google carousel

What is Google Carousel?

Undoubtedly, Google is committed to ensuring a flawless web experience for all of its users. The most recent improvement in terms of design is the Google Carousel, a new concept taking local search to the next level. Internet-savvy business owners and marketers are looking for pertinent answers to a few pressing questions: how can this recent improvement impact the click-through rate of a webpage? How could it influence current SEO practices? And most importantly, how could Google carousel influence everyday buying decisions of millions of potential clients all across the U.S.? Let’s start with the beginning.

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writing services search

SEO & Content 101: How Good Writing Services Can Boost Your Google Ranking

Search engines have a simple purpose: to help users find the information they need. Google, known as the king of search with over 60% of the market share, aims to give users the best experience when searching the web. To make this happen, Google is always looking for good website content. Thus, business owners are always looking for good writing services!

Now, it has become even more important to make sure that you have good quality content on your website. Otherwise, you will be penalized by Google.

How Google Rankings Relate to Good Writing Services

Poorly-written and over-optimized content is your ticket to the bottom of the last page of search results, which is essentially equivalent to not having a website at all. Quality writing services can help prevent your site from being banished to obscurity by making sure you have great content that Google’s algorithms and, most importantly, your customers will love.

Why Should You Care About Google Algorithms?

First of all, you may be asking, what in the world is a Google algorithm? Simply put, this is a mathematical formula or steps of instructions that tell the search engine how to sift through millions and millions of web pages to find information that is most relevant to a search query.

Google has several algorithms such as Google’s Farmer/Panda, which was implemented in 2011 to lower the rankings of content farms and overly-optimized sites and to push up sites with better content. Content farms are websites that publish massive amounts of generally low-quality content to get traffic to their site for the purpose of generating quick advertising revenues.

Then, there’s Google’s Penguin algorithm, which was designed to punish websites that engage in web spamming or black hat search engine optimization (SEO) techniques to manipulate the search engine index on purpose. Some of these rogue techniques include keyword stuffing, content duplication and participating in low-quality link exchanges.

All these algorithms will work in your favor if you have fresh and quality content on your site and that’s where good writing services can be of great value to your business. Otherwise, you’ll have no chance to increase your online visibility and Google is keen on making sure of that. That’s why you need to care about their ever-changing algorithms if you are looking to build your online presence.

How Can You Please Google?

You can please Google by not trying so hard to please them, and pleasing your customers instead. Many Internet marketers and website owners have become obsessed about optimizing their content for search engines. While it’s clear from the previous section that Google’s search algorithms are very important, don’t kill yourself figuring them out. Instead, focus on pleasing your customers and giving them information that is relevant to your offering and relevant to their present and future needs.

Remember, Google wants to help their users. Just like your customers, Google is looking for relevant content that is accurate and contains helpful information. The only legitimate way to improve your search engine rankings is to have informative content on your site that will compel new readers and keep existing readers coming back. So, if you constantly deliver content on your site that is useful to your customers, there’s no way Google will not locate your site and rank it high on their natural search results for your prospect customers to find.

Keeping in Line with Google

When it comes to improving your search engine ranking, however, great website content goes beyond good grammar and interesting topics, although these are very important aspects. It’s not just a matter of how much time you have in your hands or whether or not you can write. Making your content search-engine friendly requires the use of certain techniques that must be done according to good website practices or, in other words, Google’s guidelines.

Google has put in place several guidelines that will ensure the search engine will index and rank your website so that it will be ultimately found by your target audience. One of the advantages of hiring writing services is that you’ll have someone who knows and understands these guidelines and all its details and can implement them effectively.

Good writing services with SEO capabilities will know exactly how to optimize a website without overdoing it. For instance, it is important to use the right keywords but there are rules as to how you should use them. Even if you’re not stuffing keywords into an article, there is still a right way of incorporating keywords to ensure readability. In the same way, including links on your web pages have an impact on your ranking too but, again, your site must follow certain rules on linking relationships to avoid being penalized.

Investing in Good Writing Services

As you may understand now, for Google, it’s all about delivering better search results. Hiring good writing services is the easiest and most efficient way to produce high quality content that will translate to better search engine ranking. Publishing quality material on a regular basis gives you a great chance to improve your online visibility.

However, you have to ask yourself, is this something that you can accomplish on your own? If you can delegate the task to someone in your staff, do they have the right knowledge and skill set to do the job effectively? Unless you or your staff has a solid talent for writing, an excellent grasp of SEO techniques and Google’s guidelines, and enough time to develop content on a regular basis, you will need professional writing services.

