SEO 101: Thinking Outside the Box
by Dave Cottrell
SEO 101: Do you ever wish you could buy the complete book or course on SEO that would guarantee your success, one hundred percent, every time?
This might be news to you, then: If there was such a course as SEO 101, one of the most important things that would need to be included is the emphasis on thinking outside the box. In fact, if you type in SEO 101 as a search term on Google or Yahoo, you will get millions of returns! How can they all be correct? Or do you need to study over four million pages to become an expert in SEO?
The simple answer is, no one has all the answers and SEO is an ever changing, ever evolving science.
There are basics involved in SEO 101 can be learned from a good site, like MOZ . But by learning the basics, which is very important, you will not be ahead of the pack, but simply on a level playing field with everybody else, except for those with way more money to spend on advertising.
What we’re looking at today is what I call, “SEO 101: Thinking Outside the Box.” What this means is that if you want to get ahead of the rest in online marketing, be it network marketing, affiliate marketing, an online store, or business storefront, you have to do more than everyone else. You have to be different.
This doesn’t mean you have to work harder than the next person. It means you have to think outside the box and make your own business, website, blog – different.
Think about it. If your site is just as nice as your competition’s, the best you can hope for is to split the traffic. This is where it becomes very important to think outside the box.
Take for example, my site, ClassifiedAdLand. It is a classified ad site, using four classified ad platforms, with the main one being the Adlandpro Custom Page, which normally will look like this: http://www.textraffic.com/classifiedadland.php.
When I switched from the standard page, which is a great page, to the new one on my classifieds site, although it took some work, my traffic went WAY up, immediately, without doing any extra promotion. That’s thinking outside the box.
Don’t be the same as everyone else. If every other affiliate of a company you’re working with is having success using almost the same page, take it up a notch and make your page different. It’s worth the effort.
If you are an affiliate of Adlandpro (you should be!), and look at the stats for custom pages, you will see that ClassifiedAdLand has risen to number two spot. Again, that is in a very short time, and with no extra promotion, and definitely no paid or traffic exchange traffic! It is all what’s called “organic traffic,” meaning it is real people coming to the site mainly via the search engines.
The site is all about advertising and promotion, so the main focus of the blog is on these topics, and the site, itself, has multiple ways to advertise right from the site. That is basically a no-brainer.
But notice that the site also has just had a recipe section added. Again, this is thinking outside the box, and I believe this is going to bring a lot more, very valuable traffic. By themselves, classified ads draw some traffic. The same is true for recipes. But when you put them together, people come back for the ads, then browse the recipes, or come back for the recipes and browse the ads. It’s thinking outside the box.
Any time you can add content that renews itself to your website, you have a winner. Think outside the box. What interests you? The might be an app or a plugin for that!
In WordPress, you can get plugins that display daily positive messages, Bible verses, news, stock tips, sports tickers, etc., etc. If you can think of something that will fit on your website that would be nice to have as constantly and automatically updating content, there is probably a plugin for it.
Don’t forget image power! Use lots of pictures. While images can slow down the load time for a web page, they are a very effective way to keep people on your website, which means they will be more likely to buy, and even to come back.
Keep the number of images down to a minimum on your main or home page, but make sure to have interesting and even better, unique images on the rest of your pages. Don’t overload them, but don’t leave them out.
SEO 101: Thinking outside the box – use social media. But doesn’t everyone? The answer is that anyone who knows anything about online marketing, today, uses social media. However, that doesn’t mean they are using it correctly.
Again, you need to stand out. (If you’re spamming, you’re standing out for the wrong reasons and losing ground.) You need to be unique. Blatant advertising on social media is a really bad idea, and many people will consider it spam, even if it’s on topic.
However, you don’t have a lot of chance in this extremely busy world for your message to be seen and read on most platforms. Twitter is an exceptionally good place to get your message out, as is Facebook, but most people have such large feeds coming in that your message scrolls past very quickly.
The answer, again, SEO 101: thinking outside the box, is to be imaginative and unique. Post things that are interesting. Things that interest you will interest others. Post often, but not too often. (FB will block you if you post too often.)
Use social media management tools like Buffer or Hootsuite to schedule and control your posting. These will not only let you keep with a steady “drip” of posts, but it will also let you monitor feedback, failures, etc.
For example, by using Hootsuite, I discovered that I had several accounts linked to each other that created a loop that annoyed a few people. Without it, I may never have found out, and would have wondered what I was doing wrong.
As a wise philosopher has said, there are those who make things happen, those who watch things happen, and those who wonder what happened! Don’t be one of the latter!!
Always remember when using social media that your primary goal is to get attention. It’s great to get a conversation going and great to get visitors to your website, but if you don’t first get attention, the others are not going to happen.
If there’s one thing that’s true about most people online, today, it’s that they want stimulation of some kind. In other words, they are bored out of their gourd, and you can help!
An example is something I just sent out via Buffer. I can probably make the bold guarantee that there are going to be bosses out there who are about to be annoyed at me, even though they don’t know me, nor that I sent it! It was a link to a blog article called, 50 Websites to Waste Your Time On.
Guess what… That’s going to get a lot of clicks. Will it bring me any traffic? It probably won’t, but when you send out interesting stuff like this regularly, people begin to notice and will check out other things you send, too.
Now let’s do that again, but using SEO 101: thinking outside the box. I can use a service called Scoop.it to curate this article – that is, I can share a little snippet or “teaser” from it, along with a very short note about it on various sites, including Tumblr and my free WordPress blog. That’s going to get some traction.
But wait… There’s more! I can also curate this article on my blog, right on my own website. Since this article is web related, as is my website, it is a perfect article to share in this way, and when I do, bingo! People will be clicking on the link that will bring them to my blog first, then on to the full article.
Note that they are coming for the almost hypnotically interesting title, but then are exposed not just to my website, but also to all the links and ads as they read what they came for. This is SEO 101, thinking outside the box, bringing not only first time visitors, but even more important, those who have been coming for a while back again and again.
Note that it is rare for someone to buy anything on a site the first time they visit, but the more they come back, the more comfortable they become, and the more likely they are to become a customer.
Finally, note the subscription form on the blog. It is crucial that you have one, so that you can keep your visitors up to date with new articles, specials, etc. Again, remember SEO 101: thinking outside the box. Never think of your email list as a “place” to blast out dozens of ads, but rather as a group of people who shared their email address with you because they found your content interesting.
Always offer them interesting content first, and very little advertising. Even your specials should be very carefully and tastefully done, so as to make their experience pleasant and to show them that you are not advertising to them, but merely sharing something relevant in the same spirit as the excellent content you regularly share.