Author Archives: donald Wilson

Going Viral as a Standard of Quality

Today’s Internet is highly social. Content is shared by individuals through their social media profiles in addition to their emails, instant messaging programs and forums. This means that many people are not discovering their websites through search engines today. Instead, they’re finding them through links left by other Internet users. Therefore, as a webmaster, it’s your duty to ensure that your site is optimized not just for search engines but also for sharing among users.

Basically, your goal with any piece of content that you create should be to make something people will want to share. To do this, you’ll need content that’s high-quality, trustworthy and authoritative. It will also need to offer something that cannot be found elsewhere.

Some types of content are more readily shared than others:

  • List-format articles that deliver information in bite-size chunks. Lists of facts and trivia are particularly valuable as people find them interesting and are more likely to remember them than if the information were delivered in another format.
  • Quizzes and other types of interactive content. Users like to share their results with friends and compare notes. Use this to your advantage when thinking of ways to design your content.
  • Tools that are useful to visitors. These might include guides and how-to content or tools that can be used in daily life.
  • Images, videos, sound files and other multimedia methods for conveying information quickly and in an entertaining manner.
  • Content that is controversial and thought-provoking will do better than content that takes a more neutral stance.

When you’re looking for content ideas for your website, look around at the social media profiles of your friends and family. This should give you a very good idea of what people are most likely to share or be interested in. You can also view the social media presence of your competitors within a niche. The most successful sites will have content that invites sharing and virality.

Saving Time

If reading the above advice makes you nervous, don’t worry. In the beginning, your research and writing will be more time-consuming. However, many of the steps outlined above will become unnecessary as you gain comfort with the material. After all, you won’t need to look up what the important keywords and phrases mean after you’ve done it the first time. From that point on, you can focus the bulk of your research on identifying what your readers are searching for so that you can deliver it to them.

In effect, this new method of SEO is really just a process of becoming an authority. Even if you do not have personal experience in an area, you can speak authoritatively by looking at what others have said.

Of course, it’s easiest to become an authority on a topic that you are already experienced with or at least very interested in. If you have not yet begun building your site, you should give some thought to your topic of choice. Now more than ever, choosing a niche that you are comfortable writing about at great length is a crucial component to success.

How to Write Like an Expert

The process of writing like an expert is a matter of research. First, you must identify the niche vocabulary within a given topic. Next, you must determine what all of those words mean and how they relate to one another. Then, you must craft content that will speak naturally to the topics encompassed by that niche vocabulary, keeping in mind the needs of your audience.

If you are already well-versed in a subject, writing authoritatively about it should be pretty simple. You would just sit down with a topic and explain it naturally, using the vocabulary necessary to discuss it. For example, if you were going to talk about health insurance, you would probably explain the difference between an HMO and PPO; you might talk about deductibles, out-of-pocket costs, coinsurance and copays. All of these are related keywords that arise naturally in a discussion of health insurance, and you would use them in your explanation of a topic.

However, imagine that you didn’t know anything about health insurance. However, you need to produce a high-quality website about healthcare coverage. To do this, you must research the topic. This is where the keyword tools from the last section come into play.

First, find a few sites written by obvious authorities on the topic. For health insurance, this might include a major health insurer’s website or a government health department site. Next, run an SEOquake on the site to identify the related keywords used in the site. Make a note of common words and phrases that are repeated throughout.

Now review this list of words and phrases and make sure that you know what all of them mean in context. If you’re unsure, look it up. You need to use these words correctly in order to convey useful information to your readers, and using keyword terms inappropriately will result in poor search engine performance.

Once you have a general idea of what the keywords mean, you should also have a pretty firm understanding of the basic concepts behind the topic you’re writing. At this point, if someone were to ask you to explain this topic to them, you could do a reasonable job at relaying accurate information.

Put this knowledge to work by identifying what people are actually searching for. Using your list of keywords, start dropping a few important ones into the AdWords keyword planner as described earlier. This will bring up a list of actual searches that people are doing.

