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12 SEO Fundamentals All Writers Should Know

There's a lot more attention on social media than on websites these days, it seems. That's too bad, because search engine optimization (SEO) is a powerhouse. There's an old saying in marketing from a consultant named Tom Pick: “Social is sexy, but search pays the bills.”

Readers who find you or your website via a search engine have more intent. They stumbled across you while looking for the answer to a question. If I sell porcelain tchotchkes of Beyoncé (which I'm sure exists), showing up when people Google “Beyoncé decor” would probably attract more meaningful, purchase-intentional readers than social media alone.

The reason SEO does not get much attention is that it's slow. Results take months, if not longer. For this reason, it's good to be aware of the basics, so you can work on them over time.

Here's a new blog with 12 SEO fundamentals to know. How many of them are new to you?

🔗 Brush Up On Your SEO

The Incredible, Edible Inverted Pyramid in Action

CNET/Robert Rodriguez

At CNET, I balance a dual role as senior editor of custom content and a feature writer at CNET Money.

My newest money byline came out Thursday, and I wanted to share it with you because it follows a popular article format, the inverted pyramid, to the T.

The inverted pyramid is how news articles are formatted. If you've never heard of it, refresh on it with this blog post.

My CNET article reported a new survey about student loan repayment, in three sections. Check it out by clicking the button below.

As you read, pay close attention to how the article is formatted. There is a lede, a body, and a tail, and the information is delivered in a certain order to maximize clarity.

Even if you never plan to write a news story, the inverted pyramid format helps with messaging across the board because it forces you to put the most important information at the front. This means you have to kill your darlings and decide what the most important part of your message actually is.

🔗 Creep on the New CNET Story

Heads Up, Apple Users: Display Ad Scams

Sora Shimakazi via Pexels

Speaking of SEO: When you do a search on Google, the first results that appear are often paid ads. Advertisers pay to appear when certain words or phrases are searched, and they are charged each time a user clicks the link. This is called pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, and it's a common use of marketing dollars.

Usually, these ads are vetted well. But hackers are smarter than ever these days, and some of them are using display ads as a way to get you to download apps or files that seem helpful, but are actually malware.

Here's some research from MalwareBytes, reported via 9to5Mac:

“The latest instance of the Atomic macOS Stealer was spotted by researchers at Malwarebytes in what is considered a “malvertising campaign.”

Malwarebytes notes that the majority of these recent malicious campaigns have targeted Windows, but the new Atomic Stealer stands out as being able to target both Windows and Mac.

As a quick refresher, once a Mac is infected with AMOS, it can steal iCloud Keychain passwords, credit card information, files, crypto wallets, and more.

Here’s how the new malvertising campaign works to compromise Macs:

  • Malicious ads for Google searches target Mac users
  • Phishing sites trick victims into downloading what they believe is the app they want
  • The malware is bundled in an ad-hoc signed app so it cannot be revoked by Apple
  • The payload is a new version of the recent Atomic Stealer for OSX (macOS)

To get around Google’s ad quality checks, Malwarebytes believes threat actors are using compromised ad accounts to buy the ads that lead to phishing sites.”

Why care?

Cybersecurity is like hygiene for us as online professionals.

You brush your teeth every night and keep up with your personal hygiene. Do the same with your digital hygiene, too. That means staying in the loop on security and privacy updates, as well as new technologies.

🔗 Read on 9to5Mac

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Cheering you on,

—Nick