There are many reasons why you should be focusing on growing your marketing list size for your business and you have likely heard about most of them. Today, however, we’re going to talk about a couple that you likely have not heard about or given much thought and both key metrics for SEO.
Everyone likes to talk about list building because of the increased sales and conversions – and indeed, that’s probably the number one reason to do it. But there are two factors that are becoming increasingly important in this post-Panda era of SEO that are often overlooked.
Increasing Social Engagement
We’ve all heard of the importance of increasing social signals to your site and providing a good user experience to your visitors. Google has talked a lot about the user experience and we have also discussed the fact that you have to pay attention to your user experience metrics.
So what are user experience metrics? They are simply the measurements that can be used to express how satisfied users are with your site, namely, time on site, page views per visit, bounce rate and return visitors.
Social Metrics and What They Really Mean
Each of those metrics tells a slightly different story about your user experience. Long time on site numbers indicate that the user is enjoying your site because they are staying there for an extended period and “consuming” the content.
The page views metric also shows how successful you are being at enticing your visitors to stick around. The higher the number the more your visitors are clicking around your site and “engaging” in other content on the site – a good thing.
The bounce rate will vary from niche to niche and with site type as well. For example, some sites will naturally have a higher bounce rate because their goal is to send you to an off-site purchase offer. With bounce rate it’s not the absolute number that you want to worry about so much as the “trend” over time as you make improvements and changes to your site. So monitor it and see if you can improve it.
Lastly, we have the returning visitor metrics or the percentage of new visitors, however you want to look at it. This is another one of those statistics that can be a bit confusing because both high and low values can have good and bad implications. A high returning visitor number, for example, can be good in the sense that you’re bringing your audience back and engaging them. However, you can also look at the corollary and say that the site is not very good at attracting new visitors – it’s all a matter of perspective.
How This Relates to List Building
So we’ve talked about and defined the social metrics, but what does that really have to do with the topic of this article – list building?
The truth is that by using your list strategically, you can easily improve all of these metrics. First off, you have to focus on growing your list – that part should be obvious, but has to be stated. The larger your list is the more you can leverage it to your advantage.
Now, like everything, there are some best practices here for getting the best results and that’s what we’re going to focus on. The goal is to use your list to improve your social metrics. If you keep that firmly in mind and just think through the obvious ramifications of that, it’s all pretty logical and straightforward.
So the right way to do this is email your list but don’t send them much of the content in the email, just send them something enticing and a bit of a cliffhanger format designed to get them to click thru and go to your website. That is the first and most important aspect of this approach.
You don’t want the user sitting inside of Microsoft Outlook reading all of your great content – that does you little good whatsoever. Instead, you want them reading that great content ON YOUR SITE. Many people really goof this up and provide tons of great content in email but it does them no good whatsoever in terms of growing their site content footprint or user experience. Don’t make that mistake.
Next you want to focus on getting multiple views from your visitors. To do that you can approach it a couple of different ways. For one, you can put links to other posts inside of your article content. You can also, at the end of the article, put a couple of recommended links for further reading. If your article is large in size, you may choose to break it up into 2 or more posts and have a “click here to read more” link to encourage additional click thru’s.
Lastly, in the body of the email itself you can encourage multiple clicks by listing a couple of different pages on your site for the user to check out. Don’t overdo this though because you won’t want to give too many choices or the reader will likely just ignore it as being too complicated or too time-consuming to mess with right now. Remember “now” is all you’ve got because it’s not likely they’ll come back to your email later – you’ve got to stimulate action NOW in your emails.
Why this Formula the Social Signals
If you follow that formula and then email your list every time you post on your blog, or at least a couple of times a week and send them to your blog you will begin to positively impact your social signals and metrics on your site.
The reason is that your loyal followers and subscribers will be your best readers on your site. They will likely read through your entire post (time on site increasing) as well as click through to other posts (increasing your page views per visitor). If you further encourage them to “like” and “tweet” your posts, that can send yet additional social signals towards the big G.
If you think about it, those that aren’t too “in to you” on your list will either ignore your email or unsubscribe – and that’s just fine, either way. But those that are followers will definitely help your social metrics. So you’re sending the most targeted and ideal customers back to your site on a frequent basis – a good recipe for success.
The Second Reason You Want to Focus on Listbuilding
Next comes another aspect that we have hinted at a couple of times above but haven’t come right out and said. The fact is that the larger your list is the more traffic you can send to your own site and the less you rely on Google for traffic.
This is becoming more and more important with the insane level of instability in the SERPS the past couple of months. But even ignoring that, it is a very solid approach to increasing the success and profitability of your site.
As your list continues to grow, you can drive more and more traffic to your site and this shows Google that you’re getting traffic. It’s ironic, yes, but when you start getting traffic to your site OUTSIDE of Google, well, guess what – Google starts to reward you with better rankings and gives you more traffic from it as well. Their line of thinking is that if your site is getting all of this traffic, then it must be a good site and maybe should be rewarded better in their rankings as well. So it’s a complete “win-win” scenario.
In Summary – The SEO Benefits of List Building
As we said at the start of this post, there are many reasons that list building should be an important aspect of your business. In fact, I would say that of all of the things you should be tracking each month, your list size should be at the top because so much good can come from it.
This article really didn’t try to point out all of the obvious benefits of list building, but rather, we wanted to focus on two huge benefits from an SEO perspective – improved social metrics and increased traffic. Both of those benefits, however, are just two of many others.
I hope that you’ve stopped to think about this a bit and come to realize that list building should be one of your most important areas that you focus on in your business. Remember, don’t obsess about tracking, but create a few solid metrics that you track each month and continually work to improve them. And after this post you should be adding “list size” to your metrics to track.
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