Tag Archives: SEO

Guest Blogging Slam: Bye, Bye Easy Links

Blogging Services from Angela Booth

If you’ve been using guest blogging for SEO and links, the freezing winds of Google are blowing your way. Matt Cutts’ web spam team is looking at businesses which use others’ blogs to get easy links.

Search Engine Land reported on a tweet from Matt Cutts, “Today we took action on a large blog network.”  The article says:

The belief is that Google specifically went after MyBlogGuest.com. If you Google their name, it no longer shows up in the search results.

Ouch.

Does this mean that guest blogging is DEAD?

No, no, no… As I said in an article on guest blogging on my Fab Freelance Writing Blog:

Google’s warned people against guest blogging, when it’s done to scale – that is, if a company gets a thousand pieces of crap a month written solely for the links. When it’s done with quality content, and not solely as a link-getting activity, Google has nothing against the practice, as Matt Cutts noted:

“Added: It seems like most people are getting the spirit of what I was trying to say, but I’ll add a bit more context… And there are absolutely some fantastic, high-quality guest bloggers out there. I changed the title of this post to make it more clear that I’m talking about guest blogging for search engine optimization (SEO) purposes.”

So if you’re creating genuinely useful, quality content, and offer that content to others, you can use guest blogging for promotion.

It’s all about your intent…

Think about your intentions with guest blogging. Do you want to post on a blog which is read by your target audience because it’s a good marketing strategy? Go right ahead.

Or do you want some easy SEO link juice? If you do, beware. Anything which is done to scale will come back and bite you.

FWIW, I’m still guest blogging, and I’m blogging for my clients too. It’s worthwhile, esepcially if you want to build your search profile as an authority in an area. And of course, to get traffic. :-)

It’ll be interesting to see how this Google slam works out over the next few weeks.

Online Press Release Tips: 5 Ways to Get Value for Money

Online Press Release Tips: 5 Ways to Get Value for Money

A decade ago, you could write an online press release, post it to a PR website, and get great results. You needed to use appropriate keywords, but your little press release was great value for the time you invested. In 2014, Google’s severe on press releases written purely for SEO – no more free traffic for junk releases.

This doesn’t mean that press releases are worthless, far from it. They’re an essential tool. If you use them correctly, not only will they enhance your marketing campaigns, they’ll also help you to get customers. Consider this: if major companies continue to use press releases, why don’t you?

Let’s look at how you can get real value from the online press releases you create. (Note to self: write more press releases for my own business…)

1. Focus on Your Entire Marketing Campaign, Rather Than a Single Press Release.

You’re launching a new product. You’re running online and offline advertising, you’re using social media to get the word out, you’re blogging – you’re even running a Pinterest contest.

Whether you’re doing a big launch, or a mini one, online press releases fit right in. Be aware however, that press releases aren’t advertising. They’re factual, and are written in the third person.

You’re free to use any angle you like: straight news, or human interest. If you’re looking for media attention, a human interest story may be the way to go. Do customers use your products in unusual ways? What good works have you done lately? Years ago I wrote a press release for a company which helped a lady who ran a shelter for abused pets; it was a lovely story, and got press.

2. Quid Pro Quo: Give and Get.

An online press release is targeted directly to your audience. You’ll reach potential customers who’ve never heard of you. So, make it easy for them to stay in touch. Offer readers a freebie in exchange for their email address.

And of course, use the email addresses you collect. Many small businesses never bother using their customer lists; this is a huge waste of resources.

3. Pitch Your Story to Bloggers in a Sentence or Two.

Bloggers can extend your reach by hundreds of thousands, even millions. Ideally, you’ll have reached out to bloggers long before you launch your campaign.

Pitch your story to bloggers, but keep it short.Greg Kumparak, mobile editor, TechCrunch says:

“Know how to make your pitch in a sentence or two — if you can’t wrap up your own product in a concise and interesting way, we probably won’t be able to either.”

Add a link to your online press release to your pitches.

4. Post Your Press Releases to Your Website.

Press releases are the gift that keeps on giving. Post them to your website, into a “Press” area. Anyone who wants to learn more about you will appreciate your releases. Over time, your press releases will show the evolution of your business; they build your credibility with people who’ve never heard of you.

