Extra Credit Tactics to Up Your SEO & Content Game
- Completion time About 15 minutes
It’s important to have the basics under your belt so that your website can get found and help accomplish your business goals. When it comes to SEO and content, there’s always more you can do. Once you feel like you have a solid foundation, it’s time to take it a step further.
When that time comes, consider these additional ideas for growing traffic and building a following online.
Creating a Blog
There’s no better way to build authority and a faithful audience than by creating a blog. By publishing regular content about your niche, you’ll position yourself and your business as the resident expert. That means you’ll be the first one people think of when they need what you offer, and you can quickly become king or queen of your industry.
A blog also adds a lot more content to your site than it currently has — more content equals even more opportunity to tell search engines what your site is all about. With blog content, you’ll grow the number of keywords your website can rank for and solidify your relevancy to the subject matter.
How to Get Started
Getting started with blogging seems pretty self-explanatory — write about something related to your industry and post it to your website, right?
Wrong. A good deal of planning has to go into your content strategy in order for a new blog to grow and find success online. The three main steps are 1) finding your focus, 2) planning the editorial, and 3) securing content.
- Find your focus. It’s one thing to blog about your business; it’s another to find a focus for your blog that customers and potential customers will actually read. To discover your blog’s true purpose, put yourself in your audience’s shoes — what topics get them excited or teach them something that makes life easier? For a little more help, you can create a survey to read inside their heads.
- Create a calendar. Once you know the overarching focus of your blog, you’ll want to plan out specific content pieces in advance. This makes it easier to blog consistently (since you aren’t on the hook for fresh ideas right on the spot) and gives you the flexibility to hire some help if you need. As a rule of thumb, try to plan editorial at least a month out.
- Secure content. Regardless of whether you’re a great writer or a terrible one, time is your most valuable asset as an entrepreneur. If you’re planning to write content yourself, be proactive about getting it done. For most small business owners, hiring a freelance writer to pen blog posts may be the more viable option. You can find one on sites like Contently, Upwork, and even LinkedIn.
As we mentioned in Lesson 2, it’s your job to get the attention of search engines in order to have successful SEO. One of the ways you can let them know you mean business is by getting links from authoritative sites that focus on similar or related topics. When quality, authoritative websites within your niche link to your website, they pass on a little of their own ‘link juice’ to you.
While some links might come organically, the best way to get people really linking to your website is to do outreach. Tell other sites and blogs in your niche all about your business, your content… everything you have to offer.
Here are two approaches you can take to outreach:
Guest blogging — posting content to other blogs — is a good way to supersize your link juice and secure more exposure for your expertise.
The first step is to determine which websites you’ll target. You want to reach people you can’t on your own website or blog — people similar to your existing audience. Be on the lookout for other blogs that write about the same or related topics. For example, Grasshopper might target Freshbooks for guest blogging, because our audiences are very similar.
Once you know which sites you want to write for, it’s time to reach out and ask for a slot on their blog. When you start doing outreach, the most important key is to explain how your post will benefit their blog. What experience or knowledge do you have to offer that other writers on their payroll don’t? It also helps to pitch a particular post idea and outline what the end product might look like. As you gain more guest posts, you can start to include samples of your writing, too.
Loosely defined, a ‘linkable asset’ is simply a piece of content that’s so comprehensive and useful that people can’t help but link to it. It’s a piece so awesomely amazing that there’s nothing quite like it anywhere on the web. The key is to use information or experience that only you have.
Here are a few ideas:
- Infographics — By taking hard numbers or other information and creating an eye-catching visual display, it becomes a lot easier to digest than a lengthy blog post. Digestible content gets shared and linked to since people, y’know, actually read it.
- Case Studies — Did you try something new with your marketing and it created amazing (or horrendous) results? Putting together case studies about your business, what works and what doesn’t, is the perfect way to share valuable information that’s a hundred percent unique to you.
- Data — Garnering your own data is probably beyond the reach of your average small business, but you can create a resource the puts all the data available on a topic in one, central place. That’s valuable. For example, Grasshopper updates our Small Business Saturday Statistics page with the most up-to-date data each year, and we’ve ranked first for “small business saturday statistics” consistently.
There’s Always More
The world of SEO and content is constantly evolving, so you’re never really done learning and implementing new tactics to help your website perform better.
For more extra credit tactics, check out Quick Sprout’s Advanced Guide to SEO and browse the Advanced SEO section on Moz’s blog.