Two recent articles found online question the validity of blogging, and blog writing, as part of a successful online marketing strategy. Both articles, posted at business2community.com and b2bmarketing.net, begin by asking the question, “Is blogging dead, or outdated, as a marketing tool?” Both go on to answer this question with a resounding, “NO!”
Author Archives: RConte
Well, we are right in the middle of another eBook marketing experiment – literally right in the middle, since the Free eBook Promotion runs from January 2nd – 4th. We are once again promoting the Cycling eBook I wrote, titled, “Rediscover your Joy with Bicycles and Cycling.” The book is available as a free download from the Kindle Store during those three days.
We figure it’s a great way to help folks who received a new bike for Christmas, and to also a way to get our name out there again during a slow time of year for cycling products. it also helps us to promote our cycling website, Mile-Hi Cycle Guy.
Kindle eBook Promotion Case Study
The last time we did this Promotion, during a large professional bicycle race in Colorado last August, we gave away nearly 500 eBooks. Better than that however; we also proceeded to sell about 100 of the books following the promotion!
Here are a couple of things we learned from the first promotion, things I’m working to improve for this one …
- Giving stuff away takes work – Just making something free is not enough. You have to let people know that you have something they may be interested in using. In fact, I am/will be spending about 2-3 hours a day during the 3-day promo just letting people know the eBook is available at no charge.
- Post to your website or blog every day of the promotion – To remind everyone your eBook is available for FREE, and to notify new visitors to your website or blog. You really can’t expect your entire audience to see it the first time.
- Post a teaser to your blog or website – At least two days in advance of the promotion. Don’t give away too much information, just let your readers know that something cool is on the way and ask them to check back to find out what it is.
- Post to Social Media 2-3 times a day – each day – of the promotion – To engage interest and promote sharing of the information. Your Facebook friends, as well as fans of your page, are the most effective way to get the word out.
- Use Press Releases daily – We are using a free PR service, PRLog. Why? Because we are cheap that’s why. Hey, I’m giving stuff away here. I don’t want to have to pay for the privilege too.
- Follow up on any complaints about problems downloading the eBook – We actually had a problem this morning, the very first day of the promotion. A gentleman posted to our Facebook page that he was unable to download the eBook and, after trying for 15 minutes, he quit trying. I advised him to close and reopen his browser and try again and – it worked! He is now a happy camper.
- Update the text, if applicable – Which is something we did a while ago by adding a couple of Bonus Chapters, essentially links to important cycling information. But, just before the promotion, I also went in and reworked a few chapters, adding information and editing out of date info. Everything changes, right? Just because you’re giving it away doesn’t mean you can’t offer value by keeping the text up to date.
The most important thing I learned from the first free eBook promotion was this – COMMIT TO IT! if you’re going to do it anyway, go ahead and do it right. Spend the time each day of the promotion to keep interest high among potential readers. It takes a lot of work, but it’s worth it.
“I’d like to give HUGE PROPS to my content writer of choice for the many clients we support. Richard of SEO Writer Pro – Your Online Content Partner, you never cease to amaze me with your ability to tackle a wide variety of industries with informative and share-worthy blog posts and website pages. Your tenacity for digging in, researching, and conquering even the most challenging of industries does not go unappreciated! You make my clients shine, especially the current IT content project that is underway – a 6-month writing project covering 25 technology articles and 4 technology web pages. WOW, what an undertaking. Because of your hard work, my client is moving up in the search engines for their chosen keywords. Now THAT’S how you do it!”
SEO Writer Pro is a content creation service, providing original, well-written, timely content for website and blog owners who, for one reason or another, are unable to create high quality content for themselves.
Contrary to popular belief, SEO is not dead, though it is certainly changing; as it has done for decades. As the search engines, lead by Google of course, have become more adept at picking out websites that are gaming the system for increased traffic, it makes sense that they should change their standards, and their algorithms. In essence, they are working to keep a level playing field for all, while trying to improve the search experience as well. Makes sense, when you think about it.
