When you are looking for a good or service, how do you go about finding it? Do you open the yellow pages, ask around, or simply go to your phone or computer and Google it? We are willing to bet that you said “Google it”, and we are willing to bet because that is nearly everyone’s answer. Googling for answers is a completely ubiquitous practice. This means that if the webpage for your good or service appears at the top of someone’s search page, then you are highly visible within your industry.
How do you secure the top spot?
The practice of making your website or webpage desirable to Googlebot is known as Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Google has gained its reputation as the best search engine on the market by providing content that is incredibly relevant to the search term used. For example, you will never search for a local plumber and get a results page for Italian restaurants. Google does not allow companies to purchase organic search result rankings, but you can prove to Google that your page is worthy of that top spot by making your site as relevant to certain search terms as you possibly can. Let’s use a beauty pageant as an example. You cannot buy first place, but by making yourself appealing to the judges based on your poise and talent, then you will be awarded the top spot. Organic Google results work in a similar way.
This isn’t to say that you cannot buy visibility. Google has a pay-to-play feature called Google AdWords, but for today we are going to focus 100% on organic search rankings and results. The best way to quickly and effectively improve your organic search ranking is to build a resource center and to develop a strong library of backlinks.
Here is how to do that.
Your Crash-Course in SEO
Before we get to the tips and tricks, it is important to build a foundation of SEO knowledge. Below is a list of SEO jargon that you will need to understand in order to effectively synthesize and implement SEO strategies:
- SEO: Search Engine Optimization. The process of improving both the quantity and quality of website traffic by improving the visibility of your site within search engines.
- SEM: Search Engine Marketing. The process of improving both the quantity and quality of website traffic by improving the visibility of your site through paid advertising.
- SERP: Search Engine Results Page. Basically, the front page of Google.
- Keyword: What your audience is searching for (i.e. “24 plumber in my area”)
- Backlink: A link that leads someone to your website from somewhere else. (for example, a link to your plumber website can be found on a list of the 10 Best home improvement vendors in your city).
- Anchor text: The text that appears for a user to click on to reach your site (.e. “Click here to learn more” – a hyperlink would be added to either “here”, or to the whole phrase.)
- Internal Link: A link on your website that leads a user to another page on your website.
- Link Building: The process of getting more backlinks on other sites that point back to your own.
- Content Marketing: The strategy of creating valuable and informative content that is relevant to the things your audience cares about.
- Googlebot: The software that Google uses to crawl the Internet and create a searchable index of websites available to Google users. There are desktop bots and mobile bots, which is why mobile optimization is so important.
So now that you speak the language, let’s take a look at the two best ways to improve your organic search ranking.
What they are, how they help, and how to build one.
What is a Resource Center?
A resource center is a library of owned content that speaks directly to the things your client base is interested in. Building a resource center is a pillar in content marketing strategy. Basically, you want to become an educational authority for anyone looking for information surrounding your industry.
For example, let’s continue with our previous example and say that you are a plumber. You will want to build a resource center with content that speaks to the most common plumbing issues people have. Your resource center may include articles with titles like “How to Prevent your Pipes from Freezing this Winter”, “5 Products that Will Help You To Conserve Water”, and “How To Clean Out Your Drains”. All of these resources should be well researched and include valuable information. It may seem counterintuitive to give away your best ideas for free, but it is very effective when it comes to SEO. Plus, if you become an educational authority, you will build trust among your audience and that will make them more likely to call you if and when they ever need a professional plumber.
How do Resource Centers Help Me?
By building out content on the key topics in your industry, you are telling Google which category you belong in. For example, a plumber’s resource center is going to contain a lot of plumbing related keywords. That is how Google knows that your site is a site about plumbing and not Italian restaurants. The more content you build, the more authority you will have within the Google universe.
Building out a resources center is not easy. It will take a lot of time and effort, but it is one of the most effective ways to improve your rank on the search engine results page.
How do I Build a Resources Center?
If you are going to put the time and effort into building a comprehensive resource center, you should do it strategically. Instead of starting out blindly with the topics that seem the most relevant to you, do some research into things that your audience is already searching for. By targeting the keywords with high search volumes, you will increase the likelihood of your page being indexed by Google and found by a searcher.
