Depending on the industry you’re in, you may be faced with the seemingly impossible uphill battle of competing with massive sites in the search results pages.
But there are a lot of benefits that come with running a smaller website which a lot of marketers are unaware of. These can make a huge difference when it comes to search engine optimization.
In this article, we’re going to look at how you can target certain opportunities that bigger sites cannot – in spite of the natural advantages they hold.
The first thing you need to understand and accept is that there is a formula to successful SEO and that as long as your following it, you are going to get higher rankings.
So what exactly is this formula?
Simply write awesome content, optimize your page, create a great UX (user experience), then mix in some high-quality back-links.
Although this formula is not complicated at all, it does require a lot of hard work and even more patience to make it work. The thing that makes SEO challenging for most marketers is not the formula. Neither is it the time or the patience required to execute it.
What makes SEO hard for most is that you have to try to beat people who are bigger online and have more money and resources than you do, which means that (in theory, at least) they are able to do a lot more of everything than you could – which means they can easily outrank you.
But…I’ll let you in on one tiny secret:
SEO is the one channel which allows you to beat massive companies even though you could never outspend them.
Now I’m going to answer the question that’s on your lips right now, which is ‘How?’ But first, there are two important mental shifts that you have to make.
Shift #1: Speed Is Your Biggest Advantage
When it comes to outranking your competition, speed is everything.
This is something that most expert marketers won’t tell you, but big companies have to spend a lot more in order to get the same results that you’re able to get for a tiny fraction of their budget.
They have lots of employees and their organization has tons of layers which make it virtually impossible for them to move fast.
In other words, things move very slowly for them. And so, they spend more money hoping that it will help them become more nimble and move faster.
But in reality, spending more rarely ever helps them to get faster results.
So, the first thing you need to focus on in order to beat them is execution. You win if you can move fast enough. Speed of implementation is important in everything you do, but here, it’s your biggest advantage!
Shift #2: Leverage Various Types of Content
Remember the formula for successful SEO?
Content + SEO-Friendly Website + UX + Back-links = High Rankings
There are over 200 Google ranking factors, but using this formula will ensure that you’re encompassing the vast majority of them.
Now, you’re probably thinking that you have to spend money if you want to write content and build links, but that’s not necessarily the case.
You can partner with other writers in your niche, and even if you’re not very well-known right now, you can find people who are authorities on the subject and co-author content with them.
Each time you partner with other bloggers and online marketers to create and publish content, your traffic will skyrocket. This is a great way to see amazing results in your content creation efforts.
Another way of boosting your SEO traffic is by getting people to contribute various types of content to your website for free.
It’s actually possible to grow your traffic using a single simple approach where you hit up a lot of writers in your space and ask them to contribute blog posts or articles.
Of course, if your blog isn’t very well-known yet, and if you barely have any visitors, you might have to pay at first.
But after getting a handful of writers who are well known in your industry, and are likely guest posters on other competing websites, you will then have a great foundation.
Even though you still may not have a lot of traffic coming in, publishing content from those writers will probably be enough to convince others to submit their content for free.
This is a very simple approach that many successful marketers still recommend to this day because it works.
Now that you have a firm understanding of the two important mental shifts that you need to make, it’s time to focus on a few of the most effective quick wins to get you the best results, with the least effort, and in the shortest amount of time.
4 Quick Wins to Get You Ahead of Your Competition
1. Get More Traffic from Existing Content
A lot of bloggers jump on the blogging hamster wheel and never get off.
They believe that creating more content will lead to more traffic. And while this strategy works sometimes, the main issue with it is that there is no guarantee of getting more traffic with more content.
This is mostly because content marketing has evolved.
There are over 1 billion blogs online right now with more being created every day. There’s so much content being cranked out every second that Google has changed how they decide which content ranks and which doesn’t.
If you’ve been blogging for a while, it may be that your top 10 pages make up a sizable chunk of your website traffic (40% on average for most bloggers).
Instead of spending most of your time creating new content, a better, more effective method is to get more traffic from the content you already have.
Just by simply adjusting a few things from the pages that are already performing well on the search engines, you could boost the rankings of those pages to get two or even three times more organic search traffic.
