If you hated Pinterest’s Search function, go and check it out. It’s a lot better. Search now has tags. I first became aware of this when I posted a pin, and Pinterest kindly guided me around all the improvements. The other interface changes seem cosmetic, but Search is a big deal.
Pinterest Search: much improved
When you type a search term into the search query box, Pinterest pops up suggestions in a slider. I typed “novel writing”. My query became tags; more tags appeared, in a slider. When you click on a tag in the slider, it’s added to the search query, to narrow your search.
For my query, the site offered these tags on the slider: process, ideas, projects, prompts, romance, and an arrow, offering even more tags.
My first thought, as it surely will be yours too, if you create content: “Oh wow! Keywords.” When you keep clicking the arrow, you get more and more keyword terms.
If you create content, Pinterest search is for you
Let’s say you have a skin care website; you’re selling products, or services. Type “skin care” into the Search query field, and here’s what you get.
Keep clicking the arrow, and you’ll get lots more keywords. Very nifty. It’s a content creator’s dream, especially if you’re a visually inclined marketer or writer.
With tags, you can ensure that your boards are easy to find
There’s another use for the tags/ keywords. You can see which tags come up, and edit your boards so that they’re easier to find. This can a trade-off. You may have some board titles which are witty, or creative, that you don’t want to change. That’s OK. Use the most popular tags in your pins.
I love the new Search; it will make Pinterest much easier to use, going forward. If you haven’t checked it out, go and look. Join Angela on Google+, and on Twitter: @angee.
The fourth of the series of novellas I’m ghostwriting for a client is DONE.
So this morning, it’s time to set up novella #5, the final one in the series. Once that’s written, I’ll compile all five novellas, so that the client can sell them as a bundle. This makes a total of six books, because the novellas will continue to be available individually.
I’ll recommend to the client that he chooses one, and makes it permanently free.
My outline for novella #5 is ready, so this morning I just had to reacquaint myself with the plot before I started writing. Last night I was chatting to someone, when my mind drifted to my writing, as it always does. I was thinking about this new novella, and realized that I’d forgotten the plot completely. :-)
Nevertheless, I managed 500 words — so the project is on its way. I need to do more work on the characters and their emotional arcs.
No new nonfiction this morning; I compiled the nonfiction book to MOBI, and started my read-through. I’ll spend time editing it next week, and should get it to the contract editor by next weekend.
Next, breakfast for Honey and for me, while reading email. General email was light, but there were some student projects for feedback, so I made a note to get to them tonight.
Back again. It’s Sunday, so it’s a short writing day. Basically, I need to to focus on blogging, the company history ghostwriting project, and the freebie ebook I’m writing for a client.
I’ll do more blogging later this afternoon. I do a couple of timer sessions on the company history, and the freebie ebook.
Then it’s time to pack up, for Sunday commitments.
Sunday: blog topics and keywords
Back again. Time for Sunday’s primary task: draft blogging.
I like to use Sunday afternoons to check over my own and clients’ blogs, and get some draft posts ready. Usually, I’m well ahead with draft posts; this is a good thing. I like to move quickly from one task to another, so the more preparation I can up do front, the less likely I am to procrastinate.
Over the past few weeks, a site called Keyword Tool has become my favorite… well, keyword tool.
Basically, the site is a turbo-charged version of Google’s Search Suggest. Keyword Tool offers you up to 750 suggestions for every keyword.
Here’s why this is useful:
It avoids “topic blindness” — my term for an expert’s perspective on a topic. The better you know a topic, the less you’re able to see from others’ viewpoints, and this is dangerous. Experts end up writing for each other, rather than 95% of searchers;
It helps you to think about the intentions of searchers.
Web content development’s come a long way since the good old days of keyword stuffing. Those tactics just don’t work any more. Indeed, writing Web content looks more and more like plain old marketing every year.
Weekly review — GTD
After the draft blogging, it’s time for the weekly review. I’ve never committed to the complete Getting Things Done system, but I like the weekly review. It’s essential so you’re all set for the week ahead.
So, with that done, my writing’s done for the day.
Social media is becoming essential for small businesses, but it’s a challenge, because it takes time. You can make the most of your time with a little planning, thinking, and finding tools to help you to write faster.
Your blog is the hub of your activities, so if you’re new to social media marketing, and don’t have a blog, set one up now.
Once your blog is set up, you need a smidgen of SEO know-how. Here’s an excellent primer on SEO for Blog Posts; be aware of “long tail” keywords:
Long-tail keywords are phrases that are usually 3 or more words. People who use these keywords usually have a good idea of what they’re looking for. There are also far less people searching these terms overall.
Next, create a list of keywords for your industry. Look at competitors’ blogs – you can usually see which keywords they’re targeting. Also, do a Google.com search for your industry, and look at the keywords people are using for Pay Per Click advertising. (The Google ads on the right side and top of the results pages.)
Start by deciding what results you want from your social media activities. Traffic is good, but conversions are better. Aim for conversions.
Planning and thinking go together. Keep your planning documents together, so that you can review your planning once a week, or once a month.
Social media and blogging can’t work in isolation. Integrate them into your business and marketing activities:
Make sure you direct people from social media to your website and make your website client friendly. Make sure you post different ways for people to get a hold of you. A contact us page, online promotions, online forms. Make sure people know who the CEO is and provide bios of your executive team.
Curses! Google’s turned off the free keyword tool, which means you need to log in to AdWords and use the Keyword Planner if you want Google’s data. But what if you want to use keywords to inspire your content creation, rather than to buy ads?
A little digression. Please be aware that since Hummingbird flew out of its cage, it’s vital to consider your audience, and its needs, rather than create content to any keyword formula. So these days, Google’s free keyword tool would be much less useful anyway. (We all feel better now, right?)
