Plant the seeds of a flourishing community with SEO.
Just because you built it in the digital world doesn't necessarily mean the people will come. Communities across the digital sphere are dependent on the life-blood of traffic. A thriving community is often based solely on user traffic.
Traffic can come from various sources: Twitter ads, Facebook posts, in-app guides, word of mouth, etc. But thanks to the infinite knowledge of Google, chances are high that your customer found your community page through a Google search.
According to the website world wide web size, there are roughly 20 billion web pages searchable by google. For reference, if every page contained an average of 500 words, and someone was to read every page at an average pace, it would take them 170,000 years to read every page. 170,000 years ago, humans had only recently started to wear clothing. It's important to remember that roughly 250,000 new web pages are created every 24 hours, according to siteefy.
SEO is one of the most rudimentary and genius solutions to cut through billions of pages in this information-dense world.
SEO can supercharge your community
Ask any digital marketer, social media manager, or even the garage band blogger about increasing web traffic, and you'll hear those three sacred letters; SEO. Search engine optimization is equally complex and simple. There are two types of SEO, on-site SEO and off-site SEO (aka link building.). On-Site SEO is search engine friendly, optimized titles, good descriptions, well-formatted URLs, correct use of H1, H2, and images, SEO titles & descriptions.
Off-site SEO refers to actions taken off your website to boost traffic. It could be people sharing your website or getting referred from social media or other services. This aspect of SEO can be slightly troublesome as you will not have the same level of control compared to on-site. However, when it comes to community SEO, if you have done everything right, your users and customers should be working as off-site influencers for your brand.
There are a plethora of various SEO strategies in the wild.
A great place to start is our best practices article hub here.
User content drive SEO more than branding.
Community SEO is a massive game of push and pull. You need good SEO to draw new users into your community, and you need dedicated users in your community to continue driving SEO. This idea might feel clear as mud, so here's our Khoros resident SEO and community expert Allison Fasching on why community SEO is vital to success.
"The inherent properties of an online community contribute directly to higher SEO value, but it's imperative to understand how search engines work and ensure you are configuring your community in the most efficient way to improve SEO continually.
For example, user-created content gets a much higher SEO value than brand-created content because it's a more natural language and happens more often. In other words, when users create content, search engines give that content a higher value than when brands post content."
This doesn't mean that brands shouldn't be posting any brand content. That could be a misstep as it's essential to balance the workload on users and brand managers to keep a community alive and thriving. The important thing to remember is that user content will naturally receive a higher SEO score, but that doesn't mean that branded content can't or won't receive an equally high SEO score.
ROI's of high SEO scores on communities.
Traffic drives sales, questions, answers, and authentic customer engagement with your brand. Almost every aspect of your digital engagement strategy could be improved by having a successful community. Thanks to SEO, customer care agents' volume could be reduced by having engaged community users answering frequently asked questions.
The sales team will most likely see massive increases due to community traffic. At first glance, this sale's aspect doesn't make sense. How would high user traffic mean higher sales? The answer could be attributed to basic human nature.
Digital or in-person, a community is simply humans connecting around a shared interest or problem. Highly engaged users in a given digital community will recommend various products, generate buzz around a new product or service release, and act as "micro-influencers" for your brand. People will sell for you, and your SEO score will improve as more people talk about your brand online.
The bottom line
SEO is tricky; the old model of simply spamming keywords for search engines to pick up on is ending. Scores are more complicated, and users are becoming warier of paid placement for brands. Using your community to improve your SEO and using your SEO score to build your community is becoming more vital and, interestingly, more complicated than ever, but Khoros is here to guide you!
Now that you know the importance of community SEO, continue your knowledge with these Khoros resources.
Best Practices for building SEO in Communities
FAQ's on Khoros SEO
Connect with Allison Fasching for expert advice
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