Search engine optimization involves getting lots of moving pieces coming together in the right way to achieve better search results for your website. But are their non-SEO ways to get your website ranked? According to the folks at searchenginewatch.com there are five ways to improve your rankings beyond best SEO practices.
1. Enhance Web Site Usability – Dr. Jakob Nielsen is considered to be a foremost authority of site usability factors, and he also has a knack for SEO. In his book “Designing Web Usability” (which many consider to be the “Bible” of usability), he writes that “site design must be aimed with simplicity above all else, with as few distractions as possible and with very clear information architecture and matching navigation tools.” From an SEO perspective, this is preaching to the choir. If sites aren’t human-friendly, they are usually even more unfriendly to search engine spiders.
Typically, enhancing usability also involves improving the information architecture of a site, which of course will help the site to be more easily spidered, and will often increase the potential for solid anchor text-rich internal linking.
2. Work with Other Marketing Teams – Many SEO projects fall victim to “marketing-in-a-vacuum.” SEO teams should work together with other marketing teams to ensure the same message being delivered offline is incorporating its way into the site’s visible text. Also, not combining efforts with the paid search team is a top way to miss out on search ranking opportunities.
It often takes extra “pushing” to become involved in other marketing efforts, or at least well informed of future planning. Fortunately, many of our clients have bought into the idea that we’re their partners in a mutual effort to gain visibility and traffic. Typically, the stronger the in-house SEO team is, the more clout they already have in their organizations, which certainly helps this effort. Every year, Super Bowl advertising gives us insight into how many top companies are combining these two forms of marketing.
3. Incorporate Traditional PR Efforts into the SEO Plan – Press releases should be optimized to help the company’s site perform better within search results. Again, this calls for involvement by the SEO team, especially in the distribution of the article and in the placement of properly structured hypertext links within the article to relevant pages on the site.
4. Monitoring and Leveraging Communities – Every industry has an online community of some size. Some industries — such as travel in particular — have literally thousands of forums and blogs talking about deals and experiences. Savvy marketers can leverage these platforms by becoming an active participant — without being “spammy” or invasive — and gain traction within rankings as a direct result of this community participation strategy. Additionally, there’s lots of user-generated content about products and services in these communities, providing both invaluable feedback for refinement of current offerings and services, as well as an excellent base for R&D efforts.
5. Keep Content Fresh by Updating it Regularly – For some organizations, content is hard to update on a regular basis. For example, a company that sells one type of widget that never becomes obsolete may seemingly have no reason to update its content. However, the majority of sites on the Internet could benefit from occasionally “sprucing up the place.” Bottom line: if the content seems like it’s “getting stale” from your human perspective, imagine what a search engine that crawls it every month may feel.
Even if you’ve never done SEO, chances are that improving and updating your content can help you to gain rankings for terms that will drive traffic. Although this can be argued — especially for competitive industries — the core of the belief is certainly sound. There are sites out there that have simply followed best practices by including important content in tags, and maintained rankings and traffic simply due to keeping the content fresh.
Keeping these five factors in mind when thinking beyond traditional SEO best practices will likely yield long-term success in terms of driving organic traffic.
Please give me a call today at 208.598.0084 or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information to discuss how I can help you or your company with its search engine optimization, online marketing, or copywriting needs.