Businesses seeking to establish themselves as industry experts or thought leaders should first take a look at whether their web content is helping or hurting their case. Follow these simple guidelines to start producing stellar content that not only increases conversions, but establishes your business as a credible voice.
1. Write with Authority
It’s important that you use an authoritative, yet approachable, voice in your blog, web and social media content. To write with authority, present thoughts easily, clearly and with confidence. And, write in an active (rather than passive) voice, putting the subject before the verb, i.e. “I ate five hamburgers” verses “Five hamburgers were eaten by me.”
Communicating clearly and effectively will go a long way in establishing your authority, but so will making sure you have something new to say. It’s important when you’re blogging to add to the collective conversation rather than simply putting your own spin on the same old information.
2. Know the Facts
Provide your reader with detailed information and back that information up by using sources. In other words — don’t be vague. Simply stating, for example, that ‘many’ people died last year due to lightening strikes lacks the gravity (and authority) that a real number can convey.
But passing along erroneous information will undercut your credibility more than anything else you do. If you’re citing a scientific study, government data or other industry expert, make sure you get it right.
3. Be Honest
It’s crucial that your audience be able to trust you. That’s why you should always convey honesty and sincerity — even if it’s bad for your brand in the short term.
4. Respect Their Intelligence
Your blog readers are just like you. They’re looking for solid information about something they’re interested in. If you talk down to your readers, give false information or attempt to “dumb down” your content, you’ll lose readers — and credibility – fast.
5. Maintain Consistency
Something as simple as using an en dash (—) in one place and an em dash (–) in another can make your website look as though it were rushed or cobbled together. It’s a good idea to follow style guidelines such as those defined by the Associated Press or the Chicago Manual of Style so that everyone who provides content to your website can do so correctly and with confidence.
Alternatively, companies can create their own style manuals that serve as quick and easy guidelines for anyone writing for your website, or about your products and services.
6. Do it Right
You can have the most brilliant ideas in the world, but if they’re not being communicated correctly and effectively, you’re undercutting your credibility. If you know that you’re not a good or effective writer, hand the task of maintaining your company blog, website and social media posts to someone who is. Because grammatical errors and clunky sentences can quickly repel readers — just as soon as they found your blog, they’ll back out and go someplace else.
If you need help in that regard, MoreVisibility has a team of seasoned copy writers ready, willing and able to help you with your blogging, web content and/or social media communication.
Google’s Penguin update back in April caused a scramble in the SEO world as everyone reevaluated the tools and channels that they use to build ranking in the SERPs. Since Penguin primarily targeted SEO spam tactics and shady link portfolios, link building methods came under particular scrutiny.
For the most part, none of the rules had really changed. Compelling content on authoritative websites with relevant links back to your site is still considered good link building. However, website authority was being questioned more rigorously. There is also an unwritten rule of SEO: links that you must work harder to build are more valuable (which is why quality link building programs often turn into full-time jobs for some companies). With those two ideas, critical eyes turned on Squidoo.
Squidoo is a quasi-popular content site. Although it doesn’t get the same level of buzz as Tumblr or Facebook, it does get millions of hits and its articles (called “lenses” on the site) can rank highly in search results. Squidoo allows users to create content-rich multimedia pages on virtually any subject. Ordinarily, this makes it a great channel for building links. However, there is no barrier to entry — anyone can make a Squidoo account and start posting content. In light of the Penguin update, SEO experts speculated that Squidoo was a gaggle of spammers reposting or repurposing scraped content to score some links. In other words, Squidoo had no authority and was a quick way to get some easy links — low-value SEO in every way. Since many websites that were penalized by Penguin had Squidoo links in their portfolio, it was a compelling argument. But is that really the case?
Links and lenses are only granted visibility on the site for a limited time. After a lens goes live, Squidoo may soon change it into a “Work-In-Progress (WIP) lens. Lenses are given a WIP status when they lack visitors or haven’t been updated with new content after a period of time. Although the URL for the lens is still valid and users can reach the page via a direct link, WIP lenses don’t appear in Squidoo search results or outside search engines. In other words, once a lens becomes WIP, all of its link value is lost.
Currently, there’s no way to tell to what degree Penguin has devalued links from Squidoo. However, with the frequency Squidoo assigns WIP status, it’s doubtful that links from the site have any negative impact since they only come from active lenses. From a link building perspective, WIP lenses are a double edge sword. On one hand, would be spammers aren’t able to derive much benefit. On the other hand, real link builders might get more work than they bargained for. Building a successful lens requires a combination of design aesthetic, compelling copy and an interesting theme. Keeping that great lens from becoming WIP requires fresh content and updates, plus promotion on blogs and social media to keep visitors coming.
Then again, good link building is supposed to be challenging. Squidoo or otherwise, if you create original content through a variety of channels, your link building efforts will be successful.
Coming up with compelling topics can be one of the most difficult aspects of maintaining your blog. When the blog is new, you may not know where to begin. If your blog has a long history, you may feel you’ve already written about everything. The need to come up with new ideas is ever-present. However, these tips can make the going easier:
Make the most out of simple ideas — as they say, the simplest explanation is often the best one. The same can be said of blog posts. Explaining and examining the core concepts of your business or industry, or answering frequently asked questions from your customers, can make for popular blog posts.
Listen to what other people are saying — speaking of listening to your customers, listening to other writers is also a good way to get ideas for posts. Find out what topics your contemporaries are talking about and offer your own original spin.
Use Google’s tools — Who knows more about search results than Google? You can utilize Google tools to generate ideas for content. Google Insights can provide you with hot new keywords you can target, while Google Alerts can keep you plugged in to the latest developments in your industry (see above tip).
Repurpose old, popular posts — You can breathe new life into old topics once you have spent enough time away from them. Times change, and perhaps you or your industry has a new perspective on something you’ve written about before. Or perhaps the topic itself has evolved and needs to be re-examined. In either case, it’s a chance for you to flex the writing and blogging techniques you’ve developed since the last time you wrote about the topic.
Don’t forget, if your business is struggling finding the time, resources, or inspiration to keep your blog consistently updated, MoreVisibility offers expert SEO copywriting services to help your site be successful.