For many bloggers, search engine optimization or SEO is very important when it comes to growing a website. And yes, this is wrong! Hell wrong ... I should be focusing on reader's engagement and let me tell you why.

I did two case studies last month and the figures really opened my eyes. Through my experience, new websites on competing on moderate to high competition keywords usually get very less traffic for the first few months. When I read Neil Patel's Quick Sprout, it made me realized that I could actually grow my website from nothing to something ... within days.

What's worst is that I'm competing on super high competition keywords such as:

  • Blogging
  • Internet marketing
  • Search engine optimization
  • WordPress

Do you know how much competitions I'm actually facing? Literally, it felt like competing with a quarter of the total websites in the world.

So, this is probably not the question of the year but it sure sounds important for you and me; Why should you focus more on social engagement than plain, straight-forward search engine optimization techniques?

This is not about ditching your SEO strategies but to improvise it. Start thinking out of the box!

Here's what Google said in the past:

'In general, webmasters can improve the rank of their sites by increasing the number of high-quality sites that link to their pages.'ย

This is what Google says now:

'In general, webmasters can improve the rank of their sites by creating high-quality sites that users will want to use and share.'ย

Source: Google

Does this make any sense to you? I even underlined the important words for you. So, ask yourself again now; How important is social engagement in Google point of view?

The below are two case studies which I did to see how social engagement affects my website growth and traffic.

Case Study 1

Focused on:

  1. Search engine optimization techniques
  2. Quality content
  3. Using right keywords
Website traffic was moderate to low

My website traffic was pretty low considering that it is new and limited social engagement

Look at the graph. Does that look familiar to you? For me, absolutely yes. Regardless how many new websites I started up, my graph and website traffic has always be like that.

20 to 50 views a day? That doesn't make the cut! I need to do more and think out of the box; Is there any other way to improve and increase my website traffic?

Case Study 2:

Focused on:

  1. Social shares (social media)
  2. Reader's engagement
  3. Commenting on other blogs of the same niche
Website traffic increase

My website traffic increase dramatically when there was comments done on Google+ and social media

Even a young boy could tell the difference right? My website traffic exploded, skyrocketed and increase more than what I expected.

This is H-U-G-E ...

In just one week:

  • Website traffic increase at least 2.5 times more
  • Over 50 comments received
  • Bounce rate reduced by 10%
  • And my Gooogle Adsense revenue grow by 33%

This is H-U-G-E ...

Case study 2 isn't much about the normal SEO stuffs most bloggers talk about ... you know, content, keywords and the list continues.

Instead, case study 2 is how clever bloggers and writers grow their websites. Just look at how Traffic Generation Cafe, Kikolani and CopyBlogger grow their websites.

Practically, they did everything every one was doing. From search engine optimization techniques to writing great contents.

But, they did everything with a twist ... they added human touch.

What? Human touch?

A good blogger is a blogger who writes for its readers

Human touch is more than just hand shaking

Read some of your articles and tell me if these articles are written for search engines and not for readers. I admit it, even I have some article written for search engines and that's bad.

I classify human touch as one part of social engagement. When your readers hits your website, you got to make sure that you try your best to get to them and welcome them.

If you are writing a blog or article, make sure you are catering for your human readers and not bots. Readers want to read facts and not SEO optimized articles. Period. 

Be a reader yourself to be engaging

Nowadays, reader's engagement is way more important than content itself.

Always put yourself in the shoes of your readers. Imagine you are visiting a blog and the writer is actually writing for search engines and not for the reader. Would you be back? I guess not.

Sames goes here. When a reader leave a comment, reply to them and tell them how much you appreciate them. I know a bunch of bloggers who don't reply to comment and this is absolutely why you should ... starting now!

You want to your website to grow in terms of traffic, search engine ranking and even subscribers right? You got to do something to make them come back for more! And, you wouldn't go any wrong with some customer service or human touch I would say.

Small steps could create big improvements in social engagement

Before you even thinking of going into social media, make sure you are ready for it. Update all your profiles and make sure they are good. Yes, real good.

Tip when writing a profile: Compose a short profile where readers can get an idea of what you are in just 15 seconds or less.

You want your readers to engage with you and you want to create a good platform for that. There's no better way then showing to people what you really are with a good profile and a nice photo of you. Please ... no fake photos or some celebrities. That's a recipe for disaster ๐Ÿ™‚

Why reader's engagement matters?

It doesn't really matter if the reader is leaving a negative or positive comment. Taking for an example, I received a comment yesterday by Adrian Jock. He pointed out that I had overlooked one of the facts and I didn't delete that. Instead, I published it and did the right amendment as what pointed out. You can find the article here: The Truth About Aweber And MailChimp.

I used to be a blogger myself who deletes all bad comments and leave good ones instead. Well, even though that is absolutely doable, I wanted to be slightly different.

Now, do a little thinking and do you get the point?

The fact is that any discussion could be a great discussion. It really depends on how you talk it out. I know some comments turned out to be heated one instead. And that, by all means ... please avoid it! ๐Ÿ™‚

Thank your readers who left comments on your website

Thanking your readers could increase readership

A small note of thank you goes a long way especially for bloggers

This is another important part that is important for most readers following from the above. They love to see your reply and yes this is the real deal. I know quite a few bloggers and writers who do not respond to their reader's comment. If you're following their footsteps, you should stop right now!

If you want to boost your social engagement level and get your readers to come back for more, you should start talking to them. There's no better way then thanking them for their time visiting and even reply to their feedback.

For me, I reward my readers and those who leave a comment by using CommentLuv plugin. Basically, anyone can entitle for a free DoFollow link as long as they comment and share the article on social media. Don't hear my words for it. Instead, here's the link (it'll open a new window for you): What is CommentLuv WordPress plugin?

Start leaving your comments on other blogs!

Have you ever encountered a time where you stumbled upon some article on the web and liked it? Why don't you leave a comment and thank the author for the hard work? Moreover, they deserved it since they had provided some sort of important information for you.

When you are leaving comments on blogs, make sure you make it as insightful as possible. This means that you must scrape off all those thank you and goodbye stuffs. Instead, thank them for the hard work and add some of your thoughts into the matter.

I know probably 90% of the blogs out there do not allow links on their comment right? This is where you should take advantage of CommentLuv enable sites. Sharing good comment and get a link share in return?

I don't think there's anything else better than this!

The importance of social share (social media)

Like it or hate it, social share is important. Imagine the webpage had just opened and immediately, your eyes are attracted to the total number of social media shares it has on that page. I bet your mind is telling you that the article is pretty impressive and worth your time reading right?

Yes! That's it! The more social share you have, the better chance people are going to be convinced on what you've to say.

Recently, I've been very active on social media and for every like, retweet or share I got on social media, my traffic exploded multiple times. Does this make any logical sense for you?

I bet it do ... right?

Writing good content is important but if no one is reading it, there ain't any point. Therefore, it is best if you can allocate some time around daily for some social shares. Even sharing other articles is also a great move as well!

When it comes to social engagement, here are 14 recommended social engagement tools to help you in terms of marketing.

If you are looking for a good (and free) Social Media management tool, you may want to sign up for SocialOomph.

Over to you ...

I'm sure you are now convinced that social engagement is extremely important regardless it is for SEO, website ranking or even increasing website traffic.

What do you think about social engagement and are you practicing it already?

Hit the Reply button below and let's discuss.

If you like this article, could you please share this for me using the red Google+ button below?