Category Archives: Research Tips

Keyword Research Ideas for Content Writers

Keyword research

When creating content, you want to be sure that you’re strategically using keywords that will enhance your search engine optimization (SEO) and help readers find your work. To give your writing a competitive advantage, it’s not enough to blindly write and hope that search engines will find your work. Rather, you must carefully think about the words you’re using. Even words with similarly meanings can have drastically different search engine results and so you want to be sure to pick the keywords that will serve you best.

Before you even begin writing, there are some key steps you should take to identify the most relevant and powerful keywords to include in your content. Here are five pieces of advice that will help to point you in the right direction for researching effective and meaningful keywords.

Think like your audience

Try and place yourself in the mindset of the audience you’re trying to reach. What are these people likely searching for? What terms or words are they most likely to use in their searches? For some audiences, these might be very technical and professional terms, for others the keywords might be more common and casual. Even before you research your keywords, research your audience and the terms they most commonly use.

Choose a popular niche

The terms “popular” and “niche” may seem to contradict each other, especially when it comes to keywords. Should you pick popular and frequently searched terms and risk competing with millions of other writers or should you pick a smaller niche where you have a better chance of making an impact? The answer is you need a balance of both. Research keywords that are popular and research keywords that are unique. Then develop a short list that includes some from both. This balance will help give your content strengths in both areas and increase your SEO.

Use meta descriptions

Meta descriptions are descriptions of your content (in 150 characters or less) and are excellent opportunities for search engine optimization. Before you begin writing, create your meta description as a way to focus your content and highlight your most relevant keywords. This description will then act as a very succinct summary that will help tailor the rest of your writing and help search engines to more easily find and archive your content.

Take advantage of free tools

There are a lot of free tools out there that can aid in your keyword research. Keywordspy.com provides a stealthy way for you to review the keywords that your competitors are using and clearly identify the most profitable combinations of keywords and ad copy to use. Another tool with a free option is semrush.com which most uniquely provides you with a visual comparison of various SEO metrics. This is helpful for identifying trends and opportunities that might be missed when looking only at numbers.

Additionally, one of the most effective websites for researching keywords is InboundWriter.com. With a free account you can research terms and phrases before you begin writing to see how they rank among other options. Then, as you incorporate high ranking keywords into your content, you will be given a score for how optimized your content is, while being offered tips for how to improve its ranking.

Don’t overdo it

Overloading your article with long lists of keywords won’t better serve your SEO or your readers. Instead, the keywords will appear crammed and read awkwardly since they likely won’t flow with the text. Narrow down your long list of keywords to just the top few that will provide you with the most powerful results. Then, spread your keywords evenly throughout your writing so they appear to be more organic.

Use these five pieces of advice to make your content even more powerful with the use of keywords. While SEO can sometimes be an intimidating and confusing topic, these tips offer some easy and straightforward ways that will help you to write even more effectively and reach an even broader audience!    ~Stephanie

Share your insight! What other ways have you found helpful for researching keywords?

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Filed under Blog Writing Tips, Keywords, Research Tips

Advanced LinkedIn Tips for Writer Research

By My Web Writers

LinkedIn is often thought of as purely a job networking site, but today’s LinkedIn can be a writer’s secret researching friend, too. We’ve dug into the LinkedIn site and found some advanced ways that it can help writers research people, articles, and stories:

Use it to Network

This is perhaps the most obvious way to use LinkedIn for research.  The network is filled with professionals and experts in every field imaginable. The key is not being afraid to ask about what you’re researching. Many writers are surprised to find that the experts are more than happy to offer material or guidance on where to find information on their area of expertise. They will probably have plenty of ideas that you never even thought of! Personally message an expert and see if they can help you out.

Join a LinkedIn Group

There are LinkedIn groups on just about every subject possible. Consider joining a group or even just taking a look at what others have been sharing. LinkedIn will suggest some groups you may like, you can join a group already established, or you can create your own group. Using Groups on LinkedIn is a great way to research. You’ll have an entire network of people ready to answer your questions or at least give you advice on where to find the best information.

Create a Poll

On your LinkedIn homepage, click on “More” and then “Polls.” Type in what you’re researching to see if anyone has already posted a poll about your topic. If they haven’t, create your own poll and see what types of responses you get. Not only can people participate in your poll, but they can comment on it as well. This is a great way to do research and your poll is open to all of LinkedIn, getting a wide range of responses for your research.

Use your Posting ModuleLinkedIn Research

If you have question you want to post to your network on LinkedIn, consider posting it in your “Posting Module” on your homepage. This is almost like a “status update” or a “Tweet.” You can decide if only people in your network can respond, or if it is open to anyone. You might be surprised at the number of responses you get to the question in your Posting Module.

Current Events

LinkedIn Today holds the latest news on the topics you’re researching. Most of this information is coming directly from the experts, not from the general news media. Use LinkedIn Today to research what the professionals are saying about your topic. You’ll find some articles and information that you might not find anywhere else.

