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How To Get Noticed in a Sea of Online Content

First you need to consider the best niche content strategy for your particular idea, then create engaging and valuable content which is optimised for being found in Google.

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If you’re looking to get noticed, it can feel at times like you are a needle in a haystack, or just a spec of sand in the desert.  The challenge is, today, there’s simply so much content out there that users are spoilt for choice.

Further to this, getting found when starting out can be a particularly tough journey because you’re competing against much higher ranked domains with similar content.  The concept of information overload is a very real communication issue, which has two different meanings depending on the context; first is the idea of overwhelming someone with tons of information - the second is more akin to the issue of ‘too many choices’.

Once upon a time if you wanted find something out, you would go to the library and get a book on the  subject or perhaps read a magazine. In this sense, there were just a few content sources meaning those that took the effort to write a book on the subject would likely be one of the ‘go to’ resources for that particular topic.  

Technology would soon facilitate things such as photocopying, scanning and even fax from computer functionality - all of these helpful for sharing the authoritative content, but then, social media happened and today EVERYONE is a content producer.

Today, people write thousands of words each day and share this to the entire world via a simple and cheap to set up blog.  This has created an overwhelming amount of content to be produced… some of which is very valuable, whilst much of it is regurgitated points where the focus on content has been to make money rather than create substantial value.

Therefore, there’s fierce competition to get noticed in the vast ocean of online content.  In this article we’re going to look at a few aspects to consider if your aim is to stand out  from the crowd.

GETTING FOUND IN GOOGLE

Today, with so many SEO practices being taught, many people are confused if not perplexed by the art (and science) of getting found online… yet, there is a broad recipe for success that should take out some of the confusion.

The challenge with undertaking tons of SEO courses, or simply reading online about all the different tricks and tips, is that it can very quickly reach the stage of “information overload” where you end up feeling so overwhelmed you find yourself in a demotivated state of inertia.

CREATE GOOD CONTENT

This might seem like an overly simple point, but at the heart of getting found online today, is to create good content.  The question you might ask, therefore, is what constitutes “good content”.

Fundamentally, it comes down to creating content that is valuable to your audience, rather than seems to hit all the keywords Google wants to hear - in fact Google’s search algorithms have become much more sophisticated in recent times, meaning, if it looks like you are just trying to get Google’s attention, rather than to engage your audience, it will penalise this.

Therefore, the first and most fundamental rule is to focus on creating content that is genuinely valuable to your audience.  This way, your visitors will begin to share your content, other blogs will link to it as a source of authoritative information, and Google will be able to see the fact people are actually spending time on your website, digesting your content, rather than bouncing straight back out.

RESEARCH KEYWORDS

A long time ago, you could literally dump a pile of keywords at the bottom of your page and be pulled up the search engine ranking at great speed… whereas, today, the art of using keywords has become much more refined.

The most important step in the process is to fully research what keywords people are using, and developing a strategy to rank for these keywords - after all, there’s no point using keywords that you “think” are being used, when there are tools that will tell you what specific terms are being searched for.  

You can use Google’s Keyword tools to research keywords, yet a lot of people become obsessed with finding the best target keywords, which are the keywords you use to describe your site and/or page which are then referenced by the search engines robots as a measure of relevance against a particular search term.  These aren’t as important today, as they used to be, however, now that Google is fueled mostly by semantic and contextual understanding - meaning the context of your content plays a bigger part today than ever before.

DOMAIN AUTHORITY

Last but by no means least, is to increase your domain authority, which is the rating you are given by a company called Moz that determines how much credibility your website has based on a variety of key metrics.  There are many ways to increase your domain authority, yet it’s not an overnight hack, it’s a slow and sustainable process that takes some time to build.

Just like a credit score it takes into account a number of factors, though it is mostly concerned with the quantity and quality of the inbound links to your website (i.e. other people linking to your site).  The higher your score, the more like you are to show up in Google. Page authority is the same, the only difference is that it is page-specific rather than site specific.

SOCIAL MEDIA

Finally, of course, you want to leverage the power of social media - but remember something ‘going viral’ is not always a good thing, as many times, the posts that go viral are actually quite damaging to the brand in question.  

There are many social media mistakes that companies make, and whilst it certainly gets them attention, in reality, what you want is positive attention - not negative.

COPY STRUCTURE

When it comes to search engine optimisation, you  want to consider the following three principles when it comes to readability and creating credibility with your content.

USE SUB-HEADERS

The majority of people, particularly when reading content online, are going to skim read, meaning you want to break down your content into key points, and use sub-headers to guide them toward the content that’s relevant for them.  This way, they are more likely to engage with the content as people read in a similar way to eating at a buffet restaurant, rather than a sit down meal, where they must digest everything in the order it is given.

USE SHORT PARAGRAPHS

Break up your copy into short paragraphs, as nobody wants to plough through long pages of content - using short paragraphs keeps people’s attention, as it builds flow and momentum, which means they will naturally cascade through the content rather than feel overwhelmed by the amount of words they must get through.

USE IMAGES

A picture paints a thousand words, is a saying known throughout the world, yet often we try to use our words to convey something an image conveys in a split second.  The key practice here, is to use an image with a short sentence describing the point - as this way, it will engage readers much more than bland text which can feel intimidating and arduous, particularly to impatient online browsers.

GO NICHE

When many people start out with creating a blog, they tend to focus on being quite generic and broad in order order to attract as wide an audience as possible, yet this isn’t the most effective strategy; because you become a jack of all trades rather than being respected as an expert within your topic.  

The broad markets are often very crowded with just a few dominant leaders, both in business and in content.  For instance, if you were to write a generic article on something to do with psychology - chances are sites like psychologytoday.com will blow you out the water in terms of the chance of that article getting shown in Google.

Whereas, if you were to go really niche with most of your content and be perceived as a subject expert by Google; for instance, within the vein of psychology, if your blog was all about personality disorders in teenagers -- then, there’s a strong chance you would be pulled right to the top, above psychologytoday.com as your content would be considered more relevant and authorative to a search time about personality disorders in teenagers.

If you were to consider this from an advertising perspective, you are wanting to get the greatest return on investment possible, and the cost per click for an advert relating to “budget travel” for instance is going to be much higher than “budget disabled travel” because the search term is a lot less competitive - meaning you will attract more relevant subscribers for much less money.

It means the person clicking on that particular advert will also be a more relevant user who is looking for your particular solution.  Afterall, you don’t want thousands of people clicking on your paid adverts – to make your blog business a success, particularly if you are selling something off of your content marketing strategy, and therefore the more niche focused your marketing is, the better the conversion and the higher return on investment.

In summary, first you need to consider the best niche content strategy for your particular idea, then create engaging and valuable content which is optimised for being found in Google.