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While it’s great to have a web site optimized and performing well in the engines, you need to build out content on a consistent basis. Managing growth without upsetting your existing SEO efforts can often be a challenge. With these challenges in mind, here are my top ten tips for building site content while focusing on SEO opportunities.Tip #1 — Identify New Keyword Markets
If you are pleased with how your existing content is performing, you need to tap popular databases and see what other markets exist. Using tools like WordTracker and Keyword Discovery, you can quickly locate new areas relative to your industry or niche that also have a search history associated with them.Tip #2 — Exploring Analytics
SEO is as much about delivering targeted traffic as it is about rankings, right? If you’re with me on that, start checking your analytics. In particular, explore site paths and conversions relative to referring search phrases. Many times you will find that what you think are your money terms, are actually just pushing in unproductive traffic.
The information available in your analytics package can make or break everything for you. Building new content is always a great idea; When you go about it blindly, your efforts are often un-concentrated. If you take the time to identify visitor trends and habits on a keyword level though — you can then focus on building new content that puts more visitors to work for your business goals.Tip #3 — Maintain Your Approach
Have you ever been browsing a company’s web site reading up on various services, when suddenly you’re slapped in the face by content that just doesn’t “fit”?
As more content is written, it becomes critical for the tone and approach of your writing to be consistent. Managing this in groups can be difficult at best, so if your content is scaled in this manner — consider having one consistent editor.Tip #4 — Write for People, not Engines
And don’t be an idiot with over formatting your text either… 🙂Tip #5 — Pace Content Creation
The most important tip I would offer up here is that you need to pace yourself when adding new content to your web site. I am often guilty of taking dozens of new pages at at a time, and placing them all online at once.
As a result, my returning visitors are overwhelmed, and I can’t effectively measure or improve any one page with consistency or care.
Better still, as you begin to pace the release of new content you will also find yourself developing new patterns of work. An article will go live, it will be submitted to social networks, you’ll develop links to it, etc. Understanding and improving that process is critical if you plan to get a lot done in minimal time.
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SEO Tips for Basic Search Engine Optimization
Sharon says that “In order to perform well, a website must have traffic. Decent traffic will result if a website ranks well in search engines, that is why strong placement in search engines for critical keywords and phrases is essential. When struggling with search engine optimization just go back to the basics. What do search engines want? Search engines want to return search results, that are relevant and useful to the searcher.”
Here are 8 essential SEO tips:
1. CSS – Cascading Style Sheets. Use header tags and cascading style sheets in your website design. Many search engines value H1 and H2 tags more than others. The assumption is that header tags are used to highlight the most important items or themes that appear on a page. By using header tags, webmasters can bullet those keywords or phrases they deem to be most important. The CSS file will help your site load quickly and provide a consistent look and feel throughout the website.
2. Titles. A website is the collection of webpages under a single domain. A webpage refers to a specific page within a website. Unique page titles throughout a website is important. Websites typically contain many webpages and using unique titles on webpages will help highlight different key phrases while uniting all the website content in a single theme.
3. Related Links. Links from related or relevant sites are more important than generic links from unrelated websites. Links are seen as “votes” of quality content. Search engines weigh links from websites that contain related or similar content more importantly, than links from unrelated websites. Work to obtain relevant quality links from related or authority websites.
4. Anchor Text. Vary anchor text. Use a variety of phrases to link to a site. Using different anchor text to link to a website is seen by search engines as “natural” linking. Search engines use the anchor text of a websites incoming link as part of their algorithm to determine a websites theme.
5. Copy. A minimum of 200 words of copy is suggested for each web page. In order to spider a site a search engine must have sufficient copy to spider. Less does not necessarily mean more, when it comes to search engine ranking. In general try to keep copy “above the fold”, so that visitors don’t have to scroll. Copy above the fold is usually sufficient to determine the context of the webpage.
6. Fresh. Keep it fresh. Search engines take notice of how frequently content is updated or added. Search engines spider websites that update content on a frequent basis at regular intervals. Add new content or webpages daily or weekly to increase a search engine spider’s frequency.
7. Consistent. Provide quality, consistent, fresh content. Consistent related content is critical to encouraging both visitors and search engines to return. Providing consistent quality content encourages links which will increase a websites popularity.
8. Themed. Relate the contents of a website by a single theme. Uniting content using contextual words will help websites rank well for less critical but very targeted related keywords and phrases.
