Blogging

Should You Use a Content Site Like MySmartBlog?

Blog, Blogging, Content Marketing, Marketing

Should you use a content site like MySmartBlog?

Hell no.

Here’s why.

“In some cases, content is deliberately duplicated across domains in an attempt to manipulate search engine rankings or win more traffic. Deceptive practices like this can result in a poor user experience, when a visitor sees substantially the same content repeated within a set of search results.”

You know who said that?

Google did.

You know what they might do about it?

“In the rare cases in which Google perceives that duplicate content may be shown with intent to manipulate our rankings and deceive our users, we’ll also make appropriate adjustments in the indexing and ranking of the sites involved. As a result, the ranking of the site may suffer, or the site might be removed entirely from the Google index, in which case it will no longer appear in search results.”

It is the cardinal rule of content marketing: ONLY USE ORIGINAL CONTENT THAT DOESN’T APPEAR ELSEWHERE.

Google Chooses Which of the Multiple Identical Articles to Show on the SERPs

Google’s algorithm isn’t stupid. In fact, it’s smarter than a lot of people are. It’s only going to rank one — or maybe two — of the multiple copies of the same, exact content that dozens of websites have.

What is MySmartBlog Doing? (And Why Isn’t it Actually Smart?)

MySmartBlog gives the same content to multiple people in the same industry… and they actually charge people for it.

They’re selling people the same article, and those people think they’re doing themselves a favor by posting it on their websites.

Here’s an example of an article pushed out by MySmartBlog. See, dozens of people have it on their websites, verbatim:

Duplicate Content is Bad - Unique Web Copy

 

Unfortunately, like I said, there’s no way Google is going to rank all those pages. When you type in an exact-match for a partial title, only two of the sites are ranked:

Duplicate Content BAD - Unique Web Copy, Angie Papple Johnston

What Can Happen if You Use MySmartBlog?

Each person who buys this content is flirting with a Google penalty. Even if Google never hits them with a manual penalty, nobody’s ever going to see those posts through the search engines (and that’s one of the points of setting up a blog: to capture traffic from the search engines).

Here’s Google’s own Matt Cutts on article marketing and snagging content that everyone else is snagging, too:

Even in 2011, Moz called out article marketing (the same stuff that MySmartBlog is doing):

Should You Use MySmartBlog?

Here’s the deal.

Even if your own blog posts suck, you’re better off doing it yourself than you are using MySmartBlog.

Seriously.

Even if they’re terrible.

Original content (even with grammatical errors and a few typos here and there) beats the crap out of putting up one copy of one post that other people already have.

Don’t waste your money. Their base package is something like $100 per month… if you take 15 minutes and put together a terrible, awful, horrible, no-good, rotten blog post, you’ll be doing better than the people who are scammed into buying content from MySmartBlog.

My SEO Experiment: Update

Blog, Blogging, Cool Stuff, SEO, Website Copy

Three days ago, on May 2, 2016, I published a page on my site called “What Animal Eats Begonias?” because I wanted to show that ranking for an exact-match, long-tail keyword is super-easy… if you know what you’re doing.SEO experiment - Unique Web Copy

Just three days later (admittedly, I forgot about it until just now or I’d have checked yesterday and the day before), my website is in 6th place in the organic search results for that exact-match term on Google. (Notice that I don’t even bother with Yoast SEO anymore because it has nothing to do with semantic search; I only use it to input my meta descriptions and meta titles.)

SEO experiment Unique Web Copy

If I promote that page by sharing it across social networks, or if I promote this page, that page will climb in the rankings. I made sure to fill it with information that answers the question, which means readers will find it useful, too… and that’ll help it climb in the rankings, as well.

Why did I choose that term?

It gets about 10 searches per month, according to Google, so it’s relatively low-competition. However, what really got me is that people are searching for it and nobody was targeting it.

An SEO experiment by Unique Web Copy - Angie Papple Johnston

That’s one of the things I do for my clients–find keywords that will help them show up in the search engine results pages, or SERPs–and include them in their blog posts. That way, they’re being found. The keyword I chose in this instance will only help me in a roundabout way; it won’t bring me sick animals that have eaten begonias, but it will bring me clients who understand the value of regular blogging services.

(Just FYI, I do monthly blogging packages that start at $99 and include 400 to 500 words of amazingly informative text, custom photo graphics, meta titles and meta descriptions, which are all great for SEO.)

 

Yoast SEO and Semantic Search with Google

Blog, Blogging, Google, SEO, Website Content, Website Copy

 

When you’re relying solely on one SEO tool, you might get the wrong idea about how “healthy” your pages are when it comes to SEO and Google.

