SEO Tips to Help Your Site Rank, Part One

Help Your Site Rank

Getting your site to rank on search engines is a major accomplishment that can pay serious dividends. A lot of planning, trial and error and patience go into ranking your site and once you earn that distinction you need to continue to work to hold on to your place. There are lots of tips and tricks to help your site rank, and your first major hurdle is mastering SEO. This sounds intimidating, but it’s really not that bad. Here’s what you need to know about SEO to help your site rank.

Understanding SEO

At a very basic level, search engines review all of the available websites and take inventory of what’s there. When a user types words into the search box of a search engine, that search engine returns pages that should be a good fit based on the search. Lots of factors, most of which involve proprietary algorithms, go into how a search engine selects one website over another. One of the major factors is Search Engine Optimization (SEO) text.

SEO text is content that is written for websites but designed to appeal to search engine algorithms in order to help your site rank and drive traffic to your site. In the early days of search engines, SEO text simply meant plugging in your keywords as many times as possible. As the algorithms have become more sophisticated, SEO strategies have had to keep up.

Help Your Site Rank

Benefits of a High Site Ranking

When search engines return a list of results those findings are ranked. The closer to the top your site ranks, the more likely it will be a good fit for users. Spots at the top of the list are also more visible. You want your site to rank high because this increases the odds of visitors going to your site. This is known as organic traffic and it can help customers find your site, learn more about your business and ultimately close sales.

How to Improve Your Site Through SEO

Gone are the days of loading up your website with keywords and waiting for visitors to flood your site. Now you need an entire strategy to help ensure search engines like your site, so they will in turn feature it high up in their results. These tips can help you create an effective SEO strategy to help your site rank.

1. Original Content

It’s hard to prioritize one tip over another because all of these tips are intended to really work together to help your site rank. However, if there was one tip that mattered above everything else, it’s this one: you must publish original content. This tip matters so much, because if you drop the ball on any of the other tips that just means your site will not rank. If you mess up this tip and use content from another source (i.e. plagiarise), you may end up being penalized.

Search engines prioritize new and original content. When a search engine stumbles across duplicate content, that means identical or near identical content on different sites, the repercussions will be swift and bad. Search engines may actually remove you from the ranking if they catch you with plagiarized content on your site.

Help Your Site Rank

Recovering from this sort of setback can take years, so be mindful of your content before tapping the publish button. The easy solution is to run content through a tool designed to zero in on plagiarism, like Copyscape.

Even if you are completely confident your content is original it’s still a good idea to double-check. It’s possible your content may have striking similarities to something already out there. Taking the time to re-work content before it goes live can save you from penalties later.

2. Simplify the Formatting

Lengthy paragraphs may inhibit readers and search engines know this, meaning poor formatting will not help your site rank. The solution is to write as clearly and concisely as possible, break things into small paragraphs and use bullet points to further streamline content.

Pro Tip

Give your content visual interest by including photos, charts, GIFs and even videos. Including multimedia will break up long, imposing articles and give readers an engaging break.

3. Give Readers Value

The thing that’s tricky about really great SEO content, is it needs to provide value to both search engines and readers. Good content should inform readers and help them better understand your products or services and make purchasing decisions. At the same time, this content also needs to show search engines that it has value, so search engines will direct users to your site.

Figuring Out the Right Amount of Value

A particular challenge when writing blog posts and website content is landing on the right length. The post needs to be long enough to clearly explain the objective, but not too long so as to lose your readers’ attention. Search engines also need some substance in order to assign value. Short posts of just a couple hundred words won’t cut it. While search engines like to see posts that run well over 1,000 words, your readers may not be on board with that.

When it comes to determining the content length and even how often to post you need a customized approach. Ideally, you want lots of content, but you need to distribute this content in easy-to-manage posts that appeal to your demographic. If your readers are willing to stick with long posts then, by all means, go for it. If your readers are more apt to bail on long posts then you need to mix things up. Feature short posts that appeal to readers, but occasionally mix in some longer posts to give search engines something to work with.

Check and Double-Check Your Text

Proofreading can be boring, but taking the time to quickly read over your posts, double-check links and make sure everything is in order is definitely worth it. This content represents your brand, so make sure it’s high-quality like the products or services you provide for your customers.

Search engines also keep a digital eye peeled for grammatical mistakes. The occasional typo isn’t a big deal, but routine errors are a problem. The main objective of search engines is to provide useful content to their users. If a search engine deems your content to be of poor quality, they will not place it in their results.

4. Implementing Keywords

When people think of SEO, usually the first thing they think of is keywords or key phrases. These are certainly an important part of an SEO strategy, but as you can see there were a few other things to cover first.

