Archive for January, 2012
Tuesday, January 31st, 2012
Since most website owners believe that Google alone brings over 90% of the traffic to their website, you can clearly see why it matters how Google’s great algorithms view your website. You may have hired the very best professional web designer for your business website only to find it still is not ranking well with Google. And, we all know that if your site is not ranking well, then it is difficult, if not impossible, for potential customers to find you. Often, the most beautiful, perfectly laid-out sites on the web simply sit there with little to no traffic, therefore no business for you. What you may not have realized is that simply pulling together a fabulous website is no guarantee it will be seen—the site layout and content must be thoroughly optimized to be search-engine friendly.
How Do You Get Good Google Rankings?
There are really only two ways to drive visitors from Google to your website—you either buy ads which will show up on the Google results pages, or you work your fanny off trying to get high rankings organically. Although you may wish there were something in between the two, there really is not, so in the long run it’s better to simply suck it up and devote the necessary time and energy needed to make your website design pay off big time. I you are uncertain of what Google considers their “bible” of basic SEO techniques, read on!
Descriptive Titles are Key
Because nobody actually reads website—we have fallen into the scannable age—content on your site must be optimized in ways that will catch your reader’s attention. The first thing users see your title, and if it is not highly descriptive, using your selected keywords or key phrases, your user may click away and look elsewhere for the information they seek. Your title must be clear, concise, and descriptive all in a few words. The best titles offer something tangible to the reader—“Ten ways to Lose Your Belly Fat,” or “How to Avoid Being Shortchanged During Your Divorce.” If you are a reader in search of ways to lose belly fat, or are going through a divorce with an obnoxious spouse, then you have immediately targeted in on a title that professes to help you with your problems.
Choose Your Keywords Carefully
Choosing the right keywords for your website is a crucial first step, and in general you should avoid generic keywords and focus on the more specific or niche keywords which describe your business product or service. You should start out by brainstorming and making a big list of the keywords, then use a specific program to see how well those keywords rank. Once you have narrowed down to a shortlist, talk to friends and relatives and ask them what words they would type into a search bar to find your business. You may be surprised to learn that many of their suggestions are not ones you would have thought of.
Work on Securing Incoming Links
Other than a good site structure and the highest quality content, incoming links from other quality websites are almost essential in reaching your goal of increasing your ranking. The very best way to secure those links is through content that is both informative and adds value. Once others begin reading your exceptional articles, they will want to link to your site, and Google places a high value on those links.
Spend Plenty of Time on Your Content
The content on your pages is the underlying factor which will get you the high rankings you seek. Whether you write the content yourself, or have it written, make sure the end result is something that your users will find extremely helpful in solving a particular problem or issue. Use your chosen keywords judiciously throughout the content, and follow the basic Internet readability rules by keeping paragraphs short, using descriptive sub-headings, and keeping the content shorter than you would write a hard copy. Though it can be overwhelming and seem incredibly complex, once you’ve mastered Google’s basic rules, you will be well on your way to a perfectly optimized website which moves quickly up the ranks.
Monday, January 30th, 2012
The title element of your web page is meant to be a clear and accurate description of your page’s content. The title tags are not only crucial to your user’s overall web experience, but also for the all-important search engine optimization. Your goal is to create an incredibly descriptive key-word rich title tag. In fact, keyword usage in your title tag may well be the most important place overall, garnering you the best rankings.
You want to make sure that your title tags get you the most clicks possible from a Google search, not to mention that when your stories are shared on Facebook the title tag is often the heading. Title tags are also used as the default text whenever you bookmark a site. Don’t forget that title tags are also used as the text in any links to your website, therefore placing keywords in your title tags can add that extra “oomph” to your search engine rankings. In short, anyone who is looking for a quick boost to their website rankings should look at their website title tags where small changes can net huge gains.
