Content marketing guidelines
Help contribute quality content to our website. Document and share your knowledge as articles. Fresh quality content shows clients, prospective employees, prospective clients and other stakeholders that LiteBreeze is “alive and well”. Content boost our search engine ranking and drives traffic. It builds crucial backlinks for long-term SEO success.
Content builds credibility, trust and rapport; both prospective candidates and clients will research us before deciding to work with us. We become an authority on the subjects we know best.
Basic SEO aspects of content marketing
There are no shortcuts to ranking well in search engines. The bottomline is that we just need to produce quality content that real people find useful. This is called content marketing. It takes time, but in the long term, we benefit greatly.
If you have three hours to set aside, I really recommend reading the beginner’s guide to link building from Moz. It’s written by Paddy Moogan – one of the world’s top authorities on SEO today.
Search engines value fresh relevant content. Even if your specific content won’t rank high on Google, it will help build overall search engine ranking for other pages on our domain.
Each piece of content should be unique. Duplicate content, or even content that just seems very similar to previously uploaded content, results in penalties and a lower ranking. You can draw inspiration from existing content if stuck – a post that is similar to another post is better than no post – but aim for unique content.
If you’re stuck, you can adapt quality third party content to our company’s unique situation, geography and target groups, as long as you add a new perspective.
Mix things up and try to vary your language. Be creative. Be authentic. Once you’re done with your content you can always fact-check and compare with similar content from other websites as well.
Ranking well organically actually helps our paid marketing campaigns too. It will save part of the already very high marketing spend.
Internal links: Include useful links to our other content and landing pages, to help improve the ranking of other important pages. So a text like this in the blog: “Today we got started on a new project using the Laravel framework. The project is named XYZ and presents a number of technical challenges that we are keen to take on…” would be hyperlinked to the Laravel landing page.
Internal links pass along authority to the target. So if most internal links lead to our PHP and Laravel landing pages for example, Google will know that these are our core services and rank those relatively higher than our WP landing page.
Have a look at the litebreeze.com footer sitemap for a list of all landing pages. Don’t overdo it with internal links though. Content should not look spammy. Internal links should be useful to real end-users.
There’s no exact limit but I currently feel that up to 2-3 internal links are ok for a 500-word piece of content.
Google evaluates our content and pages based on:
- Relevance (determined mostly by the presence of keywords on the page), useful and original content
- Transparency and trustworthiness
- Ease of navigation
- Encouraging visitors to spend time on your site
Internal links ease navigation and connect your new content to the rest of the content. Users must be able to navigate through all content starting from any one page/blog post/case study/developer profile etc.
Inviting stakeholders back to our website
Website content should be plentiful and relevant enough to share with clients and candidates directly. When discussing with a prospect you could add “Our frequently asked questions about Laravel might be of interest”.
Candidates can be encouraged to visit not only the careers website but individually-picked and therefore highly relevant pieces of content.
Google knows how long visitors stay on our pages. The longer they stay, the more relevant the content is deemed to be, and the higher we rank, and the less we pay for paid ads.
Sending stakeholders back to our website becomes a re-entry point to the rest of our content. The website is now easier to navigate – more interlinked. And many more improvements are being worked on.
The more time stakeholders spend browsing our website, the better they will get to know us and the likelier we are to attract them. Keep in mind that your content might be read by both prospects and candidates.
Inbound links (backlinks) has the highest impact on our search engine ranking, in addition to fresh relevant content. The more content we have, the greater the chances of getting others to link to us. Again, I really recommend reading the beginners guide to link building from Moz.
The Moz inbound links tool will find domains and pages linking to us. It shows a number of unexpected editorial backlinks, IBNLT old knowledgebase articles from this website and this new link to the multilingual website article; we benefit from transparency and shareability more than might be expected. Moz’s link tool shows backlinks of our other websites as well, so it can help us generate ideas based on our high-ranking competitors’ backlinks.