Keywords and key phrases are terms included in your text that are likely to match up with what people type into search engines. For example, if you have a site and you sell running shoes, you want to write blog posts that include words like running, shoes, sneakers, apparel and so on. This way when users type those words into a search engine, if all goes according to plan, your site will show up close to the top of the results page.

For this to work, you need to figure out which keywords to use. You want keywords that align with your product offerings but also stand out from your competition. The less competition your keywords face, the easier it will be to drive organic traffic. The good news is that there are tools, like Keyword Explorer, to help you figure out which keywords to use.

Help Your Site Rank

Go with an Entire Key Phrase

Don’t feel compelled to limit yourself to a keyword when a whole phrase may be a better fit and help your site rank. Long-tail keywords are short phrases of three to four words. These phrases can give your content a boost when included in the text. Appropriate long-tail keywords using the running shoe example from earlier may include running shoes, women’s running shoes, waterproof running shoes and so on. These phrases provide more details to help users zero in on exactly what they want. These phrases also enable your site to stand apart from your competition.

The Case for Stop Words

In programming and computing terms, stop words are words that do not provide value. Stop words do provide value in written and spoken communication. Examples of stop words include a, how, the, to, who and more. Early versions of search engines ignored these words. Programmers felt these words were so common that they offered no value and if search engines had to wade through all of these useless words it would slow down the entire process. For this reason, it became common practice to omit stop words from keyphrases since search engines ignored these words anyway.

As technologies have improved search engines have learned how to cope with stop words. Including stop words appear to have no impact on how search engines interpret and rank pages and sites. Sometimes, including stop words can help clarify the meaning. A great example of this is the movie, The Notebook. If you were to Google this title and omit the stop word (‘the’) the results would just include actual notebooks. By searching the full title, stop word and all, you can find the intended results.

Stay Tuned

There are a lot more SEO tips to cover, but including everything in one blog post can be intense. Come back soon and I’ll round out my list of SEO tips to help your site rank with part two in this series. Do you have questions about part one? Suggestions for part two? Or do you want to talk about how I can help your site rank and put these tips to work for you? Whatever the case may be, reach out and let me know what you need!

Understanding Feature vs Benefit

feature vs benefit

Why This Matters When Creating Copy

If you’ve researched writing any type of marketing copy or if you’ve looked into hiring someone to write your content, you’ve likely stumbled across claims about feature vs benefit. These terms sound similar, and many people may even use these terms interchangeably in some contexts. If you are looking to create (or hire someone to create for you) persuasive content that sells your products or services it pays to understand the difference.

Understanding Features

Features are the traits that make up your products or services. These are simple facts and nothing more. For example, the resolution and number of HDMI ports are features of a TV. Features are just values that define the product.

Understanding Benefits

Benefits describe the value of features. A benefit statement breaks things down and clarifies to your audience what they stand to gain from a particular feature. When viewed as a whole, all of the features and corresponding benefits can persuade a customer to make a purchase.

Value of Benefits

Explaining the value of features helps clients visualize the product and understand how it will help them in their lives. The goal here is to answer questions like, “how will this help me,” or “why do I need this?”

feature vs benefit

Sticking with the TV example, the resolution of a TV determines the level of detail for an immersive visual experience. Several HDMI ports make it easy to connect a variety of peripherals, like gaming consoles, DVRs and more. This additional information helps explain and sell the feature. This info also enables consumers to better understand what sets a particular product apart from others.

Two Parts of a Whole

Getting into the nitty-gritty of features and benefits provides a well-rounded look at your product offering. A feature without a benefit leaves your reader hanging without anything else to go on. In this instance, your reader will possibly make their own assumptions which can lead to misunderstanding and confusion. Readers may also seek out answers from another, more forthcoming source. That other source may be a competitor and can end up costing you a customer.

A feature vs benefit style is an opportunity to explain what sets your brand and offerings apart from your competition. Distinguishing your products and services makes it clear what your brand is about and what you have to offer.

Spell It Out

Your customers likely understand the features, but explaining the benefits helps keep everyone on the same page so to speak. Back to the TV example, an informed consumer knows how many HDMI ports they need when shopping for a new TV. In this instance, stating the benefit is a nice courtsey.

A feature vs benefit style of writing is extremely helpful for less informed consumers. Explaining that an HDMI port stands for High-Definition Multimedia Interface and it’s simply an industry standard port enables consumers to better understand. When consumers understand what the product can do, and how it can help them, they are more likely to move forward with the purchase.

Even if the benefit is obvious — spell it out. If you sell a product made from recycled content, follow that up by explaining it is eco-friendly. Most people know items made from recycled content are eco-friendly. However, it doesn’t hurt to include that reminder and establish your brand as doing some good and promoting a cause.

