Everyone’s surely heard the old adage, “if a tree falls in a forest, but if there’s no one there to hear it, does it make a sound?” Many SEO’s can sympathize with this proverb as they struggle to leave a lasting natural impact for the core terms that are crucial to their respective businesses. Most of the time the trouble lies in getting the needle to move for the very the first time. Efforts are made, but oftentimes in vain. Before you completely revamp your 2012 digital strategy and resolve that a big budget is the only way to build search exposure for your core terms, you might want to tap into an asset that requires absolutely no financial investment – experience.
If you feel that you should legitimately be ranking higher in the SERP for a particular term, why not take the bull by the horns and do your best to prove it? Have you tried to create a steady stream of worthwhile content centered around your keywords to show that you are a tastemaker in your industry? What about grassroots networking with those who have had the success you desire?
As traditional social channels like Facebook and Twitter continue to solidify their stamp on our culture, and as social news sites like Reddit continue to amass popularity by the day, the opportunity to virally promote your content has never been greater. Whether or not you’ve tried article development, there are a few simple, yet often ignored points to consider that will allow you to make your experienced opinion matter. We give you the CRAFT of article creation:
1. Creativity. No one likes to read a recycled opinion. Present a point of view that has yet to be discussed on a popular topic. You can either do this in-house and post on your company’s blog, or reach out to those who have amassed a following in your industry by trying to get your original piece posted as a guest post. If you can come up with an irresistibly original article, even better! You will obviously maintain more control over a posting that is confined to your own domain, but in terms of share of voice, you cannot lose when you build a rapport with a fellow tastemaker. Present an opinion on a blog or site that is known for commentary, and you are golden. Request that they refer back to you, and this could be that elusive first link building step. Become a regular on their blog, and you will be introduced to the exclusive inner circle that is their blogroll.
2. Rendering. A page’s layout is more important than ever. User engagement and time spent on-page are now determining rank factors in the equation. The more aesthetically-pleasing the layout, the more likely the user will stick around. Although you may be hard-pressed for resources, take advantage of all ways you can immerse the reader. Infographics and video can be used as wonderful supporting content. If you have a team in-house that can help you develop graphics in any capacity, you will be better off. How many times have you seen intriguing infographics make their way up the viral Twitter ladder?
3. Alignment. You already have access to the free channels that make a lasting impression. Consistently post your content and syndicate on all of the social channels you have at your disposal. Just think, if you have already amassed hundreds or thousands of followers on Facebook or Twitter, you will have an instant link to your content in that many newsfeeds. Tell your co-workers to do the same, and this number increases significantly.
4. Frequency. As the old saying goes, “practice makes perfect”. Even if your first posts are even the slightest bit choppy, you will learn how to steady the ship. Come up with a sequence of articles you want to write about and post them on a timed schedule. You don’t have to rewrite War & Peace to gain referrals. Apply other attributes – creativity and timeliness – to create crisp articles that are engaging and to the point. Promote these socially and make your followers well aware that you’ve written the first or second in a series of posts that will be published at the same time every week. If you are able to engage readers early on, they will subconsciously check back if they know there is more down the road. More importantly, they will be more likely to tell others they know.
5. Timeliness. If you are the first to jump on a development within your industry, you will have fewer competitors to deal with. If you have a hot lead, get on it, and get on it early! If the topic gains significant groundswell, you will have had that much more time as “king of the hill”. A head start will allow you to develop authority before others clog the SERP. You have a greater likelihood of gaining the referrals from outside sources, which will allow to cling onto your position for particular keywords. The crawlers will know you have been around longer and will be hard-pressed to oust you from your position.
Relying solely on these ideas may not be the silver bullet to your SEO woes, but if there is one thing we have learned in the past year or so, a proactive article strategy certainly cannot hurt your chances to take control of the terms for which your business breathes. A balanced strategy does require some financial investment, but you cannot undermine the intangible experience that sets you apart from the periphery. Communicating this experience in the form of articles will show the world how you’ve mastered your “craft”.