Your Content is All About Quality Content

OAO - Online Audience Optimization

News articles are all over the web talking about how SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is dead, and OAO (Online Audience Optimization) is the next big thing.  Part of me is like "Great!  Now I don't have to learn all the tricks to make SEO work!  Hooray!”  Then the other part of me is saying "Uh oh!  Now I need to make sure that all my content is interesting enough to attract and retain readers!"

I am not a marketing expert by any means.  And I've only been writing articles for less than two months now.  But one thing I was not looking forward to doing was trying to tailor my articles so that search engines would find them, and that you might have a shot at reading them.  Tailoring them would've meant doing research on keywords, and then using the right number of keywords in the right places of my articles.  Then I'd have to create all these links in the 'right' places so that my article would be found by the search engines, and score a high ranking in the search results.  That would've been important because, let's face it, how many of us actually go too many pages past the first page of search results?  I usually don't.  You probably don't either.

But this OAO technique sounds good to me.  From what I understand, it means that an articles success now depends more on its actual content, than the magic embedded within it to make it popular.  It means that my target audience may indeed actually read my article because it was actually a good read.  Not because it was purported to be a good read by lots of optimizing.

Steps for Publishers Using OAO Elements

Even though SEO is going away, that doesn't mean that articles writers shouldn't still consider optimizing their articles for OAO.  When it all comes down to it, there is still a computer somewhere running articles against algorithms to check where it goes in search results.  That means that there are ways you can set your article up to be found among the hordes of content sites out there.  Linda Ruth over at Media Shepherd discusses 9 techniques [1], summarized below.  I think these things also apply to article writers here on InfoBarrel, as well as other sites:

  1. Make sure your article focuses on a 'brand'.  You brand is your core topic.  This includes phrases, heading, captions, and anchor texts.  Make it all relative to your topic.
  2. Be consistent with your purpose.  Not just in your article, but in anything that is linked to you and/or your articles, and online/offline.  Your audience needs to know you are consistent in all aspects.
  3. Reach a large audience using social media.  This includes Google Plus, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and other social media sites.
  4. Don't neglect niche groups.  While you want to target a large audience, you don't want to forget about your core audience.  These folks typically provide return visits and reads, and will stick around.
  5. Encourage your audience to interact with your content or with you in some fashion.
  6. If you run a site with say, a forum, on it, where your audience can respond, provide rewards for their interaction, and maybe even a ranking system.  Those who respond more, earn more points.  Who doesn't want to be the top-dog at something?
  7. Don't forget about mobile users.  I don't know about you, but I all but stopped using a desktop computer when smartphones became popular.  Make sure your mobile audience can access and read your content.
  8. This one is my favorite: don't obsess about keywords.
  9. This is also one I like, and that is to quit worrying so much about meta-tagging.  Why?  Because apparently it's been a long time since Google has even taken meta-tags seriously.

A Step in the Right Direction

I hope that as time goes on, search engines get better and better at providing quality content in search results.  I'd like to be able to write about something that matters, and see it show up on the first page of results as much as the next person.  But I'd like that to happen without having to know a bunch of hocus-pocus about optimizing my article.  Hopefully OAO is a step in the right direction.  It sounds like it is to me.  How about to you?