How to Start a Business Blog

SEO Content Writing for Businesses: The Great Blogging Hoax

great blog hoax

Opinions about SEO content writing are a dime a dozen these days – everyone’s got one. (And, like a related saying, most of them stink.)  Seriously, though, just because anyone can blog doesn’t mean that anyone should, much less that they should dispense wisdom about how to blog.

But because they do, there are a number of myths about blogging that persist. Have you fallen for the great blogging hoax?  Check out these myths that need to be refuted now!

SEO Content Writing for Businesses: 5 Blog Myths Busted!

1.  Google isn’t your only reason to blog.

It’s easy to get in the habit of thinking that you’re only blogging for Google and other search engine traffic.  And while yes, you want your ideal customer to be able to find your products or services if you can truly help them, the simple act of scoring well on search shouldn’t be the only reason you’re doing SEO content writing!

You should be blogging if you can create value for the people who need you. And you should be blogging if you can create that value in a way that makes people have a compulsive need to share your content.

On the other hand, if you’re just cranking out content ever few days or weeks just because you’re supposed to these days, please do us all a favor and stop. Because in that scenario – you’re wasting your time and money, along with ours.

 

2.  Some people can blog every day and it’s good. Other people blog every day and it’s hurting them.

This goes along with point number 1. You should only blog if you have something to say. You should not “find something to say” in order to have a blog. Make sense?

If you are able to create amazing content on a daily basis, some bloggers have experienced great results driving respectable amounts of profitable traffic by doing so.  I can’t say that it doesn’t work for some.

But on the other hand –  Jon Morrow over at Boost Blog Traffic  posted a guest post recently that says that daily posting actually hurts your traffic by decreasing the social proof possible on each post.  (There are a few other reasons listed too, and I have to say I agree with him) .

So – posting daily isn’t a part of my strategy, and I’m okay with that.  I’m guessing you’re busy enough that you don’t really want daily posts from me anyway.

3.  If your headline sucks, your article can’t save it.

A reminder for the new – the purpose of your headline isn’t to tell your readers what your article’s about. It’s not to prove to your readers that you’re a super clever author, either.

It’s to get your readers to read the first sentence.

And that first sentence? Yep. It’s to get them to read the next.

If all of those are written well, there’s a good chance they’ll keep reading, unless you bore the bloody hell out of them at some point, in which I can’t help you.

But if that headline sucks?

Kiss those carefully SEO-attracted readers goodbye.  And watch your bounce rates soar.

(Proven and profitable headline tips are often a subject of my weekly e-mails, incidentally)

4.  If your article sucks, your SEO can’t save it.

Okay, so you’ve written this article – and it’s mediocre at best. And then you carefully keyword it, putting in your title and meta tags, tagging your images, and sprinkling your carefully analyzed keyword phrase in like magical fairy dust so your article will rise to the top of Google search.

Even if that somehow happens, there’s just one problem. If your article sucks, no one is going to share it. And Google continues to look for ways to incorporate social signals in their ranking. If your articles aren’t shareworthy or worthy of peoples comments or likes, all of the traditional SEO in the world can’t save them.

5. If you write amazing content, Google’s Panda and Penguin are your friend. If not – watch out!

I think it’s funny to watch people freak out about Google’s Panda and Penguin updates, and here’s why. The team at Google isn’t really sitting around at a table with a perpetual agenda item where Matt Cutts starts by asking, “How can we screw the heck out of as many unsuspecting small business owners as we can today” in his best impersonation of Pinky and the Brain.

Google is continually refining its algorithm to find the best quality content – content that is engaging, authoritative, and relevant – and ensure that content is what appears at the top of search.  And they’re trying to make sure that the boring or crappy keyword-stuffed garbage is penalized and doesn’t see the light of day any more often than possible.  That’s all. So if you’re creating great content in your niche and your readers eagerly await it, comment upon it and share it – Panda and Penguin are 2 of the most loveable black and white creatures you’ll ever see.  You can even look forward to each new release.

Are there any myths I missed? Leave a comment below!

How to Write Blogs For Your Business: Keyword Research Demystified

One of the most important keys to learning how to write blogs for your business is doing keyword research. 

How to Blog Effectively

Talking to other bloggers, I think it’s also one of the things that mystifies people the most.

Keyword research has a little bit of a bad reputation in some circles. For a while, less than credible SEO consultants were using keywords to try to game the system with Google, stuffing keywords here, there and everywhere in an attempt to rank better.

While that’s become more difficult in the post Panda and Penguin world, it doesn’t mean that keyword research is less important. Far from it.

What has happened is that the practice of choosing a good keyword needs to be paired with creating quality website content that people naturally want to read and forward.  Your keyword needs to be set within the context of quality content. Keyword rich content in a meaningful, share-worth context is the key to Google magic.

