Beyond the Keyword: Creative Ways to Engage in SEO

You’ve heard that digital marketing success means having a firm grasp of keyword research. After all, you want to target specific people searching for the service your business offers. If they search for “Happy Valley dentist”, you want to be at the top of their results page.

But, if you are getting tired of endless keywords, there are many more fun things you can do to attract the attention of Google’s robots and rise to the coveted number one position.

Link-building, PR and happening parties

A popular website is key. According to Google, sites with a high web reputation are likely to appear front-and-centre on a results page. The theory is that the more websites that link to yours, the more valuable and credible your information valuable and credible. It’s a sure sign that other users will think the same.

Instead of letting your links develop by chance – whenever someone stumbles across your site – why not do some light PR outreach to encourage people to review your product. Send a couple of samples out here and there, or invite content creators to a fun launch event that will have them linking away happily on their blogs.

However, be careful of going too far. In 2013, U.K. florist Interflora’s rankings plummeted overnight when they engaged hundreds of bloggers, just before Valentine’s Day. Although they’ve since restored their top spot, it’s a warning to us all not to do high-powered, automated link building to too many people at once. Slow and steady!

User experience, effective design and happy customers

If you had the choice between two websites, would you stay on the one that looked beautiful, with easy-to-find information, or the one with clunky navigation, impossible search bar and a design that looked like it’s been transported from the 1980s? Obviously you’d choose the former.

Designing a streamlined, attractive website is essential for keeping happy users on your URL and catching Google’s attention. It will even increase conversions, as people get the important information quicker, enabling them to make the purchase they want.

So what makes effective UX?

  • Clear call-to-action on the homepage and child pages. What exactly do you want your visitor to do: subscribe, call for an appointment or visit your e-commerce women’s clothing section? Make obvious the action you want them to take and they’ll direct themselves.
  • Use the area above the fold. Similar to a folded newspaper with a blazing masthead, you should include the most important information on the first screen that appears when you load the webpage.
  • Uncluttered navigation bars. Include only the most visited links in your main navigation – usually main product pages, about, contact and blog. Any lesser links (FAQ, Terms and Conditions, product sub-categories) should be delegated further down or in the footer.
  • Simple search functions, clean database and effective backend. Ensure that, a visitor typing into the search bar is able to find relevant information. If lots of users type “opening hours”, help them find the relevant page by titling it with that search term.

Content marketing, blogs and branding

Reaching out to your audience through content doesn’t mean you should preach your products. Instead, position yourself as an authority on the topic; if you write content that speaks of the ideas around your products, rather than the product itself, visitors will have a reason to click back.

The Mariott Hotel chain blogs on the content sharing platform, Medium. Not one of their posts mentions hotels, customer service or hospitality. Instead, the focus on travel tips, guides and itineraries, which is paired with stunning photos about cities where Marriott Hotels are based. This builds a positive brand around the chain, doesn’t feel like pushy marketing, and gives the user a reason to return. It also adds a few links to Marriott’s own homepage, perfect for raising the site’s digital reputation.

And, as an added tidbit, Google loves websites using video content. After all, they own the largest video sharing platform, YouTube, and want to encourage you to use it regularly. Think of some catchy, shareable YouTube ideas and embed them on your site.

by Stanley Lo

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