In this article, I’ll explain why Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is not enough and how Content Discovery can unlock the true potential of your content.
For anyone engaged in Content Marketing, the process is always the same. You create fantastic content and your job isn’t half done.
Getting your content noticed is the real job of a Content Marketing professional.
The Goldilocks Zone
Search engine optimization is terrific. If people are actually searching for content related to your subject and you rank highly in the search results, SEO can get you a big boost.
But search engine optimization has many shortcomings:
- Who’s Looking for Who? – If your audience is not searching for your content, no amount of optimization will help. Some products and services are researched by prospective customers – the buying process begins with the customer searching. But most products and services must be pushed. The customer isn’t searching for you, you’re searching for the customer.
- Too Hot – Search keywords that are hotly competitive are beyond the reach of most content producers. You can buy your way to the top, but this is expensive and in some cases prohibitive.
- Too Cold – If a keyword combination is not hotly competitive, often there’s a good reason. It usually means it’s not very popular with end users and will not result in many visitors.
Unless you are fortunate enough to have a product or service that people are actively seeking and the keywords are in the Goldilocks Zone (between too hotly competitive and not so cold they are useless), SEO will not be enough to get your content in front of your audience.
You can share your content on your own social media feeds and engage in outposting on services like Medium, Business2Community and others. But ultimately you can only hope your content will be picked up by enthusiastic people who will carry your content to glory.
The majority of content is not searched, it’s discovered.
Your audience will happen upon your content in other people’s Social Media Feeds and via Referring Links in third party blog posts and on content discovery sites.
Getting discovered by third parties who have large audiences is the key to pushing your content to a wider audience.
How the Pros Do It
Professionals (companies and individuals) with large audiences are caught in a daily bind. They have to feed the social media monster with a steady stream of relevant and engaging posts.
Professionals produce their own content, but rely on third party content for more than 80% of their social media posts.
Finding third party content isn’t easy. Most competent professionals do not use conventional search tools like Google or Bing. They rely on Content Discovery tools. Some of the good ones are:
7 Trade Secrets of Content Discovery
I have found myself on both sides of the curtain.
I use Content Discovery tools to supply my own social media feeds (as part of my Content Marketing strategy) and I’m a developer of a Content Discovery tool (MondoPlayer).
So I’m in the unusual position of using these tools and knowing how these tools work from the inside.
These are some secrets that will help you get discovered:
Content Discovery services are NOT nearly on the scale of Google or Bing. They do not have the horsepower to search every site on the web. Optimizing your content for SEO and hoping you will be passively discovered won’t work.
Submit your Content
Many services allow you to submit your website or sitemap for consideration by the Content Discovery system. The methods for each service differ and you will find many are not very forthcoming about their process. Some services require you to submit each article or video individually. Some services make you join the service and start sharing your own content. Cracking the code for each service will take time, but it’s worthwhile.
Content Discovery services use far less sophisticated search algorithms than search engines to rank your content. Your keywords generally need to be in the title of the content and you won’t benefit from referring links and other techniques used in SEO.
Popularity is important for some Content Discovery systems. Some systems rely almost entirely on data harvested from Social Media services. You will find these tools tend to over-share the same content and they are difficult to penetrate.
Some Content Discovery services employ human curators – people who add content to their indexes. These people will tend to favor your content if you have a relatively high quantity of well written content and you post regularly. They will also tend to exclude content that has self-serving referring links.
Content Discovery tools capture metrics about their users. If your content is being shared by the Content Discovery service’s clients, your content will rise in the rankings on their service. It’s a good idea to use these Content Discovery services yourself and use them to share your content. It’s important to understand that “shares” generated within the Content Discovery service are counted differently than shares on third party social media services.
Many Content Discovery services focus on a narrow set of categories or topics. Your content won’t get picked up if it doesn’t satisfy one of these general areas of interest. It is wise to look at the Content Discovery services and see if your subject area fits neatly into a category or topic widely used by these services. You may need to tweak your editorial policy, to increase your appeal to the broadest possible set of Content Discovery services.
Being aware of the role played by Content Discovery services is vital to your success as a content producer. If you engage with these services on the same terms you engage with conventional search engines, you will fail to benefit from the incredible reach these services can provide.
Everyone hopes for that piece of content that will catch fire and go viral. It’s highly unlikely SEO will get you that result.
It’s far more likely your content will go viral if it’s picked up by someone with a large following. Those folks are using Content Discovery technology to feed the appetites of their voracious audiences.
One thing is certain, optimizing your content for SEO is not enough. You need to actively seek the attention of Content Discovery services.