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Archive for August, 2010

Some common grammatical errors and how to avoid them

What do you think is common in blogging and good copy writing? It is the conversational style that appears in both blog and a well written copy. Since the conversational writing style is a personalized form, there have been relaxations regarding strict grammatical rules for communicating effectively. Often you find sentences ending with prepositions, a technical word would dangle at the end or even abbreviations are used in the place of em dash. All this is basically incorporated to get the feel of talking into the content.

But this informal style of writing doesn’t give you the authority to mess up with all the grammatical rules. You need to avoid mistakes that would affect your credibility. Even though it is true that the message that has to be conveyed is more important, some people are very particular about the grammar and they simply would not subscribe or link to your blog if it lacks authenticity.

Using ‘you’re’ instead of ‘your’: This is a common mistake that most copy writers commit. You can easily avoid this error if you simply take a second and think about what you are trying to convey. Basically ‘your’ is a possessive pronoun which is used to indicate some possessions. For e.g.: your blog, your website. Whereas ‘you’re’ is the contraction for ‘you are’ as in ‘you’re writing a blog for many reasons’.

Messing up ‘it’s’ with ‘its’: It is yet another common confusion among the copywriters who use it’s in the place of its. This can also be avoided by thinking through what you are trying to say. ‘It’s’ is a contracted version of ‘it is’ or ‘it has’; like ‘It’s easy to avoid spelling mistakes’. On the other hand, ‘its’ is a possessive pronoun as in ‘The company is losing its identity’. There is actually a golden rule of thumb; if you have doubtful about using ‘its’, just repeat your sentence out loud using ‘it is’ instead. If that sounds senseless, then ‘its’ is the right word.

‘There’ v/s ‘their’: This mistake happens occasionally to everyone often as a complete typo. The only way to prevent it is by looking for the error during proofreading. ‘There’ is used as a reference to a place (She wants to go there) or as a pronoun (There is no money). Whereas ‘their’ is a plural possessive pronoun.  For e.g.: It is their house. If you want to get rid of the confusion, ask yourself if you are talking about more than one person and something that they possess. If yes, then you need to use ‘their’.

Confusing ‘affect’ with ‘effect’: Even the grammar experts would pause while before using affect and effect at the right place. As with any other grammatical errors, you just need to take a second and understand the whole sentence before using the words. Basically ‘affect’ is a verb and ‘effect’ is a noun. For e.g.: ‘Your spendthrift nature will affect your wealth’ and ‘Your character will have an effect on your child’. The confusion can be clarified by putting ‘the’ in front of the prospect word. It has to be noted that ‘the’ will not come in front of a verb. So it won’t come in front of affect.

Tuesday, August 31st, 2010 SEO copywriting No Comments

How to write attention grabbing headlines for enhancing your content

Readers are busy and they don’t have time to read one lengthy article or even a small paragraph. So what essentially have to catch their eyes would be the headlines. We have been hearing a lot about the importance of headlines and how it has to be crisp and short. Ultimately your target would be to stop the readers in the track, hold their attention and finally persuade them to buy your product.

If you want to increase your sales, you must understand the magic behind magnetic headlines that pull readers in. The power of the headlines and content should be such that a casual browser should turn into an avid reader and eventually a buyer of your product or service.

Headline should be relevant and straight forward
Gone are the days of catchy headlines written in flowery language.  Readers just don’t have time to go through the whole article to find out what it is all about. They don’t want you to beat around the bush. Be straight forward and convey the element of the content in headline itself. People who read the content would also like to know if the subject is relevant for them. Hence it is important to include relevant words and phrases in your headline than jargons or catchy phrases.  To be precise, the headline should be clear not clever. Make sure to include specific keywords into your headline which convey the message instantly.

Magic of ‘how to” headlines
Ever wondered why the ‘how to’ headlines are always a success? The basic reason is that people are in constant search for advice or tips in everything that they do. So when you are offering some tips like, ‘how to find reliable auto transport companies?’ people would surely want to know the easy steps. Moreover such headlines are extremely relevant by nature. But you have to careful and wise in putting the ‘how to’ headlines only for relevant contents.
The easy way to coin a ‘how to’ headline is by thinking about the crux of the content, prominent problem or solution that readers would seek and make that the basic of your headline. If you are successful in doing this, readers would surely go through the whole content.

Offer a solution or advice
Once you have established the problem or situation in the ‘how to’ headline, your work doesn’t end here. What the reader wants would be a solution or advice for his problem. So provide a delightful result along with addressing the problem. For example, ‘how to avoid moving scams for a hassle free move’. Keep in mind that even though your ultimate aim would be to sell your product or service, what the reader expects is a beneficial outcome. Before you frame the headline, ask yourself what would prompt the reader to go for that particular content.

Spice up keywords with adjectives
A little flavor can be added to the headline by putting in some compelling words. You can use adjectives for this purpose. By using such appealing words, you are intensifying the promise of the desired results. If your headline says,’ 5 easy steps to start a bus charter service’, ‘easy’ is the word that makes the keyword more powerful and attainable.

Finally, you need to sharpen your skills and improvise the already written headline. But make sure that you don’t overdo the improvisation. Just be casual in reading it again and again until you feel that it conveys what you have in mind.

Saturday, August 28th, 2010 SEO copywriting 1 Comment

Want to know how do search engines work?

