Category Archives: SEO

Keeping Up To Date

A lot of my time is spent keeping up to date with the changes in the marketplace in which I conduct my business, the Internet. One of the major changes I have monitored for some time is the rise of mobile devices for accessing the web. When you keep in mind the fact that Gen Y is now all over 21 and GenZ have all grown up with mobile phones and the web, YouTube and what have you, not keeping up with technology and web use is like shooting yourself in the foot and saying it helps you hop better.

Another consideration is video. Forget swathes of text unless there is a nice image to catch the reader’s attention. Even better if you can communicate your message through video. Moving pictures, talkies, call it what you like; a picture is worth a thousand words and a moving talking one a heck of a lot more. I just had a book trailer video made and it is helping the book get noticed and bought far more than a tweet of 140 characters alone. I tweeted the video link and got a lot more hits than when I tweeted the launch of the book with the cover photo and far more than the test tweet with no cover shot.

Watch the video from Social Visibility Online and give it some serious consideration. It really is timely advice you should pay attention to if you want to do anything online and hope to have any success at. The number of people competing for your potential customer’s dollar grows every minute as the World wide Web is forever expanding and what the ‘guru’s’ are selling as the latest, sure fire way to make a million online stopped working for them a year ago, right about the time they figured they could make money from you selling the ‘secrets’ of what worked (past tense) for them. SVO’s CEO Chris Bennetts is telling you what is working now and what will be the way forward.

Google Slaps Again

Once again Google has slapped the SEO brigade, radically changing how sites are ranked. Actually this happened months ago but for some reason the story remained ‘pending’ and I never published it. This would be a good example of how time conscious the Internet is and that if it is ‘news’ it needs to be newsy and new! Fresh and frequent content is a keystone in the success of a blog so schedule a weekly hour or so to update all your sites.

Black Hats Look Out

Black hat SEO is a thing of the past. The latest update in how things are found is called ‘Penguin’ and it has made things much better for those of us who can write! Now the secret is relevant content, quality content and well structured web sites. No more link farms, article farms or keyword stuffing. If your site isn’t relevant to the search and full of relevant info, it won’t get a look in. If you try to force the results then you will be penalized and if your site architecture is poor then again, no ranking worth having. It is all about enhancing the experience of the searcher who, after all, are Google’s customers.

It is all about giving the searcher the best experience because if they find exactly what they want and lots of it they will return, they may even click on an ad or buy something and Google will make money. Seriously, did you ever really think Google would supply a billion dollar infrastructure so you can get rich?

Relevant Content Is The Key

Google have been busy slapping hundreds of black hat SEO types and a stack of white hats, too. Basically SEO as they knew it is dead. Now the focus is on the content and that needs to be quality content, not poorly written rubbish of 200 words or less, stuffed with keywords and basically making no sense to anyone, even the poor schlep who wrote it for a buck or less.

I feel for the writers of developing countries like Pakistan, India, the Philippines, Nigeria, Alabama and so on as the gravy train for them is coming off the rails. No longer can second rate composition and poor grammar be offered as an ‘article’. No more the scrapers and the blog networks set up solely to raise the ranking of sites at the expense of the reader. For all those SEO gurus who just wanted tons of content to fill out a place to advertise and sell from, the game is over.

Content must not only be of a decent standard, it also has to be relevant. Google and other search engines are ranking differently now. They are presenting searchers with results based on relevancy, not just how many back links the site has bought or how many times the keyword is stuffed in the text. I feel vindicated as I have always railed against those spinner programs. I have understood that there is a market for poorly written articles which keep ESL writers in rice and curry and feed their families- they have a right to earn a living too and we in the developed world need to adjust. Still, it is time now for good content providers to say this is what we can write for you and this is what we charge.

So how much do we charge? That is an entirely different blog, perhaps even a page of its own. Stay tuned. Hit the RSS icon and grab the feed.

How Technical Are You?

The reality is that eWriting is a little more technical than writing something and sending off a copy by email or in the post and leaving it up to others to publish. There is little chance of escaping the need to understand how the web works, how web sites are made and found and what a blog is, what it can and can’t do. As a proponent of ongoing education and learning I believe all eWriters need to keep pace with the Internet and how to make the best use of it. You don’t need to become a code writing expert, but you should know what html means and xml and what role they play.

Your web site or blog will benefit from knowing how SEO is applied by the different search engines and what it is they look for when they rank your site. Your page rank dictates where your site is listed when someone runs a search using key words. Writing your content to make best use of this is a skill you should achieve. Fonts, spacing, colour and sizing all affect the web page. Accessibility is another factor and this refers to how people actually see your page. Many don’t and rely on programs that convert text to speech. They might see blurry shapes and colours or nothing at all. Or they can see everything but it is jumbled up. If people with these problems are in your target market demographic then it pays you to learn how to design and present your web page so that they can understand the content. What about speakers of languages other than English? Do you offer a translation option so they can read the page in another language? This might make a huge difference to your success but keep in mind many of the free translation programs translate your page into gibberish! Have a native speaker check out any translation you haven’t hired someone qualified to prepare for you.

