Lately we’ve talked with some companies whose websites aren’t performing well, but who don’t want to make changes in those websites, for various reasons. “What can you do for our SEO rankings?” they ask, and “We don’t want to make changes in our website; we just want SEO services. How can we get into the top three on Google?”
Now, first we have to be honest. Here’s how you can be #1 when your prospective customer googles you:
- Know exactly what they’re going to ask Google. If you’re an artisan brewery, your prospective customer looking for an impressive artisan beer to take to a holiday party is not going to google “beer.”
- Have the best page on the web for each of those queries.
That’s all there is to it. However, if you are already the best choice Google has for your customers’ queries, your website will be performing well. So let’s assume that you’re not the best choice. Can you do something about it?
Yes. Off-site SEO is about building strong, natural links to your website. Is this easier if you already have the best possible website? Of course. Human beings give links, and people will always be more willing to link to a great website. But it’s your best SEO bet if you don’t want to make changes to your website.
Here are some options:
- Content marketing is a great option if you have or can come by some great content. Write excellent articles, create terrific videos, put together appealing infographics, and share them around the web. Webmaster are more cautious than they used to be before the recent Google algorithm updates, but they’re always looking for great, unique content. If you offer great stuff for free, you can ask for a link back to your website and get it.
- Social media is Google’s top suggestion for websites that can’t get the high rankings they want. Sticking ads in social media doesn’t work, but offering entertaining, engaging posts to the people in your target market can bring people back to your site. Since search engines now include social media in listings, a great Pinterest board or Facebook page can rank higher than your website (a sure sign of a website that needs optimization, by the way). Combine social media with content marketing by placing unique content where you can: Facebook, G+, LinkedIn, YouTube, etc.
- Local citations can do wonders for local businesses, even without a link. Encourage reviews, show up in local news, create killer directory listings, and you can do well in local search with a poor website — or, if competition is low, with no website at all. Networking and great reviews from customers (never fake reviews) can accomplish this for you. If your website isn’t fantastic but your company is, this can be the way to go.
If optimizing your website just isn’t on the cards, you can concentrate on offsite SEO. You have to recognize, however, that you would get even better results from your offsite SEO if your website is as strong as possible. Consider updating content or adding pages even if you aren’t ready for a redesign. Fix your meta descriptions if they need it. Install analytics and use them well.
And build onsite SEO into your budget for next year.