The best thing about this method is that it gets results within just a month or two for the majority of websites. The more authority your website has, the faster you see results.
How to Implement This Strategy
A simple way of implementing the strategy is by using your Google Search Console to find the words and phrases that you already rank for.
You’ll find this information under ‘performance’. You can then click on any of the popular terms you rank for, then go to that page so that you can modify it.
Your next step is to use a keyword planner tool to get keyword ideas using the chosen term. You’ll be presented with the massive list of long-tail phrases.
Only choose the ones that are related to buyer intent – i.e. keywords that will result in a lead or sale, then add them to the page which already ranks well for the main term.
When you add the long-tail phrases to your existing content, always make sure to adjust your content so it’s relevant to the new keywords.
Pick the keywords that are extremely relevant to your particular products or services.
Don’t just stuff keywords and phrases into your page, as this will just come off as spammy and it will take away from a good user experience for searchers.
2. Focus on Optimizing for Revenue Rather Than Traffic
Your main goal here is to increase search traffic, right?
But as your search traffic increases, is your revenue climbing as well?
If your revenue is not growing in proportion to your traffic increase then you have a problem.
Your next step is to look at pages on your website which are responsible for generating revenue. Optimize these first so that they achieve higher rankings on the search engines.
Set up goal tracking inside your analytics platform, and once that’s done you will know which pages you need to focus your attention on to ensure that the extra visitors you generate turn into revenue.
Once you have this information, you can then use that extra revenue to reinvest in your marketing initiatives for even bigger results.
3. Optimize for Clicks Rather Than Rankings
Quick Question: If most people who searched on Google click on the second result instead of the first, what would happen?
Answer: That would tell Google more people prefer the second result instead of the first, and the search engine would then move it to the first spot.
This means that there’s a lot more than just creating content and gathering links when it comes to boosting your ranking.
As long as people aren’t enticed to click on your actual listing, your rankings will suffer.
However, if more people click on your listing than that of your competitors, your rankings will shoot up even though you might not have built as many links.
So what’s the best way of increasing your click-through rate?
The quickest and most effective way of getting your rankings to climb and stay up is by optimizing your title tag as well as the meta-description so you can encourage more people to click your listing over that of your competition.
Although the time it takes to get to those higher rankings may not be as quick as you would hope, this method ensures that your rankings stick once you get to the top.
4. Update Old Content
If you’ve kept an eye on your analytics, then you may have noticed that over time, your rankings fluctuate a lot.
It doesn’t matter how great you are at optimizing for search, or how much money you throw at it, there’s never a guarantee that you will get to the top spot.
Most bloggers and online marketers assume that when their rankings drop it’s because of some penalty or other, but that’s not always true.
Believe it or not, Google is actually very friendly (OK, you can stop laughing now…) and their goal is not to penalize websites – Google’s goal is actually to rank websites that are the best at the top.
Think about it for a second, if Google were to penalize Apple for using black-hat SEO tactics and removed the website from the index, what do you think might occur when people search for Apple?
There’d be a lot of upset people when Apple doesn’t show up!
And here’s the thing, they wouldn’t be mad at Apple, they would be mad at Google – and many of Apple’s devoted fans would never use Google again. That’s why Google’s main goal is not to penalize websites, but always to put the one that is best for end users at the top.
These are the websites that users love and frequent the most.
For the most part, when your rankings fall, it’s only because better content has been created by someone else which provides an improved user experience for the particular term that you previously ranked for.
So, What’s the Solution?
The best way to fix this so you can maintain your rankings (possibly even climb higher) is by continually updating your own content. Any content on your website that is old and outdated is not serving you or your SEO efforts in any way.
Take the time to update it, republish it so that you can use it to outrank your competition.
If you don’t have the time to update your content yourself, simply hire someone to do it for you, but make sure that it gets done so you can start seeing results as quickly as possible.
If you have been struggling to make it to the first page for a long time, It’s not money that’s stopping you from outranking your competition. You are the one and only thing that’s standing in your way.
But this is the good news because you are the easiest thing to fix!
Just a couple of mindset shifts, a few quick wins, and things will change massively for you and you can finally start winning, too!
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Updated: Originally published June 8th 2019