Five quirky ways to get to the top of Google

Most web-savvy business people are well versed in the basics of SEO these days. Do your keyword research, get your site content rich and error-free and start building those inbound links.

But we in the online marketing business have a few quirkier tricks up our sleeves. Here are five less well-known and sometimes counter-intuitive ways to get your site to the top of Google.

1. Take yourself offline
Consider, instead, what your business is doing in the real world. Getting good reviews from sites like TrustPilot and Yelp is now pivotal to many businesses’ success. Make sure what you’re offering to your customers warrants fantastic reviews right from the beginning, as undoing the damage wrought by a poor online review footprint is extremely hard work.

2. Look at your business in reverse
Image Raider is a reverse image search tool, which lets you find out where people are already using images related to your brand. Upload your company logo, find out who’s using it and ask them to link to you. Use a simple message like: “We’ve noticed that you’ve referenced us on your page, we wondered if you’d mind linking to us?”

3. Forget about Google
Instead, think: who are your users and what are their needs & interests? Once you know this you can start to provide them with value beyond your business’s products or services. For example, could you provide them with relevant day-to day advice? Or perhaps you could collect data and use it to produce informative content? Match.com offers a wealth of dating advice to users and their annual ‘Lovegeist Report’ shows relationship data from across the country.

4. Ditch channel-specific strategies
It’s easy to get stuck thinking about your website, your Facebook page or your offsite content creation in isolation. But really good ideas sit in the middle, they’re what we call ‘channel agnostic’. Among boxing channel BoxNation’s viewers, there’s often controversy and frustration around the judge’s scorecard. To give people a voice, they developed a scorecard app, allowing users to score fights and share their results. Boxnation is now able to collect statistically significant data which it shares across its online channels.

5. Think like a PR
Public relations executives have long known how to get exposure without paying for it. Following recent Google algorithm updates, getting free or ‘earned’ coverage online, as opposed to paying for it, is a must for online marketers, too. Journalist enquiry services like Response Source and HARO let you find out what journalists are writing about and how your business can contribute with its expertise. With most publications now available online, this will usually lead to positive online coverage and sometimes valuable links, as well.

Andy Atalla is the founder of online marketing agency atom42.

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