Having quality content on your site and earning a top spot on Google search results doesn’t just happen. It takes considerable experience and knowledge, along with a real talent in writing, to capture the message of your business and transform it into content that will be relevant to your target audience and compelling enough for them to start a conversation about it, and even share it to others.

By investing in good writing services, a professional writer can easily take your message and ideas and come up with content that is useful, flows naturally and will effectively push your website up Google’s search rankings.

web content monster

What Is the Content Beast? (And How on Earth Do You Feed It?)

You may or may not have heard of the content beast.

What is this wily, hungry creature?

Well, it’s large, insistent, and, quite frankly, insatiable.

cookiemonster

It demands to be fed new, fresh, interesting content on a regular basis. If you don’t feed it, it gets tense and twitchy. The beast scares off your readers and potential customers with its overbearing silence and looming presence.

However, if you keep feeding it, it helps you maintain and grow your audience. Sate the content beast’s appetite, and it’ll happily go into a soothing state of peaceful bliss.

While it rests, your clout will steadily grow.

Fail to give this content monster what it wants, and you’ll be eaten.

(The content monster may or may not be Google. We’re not sure – we’ve never gotten a good enough look at it.)

Bottom line: the only way to stay alive on the web is to give the beast a constant diet of freshly-picked content.

Why Fresh, Useful Content Matters for Content Marketing

Much like bread, eggs, and produce, content loses its freshness over time.

It goes stale. It gets moldy. Nobody wants to read it anymore. It’s in the past.

In fact, Moz illustrates how content decays over time:

Moz_graph

Bet you didn’t know that your website could literally “go bad.” It sounds strange, but it’s totally the truth. According to SEO SiteCheckup, if you fail to update your site, search engines like Google will consider it “dead.”

In other words, expired. Useless. Lifeless.

In stark contrast, a fresh website that’s constantly updated grabs Google’s attention. Especially if you feed that content beast with quality blog posts, web pages, articles, and other useful information, it will notice you more often. It will stop by and index you.

Feed it often, feed it well, and you’ll slowly climb the ranks. As the content monster is subdued, your authority will grow.

This is the key to successful content marketing.

SEOsitecheckup_Fresh-Content

Infographic from SEO SiteCheckup

5 Ways to Keep Your Content So Fresh, It Should Be Slapped

You don’t have to work like the Energizer Bunny in order to satiate the content beast.

Instead, with some smart strategies, you can keep producing fresh content that will keep that hungry monster from killing your content marketing momentum.

With these tips, your content will be as fresh and crisp as an apple plucked straight from the tree.

1. Plan Your Content and Create a Schedule

Without a plan, you’ll be scrounging around for ideas and stressing over creating new content.

You can’t be creative 24/7 – that’s just common sense. However, if you pool your resources and come up with a content plan and a schedule, you can appear that way.

How to do it? Have a brainstorming session where you cultivate lots of topics for blogs and new content. Write them all down, then plan out when you’ll update your site and post your fresh stuff.

2. Riff off of Holidays

Coinciding with your content schedule, you can take advantage of certain times of the year. Holidays and special events are the perfect time for new blogs that tie in seamlessly.

According to Business.com, writing a holiday-themed or related post can inject new life into an old topic. It also gives you plenty of fodder for new content. Think about what works for New Year’s, Valentine’s Day, the first day of spring, Memorial Day, summer vacation, Halloween – you get the idea. Then, run with it.

3. Refresh Old Posts with a New Angle

Running out of content ideas? Revisit old posts and refresh them. Come at the topic from a new angle, or write about it from a different perspective.

If you have new information that makes the old post obsolete, write an update. This is the perfect way to feed the content beast without having to come up with totally new ideas.

fresh_content

4. Look at the News

The news is a great source of inspiration you can tap into for new content.

Is there a world event or local happening that you can relate to your business or website? Is something new and noteworthy occurring in the industry? Is something happening that deserves your take?

5. Poll Your Audience

Finally, if all else fails, don’t be afraid to ask the audience. Poll your readers to find out what they want to see. Then, get that content on your site.

Bonus: when you give your audience exactly what they ask for, you’ll build trust. Plus, you can be confident that they’ll find it interesting, relevant, and useful – and that’s a win, win, win.

