Content Authority Depends on Journalism Rules

In an era of fake news, content trust and authority depend more than ever on a few basic journalism rules.

In an era of fake news, content trust and authority depend more than ever on a few basic journalism rules.

One of the top 100 sites on the Internet in terms of audience has a message board section with quite a few posts about politics. One poster refers to many sites as sources of information. Most of the sites have the following characteristics:

  1. Private domain registration, meaning the owner is hidden.
  2. No contact page.
  3. No privacy policy.
  4. No terms of service.
  5. Fake bylines: ZeroPointNow, Knave Dave, Kim DotCom.
  6. No attribution of sources. In fact, no sources at all.
  7. No apparent editing based on the quality of the writing.
  8. No labels for opinion and advocacy.

Continue reading “Content Authority Depends on Journalism Rules”

Product Strategy Balances Desktop and Mobile

A site product strategy that balances desktop and mobile versions will improve time management and return on investment.

Websites rarely have the same amount of desktop and mobile visitors. Likewise, they rarely have the same amount of desktop and mobile ad revenue, transactions or other forms of income. But large differences can reveal weaknesses in either platform, especially mobile.

So the first step in developing a site product strategy is research by the publisher into the two platforms that identifies how much audience and revenue each one is producing. Continue reading “Product Strategy Balances Desktop and Mobile”

Website Navigation’s First Priority is Prominence

Site navigation gets the same benefit from prominence as advertising, content, functionality or any other element on a site.

The more prominent the site navigation, the more likely people will click on the links.

Prominence increases or decreases in navigation with a few simple design techniques: Continue reading “Website Navigation’s First Priority is Prominence”

How to Use Pinterest as a Business Marketing Tool

Pinterest example
Pinterest is a series of collections based on visual appeal.

Pinterest is a small business marketing tool, social media site and multimedia collection site all at the same time.

In fact, anyone can try to “pin” just about anything on a Pinterest account.

Individuals use Pinterest to collect images that interest them. They organize the images on “boards”. The boards consist of “pins”, which are images that people upload, identify on other sites or copy from someone else’s board on Pinterest.

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Meta Description SEO Sells a Page to Searchers

Meta description SEO promotes a page the way that advertising promotes an entire Web site.

SEO TacticsThe meta description of an article is a form of search engine optimization that promotes a page to searchers. Essentially, it is a sales pitch.

Various online sources have reported — and Google’s Search Console backs it up — that a document that gets the top spot in search results can receive a click rate of up to 40 percent or more. Second place has a steep decline, third sees even more decline and so forth.

But a well-written description for a fourth place result can improve the click-through rate. This is especially if the content of the top three results are poorly written and the fourth one is written well.

Meta Description Behavior

Sample searches illustrate the point about the benefit of a well-written and search optimized meta description like the one below.

Meta description example

The example is the result of a search on “caribbean travel guide”. The higher ranking result has that phrase in the title. It also has all three words in the meta description. The other result has two words that appear much farther apart.

The highlighted words in the meta description are bold, which makes them stand out more. They aren’t as dominant as the title, but any searcher who reads the descriptions to see which result is better will more likely click on the first choice.

An article ranked in third place isn’t always the better-optimized article. It may simply have won that position because of an important backlink or some other factor.

Anyone who works online for a living and does many daily searches will know that less relevant articles with awkward titles and badly written meta descriptions sometimes — even oftentimes — make it to a higher ranking in search results.

Adding the Meta Description Tag

The meta description is a tag that appears within the <head> tags of a document. It looks something like this:

<meta name=”description” content=”Learn effective online marketing strategies including SEO, pay per click advertising and social media promotions.” />

The description content lies within the quotes. It appears in search engines like this:

Meta description content example
Meta description content example

The meta description length is limited to about 255 characters including spaces. So the quantity of the content is limited. It is the quality that can make a difference in whether someone clicks.

Optimizing It for SEO

Meta description SEO requires common sense, good judgment and a little research.

Developing any article for online publication should involve researching keywords as one of the first steps.

Common sense and good judgment lead to choosing the best keywords that suit the article — and certainly not trying to jam every possibility into the article.

Sometimes research will reveal that quite a few people use unnatural word combinations.  This actual example illustrates the point: “caribbean weather” gets 4,400 searches a month and “weather caribbean” gets 880, according to Google’s keyword planner.

Common sense obviously says that “caribbean weather” is a natural combination that works well with a meta description, while “weather caribbean” does not.

Search engines are smart enough to know that both phrases mean the same thing. But the example shows that some keyword possibilities do not belong in a meta description.

Bad SEO for Meta Descriptions

The worst way for a publisher to do search engine optimization for meta descriptions is by writing it in a way that doesn’t provide natural appeal to searchers:

  • Don’t include critical keywords or keyword phrases.
  • Use question sentences that make the topic of the page unclear.
  • Use dull and nondescript language.
  • Be as boring as possible.

In traditional newspaper journalism, the first paragraph of a news story is the most important paragraph of the entire story. It is the hook that encourages the reader to read more.

In online media, this approach is one tactic of something often called link baiting. It is baiting the hook with language that is interesting, informative, funny or appealing in some way.

Just don’t make it deceptive, inaccurate or misleading.

6 Important Tips

Consider six steps in the writing of meta description for SEO:

  1. Start with the critical keywords or keyword phrases that have been identified from the site document and through keyword research.
  2. Alternate long and short sentences but emphasize short ones.
  3. Keep the number of syllables for each word as few as possible.
  4. Be creative. Go beyond simple description to write something unique or informative.
  5. Complement the page title rather than mimic it.
  6. Use the most important keyword in both the title and in the description.

The effectiveness of the meta description content is secondary to the title for the simple reason that the title appears in larger type in search engine results.

But keywords in the meta description are usually displayed in bold. If the searcher pauses long enough to consider two similar results and read the descriptions, the better-written one will have an advantage that may lead to a click.

Well-written content will lead to more clicks. If the description accurately reflects the content of the landing page, the visitor will spend more time on the page. More time on the page will boost the ranking of the document in search engine result pages.

YouTube ‘Suggested Videos’ Hint at Good and Bad Titles

YouTube publishers who look at the “suggested videos” report in their analytics may find some useful insights about their titles.

YouTube recommends
YouTube also recommends videos on its homepage.

YouTube publishers who look at the “suggested videos” report in their analytics may find some useful insights about their titles.

On the main analytics page, scroll down to the list of the videos and click on the video title. The link goes to a metrics page for that one video.

Scroll down to the bottom and look at Traffic Sources in the lower left. It will show percentages of traffic under various categories such as:

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Free RSS to Email Saves Time, Effort and Money

RSS to email makes it possible to spend no time and effort on building an email marketing campaign.

RSS to emailEmail marketing may not be as popular as it was in the past thanks to the growth of social media, but it still has a solid place in a website’s marketing efforts.

But like all marketing efforts, building and distributing an email newsletter takes time and effort that is becoming more stretched in a competitive environment.

That time and effort could go to better use if the process of sending out emails was entirely automated.

RSS to email makes it possible to do so. Continue reading “Free RSS to Email Saves Time, Effort and Money”