Multimedia Applications for Feature vs Benefit

Outlining features and benefits in a text is an excellent way to relay information. Go a step further and break things down into an easy to read graphic or chart. Visuals are a great way to help readers understand a complicated concept at a glance. Make sure to write scripts and video outlines in a feature vs benefit style. This ensures your content provides as much value as possible.

feature vs benefit

Customer Service Element

Taking the time to explain the feature vs benefit is a form of customer service. If your website, newsletter, social media or whatever other forms of content goes into an appropriate level of detail it will serve the client.

Providing high-quality content aids consumers and makes it clear that you are willing and able to help clients. This establishes your brand as an approachable industry expert. Setting this tone encourages consumers to reach out with questions which can close sales and help to establish brand loyalty.

Let’s Close Some Sales

A feature vs benefit style of writing is all about relaying information. Through educating the consumer you are empowering your clients to make informed decisions. This can help advance clients through the sales process and also help to set expectations. When a customer knows and understands exactly what to expect there are no surprises and this can cut down on returns and complaints.

Do you have questions? Want to learn how a feature vs benefit style of writing can help improve the performance and conversion of your site? Let’s do this.

Three Content Marketing Myths to Avoid

content marketing

Tips to Build a Strong Strategy

Content marketing is appealing as a way to leverage self-published information online to increase awareness and recognition of your brand. Social media is full of brands that have found success by employing content marketing. Your business can do the same. In order to make this work, there are some common myths and pitfalls you need to avoid.

Brief History of Content Marketing

Content marketing is a strategy that utilizes a variety of media to catch the interest of customers and potential customers. This media can consist of written words, photos, graphics, videos and more. The objective of this content is to help users get to know your brand and learn more about your services or product offerings. Individuals armed with this information are more likely to become customers, repeat customers and possibly even self-motivated brand ambassadors.

The main goal of quality content is to establish your brand as an expert in your industry. As customers get to know and trust your brand, they will form a relationship with your business. Establishing these relationships between your brand and customers can increase loyalty and ensure customers turn to you when they have questions or intend to make a purchase.

content marketing

Disseminating Information

For many years, content marketing was free – aside from the time investment. As brands published websites and blog posts search engines would do their thing. If the content was deemed appropriate it would be picked up in search results. Social media made things even easier and brands could share updates and blog posts directly with followers.

Quality content in the form of social media posts would promote engagement which would get more clicks and site visits. Increased traffic was a clear sign to search engines and social media platforms that the content was useful. As long as you stayed on top of things and continued to crank out quality content you were set. This is still true – to a degree.

The Age of Pay to Play

Many social media platforms have begun to harness their services and monetize their offerings. Rather, they have become what is commonly referred to as pay to play. The rules and parameters have changed. That’s not to say you can’t do things the old-fashioned way and set out with a strategy to organically build your online presence. Paying for post placements may increase the odds of the right users seeing your posts. Although, you still need quality content to pull them in, get the clicks and justify the expense.

Here are some common myths around content marketing that you should avoid when creating your strategy.

Myth #1: Creating Quality Content is Easy

A lot of planning and organizing goes into creating a quality content strategy. The key takeaway here is that you need an entire strategy. This isn’t a matter of throwing together a couple of blog posts and posting about them to social media. You need to outline goals or objectives and then create a detailed and cohesive plan to reach these goals.

Your content needs to navigate the social media algorithms to reach your customers. The content then needs to resonate with those customers and be compelling enough to get users to act in a way that ultimately helps you reach your established goals.

content marketing

Bring in Reinforcements

It can be really tempting, particularly for small businesses, to create content in-house. This may work, but it may also overburden your existing team. For many small businesses, employees wear multiple hats, so carving out time to create content can be a challenge.

Outsourcing your content creation needs can prove to be a cost-effective way to create quality content that fits your budget. Piecemeal what you need. Perhaps you hire a professional photographer or videographer to get shots for your website or videos. Working with a writer (ahem) can ensure focused blog posts and/or social media posts are created. Working with experts can be a great way to get the content you need without investing your own limited time, or incurring the expense of bringing on a full-time team member. As your company grows and circumstances change, you may find hiring a strong internal team is the best option, but maybe not.

Myth #2: Results Will be Quick

Content marketing is a long game. Expect to invest months just to get your site to show up on Google’s results page. Working your way up through the search results will take even more time.

It is so incredibly easy to become discouraged while implementing a content marketing strategy. However, it’s important to stick with it and see your plan through. Bailing too soon will prove to be a complete waste of time and resources. On the other hand, it’s important to constantly evaluate your strategy and adjust as necessary. Sticking to a plan that isn’t working is another way you can waste time and resources.

