You have finally started your blog and are looking to turn it into a business, but these three annoying letters keep popping up everywhere. What even is SEO? Isn’t it dead? Let’s dive into creating SEO-friendly blog posts!

Relax! Search Engine Optimisation doesn’t have to be complicated and it’s most certainly not dead. It has simply evolved: gone are the days of keyword stuffing at the bottom of the page. Those little crawlers the automated bots used by search engines to index datahave actually become pretty smart and can smell that spam from webpages away.

You must understand the basic principles of SEO if you want your blog or website to rank high on Google. However, SEO is really just common sense. You need to make your blog post enjoyable for both human readerswhich you can easily do, since I assume you are oneand search engines’ crawlerswhich, I’m going to make a bold guess, you are not. Not to worry: given their lack of human emotions, it’s very easy to think like one.

Do your keyword research when you’re creating SEO-friendly blog posts

You should be able to sum up your post in one long-tail keyword, which is just a fancy word for ‘a phrase consisting of three or more words’.

If you were breaking down the procedures to brew your own lavender tea, your keyword wouldn’t be just ‘lavender tea’. Your potential readers are more likely to Google ‘how to make lavender tea’. That’s your long-tail keyword. Make a note.

Now you can find some related keywords. How? It’s so easy peasy lemon squeezy that it sounds too good to be true. Just pop your long-tail keyword into Google’s Keyword Planner or Moz’s Keyword Explorer and you’ll find what users usually type when searching for the same topic (e.g. ‘How to make lavender tea from leaves’). Simple as that. As you build your confidence in creating SEO friendly blog posts there are more technical strategies you can explore, but for now, let’s keep it simple!

Integrate keywords organically into your blog post

We’ve already established that crawlers don’t like keyword stuffing, but I’m going to stress organically again because it’s very important. Your blog post must flow smoothly. Resist the impulse to chuck all the long-tail keywords one after the other without creating an actual meaningful paragraph.

You must sprinkle them strategically: in the blog title, the URL, headings, meta descriptions and image names, as well as repeating them organically in the body of the article, just as casually as I’ve repeated the word ‘organically’ in this one.

You still need to write quality content

Yes, you are here to learn how to please those little crawlers, but don’t forget that, at the end of the day, it’s not them who are going to share your blog post or subscribe to your newsletter: it’s us humans!

Your blog post must bring value to its readers. After reading it, they should always walk away with something.

Make it scannable

Had you bumped into this exact same blog post but without any paragraph breaks nor headings, would you have still read it? Probably not. I don’t blame you: you simply haven’t got time, and neither have your potential readers.

You need to make your blog post easy to scan so that they can figure out whether it’s the answer to what they were looking for, and crawlers can find it more easily. It’s a win-win.

Optimise images when creating SEO-friendly blog posts

You have found the perfect, Instagrammable and Pinterest-worthy pictures to go with your blog post. That’s great! Your human readers are going to be very impressed, but I’m afraid crawlers can’t see them, even if there’s text in the image.

What they can see, though, is their name. So ditch any lazy ‘image07.jpg’ and use relevant keywords instead.

Add a call to action

I assume you don’t want your readers to just read your article and then forget about it for the rest of their lives. You might want them to comment, share, subscribe to your newsletter, or follow you on social media.

Then add a question at the end to encourage discussion, have some ‘share’ buttons, link to older posts, or ask them to subscribe to your newsletter if they enjoyed your article.

The more people interact with your blog post and explore your website, the higher you are going to rank in the long run.

Choose the perfect title

You might have written the most impressive article since the birth of the Internet, but… who’s going to read it, if nobody clicks on it?

Your title should hook the reader in. For example, you can use long-tail keywords to state exactly what the blog post is going to offer (e.g. ‘The beginner’s guide to creating SEO-friendly blog posts’: it seems to have worked for you. Gotcha!).

You could ask a question, or state something controversial or unusual that your readers will want to check out (‘What no one will tell you about growing on Instagram’, ‘Why your beard needs caffeine’).

Listicles perform particularly well, especially when they include numbers or, even better, odd numberspun intended (e.g. ‘43 ways to cook pasta’).

Or you could address the reader directly (‘How you can quit your day job and live the life you deserve’).

How does this sound? I bet you can already think like a crawler.

Now, to stay true to my penultimate point, I’m going to slide in a cheeky call to action and ask you to let me know what you thought about these seven easy steps.

