Posts Tagged ‘seo how-to

04
Oct
11

Content for the Sake of Content… or?

Content, content, content. Blah, blah, blah. That’s all you hear in SEO circles these days. Content content content content.

Well, then, let’s all just get us some of that! Lots and lots of it.

Um, okay, what if we wrote every damn thing we could think of when we launched the site two years ago? Now what? Just make some stuff up? But that’s not likely to lead to quality content, which is the where the trouble starts.

Say I’m an entertainment news site. No problem! Content just sort of oozes up out of the ground around us. How about a site selling seasonal stuff? Great! Just pick a holiday and roll with it. But just imagine for moment that your site is more like a yellow pages ad, three pages and a contact form. Maybe you’re a roofing company in an area with lots of competition. You want to—you really need to—show up at the top of the local search for “roofers.”

Is content the right tactic?

And if it is, just what the hell are you supposed to write about?

Let’s break it down.

Sites that absolutely need to worry about a continuous stream of high-quality content:

  • Wide-market websites in competitive topic spaces (non-geographical retailers, b-to-b businesses, or sites that are advertising-supported like recipe sites, magazines, or comparison shopping)
  • Sites in rapidly evolving topic spaces (news sites, product review sites, entertainment sites)
  • Sites in high-energy topic spaces (culture sites, fashion sites, music sites, porn sites)

Sites that maybe could benefit from a regular injection of quality content:

  • Informational sites (how-to sites, encyclopedic sites, data collections, historical sites, public domain arts & literature sites)
  • Non-profit membership-supported sites (clubs and organizations, large extended family groups, cause-related sites, political sites)
  • Sites based on repeat consumers of the same content (online games sites)

Sites that probably don’t need to worry about content once they’re up (although adding quality content can never hurt)

  • Local-only sites (restaurants, shops, professional service providers, health & medical services providers, legal service providers, personal services providers)
  • Single topic sites (individual person in-memorium sites, single-issue awareness sites, sites dedicated to permanent locations like historic architecture or unique geographic areas, specific item enthusiast sites like for a single model of classic automobile)
  • Sites not particularly concerned about search traffic (small family sites, advertising landing page sites, intranet-type sites)

If you are one of the last group, but you still want to add content, and you need help thinking of ideas, here ya go. You’re welcome.

  • Solicit reviews and recommendations from your clients and customers. Use attractive images to fill space and try to make as many pages as is reasonable.
  • Post articles on different ways to use your products or services.
  • Keep a blog related to your topic space. Don’t stress about daily posting, just try to put something up 3 or 4 times a month.
  • Post videos of people using your products or talking about your services. Definitely post video of any television presence such as commercial spots, or news program mentions.
  • Post HTML versions of any print product materials or brochures.
  • Post any and all press releases.
  • Put up a “Something of the month” section.
  • Publish a “Related resources” section and add a resource or two every month.
  • Watch for any news related to your product or service and post a brief synopsis along with your personal reaction.

And one last note: Always make sure you maintain a clear and usable organization when you start regularly adding content. If spiders can’t find and sort it, it helps you not.

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29
Sep
11

Off-site Content–good, bad, or ugly?

Seriously. It's right under the picture of Lady Ga-Ga chihuahua.

Publishing off-site content is one of the most frequently mentioned SEO tricks.  Of all the ways to gather topical, relevant backlinks, off-site content has a lot going for it—you can have control of substance, link text, and to some degree, placement.

Or not. Depending on the content publisher.

Still, it’s totally worth it, right?

Right?

We’ve mentioned the strategy a few times before (here’s one in case you’ve forgotten 10 Step SEO # 6: External links (part b).

Let’s review, shall we?

A quick list of some possible off-site publication tactics:

  • press releases
  • articles
  • guest posts in blogs
  • customized content in aggregators (like Squidoo)
  • online community participation
  • forums
  • wikis
  • news groups
  • blog comments
  • social networking

All-in-all, we’d have to say that off-site content can be a very useful tool, particularly in long-term SEO campaigns. Still, there’s some things you should consider.

  1. Are links in the published content “no-follow”?
  2. How long will the content stay up?
  3. Does the content publisher allow other sites to duplicate their content?
  4. Does the publisher allow contextual links? Or just a link or two in the bio/attribution blurb?
  5. Do they publish other articles or content on the same general topic as yours?
  6. How long has the publication site been active?
  7. Do their internal pages have any PageRank?
  8. If it’s a blog or forum, do they archive?

And perhaps the biggest question we always ask our clients and ourselves:

Is off-site publication the best use of this content?

Because if you’re writing 300 word articles just to gain a link or two on a no-PR page, that stuff might do more for you as a new page of content on your own site. Think about it.

28
Sep
11

5 Things to Ask a Content Freelancer

Wil rite 4 bambu

You know you need content. Lots and lots of content. And it must be good content, quality content. Current content, fresh content, unique content. Thus hast the Panda spoken.

Okay, so you write a few pieces for the blog and maybe an article or two. You con your co-workers into contributing a paragraph or two. You get your teenage relatives to write about stuff they could not possible care any less about. And that works for about a month, but then you’ve reached the limits.

Out of ideas. Out of time. Out of patience.

What’s a webmeister to do? Outsource it, of course! Which can be great. Particularly in these tough economic times where unemployed English majors outnumber the working ones (unless you count part-time Burger King jobs). Writers are a dime a dozen and they will fight each other in the streets for one $40 assignment.

Good choice, now what? Well, you can rely on your contacts to get word-of-mouth recommendations (probably the best way to get quality writers), or advertise on Craigslist or similar, or go to the web where freelance “dating” sites flourish. Elance is perhaps the oldest, but trust us, there are many.

