Tag Archives: Search

Boost Your Search Engine Visibility with Our Free ‘Smart SEO Steps’ Ebook

As you develop your traffic and conversion strategies this year, knowing how to appeal to your human audience while optimizing for search is vital. Luckily, Rainmaker Digital CFO Sean Jackson wrote an excellent free guide that you can download right now — and you don’t even have to enter your email address. There’s no silver
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Google to Appeal EU Fine Buoyed by Intel Antitrust Decision

Google to Appeal EU Fine Buoyed by Intel Antitrust Decision

Google has announced it will appeal the $2.7 billion fine  levied by the European Union in June for allegedly promoting its own price comparison services over its competitors. Google filed the appeal with the General Court of the European Union, the EU's second highest court.

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37 Ways to Rock Your Content

37 Ways to Rock Your Content

Sometimes, content marketing is a numbers game. And this week on Copyblogger, we have lots of ideas for well-defined, specific actions you can take to improve your website and create some excellent content.

Specifically, we have 37 ideas.

On Monday, Stefanie kick-started our week with a nifty little process to turn one lonely content idea into four strong posts. (These could, of course, be blog posts, podcast episodes, videos, or whatever content form rocks your world.)

On Tuesday, Jerod contributed three steps you should take right away to improve your site’s SEO.

And on Wednesday, I added 10 ideas for bringing the sizzle back when you’ve lost that loving feeling for your content. Because it happens, my friends, it happens.

Over on Copyblogger FM, we published an encore presentation of my podcast episode on the 10 quality signals that search engines look for on your site. These not only make your site look better, they actually … make your site better.

Jerod wrapped up our list on the Sites podcast, with 10 goals that make content marketing meaningful.

There you have it: 37 specific steps you can take to have more fun, create better content, and reach more people. Which one are you going to try first?

That’s it for this week — have a great weekend, and we’ll see you Monday. :)

— Sonia Simone
Chief Content Officer, Rainmaker Digital


Catch up on this week’s content


shift from publishing content to building anticipation for your next installmentHow to Turn One Content Idea into a Fascinating Four-Part Series

by Stefanie Flaxman


true masters of search engine optimization are masters of listening and empathy3 Important SEO Steps to Take Right Away

by Jerod Morris


turn your back on burnout and get excited about your site againBored with Your Blog? These 10 Tips Will Make You Fall in Love Again

by Sonia Simone


Bonus: I want your website questions!Bonus: I want your website questions!

by Jerod Morris


10 Quality Factors Search Engines Need to See on Your Site10 Quality Factors Search Engines Need to See on Your Site

by Sonia Simone


10 Goals that Make Content Marketing Meaningful10 Goals that Make Content Marketing Meaningful

by Jerod Morris


Busting the Myth of the Starving Artist with Jeff Goins: Part TwoBusting the Myth of the Starving Artist with Jeff Goins: Part Two

by Kelton Reid


From Side Hustle to Digital Domination, with Nathan ChanFrom Side Hustle to Digital Domination, with Nathan Chan

by Brian Clark


How Do I Create a Call-In Show?How Do I Create a Call-In Show?

by Jerod Morris & Jon Nastor


The post 37 Ways to Rock Your Content appeared first on Copyblogger.

3 Important SEO Steps to Take Right Away

"True masters of search engine optimization are masters of listening and empathy." – Jerod Morris

What if we’re thinking about SEO all wrong?

You won’t be shocked to see such a question posed on this site — one that harbors posts in its archive with headlines like SEO is Dead and What if You Could Simply Eliminate SEO from Your Life?

Don’t get me wrong: we’re not anti-SEO.

Heck, we were recently awarded a U.S. patent for the Content Optimizer we developed that now powers the SEO tools bundled with our premium WordPress hosting.

We’re just anti some of the misguided notions and incomplete narratives about SEO that masquerade as good advice.

And one of the most fundamental mistakes I see people make is not fully appreciating the full breadth of each of the three terms that comprise S-E-O: Search. Engine. Optimization.

Notice the placement of that first period after “Search.”

It’s time to think beyond traditional notions of “search engines”

It’s easy to group the terms “search” and “engine” together. And for a long, long time, it made sense to do so.

When we used to discuss “search engine optimization,” we were mostly talking about searches typed into Google, perhaps Bing, or (going back further) Yahoo.

But now it’s 2017.

The new search

Gone are the days of only typed searches. People now conduct more and more searches with voice commands. A recent article on Forbes, 2017 Will Be the Year of Voice Search, makes a compelling case.

