Most SEO blog and copywriting enthusiasts have one goal in mind: answer the query. If your audience searches for it, boy you better have the answer; and it better be found in your title, meta descriptions, alt tags, and content. Because, nothing screams SEO taboo more than failing to focus on clear-cut, keyword-rich content in these target areas. Just ask bystanders of the debacle related to my recent blog post “Google+ Just Isn’t as Good as Facebook“.
Breaking the Law, Breaking the Law
Here’s what happened. I developed content that captivated elements of surprise and an intriguing twist on the controversy between our beloved social media friends Google+ and Facebook. I took full advantage of my creative license to develop the title, which knowingly would be presented in the Google + community resulting in a bewildering of the inquisitive G+ers- how could you say that Google+ is not “as good” as Facebook?
The title led readers to initially believe that the post would be about the advantages of Facebook, but to the surprise of many, the blog later completed the statement “When it comes to making real connections, Google+ just isn’t as good as Facebook…it’s better”. I could hear the sighs of relief of Google Plussers upon reading those two short, yet momentous words.
However, while the ambiguous title and trickery of the article excited and amused many, this tactic beckoned scrutiny from critics in the aspect of the article’s less straight-forward elements. This is just poor SEO! How could such a misleading title optimize your site?
Writing for an Encore
My response? By targeting an audience. Did you know, that not everyone finds articles through search engines? According to one study, a “healthy” website would generally find search engines to be the source of between 30% and 70% of all site traffic. In other words, anywhere from 30% and 70% could be coming from direct traffic and website referrals from social media. Sorry, alt tags can’t save you here.
But what can generate more traffic for your site is highly-appealing content that interests your audience. Any way they want it, that’s the way you need to write it! Yes, what a surprise; content is still king! Writers and site owners must understand that reaching out to social media users may come with a few slight changes to writing style. Consider the who, what, why, and how of your writing.
Be familiar with the type of visitors who will come across your posts or blogs on a given social media platform. Know their interests and personalities. When choosing what subject to write about, ask yourself “is this topic relevant to these users?” Ensure that the content you push out to these sites contains usable and shareable information with a purpose. Why? Posts shared through social media should fill a gap in information that your audience has not heard before, or offer a different perspective on a topic that has already been covered.
Most of all, give users a reason to visit your site. Complete an analysis of your audience and goals, and adjust your writing to incorporate information specific to your viewers interests; here’s how:
Notes That Will Strike A Chord With Your Audience
1. Titles: Let visitors know what your article is about; hook your audience with catchy titles you might not have previously considered when tailoring articles to search engines. Take a look at what other writers are posting on the platform, and do something different. Social media users will rarely click on an article with a title that is boring, or presents an idea they are already familiar with.
2. Images: Consider the image that will accompany your article when posted to the social media platform. Most sites will pull images from the article itself. Be sure to feature quality images that are relevant to the post and will encourage viewers to go to your page.
3. General content and layout: Create content that engages users, and asks for feedback or interaction. Format the content to include section headers and bullet points to make the article easy to skim-over and read. Highlight areas of importance by bolding text or coding it with H1’s or H2’s. Avoid the fluff; most social media users want to learn the information in a simple, quick way.
Understand that it’s not exactly time to ditch the keywords, meta descriptions, title tags, or alt tags. These areas give both readers and search engines an idea of what your content includes, not to mention that focusing on keywords can help keep your article centered and on-topic. Common-practice SEO and effective writing techniques generally go hand-in-hand.
4. Presentation: As a rule of thumb, it generally is not a good idea to just slap your article up on a social media platform without some sort of introduction. When posting a blog or article to a site, include a brief description of what the article discusses, a preview, or an interesting opening to the topic. These few sentences often are the make or break between impressions and clicks on social media sites. Play into viewers emotions, call them to action, or ask for their engagement; stand out!
Combining these elements will lead to an elevated conversion rate, meaning more content will receive higher amounts of visits. Consequently, page authority will be vamped up.
SEO Hall of Famers
So forget choosing between creating content that can be easily-traversed by search engine spiders, and writing information that appeals to visitors. Perhaps it’s time to think about SEO in a new light. After all, search engines are being updated as we speak to read information in a way similar to how a human would read it. And although this technology has yet to be perfected, future refinements will be geared towards promoting online content that humans prefer.
Don’t be afraid to take a walk on the wild side with your writing. There are different styles of content which may resonate with different visitors. Find out which works best for capturing your audience and get your groupies coming back for more of your writing gigs.