If you decide to go with an unknown writing resource, some care should be taken to be sure you’re getting that quality content you crave and at the same time getting a decent return on your money. Here are five things you should check.

  1. Online writing samples. Look for writing samples that are actually published online somewhere. Web writing is different from any other, for one thing, for another, online samples are easier to test for originality and freshness.
  2. Originality. Verify that the work you are getting is original to you. Use a plagiarism checker. Here’s a free one: plagiarism checker.
  3. Ratings or reviews. But don’t just trust the ones posted on the freelancing sites. Look deeper into who’s reviewing them and what the writer wrote for them.
  4. Topic qualifications. True, many professional writers can do a great job on virtually any topic. Still—especially if your topic is technical or highly specialized—you will get better content if the writer has some topic familiarity, either through education, avocation, or experience.
  5. Experience at freelancing. Sure, everybody has to start somewhere. But you probably will have a better experience if you hire someone who knows about deadlines, grammar, research, and etcetera.
14
Sep
11

Rel = “author” = Whaaaaat?

William Shakespreare's Google Profile

Shakespeare's Google Profile--Will the rel="Author" tag help him with his keyword ranks?

Attention all content creators! Google has recently launched an initiative designed to give you “credit” for all the things you write. Which is cool enough, we suppose, not even counting the probability that the resulting “credit” may well be used by Google as a measure of “authority” which, of course, means “keyword ranks.”

With us so far? No? Okay, again only slower. The idea is this: people who write content for the web typically end up published all over—in articles, in blogs, in interviews, and reviews, and stories, and reports, and on ad infinitum. To a spider, all these bits of content have no connection. They are all just disparate bits of content. Yet, they may have all been written by somebody with some specialized knowledge, skill, or connections who might actually be more credible than other writers tackling the same subjects. Connecting all these pieces of writing under a single author could be used to determine that author’s authority, her publication history, her general appeal, and even her topics of expertise. Which could then be used to help Google determine the content’s value. Quality content (or so we have heard) is just what Google loves best.

Does that make sense? Good.

Here’s how it works, hands-on. Every time you write content for the web, you include a link somewhere (anywhere) on the page. It can be an image or a phrase, in the by-line or the body or the bio. This link points to your Google Profile page. (You do have Google Profile, don’t you?) Inside the link, you add this attribute: rel=”author”. Then, on your Profile page, you put a link pointing back to the page that contains your author tag.

And the content is now credited to you.

On the article’s published page, it would look like this:

A Content Writer’s Guide to Content

by <a href=”https://profiles.google.com/farley-mac&#8221; rel=”author”>Farley McFinklestien</a>

On the author’s Profile Page, under the About tab (note that the links point to the actual article page):

Farley’s published works include:

How to Fry a Rat (Gourmet Rodent Monthly)
A Scenic Guide to Payson, Utah (The Places to Avoid Blog)
A Content Writer’s Guide to Content (Unemployed Writer Wiki)

That’s all there is to it. Of course, this may well turn out to be another one of Google’s “Nice Try but No Cigar” initiatives. (Remember Google Wave?)

Then again, we think it’s about time the poor, under-appreciated content professionals got their props.

08
Sep
11

The Long Tail of Search Optimization

A few years ago, SEOs were introduced to a new concept that shook a lot of trees. Wired magazine published an article by Chris Anderson in October 2004 that popularized the idea that instead of targeting high-traffic, high-competition keywords, there was money to be made by targeting a host of keywords that have little traffic potential. There is a lovely graphic everyone shows to prove the theory.

Long tail keyword graphic

Pretty compelling, huh?

SEOs loved the idea. Mostly because long tail keywords are doable. We might never be able to break page 1 for “mp3 player,” but we sure as hell can get you on top for “big frickin pink sony walkman mp3 player loaded with stolen music.” Number 1, baby. And if we promise to do that for, like, 8 million similarly impressive long tail terms, you’ll do really really well!

No, really!

Actually, no, and we mean “no.”

Yes, lower competition keywords are desirable. Yes, 100 one-visit a day keywords are equal to one 100 visits a day keyword. But no, because the vast majority of long tail keywords are zero visits per day keywords. So what we’re really looking for is the “green zone” keyword.

Let’s talk about that mythical beast. The “green zone” keyword is the one in the sweet spot. It is far enough inside the tail that you might be able to get some traction, but yet, still is capable of driving some traffic.

So the next somebody tries to tell you that the long tail is where it’s at, you can ask ’em “which vertebrae?”

05
Sep
11

Happy Labor Day, Optimizers!

In honor of the U.S. holiday Labor Day, we’re going to present a list of the most labor-intensive SEO tasks that might make a difference to your keyword ranks, traffic, and/or bottom line.

  • Content creation. Writing quality content is not easy, simple, or quick. But it is absolutely worth the effort.
  • Link building. Nobody likes doing it. Link building is a total time-suck of epic proportions. But still, even with the new Panda-ized Google, link building done right is gold.
  • Authority building. Even trickier than link building, authority building is an occult art. At its simplest, it’s an alchemy of links, content, authorship, and age. At its most complex it might even entail human sacrifice. Still, you gotta try.
  • Blogging. Every day, about 6 trillion new blogs come online. Check on ’em one month later, and there’s about 12 left. That’s because writing a blog sucks. Trying to come up with fresh topics, trying to say something useful, trying not to sound like a self-obsessed teenager.  Like we do.
  • Updating.  Can’t ever rest. Must update site. Must check links. Must add content. Must tweak. Must…. keep…… moving…………………

So get yerselves a beer and a hot dog and enjoy the day. Tomorrow, back to work.

30
Aug
11

#1 Most Important Requirement for Quality Content

#1 Most Important Requirement for Quality Content:

It must be useful and/or interesting to somebody somewhere.

No, really.




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