And who knows what will happen when we all have chips implanted in our brains that can read our thoughts. We might just be able to think our search and get results via the screens on our contact lenses. 😉

Bottom line: our notion of “search” is changing.

The new engine

Gone, too, are the days of Google being the be-all and end-all as an engine for search.

YouTube has long been hailed as “the world’s second-most popular search engine.” If you’re producing videos, they need to surface for relevant searches on YouTube.

The same concept applies to Apple Podcasts (formerly iTunes). You better believe I thought long and hard about my optimization strategy for the world’s most popular podcast search engine when I launched this show recently.

And think about how many searches Facebook must be getting these days. Even Twitter too. Your social posts are one step removed from your website content … but still one step closer than the person searching was a few seconds prior.

Bottom line: our notion of which “engines” are worth our time to target is changing.

And let’s not forget about optimization

It’s still critical:

You need to structure and deliver your content in such a way that all relevant engines will be able to locate it, understand it, and serve it up in that critical moment of high-impulse and action-oriented curiosity when people perform searches for relevant terms.

And while there are always subtle tweaks you can make to improve your chances of ranking higher based on the particular algorithms each engine uses, many of the factors different engines use are generally quite similar.

So your goal, as a content creator, is simply to make your content as optimized for being found in relevant engines for as many different types of search inputs as you can.

That is search engine optimization on the modern and future web.

And if you’re thinking about SEO in any other way, you’re making a critical mistake.

SEO still matters

You’re also making a critical mistake if you’ve started to believe that SEO no longer matters. It does. Perhaps even more so, and in a more wide range of ways than before.

And it will matter for as far out on the horizon of the internet as I can see.

In some form or fashion, it probably always will — which is why continuing to hone your SEO skills is so important.

So, let’s discuss three critical (but pretty simple) steps you can take right away to improve each of the three elements of your SEO practice.

These are steps that will help you maintain a smart, consistent SEO practice that delivers reliable results into the future.

Step #1: Listen (carefully) to your audience

The first step — which relates to search — is to make sure you actively work to understand the language your ideal audience uses.

That is how you ensure your content has as good a chance at surfacing for text-based searches as it does for spoken searches and, eventually, for thought searches.

Certainly, using tools to search Google’s keyword database is helpful.

For example, the Content Optimizer tool that is built into StudioPress Sites, which I mentioned earlier, can help. This type of analysis provides a valuable window into the terms and phrases people actually search for when looking for content related to your topic.

But remember: this is just one context.

What about when people talk about your topic? What about when they ask casual questions?

This is where social media can be a great listening tool. This is where going to meetups and talking to real people in person can be helpful. This is where free-response audience surveys can provide great insights.

True masters of search engine optimization are masters of listening and empathy.

When you know how your ideal audience talks about your topic, and what kinds of questions are most pressing, you have the knowledge you need to create titles, subject lines, and body content that will be relevant for a wide variety of different semantic contexts.

I know you’re a content creator. Starting today, be an even more active listener than you already are.

Step #2: Focus on more engines

The second step you should take is to brainstorm all the different engines where people may be looking for the type of content you create … and then figure out a way to get yourself into a new one.

For example, consider YouTube. Do you have any videos uploaded to YouTube that answer the kinds of questions that a subset of your ideal audience is almost surely typing into YouTube?

If not, get one in there.

Seriously, start with just one. Do it as an experiment.

The production doesn’t need to be complex. Just take a portion of a blog post and turn it into some text and basic imagery that has a voiceover or background music. If you want some help doing this, check out a site like Lumen5.

Then choose your title wisely and provide a useful description, so that YouTube will know what your video is about and display it in results for relevant searches.

Try it out and see what happens. Then keep identifying new engines where you can add your content.

Step #3: Make sure your website is search-friendly

The third step you should take, which will help immensely with your optimization, is to make sure your website has the most solid foundation it possibly can.

Because when it comes to any search context (text or voice), and when it comes to any engine that may deliver your website as a result (think Google or Bing, but also social media), you need to make sure the hosting and design infrastructures of your site have all the basic elements in place:

  • Your site needs to load fast — a factor that actually influences several different ranking factors because of how it impacts a visitor’s experience.
  • Your site needs to be mobile-responsive (or even mobile-first).
  • Your site needs to be safe and secure.
  • Your site needs to be coded clearly and cleanly.

I could go on, but I think you get the point.

It’s not just about the words on the page. It’s also about every single element of the page that will impact the experience that search engine robots and real-life visitors will have on that page.

That is why, for example, StudioPress Sites was built to be fast and secure.

