Tag Archives: web content

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.

11 Hot Content Creation Resources To Inspire And Motivate You

Looking for content creation resources? Creating fresh content every week is demanding. It’s easy to get stale, and run out of ideas. Here are some resources you may not have considered.

Deck Transcript

Content creation is demanding. You need resources and inspiration. Let’s look at 11 resources. For more help, check out “Web Content Creator: Dominate the Web”. It’s a complete package in content creation.

1. WHAT’S NEW?

INVESTIGATE NEWS SOURCES.

Check out your favorite newspapers and magazines, online and offline. You may be able to piggyback your content onto a hot news story.

2. EXPLORE IMAGE LIBRARIES.

YOUR CREATIVE RIGHT BRAIN THINKS IN IMAGES.

Your creative right brain thinks in images. Kickstart your creativity by visiting your favorite stock image libraries, or online art galleries. Choose an image, and brainstorm content, by relating the image to your topic.

3. ASK QUESTIONS.

WHO, WHAT, WHY, WHEN AND HOW…

Questions demand answers. Write a series of “who” questions, then a series of “what” questions, and so on. You’ll soon have more content ideas than you can use.

4. BROWSE PINTEREST.

CHECK OUT THE MOST POPULAR PINS.

Press the Explore icon on Pinterest, or use the search query field. Pinterest is an amazing resource. Remember #3 – ask questions.

5. EXPLORE REDDIT AND QUORA.

DISCOVER WHAT’S HOT AND WHAT PEOPLE WANT TO KNOW.

Something’s always happening on these sites. Resist the temptation to browse: set yourself a time limit, and make lists of content ideas.

6. READ A BOOK.

EXPLORE AMAZON AND GOOGLE BOOKS.

Books are the ultimate sources. Explore your home library, your local libraries, and Amazon and Google Books.

7. WHO’S READING YOUR CONTENT?

THINK ABOUT WHAT INTERESTS THE PEOPLE WHO READ YOUR CONTENT.

We all have many interests. Think about how you could tap into social culture. What movies are people watching? What sports events are in the news? If you’ve got an opinion on a hot movie, share it.

8. TURN OLD CONTENT INTO NEW CONTENT.

UPDATE OLDER BLOG POSTS.

We tend to forget that older content is still content. Update older blog posts. If you interviewed someone a year ago, interview them again.

9. CURATE CONTENT.

YOURS, AND OTHERS’.

Hunt for great content, and share it. Explore social media sites. Don’t forget your content: add it to your content mix.

10. YOU MAY QUOTE ME.

SHARE WISDOM.

We all need a daily boost of motivation and inspiration. Share the wisdom of the wise, and inspire your audience. Quotations abound online; jot down your own favorites from your reading.

11. GOOGLE TRENDS.

WHAT’S TRENDING?

What’s hot? Google has Google Trends, which show you what people are searching for now, and what they searched for in the past. Check out trending topics on Twitter, Google+ and other networks for inspiration too.

You can view the deck at full size here.

3 Simple Content Creation Tricks You Can Use Right Now

3 Simple Content Creation Tricks You Can Use Right Now

Desperate for some content creation ideas? Try these three simple tricks. I’ve found them helpful, and so have my students. Big bonus: they’re easy, and they help you to get more ideas.

1. Focus on Problems: No One’s Alone With a Problem.

Life is just one problem after another. Instead of cursing your challenges, try turning them into content. Don’t stop there. What challenges do your clients have? Your team?

Here’s a list of five challenges I’ve been thinking about this morning, and the solutions they inspire. These are content ideas, so make the most of them:

  • Evernote – my primary Evernote account has over 5,000 notes. It’s time to weed the notes out again. With over 50 million users, there’s a big audience for Evernote tips and tricks;
  • Images – I need more images! If you want to get your slice of the attention economy, images are essential. Time I learned to create infographics…;
  • My WordPress.com blog needs attention. I’ll brainstorm some ideas for it, and then will use Trick 2, below;
  • Catching up with my reading, specifically news feeds. Google Reader is long gone; I’ve just purchased ReadKit to help me to manage my feeds. I’m sure some of the 50 million ex-Google Reader subscribers are way behind on their reading too.