And for those who are looking for shortcuts into the search engine results which may only last for the short term but get your site booted after 6 months or so, Sharon lists these questionable techniques to stay away from:
1. Keyword Stuffing. Don’t stuff web pages with keywords that is similar to or the same as the webpages background color. Most search engines have ways to detect keyword stuffing. Keyword stuffing will likely result in a search engine ban.
2. Cloaking. Cloaking is when the website identifies the IP address of a search engine spider and feeds the spider content that it is not really on the page. Essentially the search engine sees optimized content that is not currently on the web page that it is spidered. It is difficult for search engines to detect cloaking, but if a site is banned or cloaking it is very difficult to convince a search engine to relist the content.
3. Don’t Sacrifice Quality Don’t sacrifice quality for optimization. While search engine optimization is important, it is equally important that the content on a webpage should make sense. Placing well in search engines at the expense of a quality professional image with decent web copy, will not usually result in sales. It is a matter of striking a balance.
4. Spam. Not much to be said about this one, don’t spam. Don’t spam search engines, don’t conduct email spam campaigns, and don’t spam forums. Being labeled a spammer is a hard reputation to shed.
Many start-up businesses, and even established business owners who’ve decided it’s time their business had a professional web presence, don’t know where to start when it comes to planning their website. There are so many things to consider, and so many choices. Just getting the design and layout of the website can be intimidating. Then you have to determine what will be on the site. It can be mind-boggling.
Sometimes, by the time you get to the content portion of the site, your brain is fried from trying to make the other decisions. When you begin to think about the content, you’re probably asking yourself, “What do I write about” or “Where do I start?” If so, you’ve come to the right place. You only have one chance to make that first impression. If you take your content seriously then your audience will too. You want your audience to visit your site over and over again. If you provide quality content for them time and time again, they will keep returning to your site.
Getting started is the most important step. If you know how to write, you are already 95% of the way there. You don’t need to be an English major to understand any of the tips in this book either. It is written in plain English that everyone can understand.
Writing for the internet requires different skills to those covered in most school writing lessons. If you’ve never been much of a writer, starting writing as an adult may seem difficult. The upside is that as an adult you have more experience, skills, and knowledge that you can share with your readers. This knowledge, skills and experience can be valuable to you and to others. Writing an article, series of articles, or blog posts can be an excellent way to share what you know and what you’ve experienced with your audience.
While the writing you need for your site can be outsourced to professionals, it is very possible, and definitely more personal, for you to do it yourself.
That’s what the tips in this book can help you do. Professional content writers are exactly that, professional. They take their jobs seriously. When a professional writer has been provided with instructions from a client, they read them carefully to get an understanding of what is required. The problem with outsourcing to a professional is they don’t know what you know or haven’t experienced the things that you have. They don’t know how you feel. In other words, they don’t have your heart. They can write in the way you instruct them, but they can’t write with your heart. They can give information, but they can’t give a reader a sense of who you are. They can’t share your personal experiences with the same passion you feel.
Writing your own content can also be a very rewarding experience. It can help you make a personal connection with your readers. It gives them a sense of who you are, because you will be sharing your knowledge, thoughts, and feelings in everything you write. Writing content that connects to your readers is what you want to do.
If you’ve never written anything for a website before, don’t worry. You’re not alone. That’s why you’re reading this book. The information here will help you create that quality content. For your convenience, the book is sectioned into the four main content areas: articles, blog posts, books, and videos. Together, there are 70 great tips to give your website the “WOW” factor.
Who is this course for:
Whether you are already writing a blog or have a website up and running in this short course you will gain new knowledge and understanding of what it takes to publish great content on the internet.Goals
You will gain an understanding of the steps you must follow to write great content.
I will give you tips on writing web articles
I will get you started on writing blog content that gets noticed
And we will even go over tips on creating video for your web or other applications such as YouTubePrerequisites
You just need an understanding of and access to any word processing software.
In 2023, the concept of observability in IT operations gained mindshare as IT leaders looked for new ways to rein in the complexity that’s grown organically with cloud computing and rapid digitization.
Observability differs from IT monitoring in that it focuses on the development of the application and rich instrumentation so that operators can ask meaningful questions about how the software works or is working in production. The ability to ask new questions allows IT to gain different perspectives on application behavior so that they can optimize and improve results for customers.
Another way to think about observability is that it’s all about the user perspective, which requires a user-centric mindset and approach. While traditional (black box) monitoring provides metrics that indicate whether a system is up and running or not, observability takes this a step further by showing if it’s actually performing adequately for business and user requirements.