Yoast SEO is a fantastic tool, especially when you need a fast, easy way to add meta descriptions and meta titles.

However, it doesn’t tell you anything valuable when it comes to the SEO on your page – only that you’ve used your target keyword at least once in every important area.

Yoast SEO and Semantic Search with Google

You’ll notice that Yoast SEO and semantic search with Google aren’t necessarily on the same page. Sure, Yoast can tell you that you’ve included your keyword — but you need to know that Google is smart, and so is their semantic search algorithm.

Watch the video. You’ll see that Yoast SEO is limited by exact match keywords. That means if the keyword you input isn’t an exact match to something in each category they look at, they will think that your SEO is not as good as it should be.

Yoast looks at whether your exact-match keyword is in your:

  • Article heading
  • Page title
  • Page URL
  • Content
  • Meta description

Here’s the Yoast evaluation of this post:

Yoast SEO and semantic search with Google - Unique Web Copy

How Hummingbird Changed the Way the Googlebot “Sees” Things

With Hummingbird, Google revamped the way search engines find and index website content. They now look at things in context rather than by counting the number of times you mention your keyword on a page.

So what does that mean to you?

You can use variations of your key terms and Google will still understand what your page is about.

Google isn’t going to have any trouble understanding what this page is about.

In fact, it’ll get ranked and indexed, and you’ll probably be able to find it whether you type an exact match to my “keyword” or not.

Why? Because of their super-smart algorithm that picks up on cues, synonyms and… well, semantics.

Tight Writing: Get Rid of “Flowery” Words

Articles, Blog, Blogging, Editing, How-To, Press Releases, Product Descriptions, Web Writing Mistakes, Website Content, Website Copy

When you’re writing for the web, you have 3 to 5 seconds to grab a reader’s attention.

That’s all you get – the time it takes for a reader to raise his or her coffee cup and take a sip. If you haven’t captured your visitors’ interest in that time, they’ll click the back button to find someone who does.

Even if you get past the 3-to-5-second mark, you still need to keep your readers’ interest.

You do that by keeping things short, pithy and to-the-point.

Get Rid of Flowery Words

One of the best books in the world — The Giver, by Lois Lowry — uses a phrase that’s incredibly important in writing for the web: precision of language. (That’s not an affiliate link, but if you buy The Giver through Amazon at that link, which is something you should definitely do, Amazon donates to the Wounded Warrior Project.)

Back to precision of language.

Check out the difference between these sentences:

  • She sipped the piping hot coffee, her eyes leisurely flicking over the smudged, raindrop-splattered newspaper without being able to discern between the blurred and bleeding letters.
  • She sipped the hot coffee, glancing at the wet newspaper. The letters were blurry.
  • She sipped her coffee and looked at the paper.

The first sentence is great… if you’re reading a romance novel. On the Internet, people don’t have that kind of time.

The second sentence is okay.

The third gets to the point.

It’s called purple prose in the writing world, and it’s the last thing you need when you’re trying to get someone to buy your product or service. You need things in black and white, and that’s it.

Precision of Language

Describe what you need to describe quickly and simply. People are coming to you because you have something they want, so give them the information in accurate, simple terms. Make it easy for them to read, too, by:

  • Breaking things up with subheads
  • Using bullet points or numbered lists where appropriate
  • Cutting out useless words
  • Getting straight to the point
  • Writing paragraphs that have no more than four sentences each

And for the love of Cthulu, don’t introduce what you’re about to write. It’s annoying and treats readers as if you assume they’re stupid. (Nobody is going to buy anything from someone who treats them like they’re stupid.)

Save Yourself the Trouble

Naturally, you could save yourself the trouble of slipping flowery words into your product descriptions, press releases or website copy and hire a professional writer. I know a girl…

Mobile Search Data and Your Website Copy

Blog, Blogging, How-To, Mobile, Website Content, Website Copy

 

If you’ve been keeping up with trends, you know that mobile is the wave of the future present. Everybody has a mobile phone — and staggering numbers of purchasing decisions are made while people are browsing on smartphones.

But what if your website copy isn’t optimized for mobile devices?

I guess you’re out of luck, then.

How Can Website Copy Be Optimized for Mobile?