Which brings us back to the first part of that equation…keyword research.

What is Keyword Research

I was just about to write that it’s the process of researching your keywords to find out which ones are most likely to generate the most qualified traffic to your website. And then I remembered that I shouldn’t define a term by using the term.

Silly me.

But in a nutshell, that’s exactly what it is.

You don’t want just any traffic – you want people who are interested in what you have to say and what you have to sell (products or services). And when you’re trying to monetize, you don’t just want one vistor a month (though if it’s the right visitor and it’s something that’s pretty high-end, I suppose it could work).

How to Blog Effectively For Your Business:  Conducting Keyword Research

  1. Think from your customer’s perspective

This is probably the hardest thing to do when it comes to keyword research. You need to know how to think like your ideal customer to determine what query he or she might Google and expect to find a website like yours.

When someone comes up with your website in a set of results, is it going to help them answer the question they searched under? Will they be pleased to come across your website for that topic, or will they consider it a waste of time?

Are the people who are looking for your website and find it likely to be interested in exchanging money for your products or services?  Unless you’re running a nonprofit, you have to be honest when you answer this question. A few ways to check this might be to see how books on your topic rank in terms of sales at Amazon, or to see if you get any Google ads when you search for your topic.

2.     Use a keyword tool to look at demand for a possible keyword

One of the most popular and free keyword tools is Google’s keyword tool.  Enter a possible keyword phrase in the search box and see if it is a highly searched term or not.  To be as precise as possible, use exact match keywords with this tool.

3.     Compare the demand for a possible keyword with the number of sites that already exist for it. 

Knowing how easy it is to rank for a given keyword isn’t just about how many people search for it per month, it’s also about knowing how much competition you have.

Pat Flynn at Smart Passive Income has some great articles about keyword research – he has an interesting comment that he believes anyone can rank for any keyword – it’s just all about how many resources (time and money) you want to spend in the process.  If you’re just starting a business, you need to make money quickly, and you don’t have a lot of time or money to spend at the moment, it would be wiser to work with a keyword or words that don’t already have millions of websites trying to rank for those words.

Another website that has great in depth information about keyword research is Moz (used to be SEOMoz).  Actually, just about everything they have is fantastic, and I strongly recommend diving into their resources about SEO and content marketing.

How comfortable are you with keyword research?  Would it be helpful to have a template I use to keep my results organized?  Leave me a comment below!

The Zen of Creating a Kick-Ass Blog: How to Write Better Blogs

Curious – what’s on your to-do list today?

how-to-write-better-blogs-paulinemagnusson

If you’re like most bloggers or online marketers, it’s probably a mix – writing and promoting. You’re trying to come up with your next great idea – or maybe a bunch of them- and at the same time learn the social media marketing tips you need for your content to just maybe get shared (we won’t even hope for going viral any more). Maybe somewhere in there you’ll scan the internet for a quick tip on how to write better blogs. Most likely, though, that won’t even cross your mind.

Because you don’t have any time. Because you’re freakishly busy!  You’re focused on getting “enough” content out there “regularly enough?” And at the same time, you’re desperately trying to figure out the secret of what to say in 140 characters or less to get more retweets, how to phrase your Facebook updates to get more likes, and what the secret is to getting more +1’s on Google Plus.

I’m here to tell you that if that’s become your focus as a blogger, you’ve missed the boat.

And by simplifying your list of “must-do’s,” you can actually end up attracting more readers to your blog or website.  It’s almost Zen-like, really.

How to Write Better Blogs

If you truly want the kind of traffic that defines you as a “serious” blogger, you can cut the crazy, frantic marketing activity and do just one simple thing.

Learn how to write better blogs.

That’s it.

Corbett Barr of Think Traffic calls it “Writing Epic Shit.”  Apologies aside to anyone bothered by a 4-letter Anglo-Saxon colloquial term, but it’s the best advice I can give you about writing a blog as well.

Discover what it is in your niche that will really move people. Inspire people. Give them what they need to go forth and create epic stuff in their own businesses and lives. Give your readers content that is truly amazing – content that creates so much value they can’t believe you’re giving this stuff away for free. This is the secret for how to write better blogs, my friend.

And they’ll sing your praises from here to the end of the Twitterverse.

Why Learning How to Write Better Blogs Works

Here’s the thing. If you haven’t taken the time to learn how to write better blogs, how to create some truly kick-ass content, figuring out how to share it won’t really do a thing for you.

Sure – you’ll get a few of your followers dutifully sharing, since you’ve all agreed to share each others’ content.

But other than that – no matter how much promotion you do, it’s not going to help your traffic if your content simply sucks.

Think about your favorite blogs – do they have to ask you to share their content, or do you find yourself wanting to pass it along?  Some of the most popular bloggers there are have become that way for one reason alone – they create amazing content that people want to promote for them.