Best Practices for Optimizing Your Title Tags
Keyword research is, well, key as your chosen keywords and keyword phrases are used in many places within your site, over and over. Start with solid keyword research, and ensure your keywords are exceptionally relevant to your pages. It’s a good idea to have one primary keyword phrase and at least three secondary phrases for each page. Your most important keyword phrase will be used at the beginning of your title tag since Google gives greater importance to the words at the beginning. Using your keyword phrase at the beginning of your title tag will send a signal to the search engines that this is what your page is all about, and if you want your company name included, place it at the end of the title tag.
Since Google will not display more than seventy characters from your title tag as the title of the search result, try to keep it below 100 characters. You do get credit for words beyond the seventy character limit, they just won’t be displayed. Use hyphens wisely to be recognized for variations of the same keyword phrase. Your title tag needs to be the most unique seventy to one hundred characters you can possibly come up with. It should be specific and relevant to each and every web page, and you should not duplicate title tags among the pages of your site. Rather than listing a series of keywords or keyword phrases separated by commas, your title tag should be a clear sentence, description or phrase. Using synonyms can be a great way of adding repetition into a title tag without repeating the same word.
Title Tags Improve Click-Through
Title tags can be a great way to get people to click on the search results to get to your site so long as your title clearly states you have what they need. The search engines will also highlight the keywords which were part of the actual search—another clear benefit of using your keywords and keyword phrases in your title tag. Creating a compelling title tag will obviously pull in more visitors from the search engine results, so it’s very important not to just consider SEO and keyword usage, rather think about your typical user’s entire web experience. Title tags can be a relatively simply way to get maximum return on your website as a whole.
Friday, January 27th, 2012
If your goal is to create an effective, internal linking strategy it will be helpful to have some strategies to make the task more manageable. Internal linking will help your website to have more authority which in turn will allow them to get indexed more frequently and overall, just carry more weight with Google.
Benefits of an Internal Linking System
Internal linking systems give your online visitor value, allowing your readers to find related materials within your site quickly. When users can easily navigate your website it increases their overall user experience, keeping them on your site for longer periods of time and decreasing your bounce rate. Search engine spiders don’t always index sites comprehensively, however they are really good at indexing text and following links, so when you provide internal linking you vastly increase the odds of having your site indexed by Google and other search engines. While internal linking won’t automatically put you in the prized first slot in the search engine, it will allow you to gradually move up the ranks.
How Do I Build Internal Links?
A sitemap details your website’s organization for your visitors. Sitemaps are usually placed at the footer of your site and will contain such pertinent details as your contact information and technical information. WordPress and other websites have plugins which allow you create a sitemap which is automatically updated anytime your site expands, although in some cases you will have to manually create your sitemap. Your sitemap will offer useful internal links which can get your visitors quickly from one spot to another, meeting their specific needs more quickly.
A frequently-asked-questions page is informative as well as a valuable way to add internal links to your site using your most highly targeted keywords. Create a series of questions which you believe a large portion of your readers would find helpful. When doing this you must think like a visitor to your site rather than the owner who already knows the answers to the questions. It could be helpful to get a friend or relative to jot down any questions they might have after visiting your site. Partially answer the questions, providing a link to one of your articles or blog postings to provide further answers. When phrasing your questions, use the specific keywords you would expect your visitors to use in order to get to your site and use your keywords in the anchor text of the links to your articles and blog postings.
Links to Related Posts and Links to Sidebar
If you want your visitors to be able to find additional content on your site which is of interest to them, link one post to another related one. If you are blogging, include links to other specifically related posts which are in your sidebar. This is an excellent way to build your internal linking system as well as increase your overall page views.
Write a Series of Articles
A relatively easy way to build your internal links is to write a series of articles with an underlying theme. As each article or blog posting in the series is written and published, you can add links to the others. Long articles can be broken down into a series, however be careful to use this tactic judiciously so your readers won’t feel as though they are being used to further your SEO. Once a month, or even once a week, wrap up the prior period with a posting which links to your recent posts, offering a brief description of each of them. While this obviously adds internal links, it also gives readers who may have missed an article which would have been of interest to them the opportunity to use the link to go directly to the article. You can also include internal links in your footer space, or add a promotional link at the end of specific articles which offers your readers something of value. While there is much more involved in internal linking, these basics can get you started, jumping you ahead of your competitors.
Thursday, January 26th, 2012
So, you’ve decided on search marketing and are venturing into search engine optimization in order to make your site a rousing success. One of the things you will have to consider is not only how, but where you will obtain the necessary backlinks to strengthen your rankings. Link exchanging can effectively direct traffic from the links, build strong networking relationships with other websites and contribute significantly to search engine optimization. While there are tons of methods out there to promote your website, link exchanging is one of the least expensive ones around. There is a protocol, however for link exchanging, and what it doesn’t include is a hastily scribbled blanket e-mail to hundreds of sites requesting an exchange. Follow the rules, be polite, go above and beyond what is expected and you can end up with plenty of high quality reciprocal links to give your SEO campaign a decided boost.
Stay Close to Home
When exchanging links, you will have the best luck by partnering with websites and blogs which are approximately the same age and PageRank as your own. New websites are more likely to accept your request, but do your homework before requesting a link to ensure the site is relevant and of value. Eventually, as your site increases in popularity and rank, you will be able to approach the more highly ranked sites—after all, a website which has a very high PageRank really gets nothing in return for linking to your fledgling site.
Your initial contact e-mail message should be polite, yet straight to the point. Don’t try to tell the other website owner about how great such an exchange will be in terms of SEO—it is likely he already knows this and you don’t want to appear condescending. Some feel that you should link to the other website prior to writing your introductory e-mail, giving details on where he can find the link. Others feel like it is more polite to ask first. If you do add their link prior to sending your e-mail tell the other webmaster where he can find his link—making sure the URL is correct! Also ensure it is relatively easy for the website owner to exchange links, and outline the process clearly. (along the lines of “click this, go here and fill out this” if you agree to exchanging links). In our every more busy lives, anything that takes longer than a couple of minutes will be promptly discarded.
When you are sending out your link request e-mails, it is imperative that you take the extra time to personalize each and every e-mail. Don’t slap in a generic subject line such as “Attn: webmaster,” but rather take the time to find out the name of the webmaster and some personal details about the website itself. Using the webmaster’s name will get you tons further than addressing your e-mail to “Dear Site Owner.” Personalizing your request e-mail means making certain it will not be mistaken for an automated form e-mail which will likely be immediately deleted. Proofread diligently (just as you would a letter on paper) prior to mailing and make sure there are no grammar or spelling mistakes. Never forget that you are essentially asking for a favor, and all rules of politeness and courtesy apply.
Add your name and phone number in your request e-mail to appear trustworthy. Don’t ask for a link from another webmaster if their site is totally unrelated to your own. Make sure you are not asking for a link exchange from a site which already is overrun with existing links—the benefits to your site will be minimal. Blogs are a good source of links, so invite new blog owners to visit your site and write about it—not only have you given them new ideas for blog entries, you get a nice link in return. Pursue reciprocal links, but approach them with respect and good manners and your site will benefit.
Wednesday, January 25th, 2012
In the SEO “war” establishing and evolving an effective outgoing link strategy is yet another critical weapon. However, the structure and content of each and every one of those outgoing links is critical to your eventual success in the battle. Descriptive links which are rich in critical keyword are essential, while you should avoid at all costs the “click here” strategy. As a replacement for a “click here” link, substitute a very descriptive link with primary keywords, and you will be working toward optimization each time a reader clicks.
Why Outbound Links Matter
Outbound links count with your visitors as well as human editors of directories since providing meaningful links to other quality sites actually makes your own site all the more credible. Readers always want to know just what’s in it for them, so when you provide links to offer advice, information and quality content, you are more likely to be looked on kindly by your visitors. We all want solutions to our problems, or even just better surfing experiences, so high-quality outbound links can provide just that. A note of caution however—you need to be super-aware of the words “other quality sites,” when constructing outbound links. Nothing can destroy your credibility and loyal fan base any quicker than linking to inferior websites. When you put a link into your copy, you are essentially giving your stamp of approval to the site and telling your readers that it is well worth their while to take the time to click and read.
Location, Location, Location
Search engines tend to pay special attention to outgoing links which are located within the paragraph headings, with a few key links scattered throughout the paragraph text. There is a fine line, however between the judicious use of links throughout your content and links randomly stuffed into your page which will likely hurt your search engine ranking. Pages which are overfull of external links can be seen as an attempt at deception, leading Google—and others—to discount your pages entirely. If you have a larger number of outbound links than is ideal, then do your best to balance those with an equal number of internal links.
Stay in Your Neighborhood
When you are considering the links you want to send your readers to, try your best to ensure they are first, non-competing and second, high traffic. You always want to remain within your own specific niche. Specifically, keep your links theme-related to your own website or blog site. Don’t forget to link out to your other domains which cover related topics, and to ensure you get maximum bang for your buck, include your specific keywords incorporated into outbound and inbound links.
Don’t Hang Out With the Wrong Crowd
As stated, “bad” links can seriously hurt you. Just like mom always told you, you are judged by the company you keep, and if readers are consistently given spammy links, or even links which are not helpful or uninteresting, they will begin to distrust you and your site. Never, ever, obtain links from link farms and avoid marketing gimmicks which proclaim they will provide millions of links to your site for the low, low price of….
While link maintenance is painstaking and time consuming, it is also incredibly important. The success of your website depends on all your links being valid and in perfect working order. Digging through your archives to check the links within your post can seem like just too much, however take a look at the link-checking tools which can help automate the process.
Making the effort to create a solid outgoing link strategy can pay off big time in search engine optimization, so work at it and perfect your process!
Tuesday, January 24th, 2012
There are a variety of factors you should consider when using anchor text within your website. First of all, for those unfamiliar with the term, anchor text is any text on your page which is visibly hyperlinked—it is colored, usually blue, and when you click on it, it takes you to another page or another site. Normally, anchor text is used to indicate the subject matter of the page it is linking to. In other words, if my website sold solar panels, then if I have a hyperlink within one of my articles of “Austin solar installation,” this link would presumably take the user to a solar installer within the Austin area. There are many consideration when you are adding anchor text to your content, so here are a few of them:
- Include your company name within your anchor text as you manually build links. You can use the company name with and without spaces. Regarding a press release for your company, you would probably have your company name as anchor text, and that anchor text would take the user to your website’s homepage. In the same vein, you can use your URL as anchor text, using variations such as http://www.thesolarinstallers.com or simply www.thesolarinstallers.com or even just the name: The Solar Installers in a hyperlink which takes the user directly to the website.
- Use keywords judiciously in your anchor text in order to greatly enhance the relevance of the target page. Although the page which contains the anchor text is also enhanced to some degree, the target page is even more so. This knowledge can help you build relevance into each and every page of your website through the use of highly optimized anchor text which not only contains your most relevant keywords, but is also theme relevant to your other pages.
- Search engines love anchor text, plain and simple. Because of this, incorporating your highly targeted keywords into your anchor text can make a huge difference in how your site ranks with Google as well as other search engines. Google in particular has a gadget which picks up text only from within the anchor text of indexed pages, making it clear how much weight they assign to such text. In its recent algorithm changes, Google actually added even more weight to anchor text, meaning that if you add highly targeted anchor text, you could see your ranking substantially increase.
- Although it may sound technical, it is actually fairly easy to find good places to insert anchor text throughout your website. A caveat, however, when you are linking to your own internal pages, it works better if you hyperlink relevant keywords rather than unrelated words. In other words, it’s not a good idea to hyperlink, say, the word “here,” as in “For more information regarding solar installation, click here.” Although the hyperlink will take you to the same place as the targeted keywords would have, using such unrelated text will only hurt you as the spiders search your site. Always use your best keywords when working on anchor text.
