Monday

Demystifying Google Penguin and SEO Strategies Part 1

Demystifying Google Penguin and SEO Strategies Part 1


In light of Google Penquin, the latest update, I’ve been reading a lot about the new marketing strategies that should be used for effective search engine and content optimization, or as Scott Frangos of WebDirexion.com puts it, “social environment optimization.”

I think Frangos hit the nail on the head – the new marketing strategies to be used, to appease the marketing gods (search engines), is all about social networking, connections. SEO was always kind of a popularity contest, but now even more so, but on a somewhat fairer playing field.

Penguin is about links.

Before, search engines simply connected searched keywords to related websites. Simply put, the more links back to your site, the higher your status. Quality links were always better.

Now, while keywords offer a ‘pointing finger,’ it’s the content itself and its shareability that matters. The more quality ‘like-minded’ sites linking in and visitors you get the more Google will like you. The quality and relevancy of the links matter.

The new update is a good thing for writers who provide useful information for their readers. The content itself is ‘worthy’ and packs the ‘ranking punch.’ It doesn’t need lots of special optimization tricks. 

But, Google’s new update does raise some questions:

•    Do effective titles and content still matter?
•    Are keywords still needed?
•    What about ‘tags?
•    What about anchor text?
•    What does Google penalize for?
•    How do you rank with Google?

Let’s go over each one:

1. Do effective titles and content still matter?

Yes they do. It’s the title that will attract a reader’s attention and help turn attention to interest. Having a relevant keyword in the title helps the search engines categorize it and lets the reader know if it’s what he is looking for.

It’s the content that will keep the visitor on your site and motivate her to SHARE. This is the social connection.

2. Are keywords still needed?

Again, yes. Keywords help search engines categorize your content and help searchers find it, as mentioned in number one.

But, the keywords should be content relevant and not used primarily for money-making optimization. Sites that heavily use ‘money keywords’( keywords specifically used to make money through strategies like PPC), will most likely be penalized.

3. What about tags?

Yes, to this also. Tags, like keywords, help search engines categorize your content.

4. What about anchor text?

According to MicrositesMasters.com, “Google has issued a link over-optimization penalty (or at the very least over-optimization link devaluation).”

This pertains to anchor text linked primarily to ‘money keywords’ and that brings incoming links specifically to make money. These sites usually lack valuable content.

Using anchor text to give your reader more bang-for-the-buck, a broader reading experience is a good thing. Along with helping your reader, if you’re linking to other valuable articles on your site, it keeps the reader on your site longer – raising your perceived value in the ‘eyes’ of the search engines.

So, bottom line, anchor text used ethically is a good thing.

5. What does Google penalize for?

This is pretty easy. Google penalizes for content manipulation to make money.

SmashingMagazine.com says, “Google fights content spam by emphasizing quality in its algorithm and by being transparent in how quality is calculated.”

So, worthless and/or overly monetized content is penalized and content that is valuable, relevant, written for the benefit of the reader and shareable is rewarded.

To read Part 2, which covers,: How to rank with Google with your content marketing.

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MORE ON CONTENT MARKETING

Creating Images – Simple and Quick
Headlines That Increase Website Traffic and Website Conversion Rates
Book Publicity – How to Create an Online Media Kit




PLEASE SHARE!

Wednesday

How and Why to Guest Post

Guest post by Heather Smith

Guest posting can be a very rewarding experience, believe it or not. You would think that writing for other people’s blogs would be boring or frustrating, but, on the contrary, it is actually useful and fulfilling. After all, how many times have you wished to branch out and write something that didn’t fit with the theme of your blog? How many times did you think: ‘I wish there was a better way to drive traffic to my blog’? Well, with guest posting, you get the best of both worlds.

WHY:

•    You get to write fun, new stuff – Let’s say your blog is about flowers, but you really love purses as well. Unfortunately, your blog just won’t take a post about purses. However, your friend’s blog is all about them. Tada! A perfect opportunity.
•    You get links back to your blog-Which brings your blog up higher in Google rankings. Instantly, you’ll get more hits to your site.
•    You get more readers – More hits equal more readers, and who doesn’t love that?
•    You get more exposure – With these readers on her blog and on yours, you get increased exposure, which means still more readers coming in!

