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Distributing a magazine online is the first step to success in today’s publishing industry. Letting yourself be found effectively by potential readers is the second one. How do you increase your web visibility and make people come across your resources on their own? There is a way to achieve that and it is called SEO.

Millions of people search for millions of queries every day, trying to find an answer to their questions typed into Google. Including you. How many pages of Google search results do you usually visit? One, two, three? If you chose the last two answers, you belong to a definite minority. The statistics on this topic are stunning. The research shows that only 0.63% of people click on the second page. Knowing that, ask yourself a question – what are the chances your content will be found by people who haven’t met your brand yet?

Whether you are a small local magazine or a bigger national publication, you have to provide your business constant visibility in search results – the higher, the better – to be found by people who are looking for something. And we will tell you how to achieve that.

Discover your audience

The first step to preparing great SEO for your brand is your audience research. Can you tell me something about people loving your magazine? To what extent are you acquainted with them? Well, the better you know about people who may intend to read and buy your issues, the better you are going to know what they want to see in your offer. 

Asking a few questions to random people is not enough to get that knowledge. They may not be representatives of your target group. What’s more, “a few” is definitely too little. To prepare solid content that will work on itself for years, more research is needed. You have to understand your audience’s behavior and needs by carrying out reliable studies, asking many different questions, and trying stuff out on and on. For the beginning, get to know the answers to the following questions:

  • What is the average age of your audience?
  • Where do they come from? Where do they live?
  • What do they do for a living?
  • What are their interests?

When answering these questions, focus on narrowing and defining the target group as precisely as possible. The rule “the more, the better” does not work. A smaller group of more engaged, everyday readers will always be more valuable than a large, scattered, and less engaged one. You can’t offer all things to all people.

Understand how they discover you

Behind optimizing your content successfully and getting your brand out high in search results is an understanding of how they are searched and found by your potential readers. This is called “content discovery” and it is just a process that your customers go through when they find and engage with your content on your website, social media channels, and… everywhere on the Internet.

You also need information on how they find your content. Basically, there are four types of search intent people may use during content discovery:

  • Commercial investigation – people are looking for information on products they want to buy. That’s why they compare across brands to find the best option for them.
  • Informational – people search for knowledge or facts; they want to read how-to guides, informational articles, and statistics.
  • Navigational – people are looking for a specific designation or piece of information they need. It could be the website’s home page, the phone number of a local business, or its address.
  • Transactional – people decide to buy something online and they want to finish the purchase.

Here is another set of important questions you need to answer to yourself:

  • How do people discover your new content?
  • What is their search intent? Why are they looking for something?
  • What kind of device(s) are they using most to navigate and read content?
  • What channels or social networks do they use to discover new content?

These answers will support you with planning new content, improving the old one, and eliminating what’s least interesting. It will also help you with discovering a few potential issues you may have made:

  • The content was published in the wrong place and distributed via the wrong channels. 
  • The format wasn’t appropriate or differentiated. 
  • The topics weren’t well-adjusted or insufficiently deepened.
  • There were not enough promotion and marketing actions.
Useful tools:
In these investigations, you may need tools such as Google Analytics, Facebook Audience Insights, SEMrush, Answer The Public, Google Trends, Audiense.
Google Trends, Answer The Public, and Google Analytics will help you understand your readers’ behavior

Why do you need all of this? What knowledge about your audience and SEO have in common?

Turn this knowledge into a great SEO strategy

If you know WHO are your readers and HOW they look for the content is like most of the job is already done. 

What can you do with such knowledge?

When you understand what your target group is and what their needs are, you can find ways to improve your marketing strategy to encourage further engagement. Here are some ways we recommend to you for the beginning.

Plan content marketing strategy according to your readers’ needs

A deep knowledge of the target group is necessary when planning the next guiding magazine themes and inside content. Also because of SEO. 

