5 Quick Tips about SEO Content for 2017

For many people writing and publishing content to their blogs and other sites, focusing on SEO (search engine optimization) is an important goal. They want to be found on Google and other search engines and they want their content to be on Page One. Unfortunately, many of those same people go way overboard and feel that SEO and SEO only is the best way to move forward, and literally “pad” their copy with SEO elements they think will give them the edge needed to rank high on the SERPS—the search engine results pages. As you may know, Google is constantly changing its algorithms and it is really difficult for the average person to keep up. To help you achieve real SEO success this year, I’ve outlined the 5 top tips for including SEO in your content, even if you are not an SEO expert.

1. You have to work HARD to get “noticed.” Many people try to take the easy way out and constantly check what Google is looking for as it constantly indexes sites.

  • When is the first date that your domain or webpage was discovered by Google? The older the indexed age, the better. Yes, that means that if you are “new,” getting found will be harder, but that means you have to keep updating your site.
  • Does your site have a lot of diverse quality links coming back to it? Both the links and the original site that sent the link need to be of good quality, not junk.
  • Does your site have plenty of high-quality content? Do you publish new content regularly? Google will not highly rank content that is thin on information and lacking value for the reader, nor will it rank content that is too short, devoid of relevant keywords, or content that doesn’t engage the readers for a good amount of time.

2. Your content must favor quality over quantity. Even though it is highly recommended that you publish regularly, it is even more important that what you publish is high quality, not just any ol’ thing so that there is something on your site. Google does notice people who try to scam the system by using quick tactics such as article spinning, link-generating software, or content that is too heavy in irrelevant keywords or SEO elements. Just.Don’t.Do.It. Take the time to write and publish content that is valuable, engaging, original, and not filled with ads, affiliate links, or pressure to buy products.

3. Content, Content, Content The content you write must be compelling, add value to the reader, answer a question or solve an issue, be well-written, and your publishing schedule must be regular. You will not get good SERP rankings with sub-par content. The more valuable your content is to the reader, the more it is naturally shared by others, and a good amount of sharing certainly helps your rankings.

  • Written content is still the most published copy, but there are also opportunities to publish videos, infographics, and other forms of content besides just text. A diverse group of content keeps things interesting for your readers, keeps them coming back for more, and keeps your SERP ranking high.
  • Content marketing is also very important. “If you build it, they will come…” is not a good marketing strategy. Again, we’re talking about working hard here. Once you have published your content, you have to make sure people know it’s there and encourage them to read it, comment on it, share it, and link back to it. Whew!

4. Size Matters. Google is looking for content that adds value and is informative, and the best way to ensure that is to write copy that is between 1,000 and 2,000 words. Each blog post and article you write should be very valuable to your reader, and unless it is just a quick notice-type post, you really need at least 1,000 to have substantial and targeted information. Your content not only has to be long, but it also has to be of good quality. We cannot emphasize that enough. This is where keywords are important, they help you to stay focused on your chosen topic.

  • Being a great writer takes a lot of skill and practice. Being a great SEO writer takes even more skill, patience, and experience.
  • Most professional copywriters have studied and practiced their craft for many years. Being a skilled writer and SEO specialist takes more than someone who received “A’s” in English class in high school or college.
  • Writing 1,000 to 2,000+ word blog posts and articles takes time, research, skill, and experience. Could you become proficient at writing content that will rank your site high with Google. I’m sure you could. But it will take time.

5. Get Mobile and Stay Mobile. Today more people access the Internet from their mobile devices (smartphones and tablets) than from their desktop or laptop computers, and now Google is more focused on mobile searches with its algorithms.

  • It is imperative that your site is mobile-first and mobile-friendly. You must ensure that you content loads quickly and navigates easily on all types of mobile devices.
  • It is very simple to test out your site yourself: just pull up your site on your mobile device and see what happens. Is your experience a good one? If not, you will have to make the necessary changes.
  • Google is so focused on mobile accessibility that it has launched the “Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) project that additionally ranks content on its mobile-friendliness. The AMP project developers have a vision that helps publishers to create mobile-optimized content for their sites. There are specific published guidelines that must be met for your content to be awarded the “AMP” tag. You can find the guidelines here.

