Why Isn’t My SEO Strategy Working?

May 4, 2016

Stress

Getting their SEO strategy to perform at peak levels is a common challenge for business owners. In fact, their SEO might actually be taking them in the right direction, only needing a few simple tweaks to maximize results.

Business owners who manage their own SEO strategy often follow the self-optimization tools provided in SEO packages, such as Yoast, to guide them through the tricky waters of search marketing.

As robust as these tools can be, there are some key custom elements of a complete SEO strategy that many businesses tend to overlook, causing them to potentially miss out on better rankings. Much of them have to do with content generation, which SEO software won’t (and shouldn’t) help you with, and where you publish your content outside of your own domain.

Here are examples of those little extras that can help better your search results:

  1. Long-Tail Keywords: Let’s say you sell shoes in Seattle. You decide to implement an SEO strategy on your website and start brainstorming SEO keywords. The first one you might think of is “shoes”. “Footwear” might come in second, followed by a list of your top brands. While these keywords are certainly relevant, they’re also in high demand and might not rank you very well in search results. This is why long-tail keywords play an important role in setting you apart from your competition. Try something like “Imported leather shoes from Italy in Seattle” or “Steve Madden shoes Seattle”. There – you just improved your odds of being found. Long-tail keywords also work great for your blogs, such as: “Which shoe polish is best for brown leather shoes?”
  2. Write for People: Have you ever tried to read pure SEO-oriented content? It’s not a compelling read for humans or search engines. That’s right – search algorithms are so intelligent that they can separate good content from keyword-stuffed mumbo jumbo. And even if the keyword-stuffed mumbo jumbo ranks highly, who’s going to read it and be moved to convert? The bottom line is to write for humans, optimize for search, not the other way around.
  3. Off-site SEO: Here’s one that a lot of businesses miss. Off-site SEO refers to “authority building” that Google uses as a ranking factor. This authority is measured by inbound links from external sources that are of high authority themselves. If these sites are linking to yours, Google will perceive your site as having authority as well. Guest blogging and social media syndication are two great ways to raise your off-site authority.

On a final note, remember that, like content management, an SEO strategy can’t be successful with a “set it and forget it” philosophy. It needs to be revisited from time to time to reinforce what’s been successful, and tweak what hasn’t.

Richard Todd,Editor's Desk,About Us,About The Editor's Desk

Richard S. Todd is President at The Editor’s Desk, creating web copy that attracts, engages, and converts your audience into qualified leads.


Your FAQ Page: An Added Opportunity for Conversion

April 4, 2016

richard todd,self-publishing coach,copywriting torontoYou might not feel you need an FAQ page, but having one gives you another opportunity to attract, engage, and convert customers.

Here’s how to optimize yours.

 

Do you have an FAQ page? If so, are you using it to its full potential?

FAQ pages are great ways to inform your audience about important information they need when doing business with you. You can, however, use your FAQ page as a strategic marketing tool to convert more website visitors into qualified leads.

Think about it. People who invest their time to read your FAQ page are doing so for a reason: they’re interested in doing business with you. Why not just give them a little extra push to move them through their sales journey, and develop a relationship that could make you money?

Here are some ideas for optimizing your FAQ page for conversion:

  1. Use Real Questions: What do your customers ask you about the most? Maybe they want to know about your team’s experience, return policy, or what certain industry terms mean. Just like the rest of your site, only include the most relevant information here.
  2. Include Keywords and Links: Be sure to include lots of keywords on your page, as well as internal and external links where the reader can go to learn more information.
  3. Encourage Engagement: Even though you’ve included all the FAQs you could think of, there will always be some prospects who will ask more. This is a great reason to include a call to action at the bottom of the page, encouraging inquisitive folks to submit their own question. Be sure to personally answer them ASAP to start them on their sales journey.
  4. Use Landing Pages: One of the questions might be solved with a white paper you’ve written. Include the link to its landing page in your answer.
  5. Watch the Length: More isn’t always better when it comes to content, and FAQ pages are no exception. If your FAQ page is too long, your reader might give up halfway down. For longer pages, try installing a search function or hyperlinks to the answers.

You need every chance you can get to convert your audience. By optimizing your FAQ page, you’ll be giving your business an extra chance to attract, engage, and convert website visitors into qualified leads.


