Blogging 101: 3 Important Writing Tips

writing an outline

writing tips for newbie bloggers.

Most people think blogging is a very easy task to do. Personally, I disagree because there times that words don’t come smoothly and my thoughts are all over the place. It does get easier though. You just need a lot of time to practice and to develop your writing skills. If you want to be successful in blogging, you have to know how to write an enticing blog post.

Including visually appealing infographics may help, but your readers will only stay if they will learn something from you.  In order to get your readers’ attention, follow the blogging tips I’ve listed below.

IT SHOULD FOLLOW A CERTAIN STRUCTURE

  • Your blog post should have 3 main parts: introduction, body, and conclusion. The introduction should give an overview on what your readers can expect from your blog post. Moreover, you elaborate on the scope of the problem you will address.
  • The next part is the body. This is where you will explain further the points you gave in your introduction. You will provide concrete examples, give helpful tips, and/or present an effective solution to a problem.
  • If there a lot of options or solutions, divide your body into different parts. Utilize bullets and numbers to highlight the important information you want to emphasize. To ensure that it is easy to follow,  it is better to use plain language. Highfalutin words may overwhelm your readers.
  • The last part is the conclusion. In this part, you will provide a short summary of your key points. Remind them of the solutions you have given and make sure that you have answered the questions you asked in the introduction.

KEEP IT SHORT AND CONCISE

  •  Your readers do not have the time to read through your lengthy paragraphs. The top bloggers write in short paragraphs. Limit your paragraphs to have around 3 to 5 sentences only.
  • Even a SENTENCE LONG explanation is fine because the truth is: no one wants to read a lengthy and boring paragraph.
  • Long paragraphs will surely intimidate your readers. It’s common for amateur bloggers to include huge chunks of texts, but this strategy will not help in inviting people to read your articles.
  • It is your job to let them understand your article. Trust me, things are easier to read if you keep the sentences short. The shorter the paragraph is, the more helpful it is for your readers. The online world does not need to follow the “rules” of an academe. Online content has a casual tone and the so-called rules are bent slightly.

IT SHOULD BE SKIM-FRIENDLY

  • Usually, people are too trying their best to keep up with the fast paced lifestyle we have now. There’s no time to read an entire post. Instead, people just skim. With so many things to do for the day, it’s important to get straight to the point.
  • It’s easier to skim through an article if the key points are highlighted. (Use bullets like what I did in this article!)
  • Divide your content and add subheadings. These subheadings should help your readers understand your key points.
  • Avoid dullness and dryness by applying bold, italic, or underline setting to your blog post.

The “perfect” blog post does not just happen in a snap. The best bloggers still encounter slumps so don’t be too hard on yourself if you are having a tough time writing your thoughts. It is best to make an outline of your  suggested article and list the things on what to expect in the introduction, the body, and the conclusion. Ultimately, your blog post should have a clear purpose and goal.

How to use meta tags for SEO in 2018

Meta tags may not be as important for SEO as they once were, but they are still important. This means that keyword stuffing in meta tags is dead. But it also means that intelligent use of meta tags to help humans and search bots is still alive and well.

In this article we will show you which meta tags you should be focusing on, which tags you can ignore completely, and how to make the most of the tags available to you.

 

What is a meta tag?

Meta tags provide information about your page. This can be on a range of things like what the page is about (meta description), who the author is (author tag) and what keywords the page is about (meta keywords).

Usually, these tags are added into the head section of your page and are not visible on it. They are used by browsers and search engines to better understand your content and guide the way that your site appears in search engines.

 

Meta tags and SEO

Meta tags are not as important for SEO as they once were. Google and other search engines have just got a lot better at reading and assessing what your page is and how good it is, so they don’t need to rely on the page’s meta data as much. What meta tags still do well is impact how your site is displayed in browsers, search engines and social media sites. This can have a big impact on click through rates and the amount of traffic your site receives.

 

The meta tag you can forget about

Because Google and Bing no longer need you to tell them what your page is about, the keywords tag has become the most redundant meta tag by far. It has absolutely zero positive impact on the rankings of your page. In fact, if you stuff it with keywords, you could actually see your rankings decrease. We advise to not use it at all.

 

The meta tags you should care about

There are a few meta tags that still do offer us value, however. These are the ones that alter the way that other websties display our pages and thus affect how likely someone is to click through.

 

Page title

The title of your page is actually the only tag that still carries some explicit SEO relevance. You should always include the keyword you are targeting near to the start of the header. But the page title is also the first thing someone sees when they see your link on Google. Therefore, you need to make it enticing enough for someone to click.