5. Keep Your Releases Short: Add Support Materials for More Info.

Keep your press releases short: a maximum of 400 words for the meat of the release. Get your point across with your story: aim for an emotional connection. Use a conversational tone. If your eyes glaze over when you’re reading, rewrite – “don’t be boring” applies to press releases too.

Most press release distribution websites allow you to add media to your releases. Take advantage of this. Add documents, images, and videos ( if you have them). Offer the press release as a PDF download.

Online press releases are a wonderful addition to any marketing campaign, yet few small businesses use them. Major companies use them as a matter of course. Try these tips; you’ll be pleased with the results.

Need help with your online press releases? Contact Angela.

, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, too.

 From here on out, a marketing plan that consists of (and even more importantly, relies on) “rank well in Google” is a bullshit plan. Because Google doesn’t care about you, or your website or your business. They care about theirs.

From:

GOOGLE PROPAGANDA, SEO AND WHY MARKETERS NEED TO WAKE UP

Want a great search engine ranking? The best way to get it is to forget about it. Build your business. Market your business. Let Google do what it does, while you do what you do.

Web Content Dilemma: Guest Posting, Yes or No?

Web Content Dilemma: Guest Posting, Yes or No?

You want traffic, so you post Web content to your website or blog regularly. It works. However, with a tsunami of content flowing onto the Web each day, it’s very hard to get noticed. You decide that you need more content to draw traffic.

One day you have a lightbulb moment, and decide that you need to write guest posts for popular websites. They get much more traffic than you do, and they offer a link back to your site. So you offer an article to a popular site. Your article is accepted, and you get your link, and a trickle of traffic. Your daily traffic is increasing.

Guest posting is amazing, you decide. It works! So you spread yourself far and wide, posting on others’ sites, and chasing links.

I love guest posting, and enjoy posting on sites like LifeHack. However, Google’s Matt Cutts has repeatedly warned that overdoing guest posting may not be a great idea. Sooner or later, Google will come down on websites which chase guest posting links.

The solution is…

Post your best content on your own website.

MOZ CEO Rand Fiskin, in Why Guest Posting and Blogging is a Slippery Slope suggests:

For your marquee content, your best stuff, I strongly – see how I’ve underlined strongly – strongly suggest using your own site. Reason being, if you’re going to put wonderful stuff out there, even if you think it could do better on somebody else’s site, in the long term you want that to live on your own site.

The problem with guest posting is that even if your name is on the content, you’ve lost some rights (maybe all rights, in some cases) to the content. Even if your guest posting venue merely claims exclusivity for a couple of weeks, and you retain all rights, the content nevertheless is posted on someone else’s website.

It’s a dilemma. Should you guest post, or post your Web content primarily to your own website?

When to guest post…

Consider your business goals, as well as your marketing goals. What do you want to achieve in the longterm? If your aim is to be a thought leader in your industry, your choice is obvious: post your best content to your own website. Make the most of your content too – repurpose it. Integrate your content with the rest of your website.

When should you guest post? Ideally, when you want to form a relationship or partnership on the website on which you post your Web content. Or, guest post on a website which is read by your target audience.

Consider that guest posting your content is a short-term solution. Yes, you get links, and those links may be valuable right now. However, you’ve lost control of that content.

As Rand Fiskin suggests in his article, guest posting can be a slippery slope, if you look on it as an easy way to get links and traffic, and start to scale it. Some links can damage your website.

We’ve discussed repurposing your content. As time goes on, you can reprise your content too, as long as the content lives on your own site.

Web content is valuable. Think carefully before you give your best content away too cheaply.

Quick update… is guest blogging DONE?

Some hours after I posted this post, I received Matt Cutts Declares Guest Blogging ‘Done’ … Are We All Screwed? from CopyBogger.

(Giggle) Love the title. 

I went to the source, Matt Cutts, who’s made it clear that he’s talking about guest blogging solely for SEO:

Added: It seems like most people are getting the spirit of what I was trying to say, but I’ll add a bit more context. I’m not trying to throw the baby out with the bath water. There are still many good reasons to do some guest blogging (exposure, branding, increased reach, community, etc.). Those reasons existed way before Google and they’ll continue into the future.

