Blog

Here's an archive of blog posts I've shared since 1999, including articles, interviews, books, and news. Topics include marketing, digital marketing, copywriting, communications, and business.

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office, startup, business

Copywriting Productivity Tools to Boost Your Writing

November 28, 2020

These days, I do a lot of SEO consulting and content strategy work. But a big part of my career was in copywriting. And when I write copy, some tools help me tremendously. Whether it's doing research, writing the copy itself, or working with my clients, there are certain resources that help.

I previously shared tools I use for SEO work. I use some of them for copywriting, too. Below are some extras that I specifically use. You don't need to be a copywriter. But these resources may help you either write your own copy or, when you outsource it, know what to look for or how to fix it.…

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SEO rules three ranking factors

SEO and The Law of The Vital Few

November 27, 2020

If you've been a follower or subscriber for some time, you likely know that I often talk about SEO and the fact that it really boils down to two things:

  1. The quality of your content, and
  2. The quality of your user experience.

In other words, provide good content on a good website. What's “good” is relative. It's content that's relevant and valuable to your users (i.e., it matches their search intent and it's helpful to them), and delivered on a website that's fast, secure, and easy to use (i.e., the content is easy to find and consume).

Focus on those two things and you're golden.…

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Quality is Something You Attract, Not Extract -

Quality is Something You Attract, Not Extract

November 26, 2020

Search intent is something that a lot of SEO professionals talk about. And the reason is, search intent is more important than keywords.

Essentially, ranking well on the search engines is no longer as important as it used to be. Otherwise, chasing high rankings alone will only result in useless traffic that never converts. Targeted traffic comes from a lot more than just matching what people are looking for.

Back in the mid-2000s when I was mostly writing copy, someone on Twitter asked me what keywords should a content writer or online copywriter target. We began tweeting back-and-forth in an effort to help him with his keyword selection for his niche.…

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headache, pain, pills

SEO: Cutting Coupons vs. Creating Value

November 24, 2020

You've heard of this before. There are two kinds of people in the world. This is true in almost every major area of life, really. There's the efficient person and the effective one. One focuses on doing things right (efficiency), the other on doing the right things (effectiveness).

For example, you have some people who become wealthy by investing money and spending strategically. Others become wealthy from saving money and spending frugally. The two can work equally well.

But which one is the better strategy?

I know someone who was a pharmacist. He and his wife bought a small-town pharmacy. It was located in a tiny strip mall in a rural part of Canada.…

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Why Do I Blog? -

Why Do I Blog?

November 23, 2020

You may have been the victim of “question tagging” on social media.

That's when you're typically tagged by someone else, where the tagger was initially tagged by someone else, must answer a question, and gets to continue to the trend by tagging someone else.

It's like a stadium wave. Or an illegal chain letter. But for fun and curiosity, not for money. (Curiosity has a lot more to do with it than you think, and it's actually quite powerful. I'll come back to that later.)

The point is that you tag other people to ask them a question, the answer to which you're curious about.…

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Good content and UX for SEO

“Good” is Good in The Eyes of The Googler

November 21, 2020

Recently, Michael Fulwiler tweeted something that I agree with. He said:

To which several SEO pros rebutted. And some make some great points. For example, after Michael added that “good SEO is an outcome of good content and a good website,” SEO expert Tyler Lane said:

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seo, search engine, search engine optimization

My Favorite SEO Experts

November 20, 2020

Back in 2006, I wrote about my favorite copywriting blogs. It's still one of my most popular blog posts, even though it desperately needs an update since some of those blogs no longer exist or have moved.

But until then, however, I'd like to share some of my favorite SEO experts. This time, I won't say “blogs” because some of them have email newsletters, too, while others have YouTube channels. I tend to be subscribed to all of them.

While the main link goes to their YouTube channels, I recommend you visit their websites, and subscribe to their blogs or email newsletters.…

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home office, workstation, office

Helpful Hints for Writing

November 19, 2020

Preamble: This post was originally written in late 2006. It's my answer to a common question I get quite often. It needed an update, so here it is.


Someone recently asked me this question: “I was wondering, ‘What keeps Michel Fortin writing?' I mean, Michel, what is your 3, 5, or 7-point formula to get an article on paper? What are some of the specific steps you follow?”

1. I Subscribe to Stuffs

I try to stay on top of my industry.

I'm subscribed to many newsletters and blogs, and I read every day. The wonderful byproduct of being immersed in my industry is that something I've read will stir a few ideas in my mind about something worth writing.…

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race, marathon, runners

How to Do an SEO Competitive Scan

November 18, 2020

Yesterday, I completed several SEO audits. I really love doing them because they fire both sides of my brain: the analytical and artistic sides.

Some have said that it's the ADHD brain. Others, the marketer's brain. Either way, one client was specifically looking to get a leg up on its competitors who seem to be doing well organically. So I conducted a competitive scan.

I want to share it with you as it might be useful to you.

An SEO audit analyzes a number of factors to see if a website is properly optimized. It looks at a number of ranking signals, both internal and external, to help determine if the content is visible, relevant, and desirable.…

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