Webber (2000) defines a search engine as a ‘searchable catalogue, database or directory of websites’, of a reasonably large size.

There is a myth that when you type in some keywords to search on a particular thing, search engine goes out into the web and looks for matching pages to return. But this is not the case. Search engines continuously crawl web downloading millions of pages everyday to place in their own custom databases. So when a person types in certain keywords at search box, search engine return pages that have been indexed on the database. This is the reason when a person gets different results for a query at different search engines. However, search engine falls into two distinct categories:

  1. Crawler based search engines
  2. Human powered directories

For example, Yahoo! Started as human powered directory, but after working with partners like Inktomi, Alta vista and Google, Yahoo! Launched its own crawler based search engine to compete with Google directly. Google is not a human powered directory but crawler based that relies on technology to build its database. The term search engine is used generically for all search engines on the web. Though we use spiders/robots to build indexes, all search engines collect different information in different ways. The algorithm (the computer program which ranks search results) that each major search engines uses for ranking purpose is different for each specific service.

As home page is considered important for search engine spider, content and relevancy is also important. The content on the site page has greater relevancy factor for a specific term than a competitor’s home page, content rich site page is the one that search engine will return for keyword search. Internal pages of a website can attract more traffic to a site than a home page, as they have more relevant content, whereas a home page is normally very general. However, there are certain search engines that do not crawl deeply into a big site with many pages, so it is important to make most relevant site pages available to search engines.

Search engines in their research use different, or various terms for particular components, but we can use basic terms. Crawler based search engine can be broken down into following components:

➢     Crawler

➢     Indexer

➢     Query Handler

Browsers like internet explorer or Firefox, sends HTTP requests, to retrieve web pages to download and show them on your computer monitor. Crawler downloads the data to a client

•                  Crawler retrieves URL

•                  Crawler always connects to remote server where the page is hosted

•                  Crawler issues a request to retrieve the page and its textual content.

•                  Crawler scans the link the page contains for further crawling.

A crawler downloads only textual data; it is able to jump from one page to another through the links it has scanned at rapid speeds. If you notice, major search engines can now download millions of pages every day. You may think that crawlers work is simple, but in essence this is what it is doing. If you have seen log files of a site, you will see names like Yahoo Slurp or Google bot, these are names of spiders for Yahoo and Google.

Just imagine what will happen when Googlebot, visits a website?

  1. Make sure there is <title> tag on the webpage as it is very important piece of information an organization which is used to feed search engine spider.
  2. Next the actual text from the page is stripped out of HTML code and a note is made as to where it has to appear on the page.
  3. Some search engines that use information in <meta> tags, the keyword and description are extracted.
  4. Then spider pulls out hyperlinks and divides them into two categories: that which belongs to the site (internal links) and those which do not belong to the site, such as external links.
  5. Generally external links are used in “crawl control” where they wait in queue for future crawling.
  6. Each page that is downloaded from the site is added in the page repository and given an ID number.

All this information is now stored in search engine’s database. Search engines now know what the title and keywords are, how many internal and external links are there in the site.

Link analysis is considered an important factor which is taken into account when ranking pages following a query. It also makes sense to identify sites offering complementary services that are also likely to be of interest to your site user. Reciprocal linking can increase traffic and revenue generation.

But reciprocal arrangements have to be entered into with caution since many search engines will downgrade the value of such pages. Also, search engines like Google can easily find out link exchanges between whole networks of sites, so if you are developing various websites and interlinking them simply because you would have heard that Google likes links ad will increase your rankings-chances are you will be doing more harm than good. Rankings will suffer but you might end up being banned from Google’s index altogether-and no site can afford that to happen.

Link analysis module looks at the surrounding connectivity of the page, i.e. which pages link to you and which pages do you link to.  This is very important to search engines and works on citation analysis. For example-if many pages point back to an organization’s site, then it is likely that their page may be an authority on a given subject. This process is referred as ‘hubs’ and ‘authorities. Hubs are sites that point to others and authorities are pages they point to.

Here are certain factors that determine ranking:

•                  Link popularity

•                  Keyword weight

•                  How old is domain

•                  How much long it has been in database

•                  How fresh is the content on the website?

But now factors have changed as algorithms have become more sophisticated. Now search engines determine relevancy between a search query and keywords within a phrase than simply considering keyword weight. Now Google considers more than 100 factors in its algorithm to determine rankings. Nowadays Google’s ranking algorithm gives more weight age to the age of web sites and the pages within them, as they want to give fresh and up to date content to searchers. Google’s algorithm gives importance to those websites or blogs where page content is updated, new pages are added and how many new links point to your website etc. But do remember Google will keep changing its ranking algorithm time to time and so what scores a top 10 result today may not do so tomorrow. That’s why you should monitor for changes.

Query interface is where the whole thing has to come together. The average query length at a search engine interface is two to three words. From these two to three words search engine has to decide from billions of pages it has in its database which ones to return. This is where organizations have to think and optimize the web pages. If a website has to be in top 20, it needs to have pages that will target around these three words that the surfer issues on any given subject and organizations should have link popularity to go with it if they are to be successful. However you will not receive success based on increasing the number of links to a site, it is more important about the quality of links received. It looks at words contained within the text of that link too. If they match in certain way then Google will consider the link more favorable which in turn will give an added boost to the rankings.

Thursday, August 19th, 2010 Promotion No Comments


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