Thursday, 12 December 2013

5 Tips for Developing Guest Blogger Guidelines

Having guest bloggers contribute to your website has several benefits. It can help relieve your workload, as you won't have to worry as much about keeping a continuous fresh stream of content published. It can also increase traffic when those guest bloggers have their own devoted following - their readers may migrate to your site.

Guest bloggers, when chosen carefully, can also lend credentials to your website. If your topic is nutrition, for example, having a medical doctor write a post will make your readers more likely to respect your blog's credibility.

To reap these benefits, however, you must vet your guest bloggers to ensure they will be an asset to your website. The flipside of the coin may be that they bring your reputation down with their own poor reputation.

Here are five tips for developing guest blogger guidelines to ensure your guest blogging process is smooth and results in quality content.

Agreeing blogger guidelines
Make sure all the members of your team are clear about your guest blogger guidelines.


Rule #1: Street cred

Make it a rule that all guest bloggers must have some kind of relevant credentials in the subject your website covers. These don't necessarily have to be formal education certifications, but at a minimum your guest blogger should have a platform with published writings proving their expertise on the topic.

Rule #2: Check it out

Sometimes the most educated people are the worst writers. Not everyone expresses themselves well with the written word. Never post a guest blog without having it edited. If you are not qualified to edit the material, it behooves you to pay a third party to edit all guest blogs. Misspellings and grammatical errors are the fastest way to make your website appear amateurish.

Rule #3: Show us yours

Always ask your guest blogger to provide a professional photograph for posting at the bottom of their article. This helps your readers identify with the author. If their photograph is less than professional-looking, omit it. It doesn't do to have your "expert nutritionist" showing up in a T-shirt at the bottom of their post.


Choosing the right photograph for your guest blogger
This is not the type of bio photo you would want!
  




Rule #4: Keep in touch

Request that your guest blogger subscribe to the comments on the post they write for your blog. This will let your readers ask questions regarding the post and receive expert advice from the blogger in return. This enhances not only the relationship between the readers and the guest blogger, but also the interaction between your readers and your website. When a reader asks a question and they know they will get an answer, they are more likely to return.

Rule #5: Keep it real

Whenever possible, request that your bloggers cite references in their post. This increases the legitimacy of the post and will make your website stand out as a reliable source of accurate information.

Remember, your website is a representation of you and what you stand for. Your guest bloggers can make you look good or can detract from the quality reputation you have worked so hard to build.

Kate Supino is a professional freelance writer and small business owner who writes extensively about best business practices, such as using business accounting software.

All images courtesy of Photos.com

How important will semantic search be in 2014?

In the last quarter of 2013, Google introduced its new algorithm, Hummingbird, which focuses on semantic search. So what exactly is semantic search, and how important will it be during 2014?

Semantic search

Semantics is the study of meaning. It involves looking at the relationship between words and phrases and their specific meanings.

Semantic search incorporates the study and implementation of semantics in its search technology. So instead of treating each word individually, semantic search looks at the context of the query, as well as the relationship between the search terms. It also considers search location, intent, and considers variations of the words in the search phrase.

The introduction of semantic search into Google's Hummingbird algorithm is an attempt to improve search accuracy by understanding searcher intent, and refining the query so that search results are more personal, more engaging, and more interactive.

Content is king

The shift in search technology means that now, more than ever, content is king. So web publishers and SEOs will need to focus more of their attention on the content of a page, rather than just the keywords.

This doesn't mean that keywords are rendered useless however. Far from it. Keywords still matter as they help to determine the intent and location of a query. It simply means that Google can layer the SERPs according to where you live and who you are. Even the IP address of the query is considered.

Authorship

The importance of content is heightened by Google's use of author rank in determining its search engine results. Author rank is a ranking system that applies to content producers who use Google authorship. Essentially, the more an author writes on a specific subject, the higher their ranking, as they're considered an expert in their field. So a website with quality content, written by somebody with a high author ranking will naturally appear higher in the SERPs.