Meta description

Your page’s description backs up your page’s title. It is the second thing, under the page title, that someone will see on Google. This can impact how likely they are to click, too. Try to make them enticing and, most importantly, make them all unique.

Social media meta tags

There are two social media-focused meta tags that you should be aware of and consider. The first is Open Graph, launched by Facebook, and Twitter Cards, launched by Twitter. Using these tags can change the way that your page is displayed when someone links to it on one of these social networks. If you try to create viral content, these tags are well worth employing.

How to improve your local SEO strategy

 

Having a Google My Business profile isn’t enough to get you to the top of Google’s local results. As many clients have discovered on their own before coming to us, there is a lot of work that you need to do to even appear in the top three listings, let alone appear on top. That’s why today we’ll be covering several tips that you can use to improve your local SEO strategy.

 

Check if you have a duplicate listing

If you are struggling to rank in local search, it could be that you have a duplicate Google My Business listing. You may not remember setting it up, but we have seen plenty of cases when a company has already created a listing before. Use a tool like Moz Local or BrightLocal to see if you have any duplicate listings for your business.

 

Add more relevant categories

You may not be aware of it, but there are loads of different categories on Google My Business that might be suited to your company that you just aren’t aware of. The more relevant categories you have for your company, the better your chances are of ranking. Use some blue sky thinking to see what your company could rank for, or just look at your competitors.

 

Make sure your NAP is up to scratch

Google uses your Name, Address and Phone number (NAP), to verify your business across all of your online citations. That means it is crucially important that it is accurate and in text form on your website. If possible, place it on every single page. And make sure you are using the same information whenever you add a listing for your business on a directory.

 

Make sure your NAP isn’t missing from online directories

We’ve spoken before about how you need to make sure your business is listed on every relevant directory to ensure you’re getting as much as you can from GMB. With that in mind, make sure that your site is listed on every single directory you can find. An online tool can help you do this, as can our local SEO service. Again, make sure every mention of your NAP is accurate and in place.

 

Increase customer reviews

Customer reveiews have a huge role to play when it comes to local SEO. Not only do they boost your rankings if you get a lot of five star reviews, but they also encourage customers to choose your listing rather than your competitors. There isn’t an easy hack for this, unfortuntely. All you can do is to continuously ask customers to review you and make it as easy as possible for them to do so.

 

Make your site mobile responsive

Okay so this last one is about SEO in general, not so much local SEO. But more and more searches are being performed on mobile devices, especially local searches. So even if you have a good local ranking, a website that isn’t optimized for smartphones will send visitors running. Go responsive to ensure low bounce rates.

 

If your local SEO strategy is stuck in a rut, speak to your team today about how we can help you reach new heights.

Why internal linking is important for SEO

Everyone who has just glanced at SEO knows that links from other website are hugely important for SEO. But many people underestimate the power of internal links, the links between your different pages on your website. Not us. In this article we will show you why internal links are important and how you can go about improving your internal linking structure.

 

Why internal links are important

Links between pages let Google understand how important pages are, how relevant they are and what relationship they have to each other. Google works by crawling the links on your site one by one to build a bigger picture of how all of the pages on your site are connected. The more links you have between relate pages, the easier it is for Google to crawl and the better it can see how everything is related.

Previously we have discussed the importance of creating thematic content. But it is also important to show Google that your content is related. One way to do this is by internally linking relevant page so that Google can easily see how much related content you have on a given topic. As such, internally linking all of your thematic content can help to boost your rankings even further.

Even better, internal linking helps to spread the link juice that each page receives. Let’s say that your homepage gets a link from a huge authority. If you have lots of links from your homepage to other areas of your site, that link juice can be shared via those internal links, boosting the authority of all of the connecting pages.

How you can improve your internal linking strategy today

Now you know why it is so important to have lots of internal links, let’s look at how we can improve your strategy today.


Start by linking to cornerstone content

If you have core pieces of content such as definitive guides that you want to rank for all related keywords, it is important to send lots if internal links to that piece. If you have supporting articles, that discuss other keywords related to that topic, make sure you link back to your cornerstone content.

 

Next link to your category pages

If you run a blog, the chances are you have category pages or tags. These can be a great way for Google to quickly find all related content on a theme so make sure that you are linking back to these pages where possible. The sidebar is a great way to do this on every blog post.

 

Finally link to other related posts

It’s not just cornerstone content that you should link to. You should also link between all of the related posts on your site, regardless of how in-depth they are. If they are relevant, link to them in your new blog post.

