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Social Blogging – Forget About The Algorithms, They Arent THAT Important

As marketers we spend too much time thinking in terms of algorithms and pleasing Google; instead, we should be thinking about how we can please our visitors, our success rates will be much higher!

No, I'm NOT speaking out against SEO, I just think that most people spend too much time thinking about it, when in reality all the search engines are doing is trying to serve up what people want, you should follow suit. Just take a look at Google's recent updates and you will see that they are penalizing sites that are over optimized and who have poor content. Know what that tells me? Create content for your intended audience!

Start thinking in terms of social blogging. That is, think about being social more than the actual blogging. The term social blogging is thrown around a lot, blogs and social networks both being web 2.0 they kind of go hand in hand. But, I don't want you to think of it that way, I want you to think of social blogging and blogging as being two different things all together. Think of blogging as articles (magazine, newspapers and what not) and social blogging as a way to engage and create dialogue with your audience. Why? How else will you know what content they want to consume? How else will you know what their looking for? Remember, in order to please your visitors, in order to attract the right type of person that want's to buy your product or service you must first know who they are and what they want. So ask!

3 Questions That Need To Be Answered To Attract The Right Audience

  1. What company names are they searching for, are they looking for your competitors or are they looking for you? (Navigational Query)

  2. What questions are they asking that you could be answering in your blog posts? (Informational Query)

  3. What are they typing into the search engine when they are searching for the type of product or service that you sell? (transactional query)

Answering those questions will aid you in writing the type of content that attracts the right type of people to your site. Don't worry so much about keyword density, nofollow, image tags, relevance, title tags, and all that other stuff, it will come. What I mean by that is if you write compelling content that engages your audience, the type of content that your audience is looking for, then the traffic will come, as will the back-links and paying customers.

Blasphemy? I don't think so, SEO has it's place, it's just that too much emphasis is placed on it and as a result your content is playing to the search engines first and your audience second. All I'm saying is that it should be reversed; audience first, search engines second.

Know Thy Audience

Sometimes that's easier said than done. Do some market research. Remember that if you're targeting a diverse group that you will need to write content that speaks to a diverse group. For instance, in my posts on PersuasiveSocial, I try to bring up many different industries as examples. I've written about barber shops, print shops, car dealerships with plans to bring on many more. Also, since my core topic is social media I branch out and talk about other things that support social media, such as customer service. I've been told that customer service has nothing to do with social media and I have to chuckle, I mean, how do you plan on getting your customers to talk about you in their social graph if you give them nothing to talk about?

If you're a local business find out what your audience is interested in, what they do on the weekends and what values they hold dear. What social objects are they most interested in, that is, what is your audience interested in that is talk-worthy, influences them to want to tell others, and brings people together? Is your audience mainly men or women? Knowing these things will help you to write the type of content that speaks to the right people, that causes them to act.

If you can learn to become one of US, instead of just one of THEM, you will have a bond with your audience that will not easily be broken. What are you waiting for? Who is your audience and how can you write content that caters to their needs?

David Johnson
Social Media Strategist
Social Media Editor, ADM

Views: 409

Tags: Content Marketing, SEO, Social, blogging, content, social Media, social signals


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Comment by David Johnson on April 13, 2012 at 1:07pm

Ralph- That's why I feel that every dealership should have a blog. That way they don't have to load up their inventory pages with a ton of text that can be very distracting. Instead, they can use the apps and videos as you mentioned to help conversion while having the blog to influence loyalty and conversion through other means, not to mention the traffic from a well thought out content strategy that included all forms of content.

Comment by Ralph Paglia on April 12, 2012 at 9:25pm

Stephen - I have seen many dealer websites that were not very strong on SEO but contained images and videos along with apps that engaged consumers to the point where conversion rates and average length of visit were far superior to other more search engine optimized sites.  In many cases I saw dealer sites that were receiving between 5,000 and 6,000 unique visitors generating 500 to 700 leads for their dealerships.  The sites are no longer available due to the pressure in the market place to have better SEO characteristics.  Yet, the sites that replaced them generate half as many leads with almost double the traffic.  The need for a balanced approach extends beyond SEO considerations and also applies to conversion and engagement characteristics.  A dealer website loaded up with lots of text will index well, but may be a disaster for conversion and engagement.

Comment by Chris Hanson on April 12, 2012 at 4:22pm

Thanks David, I really appreciate that.  Great post and conversation from everyone here!

Comment by David Johnson on April 12, 2012 at 2:53pm

Well said Stephen, I'd take the 100 leads any day. Traffic is useless if it doesn't covert!

Comment by Stephen Murphy on April 12, 2012 at 2:43pm

Ah yes, perfect! As I like to tell clients: Would you rather have 1000 visitors with 100 leads each month or 10,000 visitors with 25 leads? You should always balance SEO with conversion optimization, intuitive design, and persuasive copy. This might seem like a lot of work, because it is, but to the hustlers go the spoils!

Thanks for bringing big picture back into the mix. 

Comment by David Johnson on April 12, 2012 at 2:00pm

@ David - It just came to me but I think it makes sense! Sounds like another post to me.

@ Cody - SEO is important but not as important as valuable content that "speaks" to your audience.

@ Christine - (I posted this on Facebook, relevant here) Not only will great content help Google funnel traffic to your website, it will also help to influence buyers to choose your dealership over the competitors.

Great content sets your apart. Great content will help to push you into the thought leader status. Great content will help you to become THE authority. All of that will help you to sell more cars.

@ Patrick - I bet they shortened to get the keyword density up. Bad practice in my opinion when you sacrifice well written content for the search engines.

@ Chris - We agree on a lot my friend, you get it. When Chris does SEO you get the content you need for both Google and your readers. Highly recommended!!

Comment by Chris Hanson on April 12, 2012 at 12:12pm

Spot on David.  Creating relevant, engaging content with strong calls to action should always be the first objective.  Then, back that up with proper page structure and what Google is looking for and you have a winner.  Too many times, its all about links and keywords and nothing for the visitor.  Nothing compelling and lacking any solid information that brought them there in the first place.

Comment by Patrick Nash on April 12, 2012 at 11:37am

Nice article David. I've had some of my blog posts "shortened" by some vendors we've worked with at Douglas. When I asked why did they do it, they replied, "for SEO purposes." When I reply "yeah but it reads like a child wrote it", I hear crickets on the other end. The bottom line is that with a blog you want to attract loyal followers. By optimizing your blog for SEO purposes and shortchanging the content, your blog will never grow and sit in the sea of bland SEO blogs optimized for search engines.

Comment by Christine Rochelle on April 12, 2012 at 11:34am

I love this article and agree with all the points you made David! There's a great guide by Hubspot but I can't seem to find a link to it so this will have to do instead - I've used a lot of these points in my own presentations about blogging, great stuff.

Comment by Cody Flynn on April 12, 2012 at 11:23am

Thanks so much for your article--it really validates the month I've spent writing original articles for my dealership--rather than copying GM's site and trying to optimize it to death. Of course I'm working on SEO as well, but my main focus has been to generate good content first. Thanks again!

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