Social media cannot be ignored. In fact, if you are doing it right, sharing your content on social media platforms can actually increase readership, build trust, and aid in conversions. As writers, we must learn how to marry sharable content and search engine friendly content.
Content That Is Engaging & SEO Friendly
It is possible to write content to make search engines happy while engaging visitors—and that is what we should be doing. Do not just write content to feed the search engines. If the Panda updates taught us anything, it was that "the more content the better" is a myth.
More content isn't really a good thing unless it is:
- High quality
- Socially engaging
What kind of content is socially engaging?
- Content that is unique. Regurgitated news is not engaging. Unless you are an actual news-based website, ditch the regurgitated news stories for content that is actually new and fresh.
- Content with interesting titles. Developing an attention-grabbing, relevant title is just as important as the body of your content. Devote time to creating a title that makes people want to know more.
- Content that is credible. Are you an authority in your field? Then write what you know! Credible content builds trust and encourages social sharing.
- Content that is easy to skim. Large blocks of text with no bullet points or visual aids can be daunting for a reader and result in high bounce rates. Structure your content so it is skimmable.
- Content supplemented by helpful visuals. Videos, pictures, and infographics aid in engaging readers. They not only increase click through rate on social posts, but can also help readers stay longer.
Structuring Your Social Posts
Once you have written an engaging piece of content, you are ready to structure your social media posts. Before you post your content to social media, consider developing engaging open graph tags, incorporating social share buttons on your site, and researching the optimal time of day for posting.
When you share your content on social media, you only have seconds to grab a user's attention before they scroll down to the next post. Open graph tags are a great way to pique interest, and they allow people to see exactly what you want them to see. Open graph tags also allow you to choose a unique headline, photo, and description just for your social posts. Title tags are great (and necessary!) for search engines, but they can appear robotic and uninteresting for people viewing your content on social media. With open graph tags, you can write unique titles and descriptions for social while keeping your SEO friendly title tags.
You should also make it easy for visitors to share, like, +1, and tweet about your content by incorporating social sharing buttons. Some data suggests that social sharing buttons can increase mentions sevenfold.
While what you choose to post and share online is important to the success of your overall strategy, when you post content can also play just as large of a role in how much social engagement it receives. Optimal posting time is going to be different for everyone since everyone is targeting a different audience, so research your own market to discover the best times and frequency for posting and sharing your content.
The Value of Fresh, Engaging Content
People who are interested enough in your content to share it or comment on it are more likely to remember your brand and visit your site again. Attempts at authorship building and brand awareness will be ineffective if you are churning out content that no one is visiting or sharing, so write content that people want to link to and show their friends. Adding fresh quality content to your site can serve a dual purpose:
- It has the potential to improve the site's ranking; and
- It offers more opportunities for social sharing and engagement.
Fresh, sharable, and engaging content can play a huge role in growing your online presence—and consequently, your customer base—so don't ignore it, embrace it!