Thursday, January 17, 2013

Why Your Company Needs a Blog

Yes, we have decided that we are going to 'blog' about 'blogging' today.  If you constantly find yourself putting off starting up a blog for your company, you should get started as soon as possible.  There are about a million good reasons why a company should have a blog and as a Chicago SEO company, we cannot stress a blog's importance enough.  If you have been putting it off, here's why you should get started today:

1- A blog is essential to boost your SEO: As a Chicago SEO company, we constantly tell our customers how effective a blog is for boosting their website's SEO rankings.  Search engine crawlers love, love, love fresh, brand new content being added to a website on a constant basis.  Sticking a blog right on your website will give you the ability to add that fresh content every time you post something new.  Postings give you a chance to utilize keywords and show search engines that you are actively using and updating your website.  When we do web design for a client we typically create a built in blog right on the client's website.  We suggest having multiple blogs if you can keep up with it.  The more blogs your company has that link back to your company's website, the better off you are in the world of search engine optimization. A blog, whether your blog is through blogger or you are using a blog on your website, gives you a great place to add links back to your website, which is also a great way (if not the best way) to boost SEO rankings.

2- A blog is a great place to show that you are the expert in your industry: Refine your list of potential blog topics and stick to talking about topics related to your company's industry.  Say you own a coffee shop, then topics that you should blog about should all surround the industry you belong to.  Keeping it relevant will help search engine's crawlers identify who your business is and what you do and will give you a chance to become the expert in your industry.  Your blog gives you a special place to show what you know and impress potential customers.  

3- A blog is a great way to interact with potential and current customers: A blog is a great place to spearhead conversations with your potential and current customers.  Your blog will keep your customers informed and has the ability to help you reel in potential customers.  Just like your social media profiles, blogging is another great way to bring the social aspect to your business.

4- Your blog will help you build your brand: Blogging is a simple way of helping you establish your brand.  Blogging gives you the ability to make your brand more personal and drive more traffic to your company's website, which in turn helps you build your brand.  Perhaps lots of people begin reading your company blog, then great!  Put on your sales hat and lead those blog readers back to your company's website.  That gives your company all the more potential to get that brand exposure you have been craving.

5- Blogging will help keep yourself and your customers in the loop:  Since your company blog should take on topics related to your industry, it can serve as a learning tool not only for your readers and customers, but also for yourself.  A great way to stay current with the latest industry trends is to blog about it.  Your blog could also serve as a vehicle for communicating the latest company news almost like a company newsletter.

Looking for tips on creating a company blog?  We'd be happy to discuss blogging with you.  Feel free to comment below or contact us.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Tips for Writing Better Content: The Before, During and After Phases

As an SEO firm in Chicago we’re always talking SEO and we’re always talking about the importance of content.  When it comes to search engine optimization, we’re always saying, “Content is king” and we mean it.  When it comes to creating an SEO strategy there is no better way to boost rankings then to put out great content.  If you’re not working with an SEO company and are trying to do search engine optimization yourself then you need to be prepared to put on your writer hat.  If you’re not the best writer then take note of our tips for writing better content:

Before you begin writing do the following:

1- Identify your goal beforehand: What is the goal of the content you are producing?  Identifying what you are looking for from your reader will help you be able to write better content.  Decide what is you want to say and what is you want your reader to know.  What are you looking to accomplish with your content?  Have your goal in mind beforehand and your content will instantly be more successful.

2- Consider your reader: Get in the mindset of your target audience and readers.  Consider what they know about your content’s topic and what they don’t know.  Break things down that may be confusing for them so you don’t lose them.  Explain things in a way that you are on their level rather than being above them.  Think about what they may want to know about your topic and how you can help them learn your topic better, after all you are writing for search engines AND readers.

3- What’s the hook?: Every and any piece of content you put out should have a hook, which is how you draw readers in. Your hook may be a news hook, an attack hook, a humor hook or an ego hook, but whatever kind of hook you choose needs to draw readers into your content. Your hook should be woven throughout your content or writing piece.  

