Here Are 7 Killer Steps on How to Win at Local SEO

Here Are 7 Killer Steps on How to Win at Local SEO

After years of trial and error, and failing to succeed at getting top keyword rankings and building backlinks from sites with a high domain authority, finally it all came together for us – and voila! We achieved victory.

Within two years we gained hundreds of top keyword rankings for over 30 locations across the nation. The following strategy has been tested and proven to work on not one, not two, but on over 30 location pages.

We are about to divulge the secret sauce that worked for us.

To do this local SEO strategy for your business, you will need some type of SEO tool. I recommend using to find the right keywords, test pages for errors, and to monitor your results.

The “focus subject” in this blog post will be a “debt relief company”, that is in a so-called “boring industry”. The company used the following local SEO strategy to gain hundreds of top keyword rankings on Google. The primary keywords that this company aimed to rank for were; “debt relief”, “debt settlement” and “debt consolidation” – which are all very competitive keywords. As a matter of fact, a study that was recently published on rated the keyword “debt consolidation” amongst the top 50 most competitive keywords on the internet. See #48 on this list: 

50 Most Competitive Keywords to Rank For in SEOTop 50 Most Competitive Keywords in SEO

Over the last two years, this small company was able to successfully build more than 50 backlinks from local college websites, rank “top 5” on Google for hundreds of competitive and highly targeted keywords, and is now generating between 70-100 targeted leads per day (what they only dreamed of doing about 3-years ago). 

The Following SEO Strategy Will:

  • Increase your website’s social media shares and overall traffic.
  • Make it easy to build high-quality backlinks.
  • Allow your business to organically rank for the most competitive keywords.
  • Make your website a lead generating machine.
  • Drastically lower the bounce rate on your website’s homepage.
  • Show you how to improve your conversion ratio and click-through rates.
  • Think outside the box and find new valuable keywords.

Included in this post:

  • A local SEO template to use for each location page (that has been proven to work).
  • A free tool to create and implement (for non-coders).
  • Step-by-step instructions on how to create SEO optimized location-based pages.

Step One: Select a Targeted Keyword, Add a Geo-Modifier to It & Drop It In

To select the right keywords for your business, explains it best in this post here.

After selecting the keywords that you want to rank for, now add a location next to that keyword and drop it in SEMrush’s keyword overview tool. SEMrush will then provide you a nice list of related keywords that you will use on your local page.

I dropped the following keyword query into SEMrush’s keyword overview tool: “Texas Debt Relief”, and here’s what SEMrush came up with:

best keyword overview tool at SEMrush.comSEMrush’s keyword overview tool

This will be your list of keywords for the template in step number two.

Why are we putting a location in front of the primary keyword that our business wants to rank for?

Google’s Venice update, “localized organic results on broad search queries.” Simply put, if you have a location in front of a keyword, Google will prioritize showing your result over a similar web page that doesn’t have the location in front of that particular keyword.

If you check the search volume of a keyword after putting a location next to that keyword, the search volume will appear to be much less than the regular version of that same keyword, but don’t let that estimate fool you. What keyword tools don’t show you is “buyer intent”. A person is more likely to sign up for your service when using a geo-modifier/location within their search query.

We ran over 30 tests on AdWords, comparing the user intent of a keyword with and without a geo-modifier. All the results were similar to this one example below, illustrating a higher click-through-rate and conversion ratio for the keywords that had a location next to them.

conversions near cut in half by using a geo modifier in front of my keywordYou can improve conversion ratio and click-through rate by using a geo-modifier next to a keyword.

Step Two: Use This Free Local SEO Template to Create Local Pages for Your Business

Replace “debt relief”, “debt settlement” and “debt consolidation”, with keywords that are relevant to your business.

Template for Local SEOHere is a local SEO template that’s proven to work.

If you offer iPhone repair services, your h1 may be “California iPhone Repair Services” and your h2 could be “BBB A+ Rated California iPhone Repair Company”.

