Create Hierarchy in your Content Writing: Header Tags

Let your visitors know whats important

When website visitors (and search engines) arrive on your page, they are going to immediately try to assess the most important topics on the page, and if they match up with what they are looking for, they will continue reading your text. The best advice I can give you for writing your content is to use your header tags properly. Most web editors will let you enter these header tags, but you may need to switch over to your source code to add the tags properly.

Determine the what topics your page covers

At the top of your page, make sure your primary topic is set in an h1 tag, it is ok to adjust your css to compensate for the larger size it will make that text by default. As you write the rest of your page, break up your sub-categories by applying h2 and h3 tags to them so that those titles describe the content visually and make it easy for the site visitor to digest the different topics that you are discussing. Of course, your page content should all reflect your primary topic in some way, putting completely different topics on the same page makes it difficult for both visitors and search engines to determine what you are relevant to.

Making Content Count – Blog Vs. Website

I wanted to get a discussion going about this topic, because I think it could be really important for site owners. Blogs are a great way to get lots of fresh content out on a daily basis through an easy medium. However, the more time you spend blogging, the less content writing you do for your website. Editing your site pages definitely takes more consideration, as you have to consider layout, presentation, and call to action on every page you add (or at least you should be!)

So the question is, blog or write for your site?

– Side question, if you do have your blog as PART of your site, like blog.soandso.com, does the weight of the content added there get valued towards your overall value? I believe it may, but I think it’s a good question to put out there.

Content Without Purpose

When you are content writing for you site, you do need to keep in mind the user freindliness of your website. I read this great article about usability that gave an analogy of a restaurant that did tons of advertising but didn’t reap the benefits because their restaurant wasn’t quality.  

Write the content for your website in a way that is going to satisfy the people who read it. Filling pages with empty words that happen to match with your keywords will be much less successful than useful information that is relevant to your clients needs. 

Don’t focus on your rankings because you will become obsessed, checking other peoples sites and wondering why they are ranking higher. Take that energy and devote it to writing relevant website content! When you have quality information that converts visitors it is far more valuable than just sheer numbers.

Social Media: Participation or Exploitation

I recently had the privilege of writing a blog post for a Search Engine Optimization blog about the topic of social media. In my previous post on social media, I first found a thrill of exhilaration as my links from social media sources were quickly discovered on my google sitemaps. After some more time however, I developed a sense of concern about my self promotion on the social media sites.

I think that this has a huge potential to become a self defeating practice. Because, while it does expose my site to more viewers, who may like my site and link to it later from their own site, it is self promotion. If every website or search engine expert jumps on the bandwagon, it will go the way of Reciprocal Link networks and leave a flurry of wreaked sites when GYM change their algorithms to handle social media links.

I’m not the only one to think about these topics apparently, because there was some buzz about it on some SEO forums. I think the tactic I will follow is to be sensible about how you use social media.

If you love it and leave it, by making a quick profile and only linking to your own site, then I think that is a shame and a waste of a good internet concept. If you continue to participate, bookmark other sites and rate other sites, then good on ya! It will benefit you more in the long run as you may build a reputation as an authority over time. So please…bookmark responsibly!

Deconstructing the concept of “Under Construction”

I was assisting a client in moving their content from one company to another, and they had added an under construction page, and put up an icon to make people aware…BIG Mistake.

Don’t Use An Under Construction Page

I think that the “Under Construction page” should become a thing of the past. I think that putting up the under construction page forces Google, Yahoo and MSN to drop all of the links it had to all of the internal pages of your site.

This could set you back greatly because Google will check the site less for new content if it thinks that there is no content there and it will take longer once you remove the under construction page to re index and rank your site.

Websites are living, growing beings. They’re never “finished”

The primary fallacy of an under construction page is the idea that websites are like traditional buildings. When a building is under construction it is of no use whatsoever, however even a fledgling website, if done with thought, can be useful to visitors even if it doesn’t have every thing the creator imagined. Aside from the icons looking like they came from the 90’s dot com bubble, people can of course tell that site isn’t complete.

Don’t Have Stub Pages

As a site owner, you should know that Google doesn’t like “stubs” or placeholder pages that have little or no content. The best way to build your site, is to build it page by page, and publishing when it is filled out. This isn’t to say you can’t add embellishments, or more pictures later on. Ditch the cheesy gif files, and remember that Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither was any good website.

It’s all about the niches mah Biznitches!

The mizzay important aspect of yo website, more thizzay how many time you use yo keywords, what inbound links you develop, how many social bookmark sites you git added to, how many bizzle posts you make, is yo angle. What is tizzle shawty group of unreached thugz out there who don’t hizzy a specific product or service in tha way that you can gizzle it like a motha efah.

In otha words what’s yo niche? It’s realy whizzat seperizzles a good, useful site frizzay a spammy waste of time n’ sheit. Whiznat unique individuals is you try’n ta reach wit yo site? How is tha content n usage of yo site different fizzle all tha motherfuhka sites? That’t tha key….It’s all `bout tha niches mah biznitches!