No one’s alone with a problem – if you’ve got a problem, turn it into content.

2. Get an Idea, and Implement It.

You’ve written down some problems, and solutions. Implement a solution. Here’s why: once you start implementing, you’ll discover what works, and what doesn’t work. Your readers will enjoy reading about your experiences.

You don’t need to create a case study, although you could. My first problem I mentioned in Trick 1 was too many notes in Evernote. (You can have up to 100,000 notes in Evernote, so my 5,000 notes aren’t necessarily a big deal. I just like to weed out outdated material reguarly.)

I manage goals, clients, and products in Evernote; it helps me to manage my writing, and my business.

Off the top of my head, I can think of two pieces of content I can create right away. As I weed out Evernote, I’m sure I’l think of more:

  • Evernote helper apps. I’ve been meaning to investigate a couple of apps which will help me to manage Evernote. I can create content about my experiences with these apps;
  • Managing your goals in Evernote. I want to try something new. I’ll try it, and then write about it.

3. Pitch Three or More Content Ideas at the Same Time.

If you create content for others, as I do, you need to pitch your content ideas. Try to pitch several ideas, rather then just one. How many of your ideas are accepted isn’t important. You pitch more, because you’ll find that this gives you more ideas; once you’re in a creative mindset, your ideas will flower.

For example, this morning I pitched a content creation schedule for one of my clients. I scheduled six pieces of content right within WordPress, adding several points for each post. I also chose the keywords I was targeting, and located some images. While I was doing that, I got ideas for content I can create for another client.

Once you get into a “content” mindset, you’ll come up with more ideas than you need.

Try these simple content creation tricks. They’re very simple, powerful. Make a note of them too, for the next time you get stuck, and can’t come up with ideas.

, and on Twitter: @angee

photo credit: zetson via photopin cc

Get Out Of Your Content Marketing Rut 3 Ways

Get Out Of Your Content Marketing Rut 3 Ways

Are you in a content marketing rut? You create and post a set number of items to your website, your mailing list and social media accounts regularly. You’re proud of yourself, as you should be: consistency counts, and your content assets will grow.

You get traffic reliably, but you’re not seeing the jumps in traffic you’d like, not even when you post stellar content. You’re falling into a content marketing rut, and don’t know how to get out of it.

Try one or two of these three ways.

1. Try a new format.

Content comes in many formats. If you’re producing text content, with the occasional slide deck, why not turn some of that text content into audio, or video? Jing is free, and easy to use. You can post your videos to YouTube, and find a completely new audience.

Other formats to consider:

  • Q and A: you get a stream of customer service and other questions each week. Why not develop some question and answer content from great questions people ask? If one or two people have asked a question, hundreds of others may want answers too.
  • Tutorials: I love foodie blogs. I’m in awe of some of the wonderful content they produce. Food p0rn, indeed. Grab some ideas for tutorials from food or other blogs which use the tutorial format.
  • Micro content: you don’t always have to produce content which takes hours to create. Post a link, or a quote, or a fun piece of information.
  • Quizzes. Why not create a quiz each month? I love quizzes, and search for them in magazines. Your quiz doesn’t need to be confined to topics about your industry. Consider a seasonal quiz, or a trivia quiz.

2. Take it on the road: offer your content to new venues.

Please don’t wince. I know that Matt Cutts has taken a big stick to guest posting. But he’s not talking about genuine ghost blogging. He’s talking about link-hunting.

Find a couple of websites on which you’d like to see your content. Don’t worry about the links. Think about branding, and relationship building.

If any of your clients have a blog, offer them some great content which would appeal to their audience.