You can create guest posts as Web content to your heart’s content. Just make sure you’re not doing it SOLELY for links. And keep your best stuff on your own site, as much as possible.
Blog management

, and on Twitter: @angee

Content Marketing Power: 3 Winning Strategies For Content in 2014

Content Marketing Power: 3 Winning Strategies For Content in 2014

Content marketing is the new advertising. Businesses place content on their own websites and share it on social media. They may also commission “sponsored content”, which is posted on high-traffic websites.

Here’s why. A recent study found that the cost of customer acquisition via content was 25 per cent of the cost of acquisition via paid search. In addition, content offers longevity for advertising; paid advertising stops when payment stops.

If you’re already creating content, you know there are challenges. Not only do you need to make time for creation, or pay for it, you also need to manage all your new creative assets. You’re now a publisher, with all that that entails.

Let’s look at how you can succeed with this new form of advertising, without going crazy.

1. Create Short and Long Term Marketing Goals.

Before you create a plan for creation and delivery, consider your overall business goals, as well as both short and long term marketing goals. Your goals form the basis of your strategies for 2014. Those over-arching business goals are the foundation of all your efforts.

You also need goals for the venues you’re using. If you know that most of your customers use Facebook for example, and you create material for Facebook, create goals too. Then track those goals carefully. If you discover that your followers don’t convert, you’ll need to rethink that strategy.

2. Be Aware That Outreach and Distribution is as Important as Your Content.

You’ve created your information assets such as articles, presentations, images, and videos, and they’re wonderful. But how do you get attention? This is a huge challenge. Google’s cycle of updates meant that many websites lost rankings and traffic.

You get attention by doing outreach, to bloggers, news media, and other websites. A clever marketer said recently that “social media is the new SEO”, and that seems accurate. Build up your social media profiles, so that you have an audience which will appreciate your material, and link to you.

Build relationships, so you can alert your network of contacts when you publish new material. Ask them to share your material on their social media sites. Naturally, you’ll do the same for them

Become a Thought Leader: Write a Book.

Write a book? I’m sure you feel that you have enough to do, without going to those lengths. Consider that in 2014, the competition for attention will be even more intense.

A book gives you authority and builds your brand. It doesn’t matter what kind of business you’re in, few of your competitors will write a book, or will even consider it. You’ll stand out from the crowd.

You can write a book, or get a ghostwriter to write it for you, and have paperback copies for sale in bookstores, and online, within weeks of completing it. You can have digital copies in ebook stores with 24 hours of completing your book.

So, there you have it. Three tips which will help you to take the reins of content marketing in 2014 without going crazy.

 

, and on Twitter: @angee

write a book book coaching

Content Creator? Make Sense Of Google AuthorRank – New, Free Tool

Content Creator? Make Sense Of Author Rank – New, Free Tool

If you’re a content creator, you’re aware of Google’s AuthorRank. It’s a way to build your authority online. To assess your “authority,” do a Google search for a piece of content you’ve written. If your image pops up next to your content in the results, you’ve got authority, in Google’s eyes.

All you need to do to get the magic image is join Google+, then associate your name with your content.

There’s a lot of discussion about whether or not Google takes AuthorRank into account in its search algorithm. And if it doesn’t yet, will it take it into account in the future.

In a sense, it doesn’t matter. As Mark Traphagen says:

I’m convinced that if you’ve properly set up Google Authorship; and you’re creating memorable, well-targeted, authoritative content; and you’re building effective networks of fans and key influencer relationships to help spread it, you’re well in position for whenever “AuthorRank” comes calling.”

Got AuthorRank? Find out with this free tool.

Virante has created a free Author Rank tool, currently in beta. You can use the tool to discover how you, and your content, appear to Google. Here’s Virante’s Author Rank Tool FAQ to help if you have questions.

Just enter your Google+ account ID, and click GO. You’ll need to wait a couple of minutes to get the results. Be sure to save the page.

In a month or two, you can use the tool again, after you’ve created more content. As the tool’s page says: “The easiest way to increase one’s AuthorRank is to write better content on better sites.”

I tried it. I love the “themes” at the bottom of the stats.