And that is why, for example, the Genesis framework was built to be mobile-responsive and as clean as possible, in terms of code.

I chose those as examples because I use them for my personal websites. And sure, I work for the company who makes them, so that’s easy for me to do. :-)

But I am a serious website owner. My side projects are important to me. If I thought I was compromising my site’s optimization just to use Genesis themes or StudioPress for hosting, I wouldn’t.

Take this opportunity to review your current theme framework and hosting. Double-check you aren’t making any optimization tradeoffs either.

A question for you

So there you have it.

We discussed the critical shift in your SEO mindset that you should make right away, which will help you get better results today and well into the future.

And we’ve discussed three steps you can take immediately to put that new mindset into practice:

  1. Search: Listen better and empathize more.
  2. Engine: Identify new engines where your content should appear.
  3. Optimization: Make sure your hosting and website design have a solid foundation.

So, the question is …

Now that you’re motivated by your fresh, new mindset, which step will you implement first?

Comment below.

Perhaps the public proclamation of your intention will inspire you to actually put it into action. 😉

The post 3 Important SEO Steps to Take Right Away appeared first on Copyblogger.

Try These Useful Suggestions to Build Your Audience

Try These Useful Suggestions to Build Your Audience

On Monday, our good and wise friend Andy Crestodina showed the difference between optimizing for search engines and optimizing for social shares. He also gives us a nice piece of advice about how you can get really crafty and do both.

Proofreading might not seem exciting, until the day you publish a post with the headline Making that Shit into the Next Phase of Your Career. Don’t let that happen; read Stefanie’s Tuesday post.

On Wednesday, Brian Clark reminded us that search and social get all the attention, but it’s email that pays the bills. He explains why email is the most important content distribution platform you have … and reveals that my favorite analogy for how to treat your audience has always given him the jitters. (Do you agree with him? Let us know in the blog comments! …)

And earlier today, I posted our Content Excellence Challenge prompts for April. These are fun, creative exercises we do together as a community. Both of the prompts are practices that will make your content better, and get you making more of it.

On The Digital Entrepreneur, Bryan Eisenberg shared his insights with Sean and Jessica on how to leverage Amazon self-publishing to find new audiences and customers. If you haven’t encountered Bryan yet, he’s a bit of a marketing and persuasion guru/ninja/Jedi/grand master … but the kind who actually knows what he’s talking about. He understands Amazon on a deep level, and the conversation is filled with useful suggestions.

On Copyblogger FM, I talked about some “mindset hacks” that really will help you Do All the Things … and the popular self-help advice that could do your success more harm than good. On Unemployable, Brian and Robert shared their thoughts about building that wonderful thing: recurring revenue. And on The Showrunner, Jerod chatted with David Bain about transitioning from podcasting to hosting live digital events.

That’s it for this week … enjoy the goodies, and have a lovely weekend!

— Sonia Simone
Chief Content Officer, Rainmaker Digital


Catch up on this week’s content


the best content doesn’t win. the best promoted content winsHow to Optimize Content for Both Search and Social (Plus, a Headline Hack that Strikes the Balance)

by Andy Crestodina


Want to know how I find and correct errors in my own writing as well as every article we publish on Copyblogger?3 Proofreading Pointers, So Your Writing Isn’t Shared for the Wrong Reason

by Stefanie Flaxman


Not all aspects of your audience are equalA Surefire Way to Get Constant Traffic to Your Content

by Brian Clark


Content Excellence Challenge: April Prompts2017 Content Excellence Challenge: The April Prompts

by Sonia Simone


How to Use Amazon Publishing to Grow Your Online AudienceHow to Use Amazon Publishing to Grow Your Online Audience

by Sean Jackson & Jessica Frick


Kelton Reid on The Learn Podcast Production PodcastKelton Reid on The Learn Podcast Production Podcast

by Caroline Early


5 Mindset Habits that Actually Work5 Mindset Habits that Actually Work

by Sonia Simone


The Beauty of Recurring RevenueThe Beauty of Recurring Revenue

by Brian Clark


How Bestselling Author Greg Iles Writes: Part TwoHow Bestselling Author Greg Iles Writes: Part Two

by Kelton Reid


5 Steps to Hosting Successful Live Online Events5 Steps to Hosting Successful Live Online Events

by Jerod Morris & Jon Nastor


The post Try These Useful Suggestions to Build Your Audience appeared first on Copyblogger.