Important tip: Offer something valuable on each of your location-based pages, giving the user an added incentive to stay on the page and interact with it, keeping the bounce rate low. (i.e., a calculator, infographic, or some type of downloadable PDF checklist)

To properly implement on-page SEO for a location-based page make sure to:

  • Insert your keywords in the right place without being spammy.
  • Craft a click-worthy meta title and description.
  • Formulate your h1 and h2 to be compelling and include your keywords.
  • Answer important questions related to the product or service you are selling.
  • Include to help explain what each page is about to Google.
  • Make your pages unique and interesting, and free of grammar mistakes by proofreading it multiple times over the course of several days.

Our company is currently ranking #2 on Google for “Texas Debt Relief”:

Proof of success is illustrated on this Texas Debt Relief WebpageHere is an example of a local business web page that uses the above-mentioned template and this page is ranking #2 on Google for the desired keywords.

Step Three: Lower Your Homepage’s Bounce Rate & Start Driving Traffic to Each Location Page

Stop trying to convert visitors that arrive on your homepage.

Your website’s homepage should be used to direct users to the specific pages on your website that have the answers and solutions to their problems.

Why do customers come to your business for help? Make it easy for them to find the exact product that they need.

Does your business have multiple locations?

Your website’s homepage should allow users to effortlessly find the webpage that is intended for their location – indirectly producing powerful local business ranking signals that Google can easily translate.

The secret to lowering the bounce rate on your homepage is to improve its navigation system. Our company was suffering from a high bounce (Over 75% bounce rate), but a few small changes lowered the bounce rate by more than 50%.

The goal was to replicate our homepage, to be the way Google operates. What better way to please Google right?

Here is the trick … simplify your homepage’s navigation system to make it easy for visitors to find what they need – dummy-proof it. On our website, we made the main attraction this orange bar that says “Select Your State To See Options”.

homepage improvement resulting in lower bounce-rateBy simplifying your homepage you can reduce the bounce rate

By implementing this “search engine like feature”, our homepage’s bounce rate was lowered from 70+ percent, to under 20%, as illustrated in this screenshot from Google Analytics.

Google AnalyticsGoogle Analytics Illustrates the Bounce Rate Improved by Over 50% by Simplifying the Homepage

Now, instead of seeing over 70+% bounce rate, 80+% of the users stay on the site. Not only do new visitors stay – they also navigate to their state’s local page and either find what they need or convert into a highly qualified lead.

Step Four: Incorporate Into Your Location Based Pages

For all of us with minimal coding experience, you will love this next treat. We all know the importance of using, but implementing it on web pages is easier said than done.

Especially, with all the WordPress plugins that cause more markup errors inside your Google Webmaster Tools account than the positive attributes that they bring to your website – the entire subject of can be a big headache for some of us.

This free tool streamlines the entire process of creating and implementing into your local web pages.

Schema Free ToolA tool that streamlines the entire process of creating and implementing

You don’t need to sign up, fill anything out or pay for this tool, just use it for free. It works like a charm.

Within 30-days after implementing into our Pennsylvania debt relief page, by using this tool, it started showing up in the “position zero”. Woohoo!

Featured Snippet Position ZeroFeatured Snippet “Position Zero” by Using the Tool.

Translate the information from your webpage, into this tool. Then click on where it says, “Generate Schema”, and you will next be prompted to copy the code. After copying the code, you can paste it into the WordPress Editor section of your webpage (at the very bottom).

As shown here …

Use this free toolHow to implement into a webpage in WordPress.

You can then test your webpage for errors with Google’s testing tool here.

Step Five: Get Local Colleges to Link to Your Site

Building the links … this is the fun part.

Offer an annual scholarship through your business.

Benefits of the scholarship include: 

  • Your business gets to donate money to students, helping them to pursue their college dreams.
  • Local colleges will share your scholarship on their website, linking back to your website – giving you backlinks from college websites that have a high domain authority.
  • Students will submit phenomenal free content on your website.
  • Students and voters will be sharing and liking your website all over social media, bringing your website an entirely new stream of traffic.
  • Scholarships attract local news and media – potentially giving your website massive exposure.
  • The money that your business pays to the winner of the scholarship is 100% tax deductible.