Now we get down to the nitty gritty. This all sounds great, but how do I start guest posting? I’ve never done anything like this before! Well, it is actually very simple. There are just a few steps to successful guest posting.

HOW:

1.    Contact bloggers you love to read – If you love to read it, chances are you share similar tastes. The blogger would probably love a break and a fresh set of eyes on her blog, and would be more than willing to share her readers. It is a win win!

2.    Ask if they will allow you to write a guest post – Guest posts are great for both of you. They get free content they didn’t have to write, and you get more readers without taking away any of theirs. Tell them all about the positives and they’ll be bound to allow you to post.

3.    Give them a choice of topics you can write on - If you can, make a connection between your blog and theirs. Maybe you can write about using purses as vases for flowers, or three floral printed purses every woman must own, or something that makes a connection between your focus and theirs. That way, the readers will understand what you have to offer and you’ll get more long-time readers and fewer curiosity seekers only.

4.    Write in a way that is similar to the blogger’s style – Do their posts all have numbers? Are they essay format? Do they have pictures or video clips? What audience is she trying to reach? It is important to keep these things in mind as you create your guest post. The closer it is to the current style, the more likely it is to be posted.

5.    Include an author summary with a link to your blog – This is so, so important. This is the whole point. You want to let people know who you are, what you write about, and, most of all, where to read more!

6.    Wait for the readers to pour in!

There you have it. Now, wasn’t that so simple? You will be surprised how great this works. With a little effort, you can grow your blog by leaps and bounds, and expand your writing repertoire. You can also make lasting connections with your blogging friends. Now, isn’t that a win win?

Author Bio
Heather Smith is an ex-nanny. Passionate about thought leadership and writing, Heather regularly contributes to various career, social media, public relations, branding, and parenting blogs/websites. She also provides value to hire a nanny by giving advice on site design as well as the features and functionality to provide more and more value to nannies and families across the U.S. and Canada. She can be reached at H.smith7295 [at] gmail.com.

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Other Articles You Find of Interest:

Freelance Writing Work: The Possibilities
Writing Nonfiction: Using Quotes
Being a Writer: Learn the Craft of Writing




Monday

Writing for Money – Breaking Into Freelance Writing

Unless you’re an established freelance writer, it may feel overwhelming to break into the ‘writing for money’ field. It could be the thought of writing a 1000 word article seems daunting. Or, maybe you’re intimated thinking of ghostwriting or editing a book. Well, freelance writing doesn’t have to be overly time consuming or laborious.

There are all types of writing, aside from feature articles, you can write greeting card content, fillers, anecdotes, short articles or posts, letters, jokes, and more. There are many opportunities to write for money.

In the Morning Nudge by writing coach Suzanne Lieurance, she mentions that the worst thing you can do in regard to your writing career is NOTHING.

With all your dreams and well intentions of creating a freelance writing career, if you don’t take some kind of action, it’s a sure thing that you’ll never get anywhere. So, no matter what genre you’re writing in, or want to write in, take the steps to move forward.

Tips and Tricks to Move Forward

Writing for money means you’ll need to put time and effort into creating and building a career. To do this, to move forward, you’ll need to write on a regular basis, even if it’s not meant for publication. In addition, it’s a good idea to read ‘good’ copy and content. This will help you hone your craft.

Another trick to keep you moving forward while you query for jobs is to actually type effective copy and content written by pros. This strategy helps you train your brain to recognize good writing and will help you to emulate it. But, a word of caution here, this is only a practice strategy – you cannot use another writer’s content for anything other than practice. That would be plagiarism.

You may be thinking that you just don’t know where to start or how to start on a freelance writing path. That’s understandable. The writing arena is broad and can certainly feel overwhelming when first starting out, but one strategy is to write in the niche that you know.

Are you a healthcare professional? Write in that area.
Do you know lots of technical stuff? Write in that area.
Are you an accountant or other professional? You got it, write in that area.

You can also think about your hobbies. What can you write about. Chances are if you're interested in something others are also.

Learn Your Way to Success

in addition to the tips above, there are also a number of programs and resources, free and for a fee, that you can take advantage of to guide you to publication.

