Category Archives: Content Strategy

What is Facebook Graph Search and how to optimize your content for it

If you are spending most of your time on Facebook you might as well also carry out your daily dose of searches on the social networking website. Almost every individual and every business that is on the Internet is also there on Facebook. So that is why Facebook is coming up with its own search engine called Graph Search. How is it going to be different from conventional search engines like Google?

Facebook is people based. In the name of improving user experience Facebook is able to extract as much information from its users as possible. It knows how old you are, where you live, where you work, which school and university you attended, with whom you are hanging out, who is your spouse or brother or sister, which foods you like to eat, which books you like to read and which movies you have recently seen or would like to see. This kind of detailed information is not available to conventional search engines, although with Google Plus Google is trying to break that barrier. In fact Google is changing its ranking algorithm in such a manner that people will be forced to use Google Plus if they want to improve their search engine rankings as well as search engine traffic.

Anyway, back to the Facebook Graph Search. Facebook is all about wanting to know what your friends and relatives are doing. You trust your friends, at least more than the search engine ranking algorithms. The search results that you get on Facebook will be totally different from those appearing on Google simply because the Facebook search results will be based on the preferences of your friends.

Take for instance, you want to read some sci-fi books that your friends have recently read. On Graph Search you will look for the following:

“Sci-fi books my friends like”

Or if you want to find a good coffee shop in London (I know, quite a broad search) you can search for

“London coffee shops my friends like”

Or if you want to find out something more specific

“London coffee shops my female friends like”


“London coffee shops my friends have been to”

You can replace London with any other city, and you can replace coffee shops to any other business.

The basic idea behind Facebook Graph Search is that it is based on your friends’ recommendations and preferences. It is totally human-based. Most of the data has been submitted by people themselves and hence there is little chance of error.

Optimizing your content for Facebook Graph Search

Relevance and quality, as usual, are always relevant. Content marketing that also involves social media marketing, should also take care of how you create content on social networking websites, in this case, Facebook. What language you use when you post your updates can alter the way you appear on Facebook search results. It is based on natural language processing as you might have experienced in Apple’s Siri.

Remember that your presence on Facebook becomes popular when people “like” your content or share it on their own timelines. For example, in order to find my services people may look for “content writer my friends like”. To make sure I appear in these search results, I need to make sure that enough number of people, and right type of people, like my Facebook page or my Facebook updates.

In order to optimize your content for Facebook Graph search

  • Use the language people use (if they are looking for a content writer, then actually use this expression while creating your content)
  • Post relevant content so that people “like” it and share it
  • Use social buttons on your website so that people can easily post your links on their own timelines without having to leave your website or blog
  • Encourage people to leave comments on your website using Facebook
  • Create great content on your website or blog so that people have a reason to promote your links and talk about your website or blog
  • Establish yourself as an authority

As you can see, the same rules that apply to creating content in general also apply to optimizing your content for Facebook Graph search. Be regular, stick to quality and relevance and give people a reason to appreciate your presence on Facebook.


Publishing content for mobile devices

So much has been written about the importance of creating websites that scale seamlessly according to the device they are being accessed through that it has almost become a cliché. But what about content? Do people prefer different content when they are accessing your website via mobile devices such as smart phones and 7 inch tablets?

There is a client of mine for whom I write a weekly newsletter. Whenever he sends me the brief he never forgets to mention that I should keep in mind that most of his recipients will be reading the newsletter via their blackberries (what he means is, via their phones, which means, very small screens). He prefers content that doesn’t go beyond 3 paragraphs and every paragraph shouldn’t be more than 2 sentences.

This makes sense. Nobody would like to scroll through an umpteen number of lines on a tiny screen. Besides, people never specifically sit down to check their e-mails on their mobile devices. Most probably they are doing something else and hence, distracted, while they are accessing information on their mobile devices.

While formatting/creating content for mobile devices, you need to truncate it to the minimum. Stick to the most essential aspect of your content and remove things you can do away with. Create smaller sentences and if possible, present your information in points rather than long sentences.

Prioritization is very important. Remember that you have very little time to grab the attention of your visitors and during that time you have to convey the most important message to make an impact.

When people access your website from their smart phones and smaller tablets they’re looking for the most relevant information. Don’t make them jump from page to page in order to make a point. Present your idea within a couple of paragraphs, and as mentioned above, normally have one or at the most two sentences per paragraph. Use small words that are easy to understand and while formatting your content, make sure that there is lots of white space around words and lines.

Unless you have visuals that are indispensable, don’t use images and graphics because this unnecessarily increases the load time and causes distraction. Of course if it is an e-commerce website and you enable people to shop from their mobile devices you will have to display the images of the items people want to purchase, but if you’re presenting just information, stick to text.


What’s better, longer or shorter blog posts?

There was a brief exchange somewhere between two prominent bloggers whether it’s better to publish longer blog posts (1000-2000 words) or shorter (300-500 words). What do I advise to my clients?

Once again, what I normally do, I say it depends on the topic, or the need of the hour. I favor both long and short blog posts.

In fact length doesn’t really matter, as long as you know what you are writing, and how much detail is apt for your audience. What’s important is regularity and relevance.

Case for longer blog posts

Longer blog posts are good if you are publishing an analytical piece that has lots of information, lots of sections and subsections. It can be a detailed report on something. It can be some account of an event that happened at your workplace, or at a conference. It can be a detailed research. Such posts can be highly useful and they have a greater chance of going viral. Since they pack lots of highly useful information they also enjoy better search engine rankings.

