How to create the best, most useful, content in search results

How to create the best, most useful content in search rankings

How to create the best, most useful content in search rankings

The phrase “good, unique content” has become a bit of a buzz phrase in recent years. So we can’t help but agree with Moz’s Rand Fishkin when he says that “good, unique content” needs to die.

In an episode of Whiteboard Friday posted on May 22nd 2015, Moz founder Fishkin says we should be aiming to produce content which is better than just good. And he’s got an excellent point.

Instead of producing “good, unique content”. Which frankly anyone can do without a huge amount of effort. Businesses should be aiming to produce the best content in the search results when they create something.

 

Before we go any further, here’s what you’re going to learn in this blog post:

  • The qualities of the best piece of content in the search results
  • The benefits of producing the best, most useful content, for your audience
  • How you can create that kind of content – from the planning stage, to writing your headline, to promotion

You can also download this blog post as a PDF to keep handy, or to read later on.

Download your guide to creating the best, most useful content in search results

 

What exactly is the best piece of content in the search results?

Think about the last time you searched for something. What was your experience like? Did you have to visit a few different websites before you found what you were looking for? Were you left with unanswered questions? That’s kind of annoying isn’t it?

Or did you find a standout piece of content that answered all of your questions? That content right there, is what you should be aiming to create.

The best, and most useful content is:

  • Content that provides the reader with everything they need to know about the question or topic it’s covering
  • So strong that the reader doesn’t need to look at another website
  • So good that they consider bookmarking it, sharing it with their friends, or linking to it

 

How do I produce this amazing, incredible piece of content?

The key is to plan, to be aware of what’s already out there, and identify gaps in the existing coverage.

It might take longer for you to produce this kind of content, but the benefits are worth it:

  • Your website gains more visits, and new visitors, which can lead to an increase in sales and leads
  • Improving your search rankings, which can lead to an increase in sales and leads
  • Expanding your reach as a result of shares, and improved search rankings
  • Become seen as an authority and useful resource in your sector
  • Improving your audience’s perception of your business / products / services
  • Showing that you care about helping your potential and existing customers

 

Planning & research

Who is the target audience? What phrases are you targeting?

Before you begin, you need to identify who is the target audience of this piece. Are they people who are new to the subject and might need lots of basic information? Or are they experienced people, who already know a lot about what you’re writing about?

Knowing this will help you understand exactly what the reader needs to know, and the tone of voice you need to use.

You also need to know what search terms or phrases you want to be ranking well for. There are a few ways you can identify this:

  • Think about what you would search for if you were looking for the piece of content you are going to create
  • View your Google Webmaster Tools to look at the kind of words and phrases your audience are already using to reach your website
  • Carry out a few searches and see what kind of results come up
  • Try using the Google Keyword Planner

 

What’s missing from existing content that is ranking well?

If you’re knowledgeable about the topic you’re writing about, you can create good content fairly easily without too much research.

To create a piece of content which is the best in search rankings, you need to know what search phrases you will be targeting, and what content is already ranking well for that phrase.

Spend some time reviewing that content critically, and make a list of any questions it left you with, or would lead your target audience with, and any points that were missed out that you would have included.

You might also be able to identify a better way to get the information across to the reader.

For example, you might feel that sharing the information in the form of a video would be more useful, and easier for your audience to understand.

Also, take the time to review any comments left at the end of those pieces of content. Are people unclear about what is being said? Is there something left unanswered? Or has something been missed out?

 

Writing

Plan a little more

The planning isn’t quite done with yet.

Collate all of your research and thoughts into your working document, and remind yourself again what the purpose of this piece of content is for the reader. You can then begin planning your blog post:

  • What images or videos will you need? Who needs to create those, and when?
  • Do you need to create a downloadable PDF or eBook to go with it?
  • What pages / videos do you need to link out to?
  • What will be your call to action at the end of the piece?

You can now start writing

With all of your research in hand, and a detailed idea about the kind of content you’re going to produce, what it’s going to say, and help readers with, you can begin writing.

