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SEO and content: 3 ways to improve your site today

I run a free content strategy meetup in Brisbane for anyone interested in content-related topics. Our December meetup featured Iain Calvert, Strategy Director for Reload Media discussing SEO and content. As a copywriter and content strategist, I am asked about SEO a lot. In fact it’s one of the questions in my client brief! So it was fantastic Iain shared three simple ways to improve SEO by using content. Here’s a summary of his presentation.

1.     Build useful content online

Google changes its algorithm daily, but the one thing that remains constant is the importance it places on quality, useful content. Why? Because it still gets the bulk of its revenue through advertising, and the better its search results are the more likely it can make money from the ads. In order to have better results, it needs better content.

Where do you start? Figure out what kind of content your customers/target audience would find useful and then decide the best way to deliver that content (such as a blog post, podcast, infographic, newsletter etc.). Then commit to creating great content on an ongoing basis.

2.     Get your technical SEO sorted

Make sure your keywords are used in your content, including:

  • The title tag, page header (H1) and url.
  • In the main body of the content, making sure the language is still natural and not obviously stuffed with keywords (if you do this you’ll be penalised by Google too).
  • In links to other important internal pages of your own site.

Iain also pointed out that all important content should be in HTML (so don’t bury it in PDFs) and to use Google Webmaster Tools as a way to monitor performance and known issues.

3.     Promote your content

There’s no point having fantastic content on your site if no one sees it! Use different methods to promote your content such as:

  • Writing guest posts for other relevant sites with a link back to your own site. For example, you may sell gardening products and write a guest post on the best way to care for your gardening tools for a home-handyman site.
  • Commenting on related sites, making sure you add to the conversation.
  • Emailing your existing database when launching something new, making sure they have the ability to opt-out if they want to.
  • Promoting your content on social networks.
  • Listing your business on industry sites. For example if you are chiropractor, make sure you are listed in the Chiropractors’ Association of Australia’s directory.

In summary

Iain’s presentation was a fantastic introduction to SEO and content. The points he made may seem obvious, but I still see so many businesses that don’t have these basics covered.

He also made a special point about the importance of being on Google+. I created a Goggle+ account when it was still in beta, then ended up not using it because my main email address was through Google Apps (which at the time Google+ didn’t support). But this is no longer the case, so I have merged by old Google+ account to my new one and will start making more of an effort to use the tool (it’s a bit empty at the moment while I wait for the accounts to merge). Connect with me on Google+ here or use the badge below.

Remember to add Iain to your circles too.

 


Review of Practical SEO Copywriting e-book

Glenn Murray is a SEO copywriter who I admire. He’s always got good things to say on Twitter, his blog posts are really informative, and his SEO e-book rocks. So when he said that he was busy writing a new SEO copywriting e-book, my ears pricked up. I got my hands on a copy as soon as it was out, and it’s good…really good.

Practical SEO copywriting tips

The main thing I like about Glenn’s books is that they are very usable. He practically holds your hand as he takes you through his tried and tested techniques. He doesn’t hold back…he shares his secrets in a way that anyone can pick up and use – it doesn’t matter if you aren’t a natural writer, you can still apply his techniques.

Focusing on the client, not Google

While I do write optimised content for search engines, I am more from the point of view that good content (written for the client) will naturally be optimised. And I’m happy to report that Glenn thinks so too. Which is refreshing, as too many ‘SEO gurus’ out there seem to forget that people buy products, not search engines.

Real SEO copywriting examples

There’s nothing worse than getting a whole lot of tips, but no examples of how to implement them. Luckily Glenn has dedicated a good section of the book to scenarios. Actually, the only peeve I have with the book is that a lot of the scenarios are split over two pages. I wouldn’t mind the extra white space if it meant I could see the whole thing on one page.

Forget keyword density

Another refreshing point that Glenn makes is to forget keyword density. Hallelujah! Score one for readability! I totally agree with his point that density should be thrown out and replaced with frequency instead.

So in summary, I recommend Practical SEO Copywriting for anyone trying to get their head around how to write SEO copy that is still readable by real people. It’s great because it’s so practical. The real content examples make sense to non-writer types. Oh, and I love the word clouds. I may just steal that idea. 😉

You can purchase the book by clicking on the image below.

Practical SEO Copywriting e-book

Practical SEO Copywriting e-book

E-book review: The Unlimited Freelancer and SEO Secrets

Ok, I’ve got something to admit – I’m a sucker for an e-book. My laptop is full of downloaded articles, books and reports. A lot paid for. Most of them unread.

In the past I’ve found that a lot of books leave you feeling warm and fuzzy and ready to take on the world – but when the push comes to shove they are light on with the real nuts and bolts of *how* to do it. Or, they seem too far removed from anything that you could possibly achieve – so you give up before you even start.

Today I had some reading time and discovered two gems in my collection: The Unlimited Freelancer and SEO Secrets.

Both have been written by people who I admire – clever, friendly and interesting web copywriters. Both are meaty – The Ultimate Freelancer is 200 pages and SEO Secrets is 213 pages. Both are great value for money.

And best of all – both give you some real, practical tools that you can apply to YOUR business.

The Unlimited Freelancer

The Ultimate Freelancer is written by Mason Hipp and James Chartrand (from Men with Pens) and published by FreelanceFolder.com. It’s easy to read, to the point, and very practical – real get your hands dirty advice (which I like). The focus of the book is on the behind the scenes stuff that a successful freelancer needs: good systems; a good team; and good revenue generating assets.

It’s been written to benefit any type of freelancer, not just writers – so it’s a lot about business sense not the freelance writing industry.

Software is suggested under the ‘Systems, software, and automation’ section – and there are even some that I can use (being in Australia). I am now on a mission to figure out what combination is going to help me the most.

I would have liked some extra case studies (I like seeing how others have done it), and even though it’s great that there are 200 pages – I did end up printing it out for quick reference. Which is good I guess as it’s definitely something I’ll go back and refer to as I clean up my systems and processes.

All in all, an excellent book – and a bargain at US$29. You can download The Unlimited Freelancer from the FreelanceFolder site.

The Ultimate Freelancer

The Ultimate Freelancer

SEO Secrets

First a quick disclaimer: I haven’t been paid in any way for this review but I have signed up for Glenn’s affiliate program for his book. So, if anyone from this site purchases the book I do get a commission. So please, if you are going to get the book – follow the link from this page 🙂

I found Glenn Murray from Divine Write on Twitter and have been an interested follower ever since. When he released version two of his SEO Secrets book, I was quick to download it. I admit it took me a while to get through it (it’s so big!), but now I’m kicking myself that I didn’t do it sooner as – even though I do know a fair bit about SEO – this book is going to be my go-to guide for any of my SEO questions.

It’s very practical, and drills down to a level that – if you follow the step-by-step instructions – you can improve your website quickly, easily, and without any real technical knowledge.

It covers:

  • keywords
  • search engines
  • optimising WordPress blogs
  • content optimisation
  • developing optimised sites
  • social media.

It’s an entry-level book on SEO – but covers the fundamentals so well that even people who understand SEO well will benefit from a read. At US$79.95 it’s also well worth the money.

SEO Secrets

SEO Secrets - Click image to purchase