If you are not very technically inclined do not despair. There is someone out there who is and they will be glad of the work you can put their way. You usually get what you pay for so go for results and not lowest price. Paying a little more very often brings in a much greater return than the difference between what you can afford and the lowest bid.

Titles Are Vital

Reading Hemingway on writing the other day I was intrigued to learn a trick of writers in the last century was to look through the Bible for title ideas. Inspiration was best found in Ecclesiastics, apparently. Hemingway mentioned in his letters to other writers more than once that all the good titles are already taken. That might be true but the good news is, you can’t copyright a title. This is why you can find ‘Fall Of Giants’ by Ken Follet (a superb saga about Europe during the Great War) and ‘Fall Of Giants’ by Michael Panzner, all about the Global Financial Crises of recent years.

What spurred me to write this piece was how someone mentioned that the sidewalks of Paris are far from romantic places to stroll as dog owners take their mutts for afternoon walks and don’t clean up the mess. I suppose they don’t kerb the dog, either so in popular spots one can understand the hazards inherent in negotiating such a toxic minefield. Perhaps that poster could write about it and call it ‘Le Chemin de Chien Merde’. Grab a translation from Babblefish if your French is rather rusty. Of course if you set the story in India, perhaps you could title it ‘A Short Walk In The Hindu Tush’, or then again, perhaps not.

Book titles, and web sites and blogs for that matter, can all benefit from some selective titling, in inverse proportion to how damaging rubbish titles can be. A title should tell the reader everything, without telling them anything. By that I mean it needs to grab their attention and create the desire to read on, even spur them to take action and buy the book or click on the link and surf on in to the blog. It must not be so obvious that they can figure out the plot without going any further and yet it has to engage, and generate sufficient interest to hold their attention despite the many other titles and headings vying for their 15 to 45 seconds of focus. Studies show that is about all the time you have to grab hold of the reader when it comes to online writing for a web page or blog. So if the title doesn’t do it for you, the odds are they won’t be bothering to read any further.

Jakob Nielsen has done an enormous amount of valuable research on this topic and he has some very specific things to say about titles and headings, sub-headings and so on. The way people view web pages, a kind of ’F’ pattern, means that they scan more than actually read. If it catches their eye then they will read on, but only until it starts to bore them, then they just as quickly go elsewhere.

Good, engaging titles and headings inform the reader of the contents of the piece or the paragraph and often dictate whether the reader reads on or continues scanning down the left edge of the page. If the reader decides to skip the paragraph, a good heading will pass on just enough information to keep them in context and pass on the gist of the paragraph. The title and the headings can also be major SEO factors, as well. Clever use of keywords that are popular search terms, woven into a catchy title can make a lot of difference to how highly your page gets ranked. Everything comes down to being found and read, which is why solid search engine optimization, the White Hat kind, is vital.  Rather than waste time, money and energy chasing the latest Black Hat methods that actually died months before the dot com gurus just had to share them with you, focus on writing good quality content that is clear, easy to read, engaging and adds to the body of knowledge on the topic. That will help your ranking far more than a hundred spin program written posts spread all over the web for the dubious backlink value. Coupled with bullet points and other good eWriting tactics, titles and headings can really work hard for the modern web page. How hard are yours working?

Panda And Google Explained

Here is a terrific presentation that explains the recent Panda slap from Google. If you have no idea what I am talking about, basically Google have changed how they rank sites and this will have a major effect on how web sites are ranked and thus their level of success as regards traffic. The bottom line as far as we eWriters are concerned is that it supports my long held belief that the best way to get solid traffic is to offer content worth reading and worth coming back to.

The days of the $1 for 100 word ‘article’ are over, effectively. The SEO experts who relied on pumping out these petty collections of words and calling them articles with a link to the web site they wish to manipulate the ranking of will now have to find other ways to justify their existence. Tightly written content placed on well laid out and easy to navigate pages offering the visitor quality information or entertainment – that is the secret.

It is not just good content that is needed now but also properly constructed web sites that make it easy and enjoyable for humans to interact with. Interaction is the key and the more you can put on your site for the visitor to interact with, and that means more than just read, the better. ‘Interact’ with the Webinar presentation below and invest an hour of your life for a lot more in return, with thanks to ‘Guerilla’ and the good people at www.dripfeedblasts.com

 

Wistia

SEO Is Must Know Stuff For Online Writers

Like most things you don’t need to be an expert at SEO, Search Engine Optimization. However, if you profess to make a living online you do need to know what it is and how it basically operates. When it comes to writing your own blog or building your own web site, knowing a little about SEO can only be a positive thing. Here is a great chart from http:searchengineland.com that might help you get an idea of the various facets or factors that affect your web presence and how easy it is found by anyone searching for whatever it is you have to offer.