Welcome to Ask Alexa!  This is a weekly Q&A episode that is aired on Friday of each week. If you have a  question you’d like answered on an upcoming episode, simply head to http://breakintotravelwriting.com/ask-alexa/ to submit your question. I need the Q in the Q&A to continue this segment!

Ask Alexa for Break Into Travel Writing Podcast

Today I have two great questions. One focuses Today I have two great questions – focusing on SEO and claiming freelance writing income. Click here to listen to the podcast now!

[shadowbox]Question: From Nancy Besharah with LuxeTravelFamily.com[/shadowbox]

I would like to dig deeper into SEO and long tail keywords. So…What steps to do you take to selected the most appropriate focus keyword for a travel post?


First, I went to an expert… Joe Robison who was my guest on episode  040: which was a q&a show called SEO 101 For Travel Bloggers with Joe Robison. He is the founder of Green Flag Digital, an Inbound Marketing and SEO consultancy based in Austin, TX that focuses on the travel industry.

Joe says at the most basic level, use Google’s Keyword Planner to find the best keyword with the highest search volume related to your post. There’s a way in the Keyword Planner to also add in the URL of someone else’s post on a similar topic to get keyword ideas from that post. On a more advanced level you’ll want to use a tool like SEMRush or Moz Pro to look at the keyword’s difficulty score. The best case scenario is a keyword with high search volume and a low difficulty score, that way you have a better chance of ranking for that keyword faster.

Another tactic, which I love because it means a lot less work on my end is what Jessica woodbury suggested in episode 47 is that she believes that long articles are more important that keywords.

I came across a report from Hubpost called the 17 SEO myths You Should Leave Behind 2016

Myth #6: is that “Keyword optimization is THE key to SEO”

Hubpost says until search engines are able to enter our brains and read our thoughts, we’ll always need to use written language in order to make search queries. We need to use keywords to communicate. It used to be important that you write your content with the keyword incorporated exact match, but now Google uses latent semantic indexing (LSI

With this type of indexing, the contents of a webpage are crawled by the search engine and the most common words or phrases are combined and identified as the keywords of that page. LSI also looks for synonyms that related to your target keywords.

Hubspot says that today, it’s important to optimize your page for the user experience; this means that you do not have to place your keywords word-for-word in the content. Write the content for the user. By using synonyms and related terms, the search engines will still understand what your goal is.

That being said, it’s important to realize that Google is no longer trying to match the keywords you type into its search engine to the keywords of a web page. Instead, it’s trying to understand the intent behind the keywords you type so it can match that intent to relevant, high-quality content.

The bottom line: search engines of the future aren’t going to punish folks for under using keywords or failing to have an expertly crafted, keyword optimized page title … but they will continue to punish folks for overusing keywords.


For the full episode, you can click here to listen to the entire podcast now!

Tweetable: Great question from Nancy @Luxetravelfam via @writetotravel podcast http://bit.ly/1TNe1OX #travelblogger

Instagram Challenge for Travel Bloggers


[shadowbox]Question: From Brandon www.beersatthebottom.com[/shadowbox]

Hi Alexa, I’ve recently started earning income as a freelance writer and photographer. My question relates to taxes. At what point do self employeed writers have to start paying taxes? Is there a magic number? Do you have any recommendations for keeping track of and paying these taxes? Thank you.


It is my understanding you need to report all income. In the United States, if you earned less than $600 as an independent contractor, which is most likely the scenario here, the payer does not have to send you a 1099-MISC form, but you still have to report the amount as self-employment income.,

One issue from a tax perspective is that, as a self-employed blogger, your taxes won’t be automatically withheld from your earnings as you are being paid as a contractor.  So, it’s my understanding, you’ll owe self-employment taxes but you can also take advantage of deductions to lower the actual cost of the taxes. I actually found a good article on Turbo tax about tax tips for bloggers and I will link to this because it offers a lot of details.

I also will link to an IRS web page that describes when you will need to be given a 1099 by someone paying you for services.

Tweetable: Great question from Brandon @Beersatb  via @writetotravel podcast http://bit.ly/1TNe1OX #travelblogger

Instagram Challenge for Travel Bloggers


You can head to the audio version for the full answer here: http://bit.ly/1R0nU8y

Click here to listen to the podcast and full answers now!

Episode Resources
Ask Alexa form to ask a a question
February Instagram Challenge
Google’s Keyword Planner
BITW 040: SEO 101 For Travel Bloggers with Joe Robison
BITW 047: How to Master the Affiliate World with CJ Affiliate Biz Dev Manager Jessica Woodbury
17 SEO myths You Should Leave Behind 2016
Turbo Tax
Tax Tips for Bloggers
IRS 1099 Information

People Mentioned in this Episode
Elaine Masters
Cintia Soto
Joe Robison
Jessica Woodbury
Connect with Break Into Travel Writing
The Aspiring Travel Writer, the Facebook group

That is it for today! Thank you to Nancy and for today’s awesome questions! If you have a question about travel blogging, writing, photography or SEO, Web or Social Media for travel blogging that you would like answered on my Podcast, simply submit your question to bitw/askalexa and I’ll answer it on an upcoming episode.


Great question from Brandon @Beersatb  via @writetotravel podcast http://bit.ly/1TNe1OX #travelblogger [Click To Tweet]
Great question from Nancy @Luxetravelfam via @writetotravel podcast http://bit.ly/20ZMfQg #travelblogger [Click to Tweet]

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