Observability creates sharper connections to the business value of infrastructure monitoring by solving issues such as:
A server’s online and available, but the applications it supports are malfunctioning;
The network’s up but a user’s transactions may not be going through or the website is behaving erratically;
Your site is working fine in one browser but not in another.
These are the kind of problems that IT organizations need to know about pronto before users start to complain or leave your site/app for the better performing service. That’s terrible for customer retention and for employees, it may result in costly, insecure shadow IT.
Either way, a lack of observability means that your organization is more prone to low user satisfaction and high support costs. Observability requires a modern approach to monitoring, and it’s more successful when developers buy in and participate in monitoring activities.
Here are some ideas for ramping up your observability practice in 2023:
Go beyond traditional resource monitoring metrics such as CPU utilization and network latency. Include logs, traces, metrics and alerts from every infrastructure component to allow for new insights into your application.
Teams should have the proper routing and communication channels for when an incident occurs, and be able to quickly gain access to the system that can best remediate, or provide additional context.
Sorry, devs, but this is going to be part of your job sooner or later. Developers have been hearing for a while now that they can’t just “throw their code over the wall” and let operations people figure it out. Application health has long been owned by IT operations but logically speaking, the people who really understand application health are the developers because they built it and they know how code should work in production.
Often, usually late in the sprint cycle, someone poses the question: “How are we going to monitor this service in production?” Dev teams rush around to get a workable solution and in the end, someone ends up running an instance of an open source monitoring tool on the app server(s). If this sounds familiar, you are not alone. This situation can be avoided by making observability a critical step in the CI/CD pipeline, and not an afterthought.
APM tools or increasingly, open-source monitoring tools such as Prometheus can help measure operational metrics such as application, client, and server side errors that may occur during the normal operation of an application. Synthetics or digital experience management tools offer another way to understand the outputs of a system.
This helps answer questions such as: can my user access the application and are there any transactional failures in her experience? There are some powerful, niche observability tools but they can be hard to use and require native monitoring expertise which many developers don’t have. Disregard the vendor buzz and adopt the tool that is right for your organization in terms of skill level, resources and so on. It should be easy to deploy and manage.
A common pitfall spanning ITOps and DevOps organizations is the proliferation of duplicative tools. Data is often not federated between those tools, which can make the job of simply and comprehensively implementing an observability strategy a real pain. This is why it’s so hard to achieve the vaulted single pane of glass.
Most often, monitoring and observability tools are sought after and used to solve a pressing problem (like getting ready for a release, troubleshooting a specific client side error, etc.). Over time, it’s easy to see how an organization can end up with more than 20 monitoring tools that solve overlapping use cases. Consolidate, integrate what you keep and consider a platform solution to manage and unify all the data, saving time for both developers and operators.
Observability and the problems it solves are not just meaningful for developers, engineers and admins. Many of the insights generated by observability tools can provide rich context to less technical colleagues who may be working in sales, marketing, support, or professional services.
Some examples include:
Which day(s), or time of year do we see the most traffic across our website?
Is there a certain web page that users visit most often?
After a launch, or web page change, are we seeing an increase in transactions?
Is the web page loading slow, and if so, what are the contributing causes?
Answering these questions often bridges the tools that the non-technical teams have access to and requires deeper understanding of the application itself. DevOps and ITOps teams should collaborate with their non-technical stakeholders to understand what business problems can be addressed in observability tools, and the best way to solve them.
About the author: Michael Fisher is Group Product Manager at OpsRamp.
4. Track your accomplishments
Providing hard data to show what you’ve done throughout the year is highly beneficial. Employees and managers may roughly understand how you have performed but having concrete numbers to back up any assertion strengthens the validity of your self-assessment.
“If employees … spend 10 seconds a day writing down their one biggest accomplishment, success, metric hit, feedback received for that day, they’d have 10 times more data than they’d ever need for self-assessment,” said Mike Mannon, president of WD Communications.
Hank Yuloff, the owner of Yuloff Creative Marketing Solutions, said continuous evaluation of your performance can make it much easier to ground your self-assessment in facts and measurable data.
“We teach our clients to keep a list of daily and weekly accomplishments so that when it is time for the self-assessment, there is very little guesswork as to how valuable they are to the company,” Yuloff said.5. Be professional
You should always be professional when writing self-assessments. This means not bashing the boss for poor leadership or criticizing co-workers for making your life more difficult. It also means not gushing over a co-worker or manager you like. Whether you are providing critical or positive feedback, professionalism is important.
