Being competitive in your industry requires both the safest and the most effective tactics to provide longevity and maximize the visibility of your website in the search engine result pages.
In this blog post, I’m sharing 7 tactics to get the most out of your online marketing campaigns. Starting with the first thing your future clients will encounter: the content you share.
1. Shareable content is the only content you should be producing
Considering that most first page appearances are held by websites that have over 1850 words on their pages, it makes you want to cut and paste your entire homepage and throw it an editor and see where your word count stands.
The effect of long-form content improves onsite metrics that are directly related to ranking. One of the reasons is that it takes longer to go through a long blog post than it takes to go through a short one – easy math.
This, in turn, increases the time spent on the site, improves the click-through rate as well as the bounce rate.
The word count is an objective when you are ranking a website for a competitive position, but it is user engagement that brings home the bacon.
Websites need to have good dwell time in order to rank well. If the bounce rate is over 55%-you have some work to do on your content. Even if your page has 3000 words it won’t rank well if every visitor is running for the hills and backing out of your site as soon as they land on it.
Writing content that gets shared is a top-level objective. Create the most sought after information and solutions that your target audience will want to read. The recipe is that simple and the ingredients can be found with a little research and common sense.
The most frequently asked questions by potential customers and current clients are the first resource to fully exhaust when planning the major points of an article. Build detailed content around the most urgent needs of your clients to facilitate a longer dwell time for each visitor.
The blogging strategy that has made the most impact on the traffic a website receives is creating in-depth articles with evergreen content that provide comprehensive details on a specific subject.
Examples of evergreen content include Ultimate guides;
- “How To” guides;
- Beginner Guides;
- Advanced Guides;
- Case Studies;
- Round Up Articles;
- Expert Opinions;
- Historical Pieces;
- Strategy Guides;
Here is an example of an evergreen article whose content will remain relevant long into the foreseeable future.
Guides can be created for any niche to provide visitors the information needed to make informed decisions about purchasing a product.
Evergreen content is timeless. This type of content should provide the reader with information that doesn’t expire in the short term (think at least a year or two, including minor updates along the way if needed).
On the other hand, news articles, current events are examples of posts that decay quickly. An evergreen article will build traffic by encouraging return visits by people using the page as a resource as well as attracting new visitors. Evergreen articles are considered compounding posts because they contribute more traffic as time goes on.
A long-form article over 3000 words with evergreen content has a high chance of ranking in the search results with the right optimization. As mentioned before, word-count is not the goal but it seems that content over 3000 words improves your chances of being shared.
It’s just a fact that the higher the word count, the more the article is shared on social media.
Whenever the article is shared on another website, a backlink is earned, which contributes to improved rankings. This is a huge bonus to making an investment in quality writing. To top it off, natural backlinks are exactly what Google is looking to reward.
An optimized evergreen article is an effective method of improving your websites overall search engine optimization.
2. Structure and optimize evergreen content
Establish a keyword strategy
Start with your seed keywords and then come up with a list of keyword variations to create LSI keywords. The use of LSI keyword-rich text within the body, titles, and subtitles of your article will enhance the optimization of your article.
Use highly relevant topics that have the most user engagement
Go through keyword related social media groups and keyword related forums to pick up on the most talked about issues related to your topic. Any questions people are asking in a forum are probably indicative of issues that other people are also experiencing. Accumulate a list of good topics to include as a way to provide solutions and high valued content.
Optimize your content
Use the formats that are being rewarded by Google. Creating lists have been a common characteristic among websites that have been selected for position zero, Google’s featured snippets.
For the best chances of ranking in the featured snippets, use a popular question as the title of your article (if it works nicely with what you’re trying to accomplish.).
Follow up with answers to the question immediately under the title using numbered or bullet points. Adding a paragraph that accurately explains the answer to the question will also give your content some ammo to be selected for a featured snippet.
Finally, explain each item in your numbered list in separate paragraphs using H2 and H3 subtitles for each list item.
You can add as many questions to your article to increase the likelihood of it being featured. Be sure to list your questions as subtitles using the H2 tags, and use H3 tags for the answers to each question. This is a format that consistently appears on websites featured in position zero.
