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What is Search Engine Optimization?

What is Search Engine Optimization

What is Search Engine OptimizationIf you’re new to doing business online, you’re probably asking yourself, “What is search engine optimization? Is it something I need for my website?”

The answer to the second question is an indisputable yes. Whether you write a blog celebrating the daily adventures of your Persian cat or you’re the webmaster for a multinational corporation, you want people to visit your website. The more visitors you get, the more success you’ll have with your website. But, with over 1.5 billion sites on the web, how will anyone find yours?

Search engines, such as Google Search, Bing, and Yahoo!, will almost certainly be a major source of traffic to your site. Since very few people click past the first page of search results, you need to make sure your site gets listed on the first page of results, as close to the top as possible. This is where search engine optimization can help. Now, let’s get back to the first question.

What is search engine optimization?

The answer to that first question takes a little more explanation. Let’s start by looking at how search engines work.

Search engines use a complex series of algorithms. They crawl through the web gathering information about the content of websites. When they find a page where certain words or phrases—keywords—are repeated often in the text, the search engines get an idea of what that site is about.

For example, if the search engine encounters the phrase “what is search engine optimization” several times in a single article, it can conclude that the page is about search engine optimization. The search engine stores that information, and the next time someone types the search term “what is search engine optimization,” the search engine will include that article in the results.

But if thousands, even millions, of web pages cover the same topic, how can you make sure your page is one of the first results the search engine shows?

How can you use search engine optimization?

Keywords are extremely important for search engine optimization. The more a keyword appears on the page, the easier it is for a search engine to categorize that page.

But be careful!

It can be tempting to write for the search engines and forget that your intended audience is human. People will be put off when they read a page where a keyword is constantly repeated and that appears in odd places within a sentence.

Even worse is when you try to trick the search engine by including a popular keyword that is not relevant to your content. Visitors will quickly see that your website doesn’t actually contain the information they’re looking for and will quickly leave, unlikely to ever return.

It’s always useful to do some research to find out what search terms people usually type when searching for your kind of content. Choose appropriate keywords that are relevant to your website, and include them often but naturally within your text. Overdoing it will get your site penalized for “keyword stuffing.”

Search engines also categorize the content depending on where the keywords appear in the text. Include the keywords in the page title and in subheadings to help the search engine recognize that these words are important to the content. It also helps if the keywords appear often at the beginning of the text.

Freshness and dwell time

Another aspect of search engine optimization is how often you add new content to your website. Search engines assume that sites that are updated frequently are more likely to have relevant and useful information. So it is important to keep your site “fresh” by adding new material regularly. You can do this by having a blog or articles section on your site.

The content must be useful however, and one of the ways search engines measure this is by the average “dwell time” of users on your website. If a web surfer comes to your site and finds poorly written material or nothing of use, he/she will likely exit the site quickly. If, on the other hand, they see compelling material, and stick around for a while to read it, you’ve clearly provided something of value. How do search engines measure this? By calculating how long it takes users to come back from your site to the search engine results page for the same term.

Other factors

There are many other factors involved in search engine optimization, of course; SEO experts have estimated that there are anywhere from 80-200 critical factors. No one knows for sure, because search engines don’t want to reveal the secret sauce to their indexing process. But there is one special factor to rule them all, and it’s one that search engine representatives have stressed over and over again: provide value and quality on your website. Then again, that should come as no surprise, because customers want that from your products and services too.

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17 SEO Myths You Should Stop Believing

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How to Write SEO Web Content in 3 Easy Steps

Inklyo.com's three steps for writing SEO web content.

Inklyo's three steps for writing SEO web content.If you’ve recently put up a website for your business, it will not immediately appear when you search for a relevant keyword in your favorite search engine. To earn your spot on the first page of results, you need to publish SEO web content. Search engine optimization, or SEO, content consists of articles, blog posts, or other written website material that is created to feature prominent keywords. Search engines will crawl throughout the web, grab these keywords, and catalog them in an online database, where they are called up during keyword searches. The more keywords that are inserted into the content, the more frequently and prominently your website will appear in search results.

So what is involved in creating SEO web content, and how can you do it to best maximize your business’s potential?

