On Distributing your Content - SEO

Once you stop hiding you can finally start sharing your words with the world. That's when your writings begin to affect reality, and when a new problem arises: you need to effectively distribute your content so that people are willing to hear you out.

Marketing content is never simple. I'm not an expert, but I can tell you what I learned along the way.

I started writing because it's fun and I love it, but I kept doing it because I want to connect with people to build things together. To connect with more people, you need to share your content where it's relevant.

The most efficient and sustainable way to acquire an audience is through search engines - Google being the most important one. That's where all the big recurring traffic is.

The only issue is you need to rank well: people won't find your article if you are located far away in the search results. That's where the discipline known as Search Engine Optimization (aka SEO) comes in.

The first thing you need is a single source of truth - a website where all your content originates from, from the search engine viewpoint. When you publish on Medium, all the search engine traffic goes to Medium, not to your personal brand.

The single source of truth should always be something closely related to your personal brand: a personal blog, or your personal website. It's really important for you to own this single source of truth, which is why it's important for you to distribute your content on a dedicated blog you own.

Copying the same content over several websites is known as "cross-posting".

When you publish on 200WaD, you can set up what's known as a Canonical URL, which is used to indicate to Google where the original article is located. When a search engine robot encounters several times the same article - because it's been cross-posted - it needs to assess where the original content comes from to know how to rank it in the search results. If your canonical URLs are not correctly set up, it will hurt your SEO, and thus your rank on Google: people will be less likely to read what you wrote.

The strategy is thus to choose one place where all the content should be centralized - your personal blog - and cross-post this content everywhere (200WaD, Medium, specialized communities...), or just share it on social media.

It doesn't matter where you write first. What matters is to correctly adjust the canonical URL to point to your blog.

Of course, SEO is a large field. Canonical URLs are just the tip of the iceberg. In the next post, I will talk about backlinks and HTML.