While you are writing:

1- Create an outline:  In order to write better content (especially if you’re not a writer) consider making an outline first.  An outline will help you weed out material you need not include and will help you better organize your content and your thoughts.  Even seasoned writers will outline content from time to time.  Outlining should become your first step in the writing process.  Once you have a great outline, writing the rest of your content will become a breeze since you’ve outlined the points you need to hit with your content.  Just go down your outline and begin writing, the organization will be there.

2- Just write!:  If you find yourself constantly editing your thoughts as you write, stop immediately!  The writing and editing process are two entirely different parts of the content-creating process. As a rule, write first and edit later.  Get as much down as you can and leave all of your thoughts on the page until you get to the editing process. If you created your outline like we mentioned in tip #1, then you have probably already been able to weed out the useless, cluttered information and have organized your thoughts, so don’t be so critical of your writing.  Keep what you have and re-read it later.

3- Make it easy to read: Content built for web is different than any other type of content.  People reading online are typically scanning, rather than doing any type of deep reading, so you want your online content to convey your message quickly and concisely.  You want your reader to be able to scan your content and be able to take away the crux of your message very quickly. 

4- Be engaging: If you want people to read your content, then you must be engaging.  Make them want to read what you put out.  One of the best ways to be engaging as a writer is to use your own voice.  You have to give readers a little bit of you. Write like your content matters to you, as it should.  If you want people to care about what you write, you have to care about what you write, so let your personality shine through in your writing. 

After you are finished writing:

1- Edit time: Now is the time to begin the editing process.  Do a thorough re-read and see if any sentences should be omitted or altered.  While outlining helps you get your thoughts organized, editing should help you double check that your writing is organized the way you want it to be.  Spell check, spell check and spell check again! 

2- Read it out loud: Read your writing out loud and see how it sounds to you.  If parts of your writing sound off, make a note of it and go back to it and figure out the issue.  It could be awkward phrasing or perhaps there is a better word you could be using to describing something.  Either way, reading out loud is another form of editing that every writer should utilize. 

3- Have a co-worker or friend read your content: If you want to make sure your content is sounding its best, consider having a co-worker or friend read your writing to proofread it and let you know what they think.  Be open to questions, comments, criticisms and opinions as all four will only make you a better writer.  

Questions or comments on writing better content for search engine optimization purposes?  Feel free to comment below or contact us.  

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Social Bookmarking and SEO

When it comes to search engine optimization there are a million little external things you can be doing to improve your website's rankings.  Submitting to local directories, backlinking, blogging, using social media regularly, and social bookmarking all aid in helping your website to rank highly for your chosen keywords.  If you have yet to dive into social bookmarking as one of your external SEO tactics our SEO specialists suggest you give it a chance, and here's why:

Social bookmarking provides fast indexing

Social bookmarking is one of the quickest ways to get your website found and indexed by search engines.  Search engine crawlers quite regularly index the popular social bookmarking sites, which will boost your chances of being indexed by the search engines.  Social bookmarking gives you and your website the changes to be found a lot faster, which is a good draw. Social bookmarking allows you to put your keywords to good use only helping your SEO rankings.

Social bookmarking gives you the opportunity to drive some serious traffic

If you are putting out great, relevant content you can expect some great web traffic from social bookmarking.  If you're looking to drive some serious traffic to your website just remember that quality content really does go a long way.  The more social bookmarking sites you submit to the more opportunities you have to draw traffic back to your website.  Attracting your target audience has never been easier.

Social bookmarking makes online branding easy

Social bookmarking gives you a great space to create more links back to your website, but also make your business more personable.  Social bookmarking sites can become great personalized spaces for you and your business allowing you to get some brand recognition.

What Social Bookmarking Sites Should You Use?

Just like the ones displayed up above in the picture, there are a plethora of social bookmarking sites that you can utilize to help you start your social bookmarking and improve your rankings.  As an SEO Firm in Chicago we suggest using as many as you can keep up with.  A few of the main social bookmarking sites that we suggest using for search engine optimization purposes include Digg, Reddit, Fark, Blinklist, Stumbleupon, and  We rely on a mix of those when doing search engine optimization for clients.  Some social bookmarking sites give you the option to do a trial, so test a few out if you can and see how they work before committing to using one.

Comments or questions on doing social bookmarking to help improve your search engine rankings, feel free to leave us a comment below or contact us.