Success in Writing Great Content

Success in Writing Great Content

4 Ways to Find Success in Writing Great Content

Often times, entrepreneurs will skip out on content writing or blog posting because they are putting money into marketing, anticipating that it will bring them success. Marketing your business can only go so far if you don’t keep adding, developing, and improving your optimization strategy. Why is blogging so important? Blogging has several benefits, but first you need to know the proper way gain success from writing great content.

Focus on the Audience

Focusing on the audience is impossible, unless you know who your audience is. So naturally, determining your target audience is crucial to your content marketing plan.

Typically, entrepreneurs and business owners will try to generalize their content, in hopes that they will be able to satisfy a larger community. However, that is not necessarily the most effective strategy.

When it comes to content writing, it is important to write for your targeted niche market. Why? Because customers and users normally tend to look something up directly. Some may search for “cars” but a majority will search for a specific car for sale near them, car modifications, specs, etc.

That being said, writing more direct content does not keep you reaching a larger audience, but helps you to be noticed for more specific topics, in addition to more general topics. Look at your competitors content, your customer base, and demographics to help you write great content.

Keep it Relevant

On top of users liking well-written content, they also gravitate toward content that is fresh and relevant. When developing relevant content for your business or website, consider these few tips:

  • Keep your meta description engaging and informational
  • Help the reader to solve a problem or answer a question
  • Ensure your content is up-to-date with new information and current practices

At the end of the day, content writing is less about how well you write, and more about the usability and mechanics of what you are producing. As long as you are generating content that is relevant to your business, and discusses your concept and services, you are on the right track to high-quality optimization.

Engage the Reader

Let’s be honest, as business owners or content writers, our main goal is keeping visitors and customers coming back for more. This will not happen, unless you provide the reading with useful and engaging content.

Engaging the reader has a lot to do with creativity. Usually, for professionals who write content for clients or their own companies, it comes natural, because it is something they are passionate about doing. If you are passionate about what you are writing about, the success will follow.

Keep Your Posts Consistent

There are four key factors to consider when ensuring that your posts are consistent, both in style and frequency of posting.

  1. Popularity: Once you have a good following on your website or social platforms, you’ll want to keep those numbers. Produce content, even if its short and sweet.
  2. Voice: Finding your voice is significant to determining your writing style. Try to keep a stable approach and tone.
  3. Frequency: Time is money. How often are you posting? If it takes you a few seconds to think about the last time you posted, it is probably time to post a new blog entry.
  4. Authority: This is a big one. Your SEO reputation is important, and some proper SEO consulting can help you to regain authority. Remember, higher authority creates a better opportunity to be ranked on a Search Engine Results Page (SERP). 

 

In review, competition online can be a bit aggressive. You want visitors to keep circling back to your website, and stay on your website for extended amounts of time. That is what Google, and other search engines, love to see. So step out of your comfort zone and start creating great content. Invest in your success.

 

The 5 Major Benefits of Google Optimization

The 5 Major Benefits of Google Optimization

Whether you’re new at business marketing, or a seasoned SEO master, you know the importance of Google for optimization. In fact, it may be hard to picture a world without the marketing benefits of Google.

Some of us are solely avid Google search engine users, and just transitioning in optimization. If you’re one of those people, you may be curious about exactly what benefits of Google optimization to expect.

 

5 Benefits of Google and SEO

Google is a seemingly endless portal of knowledge. Naturally, it would be accurate to assume that it functions as more than just a search engine. When using Google for business optimization, you almost immediately reap the benefits of your efforts.

Due to Googles acclimation to business optimization, Google may be the best search engine to put your time and money into. Here is what we found to be the biggest benefits of Google for SEO:

  1. Ads are more effective.
  2. Better business recognition.
  3. Competitor intelligence.
  4. Customer knowledge.
  5. Increased brand credibility.

 

Effective Ads on Google

When it comes to placing advertisements on search engines, most will accommodate your needs. However, advertisements on Google typically get you a bit more business. As the most regularly used search engine, typically businesses will see a majority of traffic coming from Google.

 

Gaining Better Recognition

Once people see some more traffic to their website, they will begin to gain recognition. Gaining recognition, granted your website is operating smoothly, will help you to rank higher on search engines.

 

Competitive Intelligence

As one of the most advanced search engines on the market, Google provides the most competitor information. Whether you use Google Insights, Google Trends, or both, you will have the information needed to put you a step ahead of the competition.