1. Pick a topic relevant to your business

The first thing you need to do when writing SEO web content is decide on a topic that relates to your business. If you want your business to appear in more search results, you must write about topics that pertain to your product or service. You can direct the topic you choose toward a particular goal, such as increased sales, website hits, or social media shares.

Writing with a specific topic in mind is also important when deciding on your writing style. From your topic, you can determine the type of audience you want to target and write the articles with those readers in mind. The language and style used and the information you choose to highlight should draw your audience, and you need to write according to their needs.

2. Use relevant keywords

Keywords are an important part of your content because they are the key factor for SEO. These words and phrases should be carefully selected for SEO web content because they need to effectively relate to your business and appear in searches. Make sure to research the keywords that customers commonly search for when looking for businesses similar to yours.

When writing your SEO web content, also make sure that these keywords are strategically and frequently included. That way, your business’s website will appear higher on the list of search results. These words should be integrated into the content so that it flows naturally. You don’t want it to be flagged and marked by search engines as spam.

3. Use relevant promotional techniques

Once your content is published, you need to increase your SEO rating through other platforms as well. The more your website is linked to by other websites, the higher the ranking it will receive in the search results. To improve your linking strategy, create a reciprocal relationship with other websites by linking to them, and they will likely link back to your business in return.

In addition, social media plays a huge part in the SEO web content process. By sharing your content on multiple social media platforms, you can ensure that your content is reaching different areas of the web, where it will be picked up by the search engine spiders.

Publishing SEO web content goes beyond simply writing articles for your business’s website. It takes research, writing, and promotion to effectively implement an SEO web content strategy and use it to improve your business’s search engine ranking.

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25 Website Essentials For Boosting Traffic, Leads, And Sales

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The Ins and Outs of SEO Writing

Inklyo.com describes how to use keywords to improve your SEO writing.

How to use keywords to climb the search engine ranking ladder

Inklyo describes how to use keywords to improve your SEO writing.Search engine optimization does exactly what the term implies. SEO is all about strategically using keywords to get the best return from your business’s content. Keywords are predetermined terms that reflect the nature of your business and the content you publish online. In SEO writing, they are inserted into your content so that when these terms are searched on search engines, like Google and Yahoo, your business’s website comes up frequently and high on the list.

So how do you use SEO writing to get the most out of your business’s content? How do you use your keywords to make your business visible? The key is to make sure your keywords are properly placed, both on your webpage and outside of it.

1. Title

The most important part of your content is the first part that search engine spiders catalog when searching through your site. Your title is a short, engaging description of what your content discusses, so it is essential that your most prominent keywords be included. The title is also the first thing that will make customers decide whether they want to read your article or blog post, so make sure you write your title using SEO writing techniques.

2. Meta Description

This is the short description that is included after the title of your content in the HTML coding.. It acts as an extension of your title because it gives a slightly longer description of what your content is about. This is a secondary place that spiders will “crawl” through in their search for information. The more engaging information you can pack into this 150-character space with SEO writing, the better your chances are of attracting customers.

3. Main body

The best place to maximize your keyword frequency is the main body of writing. This is the area that allows for the largest amount of words and information, which will make it easy to insert a variety of keywords and phrases. These can be packed in to maximize your content’s potential, but the SEO writing must be done in an appropriate way that flows nicely. Simply stacking keywords into the content is a red flag for search engines and could cost your business its spot in the search results. It is essential that your content be written expertly to avoid being flagged as spam.

4. Inbound links

Last, your business should have inbound links leading to your website. This can exponentially increase ranking in the search results because other websites direct spiders to your site. These links work the same way that keywords do, but on external websites. The search engine spiders process the information and use it to gauge your site’s relevance. As with keyword stuffing, you need to make sure you are not flagged as a spammer. Do not create fake webpages that link to your site. These links need to be posted on legitimate sites with legitimate content. A great way to get inbound links is to link to other pages from your business’s website, which will encourage other websites to link back to your business.

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17 SEO Myths You Should Stop Believing

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Dos and Don’ts: Search Engine Optimization Tips

Inklyo.com offers search engine optimization tips to help you get back on track with your business's content.

Inklyo.com offers search engine optimization tips to help you get back on track with your business's content.Getting search engines to pick up content is no easy task. Some content writers throw in tricks to help get the search engine’s attention and raise the hits on their web content. However, not all of these tricks are keepers. In fact, some should be thrown right in the trash. Read on for good and bad search engine optimization tips.

