As someone who has been a blogger for several years, and worked in a number of online communities for far longer, the topics of social media strategy and SEO (search engine optimization) come up quite frequently. Having been on both sides of the issue; working to expand my own reach as well as advising others on how to improve theirs, I’ve come across many different strategies. Some successful, many not so much. For those of you interested in the subject, I’ve decided to share a few of the better tips below!

“How do I get more followers on Twitter?”

Everybody wants more followers, but how do you get them? More importantly, how do you get ones that actually matter? As anyone with even a passing familiarity with Twitter can tell you, it’s mostly and echo chamber of shit. Overpopulated with spam-bots and desperate self-promoters, you can expect most of your followers to be absolutely worthless. A common tip you’ve no doubt come across is “follow everyone”. No. This is a colossal waste of your time as most twits are only there to promote themselves (as are you) and will be jealously guarding their spotlight. Most will not follow you back, and those that do are unlikely to re-tweet or otherwise acknowledge your presence. Why are most of the tips you’ll get worthless? Scroll down to the bottom of their crappy, ad-infested articles to see the only tip they want to work. Paid Twitter followers.  Don’t act so surprised that someone on the internet is trying to sell you something (and/or steal your credit card). The internet is a battlefield and you’re a big fat blood donor.

So what actually works? Engagement. That’s a fancy word for actually getting off your lazy ass and talking to people. Stop waiting to get noticed and start making people notice you. Like something they wrote? Tweet them a compliment and discuss it a bit. If you’re interesting, and somewhat entertaining, you can bet their followers are going to keep up with the conversation and maybe even follow you. This is where being skilled at one-upmanship comes in handy. For instance, target a popular comedian who has a lot of followers and a history of replying to them. They may not respond to you at first, but keep up until you get a conversation going. The trick here is to be funnier than the comedian. Why do people follow him? Because he makes them laugh. If you’re funnier, then his audience will become yours. Find your niche. If you’re an artist for instance, target other artists. Repeat as desired.

“How do I keep my readers?”

Getting followers/readers is a bit like getting your foot in the door. The second part of this metaphor involves either having the door slammed on your foot or being invited inside. Whether its Twitter or your blog about cats you’re only going to be successful if people keeping coming back the next day. This means constant, fresh content that will entertain and engage your audience. This can be a lot work which is why I don’t do it.

“SEO: Search Engine Optimization for idiots (you)”

Basically, search engines look for words. You remember when a few minutes ago you typed “seo strategy get rich now for free!!!!” into Google and clicked on a search result that unfortunately took you here? Yep, that’s SEO. If you want people to find your website you have to fill it up with a lot of words. For example, my website is very popular among people searching for “Emo Panda” and “Angry Panda” because I have some posts with pandas in them. So pick some other topic, because those are mine.

Since you’re probably still reading this if you’re reading this sentence, here’s a tip you can use:

  1. Figure out who the people you want to visit your website are. (Target Audience)
  2. Figure out what kinds of things they search for. (Surveys)
  3. Put articles containing those words on your website. (Copy-paste from successful bloggers)

If you’re raising an eyebrow at number 3, then it’s probably because you didn’t come here searching for SEO Strategies but instead for something “funny”. Go away. Anyway, back to our loyal SEOers and our next tip…

“Content Aggregation/Crowdsourcing”

In some circles, content aggregation is looked down upon. These people like to refer to it in negative terms, such as “content theft”. This is because they’re unsuccessful and probably just got out of a college ethics class. Hopefully you’re familiar with the Stumble Upon platform because I’m not going to explain it. The important thing is that 99% of the websites it directs people to use content aggregation to develop and maintain their websites.

The biggest hurdle most bloggers face is content generation. How do you create enough content fast enough to maintain an audience, and cheaply enough to be profitable? Crowdsourcing. This means discovering unique and engaging content developed by artists (the crowd) and sharing it with your audience on your website (aggregating). Those of you old enough to remember eBaum’s World and the millions he made before being overtaken by the multibillion dollar YouTube juggernaut understand how powerful and successful this strategy is. Their content. Your revenue. You’re welcome.

“Getting a real job”

Chances are if you’re actually searching for free SEO and Twitter tips you’re an unsuccessful hack who is unlikely to achieve anything no matter how much shitty advice you read. But in the unlikely even this last tip does sink in, here it is. Get a real job. You’re going to need money for food and shelter and internet and mostly booze and I guarantee you it’s not going to come from your blog. Ever. Kill that dream and settle. Remember, no matter how good you think you are, you’re not too good to flip burgers while I glare at you for being slow.

The Doctor is out.