 

Finally, optimize your anchor text

When you internally link, you have control over what the anchor text is. This doesn’t happen in offsite link building so make the most of this opportunity and optimize your anchor text with keywords.

 

Internal linking is easy but you need a content strategy in place to make it work. Arrange a free consultation with one of our experts to find out how we can help.

This is how to make sure Google crawls your site properly

 

If you are going to invest time and money into SEO, you need to make sure that your site is being indexed correctly. Although it is a pretty minor part of SEO, you’d be amazed at the amount of indexation issues that can arise, particularly with large site. The good news is that in most cases these issues are easily fixed. If you’re having indexation issues, follow this guide or get in touch for custom advice.

 

Why doesn’t Google crawl every page on my sitemap?

Google will rarely crawl every single page on your sitemap. The first thing to be aware of is that a sitemap is inclusive rather than exclusive. This means that Google will crawl some pages that aren’t on your sitemap as well as not crawl some pages that are. There are a couple of reasons why Google may not crawl certain pages on your sitemap in particular. Almost always, these are due to duplicate content or thin content issues. If you have a doorway page, for instance, that has very little unique content on it, Google just won’t bother.

 

But shouldn’t Google index every page on my site?

No, Google shouldn’t index every page on your site. In fact, Google doesn’t index every page on any site. Not even the biggest sites in the world. Especially the biggest sites in the world, in fact. Some pages just aren’t relevant enough to be included in the search results so Google and Bing don’t bother. Stop worrying about getting every single page of your site into the index and start worrying about making your content as good as it can be.

 

Here’s what you can do to make sure every page on your sitemap gets crawled

All this being said, there are several things that you can do (/not do) to make sure that every page on your sitemap does get crawled by Google. We recommend the following points.

 

Make sure that your links are canonical and that they don’t redirect

If Google is to crawl your sitemap properly, it want to see the final destination URLS, not redirects that take them around your site. This means that for landing pages in particular you should be adding the final destination to your sitemap.

 

Stop creating new sitemap in order to get crawled

If you realize that some of your pages aren’t getting crawled, it is normal to think that it is an issue with your sitemaps. But it almost certainly isn’t. Rather, it is a problem with your pages. So fix them first.

 

Don’t create thin content pages

Every page on your site should add value to the user. And Google won’t index pages that it thinks add little value. This is especially important if you have doorway pages or thin landing pages like local service pages. If these are regurgitated content they probably won’t get indexed.

 

Have a proper 404 page

One way to stop the creation of thin doorway pages is to have a proper 404 page in place. This way, instead of a thin content page getting created when the content can’t be found, the page will redirect to your 404 page.

 

Get help from Google’s Indexation Report

Google is on your side when it comes to indexing and they want to make it as easy as possible for you. To this end, they have created a new indexation report which can be found in the Search Console and helps you to identify what indexation issues your site is facing and how to overcome them.

 

If you’re still having indexation issues after reading this, reach out to a member of our team for a consultation on how we can help.

We answer common SEO questions about mobile first indexing

Ever since Google announced that they have begin testing mobile-first indexing, we have been hearing a lot of questions and concerns. Mobile browsing first overtook desktop browsing in 2016, so this change has been long anticipated. But it has still got many people asking a lot of questions. Some are worrying how their rankings will change while other are questioning what to do in order to get ready for when mobile-first indexing takes full effect.

In this article we’re going to answer all of your SEO-related questions about mobile-first indexing so you can be prepared.

 

Are there now two Google indexes?

There is only one Google index and there probably always will be only one. The mobile-first index isn’t a separate mobile-only index. It is a different approaching to indexing websites in Google’s main index. As the same suggests, Google will look at your websites mobile version before the desktop version.

Does that mean Google will only use the mobile site?

When mobile-first indexing starts to get rolled out properly, Google will look at your website’s mobile version (whether this is a responsive version of your site or a different mobile site) as the basis for its rankings. It may also look at your desktop site in some circumstances, such as if you don’t have a mobile site at all.

So will I not be listed in Google if my site is not mobile friendly?

You will still get ranked in Google even if you don’t have a mobile site. The problem is that Google probably won’t rank you as highly as it did and you may not rank at all on a smartphone.

So is the mobile index already live?

We don’t know how Google is rolling out the mobile-first index at the moment. What we do know is that it has been trialling it for almost a year on a small number of sites that were considered to be the most ready for it. In truth, it could take several years for mobile-first indexing to be rolled out fully.

Will it matter if I have a mobile responsive site or a separate mobile site?