You can start by asking in your writing groups or ask more experienced writer friends if they know of tools, programs, and resources geared toward writing for money. You can also attend live or online freelance writing webinars. There are a number of free ones available online. In addition, you can do an online search to find resources.

Another strategy to use to learn the ropes is to attend courses, pay for ecourses or signup with a writing membership site. If you do choose this route be sure the director or instructor is qualified.

As you can see, there are many opportunities for you to get started and move forward in your freelance writing career.

Here are 2 resources to help you get started today:


Become a Power-Blogger and Content Writer in Just 4 Weeks

This e-class will show you how to write super-charged articles and content that will be reader and SEO friendly, shareable, engaging, and will increase conversion. And, it’ll show you how to find prospects and work.

Whether you’re just starting out or whether you want to add this lucrative writing skill to your resume, taking this e-class will give you the tools you need to take your business to the next level.

It's interactive and in-depth. Check it out today. Just click on the link above for the details.



Editing Books (and Articles) Like a Pro

This ebook offers great tips on editing any content and it's Only $7

Take the Leap!

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More on Freelance Writing

Freelance Writing Work: The Possibilities
A Ghost Writer: 5 Features That Can Help Your Business Part 1
Freelance Writing Driver’s Seat

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Friday

Review of Great Little Last-Minute Editing Tips for Writers



This is week three of my summer book review Fridays. Today's review is of the Great Little Last-Minute Editing Tips for Writers by Carolyn Howard-Johnson.

Title: Great Little Last-Minute Editing Tips for Writers
Author: Carolyn Howard-Johnson
Publisher: Self Publishing
ISBN: 1450507654

What’s more important to a writer than words? Not much . . .  maybe how to put words together properly, using correct grammar, weaving them together to create descriptive or informative content . . . but, we still go back to the foundation of every writer’s manuscript or article, every marketer’s content, and every copywriter’s copy . . . words.

Carolyn Howard Johnson’s latest book, Great Little Last-Minute Editing Tips for Writers, is a  little 55 page book (or e-book) that a writer can refer back to over and over and over to find help with some of the most common word trippers.

In the Before You Get Started section of this book, Howard-Johnson explains, “Great Little Last-Minute Editing Tips for Writers is full of words that are trouble causers. They either sound alike or are spelled similarly. They are not arcane words that you will seldom have an occasion to use. They are not words the writer knows but still mistypes.”

Words such as climactic and climatic used improperly or misspelled can mean a rejection when submitting to the “gatekeepers.” The addition or deletion of that little second “c” makes a huge difference in the meaning of the word.

Or, how about the words: all together / altogether; demur / demure; one in the same / one and the same; and peeked / peaked / piqued. These are just a few of the word trippers added in the Great Little Last-Minute Editing Tips for Writers.

Listed in an A – Z format, the words chosen for this book are thoroughly explained with the aid of examples. This all makes for an easy to understand and easy to read guide. The author also provides two resource sections at the end of the book: Reading: One Editing Book at a Time, and Other Writers’ Aids.

I happen to be a fan of Carolyn Howard-Johnson’s Frugal series and have the Frugal Editor as well as the Frugal Book Promoter. They are a part of my writing and marketing toolkit. The author has done it again with the Great Little Last-Minute Editing Tips for Writers. She has compiled this much needed booklet as an addendum to a list in the appendix of her book, The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success.

I learned a great deal from Great Little Last-Minute Editing Tips for Writers and will be referring to it often; I highly recommend it.

If you're a writer, marketing, author, get your copy today:



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More on Writing

If You’re Not in the Writing Field Do You Still Need Strong Writing Skills?
Copy Editing, Line Editing, and Substantive Editing

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Monday

Creating Images - Simple and Quick


Creating images on your own is easier than you might think.

Normally, for any of my image needs I would go to BigStock.com, and choose the image I wanted. This could take quite a bit of time. For most topics there are lots and lots of images to go over. But, hey, the saying goes, "a picture is worth a thousand words," so spending the time to find the 'right' one is necessary.

While this is a good strategy, again, it takes time and sometimes you just can't find the 'right' image.

