Getting to know what SEO keywords are
More than sixty thousand searches go through Google every single day. I- and others- cannot stress enough the importance of SEO. Without it, you are basically invisible.
Google has an algorithm that it uses to rank pages and websites that are searched for. Updating your website to please this algorithm is this fabulous marketing practice that we call SEO!
Understanding the exact mechanics of the algorithm is for the aficionados (which is mainly trial and error as Google is not very forthcoming with the exact algorithm facets they focus on). But there are some general guiding principles that you can work with to ensure that you’re in the game. And I can promise that if you’re not even covering the basics, then you are not even in the game, let alone have a chance against your competitors.
Perhaps the easiest and quickest strategy is to have a look at your words. Do they match searchable content? Have you done your SEO keyword research to make sure you are optimising your website for keywords that actually gets searched for?
Are you making use of semantic and longtail keywords as well? Keyword search terms are becoming more complex. Recently at least half of search terms are four words or more, making longtail keywords become increasing important. That means it’s more important for me to optimise for a longtail keyword phrase such as ‘hiring a great copywriting service’ as opposed to ‘copywriter’.
It’s important to strategically base your content (written and images) around your primary keywords and other relevant key terms as much as possible without making the content sounding naff. But make sure you don’t overdo it with keyword stuffing or keyword cannibalization. Search engines will recognise this and will not rank your site. It’s quite the precarious balance!
Modern SEO best practices places more of an emphasis on quality of a website, rather than quantity of keywords. This means it’s more important to have relevant and useful content on your site rather than a lot of “spammy” content and sites linking to yours.
Keywords are a major ally in boosting your SEO. What words will people search with to find you in the chaos that is the internet? These are the words that you will use that sum up what your website is all about. It’s a good idea to create a list of these words with a reputable keyword planner. I love SEMrush, even though it's expensive it's definitely worth it for searching keywords, content and outreach ideas and seeing how you rank for certain words.
Once you have your keywords identified, you have a base from which you can work and build your static website writing around, plan your webpages, know what images you should upload and what your blogging topics will focus on.
Want someone to search keywords for you?
Three top keyword tips for blogging:
Keyword tip 1
Having a blog helps particularly if it is part of your website. Ranking is affected by how recent the content is and with a blog you are updating your content frequently.
Keyword tip 2
If you are a location based service, rather than just existing online, make sure you use your city and/or state as one of your most prominent keywords. This will help when people are searching. For example, someone may type “robes Hobart” to search for a robe in Hobart. If you sell robes and are located in Hobart or online, you should definitely utilise these keywords.
Keyword tip 3
Make sure when you upload your images, you are including keywords in their image names and titles as well as their “alt titles”. If you are using WordPress you’ll have both of these fields to fill in when you upload your images. The word must pertain to the image; otherwise you are in violation of Google’s policy. If you violate too many of Google’s rules you are at risk of being penalised by having poor rankings and nobody wants that!
This post contains affiliate links which I genuinely do recommend.
Get a seven day FREE trial with Semrush to kickstart your SEO journey.
You may also like... SEO content writing articles
Below is a boilerplate template you can use to map out your content article. Once you've written it, using this content article template, you can add all the SEO features and juice.
This has to be incredibly attention grabbing and hook the reader in. I recommend leaving this until the very last, after you have written your content article and can sum it up in a few words. Here's how to write a heading.
Not always necessary but often used if there is some additional information that doesn’t work within your really catchy heading.
Add your "lead sentence" and summarise the story or post (this is where you can use the six questions that you'll find in the Writing Great Content Articles course). If the reader cannot understand what the topic is about from the first sentence, then you need to tighten it. The key topic needs to be in this paragraph and it needs to continue the reader’s interest from the headline.
You might also like Three SEO Writing Secrets Revealed.
Include more details to flesh out the topic that you outlined in the first paragraph. Details that are relevant here might include statistics or secondary information that is not as vital as the first paragraph yet is still supportive of the overall message. This can have a lot of “why” focus, so emotive language or the reason why an event is being held or a new product or service is launched or why you are writing about a certain topic.
Quotes from someone relevant to the story and the more credible or senior the person is, the better. Each quote should make one point and a few sentences is more than enough. It should be memorable and punchy.
Any additional relevant information. This is a good place where you might like to reflect on past occurrences of your topic or you can talk more in depth about the organisation that you’re writing about.
Tie off your post with a sentence or two and connect back to the original topic. For example...
And there you go, that's your content article template in a nutshell.
If you want to deep dive into writing better, check out my Writing the Perfect Content Article course.
