Is Engagement the Next Big Thing in SEO?
Today’s Guest Post comes from Phil Singleton, enjoy!
In the old days, which were actually just a few short years ago, ‘engagement’ was not part of SEO lexicon. SEO used to be focused on keyword optimization and volume based link building – not whether a website or blog was actually was being shared or discussed in social networks. Today, it’s all about generating great content that motivates your audience to share it, like it and discuss it. Google’s main objective has always been to deliver the best possible search results for their users. So what is engagement and how does it count for SEO?
When your target audience receives a Google +1, or a Facebook like, or a LinkedIn like, you are getting a vote of quality from your audience. While liking your content is a form of content engagement, getting your content shared is even more valuable since your audience is rewarding you with exposure in their social networks. Even though Google has not yet explicitly stated that social signals are a ranking factor, virtually every SEO expert on the planet believes that engagement is starting to become an SEO ranking factor, and will likely be much more heavily weighted ranking factor in the near future.
Is My Content Getting Engagement?
There are many obvious signs of engagement while other may take a bit more investigating via third party tools:
- Do visitors frequently comment on your blog posts?
- Is your content shared and liked by readers on their social media networks?
- Do visitors to your website typically visit other pages, or quickly bounce out from the page they arrived at?
- How long do visitors typically remain on the landing page?
- Do relevant websites link back to your pages often?
It makes perfect sense that a blog post or video or web page that sparks genuine social activity would have more value than a post that post that is never clicked or a video that is never played.
What is the key for maximizing engagement? It starts with creating outstanding content. You’ve heard ‘them’ say that content is king – well, they mean it this time. Yet, it doesn’t end with hitting the publish button and posting to your website. To get people to view and engage your content, you have to actively distribute and market it out on the web. This is why content marketing is the most important aspect of SEO today.
Rand Fishkin of Moz.com said it best: “We are going to have to get comfortable in a world where the ranking factors are indirectly influenceable, not directly influenceable.”
In a nutshell, people are going to have a lot more influence over SEO rankings than back-links and keyword targeting. While you may no longer be able to influence your organic visibility with traditional ranking factors, you are in total control of your content and with an effective content marketing strategy you can influence emerging ranking factors such as engagement.
About the Author: Phil Singleton is the owner of KCSeoPro.com, Kansas City online marketing services company that provides organic search engine optimization and other Internet marketing services, and KCWebdesigner.com, a Kansas City web development firm specializing in custom SEO-friendly websites and custom web applications. Phil is also a Duct Tape Marketing™ Certified Consultant and provides Kansas City marketing products and services.