Do use an appropriate keyword

Number one in a list of good search engine optimization tips: find a keyword that fits. The last thing you want is an awkward and clunky keyword. Your keyword should be able to flow naturally, even when used several times in an article to catch a search engine. Furthermore, make sure your keyword is appropriate to your article. Don’t try to trick search engines into targeting your content with a keyword that only vaguely matches the rest of the article. Find one that fits, and stick with it.

Don’t hide content

Some articles spouting the “best search engine optimization tips” will advise you to hide content to drag in the search engines. This means that you’re publishing content that is actually invisible to the reader as bait for the search engines. While it’s true that this might put you at the top of the ranking when the search engine is hunting, it will also frustrate readers and be a major turnoff for them. What’s more, the search engine may be able to figure out what you’re doing, which would be more of a disadvantage to your content development than an advantage. It’s best to be honest, show all your content, and optimize it as much as you can. Below are some better search engine optimization tips.

Do create original content

One of the most important search engine optimization tips that you can remember is to stay unique. Simply put, plagiarism isn’t the answer. You want your content to stand out—to catch and keep your readers’ attention. Original content is the way to go. Copying content can get you into big trouble and it just looks bad to your audience. Don’t flatter your competitors by assuming you can’t create content as good as theirs. As an added benefit, you can optimize original content better than copied content to help catch search engines.

Don’t believe all search engine optimization tips

This may be ironic in an article discussing search engine optimization tips, but don’t believe every article you read that claims to be the know-it-all of content. Just as when you are researching any topic, you check the validity of the source you’re reading. Does the website look genuine? Does it recommend using “hidden content”? How well edited and well written is the article? What are the credentials of the website? You want to make sure you’re getting search engine optimization tips from the SEO content writing pros, not advice from some blogger who attempts SEO without training.

Do your research

Know your target audience, and understand the consumer market. Professional SEO content writers can help you with this. Before you begin, research your target audience, and from there, create a strategy for your marketing plan. It may take surveys as well as reading and utilizing the comments and feedback provided by your readers. Once you know what your readers are after, you can produce content that will appeal immediately to your target. This is one of the most neglected search engine optimization tips, but it can truly work to your business’s benefit if you follow through with the research.

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17 SEO Myths You Should Stop Believing

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Improve Your Content Development Strategies

If your business is looking to increase traffic on your blog, read Inklyo.com's content development tips.

Content DevelopmentThe goal of content development is attracting an audience, but this can be difficult to do well. As a content developer, you strive to bring in an audience with your words alone, but you must also use search engine optimization to bring in more traffic. If you’re struggling to keep your audience, you may need to work on a few content-development strategies to lock in your audience’s interest. Read on to discover how to make your blog more appealing to readers.

Include a tasteful number of advertisements

While advertisements on your website may be important to help fund the operation, you also want to avoid scaring away your customers with an excess of annoying videos and pop-ups. If your blog has videos without a pause button, huge flashy banners, and sidebars that look like they belong in a circus, then it may be time to redesign. Space your ads out, and plan well. Readers that get irritated with the ads every time they visit your site may just stop going. They’re there for the blog, after all, not to be trapped into consumerism. Focus on content development, not managing ads. Know your audience.

Before you can begin content development, you need to know whom you’re developing content for. Figuring out your audience is the first step in creating an appealing blog. You may have to change your style, tone, or topics to appeal to that target audience. This can be daunting at first, but once you get started, you’ll get into a flow of content development that appeals to your audience so that it feels natural to write.

Narrow your scope

Don’t lose your reader base by trying to fit too many topics into too small a blog. While having a wide range of topics can certainly interest a wider range of readers, it will also prevent a loyal, frequent readership. Your readers will be discouraged from visiting your blog regularly if they think you’re inconsistent.

When you’re thinking about content writing, pick a theme, and stick to it. If you have multiple interests you want to blog on, it may be time to create multiple blogs. This will certainly take more time than if you only run one, but it will also ensure a solid stream of traffic to each.