Myth #3: Quantity is King

A major misconception about content marketing is that you need to continually put content out there. Search engines do need a lot of content to sort through in order to get a handle on your site. It seems logical that pumping out content in quick order will help you cause. You need to make the distinction between quantity and quality. All content should be high quality. Search engines prioritize quality content.

Years ago, constantly posting to a blog was a good way to build content and establish a presence. This is no longer true. However, when you’re starting out, taking a more aggressive approach in regards to how often you publish content can help. The quicker you give search engines content to search, the quicker you’ll land on the results list.

Avoid Too Much of a Good Thing

Sticking to a fruitful content creation plan can cause fatigue and may have a negative impact on your site ranking. A good plan needs to find a balance between quantity and quality, but ultimately quality wins out. Fewer more targeted posts can help establish your brand and is a better plan than often going live with multiple posts that fail to hit the mark.

content marketing

Repurpose Your Existing Content

Make the most of the content you have by sharing it across social media. Share the same blog post or video several times to keep your feed full without constantly creating new material. When you are posting the same content a second or third time or even more, mix things up. Post at different times, switch up the language used on the social media post and even swap out images. Freshening up your social media posts will help keep things relevant and prevent content fatigue for any users who already saw it. At the same time, this can continue to increase traffic to your site and help individual pages perform.

Learn How to Use Content Marketing

As much as content marketing has changed in recent years, the basic principles have stayed the same. Good, engaging content will appeal to readers and help present your brand as a knowledgeable authority. Reaching your customers can be tricky, but it’s not impossible. Especially if you have a well-strategized plan. Let’s talk about your content marketing plan and how I can take your business to the next level.

Benefits of Writing in a Conversational Tone

Conversational Tone

And Understanding What a Conversational Tone Even Means

If you dig through enough tips and tricks to improve your blog, website and social media content you’ll likely stumble across suggestions to write in a conversational tone. This is a great tip if you understand what that means and how to do it. If you’re wondering what a conversational tone is and how to make it work for your content marketing, here’s what you need to know.

Know Your Tone

Many people have a hard time making the switch to writing in a less formal, more conversational tone. Basically, all of your English teachers are to blame. Students typically learn to write in a formal style. Writing conversationally breaks some of the grammar rules you learned in school.

Formal writing is much less utilized now; although, everything has a time and place. Use formal writing for cover letters and pieces written for industry journals and publication, particularly in the fields of medicine and law. A conversational tone can impact credibility if readers expect a formal tone.

Conversational Tone

Benefits of a Conversational Tone

Improved Flow

Writing in a conversational tone means you write similar to how you normally speak, so the content normally flows more like a conversation. This can make for quicker writing and fewer odds of experiencing writer’s block. The conversational tone can also simplify and speed up proofreading.

Don’t mistake improved flow as meaning a lack of structure. Writing conversationally still requires some of the skills you picked up in school. You still need an introductory paragraph, a thesis statement, and topic sentences. Information should flow in a logical way that helps your readers understand what you are explaining, so by the time your readers arrive at the concluding paragraph, they get it.

Make a Connection

Utilizing a conversational tone in your content fosters a sense of familiarity. Often, conversational writing has a more genuine and human feel to it. This can draw readers in and hold their attention because they feel as if you are speaking directly to them.

A conversational tone engages readers, which can translate into more likes and shares via social media. The lighthearted causal tone also makes you appear more approachable, which can further encourage readers to reach out with questions.

Conversational Tone

How to Write in a Conversational Tone

Talk to Your Audience

To write in a conversational tone, simply write as if you were having a direct conversation with your audience. Drop the formality and speak just to your reader. For example, if you are reading this post, you are my audience, so I’m talking directly to you. I refer to myself in the first person (I, me) and I use personal pronouns, like ‘you’ to address you, my reader. This makes it more personal.

Keep It Simple

Use easy words your audience will be likely to know and understand. This is not the time to flaunt your impressive vocabulary or use that new word you learned from your word of the day calendar or a Merriam Webster Twitter post. Readers will understand what you are trying to communicate when you use words they know.

Big words can have a negative impact if your readers are not familiar with the meaning and you run the risk of making your readers feel dumb. After you make your readers feel like an idiot, they may look up the word, figure out what you mean and keep reading, or they may close their browser and move on.

Language is extensive and varied. Either due to the subject matter or the situation, sometimes a big, complicated word may be the best fit. It’s ok to go big when appropriate, but this should be the exception, not a habit.

