Why doesn’t anyone read my articles?

readingAt least once in each group of people I train, someone will ask  “Why doesn’t anyone read my articles?”. They have spent time and effort creating some online content, posted it to their blog, and then… nothing happens. Few reads, no shares, no likes.

So what they really want to hear are the magic Google secrets which will place them at the top of page 1 of Google. You know – those secrets which the SEO experts who bombard us all with emails everyday tell us can be ours if only we were to subscribe to their services.

(Of course, I expect you have wondered why they need to send out all those emails – surely they should be getting more Google traffic than they know what to do with: surely all they should need to do is follow their own advice? )

Well, the answer is that there are no great secrets – but there is a very simple, basic set of 4 pragmatic steps which will do the job of improving the number of people who read your articles.

Here they are:

1. Write good content

It sounds pretty obvious, but too many people get tied up in following all the SEO ‘tricks’ they have been told and forget that first and foremost, the articles they create must be interesting to their audience, easy to read and easy to understand.  If you are ever stuck for suitable things to write about – simply ask your target audience what they need information on.

The bottom line is that if your content is not engaging, useful and interesting to your audience, then any efforts you put in to make sure it will be found by the search engines is a complete waste of time –  in fact you’ll probably find it will actually damage your reputation.

2. Get noticed

You don’t need to be an SEO expert, but there are a few simple rules to follow, and by far the most important is that the title of your article should be as close as possible to the search term you would like to be found for, and that the content of the article also uses this term so it is clear (both to the reader and to the search engines) what the article is about. But make sure that this does not detract from the readability of the article.

There is no doubt that you can spend a lot of time fine-tuning this and making it more effective, but to start with, just follow this as a general rule.

3. Get Read

Once you get listed on the Google page as the result of a search, you are nearly there: but don’t forget that you are competing with everything else on the page: just because you are higher than others on the results page does not guarantee that your audience will click on your entry. To improve your chances, make sure that the ‘description’ of your entry is eye-catching and will invite your audience to click: don’t leave this as the default of the first part of your article: spend a couple of minutes creating a couple of lines of attention-grabbing text (if you are using WordPress, make sure you have installed Yoast to allow you to do this easily).

4. Get Liked

So if you have got this far, you are nearly there, but don’t forget that once your article has been read, you must encourage your readers to ‘like’ and share your article: you must make sure that your explicitly ask them to do this with an appropriate ‘call to action’ and also that the design of your page allows it to be done easily.

There are many ways each of these 4 steps can be improved over time, but applying a few minutes to each of them is a great start – you will see results very quickly.

If you have colleagues and contacts whom you think might benefit from understanding these principles, please do use our share buttons below to pass it on to them, and review the other items on our site on similar subjects.