Here are some examples of my content articles that I have written for my copywriting clients:
93 per cent of all website visits, searches and shopping begin with a search engine.
You may have come across the term “onsite optimisation” in regards to the SEO process and wondered what it meant. At first, it may seem like a technical term that doesn’t apply to you and best left for your website developers. Not true! If you have a website, you should be prioritising onsite optimisation and your SEO- always!
‘57% of B2B marketers stated that SEO generates more leads than any other marketing initiative.'
Below, you’ll find what you need to know about onsite optimisation and how to start applying it to your website today.
What is onsite optimisation?
Onsite optimisation is one of the key factors that make up Search Engine Optimisation (also known as SEO). It is the process of optimising your website by adjusting certain elements to make it search engine friendly.
The following are common steps to take when optimising your website for search engines. Not forgetting all these steps need rigorous SEO keyword research undertaken to make sure you are actually optimising your site for words that people will actually look for.
Optimising your page titles and descriptions (keyword optimisation)
The first thing a search engine analyses when crawling your website is the page title and description. The general rule is, make the title length up to 60 characters and the description below 150 characters.
Ensuring that your website is mobile friendly
Most people who visit your website will do so from a mobile phone. In fact, more than half of the people reading your websiteare viewing it on their mobile (or tablet). So it is a great idea to make sure your website performs well (and looks good) on mobiles. You can make use of Google’s mobile-friendly testto analyse your website’s mobile friendliness. This tool will grade your website and offer avenues for improvement.
Setting up internal links
Internal links allow users to navigate your website and if they are not well set up, your page visitors may not get to see all the juicy resources and information you have to offer. As well as your services or products that you have that solves the very problem your viewer has come to your website for. It is no longer enough to have links in the main navigation, internal links can also be used to link readers to relevant blog posts and pages on your site.
Optimising your page speed and trust score
A faster website boosts user experience and page speed is a major factor in onsite optimisation. You can make use of Google’s page speed insightsto find out how to speed up your web pages. Images need to be the right size and not delay loading time.
Publishing SEO blog posts regularly
Updating your blog regularly encourages people to visit and boosts your index rankings. People won’t come back to your blog/website if there is nothing new for them to see. Your posts should prioritise SEO but also written in a style that your readers enjoy. Some people say you only need to blog four times a year for Google to recognise you post fresh content but I’m a firm believer in posting two to six times per month.
What is offsite optimisation?
Search engine optimisations that can be performed away from your website are known as offsite optimisations (or off page optimisation). This is a blanket term that refers to actions you take to promote your website online asides from advertising.
Offsite optimisation is comprised of three major factors of importance: authority, trustworthiness and relevance. Here is a useful diagram on the sorts of things that Google supposedly bases their ranking algorithm on.
This usually involves:
This is the process of increasing your website’s trust level by having links pointing to your website from other notable websites. You may also see this referred to as backlinking. As a copywriter, I don’t offer this sort of technical or backend SEO so it’s best to work someone who looks after the technical aspects AS WELL AS nailing your onsite optimisation.
Social media marketing
Posting updates on social media and building a following who are then directed to your website.
Which is more important?
Ideally, you’ll need both to rank high in search engines. However, you can start out with onsite optimisation which is considered the foundation before progression offsite. Remembering that 75 per cent don’t scroll past the first pageof search engines when Googling something.
Is a SEO copywriter right for onsite optimisation?
Whilst not all copywriters are trained and experienced in SEO, I definitely am!
We’ve covered the importance of publishing SEO blog posts regularly, however, this is easier said than done. Trying to do the whole work yourself can lead to mental fatigue and you may end up publishing posts that turn your readers away. Plus, it’s one thing to write but it’s quite another to apply SEO best practices to your writing without making it sound clunky and keyword stuffed. Professional writers know how to make your content SEO friendly; flow smoothly and still sound fantastic. They also make sure that your content is well researched error free and optimised with the right H1 and H2 values.
Here is what my onsite optimisation packages generally include:
It can be hard to tell which of these services you need for your current project. Firstly, I’ll break down what each means and why you might need it. Putting your work on display without seeking the below services is like preparing for the party of the year but neglecting to put on a fabulous outfit.
Editors and proofreaders are not always copywriters (unless you are multifaceted like this overachiever).
Proofreading is the detailed talent of going through each and every word and piece of syntax in your written work. It identifies spelling errors and incorrect or missing grammatical marks.
One of the most common things I see when I am proofreading is misspelling words by writing their American counterpart. UK and Australian English use different spelling for the same words a lot of the time. If you are an avid consumer of American culture, you might not even realise [realize] that you’re spelling things differently.