Mind the Length

In addition to short words, you also want to stick to short sentences. You want to get to the point. Dragging things out unnecessarily may cause readers to skip out before reaching the end. Most people will likely read your content on their phones when they have a spare moment. Short sentences make it easy for readers to quickly get through your post, and maybe even skim the content. You want readers to make it to the end of the post, so they spend more time on your site and read your call to action statement.

Writing long sentences in a long post decreases the odds of a reader seeing a piece through to the end. Figuring out the ideal blog post length is another piece of the content marketing puzzle.

Use the Right Words

Utilize contractions to give your writing a conversational edge. Contractions are two words merged into one, using an apostrophe. Words like, it’s, they’re and here’s are all examples of contractions.

Contradictions are not generally accepted in formal writing. However, it’s completely fine to use contractions when writing in a conversational tone. You probably use contractions all the time when you speak, and if you’re writing in a conversational tone, you should use them in your text, too.

Be Active

Active and passive are ways to structure sentences. Passive writing can be very formal. Active writing places the verb, or action word, at the front of the sentence and typically uses fewer words. Short, active sentences are quicker to read and often more engaging. For example, ‘Alison wrote the blog post,’ is an example of an active sentence structure. ‘The blog post was written by Alison,’ conveys the same meaning using a passive structure and a couple more words.

Forget the Rules

Conversational writing is more forgiving about ending sentences with a preposition (i.e. words like after, in, to, on, and with) and starting sentences with conjunctions (words like and or but). Feel free to break these grammar rules, but don’t let things get out of hand. Continually starting sentences with conjunctions or ending with a preposition can sound sloppy and may confuse your reader.

Conversational Tone

Open It Up to Questions

A great technique to keep things conversational is to ask questions. This makes sense, given that you’re trying to make your post sound like a conversation. Real conversations feature questions. Including questions makes posts engaging and encourages readers to comment and reach out.

Let’s Have a Conversation

Using a conversational tone can be part of an effective content marketing strategy. Breaking established habits can be hard, but once you get the hang of it, writing in a conversational tone can actually be easy. Do you struggle to write in a conversational tone? Do you need help creating quality content that connects with your readers? Let’s talk and see what I can do to help you out!

What is High-Quality Content?

high-quality content

Understanding What Your Audience Wants

High-quality content sounds like an elusive marketing buzzword, but it’s a real thing. As a business owner, you’ve probably been told high-quality content is a content marketing must, but how do you know if your content is high quality? If it isn’t, how do you go about creating high-quality content? And why does any of this even matter? Let me break things down for you.

Understanding Value

Loosely defined, quality content provides value. How content provides value and what that exact value is will vary from one blog post to the next, but ultimately, quality equates to value. For example, quality content helps readers better understand your industry and your business, as well as the products and services you provide. This sort of high caliber content can help advance customers through the sales funnel and help retain existing clients.

High-quality content can also help your site rank with search engines. The main objective of Google, Bing and other search engines is to help their users find what they need. If you play by the search engines’ rules and take the time to craft useful content with which readers engage and respond, your site will come up in the results when users type relevant terms into the search field.

high-quality content

Selecting Your Audience

Before setting out to create high-quality content you need to figure out who you want to reach: existing readers or new readers. Depending on the needs of your business and your strategy, you may wish to focus your efforts just on one of these groups. You may also very well decide the best course of action is to divide your efforts and create multiple pieces of content geared towards different audiences.

Balancing Act

Determining the ideal blog post length is tricky business. The post needs to be long enough, but not too long. Google has made it clear, they prefer long-form posts in the vicinity of 2,000 words or more. Lots of text provides plenty of space to explain useful info in depth, as well as lots of opportunities to feature keywords. However, readers tend to prefer short posts and will generally avoid reading behemoth blog posts.

What’s a blogger to do? Pick and choose your battle. If ranking on the results pages for search engines is the most important objective, then you need to commit to long-form blog posts. The higher you rank, the greater the odds of receiving organic traffic back to your site. If you see your blog posts as useful tools to help customers, then you need to tailor your content for that audience and keep it manageable for your readers’ busy schedules and short attention spans.

high-quality content

Formatting

It turns out no one, not people and not search engine algorithms, like dense blocks of text. Most people tend to bail if they are presented with long and intense text and search engines have become adept at identifying dense blocks of text. Through the use of some clever formatting tricks, you can relay tons of info in a limited space to make the most of your posts.

Short paragraphs create the illusion of short and easy to manage text, which is enough to keep some readers on board. The use of headings and subheadings and even bullet points make it easy for readers to get through a post or skim the content to come away with the gist.

