Many bloggers and website owners use social media to market their sites in hopes of building links and increasing search engine rankings. I can personally testify that this approach can work very well, and I would include social media marketing as an aspect of just about any site that I wanted to promote.
While many bloggers and site owners are seeking success with social media in order to boost search engine rankings, one of the basic factors of this strategy is often forgotten. If you’re trying to build more search engine traffic as a result of links that are built via social media, don’t forget to target specific key words or phrases with your posts.
It may sound like common sense, but it’s very easy to get caught up in the pursuit of social media traffic, which can lead to a short-sighted focus and a lack of clarity on the big picture. While there’s nothing wrong with going after big traffic numbers, if your ultimate goal is to build long-term search engine traffic you’ll need to implement a plan that allows you to build rankings for certain keywords and phrases.
Part of the reason I’m writing about this is because I know it’s something that I often overlook when I’m preparing content for my blogs, but I have seen outstanding results when I have a definitive plan and a purpose with specific blog posts.
A comprehensive effort to build search engine traffic involves the development of inbound links from other websites and blogs that use specific words or phrases in the anchor text of those links. For example, if my goal was to get Traffikd to rank well for the phrase social media marketing, I would want to build links to that point back to the front page with the text social media marketing.
While achieving big success with major social media sites will often result in a significant number of inbound links from various websites and blogs, most of those links will use the title of your blog post as the anchor text. This is a good thing because it allows you to have more control over the anchor text that other websites are likely to use.
Developing Landing Pages through Social Media Marketing
Social media marketing and blogging go hand-in-hand, but landing pages that are created for specific purposes are often marketed in other ways. However, if one (or more) of your blog posts does really well with social media, gains a lot of inbound links, and winds up ranking highly for a competitive search phrase, it has essentially become a landing page for your site.
At the time it was published it went out to subscribers and it was just like any other blog post, but social media and link building success can turn that post into a long-term asset for your site that draws steady search engine traffic on an on-going basis.
Of course, if you’re building landing pages with your blog and social media, wouldn’t you want to create these landing pages for the search phrases that were the most valuable for you?
When I first started marketing my primary blog with social media, my only focus was on the short term traffic that it produced. I was happy if a post became “popular” with a social media site and resulted in an increase in traffic and subscribers. It didn’t take long before I started seeing an increase in search engine traffic as well, and not surprisingly the majority of the search engine visitors were entering the site through the blog posts that attracted inbound links through social media success.
After seeing that increase in traffic, the next logical thought is “How can I develop content that will help me to rank higher for important keywords and phrases?”
There are a few keys to this process:
1- Targeting the right keywords or phrases
2 – Creating content that’s relevant to these keywords and phrases that will have a chance to catch on with social media
3 – Gaining popularity with social media and getting links as a result.
The first step of identifying keywords or phrases that would be valuable for your site will probably be the easiest part. Depending on the specifics of your targeted phrases and the subject of the content, finding a way to relevantly use those words in the title of a blog post that does well with social media is likely to be a bigger challenge.
For the purposes of this post, all I want to emphasize is that you (and I) should be thinking about what phrases you want to rank for, and finding a way to incorporate them into blog posts or pages that target social media.
Following the Success
After you’ve been able to target the right phrases and you’ve had some success with social media and link building, you’ll need to find a way to capitalize on the resulting search engine traffic. Most bloggers don’t go back and update posts or make any changes to them, but this can be a big opportunity to benefit from a blog post that ranks well with search engines.
The page is ranking well for a reason. Mostly because of inbound links and anchor text, but on-page factors are likely to also play a role. Because of this, you’ll want to be careful how much you change the post, but you can make some subtle changes that may be able to have a big impact. Some possibilities are:
1 – Place ads for your own products and services where they will be highly visible.
2 – Set up affiliate links to relevant products.
3 – Sell advertising for spots on specific pages rather than site-wide ads.
4 – Set up links and a teaser that will funnel traffic to another page on your site.
You may be wondering why you would want to do this after a post has been published as opposed to including these items from the start. After all, wouldn’t it be more beneficial to advertise your products or affiliate links to everyone by including this in the original post. Well, maybe not. Let me give you an example.
My primary blog publishes content on web design. If I hope to publish a post that draws a lot of attention from social media users it shouldn’t have a primary goal of promoting my products and services. Rather, the focus should be interesting and useful content. Content that appears to be created with the intent of advertising my services or selling any type of product is highly unlikely to become popular with social media. However, that doesn’t mean that it can’t serve a purpose for marketing my services.
Several months ago I published a post title 25 of the Best Photographer Portfolio Websites. The post drew a good number of bookmarks and wound up on the Delicious front page. As a result, it received some inbound links and several months later it draws a steady flow of search engine traffic. Every now and then I get inquiries from photographers who are looking for a web designer.
With the title of the post including the words “best photographer websites,” it now ranks very well for photographers who are looking for a website.
At the time the initial post was published it targeted other designers who were interested in seeing examples of some of the best designs in the photography industry, but now most of the traffic is coming from a different audience, one that fits well with the services I offer. In this case I have not made any changes at all to the content of the post, but there are some possibilities for the future.
First, I could add a paragraph at the beginning or end of the post that encourages photographers visiting the page to contact me about getting a website of their own. Another option would be to develop a website template that is created specifically to be used as a portfolio site for photographers, and market it on this page.
Either of these options could have a negative impact on the success of the post with social media had I included it in the original post, but now that the post is established with search engines, a small change like that would give it more potential for monetizing that search traffic.
A similar approach that you’ll see on many blogs is the use of AdSense on posts that are older than x number of days. This way new posts are AdSense free and more likely to have success with social media. Older posts are more likely to draw search engine traffic that will typically convert into a higher click-through-rate.
On other posts that draw search engine traffic I have made some modifications to encourage subscribers and to link to other pages on the site, and I’ve seen good results with both of these approaches.
This same basic concept could be applied in all kinds of different areas for just about any site you can imagine. The whole thing boils down to finding the phrases that you want to target, and creating content that will draw links with the right anchor text (by using those phrases in your title).