 

Better Customer Knowledge

Customer knowledge is huge. Knowing what your customers or consumers are looking for can help you determine what keywords to target. This can be done through keyword research. Keyword research, which Google just so happens to be amazing with.

 

Increasing Brand Credibility

Last, but certainly not least, is brand credibility. If you are ranking higher on search engines, customers will continue to visit your page. If you are getting page visits, you will sell more of your products or services. Not coming up on those search results could lead to people thinking that your site is not credible.

 

Reaping the Benefits of Google

Google is the place to be when optimizing your business online. Clearly the benefits of Google are pretty extensive. If you can optimize professionally and effectively, you will see almost immediate success.

 

If you aren’t quite seeing the results from the time you are putting in, it may be time to seek some professional SEO coaching. Additionally, if you are someone who is seeing results from your efforts, we want to hear about it! Leave a comment and let us know what is helping you to gain success!

 

Tools to Test Your Robot.txt File

Tools to Test Your Robot.txt File

Sometimes, for one reason or the other, there are site pages or files that you –as the website owner- do not wish to be crawled or visited. It could be because you have duplicate pages on your website and you may not want both to appear in the search engines, or you do not want search engines to index certain areas of your website, or to index certain files such as images or PDFs.  Whatever the reasons, robot.txt files have you covered. They are composed of disallowing and allow statements which issue instructions to robots on what URLs can be crawled on a website. Robot.txt files are also extremely helpful if you want to tell search engines where your sitemap is located. However, you might be surprised to hear that this file, if not used correctly, could be the downfall of your website as your site pages will not be listed at all by the search engines!

Robot.txt Tools to Test Functionality

It is important to know which tools you can use to test the functionality of the file. By now, I am sure you are curious to know if there are tools that test if your robot.txt file is working or not. Yes, there are, and I am glad to share them with you, and how they work!

Robots.txt Tester

If you are looking to block Google web crawlers from specific URLs on your site, this tool will instantly sort you out. This means that you won’t have to worry about your whole website being blocked from crawling. What is outstanding about this tool is that it verifies that your URL has been blocked properly. The only limitation to Robots.txt.Tester is that it ONLY tests files with Google User agents such as Googlebot.   

Here’s how to use the tool:

  • Open the Tester tool for your site; scroll through the robots.txt code to locate highlighted logic errors.
  • There is a text box at the bottom of the page of interest. Type in the URL of the page in the box.
  • Select the user agent you want to use from the dropdown list in which Googlebot is the default agent.
  • Click the TEST button in order test access.
  • Upon clicking the TEST button, it will read either Accepted or Blocked.
  • Retest as necessary until you have achieved what you want.

Testing with Ryte’s software

Inspired by Ryte, this tool, in addition to checking if crawling on your given URL is allowed or not, helps monitor your robots.txt to ensure a great website performance by enabling you to analyze and optimize up to 100 URLs. You only need to get an account with them, and it is absolutely free.

How to Use:

  • Simply enter the URL of interest.
  • Select the respective User Agent.
  • Click the Start Test and evaluate.

The Frog SEO Spider

If you have thousands of pages and are having difficulties identifying which ones are blocked, and those allowed to be crawled, then you definitely need this tool. Its uniqueness is in how it is able to detect if a URL has been blocked by mistake. We already know how blocking URLs by mistake can have a huge impact on site visibility in the search results.

How to Use:

  • Download the SEO Spider (It’s free in lite form and can crawl up to 500 URLs).
  • Open up the SEO Spider.
  • Type or copy in the site you wish to crawl in the “Enter URL to Spider” box.
  • Hit “Start”.

Robot.txt files are useful if you want search engines to ignore any duplicate pages on your website, if you do not want search engines to index certain areas of your website (or even a whole website), or if you do not want them to index certain files.  However, it is also possible to block this URL by mistake, especially if you do not understand how the files work. Consequently,this mistake can hugely have a huge impact on visibility of your website in the search results. These tools prevent you, as the website owner, from these unintentional mistakes.   Have you used these tools before?  Let us know in the comments below!

 Sources:

Screaming Frog SEO Spider

Avatar for Steve Scott

Steve Scott is the CEO & Director of Training at the New York SEO Training Academy. He has taught SEO skills to people from around the world and currently offers his hands-on search engine optimization training workshops in New York to individuals and businesses of all sizes. Corporate SEO training classes and consulting are also available.

