Using Off-Site Outreach to Increase Website Conversion: The Four Pillars of SEO Part IV
April 2, 2012
4th of a 4 part series by Chris Horton at Synecore. Very good information!
In part I of this series, I explained the importance of clarifying your target market in order to better cater to the needs of your intended audience. In part II, I went on to touch on how you can build valuable on-site content that provides access to search engines and gives visitors a unique online experience. Part III, I discussed how a well-designed site structure will drive your message and help increase website conversion. In this concluding post of the series, I’d like to focus on how you can promote your website with off-site outreach activities such as external link-building and social media.
SHOULD WE LINK UP?
When another site links to yours, an external link is created. As I’ve mentioned before, external links are a key factor in attaining high search engine rankings. This is because external links are one of the hardest metrics to manipulate and thus one of the best ways for search engines to determine the popularity of a given web page.
Major search engines such as Google use many metrics to determine the value of external links. These metrics include the trustworthiness of the linking domain, the popularity of the linking page, the relevancy of the content between the source page and the target page, the number of links to the same page on the source page, and the ownership relationship between the source and target domain.
Given this, you want to try to build up external links from sites related to your target market or subject area that have an actively-engaged user base. Don’t be afraid to establish links from sites where your competitors already have them. As they saying goes, if you can’t beat em, join em.
HOW TO DRIVE MORE LINKS TO YOUR SITE
Remember that external link building starts with content and continues with outreach, especially through social media. Provide content that is so good, useful and entertaining that sites have no choice but to link to yours.
This is where blogging comes in. An effective blog provides a triple benefit:
Creates fresh and original content.
Improves SEO; each post is a unique page that search engines can index.
As a social medium, it gives you a platform to shape your message, address the pain points of your target audience, establish yourself as a thought-leader and engage more deeply with prospects and customers.
When blogging, you want to engage your audience by asking questions that matter to them. This will drive engagement and links back to your content.
Use social media outlets like blogs, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. to facilitate link-building outreach and spur on viral growth. Your social media channels are also perfect avenues for generating brand awareness and building brand loyalty.
Try to be creative with your social media management. Sponsor a contest that incentivizes online users to participate with a payoff that is valuable and meaningful to them. Reach out to influencers who support you. Track social media mentions to develop new contacts for link outreach.
SUMMARY: THE FOUR PILLARS OF SEO
By way of review, here are the four Pillars of an SEO customer-focused website:
1. TARGET your audience
2. BUILD accessible, relevant on-site content
3. OPTIMIZE your site structure for users and search engines alike
4. DRIVE attention to your site with off-site factors like links and social media
Focus on user experience for both humans and search engine crawlers. Create content that users find valuable. Be unique and specific; avoid ambiguity and generality. Use your navigation and links to best advantage. Solicit links from your audience and from external sites. Build up your social media outreach.
Following the four pillars of SEO will enable you to better connect with your audience and search engines alike. Forming deeper online connections will help you generate leads online and increase website conversion.
Is your website connecting with your target audience? What’s worked for you and what hasn’t?