Do you run a small business? Or how about a startup?
You have seen the Google page 1 results for your business keywords and now you dont know where to start. Perhaps you feel like investing your entire limited budget into pay-per-click in hope it will get you off the ground.
What if I told you ranking in Google isn't as scary as it first appeared?
I have seen first-hand that SEO can have the best return on investment of any marketing investment and this article will you run you through ideas for you to get attention, and ultimately, business, for your brand, regardless of your budget.
Firstly, lay out your objectives. What do you want to achieve? For a small business looking to gain attention online, I suspect your goals will include these:
Public Relations (PR), Credibility, and Traffic from Google
Let's take a look at those one by one.
A well-executed PR campaign can be one of the best and cheapest ways of getting a large amount of attention to your brand.
It can cost you quite a few hundred bucks to get an advertorial in a newspaper but it doesn't have to be so expensive to get your brand mentioned in one if you go down the PR route.
There are many ways to get featured in a newspaper -- you only need to be reading one to see how other brands are getting featured.
Contact details for journalists are easily located, whether you want to contact them via the phone or email.
One of my favourites is how Haymax managed to get into a newspaper for Christmas Tree Syndrome (note that the sufferer is standing in front of a Christmas Tree!):
Another cool example is OKCupids Experiment on Human Beings last summer - amongst the 1,000+ domains and 10,000+ Facebook shares it has picked up, the likes of BBC, Time and Guardian have all linked to it.
Neither of these required a large budget but gained exposure.
Public relations will help build your brand very quickly. To keep visitors return you'll want to build credibility.
Becoming a trusted and reliable source is certainly beneficial to your brand and visitor levels.
Articles revealing secret tips and tricks are great to build up the number of users searching for you and your brand, and visiting your website. You probably have a wealth of knowledge, experience and/or insight that many of your prospective customers will find interesting.
Appearances on TV, radio, in newspapers, on podcasts and on authoritative websites are another route to consider when trying to increase your credibility.
English fashion and beauty vlogger Zoe Sugg, more-famously known as Zoella, built up her reputation and credibility and fame online - after five years of vlogging and blogging her website had received more than 140 million users.
Today, Zoe has more than 7.5 million subscribers on her YouTube channel and her 188 videos have combined for 379 million views at the time of writing, reportedly charging 20,000-a-month for clients and recently moving into a 1 million house. Starting budget? Minimal.
Ranking for your key terms in Google is a great way to gain exposure and traffic to your website. Getting to the top in a competitive industry is perhaps not so easy. In some situations, near impossible.
In these situations, you should consider with more niche, long tail keywords. The advantage of being a local business (if you are) is that you can target ranking for your local terms (ie key terms + city).
To increase your rankings, youll want hyperlinks pointing back to your website. I have posted some ideas to help you with that later in this blog.
Theres a separate guide here on what to do and what not to do, to help you along the way, and avoid being penalised.
Once you have your objectives laid out, you'll next want to have ideas or tactics in mind to achieve these.
Heres a few ideas to help you out:
Traffic Growth Tactics
Data can be used as a perfect way to get PR, gain credibility and inherit lots of links. Obtaining data itself can be free, for example the Freedom of Information Act allows you to request plenty of useful information.
Depending on your industry, there may be data published that you can re-use and cite - simply contacting the holder of the information will tell you the answer to this.
Alternatively you can collect your own data - this doesn't have to be expensive.
Heres a cool example of the BBC using data from the number of people in the world to work out approximately how many people were born before you, and how many people have been since:
This example may be a bit extreme in the amount of data required, but is a good example of something simple yet very popular that they were able to create with data. It picked up more than 2,800 linking domains:
Surveys can be used to collect data and be useful for attracting attention for your brand. Unless you already have a large database of users to survey (perhaps your email database) you'll be looking to pay to carry out a survey.
The idea is to create a survey that can produce newsworthy results. Stacey MacNaught, Search Director at Tecmark, on her website BlogSession carried out a great example of using surveys to get attention in big publications - getting Stacey published on BuzzFeed, and picked up by a couple of newspapers - Bristol Culture, Nottingham Post and Wales Online.
3. Link Bait
Link Bait is creating content that attracts links with the potential of going viral to help increase brand awareness, in the process of inheriting links to your website.
This can be a variety of things - data, infographics, tables, videos etc.
The key to link bait is making your content both valuable and attractive. So something that is in demand, beneficial to the readers and/or generally awesome, that looks attractive is the path you want to go down.
With a little more budget you can create gadgets/apps/widgets, such as calculators, quizzes, databases etc.
Whatever link bait you come up with, it's also worth putting some effort in marketing it - it's very rare that something goes viral without a push.
The examples of data and surveys above are link bait.
4. Broken Link Building
Broken link building is a tactic in which relies on content being lost/deleted on the web. You benefit by creating good content to replace this, essentially doing a good thing for a website and its users.
The research can take time but the rewards can be big - if you're locating links that are pointing to dead or out-dated content, you're essentially competing against nothing for a link.
This method requires time rather than budget - time to find the deleted content, time to create the replacement content and time to contact the webmasters.
(For a step by step approach of broken link building, click here)
5. Blogger Outreach
Blogger Outreach is offering blogs to review your product to get attention to your product or service. Perhaps you are in a position to give them a free sample to review, or send them the product before it is released to the public. This is a toned-down version of what businesses have been doing for years - getting their product featured in newspapers and magazines before its release to build hype.
This can be a quick-and-easy approach to getting some attention to your blog. This method has been exhausted to the point that youll need to do good research to find worthwhile blogs to use.
Often youll get a link back to help increase your referral traffic and even your Google rankings too.
(For the tools and strategy to execute a successful blogger outreach, click here)
- How to Bring The Best Kind of Traffic to Your Online Store
- 20 Tactics to Drive 200,000 More Monthly Visitors To Your Blog
- Simple Ways To Get Real Traffic to Your Business
* Leader image made with photo by arbyreed