Creating amazing content means that you are creating content that in one way or another changes your readers’ lives. That’s it. Whether it’s short (think Seth Godin) or longer content, make it unforgettable.

How to Write Unforgettable Blogs

1.  Share personal experiences

There’s power in stories. People love to read them, and they tend to remember them more than dry factual content. Illustrate your point with a powerful story, and you’ve taken a step toward creating truly epic content.

2.     Get a life

If your life is spent totally in front of your computer writing about your life, your well will run dry. That’s not a Zen saying, by the way, I just made that up. It means that you’ll run out of things to say if you’re just relying on your own past experiences and you aren’t actively living a rich life. Make sure you’re reading in your field, and living a life with a variety of experiences – this is the fuel for being inspired to write better blogs write amazing blog content. If you’re doing amazing things, you’re more likely to be able to write amazing things as well.

3. Take your time

Blogging is that thing we all like to do as quickly as possible. Sometimes I’m guilty of it too – I know I write well, so I try to write quickly since I have a host of other income generating activities to do.

It’s a bad way to save time, though. The marketing power of epic content is so strong that cheating yourself here is the blogger’s equivalent of being penny wise and pound foolish.

Question:  What are you doing to blog better and create amazing content?  Leave a comment below!

Content Marketing: The #1 Secret to Mastering SEO For Your Business

content marketing strategyWhat if I told you that the #1 secret to outstanding SEO is something you already know, even if you’re brand new to social media marketing?  What if I said that after Google’s last updates, Panda and Penguin, that SEO became simpler than ever?  And would you believe me if I announced that the less you know about anything any expert told you about SEO marketing, the better off you are in your online marketing efforts?

Those claims about online marketing sound pretty audacious, even to me (and I’m the one making them).  But I honestly believe them with everything that’s in me, and here’s why.

Once upon a time (aka, before Google updated its search algorithms), optimizing the pages on your website was a bit of a crude art.  It mostly relied on choosing a set of 10 or 15 keywords that you pretty much stuck with, and tried to work them as many times as possible into your article, even if that meant sacrificing the readability of your page.  And that was the legitimate folks.  Illegitimate marketers would create entire pages and sites stuffed full of nothing but keywords, and unfortunately, those results would rank pretty highly in Google search.

But the folks at Google did some tweaking and updated the algorithms used to deliver search results over past year or so, and the quality of search results improved as a result.

It was a bit funny, though, to see marketers get worried about whether the changes to Google would affect their placement on Google search negatively.

If you read Google’s remarks on the changes they implemented, it became very clear that their intent wasn’t to affect the ranking of legitimate businesses offering relevant, useful information online. It was to limit the use of artificial tactics such as article marketing and over stuffing websites with keywords to “rig” the search results.  Google continues to tweak the algorithms to deliver better results.

(Good) Content Marketing is Great Business!

For legitimate marketers, this is FANTASTIC news, and here’s why.  It eliminates the advantage that was supposedly gained by trying to game the system with crappy content (yes, that’s a technical term).  It levels the playing field, allowing the content to speak for itself when it comes to online marketing (with some minor SEO savvy tweaks in the background).

Yes, as many social media marketers are proclaiming these days, content is king!

With one caveat.

Content is King, but…

If content is king, then context is the kingdom Gary Vaynerchuk says that context is god.  I can’t quite bring myself to say that publicly given my faith background, so I’ll stick with saying that context is the kingdom.  But I’ll still credit him with articulating its importance.

What is context?  It’s understanding each article, each page, and each website as a holistic entity.  It’s the setting of your article, page, and website.  It’s in terms of the context of your page and your site that your article can be understood.

Quality Content Matters!

This means that more than ever, quality content matters.  No, you don’t have to be Shakespeare to produce well-written content.   And you don’t have to have a Ph.D. in your subject matter to be able to create informative, thoughtful information about it.

What you do need is a genuine desire to create something that delivers real value for your audience.  Creating real value means that you inform, inspire, or entertain your readers in some capacity.  Content that creates real value leaves your readers with the feeling that they gained something by reading your article.

In other words, creating content that delivers real value to your audience means understanding the context of your article.  Your article doesn’t exist to be found by a search engine!  SEO is not the ultimate end of your content. Discovery and engagement by real people is.  Content created without this understanding of context is being penalized and weeded out by Google and other search engines – and to this, I say, “Bravo!”

Traditional SEO matters – in terms of fine tuning your Google placement.  But after that, your content and your context must deliver a combination that is so engaging, people can’t help but click through, comment, and share your content.  Anything less than that does a disservice to your audience and deserves the Google burial it receives.

How are you creating value for your audience?  Entertainment/humor?  Information? Inspiration?  Some combination of the above? I’d love to hear – leave a comment below!