At the end of the day, these are motivated and driven students, that are working hard to raise enough money to go to college. It is a prodigious cause.

After you publish a scholarship page on your website, start reaching out to colleges and asking if they would list your scholarship on their website. Most colleges have a section on their website that is specifically designated for third-party scholarship opportunities.

You can contact a college’s financial aid department where they can assist with getting a scholarship published on their website. Just make sure to follow their guidelines or else your scholarship may get rejected.

Here are a few examples of colleges that have linked to our scholarship.

college scholarship leads to backlinks from .edu sitesHere are some examples of backlinks created from the college scholarship.

To apply for a scholarship, students need to submit an essay, video or infographic, answering a question related to your service or products.

Now comes the fun part – awesome content and it is free!

Since our company offers debt relief, our scholarship asked the following question:

“In the United States, there is $15+ billion in delinquent credit card debt (people who are more than 90-days behind on credit card payments) — besides restricting the act of lending what are viable options for solving this problem?”

Students could then submit an essay, YouTube video or infographic, answering this question with their proposed solution. Our company would then publish each student’s essay, video or infographic on our blog and send each student a link to their blog post. Each student would then start sharing their page all over the internet to get votes.

Scholarships drive social media shares from the students when signing up for the scholarship and from the voters when they vote. You can even make it a requirement that applicants share your scholarship on Facebook, as part of the sign-up process, but be careful because this tactic can be borderline spammy.

Required to share scholarship on social mediaTo sign up for the scholarship students are required to share the page

Scholarships can give your website high-quality content and a massive number of social media backlinks.

What problem does your business solve or deal with? You could create a scholarship, by having students answer a question related to your business and get students to pitch ideas about how they would solve the problem. Then publish the answers on your website and allow students to pass their page around to get social media shares and votes.

You may even find some brilliant answers that you can use to improve your product line, or even find your next star employee – the potential benefits and possibilities that can come from a scholarship program are endless.

Step Six: Get Massive Social Media Exposure & Shares

After you publish each applicant’s essay, video or infographic on your blog, the applicant will then start sharing that page all across social media, in an effort to get votes – indirectly getting your company massive exposure, traffic, social media shares, and links. The applicants are extremely motivated to win because it is a “cash prize” at stake.

Every time someone votes, your website gets liked and shared on Facebook with new audiences. Here is how:

To prevent applicants from cheating, to vote, a voter must first validate their identity on Facebook. After logging in and validating their identity on Facebook, they can then click on the “thumbs up” and vote – simultaneously sharing the applicant’s page on social media and liking your website on Facebook.

Here is a screenshot of the second blog created on our website where we published all of the students’ essays. Inside each blog post, you can even link to your location pages, so on top of building links to your domain you are also driving traffic to each local product page.

100's of social media sharesScholarship created 100’s of social media shares and Facebook likes.

Step Seven: Track Your Results With SEMrush & Watch Your Rankings Rise

SEMrush makes it easy to track your results with their project tools and report builder. You can set up automatic reports to get emailed to you on a weekly basis illustrating your organic traffic improvements, top keywords, backlinks, and social media activity.

SEMrush has a tool to track your local SEO resultsUse “My Reports” in to track your results.

If a series of spammy links come through, we get an email from SEMrush and can then determine whether or not to disavow certain links or at times we would reach out to the site’s webmaster and request they remove the link.

In the past, we’ve used and a few other tools that have worked well, but no other SEO tool offers everything you need, all-in-one place, like what offers.

The Top Five Reasons You Need A Backup Solution

The Top Five Reasons You Need A Backup Solution

Are you backing up your Mac’s data? If not, you may regret it… In this article, we’re going to give you five great reasons why you should have at least one backup solution — either an external drive that is used to back up your Mac’s hard drive or solid-state drive, an online backup solution, or preferably both.

1) If you haven’t experienced a drive failure, you will…
This is the primary reason you need to back up your Mac. While solid-state drives (SSDs) are much more reliable than mechanically-based hard disk drives, all drives will eventually fail. For someone with a hard drive-based Mac, there’s no sadder sound than the ominous “click of death” that can accompany a drive failure. You may also have the experience of turning on your Mac and getting a flashing question mark icon. That’s the sign that your Mac isn’t finding the boot disk.