Grammer

Quality content should also be completely free of errors and typos. Everyone makes mistakes, and it can be hard to know when to use a comma sometimes, but it’s important to take the time to write original content that makes sense and is grammatically correct. Grammarly is just one of many great and free online tools to help you clean up your act.

Mistake riddled text may be confusing and can turn readers away. Errors do not instill confidence, and even if your industry has nothing to do with content creation and writing, grammar mistakes can still leave a bad impression. Search engines also take into consideration the quality of the text. A few mistakes aren’t likely to be a big deal, but continually making grammatical errors could spell disaster and negatively impact your site’s ranking.

Visual Aids

High-quality content is more than just well written and informative text. Images, graphics, video and any other type of visual aids all play a part in the creation of high-quality content. Reading through long text can be boring, even for people who like to read and even when utilizing bullet points and other hacks to rein in the length and improve the flow, so breaking things up with images and graphics can help make things interesting and engaging.

Breaking up the monotony is an important task, but elevate your content to the next level by providing useful imagery. Videos, photos, and charts need to support the information provided in the text. Here are a few pointers when creating visual content.

Files should also be high-resolution, so they display nice and make sure to use original content.
Snagging images and files created by someone else and using them on your site without their permission and without giving them credit is plagiarism.
You may also want to add a watermark or branding to any files you create to prevent any unethical bloggers from helping themselves to your files.

Understanding Links

Visually stunning or just plain interesting imagery is also prime material for backlinks. A backlink, sometimes known as an inbound link, is when another site includes a link back to your site. For instance, if another blogger includes a link to one of your posts in one of their posts, that’s a backlink. Including links out to other sources helps your site earn a good reputation with readers and search engines alike, but backlinks really help improve your standing. A key part of creating quality-content is giving other bloggers and writers something worth linking back to, in order to share with their readers and improve your ranking.

high-quality content

Solving a Problem

The way content is presented in terms of formatting, grammar and the inclusion of imagery all contribute to the quality of the content. Perhaps the most important hallmark of high-quality content is the value provided. Does your post answer a question, solve a problem or explain a complicated or confusing process? In some instances, the entertainment value of the piece can be enough to earn the distinction of high quality. Ultimately, high-quality content must serve a purpose. The purpose will vary, depending on your brand and which segment of your audience you wish to reach.

Creating High-Quality Content

Quality content may provide value to your readers, or it may provide value to search engines, which will, in turn, direct more visitors to your site. Sometimes, these two things are the same, or at least very similar, other times these objectives may be very different. Understanding how to create and identify high-quality content can help you reach your goals and grow your business. Want to learn more or find out how I can help you create high-quality content? Get in touch!

How to Land on the Ideal Blog Post Frequency

blog post frequency

Posting to your blog is a necessary part of your content marketing strategy, but figuring out how often to post can be tricky. Determining the ideal blog post frequency is a question that is closely tied to understanding the ideal blog post length. The answer to both of these questions is actually the same: it depends. This answer is underwhelming and vague, but when you understand what you wish to accomplish with your blog, you can create an effective posting schedule. Find out what your blog post frequency depends on, and more about creating a quality content marketing strategy.

No Magic Number for Ideal Blog Post Frequency

Deciphering an effective blog posting schedule is frustrating because there isn’t a set answer. No one can tell you a number that will just work right out of the gate. The ideal number of blog posts per month or per week is unique to the needs of your business, and this number will be different for everyone.

Figure Out Your Needs

Ultimately, the process for determining how often to post to your blog requires a whole lot of trial and error. Before you get into the nitty-gritty of that though, you need to figure out what you hope to achieve. Define your version of success in order to understand what it looks like, and to ensure you can identify it when you find it.

blog post frequency

Define Your Goals and Create a Schedule

Figure out what you want to achieve with your blog. What are your goals and who are you targeting? You may need to ask yourself this question several times over. If you write blog posts targeted to different groups (i.e. onboarding new customers, advancing others through the sales process, encouraging repeat business from existing clients and so on), you’ll need to track all of these objectives and create a schedule that accounts for everything. An overview schedule that shows your weekly, monthly and quarterly goals can help you get a handle on what needs to happen.

Find What Works

The trial and error strategy essentially means posting a lot of stuff and going back to check your analytics data. If you are not seeing results or experiencing engagement, change things up. When you receive likes and comments and users share your posts, you know you have hit upon a winning technique. At this point, keep up the good work, but be mindful that if and when you start to lose transaction, you will need to revamp your plan.

