Chances are, you don't update your website all that often. You're time-crunched enough as it is running a veterinary clinic or another small business. However unintentional, you ignore your business website until the company decides to move, offer a new service, or something else you consider newsworthy. This makes for a static website that may not draw the attention of the search engines that you had hoped. The search engine optimization (SEO) benefit you receive from regular blogging is just one of the many reasons why your company needs to incorporate it into its overall marketing strategy.
We have been (slowly) rolling out a series of blog posts about Why Blogging is So Critical to your business, and where to get this content. But, once you have the text that you're going to publish on a page, there are a few tips and tricks that help that content not only get found, but help your reader quickly and easily capture the critical points of what you are saying. Recently, Microsoft conducted a study surveying the attention span of humans. What do you think the time frame is?
Shorter than that of a goldfish.
I linked to the study above, and I do hope you read it (likely, if you share characteristics of the participants of the study, you'vealready left my page to check!). But the study also highlighted something critically important. That attention span isn't necessarily a bad thing--in fact, people actually are in a mode of wanting to be consistently mentally engaged. Their brains will quickly discern any new knowledge and quickly move on to the next piece of information. What does this mean for you?
Your content needs to be strategically formatted to allow your readers to capture a maximum amount of information, in minimal time.
How can your web content be enhanced?
- Bulleted lists of items
- Engaging images which support your text
- Bolded titles
- White space
- Concise, error-free content
As you'll note, that quick little list was easy to read--using the tips included help to allow the reader to scan bite-size pieces of information, rather than a novel.
Where can you find great images to correspond with your content?
- iStock Photo (paid subscription service)
- Thinkstock Photo (paid subscription service)
- Pixabay (images free of copyright, even for commercial use and are distributed under Creative Commons)
Those are our favorites, but there are many more. Just a few rules:
- Remember to read the attribution requirements carefully, as blogging often requires photographer attribution.
- Google images are not free for the taking.
- Even if you have an in-house photographer, it's appropriate to attribute his or her work.
Just a few extra moments of time can strategically improve the impact of your writing, and help cater to the attention span of your readers.
A few months ago we started a series of blog posts regarding the huge importance of ultilizing blogging as part of your website and search engine optimization (SEO) strategy. We're following up today with an answer to a question we frequently receive:
Where do I get content for my blog?
There are a few sources for great content, and unfortunately lots of sources for bad content. It's highly important that sites that provide "spun content" or key-word stuffed blogs are avoided. These not only are detected almost upon first glance by your readers, but can also harm your site ranking. Google gives preference to sites that have authentic and valuable content. Avoid cheap, easy methods of site ranking. If you have more questions about the many ways that black-hat (overly aggressive and often unethical SEO can harm your site) drop us an email to help devise a better plan.
Now that we have that out of the way, let's discuss great ways to find content!
Here are some of our favorites!
- Case studies
Take an example of a client for whom you provided a service. Chances are, there are multiple other clients out there with the same question or situation that needs to be addressed. Case in point? If you have assisted a dog with a seasonal allergy with high success, post before/afters and a brief description of ailment and treatment. Leave the high-level medical lingo aside--and remember to write at a level of approximately an 8th grader. (Remember our article here?) Provide a way for your clients to contact you with ease.
- Business Events
Have an upcoming open house? Participating in a local community event? These are fabulous ways to provide details, content about event, and give your clients a way to connect with you in person. Additionally, any philanthropic events help you connect at an even more respected level. An event gives you an opportunity for at least three touch points: Prior to event, day of event, and follow up. Don't let these opportunities elude you!
- Seasonal Information
How do the seasons affect your business? Can you highlight a different product or service based upon the time of year? Do it, and provide a reason for your recommendations. Additionally, provide contact info and/or source of obtaining the discussed items/service.
- Guest authors
Do you have a strategic relationship with another company? For example, if you're a dentist who refers clients to a trusted orthodontist, or a veterinarian to refers to a specialist in chiropractic or oncology, give the referred partner space on your blog. This is a spectacular way to contribute to increased SEO rankings for one another, in addition to getting quality content. Don't forget to link to the referred partner's website!
......Hire professional copywriters.
There are many wonderfully skilled writers out there. A specialized segment of them have additional SEO certifications that can provide you a double-bonus when placing content on the web. We are fortunate to have skilled writers as part of our team at Saris Web Design/Saris Media. With just a few brief questions regarding the article you would like to generate, they are able to write impactful, pillar content that makes you look good, and also focus on the career that you have, saving your time and opportunity cost.
Happy writing (and blogging!)
Since Google’s latest upgrades, (Panda--a refresh of previous algorithm-in late January 2013, and Penguin in April of 2012) website owners have been wondering how to avoid being thrown into the Panda/Penguin penalty box. i.e. having sites with less than desired ranking and presence, and even marked decrease in both. Essentially, Google has made an effort to improve the overall quality of websites it recommends to its users in the search results. Therefore, the search engine giant has made high quality content a requisite for avoiding Panda/Penguin penalties. If you want to avoid losing your website’s search engine results page (SERP) ranking or want to improve it, you need to focus on SEO, blog writing, content writing, frequent website updates and social media integration because these are the main things Google is now focusing on when evaluating the quality of your website.
1. SEO - While search engine optimization (SEO) has always been important for ranging well in the SERPs on leading search engines, the latest standards put forth by Google are requiring a new approach. SEO was once a game of tricking the search engines by using keywords very heavily throughout content. This strategy was referred to as keyword stuffing. Although this was once an effective SEO practice, the new approach focusing on seamlessly integrating carefully targeted keywords naturally into high quality content. Less is actually more in terms of SEO and keywords.
2. Blog Writing - Blog writing is now an essential part of establishing your website as a credible, high quality website. In order to avoid getting slapped by Panda/Penguin, simply produce a consistent flow of blog posts to your website. Place a heavy emphasis on quality and relevance to your website. Integrating keywords into your blog posts should be a part of your SEO strategy, but make sure you use them judiciously. Posting consistently will help keep the content on your website fresh, which is critical to your success in a Panda/Penguin ruled Internet world.
3. Content Writing - Content writing is similar to blog writing in importance and application. You need to produce a consistent flow of content on your website in order to have it rank well in the SERPs after Panda/Penguin. Focus on creating content that will engage visitors to your website. Research keywords and integrate them into your content so that you are sure to be attracting high quality visitors to your website. Content writing now plays an essential role in determining the quality of your website in the eyes of Google.
4. Frequent Website Updates - Google wants to provide its users with the very best recommendations for their searches. They do not want to be sending users to websites with old content. Therefore, you need to frequently update your website with new content. In addition to improving your SERP ranking, you will also attract repeat visitors to your website if you frequently add content. People will also be more likely to share your website with their friends and social media contacts if it is a regularly updates and reliable source of information and resources.
5. Social Media Integration - Social media engagement with your website’s content now plays a role in how your website is evaluated by Google. Therefore, you need to integrate social media into your website so that visitors can easily interact with your content through their social media accounts. Sharing, comments and likes are all important activities that search engines now take into account when determining the value of your website.
Staying on top of changes is extremely critical when monitoring your website. If you think you've been affected by the Google Panda or Penguin changes, you'll want to analyze why you've been penalized. Likely one of the points listed above may indicate an area of your site to improve. 2013 is all about the quality of what is being put on the web, and following the steps outlined previously will help keep your site where you want it to be seen.