It's a sign of the times? Well perhaps it's more a sign of the monetisation of our attention that our browsing behaviour is monitored in order to optimise search engine data and Internet databases every second we are on-line. The search engines have a very difficult job, they have to give a super-fast, honest and relevant appraisal of billions of pages of information and they have to do it without necessarily being able to interpret all of the pages. They can only really do this by calling on their old friend and enemy, human behaviour. One of the most telling statistics of how good, interesting , beautiful, exciting or unusual a page is, is to see how long readers
Engagement is really the most important consideration when it comes to considering starting a website or creating a new section or page. It is where everything should begin. If there is not going to be engagement then there is no point in publishing the website in the first place. This is because engagement is simply a measurement of interaction - it is how many people spend how long at your site. If you do not have engagement then your website is simply a waste of materials, time and energy. You do not even have to concern yourself with getting visitors to your page(s) in the first place either. The search engines will do that for you. They will send your page to the top of the SERPs so that the readers can evaluate it for them. As soon as they see that there is little engagement they will send you right back to where you belong - we just need to make sure that it is at the top.
It is true that your attitude to engagement is very important. Engagement is not something to seek out with tricks such as making a website difficult to read - it is a by-product of a great site. If you have followed all of the basic steps on the content section to protect your website from the most common reader bounce problems, and you have observed the fundamental rules of structure and link optimisation then you are close to being able to publish. All you need to do now is make sure that your readers are going to get involved with your content. This is where you need to make sure you are observing the ground rules of content and content marketing as these are the ingredients that make your website appeal to people so that they want to be associated with it and want to interact. Once they want to interact then you have everything at your disposal, we just need to get your readers to that point.
I bought a T-shirt the other day with just a single log on it. A T-shirt of a single logo associated with a music group. Not that many people would recognise the logo - it is an esoteric logo meaning only something to people who know the band, and yet I was very pleased with my purchase. It made me feel associated with that band and that made me feel good. Now that desire to seek association is the nature of life - in at least some small part of ourselves, we all want to be part of something bigger. We just need to make sure that our website makes our readers feel this way. We need to make them feel engaged. The content that makes people engage is very much dependent on your audience. the audience of a death metal band will not engage with the same content as a website for a donkey sanctuary, that is obvious, but there are some common traits amongst almost any group that you should bear in mind as the majority of readers are currently still classified as human :)
Content generates engagement, this is certainly true. Content can create a buzz which generates a desire to associate with your site = social media interaction. You must find out how to talk to your audience. Some start out writing the way they want to write, the personality of the prose can generate its own audience, sometimes through sheer audacity. Think of Jeremy Clarkson when he was making his Top Gear show. Everybody wanted to be able to partake in the pandemonium that Top Gear created and so they wanted to be associated with the show.
This is not for everyone, many more people write to engage an audience or build an audience. Readers must feel as if you really care about your writing and the best way to do this is to make sure that you do. Readers will pick-up on your intentions through your copy. Write your copy at a good time of your day - when you are back from the gym or whilst the kids are playing football, so that you are excited about your own copy. If you can get the reader energised they will take action!
If your website is essentially static then you are going to struggle with returning visitors. Although you can keep coming back and adding pages it is a lot of work for one person or team to be constantly finding new topics and new issues to raise and this is where you need some help from the most important person on the web - the reader. Every popular website that you will ever visit, engages it users in real-time. What I mean by this is that they can leave their input for all to see and interact with. If you are going to find out what people think about your site then you need to ask the reader. The most effective and efficient way of achieving this is to allow users to leave comments and posts on each page. Comments are a source of new subjects for your pages and also a live customer service and complaints system that allow constant actual engagement with your site. There are several easy to implement templates out there. If you are using a content management system for your sites or a blogging site then they are probably included. Get your commenting system up and running before you publish your site so that interaction and engagement can begin when the search engines test out what kind of engagement you will receive and you will reap the rewards.
Content marketing and SEO have become almost interchangeable as terms now. If the copy is good, the site-structure is sound, the presentation is befitting and the opportunity to interact is there, you may still need some help to get more readers to your site. This is where content marketing becomes important. Content marketing is the practice of increasing your readership or potential readership through marketing and/or advertising. If you are entering into an agreement with an SEO partner then they are essentially the same thing - paying a third party in the hope of increasing your rankings on the SERPs. A good marketing scheme will create a buzz around your site and target certain audiences through other website or publications etc. This is an important part of gaining credibility. Advertising in print, on other websites or on television etc. gains you credibility in a way that Google AdWords simply does not. It is evidence of having an advertising budget or department and a belief in your product. Different types of marketing are appropriate for different sites and without unique, remarkable content it is worth considering very seriously.