Proofreading adds a more professional layer and content to your work, which is important if it is public facing.
You need proofreading if you are a writer or have lots of experience writing and just need that final polish to your work before it is published or shared.
Copyediting is the rigorous reviewing of written work. However, copyediting is not just spellchecking. It goes beyond that and it requires skills in knowing how to structure work, how readers think and how to order topics.
Often, copyediting also involves fact checking of names, dates and titles. I generally recommend what is known as a “hard edit” when it comes to copyediting.
The hard edit includes sentence and paragraph structure, thorough proofreading as well as consistency for style, topic order (how the entire manuscript is structured) and correct grammar.
This type of copyediting will include improved word choice and readability, consistent tone, eliminate repetitive, redundant and awkward phrasing, consistent language to appeal to your demographic (readers and potential publishers). It will also include suggestions for weak story points and additional points that are suggested to write.
An overall structural edit will also be supplied, meaning the order of topics, the flow of the writing and manuscript, chapters and time structure may be changed or suggested differently (where appropriate).
This hard edit is also known as a stylistic, line edit or developmental edit and does not include significant rewriting or ghostwriting.
Great for: books, manuscripts, larger documents, annual reports, magazines, lengthy writing, essays/academic papers.
Who should get copyediting: if you’re a subject matter expert but not a professional writer or editor and have written a long piece of work, then copyediting will refine that piece for you. Also, great for anyone that expects their project to be viewed by the world!
Warning: this is a really thorough (and, some may say, tough) editing process and could be quite upsetting when I ‘kill your darlings’ but if your objective is to have your work published or viewed publically, this is something you will have to endure.
If you just want someone to tell you whether your writing is good or not, you need a manuscript assessment (for books) or a mentor (for professional writing).
Hiring a ghostwriter means that a professional writer creates your work from scratch. It’s often in the form of a memoir or business book but can also be articles or speeches. Quite often, celebrities and well known people hire a ghostwriter to write their books. In fact, around 60 per cent of celebrity books are ghost written.
The ghostwriter conducts extensive interviews, research and data collecting. As well as writing the complete work, emulating the tone of the focal person.
Ghostwriting is a lot of work, so is a significant investment- both financially and in time. It’s not just about writing about someone. But working very closely with the person to get to know them, coaching them through the process and the tough bits and eeking out the right information. This is an artform.
A ghostwriter service is for someone who has the money to invest. Plus has had an interesting life and wants a professional memoir or business book written. but does not have the time to write it. It’s a terrific service for people who don’t have any writing training or inclination. A ghost written book is a great promotional tool for your business or personal profile. And is an incredible legacy for your future generations of family or mentees.
Most professional writers can take about 100 hours to write a non fiction book, not including research. And it can take years for most people to complete their book.
Get in touch to discuss a quote for your copyediting, ghostwriting or proofreading needs.
Great content articles begin with a content audit
Have you been blogging for a year or more? Or have outdated website copy?
A content audit is very important to make sure that you always have fresh content, that it’s performing as well as it can and that you’re refreshing your SEO activities regularly.
Furthermore, your editorial planning will become a breeze and a content audit is well worth the time and effort.
What is a content audit?
A content audit is a structured process of reviewing your website’s content with the view of keeping a record of what you have live, how it can be improved and what function it serves. Broken down, that means going through every single blog post that you’ve ever published and keeping a record of it.
It helps you go through your existing content to see which pieces meet your marketing objectives and which don’t. It will also provide an opportunity to see what content is missing and any gaps that need to be filled. It will also help immediately identify the strengths, weaknesses and challenges in all the existing content.
Ideally, a content audit should be performed regularly, such as every six or twelve months, depending on how often you blog. Given that SEO best practices can change quite frequently, it also helps you to keep on top of them and position yourself well.
How to do a content audit
Firstly, start with a spreadsheet of all the posts ever published. The spreadsheet should contain title, topic, keyword, URL, external links, internal links, category, what type of content it is (eg evergreen, listicle, time sensitive etc) and include a section for actions required.
Although it depends on your business goals and marketing objectives, here are some basics to look for when conducting your content audit:
Benefits of a content audit
Having a content audit and being able to clear see what content you have, will be useful for getting the whole team on board and utilising the content. For example, if you have a series of blog posts that answer some of the most frequent questions that your sales people have to answer, you can save your employees time and resources. This is such a prevailing step because a lot of content gets lost and not used to its full potential. ‘SiriusDecisions estimates that 65 percent of B2B content ends up languishing unused.’