Asking favors of clients
Sometimes your client needs to do something for you to optimize your content marketing. You might need to ask your client for:
- an ideal public case study including testimonial, profile picture, screenshots/demo
- partnership backlinks
- testimonial to be published on review sites and social media like Google Business Listings and LinkedIn
Even if your client says no, for now, you can always aim to improve satisfaction and rapport, and follow up at a later stage. If you go the extra mile to keep them happy and nudge them at a suitable phone call or face-to-face, you’ll eventually succeed.
The content marketing team can set up a WordPress login for you. Use your initials as username/signature so we internally know who wrote it (yet a bit anonymized for recruiters from competitors to start with, might change later).
Seniors don’t need to pre-approve your blog post. Inform your seniors immediately once it’s posted so that they have a chance to improve it.
Apply an “audience funnel” when structuring your content. Start with broad content (as long as it’s within the niche of what your piece is about). Start with concise, easy-to-understand, and interest-grabbing content.
The less relevant the content is for a broad audience, the further down it should appear. This allows us to include more content while visitors with short attention spans still get what they need. Search engines like unique, high-quantity and high-quality content.
Non-technical people should ideally understand the first sections, such as for case studies, which often have a broad audience. Deep technical content should be added at the bottom.
Address the reader directly in the article body text as well. Avoid referring to our specific company early on in the text so that the content doesn’t seem spammy. This makes the audience broader and increases the likeliness of the content being shared and linked to.
The first sections should be of value to as broad an audience as your content allows for. That being said, you should still write content targeting niche groups.
The example below broadened the target audience from “candidates applying for positions at LiteBreeze”, to “any job seeker”. Many more readers can now identify with the content and feel that it’s relevant to them. We remain in the same “content niche” though.
Before: “Every candidate applying for a position in LiteBreeze is given the opportunity at the end of the interview to ask the interviewer any questions. Using this opportunity shows that you (the candidate) have researched about the company and are interested in the available job position.”
After: “When you attend a job interview, you will be given the opportunity to ask questions. Use this opportunity! It will increase your chances of getting the job.”
Make content super-easy to read. People balk at longer paragraphs. Paragraphs should be around 3-4 rows which translates to around 180 – 320 characters using our current 80 characters per line.
Keep all titles and headings in this format for consistency: “Capitalize only the first word”. No exclamation marks in titles. Don’t randomly capitalize words in your sentences either. Major newspapers like the Economist, and Wikipedia, to name a few, follow this format.
Start with the most interesting and relevant content. It’s ok if you post a short post first, and one week later flesh it out. Flesh out your content and aim for 300+ words, though there’s no exact threshold.
Entice, allure, sell and call to action
Your content should have a clear value-proposition to its target audience. The content that your audience sees first is most important: page title, meta description, URL, lead paragraph (abstract).
How can the reader benefit from reading your content? What makes it stand out in search engine results pages (SERPs)? You should “sell” your content. Make it interesting. Aim for a narrative hook.
Use words that urge the reader to take action: how to, learn, discover etc. Focus on the reader by using words like you and your. Entice readers by posing a question and make them feel they can learn something important that they don’t already know.
The page title (title tag) is shown in search engine results pages (SERPs), at the top of the browser window, when bookmarking, and when sharing on social media. If you look at the titles used by expert content marketers, you can see that they always make page titles enticing.
Example titles that we have improved:
Before: “Questions a candidate can ask the interviewer”
After: “What should you ask at your job interview to get hired?”
Page titles not only have to be enticing; preferably they should include important keywords as well. This is usually done naturally.
Page titles can be up to around 80 characters in length in total including the trailing “ | LiteBreeze” part. On desktops around 70 characters will be shown but on mobiles, up to 80 characters will be shown as of March 2019.
It’s not a problem if the last few characters of the title are truncated as long as readers can still understand the title. There’s no exact character limit either, as the limit is set in pixels and some characters are wider than others.
As usual, capitalize only the first letter (typical Indian & European standard followed by major newspapers).
As you can see from the new GWT interface, CTR can be low on competitive keywords. Attractive page titles and meta descriptions are key to improving CTR and hence traffic.
