SEO Tactics: Content, Social Media and Keywords
Creating Quality Content – What Exactly Does That Mean?
Everyone has advice to offer regarding your online blog, or website. It is an advice-du-jour type of environment. Each week, you can expect something new. The advice may work in the short-term, but in many cases, it eventually goes out of favor with either the search engines or with your website visitors.
One piece of advice that continues to circulate is to create quality content.
This keeps appearing for one great reason: it works. It’s the only tried-and-true piece of advice, and it’s one that was relevant ten years ago and will be relevant ten years from now. In short, Google wants relevant results for its searches and providing quality content can get you rewarded.
But, what exactly does it mean to create quality content?
That advice seems to be lacking, at least until now. To create quality content, you need to focus on who you are creating it for. Even quality content will be of little use if it is not presented to the right audience.
For instance: you can write a great article on the benefits of organic gardening, but it won’t resonate well with someone who is searching for how to buy the right cement for their next DIY project.
The key here is to start out with relevancy.
Your readers came to your blog or website because they were looking for some information. Give it to them. If you read in a forum that people were having an issue with some topic and you provide an answer to the issue, they will be happy with what you publish.
Some will argue that if you give them everything they need, they no longer have a use for your site. While some readers will do this, others will recognize that you presented yourself as an authority on this topic and will be curious about what else you can help them with. This is why it’s crucial to have a call-to-action on each of your pages. Give them a reason to come back.
Enlist others and collaborate on content creation.
This has several benefits. First, you will get another view on the content. Second, you will have someone willing to promote what you have created in exchange for promoting what they have created.
It only takes a couple of influencers to send your content and site into the stratosphere.
- The web is a collaborative machine.
- Use this fact to your advantage.
Don’t Forget to Use Social Media
It’s amazing how many website owners do not include social media as part of their strategy. The popularity of social media continues to grow and is likely to do so well into the future. Therefore, not using it is keeping you from recognizing your true potential.
It’s also widely believed through testing that search engines are incorporating social media signals into their algorithms. That means when someone searches for something, the search engines will factor what kind of influence social media has on that search term. It’s important to become aligned with what you are targeting with these signals.
On the flip side, do not rely solely on the impact of social media.
It should be a part of your strategy but should not be the entire focus. Share because you believe your followers will appreciate what you shared, not because you think it will sell. That’s an important distinction, and you need to keep that in mind whenever you share on social media.
People don’t like to be sold to, especially on your Facebook timeline.
If you don’t believe me, think about the last time a friend started promoting his or her wares on Facebook. Chances are good, they received plenty of unfriend requests. You may have been one who took that action yourself? Instead, create an environment of sharing useful information.
When you share, don’t be afraid to use other people’s content.
Your friends will find it useful, and the people whose content you are sharing will appreciate you for it. They will be much more willing to share your content in exchange. It also gives you plenty of publishing power in case you run out of ideas on what to share. Find content that has a minimum of promotional information.
While sharing other people’s content is important, don’t forget to share your own.
The point is, you want people to click on the links within your social shares. This will take them to your website and will garner the attention of search engines. This, in turn, should increase your ranking with those search engines.
Social media is a long-term strategy, and you need to keep with it to see any benefits.
It will probably take much longer than anticipated which means it will seem like it’s not working early on. You have to believe that it will make a difference and keep with it. When it does take off, it can flood your website with high-quality traffic.
Find a Purpose in Repurposing Content
You’ve written a article or blog post. Great! However, it may not be enough. The problem is, the web is no longer just about text. You need to have other types of content in your mix. One great way to do that is to repurpose your content.
Do you have PowerPoint?
If so, you now have the ability to not only create a slideshow but to turn that slideshow into a video. If you don’t have PowerPoint, don’t worry. There are plenty of alternatives that don’t cost any money.
If you are a basket case when it comes to creating other types of assets, such as video, etc., you can have someone else do it for relatively little money. In fact, search on Fiverr.com for video creation and you will find a bunch of great resources. You could try freelance websites as well.
- Make sure you ask for examples before choosing any freelancer.
- The advantage to sites like Fiverr.com is you can view the ratings of previous work.
Using someone else is great, but it doesn’t hurt to learn how to do it yourself.