Keep the Content Beast Happy with a Regular Diet of Newly-Minted, Engaging Content

That annoying but important content beast can’t find food on its own. It needs you to do the dirty work.

Keep it fed, and it will stay happy.

Keep it happy, and your content marketing will soar.

 

Need help writing fresh, quality, engaging content? Tap the talent at Express Writers – check out our content shop today.

content beast infographic

google-reader

Living with the Death of Google Reader (& How To Survive)

Google Reader is set to expire on Monday, July 1, 2013.  For some, it will be a moment in history: others probably won’t know about it, and some just won’t care. For a lot of companies offering solutions to replicate Google’s product, it’s a gold mine opportunity to grab Google Reader’s disgruntled, wandering and lost users. But for users, it’s simply put a frustration. If you are a Google Reader user, you’re probably looking for something to switch to and how to switch out (so your feeds don’t die with it).

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google-penguin-2.0

How Google Penguin 2.0 Will Affect Website Content, & How To Recover From It

It’s big, scary, and it’s HERE: Google Penguin 2.0.

Officially launched on May 22 and termed the “Webspam” update, this Google algorithm beast is dedicated to targeting anything considered “blackhat” in terms of SEO, and is supposed to dig deeper than its predecessor in the know-how of what website content to rank (and what not to rank).

“Digging deeper:” this means Penguin is getting into the nitty-gritty of how your backlinks work, where they are from, your indexing patterns and more.

Biggest Change in the Algorithm for Ranking Website Content is…

How Google figures out PageRank. Here’s what Google wants to use for its search factors to rank you or not rank you in its Penguin 2.0: gauging you on a social engagement level. Consider it a gauge of how your visitors enjoy (or don’t enjoy) your site. This includes the amount of times your site gets bookmarked; the amount of times it gets socially shared; and the amount of times it’s re-visited. The best part? Google Penguin 2.0 knows when you BUY engagement…and when it’s natural.

However, take it with a grain (or two) of salt. In months ahead, the algorithm is set to constantly update. If Penguin 1.0 affected the web, think of Penguin 2.0 as the destroyer or influencer of the web.

“As long as you’re working hard for your users, we’re working hard to show your high quality content to users as well,” said Matt Cutts, in his video on the matter published this May. “If you’re doing high quality content with SEO, you won’t have to worry.  If you’ve been hanging out on the blackhat forums, it will be a more eventful summer for you.”

Important updates that will be a core of the Google Penguin 2.0 include:

The Biggest One: No more spammy links. PageRank influencing factors are totally different. Advertising will not influence PageRank anymore (or at least most of it won’t). Link spamming will be heavily knocked down in the update. Sophisticated link analysis is in its “early days” in the Penguin 2.0 update, according to Cutts. This is huge for many sites. What does this mean?  The new Penguin will be hitting down on:

  • Comment spam (paying for low quality blog comments)
  • Low quality guest blogging
  • Article marketing/duplicating
  • Links from sites that are dangerous to users
  • Paid backlinks using exact match anchor text (in English: a paid backlink!)

If you relied on backlinks, you are more than likely going to be drowning by the end of Penguin 2.0 smackdown. Case studies available at: SearchEngineWatch.com.

How to Recover: Experienced a drop in rankings from the new Penguin 2.0 beast, and need to get rid of spammy links pointing back to your site? Google’s Link Disavow Tool is for you. It’s a machete if you need to get rid of bad links—with Google, it’s mostly all or nothing with very little success allotted to cliffhangers. Time to cut off all those bad links? Learn more about the Link Disavow Tool. Go directly to the Link Disavow Tool.

How To Avoid: To avoid your website content getting hit on PageRank influencing factors, if you are advertising to achieve PageRank, Google says they’ll hit you less if you actually tell your users that. Learn more about how to disclose your paid advertising so you don’t get Google-hit from WebProNews.

Want to avoid getting stuck in this mess altogether? Organically raise your PageRank. This means blogging; social engagement; and overall being a lot more engaged to try to get your website visitors active. Articles posted regularly on your website, social engagement every time you blog—that sort of thing is what Google is looking for in ranking factors.

Here’s 7 MORE IMPORTANT updates to the algorithm, both the good and the bad:

1. Pornographic links won’t give you much juice. Google doesn’t want to get in too much detail, but they will certainly be knocking down on anything spammy, including pornographic links. If you have any adult related content backlinks, they could push you down after Google Penguin 2.0 combs your links.

