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Posts Tagged ‘content writer toronto’

The Wrong Stuff: The danger of keyword stuffing

Wednesday, October 5th, 2011

I love stuffing. My Thanksgiving turkey will be packed with it this weekend. But keyword stuffing – also known as keyword spamming – makes you a turkey in the eyes of Google and other search engines.

Any overzealous SEO Copywriter or website owner can easily make this mistake. It’s common that we think we’re doing ourselves a huge favor by stuffing our pages with as many keywords as possible. Unfortunately, doing so often hurts more than it helps. Here are three key reasons why keyword stuffing can hurt your bottom line.

1. It kills your readability. Last week, we discussed the “aural test” and how readability is crucial to your site’s success. A page overloaded with keywords has no shot of passing the aural test! Overstuffed copy is nonsensical, overly dense, totally unnatural and extremely unappealing to the eye.

Content overstuffed with keywords turns off readers, confuses them, and sends them running. In theory, the keywords may help you in search engine results and increase your traffic, but that traffic will rarely convert. Too many keywords means lower conversion rates and higher bounce rates. Keyword-saturated content may look overly robotic, less human, and will make it harder for potential customers to trust you. Looking “spammy” kills your readability.

2. Google isn’t stupid. The funny thing about keyword stuffing: in the modern search-engine landscape, it may not even increase your traffic. Search engines like Google care more and more about quality content these days, including relevant, authoritative and engaging content. There’s nothing engaging about nonsensical copy loaded with keywords. Coming across like a robot will hurt you in the rankings, not help you.

3. Time is money – and keyword stuffing takes time. Bloating your site with keywords means spending far more time and capital on SEO. Since the excess keyword research and work won’t even help your site in the long run, committing oodles of time and resources to keyword stuffing may make you lose money.

In a nutshell, don’t sacrifice readability for possible search engine rankings.  That said, being too conservative, as in using too few keywords, does you no favors. So, what’s an SEO to do? A good rule of thumb to follow: try for no more than one keyword phrase for every 100 words of web content.  Use synonyms, singular and plural instances of your keywords. Focus on sounding ‘natural.’  Doing so will keep your keyword total healthy and relevant while also preventing you from alienating your audience.

The ranking of your business, service or product in Google’s search results is critical to your success. Toronto-based content and website copywriting expert Ray Litvak understands the art and science of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and using the right words in the right way to increase your rankings. Discover how greater exposure on Google can drive more traffic, increase leads and grow your business. Many of Ray’s clients consistently rank on Google’s first page of results and have grown their business as a result. You can do it too – and it doesn’t have to be expensive. Call Ray locally at 416-226-8676 for a free assessment of your specific needs today. You’ll be glad you did!

 

Does your web copy pass the aural test?

Wednesday, September 28th, 2011

Even though web copywriting is about appealing to users’ eyes, the key to success may be your ears.

Putting SEO and keywords aside for a moment, let’s think about what constitutes good web copy. It should be current, original, informative and authoritative.

Take The Aural Test

Unfortunately, ignoring one major area will undermine your copy even if it has all those traits: readability.

One of my biggest pet peeves in web writing is overly technical or even academic language. Writers often get caught in the “good spelling and grammar” trap. While you absolutely want everything spelled and phrased correctly, it doesn’t mean you should follow every rule that you followed when writing a university essay on Paradise Lost.

Overly dry or academic content may be worded perfectly, it may contain brilliant arguments, but it will fail you if it isn’t easily readable for searchers. If it’s too technical, too dense, it could even turn off your readers. They’ll feel alienated by the language and seek a competitor who offers similar products, services or content but speaks to them in a more accessible way. In other words, unreadable content will spike your bounce rate and lower your conversion rate. Not good.

This is where the “aural test” comes in handy. By reading your own content out loud, either to yourself or to a friend, you get a stronger sense of how your content affects your web users. If it sounds robotic and distant, that’s because it is. The best way to attract readers online is to speak in a way that really connects with them. Keep it punchy, conversational and introductory. If your content is interesting and welcoming, you should hear that tone when you try the aural test.

The good part about this suggestion: it doesn’t even mean you have to dumb down your writing. You’ll be making it shorter and choppier but, in many cases, that also involves searching for especially descriptive and relevant words, which are cornerstones of great writing.

Keep it simple and natural and you’ll keep your readers on your site longer. If you don’t trust my word, maybe Albert Einstein’s will do:

“Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex and more violent. It takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage – to move in the opposite direction.”

How to make keywords with negative meanings work for you, not against you

Friday, August 26th, 2011

A lot of what we discuss on this online copywriting blog falls under “SEO 101.” I offer many tips for new business owners designing their websites or details about SEO Copywriting that are simple but easily overlooked.

For a change today, let’s talk about a more intermediate or even advanced SEO tactic. How do you make keywords work for you, not against you, when the words you need to target often have negative connotations?