No, it doesn’t matter if you have a mobile responsive website or a separate mobile site. Google will rank both versions exactly the same assuming that the content is the same on both. And that is they key. If you have a responsive site, you won’t have to worry about content. But you will need to worry about the user experience and making sure the site loads quickly. If you have a separate mobile site, you need to make sure the content is the same as on your desktop site if you want to keep your rankings.

Mobile-first indexing may seem like a scary prospect, but it doesn’t have to be. If you have a separate mobile site that is as good as your desktop site or a responsive site that works well, you are good to go. If you don’t have a mobile version of your site then you need to make one ASAP. Speak to our team today to find out how we can help.

Update or delete your old content to improve SEO

 

It’s time for some spring cleaning on your site. If you have a lot of old content, it is important to make sure that it is still relevant to your website and useful to your visitors. And if it isn’t, you should update it or delete it. Doing so can improve your visitors’ user experience and improve your SEO. Here’s why…

 

Why should you update or delete old content

There are two key reasons why it is best to go back through all of your old content to see what’s worth keeping, what’s worth improving and what’s worth deleting. One of these has to do with Thematic SEO. We have seen mounting evidence that the more content you have under the same theme, the better your chances are for ranking for keywords related to that theme. That means it is important for your site to have focus. Old and outdated content can get in the way of this. If you have outdated or irrelevant pages lurking on your site, even if they aren’t out in the open, Google will still see them. And if you no longer offer a service related to them, you are ruining the thematic relevance of your website.

Another SEO-related reason is that it can lead to high bounce rates, something Google uses as a ranking factor. If a user lands on your site and is greeted with a piece of outdated content, they could leave straight away. If enough do it, your bounce rate will start rising and your ranking will soon start to drop.

Now we know why, let’s look at how.

 

Update it if it is still relevant

If you think your outdated content can be revived and updated then you should definitely do so. There isn’t any point of getting rid of content for the sake of it. The page could carry a lot of SEO value and so updating it with new content is much better than creating a brand new page. Even if it means changing the page completely it is definitely worth making the effort to do so.

Delete it if it isn’t

If you can’t find a way for an old piece of content to get updated, if it is for a service that you no longer offer, for instance, then delete it. But don’t just delete the page in WordPress and forget about it. Instead, find a piece of content that is related to it if you can and use a 301-redirect to link them. If you can’t find a related page, we would recommend redirecting the page pack to the homepage of your site.

Need help with your content strategy?

A content refresh isn’t always easy. It can be difficult to know wha needs updating and what needs deleting. And how best to delete it if so. We can help develop a content strategy that looks at your old content and helps you plan content for the future. Get in touch today.

How you can improve your site’s speed for SEO

 

Site speed is a ranking factor for Google. It may not be quite as important as backlinks but it can still play a part in deciding how well your website ranks. It could yet get more important, too. As Google starts to put more emphasis on mobile search, speed will undoubtedly play a much bigger role in how websites are judged by the big G.

That’s why we are devoting this article to looking at site speed, what a slow site can mean for you, how you can test your speed and how you can improve it.

 

Here’s why a slow site could hurt

There are a few reasons why a slow site could hurt your rankings. Firstly, as we have talked about above, a slow site will be penalized by Google. If sites of roughly the same quality are faster than yours, Google will rank them higher. Google is insisting that sites be quick so that users get the best experience possible.

More importantly than this, however, a site speed can also hurt your crawling rate. This will mean it takes longer for Google to rank your pages. Finally, a slow site will also cause a bad user experience for your visitors. That could mean that they leave the site immediately, before a page loads. A high bounce rate is also used by Google, so in many ways, a slow site can have a double whammy effect on your rankings.

 

What tools can you use to test site speed?

There are several tools that you can use to test how fast your website is. We recommend the following:

  • Pingdom Speed Test
  • Google PageSpeed
  • GTMetrix
  • WebPageTest

Pingdom is probably the best tool listed above because it shows you how long each part of your website takes to load, how you could improve it and it lets you test from different parts of the world. That being said, you should utilize all of them.

 

How to improve your site’s speed

If you think your website is running slow, there are a couple of tactics you can use to speed things up.

Reduce your image sizes

One culprit for a slow page load may be the size of your images. High-quality images can often be quite a large file size and cause a page to load slowly. By using a site like Kraken.io, you can shrink your image sizes before uploading them.

Add a caching plugin to WordPress

There a couple of plugins you can use for WordPress to speed up your site. One is WP Super Cache. It is pretty good and it’s free. A better option is WP Rocket, but you have to pay for this tool.

