All of us digital freelancers, solopreneurs, digital nomads, bloggers– whatever you want to call us–earn our living the same way in the most reductive sense: we produce content. So the somewhat clichéd adage tossed around in the last few years, is cliché because it’s true: “If content is king, then context is queen”.
An understanding of search engine market then, and how it relates to your business, is important. Like oxygen, search engines indexing your site are an ever present reality in the background, whether you want to acknowledge it or not. You can decide not to partake in it, but it is affecting your business inherently, and especially if you are not partaking.
The good news is, search engines don’t want you trying to game them anyway (they will punish you in ranking for this). Just be out there instead, and producing quality articles, videos, and/or whatever else you put out; and you will automatically be sorted in the mix. The immutable quality of search for two decades has been link authority; that is roughly speaking, if people like what you are putting out, they will link to it, and as other site’s link to it, that tacit approval tells a search engine “hey, this ladies’ site right here, it matters”.
Involuntary participation into the world wide web and search juggernaut does not mean it doesn’t behoove you to be an active participant, and what I mean by that, is so-called “white hat”, ethical crafting of content to lend it to search.
So what does “search” like?
While it’s not necessarily a question beyond the scope of this writing, instead let’s approach it the following way: I implore you to search within your own history of content, look at what was most popular from what you have ever produced, and make inferences from that about why it was most viewed. It pays to do this after having a bit of a history of putting out content, otherwise it’s fallacious information in the form of a small sample set. So looking back over the last few years of my own blog, I will use my top article as an example:
According to my web hosts’ analytics, my top article was “How to make money with your art and illustration”. The analytics also showed me what terms people were using in search to find the article.
At the time of this writing, when I perform a Bing search for “make money with art”, I can see that my article is coming up number 3 in Bing, which is of course fantastic. Now I have put out hundreds of articles, and few have placed on page one of Bing for any kind of search term someone would put in. Why did this one? And that is exactly what you want to do when analyzing your own content, is to figure out what was liked about it, as this is as relevant to you, if not more than understanding SEO/SEM in a sheer sense.
So getting back to my article on making money with art, I was able to make a few inferences, notwithstanding not all were tested:
1. It was one of my longer articles ever written you may be surprised to find out.
2. It was more image heavy and easier on the eye than some of my other articles.
3 I wrote about a somewhat niche topic vs. a broad topic, and there is no speculation about it that this was relevant. If my article was simply “how to make money”, it would be on page 20 of SERP presumably.
4. It has one of the higher share ratios to Facebook and Twitter relative to sheer views, which is a metric for determining that people liked the article, after all, who shares stuff with friends and family that they don’t find interesting at a minimum?
So it is from all this information that I decided to “stick with what I know”, and write similar articles in topic, style, and voice. A consistent blog voice is most important in the first few years. As you gain success is when it will make sense to branch out intop other topics not entirely tucked within simply a sub topic.
It is worth mentioning that there is room for growth however, as that art article I wrote is formatted only for desktop viewing, as that part of my site is not responsively designed yet. With facts like, that 2.5B questions have been asked to Cortana on Smartphones, mobile search is clearly well beyond any indication of it being a fad. Get your website responsively designed for mobile and tablet as soon as you can, and true to Agile marketing, continue to look at what’s worked for you, measure, and adapt it in small ways for constant improvements.
About the writer:Brad Hines is the president of YumDomains.com, and the founder of HungryKids.org. He is a digital marketing and social media strategist. A writer as well, he typically writes about Internet, e-commerce, marketing, personal finance and lifestyle. He has bylines at Entrepreneur, Huffington Post, Techopedia, Elephant Journal, Learnvest and more. He loves food and is a self-taught cook.Follow @BradHines