Minimize The Panic When Moderating Panels

September 12, 2015

moderating panelsModerating panels can be a rewarding avenue to professional growth. However, some preparation is necessary to ensure a lively discussion between the participants, provide an enjoyable experience for the audience, and minimize panic for the moderator.

Many professionals love being on panels. It gives them the opportunity to be in the spotlight for a short time, and provide their opinions on topics they know best.

After all, what better ways are there to establish yourself as an influencer than appearing on a panel in front of an audience who’s hungry for your insights?

Recently, I had the opportunity to moderate three panels at Fan Expo 2015 in Toronto. The topics involved the craft of writing, book publishing, and the future of the horror genre. I love moderating panels, and was happy to do it.

However, a lot of people don’t like the idea of acting as moderator. They consider it a thankless job that puts one in the unglamorous role of questioner rather than influencer. Besides, when was the last time you tuned into an interview for the interviewer, rather than the interviewee?

Also, all eyes are on the moderator to keep the conversation flowing, as well as maintain control of the panelists while watching the time. Moderators need to think on their feet, as opposed to just sit back and answer questions as they come.

These are all valid points, but I would counter that moderators, through all of this, are granted a position of leadership, motivation, and focus. They’re running the show, even if they’re not necessarily the stars of it.

Although that may sound great, it might also tend to give moderators-to-be cold feet.

Have you been tasked with moderating an upcoming panel? Don’t panic – here are some tips to help you run a silky-smooth discussion:

  • Prepare questions relevant to the audience: If your audience is comprised of startups, questions about setting up a company IPO might not be exactly relevant at this point. Keep your audience engaged with questions they would ask themselves, delivered in a way they can understand.
  • Send the questions to the participants beforehand: I’ve seen panels where the speakers were completely caught off guard by the questions posed to them. I have no idea why the moderator didn’t prep the panelists ahead of time, but doing so would have kept the awkward silences to a minimum. No one likes to be caught unprepared, or on the receiving end of a “gotcha” moment, so be sure to send the questions/topics list ahead of time.
  • Position the microphones and water for easy access: Look, you’re the host. And a good host makes sure that microphones are evenly distributed and water is within reach. You don’t have to run and get M&Ms for a high-maintenance participant, but these two little gestures show the panel that you care about making them comfortable.
  • Give warm introductions: You don’t have to provide biographies of the “born in a log cabin” sort (unless that log cabin is actually relevant to their story), but do mention your panelists’ career highlights, especially those that qualify them to be speaking to the topic at hand. Also, lead the audience in applause to welcome the panel as a whole once the introductions are complete. PS: Don’t forget to introduce yourself, but do so first and without making the whole event about you.
  • Segue from topic to topic smoothly: Once the last panelist has addressed a certain topic, find a way to quickly build on their point and smoothly segue into the next discussion. Abruptly asking the next question will feel awkward and stilted. You want to lead an easy-going exchange with your panelists.
  • Leave ample time for Q&A: If Q&A is part of the program, leaving 10 – 15 minutes at the end for questions is usually recommended to make sure everyone gets a chance to ask and respond.
  • Thank the panelists and the audience: A no-brainer, but again, make it about everyone in room except yourself.

Prior to Fan Expo, I had moderated a live writing panel at a large book festival with some degree of success. However, as any skilled interviewer will tell you, your success will depend on your ability to do your homework, prepare your notes, and communicate with your panelists and audience effectively.

After all, you’re just one of those three important elements of a successful panel discussion, but you’re also the conduit between the other two.

Have you had any panel success or horror stories? Share them in the comments!

Richard Todd,Editor's Desk,About Us,About The Editor's Desk

Richard S. Todd is President at The Editor’s Desk, providing professional content management and business copywriting services, as well as comprehensive manuscript editing and proofreading.

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Visit Me at Fan Expo 2015 in Toronto!

August 23, 2015

Hey everyone!

I’m appearing at Fan Expo 2015 in Toronto between September 4th and 6th, so I hope you’ll come out and say hello!

I’ll be selling and signing copies of my novels Raincloud and The Orphans of the Creek at the HWA booth (# 5221) at the following times:

  • Friday, September 4th, 2 – 4 PM
  • Saturday, September 5th, 4 – 6 PM

If you’re interested in attending any the HWA panels, I’ll be moderating three of them!