Giada Nizzoli

About the author

Giada is a copywriter who enjoys blogging about finding magic in slow life, loves the Oxford comma, and has ink in her veins (not literally, or she’d be dead by now). Find out more about Giada’s work.

Looking for more blogging inspo and tips? Check out our range of blogging articles.

 


This article was supported by Dragon Speech Recognition Software.

If you’re a blogger or an entrepreneur, you want to do one thing: write lots and lots of really great and shareable content. That’s a pretty simple aim, but it’s often hard work to achieve.

Great content that is well written and published consistently is what your audience and search engines like Google are looking for. There’s plenty of competition for eyeballs out there, so you need to keep things fresh and keep your words coming fast.

There’s a tool that can help you do just that. It’s a tool that professional writers in the know and others who write for a living swear by: Dragon speech recognition software.

Dragon speech recognition software can save you time and boost your productivity.

How? Simple. Typing is s-l-o-w. Whereas speaking is quick!

A relatively speedy typist might get 40 words a minute down on the page. Compare that to the average rate at which we speak, which tends to fall in the 110 to 160 words per minute range.

Let’s be conservative and say you speak 120 words per minute — that’s still three times faster than a fast typist. Using speech recognition software means you’ll be getting three times as many words down on a page at any given time.

Let’s say you’re averaging about a thousand words a day as a blogger. With the use of speech recognition software you could soon be tripling your output.

Imagine the gains you could be making in terms of not just time saved and blog posts written, but also in more readers and greater recognition for your efforts from search engines like Google.

If you’re accustomed to working by typing to the page as you think you’re in for a shock once you make the shift to dictating your words into speech recognition software. It’s not only quicker; it’s also liberating.

Stand up, walk around, and talk. You’re no longer chained to the keyboard. You’re no longer hunched over, neck and shoulders stooped, hands aching from hours and hours of tapping away at a keyboard.

You do need to get the hang of this way of working and Dragon speech recognition software takes a little bit of time to make your own, but once you do, there’s no going back. Dragon has tutorials to help you with all that.

So are you ready to make your life, especially the writing portion of it, easier? Are you ready for better productivity and a more liberated method of writing? Great. Get to it then!


Dragon has offered all Leaders in Heels readers a 35% discount on their software! Just click here on their software! and use the following code: Bendalls35OffDiscount


Several years ago, I penned a song entitled “Content” [kuh n-tent] that was all about being satisfied.  Everyone pronounced it “content” [kon-tent] and thought it was a placeholder for the actual title. It’s a little ironic actually. Is a musician every content with his or her pieces? Marketers, too, often find themselves asking this question often: am I content with my content?

Author and historian, A. Wyatt Tilby, first used the expression “content is king” in 1914. However, he wasn’t referring to copy, video or audio, but rather to being satisfied. We think of this as a positive thing today, but Tilby spoke of the British monarchy when content was a derivative of “constrained” or “contained.” So, for a royal, their content audience was captive. Literally.

So, how do you keep your audience’s captive attention? By taking innovative and fresh approaches that keep readers informed, entertained and empowered to do more in their daily lives. Here are five ways to know if you can be content with your content or if it is time to change:

1. You are excited for others to read it

This may seem obvious but if the content doesn’t excite you – as the subject matter expert – it isn’t the right approach or needs more work. No matter your profession, we are all called to write and persuade or inform others from time to time – be it a manager, coworker, customer, patient or client. For some, writing is all they do in their jobs, and it comes naturally. For others, it’s a dreaded task. The key is to find opportunities to write about subjects that excite you. When you do, it becomes easier to create content with which you can be content. You may need to stretch the boundaries of your writing comfort zone, and research for supporting sources. But in doing so, the content will be strengthened and ultimately, professional expertise will be heightened. Now, if that isn’t exciting, I don’t know what is.

The key is to find opportunities to write about subjects that excite you.

2. Ask a trusted, skeptical colleague to review

Before you hit “go live” on any piece of content, seek out your most trusted, skeptical colleague to give it a thorough review. He or she needn’t be an expert in the topic of the piece, but you do want their unbiased and honest opinion about the aesthetics, clarity, and audience-perceived value of your content. Does the headline grab the reader and pull them in? Is it true to the “meat” of the piece or is it simply click bait? The latter, while a heavily used tactic these days, can damage your credibility with your audience. Take in all feedback and make adjustments to your content to ensure your audience has the utmost opportunity to engage with, and derive meaningful takeaways.