Being professional means giving the appraisal its due attention, like any other important project that crosses your desk. Dominique Jones, chief people officer at BusPatrol, recommends treating your self-evaluation like a work of art that builds over time. She said you’ll be much happier with the result if you give yourself time to reflect and carefully support your self-assessment.
“Use examples to support your assertions and … make sure that you spell- and grammar-check your documents,” Jones wrote in a blog post. “These are all signs of how seriously you take the process and its importance to you.”Self evaluation example statements
Keeping things simple and using short, declarative bullet points are key to writing an effective self-assessment. While the exact nature of your self-assessment might depend on your industry or your job description, this basic model can help guide you in writing a self-evaluation.Strengths
I am a dedicated employee who understands my role and responsibilities, as well as the larger mission of our business. I strive to both do my job and make this company successful.
I am a good communicator who stays on task and helps rally the team when cooperation is needed to meet a deadline or solve a problem.
I am a creative thinker who can develop novel solutions and improve conventional ways of doing things.Weaknesses
I am somewhat disorganized, which often impacts my productivity. I have learned how to manage my time better and intentionally direct my efforts. While it remains a challenge, I have seen some progress and look forward to continually improving.
Sometimes, I do not ask for help when I could benefit from assistance. I am always willing to help my teammates, and I know they feel the same way, so I will try to be more vocal about when I need a helping hand moving forward.Core values
I believe in teamwork and cooperation to overcome any obstacle.
I value respect and transparency between employees and managers.
I value friendship and building warm relationships within the workplace.
I strive to be a welcoming and helpful presence to my co-workers.Accomplishments
I never missed a deadline in the past year and often submitted my work early.
I’ve gone beyond my job description to ensure our team operates optimally, staying late and helping others whenever it could contribute to our collective goal.
I created and delivered a presentation, stepping outside my comfort zone to do so. It was well received and bolstered my confidence regarding public speaking.Goals
I want to continue developing my presentation and public speaking skills. As a weakness that I listed on previous self-assessments, it is gratifying to see that I have made some progress on this skill set, and I would like to double down on the growth.
I aspire to enter a managerial role. I enjoy working closely with my teammates and considering the bigger picture, and I often efficiently help direct resources. I could see myself as a manager who helps facilitate teamwork and encourages workers to do their best.Feedback
My manager is pleasant and transparent, and they always set clear expectations. I never have to guess where I stand. I appreciate the openness and direct communication.
I want to be more involved in decision-making at the team level. I believe each team member has unique insights that supervisors cannot fully understand since their perspective is different. I believe involving staff members in strategic planning could greatly improve results.
Did You Know?
You should keep your self-assessment short and simple by using bullet points.
Nothing is worse than bad writing. It’s recognizable within the first few sentences – either consciously or subconsciously.
Sloppy writing clutters the messages, and dilutes the simplicity of messages that humans crave.
Spend seconds online and bad writing is everywhere, especially on many businesses’ core marketing tool that I call the true COO of any company – a website.
Sometimes it takes a deep reading to simply understand what services or products that company is marketing.
This lack of clarity results from bad copywriting, which has become a leading epidemic in the world of online marketing alongside thin content.
This epidemic is found across multiple industries, from SMBs to large corporations.
All copywriting should deliver marketing messages in the clearest and quickest ways. And the answer is not derived from proverbial rocket science.
Here are some writing principles that I’ve discovered over two decades of writing for both online and print publications.1. Simplicity & Clarity: The Core of Good Writing
Henry met Mary. The dog walked across the street. My head hurts.
That’s simple language, and simplicity reigns in the world of copy writing – especially when introducing a product or service to a new audience.
Leonardo da Vinci said it perfectly: “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”
Imagine a small exhaust shop looking to raise their digital presence. They heard of SEO, but after some online searching, they arrive at a company’s website and the content immediately gets into to the specifics of SEO – such as canonicals or site hierarchy.
Getting granular in a blog or deeper pages is imperative. But when a prospect is first introduced, simplicity and clarity must reign over anything else.
Most prospects looking for a service – especially those in B2B – are searching because they don’t have the time or focus to create whatever service you’re offering.
And even if it’s product or news-based business, most readers’ minds are already cluttered with too much garbage. Some don’t have the bandwidth remaining to go all-in with thought.
Clear and simple writing will convey a message much faster and will result in quicker sales.2. Use a Framework
You know to keep it clear and simple. But sometimes the writing doesn’t flow and is cluttered.
Create a framework of main ideas, and backfill them.