3. Experiment. Then create a case study.

Create an experiment – any kind of experiment you like. Set the parameters of your experiment. Then conduct it. Keep regular notes. Everyone loves case studies. You think you know what the results will be, but you may be surprised.

Announce your experiment, and its parameters. Tell readers how the experiment’s going, as it progresses. Ask readers to help, if possible. When the experiment’s over, announce your results.

It’s easy to fall into a content marketing rut. Challenge yourself to get out of it by with new content formats, and new venues.

Want more content marketing ideas? Create better content faster

, and on Twitter: @angee

Business Blog Tips: Fresh Traffic From Older Content 3 Ways

Business Blog Tips: Fresh Traffic From Older Content 3 Ways

You love your business blog, and it’s an essential marketing tool. However, you’re missing out on traffic. Google’s serving up personalized content, and if content isn’t fresh it’s dead. Although you have great content, it’s unappreciated, because no one sees it.

Here’s the key to making the most of older content – plan to revisit and revive it. It takes less time to polish older content than to create brand new material.

Let’s look at how you can turn older content into a traffic generator.

Tip: while you’re revising, update your calls to action (CTA).

1. Revise older content, and republish it.

How much content do you have? I have several thousand posts on some of my blogs, so this year I’m making a concerted effort to bring back older content that’s appropriate and valuable for my audience today. If your blog’s older than a few months, your visitors will completely miss the content you published when your blog was brand new and you had little traffic.

While you revise, you can add new content as appropriate. If you’ve changed your mind about something in the original post, create a heading: “Updated in 2014”, then add your new information and insights.

Add internal links as appropriate to fresher content. If you’re using WordPress, consider using a related posts plugin.

2. Create new content, linking to your older content.

Keep a list of the content you’ve freshened. You’ll get story ideas from it. Then, when you create the new content, quote and link to your older content.

If you have posts you’ve written in series, turn them into ebooks, and offer them as downloads. One of my blogging friends has been collecting her series posts into ebooks, which she offers in EPUB and MOBI format, as well as in PDF. Here’s a comparison of ebook formats; they tend to be confusing. In a nutshell: MOBI’s for Amazon’s Kindle, EPUB is for everything else.

3. Create roundup posts, linking to older posts.

Large blogs which post multiple times daily offer round-up posts on a specific day of the week. Consider doing a roundup once every couple of weeks, or once a month, going forward.

You can create roundup posts at any time that it’s worthwhile for your readers. If you’ve been getting lots of questions about something you’ve covered before, create a roundup post on the topic. For every person who asks a question, ten others will have the same question.

A “this time last year” roundup post brings back content today’s visitors haven’t read; you can create these kinds of posts if you’re too busy to create new content for your blog.

Your business blog is an asset; so are its archives. Make the most of them.

write a book book coaching

, and on Twitter: @angee

Content Curation and Blogging: 4 Easy Strategies To Use Now

Content Curation and Blogging: 4 Easy Strategies To Use Now

Content curation is a simple way to develop fresh content for your blog and increase your though leadership in your industry. Useful as content curation is however, if you overdo it, it can overwhelm your blog, so that your blog loses its focus. Don’t let that stop you from curating – read our first strategy below for a way to get around this.

Let’s look at four easy strategies you can use to make curation a part of your blogging activities.

Strategy 1. Use content creation tools: share freely and often.

Curation’s hugely popular, and many marketers make it a primary online marketing strategy. There are many tools you can use. I like Scoop.it, and use it for several of my clients.

When you create a topic on Scoop.it, you can curate freely, because your link collections don’t live on your blog. Of course, comment on each link you add, and add some of your links to your topic, to give your blog a little more visibility.

Strategy 2. Quote from others’ content when you write your own.

This strategy takes a little more time, because you’re pulling quotes from others’ content when you create your own. The quotes may support an argument you’re making, offer an additional insight, or give the latest news on the topic you’re covering. I used this strategy in an article on guest blogging.