Ensure fluid and efficient content development

Have you ever read choppy, disconnected writing? It’s difficult to follow and often confusing to read. This type of writing is common to content developers who are trying to make edgy, casual content to catch the reader’s eye. Unfortunately, it ends up being a huge turnoff to your audience. Read your content before you publish it on your blog. Read it aloud to see if it flows well or if your tongue is tripping and stumbling over the words. Ask yourself if it would make sense to someone unfamiliar with the topic. Alternatively, you could consider outsourcing your blog writing. These important steps in content development will only take a little extra time, but they will go a long way in ensuring your readership sticks around.

Use lists

Readers like lists. Remember that, in modern society, with so many stories flashing by every minute and with busy schedules, a quick, easy read is exactly what your audience wants. For this reason, lists are perfect for content development. They provide your reader with the option of breaking the article into manageable sections, to only take what they need, or to read what they need when they need it. Lists also make your article look much less intimidating than big blocks of paragraphs.

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Inklyo's free ebook about business blogging.

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How to Find the Best Search Engine Optimization Pricing in 4 Easy Steps

How to Find the Best Search Engine Optimization Pricing in 4 Easy Steps

Search Engine Optimization PricingThe World Wide Web is a chaotic space. Millions of pages exist on every possible topic—but how do people know what’s legitimate? How do they know what will benefit them right now? How do they even begin to look around for something they need?

The answer, obviously, is search engines—tools like Google, Yahoo, and Bing. These search engines were created to help organize the chaos of the Internet and turn it into a catalog of knowledge that anyone can quickly navigate. What does this mean for you and your business? It means that you need to invest in search engine optimization so that your website is one of the few that is found by your potential customers.

But how do you get the best return on investment? Where do you find the best search engine optimization pricing? Here are four steps to help you find the right approach for you.

1. Make a commitment to getting professional help

As with any marketing strategy, you need to invest in professional help if you want the best results. This is especially true with search engine optimization (SEO), because SEO is not something you can do when you get a few minutes here and there when you get the time. SEO is such a vital part of establishing an online presence, it’s important for you to recognize that a certain amount of money and time should be regularly allotted for this purpose.

2. Figure out what you need

Unfortunately, there are a lot of SEO firms that make promises about top rankings, charge astronomical fees, and yet provide only vague details about what they’re going to do for your site, or when you might expect to see results. Worse, some firms use questionable tactics, like link buying, which is not only not sustainable over the long term, but could actually earn your site a penalty, making it less visible to prospects.

Having a good idea of exactly what you need to outsource will ensure that you get the best search engine optimization pricing. For example, if you have a knowledgeable IT person on staff, you won’t need to outsource a technical SEO audit. However, you might find that you don’t have enough in-house capacity to add more content to your site on a regular basis. A professional SEO writing service would provide you with content for your site that would keep it fresh, provide value to your clients, and make your site visible in the search engine results pages.

3. Figure out what you should spend

Once you determine out which services you need to invest in, you can think about how much your business will need to spend. Here’s an important tip: don’t just think in terms of what you can afford. Looking at your budget and saying to yourself: “I have only got $1000 to spare for this, so that’s how much I will spend” is not an effective approach.

Think about your goals. If you know you want to increase sales of your blue widgets by 100 per month, and you know that that 50 out of every 1000 visitors buys a blue widget, you can then figure out how many more visitors you need to bring to your site every month. (You’ll also want to improve your conversion rates, but that’s a subject for another blog post.)

With this knowledge, you can then project how much you should spend to reach your goal. This will help you decide whether spending in other areas should be cut in the short term to supplement your SEO spend.

4. Measure, measure, measure

Before you commit to outsourcing your SEO needs, make sure you measure how you’re doing right now. Look at things like keyword ranking, organic visits, purchases, and so on. This will give you a baseline to compare your results to as you go forward.

Be aware that search engine optimization does take some time. This is especially true if you’re in a highly competitive niche. Be patient, and be prepared to commit to doing this for the long term.

If you want your business to build a following online, you need to make sure you’re using all of your resources to get the best return. By investing in things like SEO writing services, you can increase your chances of reaching customers. Be sure to consider these tips when deciding which service to use.

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The Ultimate Blog Writing and SEO Checklist

The Ultimate Blog and SEO Checklist

The Ultimate Blog and SEO ChecklistWriting a blog post should be entirely about helping your readers. Even though you are ultimately promoting yourself, your business, or your brand, self-promotion should take place behind the scenes.