The changing face of SEO
In the wake of the Panda and Penguin updates, and all the changes we’ve been forced to accept because of them, Google has also begun to take a more focused look at how websites are using keywords; the most important tool a site owner can use to optimize their site for improved search results. This too makes sense, since every time Google makes an effort to improve the search experience for all; unscrupulous “SEO experts” work hard to discover ever more creative ways to game them. It’s become a never-ending cycle, forcing the rest of us to work harder than ever to keep up with the changing rules of the game.
By now, virtually everyone has heard of keyword stuffing. Most site owners and admins have worked hard to guarantee that they do not stuff their sites. However, the definition of stuffing has undergone a transformation, requiring all of us to reassess our use of keywords. Things which were accepted in the past will no longer pass muster with Google.
Improving the search experience for all
Google’s stated goal for making these changes to the search process is an effort to enhance the search experience for their customer. Their customer is the searcher of course, not those of us who would like the searcher to find us. As a result, the focus of search has become the quality of the content provided; a standard which they dictate, not us. Only by adhering to their standards for searches can we remain in their good graces, enabling them to bring searchers to our sites.
- 3% is no longer the magic number. In the past, keyword density received a great deal of attention, with a 3% density becoming the safe standard. This is no longer the case. In fact, 3% can get you punished these days. The best current advice available is 3 times; use your targeted keyword 3 times in your text, at the beginning, middle, and end, and no more. Also, make sure they are used naturally, within the flow of the text, or you will be punished for keyword stuffing.
- Use multiple targeted keywords. The current best practices to avoid being labeled a keyword stuffer are to use multiple targeted keywords sparingly, rather than one keyword frequently. As mentioned above, rather than 3% density, a single phrase should be used 3 times. Doing this with 2-3 targeted phrases is much safer than the overuse of just one phrase.
- Use your image “alt tag” wisely. In the past, placing a targeted phrase “behind” and image was easy. Since search engines are unable to “crawl” images, all you had to do was type your keyword into the HTML code for the image and you were golden. Today, using the same keyword in the alt tag and the text may get you labeled as a stuffer. The solution? Use a targeted phrase that you have not placed within your text.
- Craft your Meta Description carefully. Most people ignore this important area of SEO, because it can be difficult to summarize a post in a mere 160 characters. However, if you leave it up to the search engines to provide this summary for you, it will likely look disjointed and unprofessional. A well crafted, complete statement of the text you have provided will appeal to the reader – and to the search engines.
- Highlighting is now a no-no. Google used to appreciate the way we provided help to them by highlighted the targeted keywords we were using, making it easier for them to find relevant content. To accomplish this, we were told we should use bold, underline, and italics in our text. This is now a No-no for Google, and can actually get your site flagged for further study. Instead, use your targeted phrases within the flow of your text and let the search engines find them on their own.
- Paragraph headers have become a bad place for keywords. Headers are no longer the place to use your targeted keywords. Keep them descriptive of the text, rather than using them as a trap for the search engines. It’s not that you can’t use a targeted phrase here; just don’t use the same phrase you are using in your text, as we had been told to use them in the past.
Quality content leads to quality visits
In short, the overuse of a single targeted keyword phrase will lead to problems in the search results. You may even be banned from Google entirely for particularly egregious overuse. The best advice is to back off a bit on the use of your targeted phrases and see what happens. If your placing in the search results remains constant, you’re doing fine. If your ranking changes, beef it up a bit and see what happens. As always, there is no magic pill for the optimization of your website and improvement in the search results does not happen overnight. Remember this – SEO and patience go hand-in-hand.
The good news is this; while SEO has become more difficult with the emphasis on the quality of the content we provide our visitors, in most cases the quality of the visitor has also improved. By focusing on a quality search experience for their client, Google is forcing us to focus on providing quality content for our clients as well. In the long run, this is a good thing for everyone involved.