Some tips to keep in mind:

  • Keep paragraphs short to make it easier for people to read
  • Don’t bombard people with jargon
  • Cut the waffling – make sure every word and sentence is necessary, remove anything that doesn’t add anything
  • Break up sections with sub-headings
  • Use bullet points
  • Add images and videos where necessary
  • Link out to studies, articles, blog posts, videos you reference

 

 

Creating a solid headline

Getting your headline right is incredibly important, as it will be the first thing most people see. It needs to be strong enough to grab their interest in search engines, or on social media, and make them click through.

Things you need to consider when writing a strong headline:

  • Length – if your headline is much longer than 70 characters it will get cut off in search results
  • Where the most important words are – sometimes a headline longer than 70 characters is necessary, so make sure the first part grabs their attention.
  • Does it evoke positive or negative emotions? Is that the emotion you were going for?
  • Does it accurately tell people what they will find out if they click through?
  • Ensure it includes some of your key words / phrases you want to rank for
  • Is it interesting?
  • Does it make you want to click through?

You don’t have to try and figure all of this out on your own though. CoSchedule have a great, free tool called Headline Analyzer, which scores your headlines based on length, sentiment, the headline type, and more.

We also recommend using Upworthy’s method of writing at least 25 headlines for each post, because it forces you to really think hard, and dedicate the time needed to write a solid headline.

If you use that method with the Headline Analyzer, you’re well on your way to understanding what a strong headline should be, and improving your own headline-writing skills. (Every day is a school day!)

 

 

Ask someone to proofread it

Leaving your piece and coming back to it later is a great way to spot any mistakes, or things you’ve missed out, but you can’t beat asking someone else to check it. Especially if you can find someone similar to your target audience, as they may raise points your audience would raise.

 

Provide a good user experience

When people arrive at a website, they have certain expectations, so make sure that both your website, and your blog post meet those expectations.

This means:

  • Your website needs to be mobile-friendly
  • Your website needs to load quickly
  • Your blog post should be formatted well, with images and sub-headings to break up big chunks of copy
  • Your website should be easy to navigate
  • You need a strong call to action if you want the reader to do something after reading your content

 

Promote it

After you’ve poured so much time and effort into your fantastic piece of content, you need to promote it. You need to find your target audience and tell them where they can find this content that is going to help them.

Exactly where and how you promote it will largely depend on your target audience, but here are a few options:

  • Email marketing
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest
  • YouTube
  • Instagram
  • LinkedIn

If you need help with finding out which social networks your audience use, read How To Create A Social Media Strategy That Works.

A trap many businesses fall into when promoting their own content is not promoting it enough. We’re not saying spam your audience with 50 updates about it a day, but remember that there are a lot of reasons why someone might not see your content the first time you promote it:

  • They didn’t scroll down far enough and never see it
  • It gets lost amongst all of the other updates
  • They fall into the big chunk of your audience who Facebook won’t show your updates do without paying
  • They do see it, tell themselves they’ll read it later, but forget about it

Don’t be shy when it comes to promoting your own content. The 80/20 method is recommended, where 20% of your updates are self-promotion, while 80% is having conversations, and sharing other people’s content.

 

Summary

 

Creating truly high-quality content is not a magic SEO bullet, but it can help you perform well for key words and key phrases you want to target. There are still other SEO things you should be taking seriously, such as your website’s load speed, usability, dodgy backlinks you built six years ago, etc.

The most important thing is to realise and understand that you’re writing content for a specific set of people, rather than a search engine.

Even if you are blogging primarily to improve your search results, you need to put your audience first and consider what questions and concerns they have, and how you can help them. If you put your audience first and create content which is genuinely helpful for them, your success in search rankings will follow.

Download your guide to creating the best, most useful content in search results

Struggling with blogging for your business? Call us on 01543 495 752 to find out how we can help you get the best out of your blog, or manage it for you.

 

Why should I be blogging for business?

