feed the beast

By Ian Cleary, {grow} Contributing Columnist

There’s plenty of talk about the future of search and whether it’s as important as it used to be.  People now discover content in many places and a search on Google is just one of them.

But with 12.8 billion monthly searches, Google search results are still very important for your business.  Appearing ahead of your competitors gives you a better chance of attracting more traffic to your website.

Here are seven ways to look down on your competitors on search results!

1.   Produce Long Content

seo 1long content and seoGoogle recently announced that it was going to start rewarding in-depth articles by giving them special placement on search results.

The in-depth articles are mainly displayed for large publishers but Google said it will also consider smaller publishers for these articles.

Here is a search for Social Media Tools.  Scroll to the bottom of page one to see the in-depth articles.

To be considered for these articles you need to follow the guidelines provided by Google

This move to promote more in-depth content is a sign of the direction that Google will take in the future.

2.   Optimize your content

Yes you still have to do your keyword research and do some basic optimization of your content.

It’s not a case of tricking Google. All you want to do is help Google index your content correctly and hope that your competitor is not as smart!

3.   Promote Your Content through Blogger Outreach

There is no point in writing great content if no one knows about it.

Blogger outreach is the process of reaching out to relevant bloggers in your niche to let them know about the amazing content you have written.  It takes time and effort but if you promote your content to the right people they will link to your content and this will help you in search results.

While you could manually track your efforts with blogger outreach using an Excel spreadsheet, you will find that after you reach out to many sites it will become more and more unmanageable and hard to keep on top of. So here are three tools to help:

  • GroupHigh – They have a database of 13 million blogs and a fantastic discovery engine that will help you find relevant bloggers to reach out to.  During the search it retrieves an impressive amount of detail on each of the blogs (e.g. Twitter details, Facebook page, contact page, recent posts, etc) saving you a lot of time.
  • Inkybee – Inkybee provides a smaller database of blogs than GroupHigh but despite this it is a very useful tool especially if you are new to blogger outreach as it is priced very attractively for the smaller business.  It’s a new tool that only recently came out of beta so keep an eye on it as more functionality is on its way
  • BuzzStream is focused less on blog discovery and more on managing the outreach process. Buzzstream has a range of great features that makes it essential if you’re going to reach out on a regular basis, such as email templates, communication tracking, automatic link monitoring, task management, and much more.

Blogger outreach is not about sending mass emails to hundreds of bloggers.  It’s about being targeted and focused by identifying other great blogs that you should reach out and building relationships with them.

4.   Link from Older Content to your Newer Content

When you write a post you should try to find other content on your site that can link to it.  Linking to it from other relevant content will improve it’s ranking within Google.

At a recent presentation at Content Marketing World 2013, Andy Crestodina from Orbit Media showed how he searched his own site through Google to find relevant content to link to.

seo and linking to older conrtent

For example, if the post is about ‘Link Building’ then perform a search on Google for blog posts that mention link building in them.

5.   Increase your Domain Authority

Your domain authority (DA) is a proprietary ranking system developed by Moz that rates your domain (website) between 1 and 100.

If your domain authority is higher than your competitors then you will have an easier time ranking in search results.

To find out the domain authority for you and your competitor, go to www.opensiteexplorer.com and type in the website address, one at a time.

seo moz tool

Your next question is likely to be, “How do I increase my domain authority?” so here are three tips:

    1. Guest blog on high profile blogs that are relevant in your niche. Getting a link back from these sites will be extremely useful.
    2. Write great content – people will naturally link to you. The more links you have from unique domains improves your domain authority.
    3. Build relationships with influencers in your niche.  They need to know about your content.

6.   Guest Post

Your competitor may have a much higher ranking than you and you might not have a chance to compete with them in search results.

One way around this is to find a higher profile site in your niche and guest post on their blog.  Make sure they provide a link back to your website in the author bio.

This means your article will have a much better chance of ranking above your competitors.

7.   Feed the Beast

Google is hungry for great content. In fact it is insatiable, so feed the beast and give Google what it wants! At the end of the day, quality content is probably still the single best way to drive attention to your blog.

Great content attracts views, links, and social shares — all important elements that will contribute to your authority and search ranking.

How do you beat your competitors in search results?  Which of these tips will you implement?

 

ian clearyIan Cleary is founder of Razorsocial, a website that provides sharp insight on on social media management tools.  Follow Ian on twitter @iancleary.

Illustration courtesy Flickr CC and Svetloskiy

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