There are two principal ways for (relevant and interested) strangers to come to your content:
- Search: when they know what they are looking for and actively seek relevant content via the known mechanisms. Said mechanisms will continue to evolve, the discipline of SEO is advancing towards perfection and not dying - but increasingly serves as 'hygiene' instead of competitive advantage. You must do it to stay in the game, but when everyone is doing it (and more and more people doing it well), it doesn't make you a leader, just saves you form being left out of the pack.
- Discovery: when they do not know what they are looking for, are looking for something else, or not looking at all. It's no longer left to chance, there are established mechanisms and tools, but they are in 'toddler' maturity compared to Search. This is where social media are making the biggest impact (not in search) and will exponentially grow in traffic-generation importance. People confuse the two things when they mention referrals in the same breath with search.The discipline of Discovery Optimisation is just emerging and yet to become the structured, scientific equivalent of SEO.
Last time I checked, Google knew just over 3,000 instances of the DO keyphrase - but none was related to what I'm talking about. So I can shamelessly claim I coined the term :) Seriously, though: this is where the most competitive advantage will come from in the next few years - join the growth when it's only starting!
I thought it has something to do with customers and may be of interest on this platform. Anyone with ideas or already working on DO may wish to contact me for sharing and possible collaboration.