Why should I be blogging for business

Why should I be blogging for business

There are plenty of articles out there giving you advice about blogging for business but why exactly should your business be blogging? And does it really make a difference anyway?

The short answer is yes blogging does make a difference! There are also a number of reasons why you should be blogging for your business and the benefits it can bring which we’ll cover in this post.

 

Help your target audience

‘How-to’ type posts are very popular and help your customers get the best out of your products and service. It will also encourage your audience to use your blog as a helpful and trusted resource.

Helpful blog posts also show that you care about your customers and are going the extra mile to help them get the most out of your products and services.

 

Engage with customers

Like Facebook, Twitter and other social networks, your blog is another opportunity for you to talk to your existing and potential customers through comments left on your posts.

Before you set up your blog it’s worth talking about what you will do if you receive a negative comment. The general rule is that if it’s a customer complaining about your product or service you should reply to the comment informing them of the best way to get in touch to resolve the issue.

It can be tempting to delete a negative comment but doing so will only further annoy the person who left the comment.

 

Boost search rankings

If you are regularly producing high quality, interesting content containing some of the keywords you want to rank for, you will begin to see your search rankings improve. The changes won’t happen over night and it may take weeks before you see a difference but if you persevere with producing high quality content it will make a difference to your rankings.

Depending on the quality of the content on your website you may find that your blog posts rank above your website, so it’s important to make sure that everything you post is of the highest quality and will make a good impression on anyone seeing your website, brand, products and services for the first time.

It’s important to make sure that your blog is on the same domain as your website. For example your blog should be at www.yourbusiness.com/blog rather than www.yourbusinessblog.com.

Keeping your blog on the same domain as your website improves usability and means that your website and your blog will not be competing with each other in search engines.

 

Share your expertise and knowledge

Your blog is a good place to share your knowledge and expertise in your industry and prove to your readers and customers that you know what you are talking about, which can help you build up trust with potential and existing customers who will view you as knowledged and experienced.

 

News

Your blog can be used to put a more human face on your business by sharing news about your business.

For example, our customers love The Marketing Dogs and often ask us how they are. Last year George had to have an operation and the phone was ringing off the hook for days with customers asking for the latest update, so we began to update our blog with news about how George was getting on.

If you don’t send out a newsletter to your customers to let them know what’s going on, your blog is a great place to keep them up to date on the latest news, promotions, offers and new products.

 

Promotion

Talking of promotions, your blog can be used to promote your latest offer, product or service.

 

Yes! Blogging really does help.

A HubSpot study found that both B2B and B2C businesses who blogged at least 15 times a month received five times more traffic than businesses who didn’t blog at all.

It also found that B2C companies who blog one or two times a month will generate 70% more leads through their website than those who don’t blog at all.

 

It’s hard to find time to blog sometimes and when you’re busy it’s usually the first thing to be pushed aside. Try and make time each week to sit down and write at least one blog post, and if you find you have more time one week write another one so you’ve got a post ready and waiting if you find you’re too busy one week.

Alternatively we can manage your blog for you by writing blog posts and posting them to social media, or if you haven’t got a blog we can design and implement a blog into your website for a seamless experience for the user.

To find out more about our blog management services, call us on 01543 495 752 or fill in our online contact form.

How to Create a User Friendly Website.

How to create a user friendly website

How to create a user friendly website

A user friendly website which provides a great experience is vital for encouraging users into your website and steering them down the sales funnel.

Ideally you want everyone who visits your website to become a customer (preferably straight away!). But if your website if confusing or frustrating to use, that won’t happen.

Providing users with an easy to use website and a great user experience will make buying easier. If they don’t buy then and there, they’ll remember your website and may return when they are ready to buy.

 

Design

Your website’s design is important for creating a great user experience and an easy to use website.

As we mentioned at the beginning of the post, your website should look easy to use from the second a user arrives on your website. If it looks confusing or cluttered people may be put off and decide to visit another website instead which looks easier to use.

It is also essential to ensure that your websites branding matches the branding on your marketing collateral. And your social media profiles, to avoid confusing users.

