Have Your Staff Help With SEO
By Scott Boyd
Someone asked me the other day what their staff member could be doing to help with SEO as they had some spare time on their hands. While there isn't really a perfect answer that will fit any business, these tips should be useful on the whole (not in any particular order)
1. Submit your site to directories - If you aren't already doing this as part of your link building efforts, then directory submissions can be a quick and easy way to help with your SEO efforts. As long as you train your staff member on the basics (following submission guidelines, varying anchor text) there's not really anything that can go wrong.
Lists of directories to submit to can be found easily enough via search engines.
2. Participate on forums - Don't do this simply for link building - that can lead to a world of pain. Just look at the negative publicity Jobsite got after spamming one of my forums!
But good, solid community participation can be a great way to gain exposure for your business and brand name, while at the same time helping a little with link building from your signature links.
The aim should be to build the reputation of your company, and not simply to whore yourself for links. Don't drop links in posts unless they are relevant - try to offer advice to offers where appropriate and generally conduct yourself as if you were attending a networking event.
Added bonus - any forums that display thread view counts can be a great way to find new keywords to target! Unusually large thread view counts can suggest that the thread is receiving a lot of traffic from somewhere (and not just the normal forum browsing traffic).
3. Contribute to the company blog - Even the opinions and thoughts of a junior member of staff can make an interesting read and can also be a good part of their training. You will need to carefully focus your staff member's efforts and not simply let them loose on your site, but done well and it can add valuable content to your blog.
4. Monitor social networking sites/forums/competitors - If there are active communities within your niche, then it is worthwhile keeping up to date on what's going on in them. It might give you ideas for new features for your site, or new markets to target.
While the forum participation is an active role within these areas, monitoring them is more of a passive activity - this is information gathering for internal use, rather than participation to improve the outward value of your company.
5. Link request emails - I'm not a fan of this - it needs to be done right. You really don't want to spam other sites with automated link requests - that's bad for your reputation. However, sending a few select link requests can be considered a more public relations role - you build a relationship with the site, not just try to get something from them.
For example, getting in touch with local newspapers for a link can lead to conversations about your business and possibly some free exposure. Treat your link requests in this manner.
6. Competitor SEO analysis - Scrape their keywords (grab them from title tags) and do some keyword research on what you find. Are you missing out on some juicy keyword markets?
Ditto for backlink counts - are you missing some nice link sources? You can usually forget all the directories and crap like that, but finding news site links on the back of some exposure can give your marketing team some ideas that will eventually help with SEO.
7. Social networking - Get your staff registering accounts with the likes of Linkedin and so on. Set up a company Facebook account - perhaps advertise them via any forums you participate on. Over time this will build up a nice portfolio of contacts.
8. Rankings analysis - Do you have any rankings bringing in traffic that aren't number 1? Then perhaps these are worth attention - perhaps your on page optimisation isn't quite geared towards that term - perhaps some deep links will do the trick!
9. Find online marketing opportunities - Small sites offering banner advertising or larger sites offering newsletter sponsorship - these are great ways to expand your marketing activities. A staff member with some time on their hands can easily compile a master list of sites with advertising options for you to look at later on.
I might update this list at a later date (feel free to comment with any suggestions). The key here is that all this stuff doesn't require much experience to do well - it's all about common sense (with a little guidance from more senior staff where appropriate). It's good for your staff to be getting involved as well - particularly junior staff. Just doing this stuff will not only benefit the company, but will help new staff familiarise themselves with your industry more quickly than the usual training manuals, etc.
About the Author:
Scott Boyd (aka Marketing Guy) is an Edinburgh based online marketing consultant with over 6 years experience in the industry. He is the founder of SEO agency eFlaunt, where he mixes a blend of traditional marketing and SEO. Scott's musings relating to the marketing and SEO industries can be found on his blog - Fused Nation
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