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Like VR, automation, and whatever Elon Musk happens to be doing at the moment, search engine optimization (SEO) is one of those popular topics that everyone is talking about without entirely knowing what they’re talking about. We all know the basics: load your site up with relevant keywords and links and it will gradually climb the ladder of search rankings. Still, Google is constantly reevaluating and changing their ranking system and intrepid digital strategists are constantly finding ways to challenge that system.

This back-and-forth makes it difficult to stay at the forefront of SEO strategy. With that said, several strategies that go beyond mere keyword linking prove that some consistency exists within the SEO sphere– it’s all about finding the right approach.

What questions are your customers asking?

Populating a blog section of your website with fresh, relevant links is all very well and good, but sometimes you need to go further than simple, unimaginative topics like, say “5 Unique Ways to Improve SEO.” One of the easiest ways to find niche blog topics is to think about the questions your target market is asking.

Let’s say you run a bicycle shop. Filling your blog with articles like “Best 3 Trails in Genericnametown” and “Top 10 Mountain Bikes” may be useful, but they fail to truly take advantage of your unique position as expert and seller. That information can be found anywhere on the internet, and it may not be the information your customers are seeking. A website like Quora may reveal users are asking more in-depth questions, like the best way to transport several bicycles or how to solve an issue with a specific model of bicycle. Building off these questions enables you to fill your blog with attractive and relevant niche content.

Another useful tool for this kind of content generation is Answer the Public. Entering a topic area on ATP will create a visualization of the most common questions and question areas surrounding that topic. Users can get as particular as they choose when entering a topic. Here is a visualization generated by only entering the word “bicycle.”

Are your videos transcribed?

Video transcription is a great way to take advantage of an existing website resource to maximize keywords and improve your search engine ranking. Many companies have some form of video content on their website, but it doesn’t do much for organic search rankings because search engines can’t parse through the video itself to understand the content. One way around this is to transcribe your videos.

A full video transcription grants the opportunity to populate the content with relevant keywords and internal/external links. This practice doesn’t just help your SEO, it improves the quality of content on your website and benefits the user experience. Many people don’t have time to sit through entire videos and would rather skim through the transcript. Video transcription won’t just bring people to your website, it’ll earn their favor by making information easy to understand.

Do you have a linkable asset?

The best way to improve SEO isn’t to focus on SEO. It’s to focus on content creation. A leading factor in determining your search ranking is external linking– other sites that link back to yours. There are several ways to earn these links, but if you work in a nuanced industry, one of the most successful is to build a linkable asset. That’s not a gold chain or some kind of fancy fence– it’s a credible piece of content that other sites will use as a resource. For example, Matthew Barby created this linkable asset that we’ve utilized to help create this piece.

Linkable assets can be infographics, interactive guides, eBooks, white papers, case studies, tutorials, FAQs, and more– whatever format is best for the information you want to convey. For example, let’s say you run a pizza joint. A linkable asset could be anything from a calorie counter that allows you to input different toppings, to an infographic that discusses different uses for yeast for different types of pizza crust. It’s also important that the asset you create is relatively unique. Every digital marketing agency in the world has a piece on how to improve SEO. Why would anyone create another one?

Are journalists using you as a source?

You are an expert on your product. By extent, you’re probably also an expert in your product’s topic area, unless you sell fidget spinners. That means you know things not many other people know, and as they say, knowledge is power. Press requests can take up a lot of time, but they’re a golden opportunity to generate external links and promotion for your website. Companies can make themselves available for press requests through sites like HARO.

In this imaginary scenario, you run a clothing shop that sells t-shirts with charming, tried-and-true slogans like “I’m With Stupid,” “Don’t Mess With Texas,” or “All Hail Cthulu, Destroyer of Worlds.” A journalist is doing a piece on the slow but certain death of the novelty t-shirt industry, so he reaches out to you for comment and cites you in his piece. This citation creates a poweruseful external link that will probably be digitally repurposed in across several mediumpublications. As a bonus, it also provides a last, desperate promotional stand against a world without t-shirts bearing iconic messages like “Vote For Pedro” and “Your Design Here.”

Are you republishing old content?

Keeping quality content in the back alleys of your website may be hurting your SEO. The higher a page is within your website architecture, the more powerful the page. If you’re short-staffed and producing new content for self-promotion is more of a hassle than it’s worth, consider updating and republishing old content higher within your site. After all, it’s 2014 and content is everywhere– no one is going to fault you for making use of your resources.

Topics may come in and out of relevance. If you approach content with a cyclical strategy, you may find that you don’t need to put much work into new content when you can update and republish content that’s been sitting on your website for years. It may just be a matter of changing dates, revising keywords, and/or adding extra content that provides more relevance to the current climate. Just remember to be thorough in your updates. It’s 2012, and attention to detail is higher than ever.

These tips merely scratch the surface of smart SEO practices. Want to go deeper? Contact Frankel Media Group.

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