Things go viral on the internet all the time and it makes no fucking sense why.
I mean, take this new one. The “Mannequin Challenge.” You get your work buddies together and start working. Then someone with a camera yells “freeze!” You aren’t supposed to move. It’s as if time froze in place and the audience gets to walk around freely observing.
If you’ve ever been in a drama class of any kind, this isn’t something new. But I keep watching them. People keep watching them. Why do I keep watching them? Maybe it’s because I’m hoping for another dog one.
So, of course, when things go viral, you think: why not? I can do that. And if it works, I can boost my SERPs at the same time. It’s totally SEO gold, Right?
Except that’s complete crock. I mean, I wish it wasn’t. But it is.
It should work. Take my blog for example. If I write some great rank worthy content. I build in some awesome links. It’s got great authority by Google’s standards. It goes “viral.” People link back to it everywhere.
Why are my rankings not going up? Because going viral is complete SEO bullshit. And here’s why that is.
1. Going Viral Is Unpredictable
Ok, let’s step back a moment. First off, let’s talk about why attempting to go viral is a waste of your time in the first place.
It’s a complete and utter crapshoot. The when and how of things going viral nobody can agree on.
Sure, they can tell you what goes viral. They can even tell you that 25% of viral content makes people feel a sense of awe while the next biggest category (17%) makes people laugh. But there are lots of things that don’t go viral but make people feel a sense of wonder.
Even if you follow the advice of analytics sites. Your chance of going viral, truly going big, are slim.
It’s called a phenomenon for a reason. Sure, it seems to happen all the time, but in reality you are one in over one billion websites currently out there. How many of those websites have content going viral today? Probably only a very tiny fraction.
But I’ve got the best content on the planet!
The internet doesn’t give a shit. Sometimes even the worst stuff goes viral. Remember Rebecca Black? She’s producing some pretty good stuff now. But that godawful song about Friday was what made her famous.
2. Continuity Above The High
If some aspect of your marketing does go viral, it’s like falling in love. The infatuation chemicals take over. Your heart starts hitting the beat. You want to spend every available moment with just that one person.
But it’s not sustainable. Eventually those feelings wane. If things are solid between you and them, things will go on. If not, things will go back to the way they were before.
This is exactly how going viral affects your SEO. I won’t lie. You could get a boost to your SERPs. But, unless you continuously work to keep that audience, you aren’t going to reap the benefits.
3. Because You Should Do This Instead: Cater To Your Audience
If your goal is to rise in the rankings, focusing on going viral isn’t going to cut it. Sure, keep hoping you go viral. Even going viral for something you royally screwed up on can have its advantages.
But going viral shouldn’t be your ultimate goal. A loyal, long term audience and quality should be your goals.
You can’t create content for everybody. You have to remember that you have an audience. Why do they come to your website? Is it for information? Is it for a product? Or, is it for entertainment?
Why not give them all three? The best way to get noticed is to give people something they need or want. And people want authenticity.
62% of millennials want a brand to engage them on social media. Social signals are important in driving SERPs.
So, communicate with your audience on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and even on your blog. You need to show them you’re a person, not just some robot flipping levers. And the links you provide on Facebook count as authentic links to Google.
You create a trusting audience and add points to your SEO score as well.
4. And This: Create Useful Content
Create useful or interesting content. That’s right, people don’t always go to the internet just to buy your shit or click on ads. They might actually be looking for something useful or entertaining.
You have to keep them coming back for more. Build an authentic voice that represents you and your brand. Then start building from there.
How do you find interesting stuff for you audience? I counter that with, “what niche does your page or product fill?”
Use that as jumping point. Do you sell computer parts? Write blog articles about common computer problems. But make sure they are trending.
Go to popular forums. Reddit.com is a great place to go. Find a subreddit related to your niche, see what people are talking about there. Write or create things about that.
5. And This: Create Killer Headlines
Create killer headlines. Headlines are what convince people to click on articles and videos on search engines. No matter where you rank right now, you want people to pick your title out of everybody else.
KISS. Keep It Simple, Stupid. Your headline will get cut off at 70 characters on any search engine. Hiding part of the headline won’t create some sense of mystery making me want to clink your link.
Keep it short. Keep it simple. You have only a split second to make me want to click you link as I scroll through the search engine.
“Hate is such a strong word.” Yes, yes it is. And you should use strong words in your headlines.
Words like “Danger” and “Warning,” “Fail” and “Hoax.” Things that attach specifically to a large number of situations and give you a certain sense of what the article or video or any other content is about.
I’m telling you, focus on the long game. I did and look where I’ve ended up. You don’t need to go viral to be successful in life. Know your audience and know yourself. And as we always say around here, keep it on the money.