5 Reasons Competitive Intelligence is Your Best Friend

5 Reasons Competitive Intelligence is Your Best Friend

It’s no secret that competitive intelligence has become widely recognized and accepted. In fact, for most businesses and websites, competitive intelligence has become paramount. It is necessary for businesses to advance their rank, based on what the competition is being noticed for.

What is Competitive Intelligence?

Competitive Intelligence is summed up by the actions of defining, gathering information, analyzing, and using your competitive online environment to get a leg up in search engine optimization. As a general idea, it sets a good foundation for the business goals you are trying to reach.

Let’s say you are a business owner in the realty field. You may notice that your competition is getting noticed for ‘in-home DIY’ type blog posts. Knowing that traffic is being shifted to them, because of articles like that, gives you the upper hand. Once you have that information, you too can start producing the articles necessary for traffic development.

While staying current with trends is important, it is equally important to try and predict what may be on the uprise. A big way to identify and predict trends is through, you guessed it, social media. If you don’t consider yourself social media guru, there are tools to help you predict shifts in topics on the uprise.

Does Competitive Intelligence Help My Business?

Naturally, by now, you should be slowly becoming more open to the idea of competitive intelligence and how it affects your business as a whole. Here are some of the biggest reasons competitive intelligence should become your new best friend.

  1. Knowing your competitors next move. Competition is everything when it involves a make-or-break situation with your business. Eventually, knowing your competitors next move can help you stay ahead of the game and relevant.
  2. Making better decisions for your business. Your business is like your child. You want it to grow and thrive. In order to do so, you have to make strong, effective decisions for its well-being. In some cases, you may even need to redirect your business, if you’re not directed toward your target niche.
  3. Pinpointing gaps in your market. Businesses are constantly growing and changing. Identifying gaps in your market can actually help you rank better. Once you identify the gaps, you can make it your responsibility to fill them. If there are gaps, there usually aren’t a whole lot of pages or posts regarding the topic. If you create a blog post where the topic is lacking, you have a better chance of gaining rank. More people will click to your website, based on the fact that you are one of the few sites covering it.
  4. Getting ahead of the game. This is actually a pretty general statement. Knowing your competition gives you a chance to know what they are being noticed for. Knowing what they are being noticed for lets you produce relevant content. Producing relevant content gets you traffic.Traffic helps with your rank on search engines.
  5. Influences on your niche market. Last, and certainly not least, competitive intelligence helps you to find influences on your niche market. How other companies are performing, influencing trends, etc., also helps you to create similar influence through your website(s).

 

Competitive intelligence is a good reminder that you are not alone in your SEO journey. Several people are trying to accomplish the same goals that you. Reaching the top of a search engine results page can feel like a struggle sometimes. Do not forget your main goal, and definitely consider taking SEO training workshops, any tips, or advice given to you by professionals.

 

What Qualifies as Good Content Writing

What Qualifies as Good Content Writing

What Good Content Writing Should Include

Good content writing should be a core part of online marketing. Content, most simply put, is just a way to portray your products, services, or information about your industry. You probably want to do it the ‘right way’, and that’s awesome. However, different things may work better for different people, and some even seek the advice of professional SEO services. If there is a right way to do content writing, it should definitely include these several factors.

Create Original Content

Keep it original! Creativity is key when developing a good content writing strategy. If you are someone who is easily inspired, you are in the ideal situation. However, for several writers, coming up with creative and original content is challenging.

Avoid making content writing feel like a chore. When content becomes less about the creativity and originality, it can being to feel like a grueling task. If you feel like you’re stuck, or struggling to present an ideal topic, there are several tools to help you generate good topics. Some of our favorites are:

  • SEMRush
  • HubSpot
  • Portent

Then, once you’ve established what you are going to write about, it’s time to shift your focus to using effective structuring.

Focus on Effective Headlines

For many content writers out there, this is one aspect that is often unintentionally looked past. Headlines or subtopics can be the perfect place to add keywords you’d like to use. If you are not using your keywords in the most useful and effective ways possible, you are making a huge mistake.

Keywords help you to be noticed, by using phrases that competitors are getting noticed for, and using them to your advantage. That being said, do not cram in keywords, also known as stuffing. Keyword stuffing is a sure-fire way to make your website look untrustworthy and spammy.

