A lot of content online is never seen
According to the leading inbound marketing firm, HubSpot, there are 5.6 billion searches on Google every day. EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. And yet, despite all those searches, all those people out there looking for stuff, another online marketing leader, Ahrefs, writes that over 90.63% of content online gets no traffic from Google.
Let’s chew on this a bit. This means that all those 5.6 billion searches lead to people consuming the same 9.37% of content; not because it’s necessarily the best, but because it ranks highly on Google. A lot of really good content is never found because it does not rank well.
What is ranking?
What does ranking mean? You know when you do a Google search and it shows you the first 25 or so results out of say 2,2 million or even out of 150. When you reach the bottom of the page you have the option to see the next 25 – but few people ever go on to the second page of results, or the third. Those results at the top of the first page; they rank well for that particular search term that you put in. You want that to happen for content on your own website.
This year, one of my aims was to refresh my knowledge on search engine optimization (SEO), which is a broad term for activities you carry out to get search engines to find your web pages, index them more easily and rank them as high as possible.
Things are changing all the time on the digital frontline, and if you stay in the same place, your knowledge soon becomes obsolete, so it’s important to always be updating it.
I found three great books that explain all this really well
A lot of my work is getting traffic to the sites that I develop for myself and for my clients so this is a key area for me to keep on learning. I sifted through a number of books and read the three listed below. They are chock-a-block full of useful information on ways to get traffic to your website.
The first one focuses on search engine optimization in general. The second one zeroes in on link building, which is one aspect of search engine optimization. Then the final one looks at an overall approach to building traffic to your website.
When people talk about search engine optimization, they are very often talking about optimizing for the biggest search engine on earth; Google. There are some people who focus on other search engines, like Bing for instance.
Adam Clarke‘s work focuses on Google. He attempts to decipher the massive search engine and help bloggers and businesses have their web pages show up high on the listings for certain terms. This is critical because the ranking of a web page on Google can mean the difference between a few hundred visitors a year and tens of thousands of visits a day.
But how exactly does Google work? Nobody can tell you for sure, but by studying how the search engine indexes web pages and how certain actions, such as updating a website regularly, having content linked to from other sites, and trying to decipher updates posted on Google’s own blogs, it’s possible to come up with a very good framework for what works to get a website to rank on Google. That’s what SEO 2022 does; it presents a framework to help you get your content to rank well.
Clarke covers topics like keyword research, on-page SEO, link building, and how social media and SEO work together. He also shows you how to measure your success so you know if your actions are bearing any results.
Unlike other books out there, Clarke regularly updates his volume and releases a new edition every year, covering all the Google updates, all things that have changed, and how best to structure your SEO strategy to take advantage of these changes.
Link Building Mastery
When people link to your content from their own websites, Google thinks this means your content is important. These links from other websites are known as ‘backlinks.”
The more backlinks you have coming into your site, the more important and relevant Google thinks your site is. When you have backlinks from sites that Google thinks are really important, e.g. CNN, then those links have a greater weight than links from other sites.
While backlinks are one of over two hundred criteria that determine your ranking, Goldie reckons links are so important, if you focus on link-building alone you will explode your search engine rankings.
To quote Link Building Mastery; “SEO experts around the world have been interviewed, and they always state that backlinks are one of the most important ranking factors for your website.”
He goes on and quotes the Ahrefs study I mentioned above. And the number one reason why 90.63% of the one billion pages they looked at got zero traffic – no backlinks.
And this is the premise for this whole book; you need to work hard on building backlinks otherwise you are wasting your time producing content (unless of course, you want no organic traffic to it).
So how do you build these backlinks? The book gives a number of methods and strategies for this and emphasizes that the important thing to remember is that this is a long-term game. Play for the long run.
One final nugget from the book, in case you are not convinced of the importance of backlinks. Goldie reminds us that Google Partner Development Manager, Andrey Lipattsev, revealed at some point, that out of the 200+ factors in the search engine’s algorithm, backlinks are in the top 3.
Go home, buy this book, and build your backlinks.
This book was written for entrepreneurs who are trying to grow their sales, but I highly recommend it for all artists and creatives.
Part of the blurb reads: “The biggest problem that most entrepreneurs have isn’t creating an amazing product or service; it’s getting their future customers to discover that they even exist. Every year, tens of thousands of businesses start and fail because the entrepreneurs don’t understand this one essential skill: the art and science of getting traffic (or people) to find you.”
Bamm! That right there is even truer for artists. I have been documenting and interviewing artists for over 20 years now. So many give up on their artistic journeys because they don’t realize that the problem isn’t their product, but the fact that they haven’t found an audience for it.
I first came across Russell Brunson when I was learning about online sales funnels and his name kept popping up. He is a trailblazer in this field and his company, ClickFunnels, is one of the leading platforms for sales funnels globally (I use Groove [affiliate link] for my funnels though, because I think they offer more tools for a great price).
Traffic Secrets doesn’t just talk about how to get people to visit your website, it helps you think about your business model, about the value you offer, about how you can structure your products and services, and about the lifetime value of your clients.
At the very beginning of the book, Brunson talks about finding your dream customer, which in this case is your dream fan. You don’t just want to get a ton of people visiting your website, you want a ton of the right people.
The book focuses on online sales funnels, but even if you don’t have one, or don’t ever plan to have one, understanding the concept of a funnel opens up your mind to thinking about new ways of interacting with your fans and other consumers of your art.
For instance, many musicians have fans and many writers have readers, but how many musicians know which of their fans are willing to spend money on concerts, intimate boutique performances, etc? How many writers know which of their readers would pay for a deluxe hardbound version of their next book? That is the power of funnels. They help you think about how you can offer more value to the fans who want it, need it, desire it.
Brunson talks about building mailing lists, leveraging traffic that other people have, and building a team of affiliates, among other things. He has sections on getting traffic from Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and Google and gives lots of examples from his own journey or from the entrepreneurial journeys of others he has met along the way.
Writer | Digital Storyteller | Web Developer
I believe that every serious artist should be able to make a living from their work if they want to and I’m on a mission to find the best tools, ideas, and resources to help artists succeed. I experiment with business models, monetization ideas, and new technology in my own creative process as part of this journey of discovering.