Suppose you just wrote an excellent blog post and want an 'on target' image to go with it. If you're like me, you'd have to search through the images you already bought. Or, you'd have to go to your image service you use to find and buy the image you want.

You could also check out MS Office ClipArt, which has some pretty good images. But, if you're looking for something 'on target' and you just can't find, you end up settling.

This goes with the blog posting territory.

Well, a while ago I wrote an article and just couldn't find an image that 'hit home.' And, I didn't want to waste too much time finding one, so I decided to throw something together myself. I used Microsoft Office 2010. It took around five minutes.


My article was on video marketing, Using Video for Marketing, and I wanted an image that would quickly reflect the topic. So, this is what I did:

1. Opened a Word doc and typed "Play Video."
2. Used Text Effects in Home: Font.
3. For the background, I highlighted the text and chose an orange color from Home: Paragraph: Shading - there's actually I reason I chose that color, but that's another post. :)
4. I highlighted, copied, and pasted the pre-image into MS Paint, cropped it, and saved it as a jpg.
5. I inserted that jpg into the Word doc I had open.
6. I click on the jpg and went into Picture Tools Format.
7. I choose Picture Effects - Preset #11.
8. Then, I highlighted the image and  chose the orange 'shading' again.
9. For this step I couldn't simply highlight and copy/paste into Paint because of the special effects that were now in the image, so I clicked on Print Screen (Prt Sc). Be careful when you use Prt Sc, because any thing on on your screen or in the image will appear.
10. I copied the newly revised image into Paint, cropped it, and saved it as a jpg.

That's it. I had a quick and easy 'on target' image for my post.

And, if I want, I can upload that image to image sites and sell it.

You can also, use an image you already have (one you bought) and tweak it. Just remember you can't sell that revised image, or claim it as your own design.

Here's one I simply tweaked:


I had the SUCCESS image and added the text "GUEST BLOGGING" to it, using "Wrap Text" in MS Word 2010. Then used the same process as above to create a new jpg image.

I used this image for the post: Find the Best Guest Blogging Spots with Better Outreach Emails

To Use Wrap Text (to input text on an image):

1. Insert the image into a Word Doc
2. Click on the image to bring up the Picture Tools feature
3. Type the text you want to appear in the image. You can type it below the image.
3. Go to Wrap Text in the Picture Tools dashboard
4. Click on Behind Text.
5. Position the text in the image.
6. Copy the new image using a screen capture tool and save to your Picture files.

Again, quick and easy.

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RECOMMENDED TOOL

Truth is, you can create blog post images using Microsoft Office, but to create powerful images that immediately grab the visitor, you need something more. You need Logo Creator (Laughingbird Software).

This software that you download onto your own computer is simple to use and gives your so many great features and options. And, it's priced right!

Get started today with Logo Creator to make your blog post.

Oh, The Writing World image at the top of the post is my design (combining two images) using Logo Creator.

Here's another created with Logo Creator:


My newer images are sophisticated, on target, and engaging.

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MORE ON CONTENT MARKETING

Graphics and Social Media Marketing
Video Marketing – Hosted or Self-Hosted
Even Tiny Action Steps Can Produce Huge Results


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5 Marketing Tips: Simple and Basic

The foundation of marketing includes having yearly, monthly, and weekly marketing goals - this is crucial to achieving success. With goals, you know where you’re heading and can work toward that end.

Marketing goals can be considered a marketing plan, and it will have a number of steps or objectives that must be set in motion and accomplished.

Whether you’re trying to sell a product or services, five of the basic marketing tips are:

1. Create a presence and platform

Creating an online presence and platform can be initiated by creating a website or blog. First though, you’ll need to be sure of your niche because the site name and content should reflect your area of expertise is.

Remember, plan first. Choose a site name that will grow with you. Using an author as an example, if you choose a site name, Picture Books with [Your Name], you’ve limited yourself. What if your next book is for young adults?

Some authors create sites with the name of their book. This is a good strategy for pure focus on that one book, but again, what happens when more books become available. Will you create a site for each of your books?

While you can do this, you will be stretching yourself thin and diluting your main focus: you as the author of multiple books.

Leave room to grow; it’s always advisable to use your name as the site’s name.