The Digital Reader does this well, posting a “Morning Coffee” blog post every day which is a collection of links.

You can create a Best Of link collection each day, or once a week, or even once a month. Consistency’s the key to using this form of curation, so that your readers know what to expect. They’ll visit your blog to see what’s new in your industry.

Strategy 4. Outline or excerpt important content: add your own point of view.

Many blogs use this form of curation. They outline a news story, or an article, and then add their own short commentary. Blogs like The Passive Voice excerpt extensively.

If you’ve created a blog to cover important news in an industry, this strategy will work for you.

When you’re excerpting, be aware of fair use. Popular blogs can excerpt extensively, because they’re driving traffic back to the source. If your blog is new and isn’t getting a huge amount of traffic, be courteous, and request permission before you excerpt more than a paragraph or so from someone else’s content.

Should you use social media for curation?

The challenge with curating content on social media is gaining sufficient benefits from it. Generally speaking, you’ll get better results when you curate on your own blog, and then promote the post on social media.

However, if you’re building your Google+ circles, and want to create a mix of content in your stream, definitely curate. Beware of posting naked links. Add your own commentary, or outline the content, so that readers get the gist.

In summary, content curation adds value to your blog. You can use these four easy strategies with confidence.
Blog management

, and on Twitter: @angee

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

Blog Marketing: 4 Tips to Build a Hard-Working Blog in 2014

Blog Marketing: 4 Tips to Build a Hard-Working Blog in 2014

Want your blog to work harder in 2014? It’s easy to fall into a rut, producing similar types of content. Rethink your blog marketing. Challenge yourself to keep your blog fresh, for yourself and your visitors.

According to Worldometers, three million blog posts were published today, so there’s a lot of competition for your blog. Your challenge in 2014 is not only to get more targeted visitors to your blog, but also to ensure that your blog helps you to meet your marketing goals.

Let’s look at four tips which will help you to  make your blog work harder, and achieve your blog marketing goals.

1. Maximize the return on your investment: make your content work harder.

Creating blog content takes time and energy. Repurposing makes your blog work harder.

Arnie Kuenn of CMI suggests thinking about repurposing from the start:

Creating a repurposing plan at the beginning of your content marketing strategy development will help you brainstorm and produce content efficiently, while keeping your repurposing process streamlined and in alignment with your other great content efforts.

You can use the information you’ve collected for a blog post and create a video, or a presentation. In addition, you can use snippets and images from the content on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.

Vital: before you create content to repurpose, make a note of your goals for the content.

2. Collaborate: reach out to others.

Every blog needs more and better traffic. When you reach out to others, you can build connections which will increase your traffic. Make a list of connections: your business colleagues, other bloggers in your niche, and your suppliers.

Buzzstream is an excellent tool for outreach. If you’ve been trying to build relationships, you know there’s a lot to track. You need stronger tools than email and spreadsheets.

3. Stay in touch: build your mailing list.

When someone reaches your blog, give them a chance to get more from you. A mailing list is an essential tool. Most mailing list providers (aweber, for example) will send your latest blog posts to subscribers via email.

Your mailing list increases your conversions without effort.

4. Mine the gold in your archives: keep content relevant.

If your blog is new, you won’t yet have archives. On the other hand, if you’ve been blogging for years, you’ve got great material which your visitors may never see.

Reviving an older post takes just a few minutes. If the content’s up to date, just change the call to action. If it needs to be brought up to date, it may take a few minutes longer. You can repurpose older content too. Use snippets in social media postings, or turn the content into video or use it in a podcast.

Bonus tip: integrate your blog and website.

On some company websites, the blog’s shunted off to the side, like a red-headed stepchild. To make your blog work harder, make it part of your website. If you’re launching a new product for example, add those blog links which discuss the product.

So there you have it: blog marketing tips to build a hard-working blog in 2014. If you put them into action, your blog will add to your bottom line.

Need help with blog marketing for 2014? Contact me.

, and on Twitter: @angee

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