Of course, you're not only looking to get visitors to read content. You're hopefully looking to convert some into subscribers. This is why it's so important to have the very best searcher experience possible.
Understand How Your Audience Finds Your Website
The best way to know how to get visitors to your sites is by understanding the many different ways that potential readers and subscribers will find your website. These days, you have social media accounting for a great deal of website referral traffic. This is why it has become so paramount to have a Facebook fan page and a Twitter profile (at the very least) to get your message out there.
By seeing what sort of people regularly follow your blog on Facebook and Twitter, you get more of an idea of what sort of content they are looking for. Knowing your audience is a key part of any SEO strategy. Ranking on the first page of Google search results for some high search volume keywords is great, but not if those aren’t the keywords that your target audience uses to find solutions to their problems.
The Importance of Having Your Own Domain for SEO and Brand Authority
Back when I started in SEO around 2010, many people, even small businesses, commonly used free Wordpress blogs. While it's okay to have your blog on a free platform, especially now in 2020, it's far better to put it on your own domain. Many web-hosts allow people to install Wordpress for free on their own websites, and it’s easy enough to import an existing free WordPress site - if you already had one.
There’s also Weebly who offers free to extremely reasonably priced web hosting with one of the best do-it-yourself website builders out there. Wix and Squarespace also have free options which you can later upgrade. While you can certainly get organic traffic with a free website - thanks to the authority of the wordpress, weebly, wixsite, etc. domains - it’s not often going to get you to rank for the same quality of keywords you really want to optimize for in the long run.
Having your own domain not only helps your authority with search engines, but it also makes you look better to users. If you have a company blog that’s not on your own domain, it might make people wonder why you couldn’t integrate it into your existing domain.
In 2020, offering the best user experience means having your own domain, because literally anyone with an internet connection and an email account can create a free website! Showing that you’re willing to at least in a domain name is always a good idea.
What is Relevant Content for Both Your Users and Search Engines?
In the old days, all you had to do was post content regularly – at the very least once per week - around the keywords you wanted to be found for in search. But, it’s not just about writing and sharing content that people want. You want to make sure that your incoming search traffic – and social media traffic – is really getting what they’re looking for.
So, what do you post to your blog? You need to make your site more relevant in the eyes (or rather, to the spiders) of search engines. But you also need to make it more relevant in the eyes of those who may end up clicking on your website link in the search engine results pages.
The first part is easy: Do you answer their questions and/or do you fulfill their needs? Here's the part that isn't quite so easy: how do you make them feel? It's a proven fact that if you make people feel better by easing their concerns or solving a nagging problem that they may have, they're a lot more likely to remember you for that. Emotional value is everything for human beings. Since 99% of your readers will likely be human beings, that’s who you have to write for.
Keyword Strategies are Important, But They Are Only the Beginning
Obviously, keyword strategies are still incredibly important. But, you have to constantly build content on your website not only surrounding these keywords, but establishing a presence of authority and trust around them. You need to become a trustworthy personality who is knowledgeable about your site’s subjects. This is known as becoming a "thought leader."
You may not think of yourself as a thought leader in your chosen field, but you may be surprised how much you can be once you start answering the questions that you may get every day on your blog. It may sound simple, but if there's a need, and you fulfill that need, you might just find that a blog post a day keeps the searchers coming your way. Even if you can't blog every day, it's important to at least remain consistent, and keep an open dialogue with your audience.
Yes, it’s important to have a keyword strategy to fall back on. After all, that’s what helps you write a catchy title tag and meta description that’s also keyword-rich. But, when you get people to click through from Google, social media, or elsewhere, you want them to read all the way through AND get people to want to read more.
Being Consistent with Your Content is Key, But It's OK to Switch Things Up
While it’s important to be consistent in the type of content that you post to your website, if your strategy isn’t working, be sure to switch things up. You don’t want to look like a robot – even when things are working, switch things up for variety. People love surprises.
Even a successful website will introduce a guest blogger or take a very new direction for a day or two just to offer some new perspective. Recycling old content by taking a completely different angle does this well. It’s fine to repurpose and recycle content, and people will appreciate your innovativeness often without really realizing it.
The purpose of any website is to provide information, advice and assistance to those people who are interested in what you have to share. Every site should strive to eventually build a community. You want people from all walks of life and many different fields and industries who can share common interests and experiences around your content.
Building community around your content, both on social media and in comments, makes it clear to searchers and social media surfers that you are doing your best to offer a great user experience. Content creation doesn't always have to be cut and dry, and most of the time, you simply can't be. You've got to be there for people. It's the only way to win the minds (and hopefully the hearts) of your potential fans.
So, while throwing bait for the search engine spiders to crawl is great, in the end it’s all about serving up a great user experience. Google especially likes content that’s shared often on social media. But, most importantly, search engines most appreciate sites that don’t create quick bounces from search queries. Keep people on your website by providing a great user experience and you will be rewarded!