In addition, with today’s gone-in-a-second attention span, it’s a good idea to keep your site simple. Sites that take a few seconds or more to load may cause you to lose potential buyers.

2. Increase visibility

Writing content for your readers/visitors is the way to increase visibility. The word is: Content is King. Provide interesting, informative, and/or entertaining content that will prompt the reader to come back.

Also, be sure your content is pertinent to your site, and keep your site and content focused on your platform.

3 Draw traffic to your site

To draw traffic to your site, promote your posts by using social media. You can also do article marketing which will increase your visibility reach.

Another strategy is to offer your readers free gifts, such as an e-book relevant to your niche. This will help to increase your usefulness to the reader.

This is considered organic marketing; it funnels traffic back to your site with valuable content and free offers.

4 Have effective call-to-actions

Your site must have call-to-action keywords that will motivate readers to visit and click on your links. Keywords to use include:

•    Get your Complimentary gift now
•    Subscribe to our Newsletter
•    Free e-book to offer on your own site
•    Buy Now
•    Get Access Now
•    Don’t hesitate, take advantage of our expert services
•    Be sure to Bookmark this site

You get the idea, motivate the reader to want what you’re offering and give him/her a CLEAR and VISIBLE call-to-action. Make it as simple as possible for the visitor to buy what you’re offering.

5. Develop a relationship with your readers

It’s been noted that only 1% of first time visitors will buy a product. Usually, only after developing a relationship through your newsletter, information, and offer strategies will your potential customer or client click on the BUY NOW button.

While it will take some time and effort to implement and maintain these marketing tips or strategies, it will be worth it in the long run. Think of it as a long-term investment.

6. Create an ebook for increased visibility and opt-in enticement

Okay, I snuck a 6th tip in.

This is an effective marketing tool and ebooks can be offered for sale or given away as a gift or 'ethical bribe.' Whichever you will need it for, it's important to get on board the ebook wagon.

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More Inbound  Marketing Reading:

Book Marketing – Create a Blog
Using Video for Promotion with Maggie Ball
Creating Content: 10 Online Repurposing Formats



Wednesday

Find the Best Guest Blogging Spots with Better Outreach Emails

Find the Best Guest Blogging Spots with Better Outreach Emails


by James Harper

Guest blogging is nothing new, but it is enjoying a sudden surge in popularity at the moment. Since Google's Penguin and Panda updates, simplistic SEO methods such as buying links or using blanket article directory submission just don't cut it for SEO. This means that more and more marketers are turning to guest blogging to boost the popularity of their sites.

Guest blogging can work well, but finding quality sites to post on, and then getting a positive response from those sites, can be a challenge. Of course, this makes sense - the best sites to share posts with are the ones that are authority sites with high quality standards. If you want those sites to take your content, then you, or your SEO agency, will have to put forward a compelling case.

First Impressions Matter

As a website owner yourself, you know how much hard work goes in to building a good blog, and you know how much email prominent bloggers get. If a blogger sees a boilerplate mail from an SEO agency, there's a good chance that they'll just delete it before they even get past the first paragraph. Most bloggers are, understandably, rather jaded when it comes to people offering them "free content" (read, spam posts) for their blog.

If you want a good response rate, you'll need to put some effort into the emails you send. In an ideal world you'd send carefully written emails to every recipient, but that's not practical if you want to reach out to hundreds of bloggers. It's still a good idea to tailor your emails though. A good SEO agency will put together a list of high quality, relevant blogs, and will send emails to each of those bloggers, mentioning their name, and the name of their blog in the mail. Since these mails only go out to relevant bloggers, those people will feel that the agency has done some research before contacting them, that that will increase the chances of getting a response.

Build a Connection

Even if a webmaster responds to your initial email, there's no guarantee that they'll accept a guest post from a complete stranger. Authority bloggers are protective of their blogs, and understandably so since they have a reputation to maintain. If you want someone to allow you to speak under their name - which is essentially what guest blogging is, then you need to build up a positive relationship with them.

