Competition is stiff these days. It’s getting harder and harder to achieve optimal search engine rankings, at least without professional help. So how to compete in a space where it might not be feasible to increase rankings for your most competitive keywords? Believe it or not, there are actually plenty of ways to leverage existing visibility to increase traffic. To name a few:
- Test Meta descriptions. This is one of the easiest ways to increase traffic even without increasing rankings. Obtaining a first page ranking for a given keyword is just one step to getting more traffic because there are still nine other organic competitors on that page. So take the time to test different marketing messages within the Meta description to improve your organic click through rate. For starters, make sure descriptions are relevant to page content and ensure competitive differentiators such as price and quality are included. If running paid search, take the highest performing ads and test them in the organic space. By overlooking how your listings are displayed in search results, you are passing up one of the easiest ways to capture new visitors. So start testing those Meta descriptions because you better believe your paid competitors are doing it.
- Run PPC on branded keywords. It’s the old 1+1=3 saying. Coupling organic visibility with paid search visibility has been proven to improve click through rates within both spaces. Consistent messaging and prominent display improves trust among searchers – especially for those that might not yet be familiar with your brand – thus increasing their likelihood to click.
- Manage sitelinks. Check to make sure these are displayed in an ideal manner. If non-relevant sitelinks are being displayed over more useful ones (About Us vs. Book a Room, for example) then log into your Google Webmaster Tools account and block the sitelinks that are not adding any value. This will make room for the more valuable sitelinks to be displayed.
- Utilize rich snippets. Again, it isn’t always about how well content is ranking. It’s how content is ranking. In other words, take full control of how your content is displayed. One way to do this is to use rich snippets to provide more information and context about your products and services directly from the search results. These can be used for reviews, individuals, events and videos. Structured data will play a key role in the future of search, so this is not something to be ignored if you have the type of content that is currently supported with this format.
- Tweet strategically for real time search. Now that Google is integrating dynamic streams of real time content into their search results, much of which comes from Twitter, this represents a huge opportunity for additional traffic. Use relevant keywords in your tweets so that these will rank in real time search results and you can gain additional (albeit short lived) search engine visibility.
Now I’m not saying to halt all search engine optimization efforts. Just remember that there are quite a few tactics that can be deployed in conjunction to SEO that will help to garner additional traffic. By taking advantage of all opportunities, large and small, you should see a lift in new visitors.
Rachel Andersen works for the Portland based SEM agency Anvil Media, Inc. She has expertise in all aspects of search engine marketing and specializes in SEO for large sites. Andersen has been responsible for the development and execution of dozens of search and social marketing campaigns over her time spent with Anvil.