As search engines continue to evolve, marketers must improve their skills to keep up. According to reports 70 percent of the links search users click are from SEO. Also, inbound leads (i.e. SEO) cost 61 percent less than outbound leads (i.e. cold calling).
SEO has a better return on investment (ROI) as well. “SEO leads have a 14.6 percent close rate, while outbound leads (such as direct mail or print advertising) have a 1.7 percent close rate,” according to the same report.
1. Creating Incredible Content That Earns Links
Even after all of the changes with the search engine algorithms, inbound SEO links are still the biggest influence for search engines. This is unlikely to change. On the other hand, other methods of link acquisition have changed. Earning a link from a high-quality, relevant website will not only help with your SEO but also with referral traffic, which can lead to more sales and brand exposure. Creating incredible content that people will want to share is still the best way to earn links.
2. Co-Citation Links
Every time a search engine finds your website next to your competitors, it tells them that your company is in a related niche. To get co-citation links, do a search for “best” or “top 10” items in your niche.
Example: top 10 blue widgets
If you do this search and don’t find your business in the results, get in touch with the publisher and ask that your company be added to the list. Be prepared to justify why your company should be included and where appropriate, give them a summary to go along with a link.
3. Editorial Links
Editorial links can be some of the most powerful for SEO because they come from other publications in your niche mentioning your company. They can also come from thought leadership guest posts that you write and get published on third-party sites.
The easiest way to get editorial links is to create outstanding content that people will want to share with their readers. Another way is to guest post on a high-quality site that is in your niche. Be prepared to create incredible content that may be heavily scrutinized before publishing.
Interviews are another way to get editorial links.
As part of the interview, you should be allowed to cite your work in your responses. This can lead to even more backlinks and traffic.
4. The Broken Link-Building Method
Here’s another white-hat link-building strategy that can be quite effective. In this case, you’re actually helping publishers fix broken links, which can be helpful to their readers. However, this only works if your content is good enough to replace the lost content.
To do the broken link-building method, you must find broken links on a site that is relevant to your niche. You then contact the webmaster with the broken link and recommend your site as an alternative to the broken link. To find out more, you can read the broken link-building Bible at the Moz blog.
5. Link Reclamation
Link reclamation can help you get fresh links by finding broken links to your site and having the publisher fix them.
- Find brand mentions about your site and ask the publisher to add a link
- Find places where your content has been used without attribution (places where people have used your post or infographics without giving you credit) and request a link from the person
According to Kristi Hines with kristihines.com, “A lot of people think of link reclamation as just 301’ing pages they have moved that still have a lot of great backlinks. But I like to think of reclamation as more than that. I like to think of it as not just reclaiming, but claiming links you deserve.”
6. Link Outreach
Link outreach is a bit “old school” but can still be quite powerful. To do this, find a website that is relevant to yours and get their contact information from the site. Send them an email or call and politely ask them for link. This works better if the site has a slightly different business than yours but may share a common audience.
7. Competitor Analysis
Competitor analysis is nothing new, and companies have been researching their competitor’s links for years. However, by looking at the competitor’s backlinks and manually reviewing which links are worth having, you can then perform a link outreach and try to get a link from the same referring site.
8. Focus on ROI Instead of Keyword Rankings
While we all enjoy seeing the keywords rank well in the search engines, this doesn’t necessarily mean your SEO campaign is successful. It’s possible to rank number one for many keywords that have no real ROI. Instead, you should focus on metrics that bring conversions.
9. Create an SEO Strategy That Maps to an Audience
Over the past few years, we’ve lost most of the keyword data in Google Analytics and other tools. This has required marketers to change from traditional methods of SEO to create new ways of segmenting their audiences.
In order to do this we must find new keywords to focus on, new ways to approach neighboring markets, and determine where our competition is succeeding with SEO and how you can do it better.
The days of stuffing keywords into bad content and having it rank are long gone. Now your content needs to focus on your target persona and your keywords need to flow within the content. This is why it’s so important that content and SEO be tied closely together.
10. Optimize for Yahoo, Bing, and Others
Search engines like Yahoo, Bing, and DuckDuckGo may slowly take a bigger piece of Google’s pie in 2015. Yahoo is now the default search engine for Firefox. Safari had a deal with Google, which is supposed to end in 2015, and Yahoo and Bing are both trying to become the default search engine for the browser.
As other search engines become the default Web browsers instead of Google, it makes sense to optimize for those search engines as well.
11. Mobile SEO
Mobile is becoming more popular every year. Every website should have a mobile marketing strategy for 2015 and beyond.
“May  turned out to be a banner month for mobile as it delivered on some huge milestones which underscored just how impressive the medium’s ascendance has been in the past few years. Mobile platforms – smartphones and tablets – combined to account for 60 percent of total digital media time spent, up from 50 percent a year ago,” says comScore.
Mobile should be a core part of any SEO plan in 2015. However, you must be cautious as configuration errors caused a 68 percent loss of traffic, according to BrightEdge.
Creating an SEO strategy can give your company and brand a boost in the search engines. Why not improve your ROI today?