Consistency

Once you have an established following, it’s important to continue posting. Repetition is a big part of an effective content marketing strategy. Your followers expect to see content from you at regular intervals, and if you stop posting they may forget about you.

blog post frequency

Quality Content

Posting on a regular schedule helps, but you also need to post quality content. Let’s say you set a goal of posting to your blog three times a week. If you fall behind it can be tempting to pull together a quick post and publish it, just for the sake of hitting your goal of three posts per week. This may backfire. A poorly structured post that does not deliver value may cost you readers. Falling short of your goal may be worth avoiding a lackluster and potentially damaging post. Be careful when making any decisions that will impact quality.

Practice Makes Perfect

If you are starting out, it can be helpful to publish a lot of content quickly. The sooner you establish a presence, the sooner search engines can start crawling your content and ranking your site. Once you have built up some recognition, you can scale back how often you post and find a frequency that benefits your audience while fitting your schedule.

Calling in Help

Time management is a big component of determining blog post frequency. As you grow your business, finding the time to write and edit blog posts and source images can be a challenge. Outsourcing your blog content writing is a viable way to rank your site and grow your business organically while affording you the time and capacity to work on other areas of your company. If you want to learn more about how I can help you grow your business by writing your blog, or taking on any of your other website writing needs, get in touch.

How to Zero in on the Ideal Blog Post Length

Ideal Blog Post Length

When people think of using blog content to help rank websites, they usually tend to focus on keywords and long-tail phrases, alt tags and the like. This is great and these are significant techniques that will help your page rank. However, there are a lot of factors to consider, and one that is misunderstood and often overlooked is the length of the blog post. You’ve probably wondered what makes for the ideal blog post length, so here’s the answer.

Both Sides of the Argument

Website and blog content matters, because it helps your site rank with search engines and it enables customers and potential customers to learn more about your business. In order for your site to rank, you need to implement SEO techniques and strategies; however, SEO rules are changing all the time as search engines evolve, and it’s hard to keep up.

Not that long ago, the common practice was to keep blog posts in the range of 250 – 500 words. The prevailing thought was to keep the word count short and to the point, so readers could quickly get through the posts. More recently, blog posts tend to be longer and run over 2,000 words or even up to 4,000 words or more. The notion is the longer the post, the more opportunity to use keywords and long-tail phrases and the greater the odds of ranking a page.

Understanding Your Needs

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to determining the ideal blog post length. Each business or brand has different needs and different competition. You need a customized approach that takes all of these factors, plus a bunch of other things, into consideration. Furthermore, your needs will change over time, so your strategy needs to evolve, too.

Ideal Blog Post Length

Evaluate Your Competition

Do some searches using your keywords to get the lay of the land. You want to figure out what content is ranking for your keywords, and how you can compete with this existing content. The trend lately is moving towards longer blog posts. You want to make sure you are providing value in the form of sizable posts, but you don’t want to rely exclusively on long blog posts.

You Do You

It’s important to understand what your competition is doing, but that doesn’t mean you should mimic their strategy. It is possible to overdo it when creating content, and more does not automatically mean better. If you notice your competitors have lots of long-winded posts, but you think you can cover the same topic and keywords in a much shorter and brief fashion, then go for it. Short content is prime material for Google’s featured snippet, so in some instances, it is possible to rank while keeping it brief.

Ideal Blog Post Length

The Value of Quality Content

Search engines pay attention to how many people visit your site, but they also track how long each person stays. People will stick around for good content. Quality content that is interesting and provides value encourages people to keep reading and spend more time on your site. Quality content of any length provides value, but long-form quality content provides several perks, including:

  • Most of the blog posts out there are short, so featuring long posts will help you stand out from your competition.
  • Long-form blog posts establish your brand as an authority in your field. If you are able to crank out 2,000 words or more on a single topic, than that is a clear indication you know what you are talking about.
  • Long blog posts are prime to receive backlinks, which will help expand your incoming traffic and can help boost your ranking.

Get to the Point

Really long articles that contain 2,000 or more words can provide lots of great information, but they may turn off some readers and cause them to leave before they reach the end of the post. Losing readers means they spend less time on your site and miss out on your call to action, which means you are losing valuable engagement. Continually posting long blog articles may earn you a reputation and can cause some readers to think twice before reading future posts.

When to Go Long

If your readers respond well to lengthy posts, then it is in your best interest to continue writing long-form posts. Positive responses include comments, likes, shares and readers taking you up on your call to action. If your long-form posts rank with search engines, that is another very compelling reason to keep at it.

Strategies to Create Quality Content at Any Length

It’s important to find a balance between engagement and length. You don’t want to sacrifice compelling content for length, but you can rein in the length using some simple techniques:

  • Streamline long articles using clear and succinct language.
  • Use bullet points to quickly and easily list information.
  • Use graphs, charts, infographics, video and other forms of media to relay information.
  • Break large topics into a series of several smaller articles. The benefit here is twofold: readers will be more likely to get through content in manageable serving sizes, and you can add a bunch of links to connect each post in the series.

