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by John Waghorn on 26th March 2012
Trying to get high levels of traffic to your website can at times be a difficult challenge. For those businesses and companies who are now in full swing when it comes to using social media this can still be a tricky task, however this will certainly aid the process and make it easier to share content. So why do we need to have a content marketing strategy in the first place?
Well, what good is it to write content and only place it on your website? Chances are, unless you already dominate your field through an established reputation, few people will pick up on the content.
Other avenues are needed in order for this content to be shared widely across the board. A well-built blog, guest blogging opportunities that link back to your own site, and of course social media are all prime examples. Working out where this content is due to be published will enhance your chances of your customer’s viewing and more importantly, sharing this content. So for example, if one of your social profiles currently has 200 followers and you post a hot off the press news story, the potential is right in front of you: 200 people could read the story then decide to share the content. In the long run this means greater exposure, which in turn will have a positive contribution for your website’s traffic.
Traffic can come in to your site via a number of different avenues, although the focus here concerns the two methods that dominate. Firstly, organic search via the search engines, a process which involves strong optimisation of your website to enhance site visibility in the SERPs, and secondly social media. Social is growing and will continue to grow, and in the meantime you have the chance to develop your business profiles and start engaging with your audience by sharing your content. As a result, this will have a positive influence on brand awareness through referral traffic and evidence has shown that this can be the case.
During the Guardian Changing Media Summit, Tanya Cordrey, director of digital development at Guardian News and Media, spoke about their Facebook app which has been downloaded eight million times since its inception. The app allows users to share all the news articles they have read on Facebook which then gets picked up by their friends and this generates more traffic to The Guardian website. What’s interesting is The Guardian has no involvement in this process as users download the app and the story is shared. They obviously produce the content, but after this it’s down to the users. So what impact is this having?
According to Tanya, the news corporation has been “blown away by the results.” Presenting her findings, she explained that only six months previously, Google were accountable for 40 per cent of The Guardian’s traffic. The Facebook application has resulted in what Cordrey describes as a “seismic shift” whereby social overtook search as the main driver for traffic for a number of February’s news stories. These findings pose the question, how long will it take for social to overtake search? These clear indicators are the early signs of a further shift. The more people use the app, the more this information can be shared, enhancing the idea that social is integral for content. Obviously SEO is vital in any case as social is not the sole means of incoming traffic, and a website provides information about your company and added details. It’s better to be found on both social and search than just by one means only, so why wouldn’t you want to start promoting your content via social?
Another story covered by Econsultancy, explains how findings from Searchmetrics reveal that for national newspapers, the Daily Mail and The Telegraph news stories receive the most +1’s on Google Plus. In addition, only nine national newspapers out of 13 have a Google+ profile.
So what is the effect of all of this?
Along with the fairly recent introduction of Search Plus Your World, all of these findings are pointing to the fact that companies should make the most of these avenues as a place to share content. Ultimately, having a high level of social sharing, likes and +1’s will not only affect your traffic but will also have an impact on search rankings as a whole. Social allows you to create another strong avenue to gain more traffic aside from the search engines, however in return it improves traffic across the board.
Social sharing via news content is possible on Facebook and as a result Google will probably have an alternative strategy in place for the coming months. As Eric Schmidt, Executive Chairman of Google, has said: “The social signal, the people you ‘hang with’, is actually a ranking signal.” In this sense social signal are integral within search and should be integral for your content marketing strategies. Google is creating more personalised search results specific to each user, and social signals will ultimately play their part in determining where your page ranks in the search engines.
John works as a Content Marketing Executive at Koozai. With previous experience in PR, he helps the team by writing a range of client content including press releases, guest blog posts and website copy. He is also a regular contributor to the Koozai blog.