 

Navigation

Gardening Delights menuYour navigation is the core of designing a user-friendly website. If users can’t figure out which page they need to go to or how to find the information they’re looking for, they’ll go to another website where they can.

The page titles in your navigation should give users a good idea of what they can expect to find if they click on that button.

If you have a lot of pages or sections on your website, you might consider having a sub-navigation within each section or page to make things easier.

For example one of our clients, Gardening Delights, has a sub-navigation on the left hand side of root-category landing pages to help users navigate around categories easily.

To ensure you don’t confuse users, ensure your navigation is exactly the same throughout your website. And always make sure to include a ‘Home’ button.

 

Blog

If you have a blog make sure it’s integrated into your website and sits on the same URL as the rest of your website. For example ours is www.themarketingpeople.com/blog. Not only is this SEO friendly, but it also makes it easier for users to find.

It’s also important to use your websites navigation on the blog so users can switch between the two easily. Not only is it website friendly, but it looks much better and more appealing. Rather than having a blog which looks completely different to the rest of your website.

 

Content

Creating concise and useful content is important. As we’re sure you’ll want users to leave your website having learned something about your company or products, even if they don’t become a customer on that visit to your website.

There’s nothing worse than arriving on a website to be met by a wall of unformatted text. Even if it contains the best solution or answer to a user’s question, they’ll be put off by a block of text.

Encourage users to read your content by making it look appealing by using titles, headers, paragraphs and images. You should also consider whether the font’s readable in terms of; the font itself, size and the colour.

 

Mobile

Last year roughly one sixth of all internet traffic in theUK came from a mobile device, such as a tablet or smartphone, and that number will only continue to grow.

Having a mobile optimised website means that mobile users also get the same great user experience and are able to browse your website easily.

 

Case Study

We recently carried out some work for one of our clients, Gardening Delights, to help them create an easier to user website. This involved; reviewing the website and planning and organising the changes and carrying out the changes themselves.

As part of the websites update we;

  • Re-organised their navigation and renamed pages to make it clearer what kind of products users would find if they clicked on that button.

 

  • Added new categories to make large categories with lots of different yet similar products smaller and easier for users to look through.

 

  • Created and implemented new sliders and graphics for the homepage which linked to the root-category landing pages

 

  • Created three new landing pages which fit with the brands current positioning, which offers users helpful information.

The final result is a website which is much more user-friendly and enables users to find the products they’re looking for quicker and easier.

 

Contact Us

If you’re a small business based in Cannock, Burntwood, Lichfield or Staffordshire and need help making your website more user-friendly, get in touch to us to find out how we can help you. To find out more, call us on 01543 495 752 or fill in the contact form on our website.

 

If you want to read more from our website series of blogs, just click here to see what other resources are available.

How Your Business Can Use Topical Content to its Advantage.

How your business can use topical content to its advantage

How your business can use topical content to its advantage

Similar to topical advertising, creating topical content is creating content which links to a current news story or something which is popular. 

Creating topical content shows people that a brand is on the ball, relevant and clever. Especially if they have managed to link their business to a completely unrelated news story.

Topical content generally tends to add something extra to the story. Which means it’s relevant for much longer than an advert would be. As the ‘something extra’ will still be relevant long after people have stopped talking about it.

For example, when Cadbury’s won exclusive rights to their signature shade of purple. We wrote a blog post on why that was important to them and the importance of brand recognition.

An advert linked to that story might be relevant for a week at the most. Our blog post will be relevant to anyone looking to read about why it was so important for Cadbury’s to do that and the importance of brand recognition.

Despite the high number of news stories that will appear in search results. It’s still possible for your story to be found as people get bored with reading the same story and search for something extra or a new angle on the story.

When Apple Maps first came out we created a blog post which looked at the core competencies of Apple and Google, despite the number of news stories, our blog post was still found on simple keyphrases such as ‘apple maps vs google maps’.

Linking to a news story can work in favour for a business. As customers may decide to buy from the business because they have a similar opinion, the same values or like the same things the customer does.

