How to Make Your Website and Social-Media Presence Bulletproof Against Algorithm Changes
Co-founder, Copy Buffs
It happens almost every year without fail: organic reach on social-media posts drop, and Google comes out with yet another algorithm change that causes a decline in Web traffic.
The reasons for these updates are pretty simple. For social-media platforms, it boosts revenue because it forces users to "pay-to-play" if they want to see any sort of business results from the platform.
For Google, the company wants to provide users with the best possible answer to any question they search for, so the old-school way of "gaming the system" in terms of search engine optimization "hacks" is becoming less and less viable -- causing many innocent casualties along the way.
The good news is there are ways to easily combat this decline for every entrepreneur from small-business owners to startup founders. Here's where to start.
1. Create pillar content.
We're now seeing the pendulum swing in the opposite direction when it comes to content consumption. Now that people are getting overwhelmed with too much online content, they're looking for more thorough, in-depth content to avoid toggling between 10 different articles to find the answer they want.
This is why pillar content has grown so much in popularity in recent years. Defined, pillar content is a long-form, in-depth piece of content on one topic that could technically be disassembled into a handful of standalone pieces. If you haven't begun creating pillar content yet, it could be the secret weapon you've been looking for against Web traffic decline.
2. Optimize your site for mobile.
With 52 percent of all Web traffic now coming from smartphones, Google has made it clear websites should now be optimized for mobile. If you haven't already, begin browsing around your website on your phone to see where you need to make key changes to enhance your user experience on mobile.
3. Always keep user experience at the forefront.
In everything you do, be sure to keep user experience at the top of your mind. With all of the competition online today, it isn't enough anymore to only have great content. Your content also needs to look good and load fast. This is why having stunning graphic design and great photography in your blog content and on your site goes such a long way.
4. Have a specific focus for your website.
The days of keyword-stuffing and trolling for traffic are long gone. Today, Google wants its users to be directed to the very best websites in any niche the user is searching for. If you're a bike repair shop, then be sure your entire website and blog is filled with bike-related content, as opposed to unrelated topics. Write about your hobbies on your own time -- on your website, you've got to stick to your niche.
1. Know that you're going to have to spend money.
The first thing you have to realize is, nowadays, in order to succeed on social media, you're going to have to invest money into it. The days of free social media have come and gone -- and with the precedence Facebook is setting with their pay-to-play business model, it's unlikely the trend of slashing organic reach will slow down.
2. Hop on new features early.
One of the savviest things you can do to combat lower organic reach is hopping on the new features social-media platforms release early. For reference, an example of a new feature would be Facebook rolling out Facebook Live or Instagram rolling out Instagram Stories.
On top of the benefits of having less competition for attention earlier on within these new forms of content, they're also given priority in terms of organic reach because the companies want more users to become familiar with them. This happened when Facebook launched both native and live video, when LinkedIn rolled out video, when Instagram launched Stories, and more.
3. Social media is no longer a volume game.
Across the board, social-media platforms have adopted an engagement-based style of algorithm, which selects the content it will display based on engagement as opposed to strictly sticking to chronology. Because of this, sharing on social media is no longer just a volume game -- it's a quality game. The highest quality content rises to the top of news feeds.
To start, be mindful of the content you share. Put your all into every post you publish, measure which content is performing best, then double down on the style that is.
As an entrepreneur, it can be daunting to see a decline in Web traffic or organic reach on social media. But it certainly isn't impossible to reverse. In the coming year, begin fighting against the algorithms by applying the tips laid out in this article. Best of luck.