Higher CTR not only means more traffic at the current ranking, it also means that the content is popular resulting in that Google will rank us higher, resulting in a compounding effect.
Page titles can be different from the H1 headline, though we’ve traditionally just used the same to save time. Page titles draw in visitors and are therefore sometimes more selling than the headline that you see only once you’ve loaded the page.
Headlines and subheadings
Headlines can be the same as the page title and URL, up to around 70 characters. Examples:
Custom CRM and booking system for event planner and travel agency (65 characters)
Calendar booking system and flight scheduler for aviation academy (65 characters)
Hiring a web application development company: 10 crucial factors (64 characters)
The headline will show on two lines which is fine. Subheadings are also important for Google’s keyword and topic analysis.
Full URL limit shown in search engine result pages are ≈90 characters on desktops. Ideally a reader should understand what the content is about just from seeing the URL in SERPs, or during the sales/recruitment process when we email URLs to prospects and candidates. Exceeding the character limit won’t be a big problem though, as the URL will just be truncated.
URLs should be human-friendly while containing important keywords. It can often be the same as the main headline and page title. Never use capital letters in URLs.
https://litebreeze.com/portfolio/custom-crm-booking-system-for-event-planner-and-travel-agency (86 chars)
The parent content category is often truncated as well allowing more space for the relevant URL part to show:
Changing URLs: adding 301 redirects in WordPress
Update URLs continually to ensure search engine optimization. But when renaming urls like that, we need to ensure that the old urls are 301 redirected to new urls to keep our traffic data and avoid 404 errors. We can make use of the redirection plugin to easily add 301 redirects whenever an existing url is updated/changed. Go to Admin dashboard > Tools > Redirection, click the “Add New” tab and add url without the domain as shown in the list.
For example, say we want to rename https://litebreeze.com/administration/selling-services-how-to-set-credit-limits/ to https://litebreeze.com/administration/how-to-set-credit-limits-and-payment-terms/, check this screenshot for clarity on how this can be done easily.
Moz recommends descriptions between 50-160 characters.
Traditionally, descriptions were primarily seen from search engine result pages (SERPs). Today Google typically creates their own description in the SERP based on the exact keywords you used when searching, making descriptions less important than what they were. If you have a good content intro/lead paragraph, you can copy that into the meta description field.
They are however still used if sharing in social media feeds. Aim of a description is to get searchers to click. They need to “sell the content”. They need to be enticing for the target group, yet accurate and specific. Write compelling “ad copy” (Moz). Descriptions need to contain important keywords.
Include a picture or infographic
Always try to include a picture or infographic. Pictures don’t have to be perfect – they can be rather casual. Optimize images before uploading. Large images take time to load and will affect SEO negatively.
Name images descriptively such as “welcome-new-php-developer-ramachandran.jpg” or “onam-holiday-celebration-litebreeze-kochi-2017.jpg” (read more about why).
If you can’t take a good picture and an infographic isn’t suitable, you can buy a picture from Shutterstock (admins can purchase for you). If you look at SM experts, they always include some form of graphic. (We are designing some neat infographics templates.)
Crop pictures appropriately, decrease canvas size to say max 1280 pixels wide and compress. Photoshop seems to compress most efficiently without losing quality: export for the web as jpg setting quality to 40 results in a file size of around 100 kb for a normal photo.
The macOS app Photos can also be used for less important blog posts (export with jpg quality set to medium and a custom width of 1280). The file size is slightly larger and quality slightly poorer than Photoshop’s in my opinion, but still acceptable.
For landing pages and front pages, we would need to compress images further as it’s imperative that these load very fast. For blog posts, a 100 kb image is ideal though. Large group photos might need to have a slightly larger file size than 100 kb to retain detail.
24 to 48 hours after publishing the blog post you can share it on our social media accounts if it’s relevant. This gives colleagues some time to rectify the text if necessary. The admin and recruitment team can help you with this.
Encourage colleagues to engage on social media for even better exposure. Try to get viewers to visit our website/careers site/blog by including a relevant link. If someone wants to perfect the content or add more content, it’s ok to postpone the social media publication.