Having a bootable external backup created using a Mac utility such as Carbon Copy Cloner can provide a way to get back up and working quickly if your primary boot drive has failed and needs replacement.

2) Can you really afford to lose all of those family photos?
We take a lot of photos in this digital age, and it’s not uncommon for a Mac user to have anywhere from 10,000 to 50,000 images in the Photos app. Imagine if you woke up some day, and all of those photos were gone for good. That can happen if your drive fails and you’re not using a method of backing up your Photos library.

There are two ways to easily back up all of your photos; first, use an external disk drive to back up all of your Mac’s data including that library of treasured images. The second way is even easier — use iCloud Photo Library. This automatically backs up any and all images and videos included in your Photos Library to iCloud. This method also has the added benefit of making all of your photos available on almost any Apple device signed into your iCloud account.

3) Back up the work you just did
I work with a number of professional photographers and videographers, and all of them do one important thing immediately after moving video or photos from camera media (hard drives, SD cards, etc…) to their Macs — they do a backup.

The act of copying or moving the files from the camera media to the Mac is a good first step at backing up your work. However, if you’re moving the files — that is, clearing the media by moving the files to the Mac so that you can use your camera drive or SD card(s) for new work — all those gigabytes or terabytes of data are at risk unless you perform an immediate backup.

This is a good time to consider using a solid-state drive (SSD) to backup large files. One of the OWC External Drives from using SSD media (just look for the SSD Options Available tag) can be a perfect accompaniment to a MacBook being used to grab those precious professional images or video shots in the field. Offload your camera media to the MacBook for editing purposes and a “first backup”, then use the SSD drive for a fast in-the-field backup copy. Then, and only then, clear out your camera media for more work.

4) Drive recovery can be very expensive
Losing data can be expensive in many ways. If you have critical company information that it lost, the result can put you out of business. Drive recovery services can try to recover individual files or complete drives — even from drives that have been physically damaged in some way — but they are very costly.

Related Reading: DriveSavers Utilizes SoftRAID for Data Storage

A much more affordable solution from a business perspective? Spend a few hundred dollars on an external drive to back up your Mac. It’s not hard to perform backups; hook your Mac up to one of the many available OWC External Drives and the first thing macOS High Sierra will ask you is if you want to use that drive for a Time Machine backup. Give it the OK, wait a few hours for the initial backup to be completed, and from then on your work will be backed up once an hour.

5) An offsite backup can keep you protected even in case of a disaster
So far in this post, I’ve been running under the assumption that you’re going to experience a drive failure. A disaster — flood, fire, hurricane, tornado, earthquake and so on — can turn a humming Mac into a pile of rubble in short order. That’s why a secondary backup to an offsite location through an online backup service is a good idea.

These services are usually set up to back up data in real time from a Mac, storing it securely in the cloud. If a disaster occurs, those terabytes of data can take a long time to restore to a new Mac. That’s why offsite backup services usually offer to ship a drive loaded with your restored data using an overnight shipping service. Once again, if you depend on your Mac for business purposes, an offsite backup can make the difference between being back up and running after a disaster or going out of business.

Copywriting vs. Content Marketing: Main Differences and Commonalities

Copywriting vs. Content Marketing: Main Differences and Commonalities

Frequently confused, Copywriting and Content Marketing truly share the same genes. Yet they differ in their core and purposes.

With the constantly growing need for qualified specialists in both of these areas, we have decided to clarify the differences and commonalities between these two concepts to help young specialists understand what skills and qualifications they need in order to become experts in either or both of these areas.

Without further ado, let’s go over different aspects of both copywriting and content marketing to identify what each of these two things aim for.


First and foremost, we need to identify what goals copywriting, and content marketing pursue.

Copywriting as an elder brother of content marketing tends to sell goods and services. Texts are typically very straight-forward, yet tasteful. Copywriters never lose the sight of their goal — conversion rates.