Taking inventory of your blog posts will also provide an opportunity for you to view potential curated posts. As I did in Best five copywriting posts of 2018, you can see your top performing posts and curate them into one post for the ease and benefit of your readers. Be sure to write original blurbs introducing each post, rather than cutting and pasting from the original posts, to avoid Google penalties.
Using Google Analytics and your website’s own data, compile a list of the top ten (or whatever number) best performing posts. Performance can be determined in alignment with your marketing and business objectives, eg are your performance metrics based on how many people read it? Or how many conversions (eg how many buy a product from your site)?
Analyse the top performing posts and work out why they performed so well. Did they receive better attention when it came to spreading the word? Did you write about something unusual and unique? Or was it directly written to what your audience really wanted to know? One of the keys to a great performing website is to repeat what is working well.
Similarly, you can identify which content can be repurposed easily. A lot of existing content is often ripe for repurposing, not just as content articles but other forms of content (such as downloadables, ebooks, videos etc).
Having this bird’s eye view of your content will supply an easy and thorough opportunity to create recommendations for powerful content going forward. Here are some examples of content recommendations that I posed when undertaking a recent client content audit:
Recommendations to capitalise on these posts include:
As a bonus, you might rediscover content that you had forgotten about. This forgotten content can be added to your social media strategy, outreach or PR campaigns.
Although it may fill you with dread and seem like it will take ages, the amount of effort and time you invest in doing a content audit each year will save you time in advance by making your content articles more useful, targeted and usable.
Here are some top audit tools to help with your blog audit.
My content writing strategy offers a thorough and actionable content audit as part of the package.
Marketing strategy template
What are your top three strategic goals for your business in 2019? And what marketing activities will you undertake to achieve them?
Have no idea? I've created a marketing strategy template that will help you work out all this and more.
Get one sent straight to your inbox (for zero cost) by signing up to my enewsletter list
Without a marketing strategy, you are basically just spending a heap of money and time on marketing activities with no real direction. Because humans change their mind frequently, you could be enthusiastic about your digital marketing to achieve a goal without results and then change direction without warning the next week! With a marketing strategy, you're more likely to stay on course until you achieve that goal, whether it be to make more sales, improve your branding or reach more people.
Need marketing assistance? Or want to check out my other marketing templates?
Guest post by Glance.
A brief overview of the role technology has played in recent history proves emerging innovations are constantly impacting countless aspects of daily life for people throughout Australia. From developing iOS apps that make life easier to Android solutions that streamline once complex processes, it’s clear that recent advancements have already had a major effect on society. This trend continues today. Virtual reality (VR), for instance, may soon usher in another technological revolution. However, before VR becomes widespread, we might first see the rise of augmented reality tech. That’s because the devices and platforms that make VR experiences possible don’t have mass consumer appeal just yet. Augmented reality (AR) will bridge the gap in the meantime.
Understanding augmented reality
Pokemon Go! (which became very popular very soon after its release in Australia) and Snapchat are two apps that introduced AR to the average smartphone user. AR tech essentially allows apps to superimpose virtual elements (images, sounds, data, and more) onto real world features.
It’s not quite VR. Instead of immersing users in completely new surroundings, AR lets users encounter and manipulate virtual elements within their current environments. As of now, AR is more feasible than VR, as developers can create AR apps for relatively ubiquitous devices such as smartphones, tablets, and computers
AR’s role in business
AR is poised to disrupt numerous industries. Some businesses have already used it to improve marketing efforts.
For instance, U.S. Bank is leveraging AR to help customers find ATMs in unfamiliar cities. The Commonwealth Bank of Australia has developed an AR app which overlays real estate and property information over the real world when viewed through a smartphone screen. Furniture retailer IKEA released an AR app that lets users insert virtual renderings of furniture into their homes; this helps ecommerce shoppers determine if certain larger items are worth purchasing. Sephora’s AR feature allows customers to virtually “try on” a product before buying it.
These few examples clearly prove AR can substantially improve marketing campaigns for many types of businesses. As the tech continues to develop, more organisations will find smart ways to take advantage of it.
AR makes gaming immersive
Again, many people know about AR thanks to the success of Pokemon Go!. It’s easy to understand why users embraced this new type of gaming experience. AR simply turns the world around a player into the setting of a game.
Another AR game, Zombies, Run!, uses the technology to make players feel as though they must run from attacking hordes of the undead. It makes for a much more dynamic gaming experience than sitting in place and staring at a screen.
Of course, gaming and marketing aren’t the only sectors that could stand to benefit from the rise of AR. We’ll soon find it has far more potential applications than most people could imagine. We’ll also see how the emergence of AR will help lead the way to the development of widespread VR tech as well.
