SEO is hardly the most exciting of digital marketing’s many acronyms, let’s be honest. Commonly misquoted, and dogged by ‘scare stories’ of bad practices and Google penalties, SEO often gets a bit of a rough deal. However, SEO’s bad-rap is not really deserved. At its rudiments, SEO is a simple and logical concept – increasing the searchability of your content by optimising it, and despite what you might think, this usually comes down to nothing more than a bit of know-how and old fashioned, hard work.
As an influencer, you might struggle to see how SEO is relevant to you. After all, the very fact that you have influence is a solid indication that you’re pretty darn searchable right? Well, yes, but the first rule of SEO is that if you aren’t moving forward, others will be overtaking you – searchability can ALWAYS improve. Why do you need it to? Optimised content not only increases your chance of attracting more organic traffic, it ensures that your output is primed for your existing audience, increasing their engagement. And what does that lead to folks? More impressive stats to attract the brands you want to work with, that’s what.
In this blog post, we’re going to be looking at assessing and implementing your own SEO strategy, as well as the benefits of doing so. It’s honestly easier than you’d think!
Audiences and Intent
Guess what? Like everything to do with influencer marketing, audience can also be found at the very centre of all SEO endeavours too. When you think about it, the reason for this is pretty obvious – ‘audience’ refers to the people that do and that you want to engage with your content, and so optimising it for them is nothing but a good plan. To do this, you should be considering:
- The language your audience uses and how they are likely to search for topics
- Where your audience are and how this affects their ‘digital day’
- What content they want
- How they will view the content you produce
Bloggers using WordPress can find a lot of this information easy to curate through various keyword plugins, as well as Google XML sitemaps. Checking that your archives and tags are ‘no-indexed’ is also a good move, as it avoids accidental duplication which will eat up precious crawl budget (trust us, this is important – just nod and smile). If you’re not the WordPress type, Google Adwords is always a good way to turn – the Keyword Planner in particular will help with some of the meatier optimisation. This can also help with optimising social content, particularly when used in conjunction with sites like Keyhole and Hashtagify that suggest optimum hashtags for your audience based on subject areas.
Armed with this information, you should find it much easier to ensure that whatever your output, it’s crafted for the audience you want to engage, manifesting in optimised meta titles, descriptions and body text, specific visual assets, the platforms that your content is shared on, when, how many times and with which hashtags.
OK social influencers, you can pretty much switch off here. Go make a cup of tea and join us back in the next section. Bloggers, vloggers and any influencer with their own site – listen up. This is about how Google and all its intricacies can affect the way you interact with your readers.
If there’s one thing we know about Google, it’s that it is always morphing, shifting and moving the goalposts. Here’s a quick summary of the changes to Google that will matter to you if your site is key to your influence:
- Security – More and more sites are switching to https as the web itself becomes more secure. Still being http is not yet ‘unsafe’, but making the switch has many benefits including protection from hackers and a quality signal to users and Google alike.
- Device – Search engines are soon going to start prioritising mobile devices, so having a mobile-first site will stand you in good stead.
- AMP – Accelerated Mobile Pages are a good solution if upgrading to a mobile-first site is not currently an option.
- Fred and Panda – We can’t tell you why Google names its updates in the same way CBeebies devises new shows, but we can tell you that these updates are concerned with the quality of your webpages, rewarding sites that are less advertorial and penalising those full of display ads with poor user experience.
- Google Penguin – This update is concerned with having a good ‘link profile’. Moz and Majestic are both useful tools for analysing and monitoring your inbound links.
As well as all of the above, you’re also gonna have to consider the visual optimisation of your site. For example, if your audience are more likely to be reading your content on a tablet or phone, you should make sure your site is mobile friendly or consider AMP. Also think about the visual content you put out, as this is more likely than text to be affected and skewed when being viewed on different devices.
You may think that once you’ve created and published your content, your work with optimising is done. Well, not so fast. Sharing the content you produce also has myriad opportunities for optimisation. Here’s a few of the main ones:
- Size and composition – It’s an easy thing to forget, but when you share content through different platforms, you should optimise it for each. This will consist of pairing down articles into delicious soundbites for Twitter and Facebook, editing images to the right dimensions for each social channel, and selecting those all important hashtags so that what you’re sharing ends up in the right places.
- Keyword planning – Wherever you share your content, you should carefully plan the keywords you use in its title and meta tags to maximise its search potential. Remember, these may well be different for different sharing platforms.
- Digital days – If you haven’t already got a rough idea of your audience’s digital day, you should. This will tell you when they are most likely to be engaging with your content, most receptive to it, and where they’ll look for it. Share it accordingly.
- Share planning – Creating an editorial calendar can often be a great way to stay on top of when, how and where you need to share your content. We’ve previously talked about some of the best tools to help you with this here.
- Consider bounce – Of course, the reason for sharing content is to grow your audience, but if people are bouncing as soon as they find it, you might need to reconsider how you’re selling it. Google Analytics offers bounce reports, and they’re pretty handy things to have.
Increasing awareness and reach of your content is another major objective of optimising it. The easier your content is to find, the further its potential reach, which is important to remember with regards the content itself, and sharing it.
When it comes to rep build, SEO is often associated with paid ‘link-building’. Link-building exists because having numerous sites linking to yours increases your visibility in Google, and in turn, your searchability. Think of paid link-building as the Del Boy of digital marketing – dodgy, shady, and unlikely to succeed. All too often, people are tempted into paying companies to bulk-buy links that are of poor quality and potentially SEO-dangerous. The best way to link-build? The most virtuous and wholesome way of course – organically.
So why is optimisation so important?
Hopefully you’ll have at least an idea by now as to why optimising your content is so vital, but to draw things to a conclusion, let’s recap in a little more detail.
1. Your current audience
Because you wouldn’t be where you are without them, ensuring that your content is optimised for your current audience keeps them coming back for more, allows them to easily find it, and makes it more engaging for them.
2. Your future audience
Optimised content is easier to find, more relevant, more shareable and more searchable, therefore having a massively increased chance of attracting a wider audience that are interested in and engaged with you as an influencer.
3. Your longevity
Simply put, the more you stay on top of optimising content, the longer you’ll be relevant.
4. Your brand collab opportunities
All of the above combine to strengthen your influence, make it more impervious to Google’s whimsical fluctuations, and continue its relevance. Guess what? Brands are into that.