Aim to produce content at a consistent frequency. Instead of writing three pieces of content in April and none in May, divide the work with a three-week interval.
Search engines rank us higher when any part of our website is updated frequently and consistently. Also, SM stakeholders will be more interested if they hear from us regularly.
Social media has an effect on SEO as well, and will most likely have an ever-increasing effect on ranking in the future. Since we’ve regularly started updating SM channels, more old clients and candidates have contacted us.
Include the keywords that prospective clients use to find us. This is a balancing act – we shouldn’t pack articles with too many keywords as Google detects and demotes keyword-driven content.
Google is getting smarter and smarter when it comes to understanding content and context. Google also gets better and better and understanding synonyms and higher-level topics. Anyway, here is the list:
Technologies such as web, PHP, Laravel, Mobile app, Angular, Ionic, Zend, Symfony, CodeIgniter, CakePHP etc.
Note that TECHNOLOGY is a placeholder to be replaced by any of the above technologies below. I’ve included both whole phrases and the separate keywords that make these up – both count:
Phrases: TECHNOLOGY developer, TECHNOLOGY developer (in) India, TECHNOLOGY development (in) India, TECHNOLOGY development company, hire TECHNOLOGY developer, TECHNOLOGY development services
Keywords: TECHNOLOGY, developer, development, India, programming, software
Valuable prefix: custom
Often interchangeable: application, system, software, solution, platform, database
Often interchangeable: services, company, outsourcing, agency, firm, consultancy
Often interchangeable: developer, web developer, programmer, software developer, architect, expert, project leader, consultant, freelancer, analyst, specialist, professional
Prefixes and suffixes to developer etc: dedicated, remote, team, offshore
Solution types: e-commerce, shopping cart, webshop, CMS, CRM, websites, order management systems, booking systems, CRM, business application/software, LMS, e-learning solution
Examples of less important keywords that often gets included naturally when writing long-form content: responsive design, iPads, iPhones, Android, tablets, smartphones, mobile phones, Oscommerce, WooCommerce, Opencart, Magento etc.
Any grammatical variation of the word is usually fine, such as plural form, customized instead of custom and so on.
Technologies could also include specific tools, libraries, services, hosting solutions etc. That’s why blog entries welcoming new staff and developer profiles are great to have public.
Include industry-specific keywords. If you write about a flight management system for example, what keywords might be relevant? Pilot, training, aircraft, flight simulator… these are included naturally when elaborate content is written. Hence detailed information is so valuable for long-tail queries.
So if someone uses a long-tail keyword such as “software for training pilots and scheduling flight academy resources” they would hopefully find us. According to to Moz’s Beginners Guide to SEO, 70% of search engine traffic is long-tail keywords. So vary the words you use to cast a wider net.
Include relevant location names to improve ranking if someone searches for say “LMS software united kingdom”. Location searches are very common.
Cover key topics
Top SEO experts say that Google has evolved to rank pages based on the diversity and completeness of topics that that a page covers.
Finding popular keywords and content
If you’re curious to know which keyword is most popular – is it “e-commerce solution” or “webshop solution”? – you can have a look at Google’s keyword planner tool (requires Adwords login), Moz pro (ask JJ/KM for access), Google Trends, or similar public tools.
To find what content similar to yours that is popular, you can use tools like Buzzsumo.
For future freelancer and Swedish staff. Specific technology names are mostly the same as in English and hence omitted. Most important listed first within each group:
Group 1: systemutveckling, webbutveckling, programmering, utveckling, apputveckling
Group 2: system, webbapplikation, applikation, lösning, it-lösning, molntjänst, moln-lösning, skräddarsydda
Group 3: utvecklare, systemutvecklare, programmerare, webbutvecklare, IT-konsult, expert, systemvetare, it arkitekt, webbprogrammerare, projektledare, systemarkitekt, konsult, apputvecklare, apptillverkare
Group 4: företag, indiska, indien, tjänster, webbyrå, företag, stockholm or other location, outsourcing, rekrytera, programmeringsföretag, databas, webblösning
Once you’ve published your content don’t forget to link to it from other relevant parts of our websites. You can find places in your own content and others as well, where a link to your new content is appropriate.
