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Posts Tagged ‘Search Engines’

Brian E Nelson Freelance Writer

May 9, 2010 1 comment

When you start a freelance writing business there are a lot of things that need to be done. A business plan for freelance writing is a good start. You also need to setup a lot of business things like a business phone number, Internet access, business email accounts, and so on. Sooner or later, you probably want to setup a business website and maybe even a business blog.

Brian Nelson

Brian E Nelson website

My professional freelance writing business has been doing well for a few years and I have done all of those things and more. The freelance writing blog at ArcticLlama does well enough for generating traffic and ranking for a smattering of terms about the business of writing. The main business website also does its job and from time to time I pick up new writing gigs from the contact us email address on the site.

I have also carefully constructed various freelance writing profiles and social networks. I’ve got profile son LinkedIn and Facebook and so on. I have special webpages dedicated to parts of my writing business, like the ones about freelance financial writer and the one for freelance technology writer and so on.

While I was creating this online persona and building the brand for my writing business, I never really cared about one thing, where I rank for my own name.

In a very real way, it really doesn’t matter. The odds of me getting a job based on someone searching for freelance writing professional is much higher than based on someone searching for Brian Nelson. On the other hand, it just doesn’t really seem right that while ArcticLlama holds its own and while my various writing bios from sites that I write for do fine, that me, myself and I should languish in the depths of 5th or 6th page search results.

Of course, that wouldn’t even be a little bit true if it were not for the fact that I also know a little something about publishing online and how to get the posts and articles and features that I write found, indexed, and yes, ranked.Things like little inconsequential (but longer than the five hundred words that supposedly conveys seriousness to a web page) posts like this one.

So, yesterday, I decided to do something about it. First, I, Brian E. Nelson, took the domain brianenelson.com which I had registered long ago, but never used for anything other than testing things out, and I threw up a quick mini card WordPress template with links to my other profiles and personas out there on the Internet. I then went ahead and setup the most basic of linking to the domain with the anchor text of “brian nelson” and “brian e nelson”. Obviously, nothing has happened in 48 hours, but I’m betting that by month end, there is a substantial change in how my name shows up when people (me) look for it.

It might not be worth much. In fact, it may be nothing more than an exercise in vanity. Then again, maybe someday someone will be looking for me by name and they will find me. If not, well then at least I can show that when I want to rank, I can.

I’ll check back in with an update later.

Not Just a Freelance Writer

helping-hand-writersFor the most part, I’m a professional freelance writer.  My freelance writing business is called Arctic Llama, LLC.

But, I also do some editing and copywriting.  Most of my editing is of the online variety.  The kind of thing where you manage a forum, or channel, or even a whole website by assigning articles to writers and then making sure they actually turn them in.

(With so many people trying to be professional writers, you would think that it wouldn’t be so difficult to get people to turn in articles that they are going to get paid for!)

Once the articles are turned in, then you edit them for quality, content, and of course, typos and grammar.  The latter is particularly irritating.  If you are getting paid for an article, the least you can do is run it through a spell-checker and make sure that the sentences make sense when you read them.

A couple of investing articles I edited (and wrote) are Capital Losses and Tax Deductions and What Is a Preferred Stock.

Also, Moving Averages: Exponentially Weighted (which I edited, but did not write.)

As an online editor, there is an additional responsibility, and that is making sure that the articles are properly written and setup for getting good search engine rankings or SERPs.

Contrary to what the search engines would like you to believe, the various spiders that index the web do not have the slightest idea of what is good content versus what is junk.  Sure, they can filter out the most egregious of spam, but that is about it.  In fact, formatting and writing your articles specifically to do well with the various search engine algorithms and index bots is a whole category of professional writing of its own.

The key to being well liked by search engines and their automated scans and ranking algorithms is to make sure your article is written to what they are looking for, rather than written for what makes the best reading by a human.  In a way, it is like the difference between teaching for smart, knowledgeable, people, and teaching to the test.

In one case, the students may understand more and understand it better but it won’t look as good when the grades come out.  In the latter case, the student may not be able to actually use or apply their knowledge, but at least they will score high enough on the test to make it look like they know what they are doing.

For the Internet, the test is the search engine rankings and writing to the test, so to speak, is making sure that specific keywords appear in a specific order in specific places in the article, namely the title.  More specifically, those key-phrases need to be in the title tag which is a bit of HTML code that tells a browser what to display at the top of the browser window, or on the tab in the case of newer tabbed browsers.

Don’t confuse the top of the window with the top of the article.  The top of the article is where you start reading.  The title tag has nothing to do with this.  Rather, the title tag is what appears all the way up in the blue (by default on Windows systems) bar that has the little icons on the right side to minimize, maximize, or close the whole program.

In other words, those words above the menus, and search bar, and URL bar.  Yeah, way up there at the top, the ones you never read.

Yes, those.

Those words are critical to how a page gets ranked in the SERPs.  Get those words wrong and it won’t matter if your webpage is the best one on the whole Internet, it will never show up in the top of the rankings.

So, as an online editor, part of my job, well, actually, the most important part of my job, is getting those words just right.

Want to see how I’ve done?

Here are some recently published articles from my gig as the Managing Editor at the Bright Hub Investing Channel.  See what you think.

(Oh, by the way, the second most important thing in ranking high in search engines is what text is displayed for when there are links pointing to your article.  You’ll notice that the same keywords or key-phrases are in the blue highlighted links below to ensure maximum Internet power, or as some call it, “link juice”.)

And then, here is a link to an Investing related site to make the search engine algorithm moe convinced that this webpage is relevant to the topic, which in this case is making money by investing.

I can’t prove it, but I think having a picture or graphic helps too.

Categories: Online Editor