrate structured markup.
The above tips will hopefully help you generate more clicks from your current organic positions without having to invest in improving it. See it as a low-hanging fruit opportunity to improving your traffic!
Do you have a tip for optimizing search snippets? Let us know in the comments!
Top the Charts! 5 Must-Know SEO Solutions to Promote Your Managed IT Service
According to Internet Live Stats, Google processes over 40,000 search queries every second. That’s 3.5 billion searches a day.
When someone searches for your managed IT service, you have the opportunity to attract them straight towards your website.
All you need is search engine optimization or SEO!
Here are five SEO solutions that can help drive traffic to your website. With these techniques, you can attract new customers and grow your business!
Let’s get optimizing.
1. Topics & Keywords
An effective SEO strategy starts with a list of keywords. These keywords reflect the content your customers are searching for online. Using these keywords, you can create content that matches their search intent.
To start, you can use tools like Google Keyword Planner and Google Trends. These tools will show you the popularity of each keyword.
Once you have this list, you can create pillars and clusters. Pillars give your website visitors the main page of collective content. Then, the clusters break this content into sub-topics with specified information.
This strategy can help boost your SEO plan and attract people to your Managed IT Services.
That way, you’re attracting new website visitors while providing them with an easy, efficient user experience, too.
2. On-Site SEO
Your website needs optimization as a whole as well as on a page-based level. To start, make sure your website’s content hierarchy is well-structured.
Then, there are a number of areas that require review to ensure these SEO solutions work.
Once you’ve studied your target audience to determine your keywords, you also need:
- Descriptive URLs
- Keyword-optimized page titles
- Compelling meta descriptions
- Content optimization (includes keyword placement in headers, body text, etc.)
- Good user experience
- Structured data markup
- Effective call-to-action language
As part of your overall SEO strategy, on-page SEO is an important component of attracting visitors.
3. Off-Site SEO
An off-site SEO strategy includes local SEO. This strategy helps you attract local customers to your website and business.
To start, make sure your listings are updated with the correct content information.
This includes your Google My Business listing as well.
4. Technical SEO
Technical SEO ensures search engines can find your content. These areas include:
- Website speed
Technical SEO solutions are essential for success. Otherwise, how will customers find your website?
According to Fit Small Business, search is the number one driver of traffic to content sites. In fact, it beats social media by over 300 percent.
Your content should consider customer search intent. That way, you’re giving visitors content that answers their questions. This can include service content, credibility content, and marketing content.
This content should also add value to your business.
Consider writing blog posts or white papers. You can also post videos or add testimonials to your website.
That way, your SEO content shows visitors you’re a valuable resource.
Bring It in: 5 Must-Have SEO Solutions
With these five must-have SEO solutions, you can attract new visitors to your website. The right techniques will then turn these visitors into leads, then leads into paying customers!
That way, your company grows, one SEO strategy at a time.
Check out our latest posts for more effective tips and tricks!
SEO 101: The Essential SEO FAQ for Bloggers
I don’t provide SEO services and I am self-taught – which hardly makes an expert. But I’ve been blogging for a lifetime and for all these years I’ve been reading about and implementing SEO practices – which means I know more than an average blogger.
With that said, I’ve decided to put together this SEO FAQ for those who want to quickly understand the concept without going too indepth:
What is SEO?
Simply put, SEO is about making a website easy for search engines to discover, go through and understand.
- creating content (based on search engine users’ needs),
- making your content “link-worthy” (i.e. attract backlinks),
- using HTML and structured data to make content easier to understand for the machine, etc.
SEO is NOT trying to “fake” any of positive signals search engines use to rank web pages. Search engine friendliness should be authentic and SEO professionals should work together with website owners to achieve that.
Do Bloggers Need to Know SEO?
SEO aims at helping a page rank on top of organic search results, and search engines are known to bring the most qualified leads (people turn to Google when they know what they want).