Content – what to write about?
There are tons of things you can write about. To start, pick subjects that you are enthusiastic about.
You produce content every day. You answer questions from clients and colleagues. You research tools, new ideas and technologies. You share things you know, that your subordinates have no experience of. Things happen in your project that others can learn from.
You note down what you’ve learned in appraisals – how you have changed, what you’ve done well and what you should have done better. You write feedback to juniors. Most of this can be shared in some form.
Aim to “kill two birds with one stone” so to speak: when you produce content, post it on our blog or update the relevant section of our website.
We have more to gain than to lose from being transparent.
These are my own examples of day-to-day content. Much of the content was pretty much copy-pasted from emails and research I had to write anyway: Planning for a resignation, Multilingual websites, Protect your idea, intellectual property and code, Hiring a web application development company
There are numerous benefits of documenting your work:
- Saving yourself time by making it easier to introduce juniors and new staff to processes.
- Future clients understand how we work.
- SEO. Unique and truly valuable content attracts editorial backlinks and boosts long-tail search engine traffic.
- You demonstrate your own authority within your area of expertise. Clients, colleagues and seniors are more likely to understand your value and skills.
Prioritize content that you think is likely to generate many backlinks (unique, highly specific, relevant and valuable advice, scientifically-backed data).
Technical staff – general ideas
- Case studies and project kick-offs. Case study guidelines.
- How-tos and cheat-sheets. Do your colleagues frequently ask you the same questions about your area of expertise? Make it an article and send the link instead. Update it when needed.
- Reviews of new framework versions, tools, libraries etc.
- Comparisons between competing frameworks, tools, libraries etc. Pros and cons lists.
- Have you done research for prospective clients, or elaborated on their technical questions? Share!
- Data from your own experiments and light scientific research. Data might be more likely to generate references and backlinks.
- Your personal take on technology-specific news. How we plan to react and incorporate the next version of the Laravel framework for example. What exact changes are we excited about?
Non-technical staff – general ideas
Pertains to admins, recruiters, content writers, accountants, HR etc:
If you are non-technical, you can still prepare content that is slightly technical in nature. You need to: interview our developers, get ideas from third-party articles, read up a bit on the subject, paraphrase trusted sources and get the article proofread by a developer before publishing.
If you’re non-technical, it makes sense to collaborate with developers on content. You would probably be better at explaining the “general benefits and perspective” of something technical than a developer anyway.
As per the audience funnel, most of our content needs to be understood by non-technical decision-makers. The only exceptions would be purely technical articles targeting developers like “How to implement the Klarna payment gateway API”.
The non-technical team can handle posts IBNLT:
- Specific event posts such as for festivals, a client who has visited us, staff who has visited clients, birthdays, new colleagues etc.
- Information that is useful for existing stakeholders like existing staff, candidates and clients. E.g. “Getting started with a Mac”.
- News that reflects our commitment to selling points such as new 4k screens, office chairs, MacBooks, monitor arms etc; a team who has finalized Laravel training courses.
- Anything related to your field of expertise. E.g. “How to keep a clear asset register” for an accountant.
Feel free to be creative. Instagram link to a Swedish agency for inspiration. Just make sure that content is not copied from another website as Google punishes duplicate content by ranking domain-wide pages lower.
These can be partially handled by content writers. Once done ads will be set up to target the specific landing page:
- E-learning: Exists, but can be fleshed out.
- CRM: Exists, but can be fleshed out.
- Client portals: Like https://www.zendesk.com/guide/features/customer-portal-software/client-portal/
- ERP: Exists, but can be fleshed out.
- CMS/e-Commerce: Exists, but can be fleshed out.
- Desktop application development: A general-purpose LP explaining what types of software we can develop and why modern software is typically web-based. List the types of software we cannot develop right now as well, but if/how we can provide substitutes. Do keyword research.