Improve SEO rankings with press releases

Posted by on Sep 29, 2016 in Blog, Featured | 0 comments

Press releases over the past years have played an important role in improving search engine rankings. The game rules for press releases and copy in general have changed since the introduction of the Google Hummingbird update in 2013 (see my blog on how Hummingbird affects copy). New press release game rules Instead of focusing on keywords, provide content your readers seek. Try to figure out what the reader is searching for by putting yourself in your reader’s shoes. Then offer the information or content they’re looking for. Since smartphones are used more often when searching for answers, content has to address user or customer ‘intent’ and needs. According to Fred Godlash, Marketing Specialist, Business Wire, ‘Content in the release should be intuitive enough to answer the user intent in the query. Make sure to include quotes, which are useful for conveying everyday speech and for answering anticipated questions. Also make sure your targeted keywords are incorporated into a natural language flow.’ For instance, use ‘conversational, mobile-friendly speech’. He offers a good tip: link your company’s FAQ page in the boilerplate of your press release. Use branded anchor text Mickie Kennedy, Founder of eReleases, says using branded anchor text (the name of the company in a link such as Stars & Tulips)  or URL links (for example: See www.stars-tulips.com for more information) is far more effective than matching anchor text (this is text the user clicks on when following a link) in the link  to the target page’s exact keyword. Optimizing anchor text is no longer a good strategy and one Google might even penalize. Think like a journalist Content is king. Unique and valuable content is more important than ever, according to Mickey. ‘Your press releases need to be newsworthy.’ Think also in terms of answering ‘Who, What, When, Where, Why and How’ when anticipating questions. Add these answers to your FAQ list as well. You are now on the road to writing a better digital press release.   Image courtesy of Ryan McGuire, Bells Design (http://www.gratisography.com/). An incredible source for free images....

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Why oil & gas needs content marketing

Posted by on Sep 29, 2016 in Blog, Featured, Portfolio | 0 comments

Oil & gas companies can make a big leap forward by embracing a good content marketing strategy. ‘Many in the industry refuse to “meet people where they are at” and demonstrate the true (and nearly miraculous) value oil and gas brings to the world.’ As Vice President of Marketing and co-founder of Castagra Products Tatsuya Nakagawa remarks in drillinginfo ‘there are still only a handful of companies in the oil industry that really push the marketing boundaries…’ The offshore oil & gas industry lags behind other industries when it comes to social media engagement and content marketing. Conducting a Google search on the topic is comparable to searching for a needle in a haystack. Among the needles, which I prefer to refer to as pearls, are blogs by TwinEngine (14 Trends in Online & Social Marketing in 2014), Tribe Rocket (Oil and Gas News Alert: Industry Turns Down Billions in Profits) and drillinginfo articles. Traditional versus content marketing mindset James Hahn, owner of Tribe Rocket, sums it up nicely in The Top 5 Marketing Mistakes Oil & Gas Operators Make, ‘…our industry is at an inflection point. New technologies aren’t just changing the way people live, they are changing the way they think. And you can’t play ostrich and ignore these facts anymore.’ According to James Hahn, ‘People in oil and gas tend to have a very traditional mindset that says, “I need to meet people in person to build relationships and grow my business.”’ Understandable, but if your business contacts are building relationships using social media, your first encounter with them might not be face-to-face. Social media is also a cost-effective way to reach a large target group. Take LinkedIn for example. ‘Compared to running content in a traditional publication, like The Globe and Mail’s Report on Business, Huska* says LinkedIn can provide reach without any wastage, a pain point for clients in industries like oil and gas or business-to-business technology that look to target a very specific niche.’  Best practices oil & gas social media For inspiration, see: • Tatsuya Nakagawa’s examples of top content marketing cases: 4 Ways the Oil Industry can Create Raving Fans & Brand • successful social media cases of four trailblazers (Statoil, Shell, Chesapeake, Payson Petroleum) • TwinEngine’s list of the top 100 oil & gas companies involved in social media.   * Armin Huska, Digital Managing Director at Mindshare   Image courtesy of Ryan McGuire, Bells Design (http://www.gratisography.com/). An incredible source for free...

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Easy SEO copy tips for products and services

Posted by on Sep 29, 2016 in Blog, Featured | 0 comments

Want to write better online product and service descriptions? Here are some helpful writing tips I received from Dutch SEO trainer Bob van de Vooren. This article handles the building blocks of good web copy. Much more is involved in writing for the web, but these tips will get you started.

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When should you outsource your copy?

Posted by on Sep 28, 2016 in Blog, Featured, Portfolio | 0 comments

I follow a number of copywriters and one of them is well-known American copywriter Bob Bly (www.bly.com). I certainly enjoyed Bob’s last piece on “Should you write your own copy?” Bob explains that business owners and marketing managers who fit three criteria often produce copy which is better and more successful than professional copywriters. You are an excellent copywriter. You enjoy writing copy. You have the time to write copy. The reason being is that since they know the product and market well, they have an edge on the professional writer. Half the battle in copywriting is actually knowing the customer and the product. However, unless you meet the following three conditions, Bob Bly says you are better off hiring an agency or a freelancer. So if you are an excellent copywriter, enjoy writing copy and have the time to write copy – do it yourself instead of outsourcing your copywriting. That is, according to Bob Bly. I would like to add another condition which negatively rocks the foundation of the other three mentioned. When working for companies and their publications, I sometimes come across a kind of company blindness which gets in the way of a company’s communications with its (potential) customers. Thinking “outside the box” can be essential in communicating your company’s message effectively to your audience. * Read Bob Bly’s article on Should you write your own copy?   Photo of  Lediberg notebook “I love 2...