A good SEO agency should have long-standing relationships with bloggers under a range of niche. Those bloggers know that the agency will only contact them about relevant and interesting websites, and will provide them with high quality articles when they're looking to place guest blogs. If you want to handle your guest-blogging in house, you'll have to cultivate the same relationships. You can do this by building up a list of quality blogs in your RSS reader, commenting on those blogs, leaving trackbacks, and generally being a part of the community. Bloggers think of regular readers and commentators as friends, and are more likely to want to work with them than they are to work with strangers.

This post was written by James Harper on behalf of Boom Online Marketing.

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MORE ON CONTENT MARKETING

Small Business Marketing – Know Your Customer’s Online Behavior
Creating Content: 10 Online Repurposing Formats
What is SEO and SEO Marketing?




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Monday

Headlines That Increase Website Traffic and Website Conversion Rates


Marketing research from MarketingExperiements.com shows that headlines are the most important factor if you are striving to increase website traffic and website conversion rates.

Let me pause one moment and explain what conversion rates are.

The conversion rate is the number of visitors to your site in comparison to the number of visitors who say YES to your call-to-action. Your call-to-action may be clicking on your opt-in box; it may be buying your book or product; it may be signing-up to an ecourse you’re offering . . . you get the idea.

An example of a conversion rate: If you had 100 visitors to your site and one of them said YES, you would have a 1% conversion rate.

Okay, back on track.

In an experiment, in which various elements of a website were tweaked to determine which would have the greatest impact on conversion, having an effective headline was more important than changing elements of the landing page or shopping cart process.

In fact, changing a headline generated 29 percent more leads. That’s close to one-third more leads.

While quality and informative content is a must, the headline is kind-of-like the magnet for your website. It’s what will attract the surfer/browser to stop, pay attention, follow what’s going on, and follow the process to opt-in or buy.

As a writer/marketer, you need to have your message focused on what the customer’s interests are. This is especially critical for the headline. You need to craft a headline that will:

1. Quickly grab a surfer or visitor’s attention.
2. Clearly define the WIIFM (what’s in it for me) or the value. If the visitor knows what the benefits are, he’ll be more receptive to ‘following the yellow brick road’ you have in place for conversion, to say YES to your call-to-action.

To increase website traffic and website conversion rates, the most effective headlines are ‘value-centric.’ This relates to number one and two above. You need to ‘hit’ the target customer’s interests and you need to convey the value of opting-in to your mailing list or buying what you’re offering. And, you need to let the visitor know just how significant the benefit/s will be.

An effective title might be: Get Paid to Guest Blog.

In five simple words you’re telling the reader what the benefit is and what’s involved.

“The Value Litmus Test,” an article at ValueCentricSelling.com, explains that along with having the value front and center, you should also provide the ‘timeline.’ This is another factor that will help bring in that traffic.

The timeline is the length of time it will take the customer to achieve the benefits specified or promised. This may not always be applicable to your product or service, but when it is it’s important to include it.

An example of using the timeline strategy is the 7 Day Ebook by Jim Edwards. You immediately know this product is promising that you can write an ebook in seven days. It meets all the qualifications for an effective headline.

Another example of ‘timeline’ is the Five Minute Writer. This title also lets the reader know the time element involved. In as little as five minutes a day you can earn money writing. While the title doesn’t specify the benefit or promise, the sales copy does.

Finally, the headline and offered value must be credible, in other words realistic and actually doable.

The example headlines/titles above each have a value proposition. They’re each promising a benefit and a specific timeline. The writer or marketer must be sure the promises/claims stated are realistic.

But, even more than realistic, the value proposition must be believable. If the visitor wonders if it’s really possible, you’ve lost him.

So, breaking it all down, there are four elements to an effective headline that will boost traffic and conversion rates:

1. Grab the reader’s attention by focusing on his interests
2. Convey the value or benefit of what you’re offering
3. Provide a timeline, if applicable
4. Make sure the headline ‘promise’ is believable and doable

Add these elements to your headlines to generate and increase website traffic that will be receptive to your offers. It will also go a long way in boosting website conversion rates.

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NEED HELP WITH YOUR CONTENT WRITING PROJECT?

Visit: The Article Writing Doctor
Your Content Marketing Prescription



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MORE ON CONTENT MARKETING

Small Business Marketing – Know What Consumers Buy (1)
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