This post was inspired by Zak, Johnny, Michele, John n Gizoogle.com.

Website Doldrums: the flat horizon.

On a sailing ship, you could only make progress when there were winds of blowing into your sails pushing you over the horizon. In a storm, huge gales could launch you miles off course or push you quicker towards your goal. Hundreds of thousands of sailors have died over the years from these storms. But worse than the storms are the doldrums that follow. Flat seas, with no wind… stranding you in a desert of undrinkable water.
The journey you take on your website can be similar. Creative winds push you in the direction you want to go, and uncontrollable storms may sweep across the electronic seas. The most difficult part is waiting out the website doldrums. You’ve already added your content, got your inbound links, reviewed your meta tags and feel like you’re ready for business. Then nothing happens… You check your stats…. and the odd visitor here,a keyword there… the trickle of traffic is nothing more than a ripple in your sails. You check you stats Google Sitemap account, check your stats again….

The important thing to do when you’ve hit that wall, is to just keep on making small improvements on your site. Add subtitles to your pictures. Adjust your alt text on your pictures, add a bit more content to your homepage. Just hang on, the wind will come sweeping into your mast soon enough.

Geo Keywords – Geographic Placement and Search Engine Placement

The thing that I love about search engines is that common sense rules the methods they use to determine value. It’s common sense that if you’re providing valuable content for website visitors about a particular topic, the search engines will view that positively and increase your relevancy to the keyword.

Geo Keywords

Geo Specific Keywords
This brings us back to the concept of keywords specific to a geographic area, I’ll call them Geo Keywords for short. When your business is based around a Geo keyword, you have a open door for content writing that you shouldn’t ignore. Your opening is that when you have a Geo keyword, you aren’t competing against all of the people across the world for the term.

Look at the term “Content Writing Advice“, the search engines are going to look for information relevant to Content, Writing, Advice, Content Writing, Content Advice, Writing Advice, and other terms that are relative to that area of information on your website. This means that anybody, anywhere who posts information to the world wide web that the search engines see is going to be competing for that keyword.

Now lets take a look at “Riverside Content Writing”, now the search engines are going to look for content writing, but also for your relevance to Riverside. The advantage is that you have now narrowed down your competition from a international scale where large companies are most likely going to dominate, to a more local scale where your competition less fierce.

Relevance to specific area

The second advantage to Geo Keywords is that you have a term of relevance that has large amounts of information available to you to use. You can go to city hall and pickup a fly-er on the city, pick up a book from the library and like we learned in our public school system, paraphrase to success! This approach makes writing content half as difficult to achieve, because the research is done for you already.

This also applies to your strategy for your site visitors. If your a real estate agent, and are trying to get people to buy homes in your area, having unique relevant content about the community they will be moving to is paramount to capturing out of state buyers. Having that content at your fingertips just makes it easier for you to build up your content.

Good Night and Good Luck

Meta Content Writing Advice

Most people don’t realize that every page they have gives a description of the content of the page to the Search engines, and that is used for the “Snippets” that appear on their results. It’s ironic because it’s actually one of the few things that should be straight forward…I’m talking about your “Meta-Description”. The reason that most people forget about their meta descriptions is because they do not appear to the regular visitor to the page. They only appear when that page gets indexed by a search engine and then it will display as a snippet under your Meta-Title.

My advice when writing this meta content, is to keep it simple. If you look at the snippets in Google, you’ll see that it only reads so many characters before it gets cut off. Be sure that your snippet accurately describes the page, in a different way from the meta title. This is a very important step because you will only be doing yourself a disservice by duplicating the title.

It is important to note that this strategy will definitely assist in getting more click through on your snippets.  A well thought out description can attract traffic that might have just passed you by if you hadn’t provided a description and the search engine generated one from random text pulled from the page.

Courage,

Swallow Your Pride: How To Take Advantage of Constructive Criticism

Expectations are dangerous:

I received an I today from one of my colleges who had a chance to look at my blog. I was very proud to share my blog with my friend, because he himself is a seasoned SEO blogger. I know that being new to the “Blogosphere” or whatever it is kids are calling it today, I could use all the advice i could get.
I was surprised when he hit me with some serious issues with my blog right out the gate. I had made the mistake of using a Mac with safari to make my first posts, and it didn’t allow rich text formatting. This made my blog very bland. So he suggested to use formatting to spice up my text. Also, in my haste I had made some elementary spelling errors, which I have since cleaned up.

Be Open to Change

I think it’s very important as site owners to remember that your content on your site should always be under scrutiny. You should be adding or revising your content on a regular basis. You may get some good advice, from your readers, or your friends. Don’t let your pride get in the way, let others good advise help you on your quest for the perfect site.

It’s Worth It!
Content writing for your site does take an investment of time, but it is one of the activities that will definitely give you the largest gain in the search engines. It may take you 2 hours to get those tables lined up within the 2 pixels that you want and to orient that graphic in “Just the right spot”, but imagine how much content you could have typed out during that time! Think of your website as a work in progress, and not as a onetime activity and you will reap the fruit of your labor.