Are you having challenges or do you have concerns about making your content SEO relevant? Is there something more you need to learn to ensure you are high in the SERPS? Let us know in the comments.

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Apps I Use: MailChimp

One of the best and fastest way to grow your business is to grow your email list. While there are several very good email marketing applications, one of the most popular, and the one I use, is MailChimp. Whether you are in charge of email marketing campaigns yourself, or you have someone else (or even an entire department) in charge of this important activity, MailChimp offers several benefits and features that will enhance your email campaign efforts.

Even with the explosive growth in social media networking and marketing, email marketing is still as relevant as ever.

If you or your business has an e-commerce store, MailChimp integrates with the most popular, such as Shopify and WooCommerce. Sending targeted and automated emails helps you to keep track of the purchases of your customers and send them relevant informational emails automatically.

MailChimp

You don’t have to be a dedicated designer or even know much about coding or html to design your emails using the excellent templates available with your MailChimp account. “Drip marketing”, which means sending out short emails successively that lead to a desired outcome (like signing up for a webinar), is easy to set up and schedule.

If you share email marketing duties with others, MailChimp features several options for collaboration with others, such as comments within the editor.

Gadget geek that I am, I appreciate the mobile options that are available from MailChimp. including MailChimp Subscribe so that you can add people to your distribution lists on the go from your tablet, and MailChimp Snap that allows you to send photo-based emails to your lists or sub-lists.

To get the most mileage from your email marketing campaigns, you should be able to generate different types of analytics for every part of your email app. MailChimp includes simple and advanced reporting features that give your the ability to monitor your campaigns, your subscribers, your website activities, and reports via Google Analytics.

MailChimp has a sliding scale for pricing, starting at free, and increasing depending on your email volume and desired features. I have been a MailChimp customer for over five years, and I’ve tried other email marketing applications, but MailChimp is my favorite and the standard for my businesses.

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Why You Need An Editorial Calendar

If you are in charge of the content marketing for a client or for your own business, you need a way to track all those posts, articles, tweets, and other types of copy. Developing and using an editorial calendar will help you to plan your  publishing strategy and to ensure that you have all the key information you’ll need when it’s time to write, such as SEO, demographic targets, and so on. The most important reason to use an editorial calendar is that it will help you to keep your content marketing efforts consistent, relevant, and trackable.

editorial calendar

Depending on your needs, you can write your editorial calendar in a paper notebook or planner, in your online calendar, in a spreadsheet, or in a proprietary program approved by your company. Whichever method you use, it will be helpful to have two editorial calendars: 1) a master at-a-glance calendar to plan the content marketing for a determined time period (quarterly, annually, etc.), and separate calendars for specific posting activities, such as Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, events, and so on. Next, you’ll want separate calendars or lists for planning and scheduling different types of content, such as eBooks, white papers, case studies, blog posts, and newsletters.

Use your master editorial calendar to track key dates that may be relevant to the type of content you produce and when you will schedule that content for publication, and includes a brief overview of all the content planned by content type.
 Supporting your master editorial calendar are the spreadsheets, mind maps, outlines, or other list types that include the more specific information about the different content types, such as post date, keywords, categories, call to action, title, status, etc.
 Last, you will also find it helpful to have a place to track other components for future use: existing content that can be repurposed, ideas for new content, quotes, references, links, etc. Personally, I use Evernote, based on a content management system developed by Michael Hyatt.

Developing and using an editorial calendar as part of your marketing strategy will go a long way towards helping you to maintain a continuous flow of valuable content, which in turn will attract your ideal customers and convert them into new clients and sales.

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Apps I Use: Cloze CRM

Cloze_logo_96x323px1As you have probably figured out by now, I run all three of my businesses primarily online via the use of several apps. If you have been following me for a while, you also know that I have tried just about every app that comes onto the market. Today’s post is part of my ongoing series on “Apps I Use.”

