There was a great post by Andy Beal about Five Secret Strategies to Add $1M in Revenue to your Interactive Marketing Agency in 2007. Rand later supplements this with some great additional suggestions on how to grow your business.
I really like what these guys have put out there, but I like to break things down a bit differently. So here are my “5 Principles for SEO Success”. These principles apply to any business, but my discussion will expand the notion into the world of SEO.
- Become an Expert. This is similar to Rand’s “Start with a Unique Niche”. I am simply adding the caveat that uniqueness is not enough. You also need to show that you are an expert. Perhaps the optimum thing is to “Become an Expert in a Hot, but Under-Served Area”.Becoming an expert is truly at the heart of all good SEO. Without this in your pocket, I don’t think you can get out of the gate at all.
In publishing a web site, being an expert is equally critical. If you don’t build a web site that shows off your company’s expertise in some compelling way, you will never get authoritative links to it. Lack of expertise is what leads people into spammy SEO. When you have a real expertise, and you market it effectively, people will give you links at no charge.
- Share your Expertise Freely. Being an expert is a site, but as soon as you share that expertise effectively, you become a magnet, and many doors open for you. People will want to get to close to you to learn what they can from you. Andy’s notion of writing articles to become a thought leader, and speaking at conferences are excellent examples of doing just this.Quick tip to the novice at speaking at conferences. Don’t go there and make your presentation a sales pitch. Share your expertise freely. Educate your audience about some issue that they care about. This results in a lot of good will for your business, and … links.
- Be Social. In addition to the basics of sharing your expertise, get out there and meet and learn the players in your space. Make comments in their blogs. Add value to the dialogue on their sites. When appropriate, get into e-mail and phone dialogues with them. Be judicious about this – their time is precious.Go to conferences and introduce yourself. You will be amazed at how one face to face meeting changes the trust level in a relationship. No matter how electronic our world gets, there is something really valuable about seeing someone’s face, sharing a beer, or even having just a quick conversation face to face.
- Be Creative. Here is where I bring in Andy’s “Stand Out from the Crowd”. Being creative enables your products and services to stand out. But creativity relates to other aspects of the business too. If your promotional strategy is novel and creative, you are more likely to get noticed.One example of this is the idea of being an early adopter of a new thing out there, and being the first, or one of the first, to apply it to your business. For example, people who were early adopters in using vidcasting as part of their business probably did very well. Not because of the direct promotional benefits, but because early adopters are ferocious linkers.
- Be Opportunistic. When opportunity comes knocking, be ready to jump. If your business is small, you have the luxury of being flexible. Make this one of your advantages. This can even take the form of developing a wholly new expertise, simple to leverage a new opportunity.I am not talking about turning your business model upside down here, but the potential of adding a new component to what you are doing. Opportunities take many forms.
A strong influencer in the space may post something about a need they have. If so, serve it. You may find out that a company has a sudden need due to a loss of key people. If so, find out to help them.
There are may such opportunities happening on a regular basis. Just be on the lookout, and scoop them up when they come (yes, a reasonableness check does apply!).
This is really a pretty good blueprint for getting a business out of the gate. Rand and Andy offer their own perspectives and make many other great points, so their posts are worth a read too. Bottom line is that the SEO world continues to abound with opportunities. This is true whether you are building an SEO firm, or publishing a web site. Go get ‘em.