Here are mine:

Themes

Computers/E-Books: 3

Business/Marketing_and_Advertising/Internet_Marketing: 2.53

Arts/Writers_Resources: 5.5

Arts/Literature/Horror: 4.45

That’s how Google sees me, according to the tool. To be seen as an authority on those topics, or on others, I’ll need to produce more good content in the areas in which I want to boost my authority.

Is the tool accurate? Who knows. It doesn’t really matter, because Google hasn’t said that it takes AuthorRank into account in its rankings. However, the tool does give you a sense of how you appear to Google, and that’s extremely valuable.

, and on Twitter: @angee

5 Great Free Content Marketing Tools You Can Use Now

5 Great Free Content Marketing Tools You Can Use Now

Information is the new advertising, because content (knowledge) engenders trust. A recent report from Nielsen found that when consumers found a new product via an online search, 67% of respondents were more likely to buy it.

That’s wonderful, but creating content takes time. And good tools. So let’s look at five great free content marketing tools which will help you to create content, and promote it.

1. Editorially: speedy content creation and collaboration

Content creation takes time. It takes even more time when others are involved.

If you’re using email to collaborate on content, you know the challenges and frustrations. Editorially takes the hassle out of content collaboration. Basically it’s a plain text editor. You write using Markdown syntax, which takes you two minutes to learn.

Benefits:

  • You can invite people to collaborate on a document, or you can work alone. If you want someone’s opinion, just highlight some text, and click the New Discussion button.
  • There’s a versions timeline, and you can save a new version, with or without notes, at any time.
  • With just a click, you can send a document to Dropbox, or WordPress.

Editorially makes content creation fast and easy.

2. MozBar: X-ray Web pages to improve SEO

MozBar is a free SEO (search engine optimization) extension for the Firefox and Chrome browsers. There’s a paid update, but for casual use, the free version is all you need. It’s a wonderful tool: you can X-ray a Web page.

You can read the extensive tutorial to discover MozBar’s functionality, but I use it primarily to discover what’s missing with a Web page, by looking at the page elements, and checking the link data. You can check the headings, the meta data, alt text, and more. The link data shows you what authority the page has, and how you might improve it.

3. socialmention: track keywords and mentions

Socialmention is a real-time social media search and analysis tool. You can use it to search for keywords in blogs, bookmarks, videos and elsewhere, or you can opt to search everything. You can also use it to search for companies, products, or anything else you need to track. For example, if you’re promoting a product, you can check who’s talking about it, and where.

Once you’ve run a search, you can add the RSS feed to your news reader, get an email alert (like Google Alerts), or download a CSV file so you can analyze the data.

4. Buffer: share your content at the best times

You need to share your content on social media. Buffer’s a hassle-free way. Not only can you share on Twitter, you can share on LinkedIn, and Facebook and Google+ pages. Once you’ve shared, you can track analytics from the toolbar.

5. Evernote: your office in your pocket

Content creators and marketers store and track a huge amount of material. Evernote keeps you organized, so that you can access your information wherever you happen to be, on any device.

Premium members can even turn any content in Evernote into an instant presentation; it’s ideal for meetings, and whenever you need to share information quickly.

These five tools are powerful, and they’re free. They’re perfect for small business, and will help you both to create content, and to promote it.

 

, and on Twitter: @angee

Publicity Power: 5 Press Release Tricks to Help Your Small Business

5 Press Release Tricks to Help Your Small Business

Love press releases? I do too. To my mind, they’re an essential part of any content marketing strategy.

I’ve often told the story of how I got into copywriting – via press releases. At the time (1980s!) I was running a business which was spending HUGE amounts on display advertising in Sunday newspapers. Since press releases cost us nothing except a few postage stamps, I sent out ten press releases to various media outlets.

Hey presto – we got fantastic coverage: radio, TV, magazines…

Yes, those days were different. However, the underlying marketing is the same now as it was then.

To get publicity, you need:

  • A hook – a good story – for media attention;
  • A belief in yourself, and the worth of your business;
  • A little creativity.

All these years later, the media isn’t what it once was. However, publicity is just as powerful now as it was then. And it’s basically free. All you need is a story that’s attention-getting.

You may be wondering about a press release’s value in these days of Hummingbird.