Meanwhile, the younger brother of copywriting, content marketing, is not as straightforward. The goal of content marketing is to inform, provide value and share a passing mention of the goods and services on offer.

To reiterate in the words of Marge Holden from NerdyMates, “It is important to remember that copywriting aims to sell a product while content marketing aims to solve informational needs of the user, without outright sale pitching.

While copywriting sells, content marketing works on branding.”


The bottom line is that copywriting focuses on creating quality “copies” which market particular goods. And though a lot of people believe that it is all about writing slogans, the real scope of writing types is quite huge.

Copywriters create:

Sales emails;
Jingles (aka ad songs and slogans);
SEO content;
Video scripts;
Web page content;
TV and radio commercials;
Drip campaigns;
Press releases, etc.
The list of possible content marketing writing forms is just as lengthy. Specialists state that Content Marketing centers around the creation of:

Blog articles;
Radio shows;
Magazine articles;
Social media posts;
White papers;
Newspaper pieces, etc.
As can be observed, the written pieces written by copywriters are much shorter. The primary goal is evident right away, ‘ copies’ motivate the customer to part ways with their cash.

Content marketing is often viewed as a way to market one’s services in a less “pushy” way: the potential customer is first offered some high-quality content for free. And only once they are happy to make that purchase, content marketer is there to show the ropes and how they can do that.


These two jobs require a different level of professionalism. We are not saying that Content Marketers are less educated or need no experience in the area. No, knowledge and expertise are essential for proper content creation.

However, anyone producing good content can be considered a content marketer while only a top-notch professional can create truly fantastic copies as a copywriter. Hence why copywriters, especially B2B ones, will always be in demand.

Bloggers, Instagram and Snapchat users can be all qualified as content marketers as long as their content promotes some goods or services. Of course, content works best when it is written by true experts also known as opinion leaders. But even those of us not skilled enough as of yet can contribute to some low-profile magazines and resources for starters.

On the other hand, crafting high-quality content without necessarily promoting anything with it is harder than it sounds. The natural instinct would tell you to sell things, but common sense would put that to a stop and suggest you take a content marketing approach as a long-term strategy.


Finally, copywriters and content marketers write in a slightly different style.

The former aim for concise writing. Most slogans, video scripts and other pieces of content copywriters develop have symbol and word count limits. Therefore, it is vital to strengthen the most important parts and make them loud and clear without having to use too many words.

Content marketers, on the other hand, do not feel as pressured with limits as copywriters. They speak in a friendly way aiming to make the customers “addicted” to their content, feel their need in the product standing behind it, and come back to make their purchase. They build up a good name for the brand with quality, entertaining or educational content. And they are allowed to write more than just a slogan for that.

That’s the basic gist of it. As you see, copywriting and content Marketing are a bit different. Though their main goal is to sell things, they achieve this in different ways. If you are willing to start your career as either one of these two professionals, make sure you understand what requirements there are and what steps you are to take to become a real pro in the area.

About the Author: John Obstander is a content marketing geek specializing in IT, FinTech, and creative writing. He is a member of the EssayClick blog team.

Does Your Mobile Site Pass the Thumb Zone Test?

Does Your Mobile Site Pass the Thumb Zone Test?

Online sellers have spent a great deal of time implementing features that support cross-device shopping. This includes researching and tweaking their websites to accommodate various screen sizes, browsers, and connectivity.

But there’s another key mobile design feature: the thumb zone. A term coined by mobile interface expert Steven Hoober, the thumb zone is “the most comfortable area for touch with one-handed use.”

Is your online store missing out on sales because of restrictive navigation and calls to action that are difficult to reach? In this post, I’ll explain why the thumb zone is so important and how you can better accommodate the broadest number of smartphone users.

Thumb Zone Explained

Understanding the thumb zone is key to providing a better user experience, to help shoppers finalize purchases. No matter how you hold your phone, there is a natural method of swiping, tapping, and navigating. By some estimates, roughly half of the 169-million smartphone users in the U.S. favor one-handed operation.

The natural zone varies based on the dominant hand and whether both hands are used.