I recently stumbled upon the teachings of SEO Copy expert, Karon Thackston, who used the word “cheap” as a great example of the dilemma.

For instance, you want your users to understand that your product or service is cheap, as in affordable.  At the same time, how do you use the word in your web copy without making yourself sound “cheap”? So the first instinct is to avoid the word altogether and use more respected terms like “affordable” or “inexpensive” as your primary keywords. But the problem doesn’t end there. Ironically, even though users may not want a company that sells itself as “cheap,” they’re more likely to use the word “cheap” than “affordable” when keying in search terms.

The solution is to turn the negative term on itself, thus reversing its meaning. Instead of selling your barbecue as cheap, sell it as “Affordable without being cheap.” You keep the keyword without associating your business with its meaning.

A second example of negative keywords hamstringing web copy is legality issues. The dilemma particularly applies to medical products. For example, it’s illegal to claim that a product is a “cure,” or “remedy.” Unfortunately, someone with a nasty cough will commonly search “cough remedy.”

Again, the way to beat the problem is to reverse the meaning. Instead of claiming that your product is a cure, claim that the competition’s isn’t. “Tired of that cure for the common cold not working for you? Try our product.” You don’t lose the important keyword but you don’t break the law, either.

Just as it helps our kids to eat their vegetables, a little reverse psychology can go a long way toward conquering those tricky, and less than flattering keywords.

The ranking of your business, service or product in Google’s search results is critical to your online success. Toronto-based content and website copywriting expert Ray Litvak understands the art and science of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and using the right words in the right way to increase your rankings. Discover how greater exposure on Google can drive more traffic, increase leads and grow your business. Many of Ray’s clients consistently rank on Google’s first page of results and have grown their business in return. You can do it too – and it doesn’t have to be expensive. Call Ray locally at 416-226-8676 for a free assessment of your specific needs today. You’ll be glad you did!

Don’t blog for the sake of blogging

Wednesday, August 17th, 2011

If you’re a regular reader of the Writing Web Words blog, you may have noticed that there was no new post last week. It wasn’t a coincidence. For whatever reason, I didn’t have a particularly important point to make, so I held off rather than just blog about nothing.

 Ironically, doing so called to mind a point worth writing about this week: having a point.

Are you still following me? While it’s important to keep your site relevant  with up-to-date and relevant content, which could include blogs, you have to be careful not to simply blog for the sake of blogging. If you don’t have an organized message or point to share, you may actually decrease your site’s user engagement and risk turning readers off.

So how do you ensure you’re giving your readers a quality message, not just quantity?

1. Use the inverted pyramid structure. Make sure you at least hint at the main point of your blog post in the first two paragraphs or blog summary. As you probably know, most journalists adhere to this standard (except when writing in-depth features that tell chronological stories). Bloggers should hold themselves to the same standard. Assume your users don’t have a ton of time and want to get the gist of your post quickly.

2. Have a clear – and new – message. Don’t repeat yourself. Make sure your blog post adds value to your site and its visitors by providing some new and relevant information.

3. Make sure your site addresses your target audience. Sticking with the word “relevant,” it’s not enough just to have an important message. It must be a message that matters to your target audience. I have plenty to say about the Toronto Maple Leafs but that doesn’t mean I should write about it on this blog, which focuses on web content development and online copywriting. It’s the service we offer, so we best be blogging about topics that fall under that umbrella!

4. Don’t forget about the call to action. Technically, you’re not making a sales pitch in your blog post but, if you have a message to give, you clearly want your readers to do something with it. Sending them off to go forth and prosper is a great way to end a post. In fact, I’ll do it now:

The next time you blog – take a good, hard, look at this list. It’s a major step toward ensuring that your target audience consumes quality content and it further establishes you as an authority in your given business sector.

Need an online copywriter?
Toronto-based web content and online copywriting expert Ray Litvak understands the art and science of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and using the right words in the right way to increase your rankings. Discover how greater exposure on Google can drive more traffic, increase leads and grow your business. Many of Ray’s clients consistently rank on Google’s first page and have grown their business as a result. You can do it too – and it doesn’t have to be expensive. Call Ray locally at 416-226-8676 for a free assessment of your specific needs today. You’ll be glad you did!

Google Places can take you to the top

Saturday, March 12th, 2011

I’m always amazed that so many website owners don’t know about the power of Google Places. And that’s a shame because it’s a great way to help drive your site to the top of the local Google rankings. Think about that. When someone in your community searches for your product or service you could be among the top five listings. And here’s the best part: it’s free!

So why wouldn’t business people be flocking to Google Places instead of investing thousands of dollars in advertising, flyers and brochures?  It just doesn’t make sense, except for one thing: they don’t know about it. It’s as simple as that. And that’s why I’ve written an article to tell you about the power of Google Places, how you can use it to your advantage and how you can enhance your listing to make it attractive to both search engines and your customers.

