Posts tagged with “Search Engine Optimization”

The Usefulness of Long-Form Content – for Sites and Readers

Wednesday, 30 November, 2016

pencil and shavingsWhile I tend to focus on creating concise, focused web copy for my clients (for many reasons – reader attention spans, mobile phone use, effectiveness, “punch”, etc.), it’s important to also keep in mind that readers do actually also look for and enjoy long-form content. It has many benefits for site owners, including on the search engine ranking front, and can help you engage more with your specific audience. I think it can be argued that the more reliant we get on our devices, too, the more we use them for all types of reading – both long-form and short-form content.

So, What is Long-form Content?

Long-form content is usually defined as content longer than 2,000 words, so that might include white papers, research reports, or a long article (all of which I do write for clients as well). Yes, as online readers, we’re inundated with clickbait lists and ‘viral’ – what I’d hesitate to even classify as – articles. Much of what we see these days is designed to be shared or skimmed by a social media audience (think of the Facebook “news” section of trending topic “headlines”). However, a lot of readers are looking for depth and value, and longer articles do also get shared – actually quite a lot more than you might suppose. I firmly believe that well written, engaging content can be of any length – as long as you’ve thought about your audience and purpose. For example, I wouldn’t recommend long-form content for a Home page of a website, but it’d be a great for an in-depth case study.

How Does Long-Form Content Help Site Owners?

One of the reasons I advocate for a blog for many clients is that it allows you to show your audience that you are a source of knowledge and expertise on your particular service/product/industry. Long-form content can be an integral part of this same approach. It helps connect with readers and can actually increase your leads. As a recent article on Content Marketing states, “Users will not only stay on a page longer to read lengthier content, but also they’ll look at more pages than the average visitor. In addition, holding a reader’s attention for more than three minutes (as opposed to one minute) makes it over twice as likely that they’ll return to a website.” So the more engaged your readers are with your long-form content, the more likely they will actually come back to your website, which can lead to more business and a better bottom line.

One of the elements that counts when optimizing a site for Search Engines is fresh content, and it has been shown that Search Engines also like long-form content. This provides more opportunities to then include more keywords when optimizing a website, which then drives more leads. In simple terms, adding new, longer articles to your website can boost where you show up on search engine results pages. Given that most web users these days use search engines to find what they’re looking for online, you can see how this important and helpful this is!

What Should You Be Careful of with Long-Form Content?

As I mentioned, you do have to make sure you’re picking the right time and place for longer articles. The information still has to be well written and applicable to your audience, and it also has to fit into an overall marketing strategy. You can churn out content (or hire someone like me to do it for you), but if there is no strategy on how it will be used, where it’ll be shared, etc., then it won’t serve your purpose. You also have to be careful that you aren’t using “shovelware” (content that was created for a different medium that has been dumped online); long-form content still needs to be written and planned with web users and the medium of the web in mind.

Interested in finding out more about how long-form content can help your website and your business? Feel free to get in touch with me.

Geraldine

 

 

Using Operators to Determine Keyword Popularity

Tuesday, 6 August, 2013

An alternative or perhaps companion to keyword research tools, operators can help you identify the popularity of certain keywords and keyword phrases when you are optimizing a site. Although very limited in the level of information you receive, I find them a quick way to check for popularity, as you simply type in a word before your search term/keyword phrase into Google and hit ‘search’ to get your results.

There are three main types of operators you can use:

1) Allintitle This operator tells you how many web pages globally have the same keywords listed in their title tags.

E.g.  “Allintitle: thai restaurants” is typed into the search field. The SERP then reports back that 744,000 web pages on the web contain both these words in their title tag.

Using Operators for Keyword Popularity

2) Intitle: This works the same way as Allintitle, but shows all web pages that list any of the keywords. So in the example above, if you used “intitle:” instead of “allintitle:” the SERP would reflect all websites that contained either the keyword “thai” OR the keyword “restaurants” in their title tags.

3) Allinanchor: This operator allows you to see how many links on the web are using the specific keywords.

If you’d like to know more about using keyword research tools for SEO, I recently wrote a post on the new Google Keyword Planner and how it differs from the Keyword Tool.

Content: There’s an App for That?

Thursday, 6 October, 2011

I recently came across Inbound Writer through a friend. I’ve shared my brief thoughts on it with the students in my Writing for the Web class blog, but it’s worth repeating here…

Inbound Writer bills itself as the “first social writing application”. It combines a keyword search tool, SEO prompts, a text editor and social media platforms. As a writer, I’m not sure how I feel about it. It comes across as a DIY writing with SEO tool, which is most definitely useful, but what concerns me is the impact of something like this on the quality of the writing. The number one rule of SEO, as far as I am concerned, is that you still need to write for people, not search engines, and although I’m sure this tool is useful in many ways, I don’t think it can or should replace a writer.

Maybe I just feel that way because I don’t like the idea of an app taking my job?

Geraldine

SEO and Content Workshop with PowerUP Concepts

Thursday, 10 December, 2009

Writing a LetterI recently had the pleasure of presenting on Organic SEO and Content Development at an Advanced WordPress workshop being run by an innovative company, PowerUP Concepts. It was such a pleasure to talk to the dedicated, enthusiastic group! Juliana and Sasa of PowerUP offer a great package (with special rates for Wired Woman Society members too) and it was wonderful to be a part of it.

Something that I stressed to the group, which I don’t think people give much thought to when they are developing their website is the audience! It sounds strange and obvious, but we get so caught up in how we want it to look and what we want to say, that we forget to think of WHO we are trying to target. My suggestion to the group? Sit down for 15 minutes to half an hour and sketch out your ideal reader. Draw a picture of them if you need to! And every time you sit down to write something or design something, keep them in mind. Also ask yourself some of the following questions about that ideal reader:

  • What do they need to know?
  • What kind of language or design principles speak to them?
  • What level of information should you include?
  • What would you need to know if you were them?

By conducting an audience analysis like this (and you may need to take it further and do some market research, ask around, look at other similar sites etc), you can ensure that the content and design you offer on your site hits its target every time!

We’re hoping to run more of these combo type workshops in the new year, so watch this space.

Geraldine

PS- you can read Sasa and Juliana’s reflections on the workshop on the PowerUP Concepts website.