It seems that everyone’s a blogger now, or at least runs their website on WordPress or other similar content management software. Now that many markets are saturated with the same kind of site, sporting all the cool SEO plugins, SEO friendly features, and maybe even some great content, we’re all on more equal footing compared to 5 years ago.
Back then if you just slapped up a blog and half-heartedly went at it, you could outscore older, more linked sites. I did it every day. And I knew it would all equal out at some point.
Today, Google still loves blogs, per se, but what they really love is what “the people” love. The focus has gone from “wow that sure is a nice, seo friendly site” to “wow that sure is (or isn’t) some good content you got there!”
Not only that, but serious weight has been increasingly given to social indicators for relevance. In short, if people are talking about your site, it counts now more than ever toward your rankings. (Hint: Get active on Google+)
It’s quite simple really. If you’re from the old school SEO days, you know how much easier it has gotten to rank in some ways. We used to be spreadsheet millionaires. Data geeks. Now, we’re laying some of our best content out in public for the engines and humans to fawn over and rank us.
Simple, if you can make a clean break with the past and really start sharing, engaging, and offering up what used to get locked up in paid products and services. Back when the web was a different beast and high quality content wasn’t stacked so deep, and available for free.
This is easy with Google Hangouts on Air. Have a Hangout and choose to broadcast it live. When you’re done, it automagically uploads to your YouTube account, and, you’ll usually notice a spike in your Circle (follower) count as a result!
Remember to go and add a description to your YouTube recording of the Hangout, tag it, and embed it on your site and any other site you control. Make sure you link your G+ and YouTube accounts together in your YouTube settings.
Links still play a big role in your rankings. But the only links worth spending time getting are the harder ones to get nowadays. You have to show up on other sites’ stages, in front of your target market, to get the right kind of link love and direct traffic to your site. So guest posting is kind of a big deal now, even though the Titans of guest posting have been doing it for years.
Make friends with people in much higher places than you currently hold on the web, and contribute to their success by contributing some of your best content for their exclusive use. The rewards are some of the greatest rewards available on the web for any blog marketer.
Google is not so fond of people doing the old school SEO anymore. Make sure that whomever is giving you advice on SEO is talking about the new stuff and not just parroting the old junk that doesn’t work anymore.
I don’t care if you just sell three-legged stools. There is always a way to be engaging on social networks without boring people to death about three-legged stool history and construction. Find your place and study others who have taken a boring product, like insurance, and made it into something exciting. (Hint: Don’t talk about insurance all the freakin’ time!)
Today’s web demands that everyone who formerly hid behind their products and services be more out front. We are people before we are business or blog owners. This is just the way it is nowadays and there is no alternative to being social and “real” on the web. That is, unless you just don’t like getting ranked and getting traffic without paying for it.
Take my word for it, this crazy social web we have today is a lot more fun to market on than the clunky one-way conversations we used to have in the old days. We have a lot more opportunities to get in front of our ideal audience now than ever before. You just have to decide to have some fun with it and learn from people who have obviously cracked the code to get noticed in a big way in their niche.
Pretend like your next blog post (or whatever you’re in the middle of writing) must be delivered by Pony Express and it will not arrive at your readers’ doorsteps for 3 months.
How would you write differently if you had to make sure you covered all the bases? Not to mention that those bases should still be relevant in 3 months. How would you write a blog post if your post was loaded onto a stage coach and bounced across the Great Plains, the Colorado Mountains, and the deserts in between before getting to your readers? (For those in other countries, fill in your own mountains, plains, and deserts.)
I found an old advertisement for my area that got me thinking about this. It mentioned that a coach line from my town to Cincinnati had been re-opened after a whooping cough scare (or some such disease of the era). Not only that, but the bigger news was it now only took 9 hours to get from Richmond, Indiana to Cincinnati by coach! Today it takes an hour and 45 minutes by horseless carriage.
How would I write a letter to a family member in Cincinnati or Durango knowing that they wouldn’t see it for weeks or months instead of instantly via email or social messaging? You’ve surely noticed the brevity and general lack of quality in the modern era’s communications. I said “lol” to my grandmother once! Surely grandmas warrant better than this!
Before LMAO and FML, we had sarcasm and enough writing skill and wit to convey funny things without the need for an abbreviation for “just kidding.”
Mind you, a short, pithy post doesn’t mean we have to break out the OMGs to keep it short and pithy. It means we have to slow down and think about words. Not only that, but we need to enjoy the art and fun of writing. Even if you’re writing a script or outline for a video project.
I’ve tried to help get your juices flowing by incorporating some odd, uncommon words and phrases here that you don’t see online much these days. It’s easy for me because I’m odd and uncommon. Others may have to stretch a bit.
I took more time writing this post than I normally do. I had more fun, and I let myself think about impact, meaning, metaphor, alliteration, and maybe even entertainment. It is a far cry from Hamlet. But it IS Hamlet compared to the byte-sized information particles that we’re all drowning in from Twitter to Facebook to G+.
Experts say that comments are down across the blogosphere. (They’re right!) We argue that it must be social media to blame. (It is!) People want to “carry” conversations about our content back to their social network of choice to engage with the people whose opinions and feedback mean the most to them: their friends and associates.
But I will comment the heck out of a post, right there in the native comment area!, if I’m moved to do so. It’s just that lately I’m less and less moved and more and more just passing through to the next “meh” blog post, searching for THE ONE that gives me what I want.
We’ve divided our attention spans into a multitude of 2 to 3 second “spanlets” and turned ourselves into skimmers and scanners. It’s draining everyone. I see in the tea leaves that people are swinging back to wanting more meaning and depth and away from the noise from time to time.
If you are seeing the same signs, and are longing for this yourself, the first place to start is on your own blog. Have some fun and don’t be in such a hurry. Even though we all have tons to do everyday, we still have choices about things we spend a little more time on than others.
Make sure your writing doesn’t reflect poorly on you just because of the bad habits that can easily be formed in the lol-omg-rflmao world we live in. Don’t think of this advice as a recommendation that you must work harder. Think of it as an invitation to have more fun doing what you do. It will show in your writing and your stats.
It’s nice that we don’t have to blog and create content every day anymore.
What? You haven’t heard the news? You’re still in “Publish or Perish” mode? Stop it! The web needs not one iota of new content. It needs engagement with all the trillions of pieces of content it missed when we were in the crank-out-the-content mode of the last decade!
No, its time to park your butt on the content you have until engagement with it is through the roof. Only then should you begin thinking about your next post.
Most people write or record something and go for one round of promotion on social, email and other channels. Great – you got the crowd who were around at the moment. You missed the hundreds or thousands of good targeted readers that weren’t around and never heard about it.
Bad time to go making another blog post!
Be more epic and thoughtful with what you produce.
Then share it ongoing for awhile until all timezones and all possible readers have reasonably been given the chance to see it.