SEO Success for the Not-So-Social Business

Unfortunately, not every business website has the ability to spread virally. No matter how hard you try, creating true link bait for nails or rocks is a virtual impossibility. Link begging is unlikely to succeed because no blogger or webmaster feels your product brings value to their readers – after all, boring business products just aren’t their thing.

This doesn’t mean you’re left out in the cold. Every other business in your vertical has the exact same problem! Once you recognize this, you’ll find that success is definitely achievable – it’ll just take a slightly different route.

Perform in-depth, rigorous keyword research. Utilize every tool you can, such as Keyword Discovery, Ontology Tools, and Google’s Keyword Adword Tool to peel back every keyword that can drive convertible traffic to your website. Often times these keyword tools won’t tell the whole story – try analyzing your competitor’s websites to find more keyword targets and see where your competitor’s are missing out.

Optimize perfectly on-page. Sometimes the only difference between first and last in these segments is proper on-page optimization. SEOMoz’s Term Target Tool can be a great resource for determining how well your keyword is optimized on page. Rand Fishkin of SEOMoz also put out a great article on the Perfectly Optimized Page that can help you show relevancy to the engines. I frequently see pages with a fourth of the domain strength rank first over a poorly optimized site based on excellent on-page optimization alone.

Don’t overdo it, though. You still need to appeal to your users, the customers. Make the user experience optimal for them as well as the engines and everyone wins. Aaron Wall talks more about this on his blog, providing his own take about the perfectly optimized page.

Maximize every high quality, legal trust signal you can.  High quality directories such as Best of the Web, Yahoo!, and JoeAnt are great places to garner trust from Google and other search engines. You can also list yourself on other internet resources such as AboutUs.org and Crunchbase for a free link back to your website. Be careful with paid links – doing so in these less popular areas shows up a lot more and puts your site at high risk for a ranking penalty.

Create content for article directories. By creating content that you can disseminate on article directories, you can plug in a few links that will flow some link juice back to your website. Unfortunately, this only has minor value, but it’s worth doing in the less social verticals where link juice is at a premium.

Harvest competitor backlinks. SEOMoz has a good backlink analysis tool as well as the Open Site Explorer which will show you who your competitors are getting backlinks from. Yahoo! Site Explorer is another good way to get a grasp of your competitors’ high quality links. This is a great means to find vertical specific directories, sporadic blogs, and educational resources that may have found their way into your vertical.

Get creative! Here comes the fun part. Once you’ve exhausted all of the above options, get imaginative. If your business has done something cool or special in your vertical, SHOUT out about it! Put out some press releases! PRweb, PRnewswire, and PRleap are all good resources for distributing news about your company. You might be lucky enough to get picked up by some high quality news sites, which can sometimes be enough to spring you to the top of the SERPs.

You can also sponsor conferences or have executives speak at them – this will almost always garner a link, especially if asked for. There’s always charitable donations, too. Your business will get a PR boost, you’ll feel better about yourself, and you’ll make the world better! Oh, yeah – and you’ll get a link almost always!

Follow these steps and you’ll be well on your way to dominating the search engines. Nails, toilet paper and filters might be boring, but people still need them. Let Google know that you’re a trusted seller through the above paths and you’ll continue to be boring — all the way to the bank.

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