  • “So You Want to Write Horror?” – Friday at 11:15 AM in Room 703
  • “What Scares You?” – Friday at 12:45 PM in Room 705
  • “What’s the Next Big Thing in Horror Fiction?” – Sunday at 11:45 AM in Room 705

Buy some books, pose for a pic, and learn how you can be a writer at Fan Expo 2015 in Toronto. It’s going to be a lot of fun, and I hope to see you there!

Richard Todd,Editor's Desk,About Us,About The Editor's Desk

Richard S. Todd is President at The Editor’s Desk, providing professional content management and web copywriting services, as well as comprehensive manuscript editing and proofreading.


SOURCE Marketing: Kickstart your Content Strategy

July 29, 2015

content marketing,content marketing torontoSOURCE Marketing is a great new way of creating a content marketing strategy, with an eye on brand awareness and customer engagement.

Have you heard about content marketing?

Content marketing provides meaningful, relevant content to your target audience in order to raise brand awareness. And, unlike advertising, in which you’re simply pitching a product or service, content marketing invites customer engagement.

So how can you get started? Introducing our new content marketing system, SOURCE Marketing!

SOURCE Marketing is a simple six-step method of getting your content marketing strategy off the ground. You can use it for web pages, blogs, landing pages, or wherever you connect and engage with your audience.

Why do we call it SOURCE Marketing? Quite simply, SOURCE is an acronym for:

Simple English: Keep the language simple. When you speak to your audience in a way they understand and can relate to, your message will reassure the customer that you understand their needs. Learn more about using Simple English.

Opening Question or Statement: You need a powerful headline to draw people in. “Looking for a New Way to Increase Customer Traffic?” “Improve Search Results in 24 Hours!” “Stop Smoking in 7 Days!” Be exciting, enticing, and most of all, authentic.

Unique Image: Your logo and headshot should be as unique as you are. But your page also needs an image which reflects and reinforces the page’s particular message. Use a sharp picture that demonstrates the benefits of working with you!

Rationale: What are your customer’s pain points? In a few short paragraphs, provide the rationale as to what makes you the best choice to help, and list the benefits of using your service. For example, will hiring you increase website traffic, improve search results, or simply raise awareness about their business? Whatever the benefits are, list them!

Call to Action (CTA): They’ve read your page. Now what do you want them to do? Signup for your newsletter? Download that eBook? Leave your site? Okay, definitely not that last one, but if you don’t have a strong CTA, that’s exactly what’s going to happen. Here are some tips to creating great CTAs.

Endorsements: A must-have for landing pages, proven social evidence of your skills go a long way to demonstrating that you’re the best person for the job. One or two testimonials from clients will do, and provide a back link to their website or LinkedIn profile. Learn more about social evidence.

Have questions about how we can help your web copy using SOURCE Marketing? Get in touch with us!

Richard Todd,Editor's Desk,About Us,About The Editor's Desk

Richard S. Todd is President at The Editor’s Desk, providing professional content management and web copywriting services, as well as comprehensive manuscript editing and proofreading.


Live at the Library!

March 22, 2015

self-publishing

Hi everyone!

If you’re in the Toronto area, stop into the Brentwood branch of the Toronto Public Library on April 8th for another presentation of  “The Three Biggest Rules of Self-Publishing“, hosted by me!

This presentation covers everything you need to know to make sound buying choices during your self-publishing journey, and help prepare for for success! Last time, 52 aspiring writers came out and had a lot of fun.

The event is drop-in, and free to everyone. Hope to see you there!
See you out there!

Richard Todd,Editor's Desk,About Us,About The Editor's DeskRichard S. Todd is President at The Editor’s Desk, providing professional business copywriting services, as well as comprehensive manuscript editing and proofreading.


52 Writers, 52 Lessons

February 18, 2015

20150210_191202Our “Three Biggest Rules of Self-Publishing” seminar was a smashing success! 52 ambitious writers came out to learn about the self-publishing industry, have their questions answered, and receive the link to “6 Simple Steps to Successful Self-Publishing“.

All in all, a successful night that we’re going to repeat in various libraries and writers groups around the Greater Toronto Area. If you’d like self-publishing coach Richard Todd to bring his informative, fun-filled presentation to your group, email us today at richard@richard-todd.com!

See you out there!

Richard Todd,Editor's Desk,About Us,About The Editor's DeskRichard S. Todd is President at The Editor’s Desk, providing professional business copywriting services, as well as comprehensive manuscript editing and proofreading.


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