A search on health insurance, for example, will turn up a number of searches such as “buy health insurance,” “health insurance plans” and “cheap health insurance.” Based on that, you can reasonably assume that most of the people searching about health insurance are looking to buy an affordable plan. Your goal, then, is to create a webpage that will provide relevant information about that topic: Talk about what affects health insurance costs; explain the difference between different types of plans; give tips for trimming insurance costs.

When you’ve finished your page, you can run it back through AdWords or SEOquake to make sure you’re including the correct vocabulary. You’ll also want to review it for writing quality, paying attention to style, grammar and the quality of information. Before publishing a page to your site, ask yourself whether you could see it at home in a glossy magazine or large newspaper. If not, your quality is not high enough to beat Google’s ranking system.

Google Adwords

If you have experience with SEO, you are probably already familiar with Google AdWords. Officially, the point of this program is for businesses to utilize the targeted advertising system, AdSense. AdSense works by identifying the words within a page and displaying advertisements based on the content of the site. For example, a website about car insurance might display ads about accidental injury lawyers or vehicle repair shops. A website about dogs might display ads for dog breeders, trainers or pet food vendors.

AdSense functions on exactly the same technology as Google’s web searches. The program views a page, identifies particular keywords and phrases, then determines the site’s topic from that information.

As a webmaster, you can take advantage of this. To make AdWords work for you, you will need to go to the “Keyword Planner” tool. Select the option “Search for new keyword and ad group ideas.” Type the topic of your website or page into the “Product or service” field and leave everything else blank. Click search.

What you will receive is a listing of what words are related to that primary keyword and what people are searching for on a regular basis. In the past, you would use these keywords to build a website. Now, you will take a more indirect approach: Instead of using these words exactly as they’re displayed, you will look at the general trends among searches and use that to guess at the intent of people searching. Once you know what people are searching for, you’ll have a clear idea of what you can offer that will be valuable to them.

Once you have written a webpage, you can go back to AdWords to review your keyword usage. Return to the keyword planner. This time, instead of typing in a keyword, you’ll want to place the URL of your new page in the “Your Landing Page” field. Leave the rest blank. Click “Get Ideas” and AdWords will generate a list of keywords targeted at the content of your site. If these keywords and phrases match the niche vocabulary that you’re trying to use, you have succeeded. If not, you will need to go back into your article and tinker with it to ensure you’re using the right words to let Google know what your page is about.

LSI Keyword

LSI stands for “latent semantic indexing,” and this is one of the most popular tools for identifying related keywords and phrases. You can input a specific topic and receive keyword lists for single-word, two-word and three-word keyword phrases that frequently appear together in clusters.

One of the most useful elements of LSI is the ability to search for keyword phrases within specific Google rankings. So you can easily use this tool to compare the phrases in the top result against those in the top five or 10 Google results. That can help make it clear what the general related keywords are and what words might be more specifically related to a particular website.

In the past, LSI Keywords and its related service, ThemeWriters, was used to create targeted articles for SEO purposes. The idea was to identify several valuable keywords and cram them into an article to boost a page’s rank for that keyword. Today, this type of keyword stuffing will cause more harm than good.

Instead, you should look at LSI Keywords as a tool for inspiration. Rather than trying to stuff a list of keywords into every piece of content you write, you should look at the listed words and phrases as a whole to see what relationship they have to one another. Use this to inspire your own content by giving you an idea of what major points should be addressed within an article on that topic.

SEOquake

A valuable tool for any webmaster is SEOquake, a toolbar and browser add-on that will give you useful insights into pages throughout the web. It works with Firefox, Google Chrome and Opera, and you can use it to learn all sorts of things about the pages you see including their page rank and keyword density.

SEOquake also offers a helpful tool for identifying niche vocabulary. To use it, identify a high-quality website in your niche. Use the SEOquake “keyword density” tool. This will automatically pull up and highlight recurring words and phrases. Make note of what these phrases are. When you go to another page in the same niche and analyze its keyword density, you should come up with a very similar list. Analyzing several high-quality websites within a given niche should give you a very clear idea of what related keywords are essential to discussing a topic.