That’s what search engine optimization (SEO) is all about. Underutilizing the tools at your disposal is dangerous, and it will drown your valuable content under the torrential downpour of posts and articles.

Here, we have not only provided the ultimate list of tips and tricks for writing an effective and engaging blog post, but we have also provided a comprehensive SEO checklist to help you optimize your blog for a wider readership.

Checklist for Writing a Blog Post

  1. Know your audience. You should only begin blogging once you understand your target audience (often called a buyer persona or ideal customer). If you know your audience—prospective clients, primarily—you can cater posts to their needs. Such knowledge will also help you to decide on topics and content to create, and you will be able to establish a tone that best suits your audience. Everything about your post should revolve around your readers, so figuring out who they are is a key step.
  2. Be smart about your title. There are so many different ways to go with your title, so it’s important to pick the option that’s most likely to garner the all-important click. You can be super-direct and get straight to the point, which is great for informational pieces. Clever headlines can generate curiosity, but being too vague can also cause those who are not actually interested in your content to stumble upon the post. Ultimately, your title should promise to answer a question or provide a solution to a problem to get the best results.
  3. Make headings stand out. Not only should titles define your text, but headings and subheadings should also separate key ideas, especially if you are writing an article or a longer piece. It should be easy to tell where and why information is separated.
  4. Separate key phrases for scanning. Many readers simply scan through posts and articles to get to the good stuff. If you are providing an answer to a question, that question should be readily available through a quick scan. Even though you want your readers to stick around and read the whole post, the reality is that readers will find another post if they can’t easily find the information they’re looking for in yours.
  5. Keep sentences short and sweet. Long sentences drag on and make it difficult for readers to focus. While capturing reader attention is difficult, it’s only half the battle. Try to keep reader attention by using short sentences that increase readability. If a reader is only scanning your article, short sentences will still allow you to get your point across.
  6. Show your personalityUse a conversational tone, and share your personality. It’s better to speak with your readers than to speak at them. Even in professional articles, it’s possible to use everyday words to communicate your point. At the very least, be consistent with your tone from post to post, so your readers will become familiar with your blog personality. On the same note, try to tell a story, and write what only you can write. Adding a personal touch to posts will help you to build a relationship with your readers.
  7. Provide a service. Going along with knowing the needs of your audience, it’s important that you’re meeting those needs. Not only should everything in the post cater to your audience, but you should also be providing your readers with a service to meet those needs. For example, the aim of this article is to help readers write the best blog posts possible by providing helpful tips and tricks. Whether you are answering a question for your readers or providing a solution to their problem, it’s very important that your content is useful to your readers in some way.
  8. Try to be original. Of course, that’s always the goal, right? But try to do the opposite of what everybody else is doing. If everyone else is turning left, turn right. Even if what you want to say has already been said, though, try to say it in a different way. If that still fails, at least try to be interesting in the way you put everything together.
  9. Enhance accessibility. It’s essential that your post is user-friendly. Users with disabilities should have the same access to information as those who do not. That means no crazy fonts or patterned backgrounds. There should also be no walls of text; everything should be spaced well. Use your white space effectively to create breaks for readers.
  10. Have your post professionally edited and proofread. Nothing’s worse than reading a post that was hastily thrown together and slapped up on the web. If you don’t have someone else look over your post, it can mean the difference between a regular visitor and somebody who leaves your blog, never to return again. Hitting that first typo is even off-putting for an established audience. Look over your post, and make sure it meets quality standards. Better yet, get a professional to do it for you.
  11. Create a call to action (CTA). Ending your post with a CTA is vital. What is it that you are trying to accomplish? Or what is it that you are inciting your readers to do? Make the next steps easy by adding in-text or button CTAs that direct visitors toward the desired action. Do you have an ebook that relates to the content of the post? Include a download button. Do you have a product that would solve the problem discussed in the post? Include a demo button. Decide what you want readers to do next, and make it easy for them to do it.
  12.  Schedule posts regularlySchedule posts regularly. Sharing posts consistently is important for establishing an audience. Along with knowing what to expect from your blog, an audience should know when to expect your posts. Many popular platforms, such as WordPress, allow you to schedule posts automatically. Once you have a schedule, though, remember to stick to it. Don’t let your readers down if they’re expecting a post on a certain day or at a particular time.
  13. Answer comments and questions. Engaging with your audience is important for building rapport. If you are an authority in your field (as you should be), then show them! Answer all of their comments and questions, both on your blog and on social media. This is especially important if you don’t yet have a wide readership. Having a conversation with your readers will help you forge a relationship with them.
  14. Engage in social media. Even post-creation, your work is not yet finished. Now it’s time to share, share, share. Social media is your best friend here. Get a Twitter account; get a Facebook page; find out where your audience is, and make sure you’re there, too. You need to share your post with the world, and you want your readers to share your article with others.
  15. Promote in relevant and welcoming places. Don’t be shy about promoting your work outside of your own social media platforms. Distribute your content where you think readers might actually be interested in checking out your blog. Once you find welcoming spaces, this sharing process can become routine.