I love Google Local. The internet allowed us to promote our businesses around the world for free and that was good. But now we can promote ourselves to our local communities, where we sell most of our products and services – and that’s even better.

Read my article and get in on Google Places. If you have any questions after reading it, please feel free to contact me.

About Writing Web Words Inc:
Based in Toronto, Ontario, we are full-service Content Writers that helps businesses optimize their websites and other digital assets through original  SEO Copywriting, proven SEO Services and customized Business Blogging that attracts, engages and converts target audiences.

Detecting and Stopping Online Plagiarism

Thursday, January 6th, 2011

CTRL+C, CTRL+V. It’s never been easier to plagiarize the web content of others. While the spirit of the web is built on the sharing of content, when competitors “share” without your permission it can hurt your business – by raising their search engine rankings, and lowering yours. That can mean fewer eyeballs to your site, and in turn, fewer transactions for you.

Unscrupulous content writers and SEO companies may even try to pass off recycled or stolen copy as original, which can result in potential legal trouble or tarnish your reputation.

Fact is, the better and more effective your online content, the greater the likelihood that someone will attempt to steal it and pass it off as their own.

Find out how to prevent and detect online plagiarism the minute it occurs with common sense tricks as well as free online tools and services. Also, learn what steps to take to have content removed or offending sites blocked when you suspect plagiarism has occurred – without having to hire a lawyer. See the full article here.

About Writing Web Words Inc:
Based in Toronto, Ontario, we are full-service Content Writers that helps businesses optimize their online presence through original  SEO Copywriting, proven SEO Services and customized Business Blogging that attracts, engages and converts target audiences.

Content is no longer King

Wednesday, June 9th, 2010

It’s been replaced by “Original & Useful Content” rules.  Let me explain…

At Google’s  I/O Conference in May 2010, a panel of Googlers – past and present – conducted an SEO Site Review for a number of websites that were voluntarily submitted.

Of all the issues identified, the most glaring was content; more so, the lack of original, relevant and useful content.

Recycle and Reuse with Caution

A number of the websites that were reviewed relied on copying and pasting content from existing sites; setting up feeds from other sources and web scraping other sites for their content. The result?  Recycled, reused and duplicate content. D’oh!

For those wondering what’s wrong with this, read Google’s Design and Content Guidelines; or, as I like to call them, “Google’s Commandments,” especially #4, thou shalt “Create a useful, information-rich site, and write pages that clearly and accurately describe your content.”

Replication is not always the highest form of flattery

A while back, I did an online search for my company’s name.  I do this on occasion to see if anything good, bad or ugly has been written about us.  In “geek-speak,” this practice is known as “Online Reputation Management.”

Lo and behold, I found a wanna-be SEO Writer in Kelowna, B.C. (no names used to protect the not-so-innocent) who had plagiarized an earlier post of mine.  The writer in question was obviously new to plagiarism: she left my signature in the post, which is how she got caught.

Originality takes work

Creating original content for your web pages, blogs, articles etc., is hard work.  It’s even harder to create original content that people want to read and perhaps even link to. But therein lays the reward.  Because Google pays attention to sites that post useful, original content on a regular basis.  These sites get crawled more often – a good thing – and tend to attract links to your site, another positive signal that Google notices and rewards.

I urge you to set aside an hour to watch, listen, internalize and practice what these Googlers preach by visiting _ http://code.google.com/events/io/2010/sessions/seo-site-review-from-experts.html

For those strapped for time and originality, like my friend in Kelowna, read the following cheat sheet:
▪    Think about things that make people come back to your site i.e., user generated content, user reviews, useful and original content, etc.
▪    Don’t imbed text in images
▪    Distribute your content across multiple online platforms to increase visibility i.e. Twitter, Blogs etc.
▪    Find relevant keywords and trends through Google’s keyword tool and review your server logs to find the language that searchers use
▪    Put relevant content above the fold instead of making users scroll
▪    Craft unique meta descriptions and title tags and be consistent in your messaging
▪    Don’t spam your site and/or load the footer with redundant text for the purpose of SEO; rather, write for your audience
▪    When using Word Press, always update to the most recent version to avoid getting hacked
▪    Don’t focus strictly on those competitive and generic phrases i.e., divorce lawyer.  Consider the hundreds – or thousands – of alternative and more targeted phrases i.e., divorce lawyer for men in [City + Province] that people use everyday to search for your products and services

Are you ready for MayDay?
In May 2010, Google implemented an algorithmic change named – funnily enough – MayDay in an attempt to present higher quality sites in search engine results pages.  In a nutshell, useful and content-rich sites will flourish.  Are you ready for MayDay?

About Writing Web Words Inc:
Based in Toronto, Ontario, we are full-service Web Content Development Company that helps small and mid-sized businesses optimize their online presence through original  SEO Copywriting, proven SEO Services and customized Business Blogs that attract, engage and convert target audiences.

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