Great headlines also grab the reader’s attention. Which is extremely important, because without grabbing their attention, they likely won’t finish reading your blog post. Losing their attention, also means losing their loyalty. If users don’t like what they see the first time they see your post, they probably won’t return for more in the future.

Updating Your Blog Often

As many pages, as often as possible. Blog posts are a majority of how you consistently gain new customers and page visitors. Let’s be honest, the blog is almost the backbone of your SEO efforts. Those who produce closer to 15+ posts a month, will almost quadruple the traffic of those who only post every once in a while.

It is also very important to remember, marketing, especially in your niche industry, is constantly changing. You need to constantly change with it! News and updates are a good way to get a little extra recognition to your website. Especially when the news is fresh, and you’re one of the first to put the information out there. Less competition the earlier you post.

There is a lot of debate on the amount of blogs you should be producing per month. The consensus usually falls around 1 to 2 blog posts per week. However, don’t shy away from producing more when possible. More pages, more links, more traffic, more success.  

Engage With Users

EXTRA! EXTRA! READ ALL ABOUT IT! Just like the good ole’ days, people want to be engaged in what you are selling. Get your audience’s attention!

Engagement with your users does not have to end with one click to your blog post. Some fun ways to get the users engaged with your content are:

  • Asking questions
  • Creating polls
  • Writing strong and personal topics

Your audience wants to feel both important, and heard. While pleasing to the audience, good content writing also helps with how you rank on search engines. More interactions, means more traffic to your website. More traffic to your website, means more recognition and authority on search engines!

At the end of the day, there is no perfect, forever useful, formula for good content writing. The list of what makes your content writing great could go on and on.

Keeping your content accurate and truthful. Ensuring your paragraphs are short and sweet. Generating strong blog topics. The list is endless. Which means there is plenty of room for you to be successful in good content writing and blogging.

Don’t be afraid to try new things! What works best for you, and your industry, is completely different from what works best from someone else’s. Develop your own style and structure. If it works out, perfect! If it doesn’t move onto the next strategy.

 

All You Want to Know About .htaccess

All You Want to Know About .htaccess

If you are getting into technical SEO strategy, you may have come across mention of a .htaccess file. If you’re researching with WordPress, you may have also wondered why your redirects are not working after migrating to WP Engine.

About .htaccess and Technical SEO Strategy

.htaccess is a configuration file for web servers, such as the Apache web server. As the file is loaded into the root directory through the Apache server, the server then executes the directives listed in the file. With this, you’re allowed to add functionality such as redirection for Multisite and IP blocking.

A .htaccess file provides a way to create configuration changes on a per-directory basis. It is a part of Apache, and it’s not a part of PHP. These are usually used when you have no access to the main configuration files including the shared host. When it is placed in a directory that turns to ‘loaded via the Apache Web Server,’ then the .htaccess is executed and detected by the Apache Web Server software.

These .htaccess files include features such as altering the configuration of the Apache Web Server software to disable and enable additional functionality that the Apache Web Server software can offer. These facilities contain basic redirect functionality. For example, if you have encountered 404 file ‘not found’ error, image hotlink prevention, etc. Any request sent to the server will pass through .htaccess file.

How does .htaccess work?

There is a difference on how .htacess works on the WP Engine platform than other hosts. As stated, Apache server executes the .htaccess file. In some configuration, a page request will open up and Nginx checks to see if it is in Varnish. If so, then Nginx will fulfill the request, bypassing Apache altogether.

What is Varnish? It is an HTTP accelerator that is set in front of a server configuration to cache pages. It is known to be incredibly fast and using it along with Nginx will be as fast as WP Engine.

For more, you’ll need to think twice in using .htaccess file as not every request to your site will go through the Apache server.

Usage of .htaccess Files in the Server

Some of the usages of .htaccess files in the server include cache control to reduce server load and perceived lag, rewriting URLs, customized error responses, and authorization or authentication to specify any security restrictions with the filename “access.” The .htaccess will be accompanied by the .htpasswd file that stores all of valid usernames and passwords.

Was this article helpful to you?  Do you feel like you learned a bit about .htaccess files?  Let us know in the comments below!

Sources:

What is .htaccess and what does it do?

Avatar for Steve Scott

Steve Scott is the CEO & Director of Training at the New York SEO Training Academy. He has taught SEO skills to people from around the world and currently offers his hands-on search engine optimization training workshops in New York to individuals and businesses of all sizes. Corporate SEO training classes and consulting are also available.