It’s common knowledge that Internet readers have super-short attention spans. It’s safe to say that the same is true whether they’re on PCs or mobile devices, so in order to make sure that you’re providing great content that won’t lose readers’ attention, you need to make sure that:

  • Paragraphs are short, readable and easy to understand
  • You use bullet points to summarize information
  • You break up sections with clear, easy to read subheads

7 Mobile Use Statistics for 2015

  1. 87 percent of the world’s population is using mobile phones
  2. Mobile traffic provides about 30 percent of Internet activity
  3. 67 percent of consumers are willing to buy a product or use a service on a mobile-friendly site
  4. 70 percent of mobile searches result in action being taken within one hour (action after a desktop search takes place in about a week)
  5. You have 5 to 7 seconds (or less) to convince a user that he or she is on a page that will answer his or her questions
  6. 32 percent of consumers wish that mobile websites were easier to navigate
  7. 73 percent of mobile searches trigger follow-up actions

It’s incredibly important that you optimize your website copy for mobile use. You could be missing out on a HUGE amount of business by neglecting to pay attention to consumer behaviors and habits.

7 Mobile Stats for 2015

How to Find the Right Neighborhood in Hoboken

Blog, Blog Post Ideas, Blogging, How-To

If you’re a Realtor(R), you probably understand how important it is to populate your site with informative, engaging blog posts. If you can’t afford to hire a real estate writer, you can put together great posts yourself — and here’s one you can use as a springboard.

People devour information such as “How to Find the Right Neighborhood in Hoboken,” and you want to be the only Realtor for miles in any direction that’s passing out this kind of valuable information. Feel free to take this post and modify it to meet your service areas. Make it your own, and don’t forget to put a link in there to your home page or an important internal page, too.

You can get free stock photos from sites like Pixabay (that’s where I got this one).

How to Find the Right Neighborhood in Hoboken

How to Find the Right Neighborhood in HobokenHoboken isn’t a huge metropolis; it takes up about one square mile. Its walkability and access to public transit make it a wonderful place to call “home,” but everyone has different preferences—and different needs—when it comes to finding the perfect neighborhood in Hoboken.

Northwest Hoboken

With its slightly longer commute into New York City, the northwest quarter of Hoboken offers some of the lowest home prices in the city. If the added travel time isn’t a deal-breaker, you might begin narrowing your search based on that fact alone.

Southwest Hoboken

Considered the most car-friendly part of town, the southwest quarter of Hoboken has convenient access to highways, retail shopping and supermarkets. Some new construction is nestled among established buildings and townhouses in this neighborhood, which offers a good mix of options for homebuyers.

Southeast Hoboken

Manhattan commuters enjoy easy access to the city from the southeast quarter of Hoboken. Washington Street offers every imaginable convenience by day and the city’s liveliest nightlife hotspots. You’ll also find several waterfront properties, including luxury condos, in Southeast Hoboken.

Northeast Hoboken

Northeast Hoboken has the highest average income per household in the city. It also offers many waterfront properties, but the area has very little new construction. However, many of the area’s homes and townhouses have been beautifully preserved, remodeled and upgraded with upscale modern amenities.

The Waterfront

Hoboken’s waterfront is one of the most desirable locations for many people in the community. It offers unobstructed views of the Hudson River and provides easy access to marinas, restaurants and parks that dot the riverbanks. Like the northeast portion of Hoboken, the waterfront area offers a quick and easy commute into NYC.

Castle Point

Located near Stevens Institute, Castle Point is the highest elevation in Hoboken. Popular with Institute faculty and staff, Castle Point homes and apartments are highly sought-after for their central waterfront location and historic charm.

Willow Terrace

Willow Terrace, with its quaint townhouses and brick-laid walkways, sits in the center of Hoboken. The colorful streets of Willow Terrace feature an eclectic mix of local shops and markets. Many of the properties have been meticulously renovated and updated, giving what was once a rather homogeneous neighborhood a quirky, charming diversity.

Ready to Search Hoboken Real Estate to Find What’s Right for You?

Call us at XXX-XXX-XXXX or get in touch with us online. We’d love to help you explore Hoboken real estate listings to find the perfect home for your needs.

 

 

Sample Realtor Blog Post About Luxury Condos in Hoboken

Blog, Blog Post Ideas, Blogging, How-To

If you’re a Realtor(R), you probably already know that it’s a good idea to build up your blog. Your potential clients want to know everything about the area, and a post about luxury condos (in Hoboken, for this example) is a great way to draw in traffic and show off your unique knowledge of the area. Try the same on your own blog… but make sure you change all the important details. Don’t forget to find great anchor text to link to your homepage and internal pages, too.

 

Luxury Condos in Hoboken, NJ

Luxury Condo in HobokenA house in the suburbs isn’t for everyone. If you’re like many people, you prefer to leave the yardwork and building maintenance to the professionals and leave yourself more time to enjoy other things.