Illustration of the thumb zone - a heat map style diagram of how far one can comfortably stretch the thumb using a smartphone with one hand.

Keeping calls to action and important links in the natural zone supports one-handed operation. Image: Smashing Magazine.

The graphic above doesn’t take into account the size of the smartphone. Users of larger devices — such as the iPhone Plus series — will have more difficulty, as larger formats have more restrictions. Note, below, that the shape of the thumb zone shifts when supporting the smartphone with a pinky finger,

Illustration of the thumb zone across different device sizes.

The larger the device, the more likely the user cannot easily reach the top of the web page. Image: A List Apart.

Addressing the Issue

The good news is that none of the adjustments made to accommodate the thumb zone should affect the overall usability of the mobile site. It should, instead, increase the usability score and encourage more conversions. When analyzing potential changes, be sure to:

  • Focus on the bottom center when placing calls to action and static menus. People use smartphones differently than desktops. It’s natural for users to look in the same area that their thumb occupies.
  • Place add-to-cart buttons (along with attributes and quantity boxes) below the product image, not above. It’s far easier for users to scroll below an image than to stretch the thumb to reach above one. Ideally, though, the image and call to action should appear above the scroll line.

In this example from Chewy, the pet-supply store, the Add to Cart button is easily reachable, regardless of the way the shopper holds his phone.

In this example from Chewy, a pet supply store, the Add to Cart button is easily reachable, regardless of the way the shopper holds his phone.

  • Increase the size of some links. Minimally-sized text and icons can be difficult to tap during one-handed operation.
  • Provide ample space between hyperlinked elements. The thumb is the largest digit. It’s typically not as agile as our other fingers, making it easy to tap the wrong icon or text link when one is close to the other.
  • Place a fixed menu along the bottom of the screen. This helps shoppers quickly navigate to the most important pages and sections, such as categories, search, and checkout. Position the most important menu items in the center.

Example of an online store with a fixed menu at the bottom of the screen.

A fixed menu at the bottom of the screen makes for easy access to all-important areas.


  • Provide enough non-linked content. This can be static graphics, text, or whitespace. The goal is to avoid flooding pages with links. Help users scroll without accidentally tapping a linked object.

Study Actions Closely

Analyze the site both before and after changes.

Google Analytics can break down actions and conversions by desktop, tablet, and mobile. To see how products perform on smartphones, go to Conversions > Product Performance and set the Secondary Dimension to Users > Device Category. You can filter the view further by clicking advanced search and setting the Device Category to “mobile.”

Google Analytics can report how well products perform on mobile

Google Analytics can report how well products perform on mobile.

Alternatively, use Google Analytics to analyze user behavior on various pages. Review, especially, bounce rates and exits from product pages. Go to Behavior > Site Content > All Pages. Then set the Secondary Dimension to Users > Device Category.

Heat maps can also provide good insight by showing where visitors are tapping and scrolling while on the mobile site. Note that not all heat map tools track touch devices. Some are designed solely for tracking mouse clicks on a desktop.

3 SEO tasks to start 2018 off with a bang

3 SEO tasks to start 2018 off with a bang

Wondering where to focus your efforts this year in order to gain an edge over your competitors? Columnist Jeremy Knauff has some ideas.

We’re just about three weeks into the new year, and the momentum you establish now can easily set the pace for the rest of your year.

I’d like to help you start 2018 off with a bang by earning three simple wins that will set the stage for further success and growth, not just for this year, but long into the future.

These wins are simple, but that doesn’t mean they’re easy — because while the concepts are not complex, a lot of work will be required to accomplish them.

That may seem like a bad thing, but it’s actually a blessing in disguise because it means that most of your competitors won’t even put in the effort, which will give you a significant advantage over them.

Improve page speed to improve ranking

Google just recently announced that beginning in July 2018, mobile page speed will be a ranking factor for its mobile search results. Page speed also has a significant impact on user experience, and several aspects of user experience are direct ranking factors, too.

Studies show that the faster a web page loads, the longer visitors will remain, and in most cases, more of them will convert to paying customers compared to visitors on slower websites.

