Great content is a must and we all know that, but what do successful marketers do when it comes to writing content that others do not? The short answer would be: “They write good, engaging content that readers and search engines love”, but the real answer is multi-dimensional. We are here to answer these questions.
Written content drives traffic to a website in two different ways:
- Search engine marketing
- Social media
Obviously, we’re talking about unpaid traffic driving methods here. And since, in a nutshell, we can divide unpaid website traffic into these two main sources; search engines and social media, we’re going to stick to that in this article.
Since we’ve already covered the basics of search engine optimized content and social media marketing, we will try to tackle this subject from an entirely different angle. Clearly, optimizing content so it suits the search engine’s algorithms (keywords, headings, grammar, paragraphing) is a must, but it is also something most competent writers can do without a hassle. What doesn’t come nearly as easy is writing content that caters to Google’s algorithms and website visitors both.
Somewhat predictably, it all begins with keywords. The right set of keywords determines whether your website will get a steady influx of traffic from search engines or not. If you aren’t too familiar with keyword research or competent enough to do it yourself, hiring a freelancer (or a company) to do it for you is always an option, but we’re going to briefly outline the basics of keyword research below. Just so we get that out the way.
The Basics of Keyword Research
Most marketers and SEO experts use expensive software to conduct keyword research, but this can also be done with free tools. The results may vary and you may not get exactly what you’re after, but you’re going to have the structure of your website outlined after conducting some basic keyword research.
Pick any reliable keyword research tool (there are many, we are not affiliated with any of them, so we encourage you to do your own research and pick one that you like best) and then select a keyword suggestion tool.
We need these two to determine what sets of keywords we’re going to use. Ideally, you’d want to pick low competition keywords with decent search volume. What does this mean? When you load a keyword research tool and type in a keyword related to your business or your industry the results will typically show a list of keywords with keyword search volume (the number of people typing in your keyword per month) and CPC (cost per click – how much other marketers are willing to pay for their website to pop up in Google’s paid search results).
A keyword suggestion tool of your choice will do as the name suggests – it will display keywords related or similar to the “seed” keyword you typed in. Instead of brainstorming keyword ideas (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but good software helps too) use a keyword suggestion tool to get new keyword ideas. Once you do that, go back to the keyword research tool, type those keywords in the search bar and check out their search volume.
At this point, you’ll have a decently-sized list of keywords to include in your content. Integrate them organically into the website content, place them properly (title, headings, keyword density) and you’re set.
In a nutshell, that’s what it takes to do keyword research but, like we previously said, hiring a professional might be a better way to do it. Not only will you save a ton of time, you’ll also get much better results. Some keywords (and industries) are insanely competitive, so hiring a professional to optimize and rank your website is the way to go.
Viral Social Media Content
When we think of social media, websites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pop to mind. However, social media has really evolved in recent years and it wouldn’t be fair to reduce this entire branch of the world wide web to above mentioned giants. LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest, Snapchat, even reddit, blogspot, message boards and tumblr, to name a few, can be considered social media websites. After all, they rely heavily on user interaction and user-generated content.
How to generate a buzz on these platforms? How can you use them to drive traffic to your website? For a start, find a related community. Let’s use reddit as an example.
Those of you unfamiliar with reddit might find it a bit confusing at first, but it’s actually really easy to use. Reddit is a website that combines social news aggregation and discussion. It is one of the most popular websites on the internet, which means it can be a great traffic source. But, the best thing about reddit is the structure – the website consists of thousands of micro communities, areas of interests called subreddits.
Rest assure, whatever your industry is and regardless of who your target demographic is, you will find a subreddit (or few) you can get ideas from and promote your content on.
Let’s say you own your own business and sell dog collars. Setting up a proper website to advertise your business is just the beginning, but writing content and marketing the website (and your business) is what it’s all about.
After a simple google search you’ll find subreddits such as /r/pets and /r/dogs. Combined, they have over 250 000 subscribers, which means many more people actually browse them. The marketing potential here is huge. But, let’s not get into that for now. Instead, browsing the subreddits yourself will give you a good idea about what your target demographic wants. Type in “dog collars” in the search bar and limit the search to the subreddit. This invaluable insight into your demographic’s minds will aid you in creating content that answers their questions and solves their problems. Of course, you will include your own keywords too, but you will also get a ton of fresh content ideas for the future.
After that, it’s time to promote your website. Reddit is notorious for their anti-spam policies, so in order to stay under the radar make sure to post links to your website in related discussions only, actually contribute to the conversation and position yourself as someone knowledgeable, yet unassuming. Make it subtle. This is common sense, but some people get carried away (reddit is an amazing traffic source) and spam the website with their links, from multiple profiles. Do not do this – it can get your domain banned on reddit forever.
Why reddit? What About Other Social Media?
Reddit is a great example because it’s a good representation of how social media platforms like blogspot, tumblr and Google+ work. Their common denominator is the fact that they’re based on micro-communities. These micro-communities are buzzing echo chambers where people interested in what you’re offering gather, to discuss and have fun.
This means, by sprinkling a link to your website here and there on each of these websites, you’re getting laser-targeted traffic that converts and, of course, you’re also getting social signals (as well as so called web 2.0 links from blogspot and tumblr, from example), which is an important ranking factor. Apart from that, your content might get shared and it might go viral, at least within a few micro communities, which is all that it takes to establish yourself as an authority and to build a brand.
In the end, it all comes down to content. No matter how many subreddits you frequent, how many Google+ groups are you a member of or how many followers you have on tumblr, content is the foundation. Your content will not get shared or even read, unless it’s well-written and answering your target demographic’s questions.
This is why the strategy we’ve outlined above can be so lucrative. By combining keyword research, search engine optimization, social media insight and social media presence, you have the chance to “hack” the system and build a brand from scratch, with nothing more than a bit of common sense, a lot of hard work and a ton of great content.