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Turning Articles Into Fan Traffic By Encouraging Social Sharing

by Music Marketing Manifesto on August 13, 2012

Questions and AnswersEvery now again we come across students of Music Marketing Manifesto, who are totally putting in the work that is required for success, but get a little stuck when the results are not as positive as they would like to see.  Such is the case for our Estonian friend, Joonas K., who wrote to us about his experience with article marketing.

The short version of Joonas’ problem is that he has cranked out a bunch of articles, but found that they were only ranking somewhere between the 2nd and 6th pages of Google’s search results.  He has heard of things like using social bookmarking and forums to try to build links to his articles, but found that sometimes his rankings would slip, or even worse, disappear entirely after building the links.

Now it has been said that you will be met with the most amount of resistance when you are on the verge of a break-through and we think that’s exactly where Joonas may be right now.  Hopefully we can push him over the hump with detailed exploration into his problem.

When musicians take the approach of creating articles to generate traffic to a squeeze page or website, the goal is to pick up various streams of traffic, based off of the keywords that the articles are written around.  The problem is that when you are trying to optimize for search engine visibility (SEO), you will constantly be at the mercy of sudden algorithm changes to the way that the search engines rank and display search results.

Google’s recent Penguin update certainly comes to mind for sure.

According to a small snippet of a wikipedia article about the Penguin Update,  even long-time authority websites, with tons of content started getting punished in the search results by “demonstrating unusual linking”.

So what exactly constitutes “unusual” backlinking?  Well only Google would know for sure, but it seems that they are now looking for websites that seem to have scale-tipping amounts of links from either seemingly unrelated content/ blogs, or social linking (social media, bookmarking, forums, etc.) which is not in line with what Google considers to be a natural pattern. In plain terms, Google is looking for patterns that suggest that authors themselves are creating social links to their own content via various bookmarking without there being enough social conversation to validate the amount of bookmarks.

In other words, Google seems to favor sites  and articles that carry relevant  inbound links, but also follow a pattern of “normal” social bookmarking and conversational patterns.

Another possibility is that what you are experiencing is simply Google’s new content boost. Often Google favors new content temporarily. Presumably because it is more relevant while it’s new. This also gives new content a chance to find it’s way into the SERPS. Often you will see new content rise to the top of teh serps for a few weeks only to drop back into near non existence a few weeks later. The content then often resurfaces a few weeks to a few months later. It is thought that this is one of Google’s many measures it uses to prevent and identify search engine spammers. If you are only building a small number of links to your pages then this may be what you are experiencing.

So in Joonas’ case specifically, keep doing what you’re doing as far as cranking out articles, but start to make some adjustments to the way you create the content. experiment with different backlink strategies for batches of 5 – 10 articles and see if you can determine what is the most beneficial strategy. With Google’s always changing algorithm, it is important to always be testing. For example you could create 5 articles with no backlinks, 5 with only social links, and 5 with links from other web 2.0 properties. Just as an example. And be sure to give things enough time to come to solid conclusions.

Another thing you might try is varying your sources. In addition to Ezine Articles you might also try the many other article directories and Web 2.0 properties that are out there.

At the end of the day it definitely pays to understand good, basic SEO practices, but it seems to pay off much more when you create that content with authentic social interaction and sharing in mind. At least for those who do not want to spend their lives playing Google’s always changing game.

A keyword optimized article is your foundation for search engine rankings and traffic, but writing with the user experience in mind is a safer bet right now because of the sharing you will encourage. This has become very important post-Penguin.

It’s not your work ethic failing you, Joonas.  It’s more likely that your content needs to be more engaging to readers.  Or possibly a simple matter of varying your strategy a bit until you find the right combination to give your content the boost it needs. Just rest assured that content creation for traffic is a very proven strategy. It’s what drives the internet and always has. Keep on doing what it takes and you will start seeing an increase in traffic.

We’re always here to help!

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Scott August 15, 2012 at 4:30 pm

Great stuff!!! I’m excited, and getting all kinds of ideas for articles…musician home recording tips, for example. Material I wrote and recorded that sold and streamed in the thousands through CD Baby 5-6 years ago, and resulted in my music getting on soap operas and a movie, was recorded on a Roland VS880! Old, old school! You’ve got to know how to make the most of the gear you have!! What aspiring recordist wouldn’t find that info valuable? I have two CD’s worth of material just sitting and I feel I could actually (eventually) make a living selling it using these methods. Last night at midnight I started to remaster some that old stuff (inspired by MMM) on Pro Tools to bring the levels up. Let me say the way you’ve done this, John, is top drawer…the content and personalization is just pure marksmanship. It’s very clear you know what you are doing and actually give a shit. I’m going to buy the program…I think this is the one for me.

Reply

John Oszajca August 15, 2012 at 10:06 pm

Hey Scott, thanks so much for the kind words. At the risk of sounding like a corn ball, I really do give a shit. Getting into this space with nothing but profit in mind would have been like shitting where I eat, as a musician myself. There are far easier ways to make money online. Trust me, I do them as well :-) But I enjoy the hell out of this, despite that it takes me about 500% more work than anything else I do, for less money. Anyway, point being, it means a lot when people notice, so thanks.

And congrats on getting re-inspired. I love hearing that as well. To make things really simple, all you need is a list and the ability and desire to communicate with that list. Sales will be in direct proportion to your list size. And while it takes some work, ANYONE can build a list. Once you have it you can drive sales all day long, whether the material is old or new. I can’t guarantee specific results as they will be in direct proportion to your efforts, but the nice thing with this strategy is that regardless of how big or small teh results are, you will still see consistent growth. I don’t know about you, but simply knowing that I have a base out there who cares about what I’m doing musically, is enough for me to have a reason to continue making music.

All the best with your career. Keep me posted.

PS, would you mind if I used part of your comment on the testimonials page? If so, let me know what link (if at all) you would like me to use in the credit.

Thanks man.

Reply

Scott Kovarik August 16, 2012 at 12:57 am

Hey John, I’m with you…just looking to share the creative energy and spread the bliss; if I can get paid, all the better. I’m seeing this on levels. I also have a book in the works. I let a few friends and colleauges read the first three sample chapters and they got literally angry at me that I left them hanging the way I did, drooling. The book is sitting on a publishers desk. After the vid and reading your stuff I’m almost hoping the deal falls through. I can see how I could use your methods here, as well. And yes, feel free to use my comments on the testimonial page. Don’t worry about a link back; it would be senseless until after I get and begin using your program ;) I will keep you posted fo sho.

Thanks, you’re the real deal!

Reply

John Oszajca August 16, 2012 at 1:02 am

Thanks man, I really appreciate it.Good luck with your book. These techniques absolutely cross over. I think there are even more opportunities for authors because the playing field is more open, niches are easier to define, content is plentiful, and the average reader is a better buyer than the average music listener. Good luck either way you go. No reason you can’t do this with a published book as well. Just buy your own books at wholesale or get a clause written in that allows you to purchase a certain amount at cost and sell at full price from your website :-)

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