Hubspot blog recently posted an exhaustive list of factors to consider for your sites to rank better. The best thing about the post is that it is not a post with 10k words, but an easily understandable infographic of 200 points. The original article on Backlinko was awesome (as is expected from Brian Dean), but this article made it all the more easy to assimilate the call for action.
The 200 points are nothing breathtakingly new, but it is an excellent collation of what is considered as best practice today.
That got me thinking of what is missing on technosanct for miserable rankings. The top 4 factors (other than the fact that I suck at writing content) are:
- Regular website updates are lacking. No amount of onsite SEO will help if the website is already saying what thousand other bloggers are saying, and to top it, there are no updates for a week or two (this post is coming after 3 weeks gap, blame my hectic work schedule and my inability to get my lazy ass off the ground)
- User involvement is non-existent. If I don’t update the site, I don’t have anything to engage users. I know the “how” but putting it in action is pathetic to stay the least. For e.g.:
- I have very few posts on forums/other blogs pointing back to technosanct
- Weak social signals. No conversations, and very few posts other than the article posts on the website
- I outline bad keyword research as the third factor – not because I don’t appreciate the value of good keywords, but because it does come third as compared to the first two factors.
Although there are bloggers advocating writing content for people and let Google figure out relevance – that WILL NOT work for a niche where other people are already writing tonnes of content. In tough niches (e.g. internet marketing) it is all the more important to catch those elusive low volume keywords that no one is seeing at this time. With Google providing (unfair?) advantage to bigger brands, you need to be on your toes on how to get those first few posts in organic search results
- Site architecture may not be critical but is a considerable factor for a site that deals with internet technologies, and in face of stiff competition. I particularly don’t like silo sites, but have seen their advantages and tried them in other websites. I need to just find time to organize this better
The message is quite clear for any new bloggers –
Invest in your blog
Spare time on your blog (if not money) – don’t create another technosanct.
Post at least once a week, or more. I know that there is a lot of debate on quantity vs. quality. My viewpoint is that you will never get it all right the first time – focus on getting the posts out while you can work on a bomb of a post that can come out once a month.
Establish a routine and stick to it – you may post once a day, week, or a fortnight – take this decision based on how much content you write, the niche you are in and how much time you have. Your readers become comfortable with the routine and do not leave you.
Once you have the stream of posts right, work on user engagement.
It is not that hard, but you must have the will to do it:
- Create a persona that suits the website on social media. Personas are liked by Google. If you are an individual maintaining a Gardening website, and you are also the person liking Gardening pages, it actually means you are an avid gardener (at least to Google).
“Like” relevant posts and engage the audience on your own page. Drop in a link or two without spamming people. Post messages on a Facebook page created for the website.
- Tweet more. Raise your social status by not only tweeting original content but al re-tweeting relevant topics and tweeting thoughts and posts from experts. Every bit matters. I find Twitter easiest to use since I can stay current at any time of the day.
- Engage in forums. Preferably, use the same persona you created for social media.
Collect forums for relevant topics, get membership on those forums, and become involved. Be helpful and drop a link or two, avoid spam.
As a bonus of this method, get more ideas for your blog posts from the forum questions.
- When you lurk in the forums, you will also end up collecting a list of expert blogs on the topics of interest. Follow those blogs through a feed aggregator (like Feedly). Comment on their posts, draw attention to your own content. Don’t spam and see your effort being rewarded by not only the users who visit those blogs but also the blog owner.
Be pleasant in all your interactions. Create controversy, by all means, to increase mind-share and increase user engagement, but be fair and be calm. Avoid lashing out at people and taking things personally.
In summary – Work hard in a structured way on the site, and rewards will follow. Your investment on your website will repay you – big time. Don’t be me – I am a far better person from where I started, but that is not just good enough.