  • Only then can you address the real needs of your readers, speak in their natural language, and prepare content that includes search phrases they are likely using. Preparing bases such as keywords and subheadings will be more efficient, too.
  • Only then can you provide real value for people by linking to other reputable sites and sources that are helpful and important for them. Thanks to that search engines can determine what your site is about and how credible it is.
  • Only then can you choose the best format: written word, podcasts, or videos. Which one should be more, which one less? If your potential readers prefer to watch videos (usually it is a generational thing), focus on YouTube SEO tactics instead of wasting time preparing long articles with a lot of keywords.

Update old articles instead of creating new ones

If you have a large resource of articles and materials, you can refresh them a bit to be more up-to-date and SEO-friendly. For Google, restoring the previously published story with updated information that will engage your audience instead of creating a new one with a new URL is a much better idea (you can change the headline if you like). Why?

It’s because of the way search engines work. They value timely content and news, so updating the stories will just build on the SEO power your article already had, so you don’t need to start from scratch. The role of backlinks is extremely important here. 

If your old articles have a lot of valuable sources linking to them (backlinks), they are put higher in search engine rankings. This is why you shouldn’t change your article’s URL to keep all those backlinks linked (contrary to the titles).

Before you get on with creating new content and updating the old one, take a look at our SEO tips for magazine publishers, where you will find tips related to creating title tags, looking for keywords, and optimizing images.

Adjust the magazine to the device people read on

Do your readers prefer reading on laptops or smartphones? If you know the answer, you can focus more on developing the proper distribution channel – a desktop kiosk or mobile app, depending on preferences.

Again, it’s important because of SEO.

  • Google admits that mobile-friendliness for a website is one of the factors determining how it is ranked and gaining more visibility. More about helping users easily access content on mobile, you can find here.
  • The way to search for content on a smartphone is different from that using a laptop. That’s why you need to perform keyword research for mobile devices separately. What’s more, mobile users use voice search increasingly often and use different keywords or phrases when speaking. Voice search optimization will enhance your site’s overall SEO and ranking.
  • All content you offer has to be mobile-friendly, including graphics and videos. Everything across your website should read easily or play smoothly on mobile devices. Every tiny element with text can be designed to scale to screen size automatically and mobile users should be able to enlarge images to see every detail of it. Otherwise, users, even if they find you, leave your site quickly (remember that time spent on the site is much more important than the number of visits!).  Thanks to adjusting your content to mobile devices, you decrease the website bounce rate and give. signal to Google that the website is trusted and should be placed higher in the SERP rankings.

Take care of proper social media

As mentioned earlier, readers search for you and find you in many different ways, and you would do well to wait for them in the right way. This also includes social media. The channels can improve your SEO results… but not in a direct way.

Yes, they do not directly contribute to SEO ranking, but the links you share across social platforms increase brand exposure and this is extremely important. The following graph shows the process:

Social media plays an important role in SEO strategy

When you share your posts, your audience amplifies your content by sharing it with their friends or on their own profiles. New people come to your website. In this way, brand visibility is increased and traffic is improved. In the meanwhile, social signals notify Google that your content is incredible which, again, improves your search rankings. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration if we said that social media channels are like a free promo for you. 

In fact, there are only two conditions for it to work. First of all, your post must be something that people seriously want to share. It has to be distinctive, inspiring, and interesting. Secondly, you need to invest your staff’s energy into the social media where your readers are.

Be ready for ongoing SEO update

Preparing the SEO strategy is not a one-time job. All the above activities headed by analyzing readers’ behavior should be done regularly, not once. Only regular analysis, drawing conclusions, and updating will bring you the expected results.  In addition to looking at readers and their behavior, you should also regularly follow trends and news in SEO because:

  • online search patterns change,
  • search engines update their algorithms,
  • there are changes inside your visitors group,
  • social and economic changes affect buyer behavior,
  • your business also changes.

Your current followers may not be followers in a year, your current keywords may not be followers in a year, and so on.

It may not be the quickest or shortest way to success, but that success, if achieved, can be truly valuable and long-lasting.