Let’s look at five keyword tips which ensure that you will NEVER run out of content ideas again.
1. Consider user intent, and focus on “themes”
I love this insight from Aaron Wahlstrom. He discusses how to find content ideas without using Google’s free keyword tool, and in the age of Hummingbird:
This is why keyword “themes” and specific theme landing pages will become more important. For instance, if a user historically was using the queries “A great SEO company for a B2B industrial company” versus “B2B SEO”, you may have received vastly different results. However with Hummingbird, the intent behind this search is largely the same. In this case, it is important to now have a page which targets a theme of Industrial B2B SEO, with good content, which will capture both of these queries.
Here’s how this could work for you in practice. Let’s say that you own a garden center, and you’ve been targeting specific keywords for fertilizers in your content. You’ve been writing about fertilizer brands, when and where to use fertilizer etc.
Corral all the “fertilizer” content you have, to see what you’ve got. Next, create an “everything you always wanted to know about fertilizer but didn’t know who to ask” page. Interview your own fertilizer expert, and the rest of your staff too. You want your new page to be as comprehensive as you can make it. Link out to the fertilizer content you already have.
As Aaron suggests in his article, this is your “theme landing page.”
As you corral the content you have, and create your page, 1001 new content ideas will emerge.
2. What’s in the news? Create alerts for your favorite keywords
Go to Google News, and enter your favorite keywords, one by one. Create alerts for them all.
I just entered “fertilizer” into Google News, and got the result you can see in the image below.
Depending on your keywords, you may get a lot of results, or very few. Either way, you’ll get some inspiration for content ideas.
3. Use Google Suggest: go through the alphabet
This is my favorite easy, keyword content idea inspiration-getter. All you do is go to Google.com, and enter your keyword, plus a letter of the alphabet.
In the image below, I entered “fertilizer”, and the letter “a.”
Just meander through the alphabet, and see what ideas you get. You’re sure to find several ideas which inspire content.
4. Hello Amazon: enter your keyword, and browse books on your topic
Depending on your keywords, you can get some great inspiration here, especially for your “theme” landing pages.
Just enter your keyword into Amazon Book Search, as in the image below. Then check out the Tables of Contents of any books which appeal to you, using Look Inside/ Table of Contents.
5. Use Soovle, for inspiration-at-a-glance content ideas
Wedded to Google? Google isn’t the only search engine. There are lots more, but don’t worry, you don’t have to click your way through them all. Let Soovle do it for you.
As you can see in the image above, Soovle pulls from several search engines, including Wikipedia, Amazon, and YouTube, to give you lots of content ideas.
So there you have it. Five ways to get ideas for content, using keywords, and without using Google’s free keyword tool.
Nearly two years after making one of the biggest changes to secure search that resulted in a steady rise in “(not provided)” data, Google has switched all searches over to encrypted searches using HTTPS. This means no more keyword data will be passed to site owners.
Although a total shutoff hasn’t happened yet, Hubspot believes that 74% of user keyword data is now encrypted.
Why is Google encrypting keyword data?
Probably to shove recalcitrant marketers over to Pay Per Click, as Hubspot points out:
So Google says, the reason for the switch is to provide “extra protection” for searchers. Search Engine Land, however, suspects that Google may also be attempting to block NSA spying activity — since Google was accused of giving the National Security Agency access to its search data back in June (which it has strongly denied). We also can’t help but think that, because Google is encrypting search activity for everything but ad clicks, this is a move to get more people using Google AdWords.
The short answer to “why” is because Google can, and because it believes that it will gain an advantage (profit) in some way.
Can YOU live without Google keyword data?
Of course you can. Although having keyword data kindly provided by Google was a nice bonus, raw keyword data stopped being useful years ago.
In Hubspot’s article, Aaron Anders suggests:
“SEO marketers need to be focused on raising organic traffic as a whole, achieving business objectives like online sales and lead generation, growing branded communities, and earning brand mentions. This move by Google will force SEO marketers to focus on business results rather than keywords — which is where the focus should be anyway.”
Exactly. (You can still get the data, of course. Just run an AdWords campaign.)
In general, focus on building your business — use your content to add value to your products.
Trying to fit blogging into your busy schedule? We looked at itty bitty SHORT blog posts you can create. This saves time. However, there are other ways you can save time too.
Over the years, I’ve streamlined my blogging workflow so that I can get more done – and I continue to tinker with it.
Here are my four favorite time-saving methods.
1. Plan your blogging: planning reduces procrastination
I’ve talked about Sunday planning. This needn’t take long. You can do it while you’re watching TV.
Take action: write a paragraph or two for each idea. If you just write a couple of words, or a title, you’ll wonder what you were thinking when it’s time to write a post. Describe your idea. A minute or two saves time later.
2. Sort out your keywords: keywords count, but readers count more
When you’re planning, check out your website’s stats. Are people finding you for the keywords for which you want to be found?
If not, you may have a targeting problem. Brainstorm keywords your ideal customer might use to find you.
Take action: create a keywords spreadsheet.
Although keywords count, create your blog content for your readers, rather than for search engines.
3. Collect or create images
Collect the images you’ll use for your blogging in the following week.
Take action: if you’re short of images, or even if you’re not, use your cell phone camera. Take photos of your products, your staff, and your location. Image marketing is BIG in 2013.
4. Blog on the go
Most blogs will allow you to blog via email messages. When I update my clients’ blogs, I often type up some quick updates via email. When you do this, you don’t even need to log in to the blog.
If you’ve got the Jetpack plugin installed in your WordPress blog, you can use the Post by Email option.