While it is a lot easier to provide short term gains, creating long term value is significantly more beneficial. Engaging in short term tactics, like doing a lot of automated directory submissions, comment spam or article marketing, is quick and easy but often doesn’t provide significant value to clients for one of two reasons:
1) There is value but it is often times short lived due to the search engine’s ability to algorithmically detect sites created with the express purpose of manipulating page rank as well as detecting blogs that have been heavily spammed.
2) The sites being utilized are not high quality sites to begin with and inherently do not pass much real value. Frequently, sites created with the sole purpose of “passing PageRank”, or at least appearing to, are propped up by lots of links through only a handful of domains. These sites can often be spotted through a very high links:domain ratio.
Though long term SEO projects require a lot of sweat equity, focusing a campaign around long term tactics typically yields significantly more real value. While this can take many forms, the three below are able to be used by almost any site. The value produced may be slow building, but over an extended period of time they will provide significantly more value than almost any tactic that only considers the short term.
Targeted Content Creation
These are good for a couple different reasons; not only can these kinds of content attract links when they launch but they will continue to bring in links for the rest of its lifetime. Further, having a content based link strategy can help provide a legitimate reason for a site’s link profile to be growing if you are also currently engaging in more aggressive link building.
Outreach and Relationship Building
While Google likes to say that good content will naturally attract links, this is unfortunately not the case. Good content can easily fail to attract any links while mediocre with great outreach can produce a significant quantity of links. The successfulness of a content based link building campaign lies not in the quality of the content produced but rather the quality of the contacts and relationships established.
PRO tip: Don’t ask for a link in your first contact. Establish a relationship, build trust based on common interests before asking a blogger for a link. See how you can help the blogger rather than only promoting your own content.
Improve Site Architecture and Internal Linking
While some sites may be simple and an obvious site architecture exists, many more complicated sites can use an overhaul to produce a thinner architecture that is better for search engines and users. Another less glamorous SEO task that can produce significant value is improving the internal linking. A prime candidate for improving internal linking is the category page. Often these pages have an excessive amount of links; by strategically removing links you can funnel more link equity and anchor text to important pages.
PRO tip: Test out your ideas before applying them site wide; test out a new site architecture on one section of your website or change the internal linking for one category and measure changes to organic traffic as well as rankings and conversions.
SEO is a lot like traditional marketing in that building a brand (link equity, rankings, significant traffic) takes time and at the end of the day short cuts typically don’t pay out well. When all is said and done, adding long term value is really about putting your head down and working hard – there are no magic bullets or any “SEO secrets” that will boost you to the top of the SERPs (and keep you there).
Geoff Kenyon is an SEO Consultant in the Seattle office and is determined to find the best burrito in Seattle. Outside of work he spends his time playing ice hockey, building igloos and eating maple syrup.