A video can be as simple as writing text on a slideshow and producing that as a video. If you have more sophisticated software, such as Camtasia, you can create instructional videos that supplement your blog posts. You simply capture a session of something that you normally work on and speak about what you are doing. Then, you can upload your video to sites like YouTube.com.
When you create these other assets and share them (like YouTube, etc.) don’t forget to add them back into your website. For example, if you did a post about solar energy, create a video about it and then embed it into the post.
At an absolute minimum, you could use someone else’s video in your posts.
YouTube has a policy that allows anyone to embed their videos unless the publisher specifically asks for it not to be included. Most people will let it be shared. Usually, it benefits them by gaining more traffic to those videos.
The idea is to find a video related to your blog post on YouTube, and then grab the embed code and place it into your blog post. You can do this with Slideshare.net as well. The biggest drawback to this method is that it runs the risk of driving traffic away from your website (or multimedia assets) when they are not your own.
Getting Traffic Is Good, Getting Targeted Traffic Is Better
Anyone who manages a website focuses all their attention on getting traffic to that website. While you won’t get anywhere with no traffic, you are not likely to get very far with junk traffic or untargeted traffic. There are plenty of people who may get to your website that have no business being there. Further, there are people who are looking to get as much as they can from you without paying a dime. These people are called freebie seekers.
Wouldn’t it be a much better approach finding people who want what you offer? These people will not only return to your website but will become a brand advocate. They will spread the word to friends and colleagues.
But, this will only happen if you switch your focus to those people.
The first step in making sure you are targeting the right people is to make sure you are targeting the right subject. There’s nothing worse than looking for information about weight loss only to be shown how to make money in the stock market. While finance posts have their place, if the website does not specifically target that, you are wasting your visitors’ time. No one will advocate your brand when this occurs.
Stay focused on what your website or blog is about.
It’s okay to deviate a bit from your topics on occasion, as long as the focus remains similar to your topic. For instance, if your website is about camping, you can talk about how to cook fish, as this is something campers may find themselves doing. But, don’t make the site entirely about cooking fish. It’s a camping site. Campers will come to your site if you stay on subject and only deviate on occasion or when it makes sense.
The next step towards targeting the right people is in knowing who they are and what they want.
People will refer to this as a customer profile or avatar. You should come up with a couple of profiles of the type of people who would be interested in what you offer. Some will go so far as to find a picture and name the people. They print these profiles and retrieve them whenever they create content for their website.
Hit up forums and blogs that are related to your subject. This will give you plenty of material to help you figure out who you want to target and what topics people are looking for coverage on.
Everything You’ve Been Taught About Keywords May Be Wrong
Keywords still matter. Let’s get that straight, right off the bat. People still fire up their search engines and enter keywords to find what they are looking for. What’s changed, however, is how Google and other search engines treat those keywords.
Old strategies for Search Engine Optimization (SEO) relied on people stuffing a keyword (or keywords) onto a page. They cleverly hid them from the visitors’ view by making the text color the same as the background. This worked good well for a while. That is until Google adjusted its algorithms to clobber pages that practiced this technique.
- It wasn’t just small webmasters who got hit.
- Major players such as JC Penney and other retailers had their website ranks plummet.
- Article directories also took a major hit. In the end, no one was safe.
The process of using keywords naturally changed as a result.
Typical advice still suggests that you use the keyword once in the title and then in the first paragraph. Some will tell you to use it once more in a sub-header further into the content. But, any more than that and you risk getting flagged for keyword stuffing.
The strategy may even be outdated at this point. That’s because Google is becoming more sophisticated in how it uses keywords. It still uses those keywords, but it tries to incorporate synonyms or similar phrases as well. The concept is known as Latent Semantic Indexing. Therefore, you may want to determine a list of these similar phrases and incorporate them into your content.
Google has also been using the results of social media as part of its ranking.
This may include hashtags and other factors. Therefore, you want to try to select keywords that conform to social media popularity. This makes sense as social media and website content usually go together.
However you incorporate your keywords, keep one factor in mind…
Write for your readers and don’t worry as much about how the search engines will rank. If you include keywords just for the purpose of getting them to rank well, but they don’t end up reading well to your visitors, they are going to exit your site quickly.
Engagement by visitors is an important SEO factor and should not be underestimated whatsoever. Besides, search engines don’t buy products. Visitors to your website do. So, if you cannot fit a keyword or a similar phrase in a manner that reads well, skip it altogether.