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How Community Outreach Marketing Can Boost Your SEO
If you've started a website and tried your hand at SEO, then you're probably aware of what a long and arduous process it is. Quality content and the best technical practices can only get you so far up the rankings.
Unfortunately, SEO is not a one-man show; you simply cannot reach the peak of Google's SERPs and summit them regularly for various search results unless you reach out to the broader community.
You need to show them value, win their trust and ultimately have them validate your site as a legitimate or ideally a premium source of information when it comes to a certain topic or niche. So how exactly do you rope the larger online community into helping you promote your website and reach your SEO goals?
1. Guest posting
Guest posting can be a powerful way to bring new traffic to your website and reach eyes you would not have been able to in many cases. According to studies by Curata, about 57% of business bloggers use guest posting as part of their content strategy.
Some major brands even used guest blogging to get their platforms off the ground. Popular social media scheduling tool Buffer used guest blogging to grow their site to 100,000 users in their first nine months. The key to a great guest posting strategy lies in looking for guest posting opportunities.
You want to find sites that are in your niche but aren’t direct competitors or sites that have complimentary services and offer to contribute to their blog as an authority on a specific topic.
I've personally contributed to a range of digital marketing blogs both locally and internationally on behalf of nichemarket, and it's been a fruitful exercise that we will continue to employ going forward.
A guest post is not just a one-way street and hosting a post on your website helps you with unique content relevant to your audience, a different style of writing and perspective.
I've also found that hosting posts by guest authors brings in additional social traffic as authors love to do self-promotional drives via their personal channels which helps puts your content in front of a new audience, driving new leads back to your page.
Check out some of our guest posts contributors here
2. Forums & question sites
People have a lot of questions, and they don’t exclusively turn to Google to get their answers. Unfortunately, Google cannot answer every query, especially when they become uber specific or part of a niche and this is why users turn to forums and question sites. Participating in conversations on sites like Reddit for Quora can help you attract individuals looking for answers beyond what Google can provide.
The benefit of using these and other forums is that you can build up an audience within these platforms and while you may not reach a wide audience you'll reach ones with similar interests and you'll be able to forge strong relationships with them quicker than traditional advertising or via organic search.
Personally not my favourite method of marketing since it's hard to quantify the value of an influencer. This doesn't mean they offer no benefit to businesses and selecting the right influencers can be a fruitful exercise if done well.
The value of influencers is their ability to legitimise a business that has been in relative obscurity. Scams on the web are a dime a dozen, and as while online purchases are growing each year it's by no means a foregone conclusion that a prospective customer will buy in the first 1 - 3 visits if you're an unknown brand.
Before they’re ready to shop, they need to trust you, and unfortunately, it takes time to build trust organically. This is where influencers can showcase their value.
According to studies by Nogre, Almost nine out of ten individuals say that they trust online recommendations as much as personal recommendations. Influencers have a unique relationship with their audience, and they take risks their audience would not normally do.
They try out products and services first and then fire off either “stamp of approval or disapproval” which can quickly become viral if done correctly.
This helps you to expose your brand to the influencer's audience as well as adding to your general online reputation.
4. Social media
Social media is more than just an ad serving platform and provides you with an opportunity to engage and entertain your audience – something you’ll struggle to do on a search engine or the display network. When social users scroll through their timelines and news feeds, they’re looking for just about anything that will pique their interest. If you’re capable of providing something high-quality and interesting, they’ll click through to your site to check out more. According to Sprout Social, 48% of Millennials and 48% of Gen X-ers followed a brand on social media in Q1 of 2017.
The challenge with social media is to encourage that first interaction, once you have that you can continue to rope them in. Leave the hard sell approach for your other channels and take a softer approach to social media. Focus on what your product can do and unique ways of using the product rather than features, benefits and pricing. Remember these customers are in an explorative phase and have no buying intention.
A great way to do this is creating opinion pieces. Create a piece of content for your site, share it on social media with a shortened version and pose a question to your audience. For example, 9 out of 10 people cannot resist this recipe in winter, do you agree? You see what I did there? The post is topical "Winter", it's relatable "Cannot resist" since social media is all about urges, its factual "9 out of 10", it insights a response "Do you agree?"
Using all these touch points allows you to peak the users interest and encourage them to lend their oh so valuable opinion.
Producing content is a tireless process, and you need to be consistent in order to get the most out of it. Generating new content pieces isn't always easy, and I myself suffer from writer's block at times.
If you do suffer from writer's block check out our post - How to cure your writer’s block in less than 2 minutes
This is why video is such an important marketing medium. It allows you to get more legs out of your content and expertise. You can simply repurpose your old content into video and get into the habit of creating a video along with your usual content.
A strategy that Moz.com has done well with their Whiteboard Friday series. YouTube has 1.5 billion active users each month, making it the world’s second-largest social platform so you'll be able to tap into a large community and using your video descriptions you're able to send users to your site.
YouTubers are also fond of commenting, and you can engage with them in the comments section in order to get them to check out your business or website. YouTube also offers streaming services which are great for product demos and question and answer sessions which can go a long way in you becoming a prefered source of information for many users.
Similarly to video podcasts help extend the life of your content and help you reach users you would not usually have had access to. Internet users consume information in various ways, so it's important to make sure you're present in all forms of digital media.
Podcasts like video have an evergreen appeal, and many users come back to old episodes which can lead them back to you, your site and your services or products. The podcast community isn't as centralised as video so you'll need to make sure you publish your podcasts on various services to make sure you reach the maximum amount of by being available on all popular podcast platforms, sites like Soundcloud, Mixcloud, Apple iTunes and more.
If you like the idea of podcasts you may want to check out our post - 12 Podcasts Digital Marketers Should Follow
The honest truth is not every user that visits your site or subscribes to your various marketing channels is interested in buying anything. These window shoppers are like vultures only floating around waiting for something they can snap up, and it's up to every online business to capture their attention in ways that don't always eat at your margins. Reaching out to complimenting services is a great way to create value-added partnerships that benefit both parties.
You're able to combine your offerings into a unique offering, and both brands are able to reach each other's audiences in a dual marketing drive. The hard part is finding willing partners and creating a value-add service that customers would find irresistible.
Surveys are an underutilized community outreach tool that can be used in so many ways with all the valuable insight you can request from customers, but today I'll focus only on how it can benefit SEO. Creating a survey and sending it out to your social, email and general audience to start collecting responses helps you engage more customers since you're not driving a specific sale down their throat, as usual, you're more likely to get a response from something that has no obligations.
This helps you attract more users to your site and could result in some of them finding their way back to your products or services and helps keep you top of mind. Once you have the data from the survey, it's up to you to create insightful deductions that people would be interested in. Post the results on your website and share it with your audience, media sites, bloggers and forums who may find this interesting. If there is one piece of content that is easily picked up by sites, then it surveys.
You can then use the survey to engage on channels and create discussions around your findings and get anecdotal pieces from consumers to post as follow-ups articles and really get legs out of this type of content.
To get started with surveys check out our post - 10 Free Survey Tools For Small Businesses
Reach out and make a difference
In conclusion, reaching out to the community may seem like a tall order in the beginning, but as soon as you get the ball rolling, you'll find opportunities are easier to come by. More hands make for lighter work and the more sites you interact with, the more leads you can attract to your website.
Eventually, you'll start to build a healthy churn rate that may even become self-sustaining as earlier influences attract new prospects and so the circle of traffic continues.
If you want to know more about digital marketing for your site, don’t be shy we’re happy to assist. Simply contact us