Good SEO is grit. and is hard. It’s about real results in the long term. Slow, steady.
Tom’s case study. 2009 – buying a lot of links. Because their competitors were. This is a case study. You can’t just turn off paid links, it’s about risk management. Reduced budget to 2010.
They purchased data sets – they don’t have anything that makes them unique. The data sets that they bought – they started building out good content. They built their own CMS to manage their content production.
Nothing earthshattering happened in 2010 – they had growth, but more importantly they realized they could live without paid links. In 2011, they launched a full redesign.They start to gain credibility – and they started to reduce ads on site. And they had a small drop in conversion, which was justifed by an increase in links.
They hired a great blogger. (brilliant!) Apparently the blogger isn’t really that brilliant. Oops.
Began building permission marketing assets (ie facebook and twitter) but it didn’t do anything for them. Nothing happened except for the slow steady and boring growth of followers. 2011 showed stable growth.
In 2012 they reached the “tipping point” of social media and the engagement started to pay off – but in and of itself it’s not the only thing. It’s a combination of everything that happened.
They also did CRO. They started doing PPC. They got a return on running ads. Which turbo-charges their flywheel. They did paid SU campaign that drove over 60,000 free visits. The post that went crazy was an “infograpnic” – 500 words of text with a good headline and an excel graph. It didn’t look fancy, but it was interesting. People were engaging with it. Blogging actually started paying off. They were being referenced in the industry as the go-to, as the authority. They were ever so slightly ahead of the curve, but they didn’t try to do something that they weren’t equipped to do because they thought that they had to do it and it would get them links.
What can we learn?
Build permission assets: Facebook, Twitter, DistilledU, build people that you can spread content to “without people noticing” – earned media here.
Nail the basics: Have good imagery. The web is visual. What is the Boston Big Picture? Look it up. Post high-res images!
Google rolled out Google Customer surveys. Gets instant feedback – get data if you don’t have it.
Be exceptional and be prepared to fail. Use influencers! You’re not going to get there if you don’t try. Go for the big guys and get better results.
Focus on niche-relevant hyper-engaged audience for your influencer.
Remember – long term work needs a vision pitch.