I know the hope of this article was to leak some tricks of the trade, so I’m going to do my best in 15 minutes or less to squeeze out juice beyond the obvious need for killer content.
There’s little mention of PPC in this thread, which is a fail, considering you won’t learn what keywords convert to sales any other way. PPC can be the critical component of an effective SEO strategy, particularly in the beginning.
SEO Secret #1 – Hire the Right Resources
You can spend all damn day researching how to do something that others have spent a decade becoming awesome at. If it were me and my goal was to get top placement and ROI for a highly competitive array of search terms, I’d start by pooling expert resources. Here’s who I’d hire in the order I would hire them:
- A PPC Expert such as Evan Magers of iSearchMedia (or a pro that speaks at search events with performance data examples)
- A UX Expert such as Aaron Irizarry (why drive traffic that won’t convert?)
- An SEO Strategist (What are the best SEO consulting firms, and how much do they charge?)
- A Link Strategist such as Eric Ward
- An SEO services company with a great reputation and explicit expectations based on strategist feedback
The caveat to SEO Secret #1 is that continuity is a necessity. Each expert should be held accountable to the results and be copied on monthly performance reports. The secret in Secret #1 is to ask the question “are these the results you expected?” at least once per quarter, followed by “should we be doing something different?”. Most of the time the answer will be FREE because they own their recommendations.
SEO Secret #2: Use the Right Tools and Software
Got your attention, right? Up until he became a stakeholder in Buzzstream, Eric Ward (and myself) were with the belief that SEO software of any kind can be dangerous ground to walk on. The penalties of acquiring massive irrelevant links too quickly, running automated queries, etc, could be 6 months of banishment.
Here are some tools that I’ve grown to love and cannot live without. If you are planning to ignore SEO Secret #1, these tools will help you achieve remarkable results:
- Wordstream; get that rockstar PPC campaign up and optimized (don’t bother using the tool without watching the training videos)
- SEMRush just increased their price recently, but the data is extremely accurate
- For large organizations, HitWise is the best research tool I’ve ever used. Compete.com seems to be a bit skewed these days but a pro account still has great insights
- WordPress or Drupal for non-ecommerce website platforms; SEO-Cart.com for ecommerce platforms over 10 products (my eBook talks about how to optimize WP, Google “free seo ebook”)
- Buzzstream for tracking link progress and relationships
- Radiant6 or Techrigy to “listen” to the Internet for keyword ideas (such as those used within tags)
- SENuke can be an excellent content distribution tool to improve search saturation – DO NOT use it to spam
- For smaller businesses, MarketSamurai gets tons of great reviews as does TrafficTravis
- www.seomoz.org offers a new kickbutt new app (Rand, does it have a name yet?) that will blow you away as it pertains to site crawl audits
- www.opensiteexplorer.org (comes with your moz membership) will give you all the backlink data you need to understand how your competitors are linking and understand the density of keywords in links to your own web pages (and their value)
SEO Secret #3: Hire a Rockstar Viral Marketing Link Bait Genius
Even if it costs you an astronomical amount of money for a month or two, the long term benefit of a constant stream of buzz and sharing goes without saying. Case in point: Count the Total Upload Views of Old Spice’s campaign: http://www.youtube.com/user/OldS…
The real genius was with Old Spice Guy’s ability to connect with celebrities. Figure out how to do that in a way that becomes viral and you’re golden.
ElfYourself is back: http://www.elfyourself.com/ and in it’s heyday was one of the most effective viral marketing link bait campaigns of all time.
Someone came up with the ideas, find them and hire them.
SEO Secret #4: Give Away the Store
Think about how CraigsList.org became so popular. If you can dream up an idea that requires low overhead to give away something people genuinely need that relates to what you are trying to sell, you’re on your way. Two million people who link to CraigsList.org can’t be wrong: http://siteexplorer.search.yahoo…
Even Quora.com has earned nearly 50k links in a very short period of time: http://siteexplorer.search.yahoo…
If you can afford to, give away your service to 1-3 charities per month that could really use it. Not only will they thank and recognize you (possibly even use your HTML snippet), but you’ll also be doing something great for others. For those of you who believe in Karma, you know the long term benefits of doing good.
Let me know if you think I missed anything. Comments welcome.