In recent years there’s been a lot of debate as to the usefulness of search engine optimization, or SEO. Namely, does it work?
It’s not a straight forward answer. Like a difficult ex-partner, Google and other search engines give off numerous mixed signals whenever good SEO is practiced, leading practitioners to doubt the efficacy of strategies such as using correct keywords and stuffing meta titles.
However, in spite of the mixed signals, the general consensus from experts is that, yes, SEO is effective, but it’s a discipline whose methods require constantly updating as Google itself changes.
The Secret to Ranking Highly
Gone are the wild west days of SEO
In the early days of SEO, many people realized that the fastest way to get recognized by Google and other search engines was to rank highly for the keywords that people searched for… so naturally they simply stuffed those keywords en masse into their articles in the hopes of being bumped up the ranks to the first page.
This resulted in a lot of low-quality content with very little value that was simply filled to the brim with keywords in specific areas. Google quickly grew wise to this and changed the algorithm and the way in which it identified quality content.
This added sophistication meant that websites and content were now based on its popularity, and so massive priority was given to backlinks coming to and from certain web pages.
The logic was that if a page was being linked to and from constantly, then it must have massive value and therefore deserves a higher spot in the rankings. This ranking system was a lot more refined and established a more self-regulating approach within the SEO and content industries.
Suddenly, quality, shareable, and linkable content became the currency of the hour. This trend has continued, and today we see blogs and long-form content coming back to the fore, with the intent on providing value to readers so that they might creep closer to those first-page results.
Social Media and Google
But how does one check if the content they’re published is especially useful to the internet at large? Well, like most things in 2019, whether or not they’re being shared on social media platforms is an excellent way to gauge how much interest is being piqued of online audiences everywhere.
Engagement on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn (to name a few) is an excellent barometer for measuring the effectiveness of your work. If blog posts and videos are being shared and shown a lot of love (or, in some very niche instances, a lot of hate), then it’s not too difficult to extrapolate that Google is probably loving them too.
The above paragraph makes it sound like creating shareable content is easy, however. Unfortunately, it requires some work.
How to Increase Social Media Engagement
It’s not all about you
Any business or organization worth their salt has a variety of social media channels. And many of them make the mistake of simply posting uninspiring and, in many cases, downright boring content which no casual scroller in their right mind wants to consume.
While social media is a great sales tool, by outright pitching sales within your content constantly, the only thing that you’re going to do is ostracize yourself from your audience. It’s like drawing a picture and constantly shoving it in the face of anyone polite enough to take an interest. It’s not subtle, and it’s not wise. Instead, businesses should be playing the long con, and their weapon of choice should be content.
Content is (still) king
It’s one of the oldest adages in the industry, but it’s still one that rings the truest: content is king. It always has been, it is right now, and, unless there are some radical changes to the internet in the next couple of years, it’s likely to sit on the top of the digital marketing throne for some time to come.
Good, fresh, original content is not only a way of providing value to your readers and therefore generating interest in your business, it’s also a great way showcasing your business’s products and services in a subtle and less invasive manner while connecting to and growing your target audience.
But what does great content entail? As we said before it should offer value, but not be overly promotional. If you sell workout supplements, for example, then running a blog which offers free workout and nutritional information is an ideal way of drawing in readers.
It provides expertise which is easily accessible, which also ties in with your product. This means that readers will be constantly coming to your site, and even if they’re not buying products every time, they’re using you as a source of authority, which pumps up your search rating on Google, and makes your content more shareable on social media.
How Does Social Media Content Benefit my SEO?
Sharing is key for growth
Great content provides value, and naturally gets shared more often than sub-par content. Like a stone tossed in a pond that creates ripples, good content also raises awareness and greatly increases the chances of it being picked up and shared by other blogs and publications, thereby drawing more traffic and attention back to your blog.
It’s a domino effect that doesn’t even need a substantial amount of followers to get started with. All you need is good content that people can use.
The gift that keeps on giving
Facebook, Linkedin, Instagram and countless other platforms curate your feed by remembering the types of content you interacted with, and presenting more of the same to you in the future (if you want to try this, low-key search an old acquaintance whom you never really hear from anymore, and wait for their photos to appear on your newsfeed in the future).
This is great news if you’re in the content game. It means that if you’re constantly putting out content that people find valuable and interact with, then that same content will start to show up to additional people. The key to pulling this off to favor quality over quantity (one great post trumps ten mediocre ones every time), and to be consistent.
Post once or twice a week, but keep at it – before you know it you’ll be drowning more likes, shares and follows than you get could ever hope for.
About the Author: Bjion is a digital marketer with experience in design, branding, search and social media. He started as a design freelancer working with brands such as Thomas Cook and Churchill, where thereafter he launched a fashion brand marketed through social media. After selling the fashion brand, he went on to work for Google in their paid-search/AdWords department. He now runs a digital marketing agency which focuses on helping tech brands reach and engage more customers.