3. The content has been active for more than three months

Now, let’s talk about the “lifespan” of an effective piece of content. Once you have your ad, whitepaper, blog or video “in the wild,” and your audiences are consuming it, you’ll want to consider how long to promote it. The duration may vary according to the traffic it gets and the resonance of its message with the intended audience. If the piece – whether being promoted via paid venues, or lives organically on your website – has been running for three months or more (or you can’t remember when it was changed), it is probably time for an update. The best way to remain content with your content is to ensure your audience doesn’t have a chance to get bored.

4. It has been seen by your core customers more than seven times

Closely tied to recommended lifespan of your content is the marketing “Rule of Seven,” which states that audiences need to see your content seven times to remember and/or take action on it. If the content is compelling, it can make an impact sooner than seven times. If the content is run-of-the-mill, it can be seen more before becoming redundant. If you’ve used the content in your rotation at least seven times, it’s a good practice to change the content before it becomes too familiar and easily tuned out.

5. The Call to Action is no longer effective

“Call to Action” (CTA) defines the desired behavior of the viewer: buy the product, watch this movie, or shop this store. Although it can be difficult, it is important to measure the results of your content based on your CTA. Pay attention to the messages your audiences are sending to you via the CTA: e.g., are they opening your emails; are they clicking the links; are they visiting your page to learn more; are they sharing or commenting on your content? These are all important indicators of message and content resonance. Monitoring the results of your CTA helps you understand if your CTA is compelling enough, or perhaps it is time to refresh the content.


To summarize, take a page out of modern marketing, whether you’re a marketing professional or not, so you can feel confident that your audience values your content. Remember to write about what excites you, seek out a trusted reviewer, keep content updated within the last three months, promote it seven times, and ensure the call to action is still driving results so you can be content with your content.

Jennifer Davis is a senior executive, industry presenter, business leader, mentor and volunteer. She is the vice president of marketing and product strategy for Planar Systems, a global leader in display and digital signage technology. More information about Jennifer is available at her website: http://atjenniferdavis.com/#homeinfo


Information, news, articles, features, content, content, content – it’s absolutely everywhere – but is it of value?

Creating stories or delivering your business message isn’t just a formulaic process; it requires planning, focus, creativity and the ability to format it correctly.

So how can you get back in touch with content that is meaningful, interesting, human, and above all worthy enough for a journalist to feature?

Claim back your untold stories and take your share of the content voice with this ten-step newsworthy plan to create attention-grabbing content.

Importance

Is this a big story of national importance, maybe even bigger, possibly worldwide? Think about the recent “Cure for Cancer” headlines or “Woman 106 dances with Obamas”.

Relevance

Whatever the topic it has to be relevant for its audience, you wouldn’t send your school exam results to a business magazine but you’d definitely send the news to your local newspaper.

Power

Anyone or anything that wields power is of interest to the media. Whether it’s about a powerful person, corporation, or economy, just think about the recent headline “PM Admits Owning Shares In Dad’s Offshore Fund.”

Famous

Does it involve a celebrity? In this celebrity-obsessed era you’re sure to catch attention if your story involves someone who is well known. From a soap star visiting your charitable cause to a pop star referencing your brand in a song, the opportunity is there for the taking.

Entertainment

It could be something quirky, something that breaks with tradition, or makes us laugh. Remember the biscuit shortage news? A serious story made quirky as we learnt of the UK based United Biscuits factory being hit by Storm Desmond.

Bad news

The news is full of bad news; it won’t be difficult to follow an example. Job loses, conflict, disaster, death, misconduct, you name it; the media just loves bad and sad news.

Good news

Achievement, success, triumph over adversity, heroism, bravery; from a local charity story to the London student who beat one in a 25 million odds of finding a stem cell donor to fight her blood cancer. Human interest and the feel-good factor is the key.

Surprise

Hidden talents and myth busting are always good topics for the media. Did you know Steve Jobs created the first ever computer-animated feature film – Toy Story? Did you know it doesn’t matter how much Vitamin C you take it won’t prevent you from catching a cold?

Follow-up

Everyone likes a follow-up. Just think of the program Grand Designs; don’t we just love seeing how the houses look after five years? Maybe you have a ‘latest development’ story, or ‘where we are now’ piece, either way so long as it shows progression, is interesting, or grabs attention, it will be valid.

Targeted

Who is the media channel for? There’s no point sending an academic white paper to a tabloid newspaper – speak the same language or forget it.

The secret to making a great story isn’t the quantity of information, it’s the quality of information created for the audience it’s intended for.

Just make sure it’s newsworthy – simple.