2. Hackers get revealed. “Hack” sites will be detected with a “next-generation” hack site update (this will roll out in June). Webmaster tools from Google will report the hacker more extensively to help with cleanup.

3. Niche authorities get better ranking. If you’re a site with authority in your niche, you’ll rank in that niche, according to Google.

4. No more cliffhanging. Sites in the border of being good or bad will be clearly defined in the update.  No more hanging on the shelf for you.  Doing quality content? No worries.  Blackhat? You might want to worry.

5. No more clustering and getting multiple pages from your domain on one page of results. A bunch of content from one domain will be spread out over more pages instead of all on the first page. Once you’ve seen a cluster of results from one site, Google will bar the site from reappearing and cluttering your search feed again.

6. The algorithm will affect multiple languages. According to multiple sources, the updated Google Penguin 2.0 will affect websites in multiple languages.

7. Guest blogging will not be as effective as it used to be.  Why? Well, Google found out that it’s super-easy for lazy webmasters to find a bunch of free guest blogging websites where you can stick your URL in an author profile, and then blast out a ton of content just to get that backlink. When you blog, don’t duplicate bios; try to create an original bio for each blog. Focus less on your keywords, and more on your anchor text. Authentic guest blogs are identified by these measures now.

Who Lost Out?

So, who lost in the algorithm changes? Dish.com and Educational Testing Service were some of the big names actually using bad SEO for their websites who got penalized. The biggest industry to get affected were Retailers and Real Estate, with a 33% affected rate, according to SEOMoz. Other than that, big websites with untrusted links and small business who hadn’t taken SEO seriously were at the ends of the spectrum, both getting the most affected by Penguin 2.0. SearchMetrics analyzed a whole slew, the list can be found here. Interestingly, it ranges from the Salvation Army to over five different porn websites.

Contrast of Gains & Losses Across Websites

Also from SEOMoz, here’s a brief contrast to see what went backwards and what gained traction and went forwards from the Google updates:

  • Amazon lost out from the rankings; Wikipedia gained.
  • Pinterest gained from the rankings; AllRecipies.com lost.
  • Indeed.com lost out from the rankings; Ebay gained.

Yelp was the biggest loser, at over -8%: Twitter gained the largest growth, at 4%.

What’s the Biggest Things Website Owners Can Take Away from the Penguin Update?

1. Don’t panic. Google Zebra might be tomorrow. Since Google updates all the time, putting a big name on it and labeling the changes is just identifying the changes. It’s not going to stop your world by any means, and for most of the world, it won’t affect in a major way. In short, don’t be terror-stricken.

2. Realize you can’t maintain excellent SEO presence without original, excellent content. Google SERP rankings are now heavily dependent on the amount of content you publish, the value of that content and the originality of that content. Big players like SearchEngineJournal are saying that the quality of your content is the SINGLE, most important factor in maintaining a successful website.

3. Get social. This means Google +, folks. Google likes their own, and adding people in your circles and posting your blogs on their social network is only going to get you favor. Use tools like Hootsuite to sign up on one account and schedule a bunch of posts to go out at optimal times across all your networks.

4. Gain reputable inbound links. Even if it costs money, invest the money necessary to get only the highest quality backlinks for your website. Some are saying content marketing is the new link building. Publishing a blog on a network with your website backlink on it is probably the best backlink you can build (whether that network is your blog domain or a guest blog domain).

5. Consider investing in press releases. This is also linked to the hard-hitting by Google on link spam. An SEO Press Release is one of the best ways to get a backlink, besides blogging and organic article writing and posting on your website. A PR can offer more link juice than a regular blog because one Press Release can hit thousands of locations. And since it’s “news,” it’s not considered duplicate—while you get all those links out of it! Things to consider in creating an effective PR: it must be written well, and it must be newsworthy. PRs can bring in real human eyes, and conversions, if written well enough and attracting the audience directly.

keyword-content-pyramid

Keywords

Google Penguin 2.0 is going to be picking up keywords that include these variations:

  • Primary
  • Derivatives
  • Synonyms

So, instead of one keyword stuck throughout your content, think of as many phrases as you can (up to 5-10 per 500 words).

There’s lots more we could say, but that’s about the gist of what you need to know for your website content–in a nicely 1,500+ condensed words.   Did you lose from Google Penguin 2.0?  We’d love to hear in the comments!
Bonus — Links we liked that are very helpful: