Tag Archives: headline writing

Non-Computer People’s Ten Additional SEO Steps

Technical shit happens.
SEO is evolving and the bigger your site, the more work you will have to do to make sure that search engines can find you.

Non-Computer People’s Ten Additional SEO Steps. No posting I’ve done got the reaction that my “SEO for Non-Computer People” did. So I thought give the people what they want, more SEO. While I’m not a web or computer beginner by any stretch, I am also not an expert by any stretch either. More often than not its both trial and error that help me stumble forward with new web, software or hardware applications. SEO was different, at least for me. It was not intuitive, there were no patterns to copy, and since I work alone, no one to ask.

Throw money at the problem? Sure. I was contacted by plenty of people who promised to get me on the front page of Google, but that sounded unrealistic. I was born at night but not last night. So when I decided to get serious about blogging and consulting it was time to learn more about this topic.

Why does this matter so much? Because in an era when so many of us “transition” from good jobs at nice companies to single practitioner status we have to be able to compete with others who do know how to do this. And since so many of us make this transition after we turned 50, we did not grow up learning and doing the way younger people did. (Was that transition after the age of 50 for so many of us just a coincidence?)

  1. Will Google find my content if I do not submit my site to Google? Google says they will, but I think you should submit it to them anyway and here is why. My experience is that unless you do submit your site to Google you will not be able to use Google analytics. Since Google is the 800 pound gorilla on line, follow their directions. If you are using Word Press, there is a Google Analytics capability on your dashboard. Go there and it will ask you to paste a line of code into it. To get that line of code you need to go to Google Analytics, set up your account and enter the information for your web site. To do that, you will have to have submitte your site to Google. Full confession, this took me hours to sort out. But once I did, it was learned forever.
  2. What is “robot.txt” file and why should you care. According to Google Webmaster, a robot.txt is “a file at the root of your site that indicates those parts of your site you don’t want accessed by search engine crawlers. The file uses the Robots Exclusion Standard, which is a protocol with a small set of commands that can be used to indicate access to your site by section and by specific kinds of web crawlers (such as mobile crawlers vs desktop crawlers).” So in other words, if you have something on your site that you do not want seen, use this function. Google also has a way for you to test which URLs Google can and cannot access on your website, try using the txt Tester. Of course you will have to register.
  3. Links or content? The landscape of SEO has changed. I read that link and key word building were once a very important part of SEO. Accordingly, on line marketers were investing in that. But now, linking is not the numbers game it once was. Yes, you should include links that are meaningful to your content in your posts and articles. But if you have only the resources to focus on links or content, focus on content.
  4. Meta tags, and meta key words? Before the changes in process by Google, web programmers could jam a bunch of keywords onto to a site and trick the search engine into ranking it higher than it actually warranted. That will not work any more. So what does matter for META?
  5. META descriptions. META descriptions do not impact where your site is listed or ranked, but they do influence people searching for information. The META description is the opportunity to make your site stand out. If you are going to invest your time in SEO for your sitework on the META description.
  6. But I hate this, shouldn’t I just hire someone? You can hire someone who is technically adept but will he (yes it will be a “he”) know your topic like you? Probably not. My opinion is that with any media content site, do the content first. As fast as you are writing about and sharing your expertise, the wizards at Google are figuring out ways to make the SEO process better. And by better I mean a fair system of ranking based on what is there and not based on clever programming designed to game the system.
  7. Key word optimization is king/queen of SEO. Key words are important, no doubt. But like I said earlier, stuffing keywords onto your site will no longer do. Instead of counting and ranking sites by the number of words that shows up, Google is learning how to understand the intent behind those words, ergo, content.
  8. So put your key words in your headline. Write your headline with the keywords in it that are relevant to your content. Google hates it when you try to trick it and will actually punish those who try to cheat the system. It’s not nice to fool mother nature, but far worse to mess with Google. Speaking for myself, I am not qualified to try and game the people at Google. Sincere authorship of something you want to share that will help your fellow citizens is the best way forward for all of us.
  9. Present the most important concepts first. The people you are really working to optimize the site for are the readers. Like we say in journalism, don’t bury the lead. Put your best ideas first.
  10. Please don’t say it’s easy or that I missed something obvious. If it was obvious, I would have listed it. No one was born knowing this. But in the era of outsourced workers who have to compete for work on line, getting your head around the how to’s of some basic SEO skills is a good idea.

Write Good Headlines Nine Ways Recruit More Readers

Write Good Headlines Nine Ways. It’s true for advertisers, news writers and bloggers. No matter how brilliant the body of your piece may be if it does not have a headline that grabs attention and persuades people to read it, you might as well be writing with invisible ink. The headline of your blog post, article or news release is like the front door of your house. Your “front door” should compel readers to “come inside” and read because it’s more interesting and beneficial here than it is somewhere else.

Write Good Headlines Nine Ways. Without a decent headline there is no chance any of the rest of your article will be read.
Without a decent headline there is no chance any of the rest of your article will be read.

I’ve read where some writers wait until they are completely finished with an article or post to start on the headline. If that works for the more experienced writers, then great. But if you are just starting out you need some direction, hints, or a kind of a process at least to get started. Here is what I do.

  1. Write a draft title first. Once I settled on the topic to write about a title goes at the top of the page. The draft title for this post is “What’s In A Headline And How To Write Good Ones”. Now look at the top of the page and see how much the title changed or did not change after writing and editing. A draft or working title like this anchors you and your thinking. I know after penning the draft title, hey, I’m writing about how to write a good headline, so think about that. On the other hand of my 1st headline was too broad, it would be hard to focus. If the draft was just “headlines” it would be tougher to figure out the specifics of why this mattered.
  2. Do not overpromise. If you write a headline that says something like “5 guaranteed ways to find customers without even getting out of your chair” you will attract readers. Unfortunately they will only come to visit your blog a single time because you overpromised and under-delivered. Trust is difficult to win on your best day. It is easy to lose, and once trust is lost, it’s gone. Don’t just write “click bait” but instead give your readers real value. Start the relationship with a reasonable, accurate headline.
  3. Be Accurate. This is along the same theme as number 2. Save hyperbole and creative exaggeration for your script-writing project. There are plenty of ways to use language creatively and honor your honesty value.
  4. What is the value proposition? Why or how will the reader benefit from reading your piece? Tell them and be specific. “Raid Kills Bugs Dead” tells you exactly what Raid will do and in very few words. Brilliant.
  5. Use interesting language. Or use combinations of words that do not ordinarily occur together. Strong phrases like “why we hate to eat our vegetables”, “how I earned the label genius”, “local sports team delivers ass kicking” or “kick ass” are acceptable, at least in some forums. If you have a doubt about whether or not a word like “ass” is acceptable or not, it probably is not. I have no issue using it here, but would not use when I write about performances by the symphony orchestra that I play in. “Brazosport Symphony’s Mozart Kicks Major Ass” is more than a little out of place.
  6. Don’t be boring or lazy. I read newspaper headlines that use hackneyed phrases and descriptions. “Pet Fashion Show Goes To The Dogs” is one I saw recently. Yawn. This headline writer was just going through the motions, barely. He had decided that the newspaper industry was dead and his performance could do little to save it. What About, “Pet Fashion Model Shakes, Licks Itself Then Raises Thousands.” Regardless of which you believe is best, the one that gets the readers is best. And mine was the best. Just sayin’.
  7. Numbers and lists. People are drawn to lists and numbers in headlines. I better have a really interesting post to write a headline that does not have a number in it because my experience and that of other bloggers is that without them, you will draw fewer readers.
  8. Shorter is better. When writing headlines, be brief. If you can write a tweet that fits their character constraint, you can do it with a headline too.
  9. Ask friends or co-workers their opinions. Brainstorm with them about what the best headline is. Two heads are always better and three is better still. Your good friends will tell you the truth about a headline. If they will alert you to spinach in your teeth, or toilet paper on your shoe they will help you with a headline. Good friends want you to be successful. If you have them, consider yourself lucky. If you work alone, maybe it’s time to make some friends?