3. Keep conversions flowing
Content marketing has been the talk of the town for the last few years due to an increasing return on investment that companies are experiencing. This form of inbound marketing has an attractive set of statistics that continue to provide value long after the investment is made.
Only 9% of companies are not implementing this form of B2B marketing. At least 50% of all companies have reported that a portion of their budget is now dedicated to content marketing. 74% of consumers said they would pay more for a product if the company was transparent and 94% would remain loyal if transparency was promised.
There was a 56% increase in spending towards content creation by B2B marketers in the last 12 months. Marketing long-form, evergreen articles to high authority blogs is one of the most effective ways to build traffic and increase the authority of a website. Guest posting on a high authority blog improves your website’s metrics and the ability to outrank other sites.
Guest posting benefits your business through referral traffic consisting of visitors who have read and enjoyed the article published by your company. The number of visitors your website receives from guest posting depends on the readership of the website in which your content is published.
The larger the site, the more potential for traffic. Forbes is one of the most sought after sites that accepts guest posts and will give your article and your company excellent exposure to a targeted audience. It is also a very difficult website to get an article published. At any rate, being a guest author on any authority website will contribute to the total volume of traffic your website receives on a consistent basis.
Google updates have systematically shut down a lot of strategies and tactics that marketers have previously used to succeed in search engine optimization. The penalties that exist now go way beyond keyword stuffing. More sophisticated methods are being used to deconstruct backlink profiles and identify linking schemes.
Some of the practices should be noted as cautionary because they can help or hurt your website’s ranking depending on how successful you are in incorporating them while improving the search visibility of a website.
4. Optimize your website for search engines
The update that shattered the SEO community was the Penguin update in 2012 that targeted private blog networks. Entire businesses were lost overnight. Google has continually rolled out successive penguin updates to the original release, the latest changing the common practice of building and linking PBN websites.
5. Create relevant PBN (Private Blog Network) websites
A PBN site is built and used for the sole purpose of improving the ranking of another website. They are built from an expired or expiring domain that has a high URL rating which transfers those good metrics over by linking to the target site. The use of PBN websites are still a common practice because they do improve ranking, but they pose a risk to the health of a website. In order for a PBN to be used it would have to be properly disguised. Should Google identify a PBN, any website linked to it will be penalized.
For PBN’s to go unnoticed they need to be developed without leaving digital footprints that indicate a link network. Network indicators include multiple domains on the same hosting account, same name on multiple domain registration, the same themes used and thin content.
Although PBN’s can be used effectively, they are no longer a safe method of building links. If a website is found to be linked to a PBN it will be thrown back in the rankings and possibly de-indexed.
6. Directory link building and citations
Obtaining links from directories used to be a standard way to establish authority but due to the widespread use and abuse, the effect on ranking has become marginal and in some cases harmful to your website. Using high authority directories to build links and establish authority is still a common practice but is now exercised with more strategic planning.
Compare the backlinks of the top performing websites on the first page of results to determine the safest places to get links. Identify the links commonly held between the top performers on the first page to see which directories are beneficial in improving your authority and ranking. Ahrefs offers a tool called “Link intersect” to make backlink comparisons fast and efficient.
Here is a screenshot of the top three plumbing services for the keyword Toronto plumber.
Here is a screenshot of Link intersect comparing the backlinks of all three sites.
You can see canadianbusinessdirectory.ca is a shared link between two sites which indicates it’s a potential link you can safely acquire.
7. Paid link services
Avoid every paid link service like the plague. First reason is it is against the rules Google has laid out for best practices.
Paid links will get you penalized. There are a number of services that will claim to have “high authority links” when in reality they are propping up blogs with foreign spam links or PBN’s that may or may not be penalized.
You can completely write fiverr.com off for providing anything useful towards link building. Keep in mind search engines will analyze your backlinks so any spammy links found on your profile will get your site penalized.
The criteria for how websites are being assessed have become more complex than ever. Any attempts to game the system are now being penalized with such severity that shortcuts become long cuts. Consistently producing content that gets shared by other sites is by far the most valuable asset in the ranking model.
To ensure long-term success, businesses and marketers must focus on white hat SEO practices and producing quality, evergreen content both on and off their site. This is the key to improving search engine rankings and driving more traffic to their website.