- While your goal is to use your most highly targeted and important keywords in your anchor text, you don’t want it to sound stilted or unnatural. Insert your keyword phrases in ways that sounds as though they were written in from the beginning. If they sound very natural, you will not have destroyed the reading experience of your website’s users. And let’s face it, although getting users to your site is important, keeping them is even more so.
Make sure you have used your keywords in your title and paragraph headings, as well as sprinkling them naturally throughout your content, concentrating the bulk of them above the fold. Anchor text can offer your site a huge boost, you just need to learn how to use them correctly.
Monday, January 23rd, 2012
Almost everyone involved in search engine optimization will agree that compelling, exciting, interesting content is one of the very most important factors in how your website will rank. Of course you must pay attention to your chosen keywords, as well as scattering the appropriate number of those keywords and key phrases throughout your page. The bottom line, however, is that if your reader is not fully engaged, then it absolutely will not matter how shrewdly you’ve placed your keywords, because the reader will be clicking off your website in nothing flat. Really great content will compel your readers to link to your pages from their own sites, which in turn increases your inbound links and your overall exposure to potential clients and customers. The question is—how do you write such amazing content?
Is Your Content Relevant?
The primary factor in writing great SEO content is to ask yourself whether or not the words on the page add up to relevance to your reader. Narrow your field when you pick a topic; rambling or introducing too many ideas to your readers only confuses them and muddies the waters. If it appears your subject is expanding, split the article into two, or write a blog posting which addresses the additional subject matter then a user types in words on their search engine, they want to find the answer to their problems or question; if they can’t immediately do that on your site, they will be quickly moving on. Your content should build trust among your users, giving them the information they need the most.
Provide Real, Solid Answers
When you are writing your article, think about the questions a potential customer might ask you if they walked into the door of your brick-and-mortar business building. Then turn the situation around and pretend you’re the customer who knows nothing about your current business, and is just beginning to research. What questions would you immediately want answered? Avoid using business jargon—keep it simple and informative. Once you’ve determined the answers you need to provide to your users, ensure those answers are easy to find. When users have decided to buy a product from your site, then are unable to find the price or the shipping specifications, they are quite likely to click away to a competitor’s site.
Write for Optimal Readability
Internet searchers scan rather than read, so content should always follow those dictates. Break your content up into short, easy-to-read paragraphs and use bulleted or numbered list to draw the reader’s eye. You should have a primary heading which grabs your reader’s attention, as well as headings for your short paragraphs which engage the readers, giving them a preview of what the paragraph holds. Incorporate unique content into your page, through graphics, slideshows, photos or “top ten” lists.
Proofread—More Than Once!
Finally, if you want your website to represent your business—and you—in a professional manner make sure you have looked it over more than once. You don’t want any grammatical errors or spelling errors to make your users think you are sloppy or just don’t care that much about your site. If you would not hand out business cards with misspelled words or glaring errors, then don’t let your website out there until it’s been fully checked and re-checked for any problems, misstatements of fact, or any other type of error.
If your content is engaging and readable, then your visitors will return time and time again. Even better they will link to your page, tell their friends about your site, and include your link on social media sites. All of these things will boost your website up the page rankings in ways you have only dreamed about, and because this is considered organic SEO, your site will stay high in the rankings.
Friday, January 20th, 2012
While inbound links may well be the lifeblood to the success of your website, there are some inbound links which may be doing your site more harm than good, along with some which, while not technically hurting you, can simply be classified as useless. Cultivating the good links—those which can send your website quickly up Google’s popularity ladder—while ditching the bad and useless links, can significantly improve your website’s performance.
Keep the Useful and Good
Great inbound links can bring enormous benefits to your website by increasing search engine visibility. This increase in visibility in turn brings increased link popularity, a bump up in PageRank, higher traffic, and, ultimately, higher sales. In other words, what’s not to like about a solid inbound link? Getting these highly relevant inbound links can take lots of time and constant attention.
Offer Consistently High-Quality, Relevant Content
Providing extremely useful and unique content in your site is the first step to attracting quality inbound links. When your site consistently offers value and high-quality information which cannot be found elsewhere, you are on the yellow brick road to success. Other websites will be clamoring to link to your site in an effort to provide their own web visitors the best website experience possible. This natural progression brings targeted traffic and valuable inbound links.
