So you’ve got a killer website that looks totally slick. Plus to top it all off, once they’re on it, customers can find anything they want with ease. That’s great—if they find their way onto your site to begin with… and if you can determine exactly who they are and where they’re coming from. This why niche SEO is so important.
Getting noticed by major search engines is a priority to many business owners and webmasters; but to get noticed in your niche you may have to get more tactical.
You might already know that SEO can boost traffic to your site. Perhaps you are also aware that links can skyrocket a website out of obscurity. Would you like to passively drive traffic to your site, your articles or your ecommerce efforts? Well then you need to differentiate yourself because general search engine results are dominated by websites and companies with huge budgets. You can succeed but by utilizing Niche SEO, rather than going toe to toe with giants.
But not all links are created equal. You want to steer clear of dodgy, irrelevant links and garner relevant links that pertain to your slice of the business world. Today you will learn the steps to get relevant, valuable links that will make your more visible in major search engine listings in your selected niche.
Table of Contents
Goals! Start At The End And Work Backwards
Before you attempt to do anything at all for your website, you need to have clear goals in mind. Who are you exactly, and who are your customers? What actions do you want your customers to take? Answer these questions before you throw time and effort into something that may not achieve results.
My own primary focus has been hotel web design, and every one of my hospitality clients has realized the need for a “book now” button on the company’s website. They know all too well that getting a customer to “book now” is the desired outcome.
You might not be running a hotel business, but you need to identify your “book now” equivalent nonetheless. Ask yourself what you want your website to do for your business—it’s certainly not meant to simply function as eye candy on the Internet.
For instance, if you are a cake decorating company, your objective might be to get customers to place an order. If you are a wedding DJ, your goal would be to get customers to book you for a weekend.
Local Directories and Social Media
It’s been said over and over again simply because it’s so very important! Make sure you claim all your local directories. Facebook, Yelp, Foursquare and Google Plus are great places to refer your happy customers to write glowing reviews about your services. The more local directories you have claimed the easier it will be for your customers to write about you.
To get you started here is a quick video on how to claim your business page on Yelp:
Directories are also influential because visitors can read about other’s experience with the business via the reviews. In my personal experience, these reviews affect how I make decisions and I am not alone. Studies have shown that 67% of customers are swayed by these reviews as well.
One of the biggest obstacles to getting great reviews is figuring out how to make your happy customers tell the community about their positive experience with your business. This guide lays it out pretty well but I’d like to point out my favorite points.
First, getting the review is sometimes as simple as asking for it. If someone is pleased with your product or service, ask for the review while they are still excited about the experience. Second, it needs to be as easy as possible for your customers to find you and review you. Being on every directory is best way to be visible to them.
When entering a local listing, pay close attention to the industry field. If you are a shoe retailer, you don’t want to be listed under “General Merchandise” as that will sabotage your chances of being found.
There are utilities to help you get your site listed on multiple directories instantly. Moz local is one such service with a quick submission, you are listed on all the top local directories!
Most noteworthy is Google Maps, because Google is the premier search engine and you want to be represented well on that engine. Google also pulls images from your Google Plus Page when displaying map information. It’s a great idea to load up attractive, fresh images to entice customers click, rather than making Google pull images from indirect sources with your company name on it.
Take your head out of the clouds and get involved in the local scene while you’re at it. For instance, if you’ve done any local charity work or assisted a professional organization in your community, ask if they can place a targeted link of yours on their page. It doesn’t cost them a cent and helps you to boost your online presence.
Work The Niche
Never underestimate the power of niche directories and professional associations. While often small, they are high in relevance and can add highly pertinent links to your website.
Comb through all related industry contacts, leaving no stone unturned. Subcontractors, suppliers, partners and so on are all fair game.
If you have worked with or are a member of a professional organization, you’ll want to see if they can give you a link, too. If you are paying for membership, that gives you the leverage you need to request a link from the organization—after all, they want you to succeed, too.
Different Fields, Different Factors
SEO professional pundits state that different industries are going to be evaluated based on different factors. So it’s important not to take a one-size-fits-all approach to your SEO. The cake decoration business in our above example should not have a web campaign that resembles the wedding DJ’s!
When assessing your “book now” equivalent, ask yourself if you’re making the action as simple as possible—if so, you score points with Google. Google can penalize you if there are too many fields and If there are unnecessary steps, trimming will be necessary.
Play Your Brand and Market’s Strong Suits
Now the real fun starts! It’s time to analyze your market and your brand.
Is your brand an emotional experience, like the services provided by our DJ or our cake decorator? If so, find ways to tap into that emotion. Trigger your customers’ emotions through emotive copy, evocative images, videos and social shares.
Social media is a great conduit for your message and enables you to adopt an informal tone to engage customers.
Instagram is a good social media platform that is great at visual story-telling. Pier One Sydney Harbour is a Sydney Hotel and their Instagram is a great example of a company leveraging the power of Instagram.
Pier One Sydney Harbour’s Instagram page does a great job of drawing the audience in with a fun twist. It showcases the hotel’s offerings: gorgeous rooms and pier side entertainment, weddings, pet-friendly and fine dining. It encourages engagement as followers can visit and comment on the events that are featured. Lastly, it is selling without selling, that is an informal approach to show off without beating the customer over the head.
You’ll also need to ask if your brand is a practical and logical choice for customers doing fact-finding. First find out where your customers do their fact-finding, then create a presence there, or at least get links from some very relevant sites. Google Webmastertools is an often under-utilized tool that can tell you where visitors are coming from as well as other useful data.
For instance, if you’re a tax attorney, a community where other tax attorneys and regular customers get together would be a great place to join a dialogue.
If you are a professional service, in addition to leveraging those professional association and community partnerships, pro bono or charitable acts are ways to differentiate yourself. If you are going out of the way to make the community better, why not ask for that link? It costs those you are helping nothing and adds to your visibility on the web.
Be a Resource
Being a resource in a highly targeted and regular community not only offers PR and exposure but also coveted links. All brands and markets can benefit from this if they’re well-positioned. The tricky bit is finding that soapbox to speak from.
One way you can become a valuable asset to the industry is to create a tool that will drive traffic to your site. One such example is VWO.com’s A/B Split Test Significance Calculator. Useful utilities will bring visitors to your site, encourage them to look around and some will inevitably sign up, purchase or enquire for more information.
Examine your strengths and expertise, and you’re sure to find someone out there who seeks the knowledge you have.
Niche SEO doesn’t need to be overwhelming, as it’s a succession of steps that work together. It’s best to decide to what you want your end result to be and design your efforts from there.
Follow these steps and you’ll be closer to achieving a stand-out presence in your niche. Go forth and shine!