4 Indirect Ways to Improve Your Search Rankings

rocket

I know you want it…

More organic search traffic.

Who doesn’t want free, high quality traffic, that comes in month after month?

That’s why SEO is such a big deal and one of the main topics I focus on—here, on Quick Sprout.

I believe that most marketers should be dedicating a significant portion of their time and resources towards SEO.

There are many things you can do that have a direct impact on your search traffic.

However, there is more to marketing than just SEO, and you probably know that.

The thing is, they don’t have to be mutually exclusive.

Just because some of your marketing isn’t specifically done to improve search traffic, that doesn’t mean that it can’t.

And this type of situation is more common than you might think.

In this post, I’ll go over four ways that can indirectly improve your search rankings.

You can try these 4 indirect ways to improve your search rankings.

This means that the primary benefit of these marketing techniques is not to improve search traffic, but there’s a good chance that, if done right, they might help you with your search traffic too. 

1. Following up with customers leads to extra benefits

This is a great place to start because there doesn’t seem to be an obvious connection to SEO.

But I assure you there is.

Getting feedback from your customers is always a great idea, but it can eat up a lot of time.

Some businesses figure they don’t have the resources to follow up continuously with customers and would rather dedicate them all to sales/marketing channels such as SEO.

However, if you get customer feedback and use it correctly, it can lead to some great backlinks in a few different ways.

Here’s the simple 2-step process you’ll need to follow:

Step #1 – Contact customers immediately after the sale: You have very few opportunities to open up communication with customers without annoying them.

After the sale is one of them.

Once someone purchases something from you, they’re usually excited to hear from you and possibly want reassurance that everything went well.

Send them an email that confirms their order and lets them know whom to contact if they need help.

Step #2 – Follow up after they’ve had time to use your product: The more important part, when it comes to potential SEO benefits, is to follow up with customers again.

Once they’ve used the product, they can tell you if they’ve had any problems or complaints. This is the main reason why you’d want to follow up—these issues are important to address if you want to retain happy customers.

In addition, ask for their feedback on their experience.

If someone says that they’re thrilled, that’s great. Then you should ask them to share their experience with others. Since they enjoyed your product or service so much, you’ll get a high percentage of these customers willing to help you out.

You have a few options that can help with SEO.

If you’d like to ask for a simple favor, ask them to leave a review on a big review site in your niche. For most niches, this will include sites such as Yelp and Yellow Pages.

Let’s look at an example of a search for a carpenter in New York:

image07

The top result is a Yelp business page, while the second result is Yelp’s internal search results for carpenters (another search listings page).

The second is most interesting here:

image09

This page orders businesses based on several factors, e.g., the number of reviews they have and how positive the reviews are (in addition to price).

As long as you fall into the default filters, the more good reviews you have, the higher your profile will appear.

Why does this matter for SEO?

Because the more prominent (higher) a link is on a page, the more weight it has.

This page has a lot of search engine authority (that’s why it can rank at #2), and it passes that authority mostly to the top profiles that it links to.

Those profiles all have links back to their corresponding websites, which, of course, improves those websites’ search authority.

Not only will reviews get you more direct business on these review sites, but that extra link power can help your rankings in search engines. Not by a ton, but by enough that you will notice it after a while.

The second option, which is best for high priced products, is to create a case study of the results your customer got.

Brian Dean at Backlinko does it all the time, both for his readers and actual customers:

image13

Case studies are typically really easy to promote, and they can get a ton of traffic and links.

I’ve created an extensive guide to creating effective case studies that you should read if you take this approach.

2. Get out of your shell and go to events

Just about every industry has several conferences throughout the year. No doubt you can find a few local events to attend if you wanted to.

Now, conferences can be a huge waste of time, but they can also be incredibly valuable.

Obviously, you go primarily to learn, but a huge secondary result can be the relationships you come back with.

Events are a great way to meet other people in your industry and explore opportunities to work together.

But guess what else happens?

When you email them down the line, asking them to check out your latest piece of content, most will be happy to read it and give feedback.

What’s even better is that if they have a chance to link to it within their own content, they usually do. These links can have a big impact on your search rankings if you make several connections per event.

Finally, even if your connections don’t manage their content, they can introduce you to the content manager for their business. You can explore collaboration opportunities or offer to create guest posts for them (which will give you more links to your site).

All of these potential benefits are important if you have to convince your boss that it’s worth sending you to conferences.

Finding conferences is easy: I won’t spend much time on this, but I’ll show you quickly how to find conferences.

Start by Googling:

(industry) conferences (year)

You could also try “events” instead of conferences:

image03

Typically, you’ll find a roundup of all the best events, often multiple.

Each of these results will give you a listing of events, separated by date, location, and audience:

image14

I recommend going through more than one list so that you don’t miss any good ones.

Remember that conferences can be either worthless or extremely valuable. The difference depends on how you spend your time at them.

That’s why I wrote the Beginner’s Guide to Conferences in the past. Give it a quick read.

3. Hire the best help you can get

If you’re truly creating “epic” content, chances are that you’re not doing everything on your own.

In most cases, you’re hiring freelance writers and designers to help fill in any gaps in your skillset.