What kind of content can you create?

The most popular content to create which is linked to a news story is a blog post. Which identifies what people can take or learn from the story because it ensures the reader will learn something.

For example, following Red Bull Stratos last week. Marketing websites were full of articles telling people what they could learn from the way Red Bull promoted and marketed the jump.

If you want to create something which is brief and just outlines the main points, an infographic would be the best thing to create as they’re visual and easy for people to read.

However, if you want to go into a lot of detail about the story. It’s probably better to write a blog post or create a video.

No matter what your business is, you can link to a story

Your area of business doesn’t have to be directly linked to the story for you to link to it.

The Olympics sparked a mass of blog posts informing people of all sectors, what they could learn from the 2012 Olympics.

  • 3 Lessons You Can Learn from the Olympics and Apply to Your Job
  • What Radiology Can Learn from 2012 Olympics

The above blog posts show that to take advantage of a news story your sector doesn’t have to have anything to do with. The most unusual blog post in there is the link between radiology and the Olympics. While the points touched upon could be applied to literally any sector. It’s interesting and unique because no one else had thought to do it.

How to create content which links to a story

The key to creating a really good piece of content which links to a news story is this. To ensure that it has a unique angle or link to the story which no one else has covered yet.

As with all content, it should give the reader some value or information which is of use to them.

While a blog post will be relevant for much longer than an advert. It’s still important to create it and post it while the story is still relevant. This will mean you attract anyone who is interested in the story. Which will gain you more coverage straight away.

As with any content you produce, there’s no point working hard on a blog post if you don’t promote it. As no one will see it. You can promote your content on social media, on your website or in emails. Which you might send out to customers or prospects.

For tips on how to create great SEO friendly content, take a look at our 10 Tips to Help You Create High Quality, SEO Friendly Content blog post.

As we mentioned in our blog post about topical advertising. If you’re using social media or blogging, the chances are you’re already creating topical content to some degree.

Contact Us

If you live in the Burntwood, Lichfield, Cannock or Staffordshire area and require some help or advice with your marketing, why not see what we can do. Take a look at our case studies, and call us on 01543 495752 and book a no obligation meeting with us today.

What is Inbound Marketing? Why and how you should be using it.

What is inbound marketing? Why and how you should be using it

What is inbound marketing? Why and how you should be using it

What is Inbound Marketing….Have you ever become tired of cold calling or maybe wish you could gain leads people contacting you?

What is inbound marketing?

Quite simply, inbound marketing let customers find you.

Outbound marketing is where you reach out to people.

It’s been suggested that people defy outbound marketing methods by simply ignoring them. By using inbound marketing, you’re offering the reader something of interest, especially relevant to something maybe they had specifically searched for.

Why should you be using it?

First of all, inbound marketing relies on people finding you rather than the other way around. So the chances are that anyone who is visiting your website, blog, Facebook or Linked in profile article, already has an interest in what you do or sell.

This is more likely to engage a customer rather than just reaching out to anyone and everyone.

How to use it.

If you’re already carrying out Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), creating content and using social media, you’re already using inbound marketing.

If not, here are a couple of tips to help you out;

SEO; will make it easier for people to find your website. If you haven’t carried out any SEO on your website yet, Google have recently released a video explaining a few basic and essential SEO tips.

You can check whether all your hard work on SEO is paying off by using tools such as SEOmoz which will provide you with information such as your page rank or how well you rank for keywords or key-phrases.

Content creation; Writing blog posts, taking photo’s, creating videos or info-graphics are just a few examples of content creation.

The best ways to encourage people to visit your website is to create something useful and informative. Something that will help answer a question for them, for example, we find that our ‘how to’ blog posts are the most popular.

Social media; When you’ve created your content you can share it by posting a link on your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ or upload an image to Pinterest. Don’t forget to provide a link back to your website.

An article on emarketer explains that a ‘significant percentage’ of Facebook and Twitter users are reading news or content that they wouldn’t read elsewhere.  This proves how powerful social media is as a marketing tool and provides a fantastic springboard for your inbound marketing. It hands you the key to a gateway, beyond which are thousands of interested customers.