A good way to start is by typing a keyword into Google and seeing what they suggest. You can start to build content based on those suggestions. For example, when you type “plumber” into Google, Google suggests more specific search terms like “plumber putty” and “plumber tape”. This is a great seed for articles like “What is Plumber Putty and How To Use It”, and “Plumber Tape is What’s Missing From Your Tool Box: 5 Uses.”
You can also use a keyword research tool to help you generate topic ideas. Ahrefs Content Explorer is great for this, but there are dozens of keyword research tools available.
Once you have developed the content, you will have to put some time and effort into layout. No one gets excited about a page with a list of various hyperlinks. To entice your audience you will want to incorporate images, key resources, maybe a slider, or a nice scroll function. Your largest priority here is to make sure that your resource center is not boring.
Your first SEO strategy should always be to create a resource library. That way, when you begin to target backlinking opportunities, you have something valuable to link back to.
What it is, how it helps, and how to go about it.
What is Link Building?
Link building is the process of securing backlinks to your own site on other sites with related content or high domain authority. Googlebot will be looking to see how many other websites lead to yours, so your goal is to secure as many backlinks as possible. There are ways to purchase link placements, but those are never as valuable as backlinks that you earn through providing fantastic content that people want to read.
How Does Link Building Help Me?
When it comes down to it, backlinks are simply something that Googlebot cares about. If you think about it, the logic behind it makes sense. Google is trying to foster a more connected Internet that continually leads users down paths of related content…but really the most important thing for you to know as a website owner is that Googlebot will like your site more if you have a lot of high quality backlinks out there.
Pay-to-play backlinks are never worth it. Googlebot will be looking to see that your backlinks are on sites related to your field. Paid backlinks can almost never offer that kind of quality.
How Do I Secure Backlinks?
The first step in securing a valuable backlink is creating content that people are interested in seeing. This is why you should start by building a comprehensive resource center. The types of content that are most likely to secure a strong backlink are:
- Client Case Studies: Clients will always want to share content that features their name and brand, so case studies pretty much create backlinks automatically.
- Infographics and Short Videos: These are really popular content types that have a history of being shared widely. This makes them smart content investments for your business.
- Free, High-Quality Content: People are always looking to learn from experts, so giving away your best ideas for free can really help you to secure some strong backlinks.
Once you have some strong content, you have to spend a lot of time doing research and outreach. Look for companies and web pages that are related to your content and your industry, and simply ask them for a backlink! The trick here is to have content that they would want to share with their audience, so in asking for a backlink you are actually providing them with an opportunity to share great content with their readers.
Here are a few tips and tricks on asking for backlinks in an effective way:
- Do your research: You should be familiar with the site that you are propositioning. Develop a strong value statement for why they should include your link. You should also always address the person you are reaching out to by name, so do you best to find the right person and the right name.
- Demonstrate Value: You need to build a strong case for why someone would want to include your link on their site. For example, let’s say that plumber-you is reaching out to a local lifestyle site. You can say something like “I noticed that you write a lot of content about home improvement. Throughout my career I have seen a lot of frozen pipes. Would you consider sharing my blog on How to Prevent Your Pipes From Freezing in the Winter? It has some fantastic DIY information that I think your audience would find valuable.”. In this message you are demonstrating that you have done your research on their audience, and that you have something of worth to offer them.
- Find Opportunities for Yourself: If you can find a specific place where your link would fit – like in a blog post or as a replacement for a broken link, then pitch that directly to the site owner. Doing the work for them ensures better results.
- Use a Business Email Account: Using a credible email account builds authority automatically. Gmail and Yahoo accounts just don’t go as far.
There is no magic bullet with it comes to SEO strategy. It is a gigantic cycle of conceptualizing, testing, analyzing, and adjusting. Fortunately for you, we have done a lot of conceptualizing and testing on your behalf. By employing the strategies we have outlined here, you will be able to jump start your SEO in a way that will become impactful and measurable within a few short weeks.
Remember, this is not something that can be done overnight or that will produce instant gratification. Just like most things that are worth achieving, improving your SEO will be a labor of time, effort, and dedication. Do not be discouraged. Keep up the good fight and pretty soon you will be dominating Google searches in your field.
Tyler DeWitt is the President of DeWitt’s Media Inc. Tyler is responsible for all strategy and overseeing the execution of client campaigns. Tyler has a long history of building startups and has helped dozens of clients to significantly boost their online traffic. Tyler was a super affiliate for years and has also owned various products online that grossed 6 figures per month.
Read Tyler’s story…