Want to improve your bottom line without spending any extra money on SEO? In the same way that TV commercials promise that you may have a fortune in old jewelry hidden in a drawer, you may have valuable untapped optimization resources in your own office. In the process of working with our customers, we often find that they have untapped resources right under their noses which can enhance a website’s user experience and increase link popularity for little or no cost. If you have an established website, or a long running brick-and-mortar business, you may be sitting on a “gold mine” of SEO potential that can transform your rankings and increase your site traffic.
Like any mining project, discovering hidden resources requires a little digging and prospecting. Here are a few areas where we often discover new opportunity channels for rankings improvement.
- Old Websites. Many companies have “legacy” websites, or active domains that were acquired as part of a merger. Sometimes a company may have a defunct site that appears outdated but is still visible to the online world. Sites like these can either be redirected to your main site, or set up as “specialty” sites that sell specific products and services. From an SEO standpoint, you may be able to capture a profitable segment of the market just by re-tasking and old site. If the site is still being used (for any reason, including back end tasks) then a simple link from the old site to yours may yield results.
- Dead Pages. In several cases we have found “missing” site pages with hundreds of external links pointing at them. Google Webmaster Tools can give you a list of pages that can no longer be found, and the number of external links pointing at them. Some of these pages may have been deleted in the process of a prior site redesign. You can redirect these links to more current pages, or resurrect the old pages and populate them with updated content. The link popularity you are reclaiming may be worth several thousand dollars.
- Website Navigation. Want to improve the search engine positions of your important category pages? Try pruning the links on your home page and reducing internal links to pages that aren’t critical. This can be classified as “link sculpting” and it helps channel more link popularity to better pages. With some of the new changes in the Google algorithm, you should probably be revisiting your internal linking to make sure it is focused on creating a tight and discernable hierarchy of pages.
- Past and Current Customers. If you have vendors or customers with their own websites, you can mobilize your sales force and purchasing departments to solicit links in exchange for other considerations. For example, you could offer a small discount to companies that link to you, or pressure vendors to link to you in exchange for your business. You could even contact previous clients if your companies parted amicably. Aside from the link popularity you’re getting, you often can get a small amount of high converting traffic from these sites.
- Old Brochures and Print Media. Have you ever printed a brochure or sent out some collateral with text that was never placed online? Do you have any guides, manuals, or instructions that only exist on Word documents? If so, it doesn’t take much to convert this information into SEO content! Obviously, your new outbound collateral (including owner’s manuals) should prominently include your domain name as well, since people may use your URL in online reviews of your product.
Website optimization works best when it turns your site into a better resource than the sites of your competitors. Any information you can add that would help potential customers find out what they need to know is going to get the kind of natural link popularity that is rewarded by search engines. By leveraging old sites, abandoned initiatives, and customer relationships, you can often inject new life into an online marketing campaign, or further strengthen a good performer. While not every business may have a proverbial “gold mine” of resources hiding somewhere in the office, it always pays to revisit your resources and see if you’re hoarding any hidden treasures.