Creating great content is the main goal, but optimizing your post for visibility in search engines will help your great content get onto the screens of those who need it.

SEO Checklist

  1. Research optimal keywords. Before writing, find tools to help you decide which keywords are best for you to use in your post. Using resources such as the Google AdWords Keyword Planner, you can look up relevant terms to determine how well they are performing. This will help you to identify what your audience is searching for so you can write your article accordingly.
  2. Apply keywords in prime and controlled locations. Try to use your primary keyword in the title of your post. Keywords should also appear in your introduction and your conclusion, as well as your URL.
  3. Introduce keywords naturally. Don’t force it, though. Readers will not be pleased if they are bombarded with keywords. Keywords should flow seamlessly with the rest of your sentence.
  4. Use long-tail key phrases instead of small terms. If local audience members research “all-day breakfast” in their town, the keyword shouldn’t be “all-day breakfast”; it should be “all day breakfast in (town name),” as that is likely the phrase they will input into their search engine. Doing this will make your post a focal point even in a huge sea of articles on the subject.
  5. Don’t forget to optimize your images, too. When uploading your photos, use the keyword in the image name and in the alt image tags. Providing as much information as possible to search engine sites will only help to rank your blog’s relevancy.
  6. Be smart in your meta description. Your blog post’s meta description should be short and to the point. Aim for around 150 characters at most. Writing an engaging meta description, which appears below the page’s title on Google, is a simple and effective way to ensure that your readers click through and read your post.
  7. Use descriptive anchor text on links. Anchor text is the clickable text of your hyperlink. Showing your audience other relevant posts (and making sure they know where a link will take them) is an important part of SEO. It also helps the audience to feel engaged with the text and play a role in their reading.
  8. Reference current and relevant links. Use other websites as references when possible. If you’re proving a point or referring to another article, linking to that article is not only courteous, it’s also good for your blog. Make sure what you’re linking to is current, though, and make sure it actually has something to do with your post.
  9. Link internally. Not only should you link to other sites’ posts, you should also link to your own. Relevant content you’ve published in the past should be linked to your new post. This allows for an endless cycle of promotion that can be used to your advantage.
  10. Ensure your site is compatible for all formatsEnsure that your site is compatible in all formats. Your readers should be able to access your blog post on their computer, laptop, smartphone, or tablet. The format should therefore be easily readable across all platforms. It’s also important that your mobile site loads quickly, as readers may exit your site if they have to wait too long.
  11. Improve loading time. You can improve loading time by tweaking the images on your site. Eliminate unnecessary images, and reduce the file size of necessary photos. You should also use very small images in your thumbnails so the whole picture is visible and your readers can click through to see the image at a higher resolution if they so desire.
  12. Provide subscription tools. Giving your readers a way to subscribe to your content is extremely beneficial for building and maintaining a readership. If you’ve already convinced a reader to subscribe, then you’ve given yourself a chance to have the same reader for a future post.
  13. Actively use social media. Setting up social media accounts will help you to engage with readers. Actually maintaining those social media accounts can help with SEO and will allow loyal readers to easily find and follow your blog. It will also help you to broaden your audience, as you may reach a readership you might not have been able to reach before. Be sure to include social share buttons directly on your blog posts, too, to make it easier for readers to engage.

Effective blogging and SEO go hand in hand. Being able to find your post will not matter if readers do not enjoy the content, and readers will not be able to enjoy your content if they cannot find your post. That’s why it’s so important to be able to do both. Using both the blog checklist and the SEO checklist will aid you in attaining the perfect balance. Get to it, bloggers!