The past couple of years have been challenging for many who have tried to improve the search results for their websites by using approved, or sanctioned, SEO techniques and strategies. The seemingly constant changes to what is considered approved and sanctioned has forced many to simply give up, while others have been penalized for mistakes not of their own making. Here we try to explain some of the changes Google has implemented to their search algorithm in an attempt to focus their search results on quality content.
Some facts about the big Google updates
These updates, for example Panda and Penguin, were not actually updates in the true sense of the word. Instead, they were the implementation of periodic filtering of the algorithm Google uses to provide search results and, they were not just one-time happenings. In fact, this filtering takes place on a regular basis, sometimes monthly, as Google tweaks and refreshes these filters regularly.
In an effort to provide higher quality search results to their customer, the searcher, Google has implemented a couple of highly publicized “updates,” as well as a couple of lesser known filters…
- Panda update – is essentially a filter which periodically examines the quality of the content on the individual pages of your site. If your content is thin, your entire site receives a “Panda penalty” and those pages lose ranking until the next time the filter is run – approximately monthly. If the quality improves, you will – eventually – see improved search results. Since the filter is run periodically, changes in your search results can only come periodically.
- Penguin update – is an algorithm update designed to filter out “webspam,” or black hat SEO trickery. This filter will also run periodically, searching sites for traditional SEO no-nos, such as keyword stuffing, link schemes, cloaking, and intentional duplicate content.
- Top Heavy update – is an effort by Google to penalize sites with “too much” advertising “above the fold.” The penalty is applied to the entire site, not simply to ad-heavy pages. If your site is top heavy with advertising, you’ve probably already been hit. The only way to recover is to remove the offending advertising and wait for the next round of periodic filtering.
- Pirate penalty – is Google’s latest effort to remove content which infringes on another’s copyrighted content. If Google has received a number of “copyright removal notices” directed at your site, you are likely to receive a penalty from Google, resulting in a lower ranking in the search results. If the number of notices is large enough, your site may be removed from goggle entirely.
The good news is this; if you follow Google’s quality guidelines, you will not be affected by these filters. All you have to do is stick with what is known as White Hat SEO practices and you will be OK. If you try to “game” Google however, be prepared to suffer the consequences.
For a quick and easy, or perhaps down and dirty, look at where Google focuses its filters and the penalties it enforces, take a look at The Periodic Table of SEO Ranking Factors provided by the website Search Engine Land.
We just received this from a sub-contracting client for whom we’ve been creating blog posts and article for the past 10 months. She is a therapist who would like to remain mostly anonymous.
“Richard, I love your writing and the blogs you put out for me. You are obviously highly skilled! I truly have the utmost respect for you and your abilities. Thanks for continuing to create a high level of information.” ~ Cheryl
Thank you, Cheryl…
Recently, my friend and online business mentor Andrea Kalli and I began an experiment in eBook marketing. We chose to use an existing eBook, one which I had written about a year-and-a-half ago about bicycles and cycling. The book was written to help folks overcome the fear and confusion that many experience when buying a bicycle these days. My ultimate goal however, was to help new and returning cyclists to get over their resistance and rediscover the joy of cycling that all of us experienced as children.
Originally, I had placed the book for sale on my bicycle rebuilding website, Mile-Hi Cycle Guy, as well as on my Mile-Hi Cycle Guy Facebook Page where, if you “Liked” the page, you received a free excerpt from the book. We even went so far as to create a Facebook Page for the book itself. The end result of all this creative thinking and hard work was – nothing! We gave away about 100 excerpts and sold not a single eBook!
“I hired Richard to take the copy a client had on an old website and update it, rewrite it, and incorporate some targeted keywords on each of the different pages. He did a fantastic job and the content really explained the services of my client well. It was written in a form that was easy for visitors to read and understand. The use of the SEO keywords seems so natural to the flow of the text, and that is key in what my client wanted. Great SEO Copywriting service, we will definitely be using Richard’s services again.” ~ Kathy Colaiacovo, Online Marketing & Social Media Consultant, Principal at Time on Task VA Services, Nova Scotia