In articles here on SEO Chat and on my blog, I talk much more about getting traffic than I do about actually getting top search rankings. In fact, in my “State of Marketing Address” I discuss at some length how the focus in 2012 is going to have to change.
There is a simple reason for that: search results are now extremely variable from one person to another, especially on Google, and this has been the case for quite some time. The new “Search Plus Your World” results on Google make this situation far worse.
In fact, I can make almost anyone’s website show up on page 1 for a given search result on their computer — at same time that on mine, their site might be buried on page 10, if it shows up anywhere in the results at all.
However, now that I’ve just said that, let me also say that you can dramatically improve your chances for ranking well no matter who does a search for a relevant phrase (or where they do it). Yes, while it is true that, with the highly variable nature of Google search results, you have no idea where you will show up, you can certainly “stack the odds in your favor” that you’ll show up quite high in the search results.
What’s interesting with all of this is that the new “search plus your world” feature, at least for the moment, makes getting your site ranking well for everyone easier than ever. Google is showing that lots of “+1s” will rank well, and those are fairly easy to get. Take a look around the articles here on SEO Chat, and you’ll quickly see that Google seems to be giving preferential treatment to Google Plus pages (especially if they are named the same as a search phrase).
In fact, it is rapidly looking like those have more weight with Google than even links. This means that businesses are likely to start working hard to get them. Furthermore, local businesses will be well served by doing everything they can to make sure they are added to as many circles as possible.
These connections look as if they will heavily drive the results listings for ALL users. The more +1s and the more connections a given business, page, etc. has, the better its rankings are likely to be.
What’s interesting is that if you go to fiverr.com, it’s pretty easy to find people that will get you hundreds of +1s. Now you need to be smart about this. Getting hundreds of +1s to a page that doesn’t even have that much traffic is going to raise red flags and probably won’t help much.
That said, imagine for a moment combining the idea of getting a bunch of +1s with a Google page. This is proving to be a rather rapid mechanism for getting on the first page (or even on the ever important first three results) in a startlingly short period of time.
The best part is that these rankings appear to hold even for people without Google Plus accounts, which is a testament to how strongly social factors are being weighted in the newest Google search algorithm.
However, now that I just said that you need to spend a little more effort on +1s and on getting your Google pages added to people’s circles, links still matter and still have some weight.
However, the very best kind of links are those that also deliver traffic outside the search engines. In other words, the best links to get will not only deliver a link; they will also deliver traffic and an ever- expanding authority/expert presence within your market. As an example, SEO Chat delivers a decent amount of traffic to my blog besides giving me the link. The problem is that finding other places you can write for can be challenging if you don’t know where/how to look.
Well, enter Blogger LinkUp at http://bloggerlinkup.com/. Simply fill out its very simple sign up form, and you can get information from a variety of site owners looking for specific kinds of content.
Now, you won’t want to write for just anyone that requests it. Writing decent articles takes time. However, if a site is pretty good (and seriously, most are), then you can boost your sites traffic and search rankings pretty easily.
The best part is that some of the people that request articles through Blogger LinkUp have some pretty huge traffic numbers and authority status. Writing an article or two for some of those guys is an instant ticket to being looked at as a top expert in your field.
The folks at SEOmoz just a couple of days ago wrote this article: http://www.seomoz.org/blog/how-to-get-the-equivalent-of-100k-in-ppc-ads-for-free in which they also talked about a service called HARO at http://helpareporter.com/. ”Help A Reporter Out” is a fantastic method for getting links from news sources. Once again, besides being of huge benefit to your search rankings, it also brings you traffic from the news source itself, as well as adding to your “market expert” credentials.
Another thing you can do to drive traffic, get links, help your search rankings, and increase your authority status within your market is to participate in forums. In some ways, this is a seriously underground tactic. It’s also like digging a mine. You have to spend some time doing it before you strike gold. However, once you do, once you’ve spent that time and made a name for yourself on the forums relevant to your market, it can bring a huge amount of business.
This technique is so important that in several lines of business I run it’s the primary method of traffic development that I use. Forums aren’t often utilized by people unless they are pretty serious about the subject matter. That means when you post on a forum you’re talking to people with some amount of passion for the subject area.
Passionate people are the best traffic that you can obtain. They spend more, are often better customers, and if you treat them right, will spread the word about you through the forum themselves. In other words, forums can literally help you build a cheering squad for your business.
Now, just like I said in the article I wrote here on SEO Chat “10 Steps To Being Number 1 On Google” you have to be worthy. Don’t think you can go to a forum, not participate much, not post anything of value, and think you’ll get traffic.
However, if you do want to be worthy, if you do want to actually, genuinely and honestly, help out your market, if you do give generously of yourself your time, and your knowledge, forums can be a veritable goldmine.
Another technique that I’ve talked about in the past (admittedly very briefly) is the use of YouTube. YouTube is a fantastic method for getting inbound links from a high PR site quickly and easily, which of course helps your search rankings. Even better is that intelligent use of YouTube can deliver massive traffic in its own right.
So what’s the upshot of all this?
I started the article basically saying that focusing on search rankings was a waste of time, and then proceeded to talk about how you can improve your search rankings. On the surface, that might seem a little odd.
The idea with this was to show that a pure focus on search rankings is what is actually the waste of time. Instead, focus on ways that you can get traffic from as many sources as possible, while doing that in a way that improves your status as an expert in your market. It’s why I talked about spreading your content around with Blogger Linkup and HARO, as well as YouTube and forums.
If you do focus on being a market expert and authority, your search rankings will become so good anyway that you won’t even have to worry about them (but a little help using the fiverr technique I discussed early in the article probably won’t hurt).
You can read more of my articles on http://www.mattgoffrey.blogspot.com/.