LinkedIn might not have the actual information you are looking for when it comes to research, but it can definitely point you in the right direction if you know how to use it. Don’t be afraid to ask the experts for help, and take some time to do some digging in Groups and LinkedIn today.  ~Natalie

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Filed under Pinterest, Research Tips, Writing Resources

Tricks to Using LinkedIn and Quora to Research Topics and Articles

By My Web Writers582041_computer_1

LinkedIn and Quora can be used for much more than meets the eye. Most think of LinkedIn as a professional website for job hunting, and some see Quora as a question-and-answer site with no more credibility than Wikipedia. If you know a few tricks, however, both can be excellent resources for researching topics and articles. Whether you’re a content writer or researching for a school assignment, turning to these sites can provide some great information, or at least point you in the right direction for other outstanding sources.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is no doubt a great source for networking and showcasing your list of job skills for potential employers, but it can also be used to research topics and articles. LinkedIn Today is the perfect spot to see what other professionals are sharing. Like the “How to use LinkedIn Today” video says, “There’s too much information out there, and not enough time in the day.”

LinkedIn Today gives you information from industry professionals and experts who have knowledge to share about specific topics. Not only can you search for a specific topic on LinkedIn Today, but can then filter down the results even further based on time posted, industry, or even company.

You can also set up your LinkedIn Today posts to show up on your LinkedIn homepage. You can select specific topics or even people to follow. The articles will be catered to your specifications!

Join a LinkedIn Group and read what others are asking or sharing.  Some of the best, blog post topics can be formed just by looking at forum questions.

Quora

“Anyone can ask, answer, or edit questions on Quora,” is the welcome you get once you’ve logged in to your Quora page.  Get answers from real people from all over the world. The answers might come from doctors, lawyers, writers, etc.

Quora has some great tips on getting started and how to decide which information makes for a good answer. For example, a good answer will often include a link to a research article or website that will provide more detailed information. The best answers are voted to the top of the often long list of answers.

If you can’t find a question that’s already been asked about your topic, ask the question yourself! You’ve got a world of people out there waiting to answer, so why not ask? The answers could open up a world of information you had no idea was out there and can be quoted in your blog post.

While LinkedIn and Quora shouldn’t be your only means of researching, the information found can certainly point you in the right direction. LinkedIn and Quora can offer analysis from industry experts and professionals that you might not otherwise find. ~Natalie

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Filed under LinkedIn, Quora, Research Tips, Revising & Proofreading, Social Media, The Writing Process

6 Tips for Proper Linking in Blog Posts

My Web Writers

Linking to other blogs builds relationships and gets you noticed in the content marketing world. When content generators see they are receiving links from you, they are more apt to visit your site, and possibly link back to it.  But, be advised that linking for linking’s sake is not recommended. Search engines have made it clear that content needs to offer readers value and not a plethora of junky links.link

Consider these six tips to building community by connecting to others when the connections fit your content:

1)     Link to those in your network: Regardless of your industry, you’ll likely have peers worthy of referrals.  Providing a positive endorsement or a link to a colleague or vendor builds community and ultimately drives traffic to your site.

2)      Link to fans: If you have an active readership, linking to their blog or other social media account is an effective way to foster engagement. Plus, it never hurts to thank readers for their loyalty.

3)     Link to supplemental/complementary information: In general, anything relevant to your blog topic is worthy of link consideration. Driving readers to other links can provide context and supplemental information on the topic to your readers. In time, readers will come to view you as an expert in your respective field.  As a word of advice, limit these types of links to five per post.  It’s possible to overwhelm readers with too much content.

4)      Provide link explanations. A good way to encourage visitors to click on external links is to provide a brief description about the content. Readers will be more apt to click than if the link lacks an explanation. No one wants to click on a link to find it’s really a virus or not what they expected. You could lose credibility or trust. And that translates into less traffic, and perhaps a shrinking bottom line.

5)     Make friends. If you’ve found a compelling blog post, why not contact the blog owner and inquire about exchanging links, or even guest posts? If your site is a source for relevant, high-quality information many will be willing to reciprocate to reap the rewards. Another scenario: Link to the other blog, then email the blogger to introduce yourself, mention the link, and ask them to consider linking to you.

6)      Another pro tip: Set your links to open in a new window. This keeps visitors on your site longer, and helps maintain fluidity in reading. For example, if you’re linking to a story about analytics, they might be interested, but want to keep reading your post. Opening the story in a new window allows them to browse to that tab or window–on their own time.

In short, linking is one of the many activities you can do to help better your SEO. The links should literally stand out and entice readers to click them. Make sure the links are relevant to the rest of your content and not too cluttered on the page.  Finally, familiarize yourself with the Penguin update, if you haven’t already, to ensure that you avoid exact match anchor text. When you properly link in your blog, you offer the reader other avenues to explore your topic more deeply.

~Lauren

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Filed under Blog Writing Tips, Citing Sources, Content, SEO (Search Engine Optimization), Website Linking