Case for shorter blog posts

Shorter blog posts are easier to write and publish. You don’t have to make lots of effort. You can publish shorter blog posts with greater frequency. Besides, quickly publishing a couple of paragraphs is better than having no content simply because you don’t have enough time to create longer, more comprehensive blog posts.

Eventually, what matters is having lots of relevant content on a regular basis. Keep in mind that the fundamental purpose of creating content on your website or blog is keeping your visitors informed as much as possible.


How to make your content unique, engaging and high-quality

With more and more Google updates penalizing websites for the way they publish content and aggregate incoming links, it has become necessary to carry out a thorough website content assessment to make sure that your website doesn’t lose its rankings.

Your website content, as the latest Google guidelines state, must be prepared with your user in mind and not the search engines. Actually, it makes more sense. When you’re creating content for search engines, knowingly or unknowingly, you end up trying to manipulate your content. On the other hand if you just focus on your users, if you create your website content totally for your users, you focus more on quality and communication.

Why in the first place you create website content?

If you are creating content for your business website you want people to do business with you. Why would they do business with you? If, through your content, you can persuade them, you can make them believe in what you are saying and you can instil a sense of trust in them, they will do business with you. For that you have to provide them with as much information as possible. The information must be clear, to the point and devoid of misrepresentation. Every bit of important information should be available within 2-3 clicks.

You create content on your website to tell them about the benefits of your product or service. You use different pages to talk about your company, your skills, your offerings, and the people who work in your organization. You also talk about all the activities you participate in as an organization as well as as an individual. The entire idea of creating content for your website is to provide engaging, useful information so that your visitors can make an educated decision.

Ensuring high-quality and unique content

Every business is unique. You cannot possibly be an exact copy of another business. Even though there are 100s of search engines out there, you can easily distinguish between Google and Bing. Similarly, there are multiple social networking platforms but still you can easily differentiate between Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus.

In the same vein, although there might be many business similar to what you are doing, your offering in some way or another will be unique. This gives you an opportunity to create unique content. It is totally centered around your online presence. It will be catering to your audience.

And now we come to high quality. Here is a nice blog post on how to ensure error-free high quality website content. The basic tenets are universal. Before publishing content just check the following:

  • You ensure that all the information is accurate
  • If you are using factual information back it up with either the original source or multiple sources quoting the same piece of information
  • Make sure there are no spelling mistakes and grammatical errors
  • The structure of your content is in such a manner that your visitors can easily follow it
  • Question yourself whether you actually need the content you are preparing to make sure you are not simply preparing your content in order to attract search engines
  • Provide a human-friendly site map that people can easily access from your main page
  • Make your content as relevant to your business as possible
  • Make it as useful to your visitors as possible


Content marketing strategy for landscaping business

This year I have written content for more than four landscaping businesses so it will be safe to say that people in this particular industry realize the importance of targeted content writing and content marketing. So what should be your content marketing strategy if you want to promote your landscaping business?

In this business people are primarily influenced by the following:

  • Your experience/portfolio
  • The clients you have worked for
  • Personal recommendations
  • Visual collateral
  • Constant communication

If you don’t have a blog then you should definitely start a blog for your landscaping business website. A blog is not just a “trendy” thing to have: it is a top-notch communication channel. If this doesn’t motivate you, a regularly published blog can increase your search traffic easily by 100-200% within 3-4 months (it depends on the frequency and quality of your blog posts).

When we use the word “content marketing strategy” it means you are not simply going to publish content – you’re going to make sure that the content reaches the right audience and then it makes the right impact.

Not all your landscaping clients will be visiting your website. They will be on Facebook, on Twitter, on LinkedIn, on other blogs and websites or simply looking around for a similar service on various search engines. Your content marketing strategy involves using multiple channels as well as multiple content formats to reach your prospective clients. Since I provide textual content, this is my focus.

So in order to launch a content marketing strategy for your landscaping business you need to do the following if you haven’t already done so:

  • Start a blog under your own domain name (something like and start publishing content on it on a regular basis. Focus on quality but also be regular. In the beginning it will help you if you can post everyday or at least thrice a week. The growth of your blog should be gradual. It’s not a good strategy to hire a writer in the Philippines, for instance, make him create 50 blog posts and then publish them in one go. In a day, publish just a single blog post.
  • Create Facebook and Twitter profiles and start interacting with people over there. Although this might sound like social networking but your content plays a vital role in creating a solid presence for you or your brand. People will recognize you on the basis of the content you regularly post under your profiles.
  • Carry out a content analysis of your business website. Are all the necessary pages there? Do you think all the information the client needs in order to make a decision in your favor is present on your website? Does it have testimonials and the FAQs section? Does it properly explain what sort of landscaping services you provide and what sort of material you use?
  • Set up an account with an email marketing service such as mailchimp. Permission-based marketing, although as old as the contemporary Internet, still rules the roost when it comes to reaching out to your target audience in the most effective manner. You will need high-quality content for your email marketing campaigns.

You must be wondering once you have established these channels (and many more) what you’re going to talk about. For instance, your blog. Of course you will be talking about landscaping. You can start by explaining the various aspects of how you carry out individual projects and what parameters you take into consideration. You can talk about various forms of landscaping, materials, methods and architectural conventions. Once you have started, the ideas begin to come on their own.

Remember that link building must be an integral part of your overall content marketing strategy. Google looks for quality websites and blogs that link back to you. So continuously create content people would like to link to as this will significantly improve your search engine rankings for your targeted keywords – primary, secondary and longtail.

The same holds true for your social networking and social media profiles. Keep in mind that search engines these days list social media content also. So be careful of what you are posting.