Most people have a tremendous opportunity for improvement in this area because they don’t realize how poorly their website is performing. I was recently talking with a potential client about SEO for his website, and when the topic of page speed came up, he proudly insisted that his website “loads super fast — usually in under one or two seconds!”

If that were true, it would have been phenomenal; however, it was actually closer to thirty seconds, according to the tests I performed using several different tools.

It’s important to point out that when I talk about page speed, I’m not specifically talking about Google’s PageSpeed Insights. I’m talking about how long it takes a web page to load in general.

Some ways you can improve page speed include:

  • investing in high-performance web hosting.
  • reducing http calls by merging CSS and JavaScript files, eliminating WordPress plugins and using sprites.
  • properly scaling and compressing images.
  • implementing server caching, browser caching and Gzip compression.
  • minifying CSS and JavaScript files.

Leverage a personal brand for link building

If you’ve managed a website for any length of time, you’ve most likely been on the receiving end of a lot of link requests, and I think it’s a safe bet that most of them were probably terrible. Now I’m going to say something that might hurt your feelings: If you’ve sent a link request, it was probably terrible, too.

Cold link outreach is challenging, and you generally don’t earn very many links in relation to the number of emails you send out. This is because you’re asking for something from a stranger before you’ve built any rapport, which is an almost certain recipe for disaster. Effective link building depends on relationships, not brute force and volume.

link outreach email

While certainly not the worst link outreach email I’ve ever seen, this isn’t a particularly effective approach.

Rather than cold link outreach, a more effective strategy is to develop a personal brand that others want to connect with. This is easier said than done because it will require a tremendous amount of work, performed consistently over a relatively long period of time.

However, once you’ve developed a personal brand, it will be much easier to leverage the kind of relationships you’ll then develop, to efficiently build links. In fact, if your personal brand becomes powerful enough, often, people will link to your content without you even asking.

A few ways you can develop a personal brand include:

  • creating consistently branded profiles on key social networks.
  • regularly sharing valuable content from others in your industry, along with your insight on it.
  • engaging with your audience, both those below and above your stature within your industry.
  • regularly publishing amazing content, both on your own website and in industry publications and top-tier business publications like Forbes, Entrepreneur and Fast Company.

Incorporate video into your SEO efforts

Video is a driving force in digital marketing today, and we’re quickly approaching a point where it’s just as essential as having a website and social media presence. It can play a significant role in your SEO efforts in two distinct ways.

The first is that video often helps to keep interested visitors on your website longer. Google sees this as a sign of a positive user experience, which has a beneficial impact on your organic ranking. A side benefit here is that you’re also giving visitors more of a chance to truly connect with your brand.

The second is that by publishing your videos on YouTube, you have the potential to put your brand in front of a larger audience through YouTube’s search results. (YouTube is often referred to as the “second-largest search engine in the world” due to its position as the second-most-visited website globally after Google, according to Alexa rankings.)

On top of that, you’re leveraging the authority of YouTube’s domain, so you also have the opportunity to get your videos ranked in Google’s search results.

I know a lot of you right now are saying, “Whoa, Jeremy! There’s no way in hell I’m getting on video!”

Look, I understand that being on video can feel uncomfortable, awkward, and even terrifying, but it doesn’t have to be any of those things. Once you start doing video regularly, you’ll get used to it, and besides — it’s become a necessity, so unless you want to lose ground to competitors, you have to step outside of your comfort zone.

Video expert Holly Gillen of Holly G Studios says, “Video is one of the most powerful tools you have in business today! The race has begun, and if you’re not running you are now getting left behind. At the end of the day, you can have video or you can have excuses, but you can’t have both.”

Some ways you can incorporate video into your SEO include:

  • creating videos that answer questions your prospects have about your products, services and industry, as well as videos that demonstrate who you are and why you do what you do.
  • optimizing your videos on YouTube so they’ll show up in YouTube’s search, in conjunction with that, building relevant, high-quality links to them so that they show up in Google’s search results.
  • embedding your videos from YouTube on your own website to keep visitors engaged and on your website longer.

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.