Itís pretty easy to blow thousands of dollars (even tens of thousands of dollars) on a search engine optimization (SEO) strategy that barely gets any results. I see businesses do it every day. But rather than focus on where folks currently mess up, I thought Iíd provide 21 sure-fire strategies to generate SEO for your business website:
1. Be linkable.
While the tactics of good SEO have adjusted over the years, since the advent of Google the fundamentals have never changed: you should be focusing on generating quality inbound links. If you take nothing else out of this article, take away that youíve got to create content that others are going to link to... or donít waste your time.
2. Be creative.
Creativity is the key to good SEO: Hereís an entire presentation for more: creative seo.
Create valuable content that goes above and beyond the usual blog post... See the previous slideshow as an example. ;)
Write memorable titles. Challenge folks. Challenge yourself. Write stuff that causes people to stop and pay attention.
Creativity and relevance is the holy Grail. One example: When working with the Cyber-Rain team, we came up with a create way to highlight just how much water could be saved if their device earned wider adoption. We ended up getting on the homepage of Reddit with this article, which not only drove a huge amount of traffic, but also led to numerous inbound links. Best part, the links included keyword rich anchor text like ďsaving waterĒ.
6. Be focused.
Be a super-user on one social network, social bookmarketing site, social news site is so much better than being just another user on dozens. While the social network of choice will change over time, the strategy behind how the Village Voice gamed Digg is more relevant than ever.
Do some research. Itís better to publish one post that will be super interesting to a community than dozens of highly ďoptimizedĒ but otherwise boring posts. A good example, is the 50 most influential real estate people on Twitter. This post took hours to organize, but resulted in a lots of Twitter chatter and tons of quality inbound links... SEO at itís best!
A friend of mine saw the interest I generated from my Twitter list of influential real estate people and asked if I could help him create a similar list for the mobile space. We created the list ( 20 people in mobile to follow ), and he saw a 15X increase on his siteís traffic over the next week, dozens of new twitter followers and some great inbound links from people prominent in the space.
9. Be original.
Don't follow anything I've talked about in this article. The number one rule in online marketing is that if it's been done, then don't bother doing it again.
10. Be wrong.
If I feel like the arguments Iím making in a post are airtight, Iíll often rewrite the article to poke a hole in my argument because that gives an opportunity for someone else to jump start a conversation by correcting me... Perfect arguments are boring and leave no room for conversation.
11. Be likeable.
People love pets and kids.... and cute things in general. At a minimum, every article that you want to do well on Facebook needs a photo as Facebook scans the article looking for photos when someone shares a link, so you might as well help their bots out a bit and provide a photo.
12. Be unexpected.
13. Be social.
Google loves social content. While I have no direct insight into their algorithms, itís become super clear that they are not only indexing updates from sites like Twitter in real-time, but they're giving a decent bump to websites that are hot on social networks. I had one article for a client that was hot on Twitter (dozens of retweets from prominent tweeters). Not only did the article start ranking quickly, but the entire site saw a 300% increase in organic traffic that week (above and beyond the organic traffic to the post).
14. Be complimenting.
In addition to creating over-the-top interesting posts, create a place in your editorial calendar for posts that will generating backlinks from your target audience by playing to the egos of bloggers. When working with the relocation.com team, we wanted relevant people (ie real estate bloggers) to link to us, so we created a campaign to nominate the"best" real estate blogs in each city (Hereís an example of the Best real estate bloggers in Los Angeles). These posts worked to generate comments, tweets, juicy inbound links.
15. Be smart.
Get a good content management system (CMS) that will take care of the vast majority of your onsite SEO (I like WordPress). Assuming you have a decent CMS, you can focus your SEO efforts on whatís important: generating quality inbound links!
16. Be aggressive.
Whenever possible, make sure to give your sites some quality link love. Can you guest post on a popular site? Find a creative way to link back to your site(s) within the article!
17. Be brief.
A >one-word post that taps into an community will almost always generate more comments, tweets, links, etc than a manifesto.
18. Be timely.
Whenever possible, focus on something that's currently "hot" with your target audience. Want links/traffic from BusinessWeekís Business Exchange ? Head to their homepage to see whatís featured and/or active and write a post to those categories. Gravitate to the heat!
19. Be promotional.
Writing the post/article is only the first baby step. Spend at least as much time promoting your article as you did writing it! If you're not going to spend at least an hour getting people excited about the article you wrote, was it really worth writing?
20. (always) Be closing.
It might sound basic, but itís definitely worth highlighting: know your conversation points on your website and if you have someone writing content for you, make sure they know your conversation points. I convert by having companies hire me to develop internet marketing strategies so of course Iím going to link to my conversion page whenever relevant. ( Need some motivation on this front: Alec Baldwin delivers).
Itís much better to inspire or challenge an audience to take action than beg. Am I wrong? Prove it!
Dustin Luther is the chief storyteller (and founder) of 4realz Consulting, where heís worked with dozens of Southern California businesses in the technology, entertainment and real estate spaces to create and share memorable stories that take advantage of the power of social networking tools to spread and amplify a marketing message. Follow him on Twitter: @tyr