If that’s the case, a luxury condo in Hoboken might be the right choice for you.

Hoboken Condos: It’s All About Location

The old standby, “Location, location, location” is a cliché for good reason. Once you purchase your condo, you can change the interior however you’d like—but it’s always going to be right where it is now. Hoboken is convenient to the Lincoln Tunnel, rail systems and I-78, which combine to make it the perfect haven for commuters.

The best part is that Hoboken has everything you need. With shopping, fine dining and all the adventures you need located in this picturesque city on the Hudson, you won’t even need to leave town if you don’t want to.

Cityscape Views from Hoboken

The iconic view of New York City’s skyline from Hoboken is truly remarkable, and there are plenty of spectacular luxury condos with unparalleled lines-of-sight. There’s nothing quite like sitting on the balcony of an upper-floor condo at dusk to watch the city lights begin to twinkle.

Your view of the Hudson River and Manhattan will change with the seasons. Most people in our luxury high-rises rave about the greening of spring, summer’s thunderstorm light shows, earthy fall colors and winter’s first blanket of snow.

Building Amenities in Hoboken’s Luxury Condos

Each condominium’s homeowner’s association provides its own amenities. Indoor parking and rooftop decks, like swimming pools and fitness centers, have long been standard luxury condominium amenities, but now there’s so much more available. Children’s play areas, on-site parks and so much more are central to luxury condos all over the city.

Find a Luxury Condo in Hoboken that You’ll Love

Call us at XXX-XXX-XXXX or get in touch with us online so we can begin a custom search just for you. We’ll be happy to use our extensive experience with Hoboken luxury condos to help you find the perfect place.

Sample Blog Post for a Realtor’s Location

Blog, Blog Post Ideas, Blogging, How-To

If you’re a Realtor(R) and you want to start branching out your blog, which is always a good idea, a post like this is a great fall-back. Feel free to take this idea and run with it using public parks in your own city. It’s good for your SEO and it’s good to show your clients that you really know your areas.

 

Public Parks in Weehawken - Weehawken Homes for SaleWeehawken is a rare gem in that residents have access to all the shops, restaurants and amenities you’d expect from a big city—but when you live here, you’re never far from nature. The Weehawken Parks Department maintains a number of public spaces where residents walk, relax and play all year.

Public Parks in Weehawken

The Lincoln Harbor Dog Park is a perennial favorite. It’s an off-leash dog park where pups of all sizes are welcome, and the Weehawken Dog Run is another great place for four-legged friends to play.

There are a handful of fantastic people parks, too, including:

Garden Park

Located on Park Avenue between 38th and 39th, Garden Park is small but amazing. With a perfectly manicured landscape, a bubbling fountain and enough green space to sprawl out and enjoy the beautiful spring weather, Garden Park is a great escape from the everyday.

Gregory Park

Gregory Park is the place to be for a quick game of basketball, a picnic or to let your little ones have a blast on its massive play structure. Located at the corner of Gregory Avenue and Highpoint Avenue, this pretty park has an unparalleled view of NYC.

Webster Reading Garden

This quiet park, which is on Ferry Boulevard off Pershing Road, is the perfect place to catch some rays while you’re reading. With a chess table, a gorgeous gazebo and plenty of lush greenery, Webster Reading Garden is a pleasant spot in an urban setting.

Hamilton Park

A pleasant enclave on Boulevard East at Hudson Place, Hamilton Park is brimming with flowers, grass and trees. It offers a great view of the NYC skyline, which you can see from nearly any bench in the park.

Hudson River Walk

The Hudson River Walk is a picturesque pathway that runs along the river’s west shore.

Louisa Park

Louisa Park, located on Louisa Place between 46th and Fulton, offers visitors great views of NYC while they play basketball (the park has a half-court and a full court), picnic or relax.

Old Glory Park

Old Glory Park is located on Boulevard East at 51st, and while it’s small, it has comfortable benches where visitors can enjoy a great view of the Hudson River and New York City.

American Legion Veterans Park

The American Legion Veterans Park is a fenced-in green space across the street from Old Glory Park on Boulevard East at 49th.

Best Weehawken Parks for Playgrounds

While all of our public parks are spectacular, some are more known than others for their play places.