Ideal Blog Post Length

Effective Strategy to Determine Ideal Blog Post Length

The total word count of a blog post matters to a degree, but ultimately, posts need to answer questions and provide useful information to both readers and search engine algorithms. The most recent trend is to write longer posts anywhere from 2,000 to 5,000 words. If you are just starting out and you need to establish content on your site, long-form posts will stay on trend and help you establish a presence. Although, long posts are not always necessary, so mixing things up with shorter posts will also be beneficial.

Long blog posts take more time to write and edit. When committing to featuring long-form blog posts, give yourself plenty of time to do it right. Do you have questions about how to figure out the ideal blog post length? Do you need help creating your content? Reach out and I’ll help you navigate your way! Later this week, I’m going to explain how often you should post to your blog. Stay tuned to learn more!

Blog Tips to Grow Your Business

Blog Tips

Strong blog content can pull readers in, provide value and help convert sales. Including high-quality blog content into your online marketing strategy can pay off by helping your site rank well, educating consumers and establishing your brand as a trusted authority. These simple blog tips can elevate your blog content to help engage readers and increase the reach of your brand.

Set the Right Tone

Formal writing is necessary for some circumstances, but not always. When it comes to writing most business blogs, skip the formality and use a conversational tone. Write in a way similar to how you speak to relay a more comfortable and informal feeling. The laid-back approach will make your brand feel more approachable and less corporate. Of course, grammar still applies and structure matters, but the relaxed tone will help readers quickly read your post and relate to your message.

Tone

Write to Your Audience

This sounds incredibly obvious, but write content that appeals to your demographic. Tell your customers the benefits they will experience by using your services and products, and the value your brand delivers. Get specific and provide detail. If your demographic is working moms, explain how safe and easy your products are to use and how much time they will save. Useful information will help convert sales. Being forthcoming with useful info will also frame your brand as aware and tuned into your customers, and this will enable customers to create a positive association with your brand.

Drop the Sales Pitch

Constantly bombarding readers with a sales pitch will get old fast and may cause readers to abandon your post before they make it to the end. Find a balance between writing a sales pitch and informative, engaging copy. Readers understand you are trying to sell them a product or service, but find creative ways to explain the benefits of those products or services to keep things interesting.

Get to the Point

People have short attention spans and most readers are unlikely to finish long blog posts. Sometimes several-thousand-word posts may be necessary, but most of the time it isn’t, so keep things short. If you are capable of making a point in one 20-word sentence, then do so, instead of dragging things out. The notion of an ideal word count for blog posts is subjective. Ideally, you need enough content for search engine crawlers to examine, but not so much that readers bail on you. Informative, but brief text will help readers quickly get through the post and understand the subject matter.

Enticing Headline

A well-structured headline will pique a reader’s curiosity and get them to find out what your post is all about. You can have stellar content, but if your headline is subpar, neither readers nor search engines will know. Make promises, ask questions and appeal to your readers’ emotions to pull them in and get them to check out your post.

Strong Introductory Paragraph

The first paragraph, which may also be used for the meta description, needs to pick up where the headline left off. Explain the problem or dilemma at hand and assure readers that by reading your post they will discover the answer or solution. The rest of the post needs to continue to provide valuable information, but a strong start will hook the reader and increase the odds of them sticking around to read the entire post. You want visitors to read your posts partly so they gain valuable insights and make a purchase, but also because the longer they linger the more your ranking benefits.

linger

Structure

Big blocks of text may discourage readers, but with some creativity, you can still relay the same amount of information in a more succinct manner. Also keep in mind, that many users may visit your blog on their phones. Small screens are not always the best platform for big blocks of text.

The solution is to break things up into more manageable segments. Headings and subheadings make it easy for readers to get the gist of a blog post without reading every word. Bullet-pointed lists are another trick to relay a wealth of info in a quick and concise manner.

Call to Action

Neatly tie everything up in the final paragraph by quickly recapping the issue identified at the start and the solution provided in the body of text. Motivate your readers to put their newfound knowledge to use or follow up if they have questions. You may want to provide contact information and encourage your reader to share your post or join your email list, so they can stay connected and remain in the know when your product lineup expands or something else exciting happens.

Blog Tips to Take Your Content to the Next Level

A business blog is a powerful marketing tool that can educate and inspire readers. Well conceived and structured blog content can convert sales today, and help establish your brand with search engines, leading to future traffic and sales. Do you have tried and true blog tips to help grow a business? Let me know and please reach out if you have questions or want to learn more! Feel free to share this post if you think it will help your contacts!