Very often, people who professionally optimize websites for search engines come to a point where they focus exclusively on the big picture of site rankings and the associated link building. While link builders can’t usually be charged with myopic vision and inflexibility in their methods, sweating the little details isn’t generally on the collective agenda either, especially when trying to promote multiple sites simultaneously.
Many times a new focused strategy or technique may not seem worthwhile because of the huge amount of top-level searching and otherwise time-consuming processes needed to begin the undertaking. Faced with the option of using tried-and-true tactics for good rankings with the major search players or experimenting with new techniques like social media, niche marketing, local search & directories, and video optimization, many will choose to do what they’ve always done in the past simply because they know they can meet their deadlines that way.
In the long run, though, most seasoned SEOs would agree that experimentation with less-often used sites like local and niche search engines pays off in many valuable ways. Not only is there simply more “link space” to be had by promoting a site across local search engines and other sites specifically devoted to the same vertical markets, but the act of using them for research brings up results that would otherwise remain hidden if the major search engines and common site tools are the only methods used.
Pushpins on the Map
Regardless of the global nature of the Internet, geography still plays a huge role in determining which sites get listed where. For example, a site that has a local store and doesn’t sell their products online has no choice but to focus their web marketing on local search engines and directories, since almost all potential paying customers have to be in their city. Using local directories for an example like that makes sense, but it makes equally good sense to use local and niche search engines and directories for a website that does every bit of their business online; it simply gives them another avenue by which to be discovered, along with precious links from generally decent and respected sites. In addition, there are a few local business sites that don’t seem to care if the business is actually local, which means that there are some free backlinks to be had from them.
By now it’s no secret that social media plays a large and steadily increasing role in many aspects of web marketing. From the search engine side of things, they’re valuable in all the obvious ways: Social networking platforms are often popular, regularly updated, and respected sites with an enormous amount of unique and (somewhat) organized content. Therefore, all the normal bookmarking, voting, and commenting techniques apply well to this arena. Beyond that, though, there’s an added benefit to having one’s content on a social media site: A huge potential audience. Of course, depending on what exactly is being promoted, there may not be a huge user response to whatever you’ve contributed on social sites, but that really doesn’t matter so much. It’s great when other users are really excited about something that they’ve been informed about through the network and begin to interact, because it draws search engine attention. If it’s at all possible, it’s wise to submit humorous or valuable content that only subtly resembles marketing material.
By exploring the furthest reaches of the web and even some places that seem less than worthwhile, one’s SEO efforts will be improved tangibly. Furthermore, the link builder who takes the time to do this research will certainly be exposed to different opportunities that would remain hidden if working exclusively within the confines of their historical precedent. Make sure to stop back at this blog tomorrow for part 2 of this post, where we will take a look at some niche search engines and examine their usefulness for optimization and research.