How to Optimize Content for Both Search and Social (Plus, a Headline Hack that Strikes the Balance)

"The best content doesn’t win. The best promoted content wins." – Andy Crestodina

It’s as if they live in different countries: Searchlandia and Socialstan.

Search optimizers and social media marketers don’t get together a whole lot, at least not in the same piece of content. But there’s no reason they can’t peacefully coexist in one article, in one URL.

Imagine. One topic, one message, united in quality, but with two separate and equally powerful sources of traffic: search and social.

Is it possible? Can one post be optimized for both?

Yes. And when it happens, the traffic is greater than the sum of its channels.

Um. Actually, the traffic is equal to the sum of its channels. But we’re not here to do math. We’re here to create the right type of content that gets traction everywhere.

Optimizing for search

Let’s start with a rundown of search optimization.

Our goal here is to indicate relevance, not trick a robot.

After you’ve identified a target keyword phrase:

Use the phrase in highly visible places

Those places are the title, header, meta description, and body text (of course). Yes, the tiny, barely visible places are nice too — such as alt text and the file names of images — but they’re not as important as those primary spots.

If this isn’t obvious, just ask yourself:

If you were building a new search engine today, would an image file name be a major search-ranking factor?

Probably not.

Include words and phrases semantically connected to your phrase

You see words and phrases semantically connected to your phrase everywhere when you use search engines.

They’re suggested in the search box as you type. They’re in the “related phrases” at the bottom of the search results page. They’re in the other high-ranking pages.

Now work these words into your copy. This is the key to semantic SEO:

Target the topic, not just the phrase.

Go wide and cover related topics and phrases, so Google has more reasons to believe that your content is relevant.

Answer all the questions related to your topic

Find the questions that are related to your topic and answer them with your content.

You’ll find these questions in Quora, AskThePublic.com, LinkedIn Groups, and even your sent email folder.

Greater depth means a greater likelihood of ranking.

Optimizing for social

You’ve indicated your relevance, gone wide across semantically connected phrases, and gone deep into the answers that your reader is hoping to find.

Now that your content is rankworthy, let’s make sure it’s shareworthy.

We’ll focus on headlines first, since they’re such an important factor in social optimization. They’re critical.

Think of it this way:

Articles don’t get shared, only headlines do.

Our goal here is to trigger a social interaction. The advice below is more about psychology, so it’s a bit less prescriptive and a bit more fun.

Choose unexpected words

You always want to avoid creating boring content. That advice is especially true for social media.

After all, your potential reader is on social media looking to cure their boredom, right? We need to trigger their interest with some unexpected words.

  • Short, simple words will pop off the page.
  • Delightful words will squeak past the other headlines.
  • Direct words will skewer them before they scroll past.
  • Negative words kill it in social media
  • But be careful with long words — the circuitous path through the frontal cortex is too slow

Readers scan quickly, so we need some stopping power. That one, extra word can disarm, charm, and twist their arm.

Pique curiosity

Take a look at the headline below. It was one of the top three most shared headlines on Copyblogger over the last year:

One Skill that Will Take Your Writing from Good to Great

Does it make you wonder what that skill is? Me too. It’s hard not to click on it. And what gets clicked often gets shared.

Headlines that trigger curiosity and fascination are great for social media.

Fascination is one of the two most important qualities of compelling content. What’s the other? You’ll have to click here to find out.

See what I did there?

Add numbers

Here’s another one of the top 10 most shared headlines on Copyblogger in the last year:

21 Juicy Prompts that Inspire Fascinating Content

Numbers in headlines have always correlated with clicks and shares. There are at least two reasons why:

  1. Numbers are a clue that the content is scannable (low investment).
  2. Numerals stand out among letters in a line of text (high prominence). This gives them a big advantage in fast-flowing social streams.

Don’t break your promise

Your headline is a promise. Clickbait is a broken promise, a lie.

Everyone who sees your headline in their social stream does a split-second cost/benefit analysis. They think, “Is this worth the click? Is this worth two seconds of my attention?” The headline’s job is to tell them, “Yes, it’s worth it.”

Be specific. Let the reader know what they’ll get, what they’ll learn, and why it’s important. Give them a reason to stop scrolling. Look closer. Click.

Once they’ve clicked, you’d better keep your promise. Your job now is to meet or exceed their expectations. All the depth you added while optimizing for search will help.

Customize your images

If your content has no featured image, or a weak one, it has less stopping power in social streams.

Two main elements make images more likely to be clicked:

  1. Faces. We are hardwired to look at faces. It’s no wonder you’ll see them on virtually every cover of every magazine in the checkout aisle.
  2. Text. Since your image appears in a social snippet, it’s a chance to make that promise we talked about. It’s a chance to indicate the benefits of clicking. So put a benefit of reading the post (possibly the headline itself) on your image.