Add a CDN to your website

Finally, you can add a Content Delivery Service to your website. A CDN allows you to serve content faster to your visitors by storing the content on servers that are nearer to them. So if your hosting is based in New York and you have visitors in the UK, a CDN could store your site’s contents on a server based in London.

How we improved local SEO and Map SEO in one move

 

Most people believe that local SEO is pretty straightforward. Sometimes, it really can be as simple as setting up Google My Business correctly, building citations and getting review. We didn’t say it wasn’t a lot of work! But the process can be pretty straightforward. Sometimes it isn’t this simple. As local SEO experts, we’ve seen plenty of examples of map listings dropping for no apparent reason or even cases of them not appearing at all. When this happens, it often requires an expert eye to spot what is wrong.

While we can’t give you our experience, we can tell you what works for us. So in today’s post, we will be looking at an extreme example of what to do when your map listing isn’t working. This is a real-life example from one of our clients so it proves that what we preach, we practice, too.

 

If you can’t rank, change the game

Over the years, we have noticed that there are some cases where it doesn’t matter what you try, you just won’t be able to rank. It has happened to us recently with a local fishing business that wanted their site to show up as located in a certain marina. But no matter what we did to their listing or how many citations we built, we just couldn’t get the ranking to appear.

In the end, we concluded that there must be something wrong with the location. We thought that maybe a business located in the marina had used blackhat techniques and now the entire area was being punished. So, to see if this was right, we changed tactics.

Our solution?

We simply changed the location of where we were trying to rank the business for. Rather than rank in the marina, we ranked the business location for the client’s home address, instead. Instantly, the listing soared to the top of the map pack.

This action improved organic rankings, too

Not only did we improve Local map rankings for the client by doing this, we also improved their organic listing, too. Soon it started to rise quickly and it now sits at the top of the organic results.

To us, this suggests that a bad map listing can also hurt your organic listing, too. Why else would the organic listing suddenly jump? At the same time, it shows us just how important it is to make sure that all of the citations your business has are correct and up to date. Even just one bad listing can have an apparent impact on your organic listing.

 

Let us help improve your local SEO

If you’re having issues with your local SEO, and especially your map pack we can help. Whether your ranking has dropped or, like our client above, you can’t rank at all, we’ll help you to make the changes necessary to improve your local SEO.

 

Why thematic blogging improves SEO

Do you want to rank well in Google? Then your site is going to need two things: quality backlinks and great, relevant content. Anyone who knows anything about SEO knows about the importance of backlinks. But most people aren’t aware of the importance of having thematically related content. So much so, that we would say that a lack of thematic content is one of the biggest issues we face when working on client websites. Because, despite having great websites with decent content, they don’t have enough content for Google to associate their site with a particular topic. And, as a result, they don’t rank as highly as they should. That’s why we’re going to take time today to cover the importance of thematic content, why you should blog and the kind of results that you can expect.

From what we’ve seen, and according to the research of other SEO authorities, relevance can be a huge factor in helping smaller website beat larger authorities. If Google thinks that your smaller site is more knowledgeable on a certain topic than a larger site, it will give you priority in the search results.

As a result, it doesn’t matter if you have one great post on a topic. If you have no other related content for that keywords, Google won’t rank you as high as you could. If you create several pieces of supporting content related to that theme, however, and build quality links, then you should see your rankings quickly increase.

How we’ve helped clients improve their thematic SEO

We have helped a number of clients improve their thematic SEO to great effect. There is one client in the auto industry for who that has proved particularly effective. They were ranking high for Porsche-related terms but they wanted to increase their services to cater for Audi, too. They had pages, but because their site was only about Porsche, they didn’t rank well.

Once we had analyzed their site and realized the issue was with a lack of thematic content, we set about creating a blogging package that would make sure Google associated the website for Audi as well as Porsche. The results were fantastic. Over a four-month period, their rankings went from page 2 and 3 to almost all page 1.

1/18/2018 5/22/2018
Audi Repair Seattle 11
Seattle Audi Repair 17 6
Audi Service Seattle 25 9
Seattle Audi Service 23 8
Audi Tuning Seattle 13 5
Seattle Audi Tuning 11 3

 

The site now ranks on page one for all but the most competitive term. And we have no doubt that they will rank on page one for that term too shortly.

This demonstrates just how important thematic content is and why you need to start blogging today.

 

Improve your blogging today

If you think you need help with thematic content, we can deliver results similar to what we have shown above. Our blogging packages are designed to help you rank for more keywords and to help you increase your thematic content. Get in touch today to find out more.