Conversational searches

The switch to Hummingbird means that conversational searches will now return a more accurate set of results for longer queries, because Google's search engine will look for sites that actually answer the query, rather than simply match the keywords. So if the user asks a simple question like, 'What is the best smartphone?' Google will focus its search on sites that specifically answer the question and have quality content.

The changes may mean that website owners need to think about switching anchor text to words that are more semantic. So 'pest control – act quickly' should become ‘purchase our pest control services today’.

Mobile searches

Finally, an increasing number of people own smartphones and tablets, with those numbers set to rise dramatically over the Christmas period. As well as your website's mobile performance affecting its SEO rankings, this will also affect the importance of semantic search. Practically speaking, this is to prepare search engines for the rise of voice search, which naturally is much more conversational.

Essentially, as we move into 2014, we will see popular semantic search pages, complete with quality content, high author rankings, and social media connections appearing higher in SERPs. While keywords will still matter, the importance of semantic search is set to rise.

Friday, 6 December 2013

Was the mission complete? What Mission Imblogable taught us in 2013

It's been another busy year at Mission Imblogable as we continued our mission to help you market your website better than your competitors.

Here's a quick précis of some of our most popular and best posts (if we say so ourselves) from 2013.

10 Tips for Using Twitter to Increase your Blog Traffic

Twitter is a powerful tool for business management, but you have to put in a little effort in order to increase your blog traffic. Tweeting on a daily basis, interacting, retweeting, using lists, hashtags, photos, and linking your Twitter feed to your blog are all excellent ways of increasing traffic. Once you've set up the initial structure, dedicating just a few minutes per day will see you reaping the rewards.

Blog Post Inspiration

A lack of inspiration can hit even the most prolific of bloggers, but fortunately there are several ways to kick-start your blogging brain. Embracing seasonal topics and taking inspiration from recent trends and the news can help you keep your blog bang on trend. Interviews are an excellent way to draw in a new crowd, as are reviews. And if all else fails, there's always lists – people do love them lists!

Blogging for Business

Business blogs are one of the best ways to connect with your customers, but starting can be a daunting prospect. The simple guidelines in this post include publishing regular content to help you rank highly in Google, and targeting a few niche keywords with each blog post to help the right people find you. Writing an informative and industry-specific article will provide you with the perfect link material, another Google-pleaser, and don't forget to use your blog to demonstrate the personality behind your business and build your reputation.

How to Write a Killer Headline

Headlines are essential – quite simply, they're what entice people to read your article – so you need to make them count. Numbers are a great way to catch people's attention as they indicate an easy-to-scan list is forthcoming, and using trigger words such as how and why shows that the reader will get value from the article. Interesting adjectives will make your headline stand out, and making the headline all about the reader will make it irresistible. As will an alluring promise. (Oh baby.)

How to Choose the Right Colours for your Website

Colours are a powerful tool in website design, as they can evoke emotion. And emotion sells. But which colours are a good match for your brand? Red indicates passion and aggression, great for sexy, empowered brands, whereas yellow denotes happiness and optimism - a perfect choice if you want to portray yourself as a fun, friendly brand. Earthy, peaceful green is the perfect match for ethical, green brands, and blue is the colour for serious business. Pink is a girly colour for feminine brands, and purple is the colour of indulgence.

Google Author Rank

A hot topic in 2013, Google Authorship and Google Author Rank highlight Google's determination to cut out bland, irrelevant content online and deliver a better service to its users. Authorship allows writers to link their Google+ profiles to their articles, so that Author Rank, an algorithm, can rank that content. Writers can build up their authority as experts in their field by building a presence, guest blogging, and encouraging engagement with their readers.

With so much helpful, quality content published this year, you can expect more fabulously helpful and entertaining reads from Mission Imblogable in 2014. Promise.

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