By Claudia Elliott
Improving your ranking on search engines gets harder every day. As more businesses invest in SEO, search engine algorithms have gotten smarter and more sophisticated. Many strategies that used to be acceptable in the past, are now considered black-hat and can get you penalized you with Google.
The big challenge we face today is: we still need traffic, links, and rankings, but how do we do this in an ethical and organized way in 2016?
Luckily, there are still some solid, white-hat SEO strategies out there, that can help improve your rankings. So in order to help you, here are the top five that I still personally use with great results.
1. Guest Posting
Guest posting has been a topic of debate for quite some time. It used to seen as an ineffective method for building links. That’s because, back then, the sole purpose of guest posts were to get links. At the time, marketers would do the minimum amount of work required to achieve this goal. So most of the content that was put out there, would present no value or insight to the reader. But now that Google values quality over quantity, things have changed. Genuinely useful, insightful, and informative content is a must.
Instead of focusing on getting links, guest posts can help boost your SEO efforts through indirect ways. By putting out exceptional, in-depth content on blogs related to your industry, you’ll gain authority, get your work shared, and get Google to take notice. This in turn will attract targeted traffic to your website.
Infographics serve as a great tool to get your point across quickly. That’s why they have become so popular, (even though their heyday is behind us).
The trick to getting the most out of them is to create an embed code. This code is what allows people to share your infographic on their blog. Tools such as SeigeMedia Embed Code Generator will allow you to do this with ease.
When you post your infographic online, make sure that people can see it. Don’t forget to request a link back to your website, too. Make sure that it’s easy for the person to share it, and bundle up the exact URL you want backlinked with the embed code.
If you want your infographic to spread through the web, use websites such as visual.ly. These infographic publishers will ask for a small description of your work and they’ll store your graphic.When other people come looking for one related to your industry, they’ll go to that website and search for it. And if you put your infographic on there, chances are, people will stumble upon yours and share it.
Pro-tip: If you want to get the most out of your infographic outreach, consider using the “guestographic” strategy.
3. Personal Blogs
Blogging allows you to establish a personal connection with your readers. People are naturally drawn to them because they are written in a conversational tone (as opposed to a boring news article.) They can be both personal and professional at the same time, so it’s a win-win.
Personal blogs within companies have been on the rise. Take a CEO’s blog for example. When was the last time you heard the owner of a company talking to the people who buy his or her products or services? When the owner of a business generates content for his customers, he brings out a sense of empathy. When he talks about his interests, many times, the things he likes will reflect on the company. So you get backstage access into his or her brain and a feeling of care and transparency as well.
Remember, blogging shouldn’t be restricted exclusively to the CEO. Employees should be encouraged to engage in this activity, too. That’s because through a blog, they’ll have the power to share valuable insights within an organization. One employee can know something that no one else inside the company knows. His knowledge could contribute to someone else’s project and personal growth.
Personal blogs can be done in two ways: a multi-voice blog on your company website or team members blogging through their own personal domains, referring back to the company.
4. Be the Champ
Your goal is to take the top spot from the person who’s already there. An easy method would be to reverse engineer this process. Find someone who’s getting the results you want, look at what they’re doing, and then do the same things. If you sow the same things, you’ll reap the same rewards. If you one-up them, you can reasonably expect to outrank them.
Here’s a quick and easy method to go about this: Find content that’s doing well within your industry and performing well in search engines. Then, take the URL and place it in websites such as Open Site Explorer and see which sites link back to it. Download all the linked sites, put it in a spreadsheet, and then dissect the piece of content. Figure out ways that you could improve it and then create your own based upon your analysis.
After you have created a new piece of content, go back to the Excel sheet and pitch it to the websites that are already there. These are people who will most likely be very interested in what you just created.
5. Podcast Interviews
CEOs and employees are great for this. If a person is ranked highly within a company’s hierarchy or happens to be really knowledgeable on a specific subject, then people naturally want to hear what they have to say.
If you choose to give an interview, remember, your goal is to sell your brand. And in front of the microphone, you represent it through every action you take. Don’t forget, you’re selling to human beings. You want people to realize that you understand their problems and can help them solve them.
Podcasts allow you to become extremely personal. You can talk directly to your potential audience (if your audience overlaps with the podcast,) about new things you are offering, updates, ventures and so much more. When you talk about these things in an interview, you’re giving them exposure. Just politely request a link back to your site on the podcast’s show notes. Be sure to promise (and deliver on) promoting the episode with your own following as well.
In this day and age, in order to improve your search engine rankings, you need to use content marketing to improve people’s perception about your company. You need to increase likability through content that is genuinely useful, and that makes people want to share and link back to you. Showing that you care and providing value is the new algorithm.