This post is coming from the mind of a search engine optimization (SEO) nerd. My daily life is consumed by search engines, how they work, and how to make websites, content, newsletters, social media etc. work in favor of SEO. I think in terms of ‘Does this help my SEO efforts or not?’ If it doesn’t, then I look for opportunities to tweak it so it does favor my SEO strategy. In this post, I’d like to address how someone can use a newsletter to boost their SEO. But first, there are a few important things everyone needs to understand.
To begin, search engines use crawlers. A crawler is basically a small machine that travels through the web link to link, website to website, reading each piece of content it encounters. As the crawler reads these different pieces of content, it files them away by topic into a virtual filing cabinet. Using geek speak, these cabinets are referred to as indices or an index. A search engine’s index stores billions of websites, ready to be recalled at any moment. Emails however are non-crawlable content, which means they are NOT stored in any index. Email is hidden by a gateway…your login. Because of this, great content in emails (including newsletters and email marketing campaigns) cannot be seen beyond the recipient’s inbox.
The next important factor to know is content is king! Ever heard that before? As old as the saying might be, it still holds true. Great content makes for great SEO, as it has the following domino effect. Content is written and posted, people visit your site and read, they love your article and share it with their friends via social media and their own websites, your website earns links, and links are the lifeblood of SEO. Essentially, Great Content + Links = Online Visibility, which is what SEO is all about. Without links, SEO does not exist.
So these two key elements bring us back to our original dilemma…how can we have a great newsletter that assists with SEO when our great content is hidden in emails not accessible to crawlers and all website visitors?
The answer is simple. Make the newsletter content live on your website!
The biggest mistake I see when it comes to online newsletters is people block their content by requiring readers to sign up. This is an okay practice if your content is enticing or valuable enough to keep behind bars. However, most articles and blog posts are not. Reserve the requirement to sign up for a newsletter for times when specific content is too freaking awesome to give away without something in return. And in all reality, even then, most content is eventually added to the blog (newsletter subscribers just get first dibs.)
The newsletter content should live on the blog or news section of your website. Then, the newsletter becomes a medium to distribute this blog content. The newsletter should contain an enticing headline, a short description of the article, and a call to action such as “read more,” which directs them to the full article on your site.
Doing this provides three main SEO benefits:
- Having the content live on your website allows it to be crawled and indexed. This means it now has the potential to be found in the search results.
- Having the newsletter link to your blog/news section sends traffic to your website. This traffic is powerful because a reader can like, share or tweet your content, which in turn creates, or at least allows for, the creation of new links. Social media can be a powerful tool to distribute content and earn links. You can learn more about that subject here.
- If your focus is on the blog and not the newsletter, you start to create content on a regular basis, providing crawler food. Having a regular blog keeps your website fresh and relevant, two things Google loves!
If there’s one takeaway from this post, it’s to use your newsletter to distribute your website content, not hide it. Looking at it this way forces you to create link-earning content. And remember, Great Content + Links = Online Visibility. Oh, and Online Visibility = $$$$.
About The Author – Skyler Malley is the owner of Firestarter SEO based out of Denver Colorado. He is an SEO and link-building expert. He has been performing SEO for small and medium-sized businesses for over 5 years. Other than his passion for SEO, he loves his family, baseball, shoes and watches.