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How Hummingbird affects SEO writing

Posted by on Jan 9, 2014 in Blog, Featured | 0 comments

SEO copywriting continues to evolve. SEO copywriters have already had to adjust to Google’s Penguin and Panda updates. How will the most recent search algorithm update, Hummingbird, impact SEO copy? Why the Hummingbird update? Google anticipates that more people will use mobile devices for voice search and natural language queries. Why? Smartphone use is growing rapidly. In some countries mobile traffic has already surpassed desktop and other countries are expected to follow soon. So instead of just matching up individual keywords, Google wants to interpret and understand a user’s intentions (SEO, Hummingbird and more). The focus is shifting from individual keywords to content which addresses the meaning behind a question (What Google’s Hummingbird Update Means for AWAI Copywriters). Tips on writing content after Hummingbird How do you write content which addresses the meaning behind a question? So what exactly are you supposed to do? Here is a brief summary of suggestions from various SEO content experts. Know your audience. Anticipate a user’s questions and needs. Offer relevant content. Be clear in the words you use and how you structure sentences. Don’t forget to use synonyms. Adopt a conversational tone of voice and approach to copy. Keyword strategy has changed; less emphasis is on short tail keywords, more emphasis is on long tail (What are long tail and short tail keywords?). Show you are an authority in your field by providing quality information and expert advice. Know your audience Eric Enge, President of Stone Temple, advises publishers to build “…pages for each of the different basic needs and intentions of the potential customers for your products and services. Start mapping those needs and use cases and design your site’s architecture, content, and use of language to address those” (see article on Hummingbird). Relationship between words even more important than ever Understanding customer needs is one of Paul Hill’s eight recommendations on Hummingbird and website content strategy. As is “Thinking about language”. Content Director of online marketing & SEO agency Further, Paul explains: “Hummingbird is geared, in part, to mobile and voice search. So be clear in the words you use and how you structure sentences. Consider synonyms – the alternative words or phrases that describe what you do and that people might use, rather than focusing your content around an exact-match keyword.” Copywriter Alan Eggleston gives concrete examples of how you can broaden your use of keywords (SEO Copywriting after Hummingbird). In terms of  automobiles, think of using cars, vehicles and sedans. Other words for Chevrolets, for example, are Chevys, Malibus, Impalas and Cavaliers. You can describe a dealership with words such as: dealer showroom, service centre and GM portal. Alan advises writers to find ways to redefine a keyword in a meaningful way. Conversational tone of voice Another...

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Discover the right keyword phrases: think like a reporter!

Posted by on Nov 19, 2013 in Blog, Featured | 0 comments

Do you have an awkward feeling that your website’s keyword phrases¹ could be better? Can your target audience easily find your website? Looking for some handy tips? Well, I am certainly game for any new SEO (Search Engine Optimization) copyediting or writing² suggestions. In creating the right keyword phrases, SEO consultant Jill Whalen’s advice is to think like a reporter. In her handbook “The Nitty-gritty of Writing for the Search Engines” she advises SEO copyeditors to ask the questions reporters do (who? what? where?). Why? Because the answers to these questions are often the keyword phrases you are looking for. Reporter’s cap In other words, if you ask these questions, you will most likely come up with your keyword phrases. For example, when writing for an Italian adventure travel website specializing in bike and walking tours, you can ask yourself the following question: “What kind of travel?” and the keyword phrase answer could be: Italian adventure travel. And when you ask yourself the question “What kind of vacations?,” the keyword phrases probably at the tip of your tongue are : bike tours and walking tours. By being more specific about the product or service you are selling, you optimize your text. So instead of using generic words such as product or service, Whalen’s advice is to use your keyword phrases instead. Regarding the website mentioned above, Whalen suggests substituting our service with the keyword phrase our adventure travel tours. So instead of being too general, be descriptive. Journalists fit the description Journalists are said to be particularly suitable when it comes to writing for the web. Whalen certainly illustrates one of the reasons why. We ask ourselves these questions everyday. ¹ “A ‘keyword phrase’ is a two-word or longer phrase that prospects type into a search query box, such as ‘Florida travel’ or ‘heavy equipment dealers.’ The word ‘keyword’ refers to a single word search term (like ‘Florida’ or ‘equipment’).” ² “Search engine optimization (SEO) writing: Search engine optimization writing is specialized copywriting that entails weaving keywords and keyphrases into marketing or informational copy. The purpose of search engine optimization copywriting is to gain prime positioning for the desired keyphrases, as well as increase page conversion rates.” Both definitions are by SEO copywriter Heather Lloyd-Martin, author of “Successful Search Engine Copywriting.”  Copyright photo: Svilen Milev,...

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