Are there any disadvantages to using it?

No! Like everything else, it will take time and patience. You won’t see overnight success however if you keep committed and keep working hard, eventually it will begin to pay off.

Do you use inbound marketing? If so, have you seen any success and in conclusion how long did it take to start seeing results? has anybody asked you what is inbound marketing?

Inbound marketing is the ideal route for a lot of companies to provide leads coming to you rather than you chasing them. It does however take a lot of work and effort, so maybe use our inbound blogs to keep you going along the way.

Finally if you live in the Burntwood, Lichfield, Cannock, Staffordshire or the West Midlands area and require some help or advice with your marketing? Why not see what we can do. Take a look at our case studies then call us on 01543 495752 to book a no obligation consultation meeting today.

The SEO Advantages of blogging – Part 2

the seo advantages of blogging part 2

the seo advantages of blogging part 2

Last Thursday we wrote about the direct benefit of a blog from an SEO point of view, so we’re now going to talk about the indirect SEO advantages of blogging.

Indirect benefits – These rely on some form of interaction from a reader.

Good content will keep people coming back to both your blog and the website, which will encourage them to use your company.

You’ve probably heard the phrase ‘content is king’ before, while that’s certainly true, putting one good post out every three months probably isn’t going to help you all that much. The amount of new posts you create is also important, no pressure.

Hubspot carried out a study, which found businesses with blogs that posts five times during a seven day period, would receive 6.9 times more organic traffic than a business which didn’t blog at all, so the amount of posts really is important.

Linking to useful content on other websites can also increase your page ranking.
For example, if you decide to link to an article you consider really helpful, a search engine will ‘think’ you’re being helpful and will boost your page rankings.

The same goes for a website linking back to your website, a search engine will perceive your website as useful because people want to share it, again boosting your page rankings.

The person whose website you link to may decide to return the favour and link back to you, sending some of their readers your way.

We hope our two part post on the SEO advantages has been useful.
If you have any questions or queries, don’t hesitate to drop us a comment.

Do you or your company blog? Do you blog solely for SEO purposes? Let us know.

If you’re wondering what on earth SEO is, check out our SEO Jargon Buster.

 

You can find more useful advice on how to maintain the best SEO in our blogs. Or if you need a helping hand to get you started, or run it for you, we can help. Call us today on 01543 495752 to see what we could do for your SEO.

The SEO advantages of blogging – Part 1

the seo advantages of blogging part 1

the seo advantages of blogging part 1

 
There are many SEO advantages of blogging, (Search Engine Optimisation or SEO for short).

The list of advantages is extensive and putting them all in one post wouldn’t make for light reading. This post will concentrate on the direct SEO benefits of having a company blog.

This post relies upon the blog being held on the main URL, e.g. www.domain.com/blog. If your blog isn’t part of your websites domain your blog and website will be competing against each other in search rankings and your website won’t receive any of the SEO benefits a blog can bring.

 

Direct benefits – Immediate once cached by search engines.

Keyphrases are key (no pun intended) in SEO.

Using the correct key phrases in your blog post, title and tagging it correctly will help you to rank higher in search engines.

Take note and remember that stuffing your post with keywords will have a negative effect on your page ranking as search engines will see the post as spam.

Remember to use long tail phrases, as long tail searches will return fewer searches than a shorter one. There is less competition for a long tail search, which means your page will rank higher.

Posting new content regularly can increase the ranking of the website a blog is attached to. This is because a search engine sees that blogs URL is indexed the same as the main website and ‘links’ the two together.
Search engines like website’s which are updated regularly as it in theory means that your website contains up to date and relevant information, rather than information which is two years old and may be out of date by now.

You can read part two here.

 

You can find more useful advice on how to maintain the best SEO in our blogs. Or if you need a helping hand to get you started, or run it for you, we can help. Call us today on 01543 495752 to see what we could do for your SEO.