In the past, I’d framework by imagining myself as a reader. I’d then create a list of bullet points that I’d see as a problem. I’d follow up by proposing multiple solutions to those problems.
This worked, but took time.
Then I discovered Donald Miller’s “Building a StoryBrand“. The book is a must-read for marketers and content producers, and has multiple tactics that can help businesses overcome many issues by focusing on building a story around the target prospect.
But one small section around creating a “one-liner” has helped me create a framework for writing content that simplifies the message and provides pure clarity from the outset.
The framework lays out a roadmap of four components:
For each piece of writing, you supply answers to these components, and create a one-liner (which doesn’t exactly have to be one line).
An example from a motorcycle safety course would be:
The Character: Motorcyclists passionate about freedom of riding, but afraid of crashing.
The Problem: Can’t overcome mental fear.
The Plan: Remove fear through teaching underlying principles of motorcycle safety, both psychological and physical.
The Success: Renewed passion for riding and calmness in life.
The one-liner above would read:
This has helped me create a framework for any type of written content, from product copy to service pages to FAQs to daily blogging.3. Talk it Out
Sometimes we know deep down that there’s something to say but can’t get the message across with clarity and simplicity. This is where talking does wonders.
Find a competent and clear-minded person to discuss your ideas with. They don’t have to be experts on the subject – just make sure that they are capable of listening and can provide a no-BS answer to what you’re trying to figure out in your head.
Sometimes those with zero knowledge of the subject can provide the best responses.
Again, back to having a digital presence. If I was writing copy for an SEO website that targeted small businesses with zero clue of how SEO works, I wouldn’t want to talk it out with an expert – such as most of the readers/contributors at Search Engine Journal.
Rather, I’d target a small business owner who had success building a digital presence. This person has a grasp about the process, whether the work was outsourced or brought in-house, but is far from an expert.
That person would help me simplify things, and create an equally simple message that the target prospect such as an SMB owner would understand quickly.
With that said, having another competent human’s input is critical for success. But many writers I know are introverts (including myself, until a few years ago).
When I say “talk it out,” this doesn’t necessarily mean talking to someone else – though getting a clear-minded human’s input will have a drastically better outcome.
You can also talk it out with yourself. This is best followed by the following tactic, which will allow your mind to relax and subconsciously “connect the dots” so you can create clear and simple content.4. Sleep On It, or Walk Away & Do Something Mundane
This basically gets you away from the conscious thoughts of what you’re writing, and allows your subconscious to put the pieces together, or connect the dots.
I won’t get into it psychology here, but Chris Bailey sums it all in a book that everyone should read, especially writers.
In “Hyperfocus“, Bailey writes:
“Simple decisions are best made using cold, hard logic. This way, we can work through the incremental steps that lead to an answer. But the same isn’t true for complex decisions, ones that require more creativity in meshing together a web of interconnected ideas. These decisions can be impossible to work through with logic and reason alone. That’s why we need to tap into the proven power of our subconscious mind.”
I do this in two ways; I “sleep on it,” or I walk away for a bit and do something mundane.
Before sleeping, revisit the piece you’re working on, or daydream about what you’re trying to say. When you sleep, your subconscious mind will help put it all together.
The key to success when you “sleep on it” is to immediately get to your writing when you wake up.
Don’t check emails. Don’t read another book. Don’t start another project.
Get right to it, and you’ll be amazed at the thoughts that start flowing.
The same happens when you walk away and do something mundane.
Here are some things that work for me:
Motorcycle rides at an aggressive pace (you can only focus on the ride – nothing else because if you’re distracted you’ll get hurt or die).
A hike in the woods with the dog.
A quick workout with zero music.
All of this help connect those dots in the mind, and help you create clear and simple writing in a more efficient way.5. Edit – then Edit Again, and Again, and Again if Necessary
Search for useless words, and any ideas that don’t simply explain the marketing message.
During the editing process, read out loud; you’ll find useless material, and quickly.
Also while editing, don’t forget to revert to the step above and walk away – especially before the final draft.
I find my “final” draft is typically two or three drafts away once I walk away and let my mind connect the dots.Concluding Thoughts
Regardless of how dry the subject matter, a great writer can make it not only readable, but entertaining.
Clarity and simplicity are key to great writing. These two elements help your reader arrive at the point quicker.
The five tips above provide a sharper focus for writing with clarity and arriving at the point quicker.
Clear and simple writing delivers a message much quicker. And if that message has to do with marketing your products or services, quicker message delivery equates to quicker sales – something every business craves.
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