 

Image source: stockpic.com/Pexels.com, Zak Suhar/Stocksnap.io, SplitShire.com, Wilfred Iven/Stocksnap.io

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Easy Tips to Make Money Blogging

The word "blog" sits on top of a stack of money.

The word "blog" sits on top of a stack of money.Creating and managing your own website has never been easier since the explosion of blog websites on the Internet. “Blogs,” short for weblogs, are websites that produce new content on a regular basis. Blog popularity is based on the amount of Internet traffic directed to the website. Since blogs consistently update their content, blog writers develop an audience that follows the posts. Upon discovering this, companies have jumped at the opportunity to reach new demographics for products and services by writing blogs. As a result, it is possible for individuals, companies, organizations, and many more groups to make money blogging.

Money can be made through a blog in a few different ways:

Advertising: Particularly for personal blogs, advertisers have access to an untapped marketing opportunity. Based on the topic of the blog—for example, fashion—companies that offer products and services related to the topic can advertise on the site. The blog reaches a predetermined demographic for the company. The readers already have an interest in the topic of the blog. Advertisers can then point toward specific products and services related to the topic, which will ensure successful sales. You can make money blogging by advertising space on your site, much like advertising space in a newspaper.

Affiliate Programs: Another one of the benefits of blogging is that bloggers can earn money from affiliate programs. Affiliate programs are companies that will link up with a blog to increase Internet traffic toward a particular product or service. Like advertising, bloggers apply for the programs that complement the topic about which they write. However, this differs from advertising because, instead of selling advertising space on the website, the company pays for the blogger to promote the product or service in the content of the blog. Bloggers will post links on their page that direct the audience toward the company’s website. Bloggers are then paid commissions based on how much traffic the website receives.

Selling Products: Individuals and companies can sell their products and services on a blog as a way of directly engaging with the audience. They can promote their products and connect with the audience on a more personal level. Customers can also ask questions and leave comments.

As you can see, while blogs are often considered a site for self-expression, they can also be used for business purposes. You might be thinking, “Well, if everyone has a blog these days, sign me up.”

You can make money blogging, but it’s not always simple. There are a few things to consider before starting your very own blog:

What is my topic going to be? Maybe you write movie reviews, maybe you invent your own recipes, or maybe you want to document the adventures of your cats. Whatever the topic is, there must be a market for a particular product, or there is no business model. Make sure your topic is specific enough that it can attract a common audience, but original and interesting enough that readers will want to continue to follow you.

Can I keep my blog up to date? The whole appeal of advertising through a blog is the promise that readers will return to read more. This means that the author needs to be writing compelling posts on a regular basis that will engage the readers. Once there is a steady flow of traffic, advertising opportunities can emerge.

Even though writing a blog might take time and energy, it can be incredibly rewarding to earn money by discussing interesting topics on the Internet.

Image source: rukanoga/BigStockPhoto.com

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Getting your Content Found: 5 Steps to a Perfectly Optimized Blog Post

Getting Your Content Found - 5 Steps to a Perfectly Optimized Blog Post

Getting Your Content Found - 5 Steps to a Perfectly Optimized Blog Post If you’ve been doing your search engine optimization (SEO) research, you know how important maintaining a blog can be to your website’s SEO. You’ve no doubt come across the benefits of blogging for your business in countless articles and—not without irony, I know—in blog posts across the web.

Okay, you’re thinking, I have to create a blog for my business site. But will simply having a blog be enough to improve your site’s SEO? If you haven’t already figured this out, here’s your first lesson: never trust anything that sounds too good to be true, especially if you read it on the Internet. Thinking that creating a blog is enough to improve your SEO is like thinking that buying a notebook will make you a successful author. No, merely creating a blog is not enough to magically make your site the go-to resource in your industry. You can’t just write a blog: you also need to optimize it. So, how can you optimize each blog post to maximize its SEO benefits?

1. Start with a good idea

I’m in no mood to get into a metaphysical debate about the nature of matter, but that’s not going to stop me from making this next statement: you can’t make something from nothing. This adage definitely applies to blog posts. You may think that just having a great idea is enough to create a successfully optimized blog post, but in reality, a great blog post is inspired not by a spontaneous burst of creativity, but by keyword research.