The best playgrounds are located at:

  • Pizzuta Park on Grand Street (between Chestnut and West 18th)
  • Tot Lot Park on Highwood Avenue (between Liberty Place and Eldorado Place)
  • Waterfront Park and Recreation Center at 1 Port Imperial Boulevard

Best Weehawken Parks for Scenic Views of NYC

If you’d like to sit back and enjoy the NYC skyline, you’ll love:

  • Gregory Park
  • Hamilton Park
  • Louisa Park

Best Weehawken Parks for Peace and Quiet

Sometimes you want to escape from the hustle-and-bustle of city life. If that’s the case, you’ll be able to relax at:

  • Webster Reading Garden
  • Old Glory Park
  • The Hudson River Walk

Are You Living in Weehawken?

If you’re considering moving to Weehawken, call us at XXX-XXX-XXXX or contact us online. We’ll help you find the perfect place. There are plenty of homes for sale in Weehawken that are within walking distance of our picturesque parks.

 

How Often Should You Blog?

Blog, Blogging, How-To

There’s no hard-and-fast rule about how often you should blog, but it’s a good idea to put new pages or posts on your site whenever it’s feasible (economically and time-wise). It’s a good idea because Google loves fresh content much more than it likes stale, old stuff that leaves your site looking worse than an old, abandoned house in the middle of nowhere.

But really, how often should you blog?

Blogging: It’s Not for Sissies

Okay, blogging isn’t really that difficult as long as you know:

  • What to say
  • How to say it
  • How often to say it
  • How many words to write
  • How to write
  • Whether you should allow comments
  • Whether you should use keywords
  • Where to buy or get royalty-free images to accompany your posts
  • How much information you should give (and how much you should hold back)

There are a few other things you should know, too, but I won’t list them all here.

If you really want to know, feel free to get in touch with me.

How to Blog Successfully

If you want your blogging efforts to be successful, the key is to connect with your audience. What do they want to know? It’s information that only you have, and only you know it well enough to convey it in an easy-to-understand manner.

It’s not always about perfect grammar or flawless spelling (although those things do help). Mostly, it’s about how excited you are to share your knowledge on a topic.

How often do you need to blog for GoogleI once read an 1,800-word blog post about spray painting a car. I don’t care about painting cars. Really, I don’t. 

I’ll never paint my own car, but the way this guy was talking about avoiding all of the drips and injecting little bits of personal experience… I kept reading.

And it’s weird; it all stuck. I can tell you how to pull the dents out of a door with a hair dryer and some ice so you can get a great paint job.

Run-on sentences: check.

The wrong there, their and they’re: check.

Passion from a guy who knows what he’s doing and doesn’t mind sharing? CHECK.

That’s what it takes to make a great blog post.

But that still doesn’t answer the question: how often should you blog?

Okay.

How Often Should You Blog?

Blog as often as you can. Once a week, minimum. Twice a week if you’re feeling spunky.

Your posts don’t have to be long, and they don’t have to be in-depth — but they do have to be centered on things your audience wants to read. Those are the questions your customers ask you, the decisions you watch them waver on, and the other things they’re interested in as well. (If you sell real estate, for example, your audience wants to know what to ask a builder, the best way to decorate a bathroom and how to choose the perfect paint colors.)

Committing yourself to a blog is kind-of big. It can be a time-suck, especially if you’re not very confident in your writing abilities or you don’t know all of your topics very well. You can always outsource your blog to a very talented copywriter… or you can try it out for yourself and see how it fits.

Image courtesy of the City of Park River

Should You Use Free Articles on Your Website?

Articles, Blog, Blogging, Google, SEO

There are a lot of tempting deals out there, and using free articles is one of them. If your business doesn’t have the budget to build out your website content, but you know you need pages (you do!), it might seem like a good idea to populate your site with freebies.

Let me put it bluntly: you’d be better off putting nothing at all on your website.

You’d be better off writing it yourself (even if you’re a terrible writer).

Here’s why.

Free Articles for Your Website Have Hidden Costs

Things that are published on the Internet are time- and date-stamped. Google’s bots are more intelligent than ever, so when they find two pieces of content that are identical, which one do you think they’re going to offer to searchers?

The one that’s been online longer.

That means you went to the trouble of populating your site with all these preexisting articles for nothing.

But it gets worse.

When the Googlebot figures out that you have identical content, they might even penalize your website. They do that by knocking the entire site (not just the copied pages) out of search engine results pages entirely.

Then nobody will find you.

The Best Alternative to Free Website Articles

Because you do need original content to survive online, start scratching out some ideas. You can write your copy yourself if you don’t have the budget to hire a writer.

Run it through the spellchecker and use something like Grammarly to make sure you’re not butchering it completely if you’re not a particularly talented wordsmith.

Just please, please, please… for your site’s sake, don’t use free articles on your website.