Listing your website in the highest quality web directories can also bring a flurry of great one-way inbound links as can submitting your best articles to article directories with your site’s URL in the resource box. Some reciprocal links can be beneficial to your site, although Goggle’s latest algorithm has devalued link exchanges to some degree. If you stick with quality, themed reciprocal linking, then you will probably reap rewards. Finally, social bookmarking is the latest trend; you can link your sites to popular social media as a way to obtain traffic and great inbound links.
What are Bad Inbound Links?
Inbound links which are especially frowned upon by Google can do substantial harm to your website. Whether you are linked knowingly or unknowingly to harmful sites, you can be penalized or even blacklisted by search engines. Linking to sites which are considered link farms—they contain hundreds of links linking to one another in a single page—can damage your overall credibility, something that can take considerable time to rebuild. Search engines are also not in favor of sites known as Free For All sites where you place an advertisement with a link to your site. Your ad appears with literally thousands of others in an FFA site, however your exposure is minimal and the damage is huge.
What is a Useless Inbound Link?
You may find inbound links to your site which are neither especially good, nor particularly bad, however they offer little in the way of benefit to your site. Useless inbound links include sites which have little relevance to your own site, even if they rank highly. If your site is about office chairs, avoid an inbound link from a picture frame site, even if it is a quality, highly-ranked site. You get no credit, and little targeted traffic from such inbound links.
Ditching Those Bad and Useless Inbound Links
Once you have determined which links are either hurting your site or offering no real benefit, how do you resolve the problem? Unfortunately the removal of harmful links is not something Google can do for you, therefore you have to solve the problem the old-fashioned way. Contact each site you deem bad or useless and ask them to remove their links. Most webmasters will remove the link once you make the request, however you may run across a few uncooperative site owners. Unfortunately, this then becomes one of those things you have no control over, so it’s better to not dwell on it for too long rather focus on the things you do have control of. Links which are of particularly low or questionable quality rarely stand the litmus test of time, and tend to disappear over time, removing the problem from your site altogether.
Thursday, January 19th, 2012
While many website owners are fully aware of the importance of building an attractive website which will attract the highest level of traffic, not all of them understand how to incorporate SEO techniques into that design. Further, few site owners have a good understanding of the fact that any website which is heavily sprinkled with graphics, frames, Flash or any other codes which are not specifically based on HTML will require specific SEO techniques in order to be properly indexed by Google and other major search engines.
It’s much easier to actually design your site with SEO in mind than to have to come back and completely rework it later. Consider the following when you are designing your site and you when you are done you will have not only a well-designed website, but one that is full of search engine optimization which will push your site up the rankings quickly, bringing plenty of targeted traffic.
- When you are just getting started, remember that your URL or domain name can be a primary factor in how your site will be positioned down the road in the search engines and directories. Research your URL before deciding on one, and if you can, get some professional help. Your URL will stay with you for a long time to come, so make sure it helps your site rather than harms it. A captivating URL which allows your visitors to totally understand the content of your website simply by looking at it will allow you a much more prominent web presence.
- Ensure the search spiders will have lots of basic links to follow in order to index your homepage text, then include internal links to other site pages. Make it easier for spiders to actually find your pages by including a site map which categorizes all the pages on your site. Include one or more links to the site map from your home page. Make sure you have included strategic keywords in all the link texts.
- Create catchy, interesting, exciting headlines. Your headline section is crucial for SEO, and you should include your most relevant keywords so your users will have a clear understanding of the content on your page. Use targeted keywords when writing your H1 tag, using the most relevant keywords within the first 60-70 characters.