The death of SEO press releases?

Yes, and not before time. Google’s Matt Cutts rained on the SEO parade:

With this new mandate, what Google has done is kill off the SEO press release. Google is now requiring that URLs and anchor text within press releases be converted to no follow links.

Here’s the thing. If you get media attention, you WILL get SEO value, because you’ll gain lots of links. However, you shouldn’t use press releases just to get links.

Let’s look at five simple press release tricks.

1. Make your press release newsworthy.

What’s “news”?

Anything you say it is.

Truly. Your press release might have a hook related to: timeliness, public interest, conflict, tragedy, humor, sex, money, human interest, the future, or animals.

Any one of those themes will do. Combine two of them, and you’ll hit the publicity jackpot.

Take a look at a newspaper, and you’ll see those themes every day. They’re news.

I tend to use the terms “press release” and “news release” interchangeably. All press releases must contain news.

2. Tell your story: attract media attention.

You’ve got a newsworthy theme. Your next step is to find the story within that theme. TV Tropes could be a happy hunting ground for your story; check out the Rags to Riches trope, for example.

Whatever your theme, there’s a story buried within it. Think about it.

Tell yourself the story. Start with “once upon a time, there was…”

Stories in news release are publicity gold. Find yours.

3. Have a strategy: help your audience to discover you.

You can post your press releases online of course, however, consider making press releases part of your overall content strategy.

Press releases are content. Post your releases into a Media, or Newsroom section of your website. Over time, those releases tell the story of your business.

Many of your site visitors have never heard of you, so several years’ worth of releases on your website increase their trust in your business.

4. Turn on the glamor: add images and video.

Glitz up your press release. Add images from your media kit, as well as images you’ve created for your current content campaign. You can also add a video, and a downloads like a white paper, or a report.

These items increase the likelihood that people finding the release will click through to your website.

5. Yes, use links in your releases (for traffic, rather than SEO)

Finally, of course you can use links in your press releases. You want traffic. If you’ve been hammering several keyword heavily in your online activities, avoid using them. Use other words as anchor text.

Your aim is to get traffic from your press releases, and if you include a newsworthy theme and story, you will.

So there you have it – five press release tricks to help your small business. Now, go and get some publicity – you deserve it!

Need some help? I create press releases for clients. My aim is to find a theme, and tell your story.

 

, and on Twitter: @angee

Hot Marketing Reads: November 11, 2013

Here are some great reads which caught my eye today. Discover: a brilliant way to add Slideshare to SEO content strategy; a plethora (lovely word ;-) of social media management tools; lots of great tools to get ideas for content; blog post templates; and some “rules” of content marketing.

SEO: 6 Steps for Successful Content Marketing Using SlideShare’s Secret Search Sauce (CMI).

Are you making the most of Slideshare? It’s one of the top 150 most-visited websites in the world, and you can get a share of that traffic. This article gives you an entire strategy for making the most of Slideshare.

This is something I need to do for myself, as well as for my clients. I love Haiku Deck and Bunkr. I’ll definitely be creating a couple of presentations just for Slideshare this week.

Social Media: 46 Experts Share Their Top Social Media Management Tools (BloggingWizard).

If you’ve been avoiding social media, give up the thought that you can keep your head in the sand. It’s time to front up on social. 46 social media experts share their top tools. You’re sure to find several tools which will help you to make the most of social marketing opportunities.

15 Free Tools for Instant Content Ideas (and 2 Paid Ones) (Raven)

Looking for content ideas? The content-creation To Do list never ends. Some great ideas here.

Hmmm… Play the audio file link in the first paragraph. The word I said aloud was “camera.”  What word did you think of? (It’s a lesson in how word association helps you with creating content.)

A Blog Post to Help You Write Blog Posts, plus 5 Free Blogging Templates (hubspot)

Hate writing, but need to blog anyway? Sometimes you can’t get out of it. This article teaches you how to create a How To post, step by step. There’s some templates you’ll find useful too.

Infographic: Findability – 21 New Rules of Content Marketing (Marketing Tech Blog)

I hate rules for anything, but these aren’t so much rules, as common sense advice for your content marketing. I love #16, “stop buying content from the bargain bin.”

, and on Twitter: @angee