In the last few weeks, I wrote a lot about user engagement factors.
Today, audience engagement has become an important part of search engine optimization. Not only because you need a lot of visitors; also because you need quality clicks (I will explain the term later on so keep on reading!).
There is a high correlation between classic link building techniques and audience engagement. In fact, it is hard to start your audience engagement optimization if you haven’t done any search engine optimization before that.
Why is that you might ask?
Simply put, no matter how good your content is, you won’t attract enough attention if your website doesn’t have any authority or positions. Visitors will never trust an advice from a guy that isn’t popular within a particular community.
Relationship between links and clicks
SEO experts usually say that you need links from high quality websites to boost your rankings. These links are a measure of success and as long as you get them, your blog will flourish. But, what if I told you there is more to this?
“What if I told you that the links from authoritative websites have an amazing secondary effect that most people do not consider?”
When you get a link from a big website, Google sees this as a vote of confidence – the biggest experts in the field have suggested your content and as such, this content has to be regarded as valuable.
Besides Google, website visitors will also follow this link which will result in long, quality clicks.
Quality clicks refers to a situation where a person clicks on something, visits a website and shows a high level of engagement (long sessions, low bounce rate, long dwell time, additional clicks etc.).
This is where things get even better.
“High quality links are great not only because of the link itself but also the audience engagement that comes from it”
This is precisely why such links are in a high demand. Mix of all these positive factors shows Google that your article should be ranked higher.
Links are great.
Links and high audience engagement are even greater.
Optimizing your audience engagement
Before you do anything else and start boosting your audience engagement, it is necessary to build up your website through old-fashioned SEO. Yes, you can add some guys on Facebook and LinkedIn but I wouldn’t recommend full-time engagement with audience until you get some authority. Otherwise, people will not take you seriously.
Here is the best way to approach things after achieving some initial success.
Start making more meaningful contacts with influencers
When you start with a brand new website, the first thing you wanna do is create an influencer list. You will use influencer outreach hoping to get some initial links. Given that this is a one-time deal (that benefits only you), you will quickly have to abandon such a strategy.
After a while, you will have to focus on establishing more meaningful relationships.
When performing audience engagement, it is necessary to transform all these guys from link givers to article readers.
“Influencers are the best audience when it comes to engagement”
Their websites depend on news, new ideas and concepts. If your blog has reached a certain level of development and if people recognize you as a valid source of information, this means that influencers will also benefit from staying in touch with you and reading your content.
Instead of focusing on single links, influencers will become the most valuable segment of your audience.
Besides the fact that this strategy will increase your audience engagement stats, it will also provide a long-term source of links given that influencers will start linking to you naturally. This is a great way to scale things.
Build your email subscriber list
There are so many benefits to having a big subscriber list.
Emails are the best channel to boost your conversion and audience engagement stats. Unlike cold pitches or sharing your content with random people, you can be certain that the email subscribers are truly interested in your content.
“With a subscription list, you make sure that the right people get your message”
Subscription list becomes that much more important given that user engagement metrics are more of qualitative than quantitative stats. In that regard, it is much better to have a lower number of visitors who are highly engaged than a bigger number of people who don’t care about your blog.
But, there is more.
By receiving an email, you can be certain that subscriber actually saw the message. In fact, it will stay in their inbox until they personally erase it which also means that can easily access it for future reading.
Make sure to use popups for subscription. However, avoid forceful, bullying messages and overspaming. These things can drive away a visitor. Instead, focus on the positives and all the benefits person can gain by subscribing.
Active comment section
There are only a handful of places on a blog where a visitor can contact the website owner. Comment section is the best and most interactive one.
Unlike contact page, comment section is a non-formal way of communication.
So, what’s the biggest benefit of a comment section?
“Besides the fact that a comment section allows a direct feedback, it also forces a person to spend more time on a page”
In most of the cases, visitor’s first impression is based on reading an article or watching a video. If the experience was positive, some visitors will want to share their opinion. Comment section prolongs and augments the entire experience. This increases the chances of following the blog and subscribing.
As a blog owner, your task will be to make comment section accessible and to stimulate interaction. Also, make sure to delete anything that looks spammy or irrelevant. It can interfere with visitor’s experience.
Managing your content
It is obvious that good content will attract more people and lead to a higher audience engagement. But, there are also some small tricks that will increase quality clicks from a landing page.
As you well know, you need to create highly actionable content that will help a person with his issues. But, you should also try to focus on the main topic while avoiding further explanation of related terms. Instead, make sure to link to articles that will explain these terms.
This allows two things:
- Prevents creation of long articles (according to my prediction, content that is up to 2000 words will provide better results in the upcoming period)
- If a person is interested in learning more, he will have to visit the next page reducing the bounce rate
If you wish to focus on high user engagement, you need to create pages as if you are writing a book. One article will help with a single problem but in order to understand the entire topic, you will have to browse some other pages.
I will not get into detailed content creation as this is not the main focus of the article and it will take too much time. Just wanted to share this trick.
Before anything else, you need to find the best converting social networks for your industry.
After that, you are ready to increase the followership.
As mentioned, you should always start with influencers. In this case, their biggest value is the value of a share. Each one of them has massive followership and whenever they share something with their audience, there is a high chance that some of their visitors will spill over to your website and/or social networks.
“Basically, your initial followers should be taken from other proven sources”
After getting the initial traction, people will come to your blog through friends. However, the first step is crucial. You do not wish to approach people who have no interest in your website.
Proper targeting is crucial for high audience engagement.
I would recommend building your audience from LinkedIn and then, adding those people on other networks. Given that LinkedIn has such a sophisticated filtering, it will be really easy to find colleagues and potential clients.
Social networks groups
Besides social profiles, it is also good to create groups on social networks.
Unlike simple following, where person follows your Facebook or LinkedIn page, membership within a group allows for a two-way communication.
And not only that.
Followers are also able to create their own posts and start discussion. This is the best method of engagement as it allows them to get answer to their questions, not only from you but also from other knowledgeable members.
How does your blog benefit you might ask?
Given that group members are much more engaged than the simple blog followers, there is a much higher chance that they will check out your content when you post it. There is also a bigger chance that they will start a thread within a group which will include even more targeted audience into a discussion.
“Although it seems there is no direct connection, everything you do within a Facebook or LinkedIn group will rub on your blog”
You need to take audience engagement seriously.
There are so many questions regarding the future of SEO. User engagement will definitely be a big part of that future so it is better to prepare in advance.
Which methods do you use to improve user engagement on your website? Do you have trouble attracting targeted traffic? Share it in the comment section below!