You can use SEOquake’s keyword analysis tool to spot the difference between high-quality and low-quality websites within a given niche as well. Simply run a keyword analysis on an authoritative, well-respected page, then run the same analysis on a page on the same topic that does not rank as well. You’ll see quickly that the related keywords that are prevalent in the top-tier results will be lacking in the lower quality sites.

Using SEOquake on your own website or page will help you identify the keyword density and measure it against well-respected sites in your niche. This can help you see whether you’re on the right track and whether you need to make any vocabulary adjustments.

Utilizing Related Keywords in Your Writing

The thing that’s important to remember about keyword clusters is that they cannot and should not be used like regular keywords. If you set out to write an article that contains as many of the related keywords as possible, your endeavor will likely fail. Niche vocabulary must arise naturally from the topic that you’re writing about and your expertise about that topic. In other words, you need to start with the topic first rather than amassing keywords and trying to write text to fit around them.

With that said, by far the simplest way to create a high-authority webpage is to have an authority write it. If you are already an expert in a given topic, you will naturally use the kind of related vocabulary that Google can identify and use to rank your page. If you’re not an expert, you could find one to write your article for you. This is the model behind many successful websites, such as WebMD or About.com: Experts are hired to provide content on their particular niches, with all of that content being pulled together into a single site by the webmaster.

Depending on your situation, this may not be possible. You may not have the connections or budget to hire a team of experts to create the content for your website. Fortunately, it is possible to write like an expert without actually being one. This will require some research and effort on your part, but it’s a worthwhile endeavor if you wish to create high-quality content that will earn a high page rank and invite ample traffic from visitors.

How Google Determines Authority: A Look at Niche Vocabulary

When an expert writes an article about a topic he is familiar with, that article will automatically contain certain words. These words are essential to the topic, and they work together as related keywords to convey the meaning of the article to the search engine.

For example, someone writing an article about car insurance would likely use words like “deductible,” “collision,” “coverage,” “claim,” “liability” and “risk.” These words are necessary to explain the topic of car insurance. As such, you can be sure that any high-ranking article about car insurance will include most or all of these words.

Similarly, specific topics within a niche will have their own specialized keywords in addition to the general niche vocabulary. For example, an article about filing an auto insurance claim will include most of the words above, but it would also most likely include terms like, “adjuster,” “inspection,” “at-fault,” “repairs” and “estimate.” Again, this is because those are words that are necessary to discuss the topic at hand.

Every topic will have its own related keyword groups. In a moment, we’ll look at how you can identify the niche vocabulary for a given topic. But for now, the most important thing to remember is that understanding how to use related keywords will lend an air of authority to your site and boost its quality while also improving your page rank.

Google Values Authoritative Content

Google uses a sophisticated system for identifying whether a site is valuable. It ranks sites according to their authority. In other words, Google will give priority to sites written by experts or providing expert-level information. From the perspective of a user, this makes sense: If you were looking for information on a topic, you would want to know that the information was correct, valuable and not something that you already knew through common sense. To improve the user’s experience while browsing, search engines now place the highest value on authoritative websites.

Blog Writing With Authority

Techniques For Writing Articles That Your Readers And The Search Engines Love

As Google continues to update its search algorithms, webmasters everywhere are struggling to keep up. The sharpest among them have realized what others have yet to discover: SEO as we know it is dead. The old tactics for getting your work recognized and rewarded by search engines have stopped working. In many cases, these formerly safe SEO practices can now result in your site actually being penalized and losing rank. This shake-up is huge, and it’s left many webmasters scrambling for answers about how to create the content that Google wants to promote.

The good news is that while old SEO tactics no longer work, your page rank is not left to chance. You can control how well your pages perform in searches by modifying your content. In this regard, SEO is still alive and well. But now, instead of crafting content that will appeal to search engines, your goal should be to create sites that will be meaningful and valuable to visitors. Sites that succeed in that will continue to do well regardless of what changes occur to search engines in the future.

In this guide, we’ll look at the details of crafting authoritative content. First we’ll look at what exactly authority means in the context of building webpages. Then we’ll look at how the concept of a “good” page has changed thanks to the evolution of searching and SEO practices. After that, we’ll get into the details of crafting the kind of high-quality content that will bring visitors to your site and boost its ranking.