No traffic source is as effective as search traffic. Unlike driving clicks with ads (PPC), organic search is NOT interrupting user’s surfing the web. Instead, it serves them content exactly when they ask
This makes SEO one of the most important digital marketing channels. It can drive highly targeted traffic and pre-qualified leads to your site on a continuous basis (no need to keep investing in ads)
How Has SEO changed over the years?
SEO is maturing fast and it has been exciting to watch. The biggest driving force behind this evolution is Google that has been working hard on their search algorithm to understand natural language and search intent, as well as penalizing any manipulating tactics.
The result: SEO has become more integrated into other marketing channels. Furthermore, SEO is more about focusing on long-term goals rather than quick traffic gains
If ten years ago SEO was all about creating fake signals (keyword stuffing, link buying, etc.), these days it’s all about creating linkable assets that rank and engage potential customers.
Can SEO Be Handled “At Home”?
WordPress bloggers generally don’t have to worry about getting SEO help. WordPress is pretty well set up and there’s a variety of free plugins to help.
Here’s a detailed guide to get yourself educated: Google SEO: Should it be your only priority?
What is The Most Important SEO Element?
Content… by far! Content is the foundation of any SEO strategy. Content ranks, attracts links, spreads, engages customers and turns them into believers.
Content is not just an article or a blog post. By content I mean any kind of text you put on your site, from a landing page copy to your “About us” page or a product description.
Many businesses jump into digital marketing without willing to invest in content, and this strategy is doomed to failure. Building on-site content should be everyone’s SEO priority.
Text Optimizer is a great tool that helps you create better content by providing you with the mindmap of associated concepts and questions. It uses semantic analysis to process Google’s search snippets and break any keyword into subtopics.
While it’s primarily search intent optimization tool, it’s also helpful for overall content research showing which topics to cover and how to structure your article.
You can read my own Text Optimizer case study here.
What Are the Most Dangerous SEO Myths?
- Keyword density… This is one of the most persistent SEO myths out there. Why I dislike it so much is because it fills the web with trash content. Keyword-density focused strategy spoils the brand image and creates lots of problems which take lots of time to fix.
- On-page SEO alone will get you to #1. There are so many SEO agencies there that are happy to keep “optimizing” your website but rankings won’t come. The reality, you still need outbound tactics to gain backlinks and external visibility (branding) to achieve higher rankings
- SEO is dying… SEO death has been predicted for years now. These days with Google’s new SERPs features that aim at keeping the user using Google, and the fast growth of voice search, SEO is predicted to die soon again
The truth is, SEO is full of ingenuous tools and people. It is evolving together with search engines and it will survive Google’s death one day.
What’s the Best SEO Advice You’ve Received?
There’s a real human being behind each query.
Really if you stop thinking of keywords as “word strings to optimize for” and start seeing them as a real person’s question, SEO becomes much clearer (and more fun).
This mindset helps build more helpful content, optimize for search intent better (why would anyone type this into the search box? What are they willing to do once they find the answer?)
On top of that, by looking at keyword research as something that helps you serve your customer will help you understand your audience better and come up with better products and offers, on a higher-level.
Answer The Public is a nice free tool that turns keyword research into question research helping you to clearer see your readers’ struggles behind their search queries.
On top of that, the tool also mind-maps the retrieved keywords / questions helping you in brainstorming.
Where Does a Blogger Start with SEO?
As stated above, there’s not much a blogger can do to start with SEO except for creating useful original content.
Here’s also a nice clutter-free introduction into SEO: SEO Basics: Complete Beginner’s Guide to Search Engine Optimization . Here’s a much easier guide but also one that lists the most essential step: 3 Basic Steps to Making Your New Blog SEO-Friendly. Here’s also a helpful writing checklist that will help you handle the basics:
As you may have noticed, I am not listing a ton of tools here as I don’t want this guide to overwhelm the reader. Those mentioned are a good start!
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