Of course, you will start each blog post with a general idea of your topic. But you shouldn’t begin actually writing your post until you have determined which keywords will help you optimize it. If necessary, you can slightly adapt your topic to fit the appropriate keywords. This will ensure that you can organically incorporate the keywords into the prose, avoiding keyword stuffing, and creating a more natural experience for your reader. Creating a great reading experience for your audience should be your number one priority, as the tactics involved are great for your SEO. Besides, you want people to read your darn blog!

2. Make it pretty

Make it pretty.Okay, so after doing some killer keyword research, you came up with a great idea and wrote an awesome blog post. Now what? It’s time to dress that baby up and take it out. The first thing you’ll need? Why, a dashing title, of course. If possible, your title should contain your keyword. You should also aim to make your title “clickworthy.” If we humans are nothing else, we are curious creatures. (Or is that monkeys? No matter . . . ) Pique the curiosity of the average search engine user, and you’ll find many more visitors will stop by to check out your blog. Now I’m not suggesting that your blog can be garbage with an irresistible title, I’m just saying that fun—or at least intriguing—titles often do better than straight-to-the-point, boring ones. That said, your reader should be able to figure out what the post is about by reading the title. It’s a tricky balance—trust me, I know!

What else can you do to spiff up your blog post? First, you can create and properly format relevant headings and subheadings (complete with keywords, if possible). These are great for both your readers and search engines, as headings make your post easier for search engines to crawl and categorize and easier for people to read. After you’ve formatted your headings, you should add images to your post. If done properly, images are great for SEO. Keywords can and should be part of image names and alt text, as this will help search engines determine how the images relate to your blog post, which helps to bring in the right kind of traffic. You should also make sure your writing is completely free of errors—everyone knows that bad grammar does not a successful blog make.

3. Link it up

I’m sure you’ve already learned about the importance of inbound links for SEO. When other sites link to your blog, they are essentially telling search engines that you know what you’re talking about and should be trusted. But did you know internal linking is also an effective way to boost SEO?

Think of internal links as threads in your site’s web. The more threads, the more obvious the connections are between different pages on your site. Creating these connections also allows your user to navigate the different pages of your site more easily. The text in which internal links are imbedded is called anchor text. The best way to add an internal link to a blog post is to incorporate its anchor text naturally into the prose of your blog. So, instead of saying, “To learn more about SEO, click here,” you should say, “There’s a lot to learn about SEO.” Just as you want to avoid keyword stuffing, you want to avoid using unnatural anchor text or only using your blog post’s keywords as anchor text. The anchor text should relate as closely as possible to the content of the page to which it links while still sounding natural on the page from which it links.

4. Be friendly

Optimizing a blog post is a lot of work for one person. Luckily, you don’t have to do this job all by yourself. Instead, you can allow your readers to help you out by sharing your post via social media. Social sharing should be made as easy as possible by adding social sharing icons to each post. You should also encourage your readers to share the material they like or find helpful. Enabling comments on your blog posts can be another way to improve SEO, though many factors may contribute to your decision to enable or disable blog post comments. The more your readers engage with and share your content on social media, the greater your content’s reach will become. A greater reach generally means a higher search engine rank.

5. Make it mobile

Make it mobile. How many people do you know who sit on their computers browsing the Internet? Now how many people can you think of who regularly check in on their phones or tablets? These days, most people actually spend more time on their mobile devices than they do on their computers. Let’s say you’ve followed all the advice given so far in this article, and now one of your followers has shared your blog post on her Facebook page. Her friend, who is scrolling through Facebook on his iPhone, clicks on the link to the post. Because it has not been designed for mobile use, the post is either impossible or very difficult to read. Do you think the friend of the follower is going to take the time to get on his computer just to read that blog post? No. Will he ever read it now? Not likely.

Guess what else recently decided it doesn’t like sites that aren’t mobile friendly? Google. Thanks to Google’s newest algorithm update, it’s more important than ever to make your blog mobile-friendly. As you probably already know, when it comes to SEO, Google is the boss. It doesn’t matter how much you dislike their rules—if you don’t play by them, you’re out of the game. So make your blog mobile friendly already, all right?

Image sources: Jay Mantri, shabbysgd/Pixabay.com, JESHOOTS/Pixabay.com

 

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