YouTubers learned these tactics years ago. Look at any popular YouTube channel and you’re likely to find both faces and text within the images in their custom thumbnails.

Collaborate (a social approach to writing)

If you want someone to share your piece of content, invite them to contribute to it.

An ally in creation is an ally in promotion.

Adding contributor quotes from experts both improve the quality of the piece and increase its social reach. If contributors are invested in an article, of course they’ll share it.

It’s also more fun to make things with collaborators. Content optimized for search includes keywords. Content optimized for social includes people.

The battleground for search and social tension: headlines

Images, answers, contributors, depth … most of the aspects of search and social optimization can easily coexist side-by-side, but there isn’t much interaction between them.

The exception is the headline.

So, how can a headline both indicate relevance for search and trigger emotion for social? Can you satisfy citizens of both countries? Yup.

Here are examples of headlines optimized for both channels:

  • Collaborative Content Marketing: 5 Ways to Make Friends and Rank Like a Champ
  • How to Launch a New Product … and Make Your Mom Proud
  • 10 Competitive Analysis Tools (and Tips for Spying on your Competitors)

Notice that in each example the target keyword phrase is near the beginning. They often use numbers and trigger words. Colons and parentheses allow you to add more benefits and details.

Here’s a template for search-friendly and social-friendly headlines:

keyword + colon + number + specific benefit and/or trigger words

For example:

Website Navigation: 7 Best Practices, Tips, and Warnings

Does it work? Search for “website navigation” and take a look.

A powerful way to attract more readers

Wherever you’re from — the land of search or the land of social — you’ll attract more readers if you optimize for both.

And you’ll push yourself to write better in the process.

The best content doesn’t win. The best promoted content wins.

The post How to Optimize Content for Both Search and Social (Plus, a Headline Hack that Strikes the Balance) appeared first on Copyblogger.

Content Marketing Advice, with a Side of Snark

copyblogger weekly

So today is April 1, which usually means we’ll try to feed you some stupid joke that will just make you roll your eyes when you realize the date.

Not this time, internet.

Brian kicked things off on Monday with three ways to get links that you haven’t heard 20 million times from people whose websites have no links. Plus he gets a little snarky, which you never want to miss.

On Tuesday, our friend Jon Nastor showed us how we can actually get listeners for our podcasts. It’s a useful thing to know, since the #1 question on the minds of new podcasters is: “For the love of all that is holy and good, is anyone ever going to hear this thing?”

And on Wednesday, Loren Baker helped you figure out why your site is slower than a slug on Xanax … and how to fix it. Seriously, there’s moss growing on that thing.

Moving to the podcasts: On The Showrunner, Jerod Morris and Jon Nastor discussed sponsorships and affiliate marketing. On Copyblogger FM, I considered the fine balance between being precise with usage and grammar … and just being an annoying jerk. And on Unemployable, Brian Clark talked conversion optimization with Talia Wolf. “Conversion optimization” is another way of saying, “People will actually buy what you are selling,” so don’t miss that conversation.

That’s it for this week … enjoy the goodies, and watch out for April Foolery!

— Sonia Simone
Chief Content Officer, Rainmaker Digital


Catch up on this week’s content


link building is something I’ve never done in my 19 years of publishing online3 Strategic Ways to Get Links to Your Website

by Brian Clark


what if you could spend 10 minutes doing one simple task and get new listeners for years to come?Podcasters: Stop Looking for an Audience (and Let Them Find You)

by Jon Nastor


if a page takes more than a couple of seconds to load, users will instantly hit the back button and move on6 SEO Friendly Tips to Improve Site Speed on WordPress Blogs

by Loren Baker


On Grammar, Usage, and Not Being a Great Big JerkOn Grammar, Usage, and Not Being a Great Big Jerk

by Sonia Simone


3 Conversion Optimization Tactics that Work, with Talia Wolf3 Conversion Optimization Tactics that Work, with Talia Wolf

by Brian Clark


How Bestselling Author Greg Iles Writes: Part OneHow Bestselling Author Greg Iles Writes: Part One

by Kelton Reid


Sponsorships or Affiliate Marketing: Which Is Better for Your Podcast?Sponsorships or Affiliate Marketing: Which Is Better for Your Podcast?

by Jerod Morris & Jon Nastor


The post Content Marketing Advice, with a Side of Snark appeared first on Copyblogger.