I have some very stringent requirements for the apps that I use.  First of all, the apps must be available on all operating systems, including iOS  and Android. I use a Mac with the Chrome operating system. I really prefer having dedicated apps for my Android and Apple devices.

I have tried several CRM applications over the past eight years, and I have recently settled on one named Cloze. This application was redesigned in the spring of 2015, successfully morphing from an email management app to a full customer relationship management application. There are still some new features coming to the app later this year,  but I am really glad I have made the switch. Here are the 10 features that I am presently enjoying using Cloze as my primary CRM:

  1. The web-based application also has dedicated apps for iOS and Android, which synchronize in real time with the web application. As a researcher, writer, and editor, I almost always work with two computers at once, or with one of my MacBooks and either my iPad2 Retina or Galaxy 10.5 inch Tab together. I also have both an iPhone 6 Plus and a Samsung Galaxy Note 5. It is imperative that my most-used apps have dedicated apps for all of my gadgets that continually sync in real time. The dedicated mobile apps for Cloze sync flawlessly, and I can update information on any of my devices at any time.
  2. Using Cloze allows me to gather information about my contacts from several different areas including my social media accounts and email. The app automatically sends a notice on the contact record if there are updates in the contact’s information, such as additional phone numbers, social media outlets, or emails.
  3. Cloze synchronizes with Evernote, where I can keep notes about each contact, client meeting, project, and phone calls. Any reminders that I put into Evernote show up in my Cloze application. If I have to change the due date of the reminder (as I often must), I can just click on the Evernote icon in Cloze, and the note opens up in Evernote for me to make any needed changes.
  4. Speaking of phone calls, a very helpful and unique feature of Cloze, is the ability to set up your phone number so that all of my incoming and outgoing calls  linked to the phone number of your client are automatically entered into the application. When you go to the contact record, you’ll see a listing of all of the calls. There you can even add notes about the call as well as a follow-up reminder.
  5. Cloze has an “Agenda” view that lists everything that I have scheduled for the day, including everything on my Google calendar, reminders from Evernote, and to-dos that I input manually for contacts, prospects, and clients.
  6. If you find yourself wondering “What did I do yesterday?”, you’ll love the “Week in Review” module in Cloze that keeps track of everything that you logged in via the app for the previous seven days. You can also set the app to send you an email notification every morning of what went on the day before and what’s on your schedule for today.
  7. Support! Okay. Have you ever tried to get support from the “big guys”? I know I have, and it’s almost always an exercise in futility. But with Cloze, not only is there a nice group of help FAQs (and the list is growing) in the separate Knowledge Base, but if you email support, someone (usually one of the co-founders) actually answers you in less than 12-18 hours! There is also an opportunity to sign up for a 60-minute on-boarding session.
  8. Cloze is not a full-featured sales pipeline or project management app, but it does have a module that will allow you to set up deals or projects for your contacts, and keep track of the deal amounts per month. For a freelancer like me, who has no sales team and for whom 5-7 new deals per month is a great month, that is all I need. The deals module does allow you to configure pre-set modules such as initial contact, qualification, proposal, etc., and move your contacts alone the basic pipeline, and that is all that I need, since I am the entire sales team. The good thing here is that all of the information that is attached to the records all of the contacts involved in the deal follow them into the deal or project record, where you can set up to-dos, write notes, and log phone calls.
  9. Email tracking. There are several apps that will alert you when someone has opened the email you sent them, but I really appreciate the “Track Opens” feature in Cloze because I have several email accounts, all of which are logged in Cloze. I have started initiating almost all of my emails from the searchable contact record in the app.
  10. Social media posting. I admit that I almost never use this module as I have another full-featured app that I use to post and monitor my several social media outlets. But if you want to post to Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn right from Cloze, you can do that.

There is a free version of Cloze with limited features, and the monthly subscription cost for the premium version is $19.99. Although that might seem a little steep, I have found that Cloze is well worth the cost.