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One of the beauties of using Google Analytics is that it lets me know which blog posts are the most read. At the end of each year , I love to do a brief calculation to see what people are actually interested in reading and what appeals the most. Here are my most popular blog posts of 2018.
The most popular blog post for this year was the history and evolution of copywriting which was an interesting— and surprising— recount of where copywriting originated from. I bet you didn’t know it started in the 1600s!
I’ve worked with a lot of authors and potential authors over my professional career, especially at SA Writers Centre, so I compiled a fundamental guide to creating an author website, which is a crucial building block in your author platform.
Features tips on what to include, ideas on how to make the most of your author website and examples of great author sites that you’ll get inspiration from.
I’m surprised this post isn’t the top of the pile, to be honest. Especially as it’s a common question I see in Facebook groups and a really great starting place for people to begin to improve their website, either as an individual or small business.
Includes a useful template to write your About me page.
Everyone loves a useful listicle. Here’s a multipurpose list that offers a collection of ideas of what to post on your social media channels to help with your business marketing.
One for every day of the month!
I am particularly pleased that this post is in my five most popular blog posts this year as it showcases some of South Australia’s best talent. If you’re looking for some new reads over the summer holidays, you might like to add these books to your collection by Adelaide authors.
What about you? Was there a blog post of mine in 2018 that made a difference to your copywriting or marketing? If so, please do let me know!
Take a look at my posts on:
Brand story writing tips
The best way to stand out and get attention in today’s media saturated world is by telling a compelling brand story. Brand stories create a consistent relatable story arc that shows what your brand has to offer by showing what you really care about and what you stand for as a company.
Without a brand story, the rest of your communications not only fall flat but will be inconsistent with each other and be devoid of emotion. I recommend really nailing your brand story before proceeding further with your other communications materials.
Big corporations like Coca-Cola and Apple have long realised the power of using their unique brand story to build connections with their audience. Below is all you need to know about writing a compelling brand story.
Brand storytelling tips
A compelling brand story should be able to generate consumer trust straight away and not just any story will do. Your brand story should have the right elements to stimulate emotion and connect with the reader. Here’s how you can do that:
Your story should show brand personality
A brand story is not an impersonal thing like a clickbait or a marketing tool, instead, it is a way of showing brand persona. A great brand story should be driven by your brand’s personality whilst clearly demonstrating who work for you. And don’t forget the people who have been instrumental in your business’s growth and success! Most big tech brands today share their personality by telling the stories behind their creation, think of Steve Jobs and Apple or Jeff Bezos and Amazon.
However, your brand story shouldn’t end up being an individual’s biography. Rather, it should tell the evolution of the brand, showing how it was inspired by an individual’s personality and it should definitely be a relatable journey (at least in the beginning). This way, it provides someone real that your customers can trust, since people are more likely to trust other people rather than an abstract concept or corporation.
Your story should connect with your customers
At its core, your brand story isn’t really about your company. Its goal is to establish a connection with your customers. Therefore, it should be able to tell your customers that you understand them and you’re on their side. It should also be able to make your brand relatable and distinguishable. For example, Jessica Alba’s The Honest Company was able to raise millions of dollars by creating a brand story that connects people to its non toxic household goods products.
‘Research indicates that the human brain responds to the descriptive power of stories in deeply affecting ways, influencing both the sensory and motor cortex. To read a story is to feel an experience and to synchronise our minds with the subject of the story,’ Neil Patel states.
Your story should be simple
A simple brand story is better and easier to tell whereas an overly complex story can erode trust. Every good story has a beginning, a middle and an end and your brand story should follow this fundamental structure. No matter how bulky the description of your brand’s story it should conceptually follow the following process:
Your story should shape your existence
A compelling brand story should describe the whole reason for the existence of your company. Explaining why your brand exists builds trust and answers the question of why people should buy from you. Just like the way the TOMS shoe company shows that for every pair of shoes purchased, they donate a pair to someone in need. This explains the reason why they exist, to improve the lives of those in need. It also helps to elicit empathy and altruism in whoever reads their brand story, which is a very powerful motivator within humans.
Remember this iconic television commercial from Chanel No. 5? It employs classic storytelling techniques and has a clearly identifiable brand story that provides the foundation for their infamous product.
Remember, by answering the question of why your brand exists with a story, you can build the trust of your customers. It’s also worth refining the tone of voice and getting the structure super clear and readable. Don’t just ramble on with whimsical overwritten blurbs just because they sound fun. It might pay to revisit the five building block questions of writing.
Overall, a terrific brand story is a powerful way of building a foundation of trust and establishing a business that people want to align themselves to and which breeds loyalty.
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