On the topic of SEO, what actually really works… is there a killer technique to blow away the competition and steal the traffic? Not usually. However, under certain circumstances, it is possible to take advantage of your existing content and use this to give you an edge. In particular I am thinking about link-bait and its careful use in a site which has strong content on a certain subject. The problem with link-bait is that it needs to have that critical x-factor as well as having reached the inbound link critical mass, beyond which it effectively generates it’s own links and becomes a self-propagating link building system. A fair bit of work is usually required to get to this stage. However, there is a way to utilise your existing site strengths to leverage your link bait to that critical mass. As a working example, let us focus on a fictional new site which specialises in selling gourmet food. It has many many competitors and decides to use a link-baiting strategy to boost it’s PR and traffic. How does it go about this?
Here is the strategy. First, create some tools which are popular on your chosen subject, in this example it could be:
- a calorie counter script (to work out how many calories your food contains)
- a script to determine the carbon footprint of the manufacturing process of a certain foodstuff
- a script to tell you which foods are free from a combination of allergy-inducing ingredients
The main point is that the scripts should in themselves be useful and already successful on other sites. Perform a search on Google to get an idea of which scripts/topics (in your chosen area) are most popular. Now, these already-existing scripts are popular and competitive, many sites have them, so we need to specialise a little further. What you need to do is find the most popular scripts which are housed in sites that are more general than the script topic, and rewrite them (to avoid plagiarism).
In this example, I would want to find the most popular scripts which are hosted in sites that are not about food (carbon-footprint scripts would fit this criteria, so let us focus on this). It sounds like a lost cause, but actually it is not, there are many cases of top tools being hosted in more general type sites.
The crux of this strategy is that you choose a tool which is predominantly hosted on pages/sites, which have less naturally occuring keyword-rich content than your own site.
In this example, I could decide to create a page on my example site with my own scripts on carbon-footprint calculations for ethanol crop production (which is becoming a hot topic). Other sites’ carbon-footprint scripts are surrounded by content on global warming and the like. My site, which contains many terms related to the production of ethanol providing crops, such as sugar beet etc (all food related terms), will be in a relatively strong position to compete against these more popular sites for keyword phrases connected with the use of food for producing energy. In this case it is a topical subject, your content is more relevant to the tool in question and hence you stand a good change of Google ranking your tool quite highly for popular keywords. The end result is that your tool could rise up the rankings and displace higher PR sites with similar tools. Once you do that, your link-bait is there for the taking and has exposure to people who are looking for it.
Once people can find your tool in the SERP’s, they will naturally link to it from their blogs etc. The knock-on positive effects could be dramatic as the inbound links raise your PR and swell your traffic.