3 Ways to Optimize Your Blog for Value, Not Search Engines
You may choose to optimize for keywords if you wish. I’m not saying there aren’t any benefits that come with the goal of getting on the first page of Google, but I am saying there is a more sustainable way to increase your page rank… and it has nothing to do with keywords. This article focuses on how to increase the value of your blog by optimizing for your audience.
1.) Optimize Your Topics for Conversation
If you’d stop picking topics based on a list of keywords (calculates based on search volume, competition, and other data) that would benefit you, then you can start choosing topics that can benefit your audience. This is what people mean when they say your content should be “informational, entertaining, and engaging.” Those elements are Step 1 when choosing topics and should not take a backseat to Here are some tips to inspire you/
- Who is your audience? What are they passionate about?
- What are you passionate about, and how can you express a strong (maybe even controversial) opinion that would get your audience talking?
- Rather than looking at the keywords used by relevant websites that are dominating the first page of Google, look for inspiration in the topics that ignite conversation and activity.
- Do you have a story to share that your audience will relate to, a story so good that readers have to respond with their own stories or opinions?
- Have you found an interesting story that you really want to share with readers, but don’t know how to do it without committing plagiarism or copyright infringement? Write your own short reaction and provide a link to the original source (which should open in a new tab), asking readers for their thoughts.
This might be a no-brainer, but if you want to optimize your topics for conversation then you also have to:
- Enable comments on each blog post
- Share each blog post on Facebook, Twitter, and G+. The conversation is usually more active on social media.
- Respond to comments. It keeps the conversation going.
2.) Optimize Your Posts for Social Sharing
If SEO takes a back seat to the priority of engaging your audience first, you’ll find that those back-links practically build themselves. Seriously. Here’s how you can optimize your blog for social sharing.
- Publish a variety of content, not just articles. Add images, graphics & info graphics, videos, and more. Some people are more likely to share a video or image than an article.
- Share it yourself. Most sharing doesn’t happen directly from your blog… it is so much easier to Like, +1, Retweet, or Share right from the news stream.
- Make it easy to share from your own blog by using a social sharing widget with many options.
- Understand that your audience contains a mixture of people who use Twitter but not Facebook, or Facebook but not Twitter, or people who don’t use Facebook or Twitter but they do Pinterest, etc. In order to reach the largest possible audience, you have to be active on all the popular social networks. Sorry.
- Share posts by other Pages. Share posts by your Fans. Always give credit where it’s due… and they will be that much more likely to return the favor.
These things will almost always guarantee the highest volume of shares:
- Funny anything. (But if you jump on any meme bandwagon, be sure to post something original.)
- Infographics, comics, and cartoons that are visually interesting.
- Visual inspiration. (See: Pinterest.) Again, posting original material is more valuable.
- Coupons and special offers.
Optimize Your Blog to Get More Subscribers
Oh, did you think I was going to say “optimize your blog to increase conversions?” That would be nice, except a sale is just a sale. Subscriptions = customer loyalty. There is only one way to get more subscribers, and that’s by publishing content that makes visitors want to take the time to read every single word, go back through your archives, and sign up for notifications of future content. Funny content usually does the trick better than anything else, but as long as you are creative and original it will show. By the Way… Optimizing for your audience is the new SEO. If you want to dominate the front page of Google, stop trying so hard to align your keywords perfectly and focus instead on making every website visitor stick around a while, engage with your website, and find it useful enough to return to. After all, what good is getting more traffic if you can’t keep them interested?