- Make sure your content is easy to read, understandable, and makes your readers want to finish the article. Your objective is eventual conversion therefore the more informative your website is, the better, however you have to use accessible language which is easily understood by all. Web page copy is often overlooked in its importance for SEO, so try to remember that search robots require text and HTML tags in order to successfully index your site. Further, directory editors will make the determination to list your site or not based on its relevancy and uniqueness. Text above the fold is the most important to search engine spiders as are keywords at the beginnings of your paragraphs and in as many paragraph headings as possible.
- Although there is much less dependence on meta tags now than in the past, it still doesn’t hurt to provide title, heading, description, keywords and alternate tags in the header section of your pages which are to be indexed. The description tag is especially important because it is used by search engines as a means of describing your site. Make it particularly compelling, using strategic keywords. Your title tag should be from 5-10 words, and keyword rich while also being highly relevant to your page.
While web design is certainly important, you can have the most fabulous, well-laid out site on the Internet, but if you haven’t implemented basic SEO practices, nobody will ever see it. Use SEO tactics from the very beginning, and you will have a payoff in traffic and rankings.
Wednesday, January 18th, 2012
Every time you click onto a website, your expectation is that you are about to find the answer to your problem or issue, relevant information which will help you in your life, or simply a compelling article which hold your attention to the very end. If, on the other hand, you click onto a website with these expectations in mind and find an article which is poorly written or makes little sense—in other words it has absolutely nothing of value to offer you—then chances are you are out of there as fast as your fingers can take you.
Additionally, the likelihood you would click on a link from a page you found to be of less-than-stellar quality are very low. What this means is that your links to other parts of your site as well as links to other’s websites will not be touched, making them basically irrelevant rather than great traffic-gathering sources. Web content is critical in the overall success of your website, not to mention it will garner you some very happy readers. Aside from not being littered with misspellings, grammatical errors, or simply not being written poorly, what constitutes great content?
Creating Headlines That Jump
The headlines of an article may well be what keep us reading until the very end. Headlines which are so catchy that they just beg you to keep reading should be the goal of every web writer and every website owner. You want your readers to feel as though they would be missing something vital if they ignored a particularly compelling headline. A great headline promises something tangible to the web reader, and is creative enough to pique your curiosity. The headline should provoke some sort of emotion inside you, and, basically inspire you to take an action of one kind or another.
In creating a compelling headline, try to dress it up with descriptive adjectives while at the same time describing to your readers how they will benefit from reading the remainder of the article. Consider this headline: “Stop! High Fructose Corn Syrup Can Kill.” Most consumers who have any interest at all in their health will take the time to read the paragraph or article which follows such a headline. Of course don’t forget that once you make such a statement you must deliver on the promise of the headline by telling readers exactly why high fructose corn syrup can be extremely detrimental to your health.
Why a Good Intro is Crucial
Aside from compelling headlines, your introduction is the next most powerful element. If you’ve done your job and already captured your reader’s interest with a killer headline, your next goal is to entice them to keep reading. If your intro is dull or uninteresting, and fails to follow up on your headline, then it is unlikely your reader will continue, probably hitting the back button without a further thought. The intro should ideally begin with a question or an uncommon fact which most people will find surprising or even shocking. Your introduction should imbue your reader with excitement to find out what else you have to say, although be careful not to give too much away or there will be no need for your reader to keep reading.
The Body of Your Article Should Deliver on Your Promise
If you promised in your headline and/or your intro to teach the reader how to do something specific, then make sure you follow up on that promise. If you fail to deliver on your initial promise, you will have readers who feel cheated and disappointed. Great content follows through with your initial headline and intro, giving your reader something of value that is written in a high-quality manner.
Finally, Wow Your Readers in Closing
The final step in excellent content is to leave your reader with an inspiring closing statement. After all, you want your readers to want to read more articles you have written, right? Just like an attorney, you should make your closing statement good, giving your readers a compelling reason to check out anything with your name as author. It’s not necessary to summarize your article, after all your reader has supposedly already read it. Instead end your article with a call to action or a metaphor of some sort which will enable the reader to remember what they just read.
Follow these guidelines and not only will your readers love you, you will benefit from greatly increased traffic as well as improved PageRank from Google. Never forget, content really is king!