Obviously, if you’re hiring the best freelancers you can afford, it’s because you primarily want to create great content.

That kind of content is the easiest to get to rank.

However, the very act of hiring freelancers will make it easier.

Let me explain…

Type #1 – Writers: Whether you hire a freelancer or offer them an attractive opportunity to collaborate, these relationships will often get you some extra high-quality backlinks.

A good set of examples are my ultimate guides (sidebar of Quick Sprout). For these guides, I teamed up with experts in each of the subjects.

I had some help from Kathryn Aragon writing The Advanced Guide to Content Marketing, for example:

image05

When someone helps create a piece of content of that quality, they, of course, want to show it off.

How?

By talking about it and linking to it.

It makes them look great to say they wrote or co-wrote an amazing piece of content.

Because of this, I didn’t have to ask Kathryn to link to the guide; she’s mentioned it dozens of times in her posts on other sites and social media (linking to it most of the time):

image10

Essentially, your writer will help you with the content promotion.

Type #2 – Designers: More commonly, marketers hire freelance designers to help create images for content.

The exact same principle applies here:

If you hire a freelancer to create something great, they will want to show it off in their portfolio, leading to great backlinks for your content.

Continuing with the example of my guides, I needed professional help to design them.

My designer had accounts on sites such as Behance and Dribbble, both of which are authoritative sites in the design niche.

Of course, they shared the images with links to those guides:

image00

Those links are the indirect benefit of working with great freelancers.

4. User experience optimization is a great use of your time

Creating a great user experience on your site and with your products is valuable for many reasons.

Typically, the main motivation for working on improving your users’ experience has to do with the conversion rate. It’s a good reason.

What most don’t consider is that this often inadvertently plays a big role in improving search rankings.

There are a few reasons why, but most applicable here is the concept of pogo sticking.

image02

Basically, if a Google user clicks on your page but then goes right back to the search results for another, it indicates to Google that your content didn’t satisfy the user.

Conversely, if most users stop on your page, you did a good job and are rewarded with better search rankings.

If you improve the user experience of your website, you’ll usually end up increasing the number of visitors that you fully satisfy, decreasing pogo sticking. This can indirectly improve your rankings.

User experience is extremely complicated, but there are three common factors we can focus on and look at the ways they affect pogo sticking.

Factor #1 – page load speed: Studies have shown that people will not wait for pages to load.

image08

Even a fraction of a second can affect 5-10% of people who will leave before they even see your content.

Ideally, you want your pages to load in less than 2 seconds.

You can test page load speed by using the Quick Sprout tool or a tool such as GTmetrix.

image12

Improving page load speed will have a huge effect on pogo sticking, but it’s also a direct ranking factor confirmed by Google.

It’s not a huge one, but factoring both of these aspects together, speed can make a big difference in rankings.

Searchmetrics found a huge correlation between a quick load time and the top Google positions:

image06

Factor #2 – clutter: One thing that makes a big difference in user experience is the amount of clutter on the page.

Most people are looking for one specific thing, so everything that’s unrelated on the page only serves as a distraction.

image01

Compare that to a site like Medium, where the content is essentially the only thing on the page:

image11

It’s no surprise that Medium posts rank well in Google. When a user clicks through, they easily find exactly what they’re looking for, leading to less pogo sticking.

Try to declutter your layouts as much as possible, taking out anything that your visitors don’t need to see.

Factor #3 – site architecture: Site architecture refers to the way all the different pages of your website are organized in relation to each other.

For our purposes, good site architecture essentially means you have organized internal linking.

Here’s what a good structure looks like:

image04

Everything is organized into topical silos.

When search engines crawl the site, it will be easier for them to determine the relevancy of your pages, which often leads to better rankings.

Conclusion

By all means, you should spend a lot of time and resources directly on SEO.

However, you can still focus on other areas of your business while also getting SEO benefits.

I’ve shown you four great business practices that accomplish valuable things plus give you indirect improvements to your search rankings.

I encourage you to incorporate as many of these as you can, without fearing that you’re neglecting your SEO work.

If you have any questions about the subject of this post, let me know in a comment below.

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Comments

  1. Md Shahzad Hassan :

    Howdy Neil,
    I’m working on a Quotes niche and i damn sure that this niche has a damn searches and can easily earn somewhere $2-3k if the site rank in 1st page for every keyword please help me on link building.

  2. Rintu Biswas :

    Hey Neil, again great article.

    How to build backlinks to an E-commerce website?

  3. Rintu Biswas :

    And also how to rank commercial keywords to rank the service pages? Please help.

    • It’s difficult to just get links to your services page… Create a blog and provide value and then you can have internal links that pass the juice

  4. Pankaj Dhawan :

    Hi Neil

    This is certainly very good idea to stay in touch with your customers. Even app developers can ask for specific feedbacks from their early users to improve, not through store but emailing them personally. Good one

  5. I really like the idea of having traffic to the website by indirect ways!

    The idea behind the website structure is great. I really like the way you shared the website structure diagram!

    I recently moved from shared hosting to a VPS and changed the server location.
    It really affected my website sales and website speed.

    It loads like a charm, so speed does matter.

  6. Getting reviews can really help rank better on yelp listing page. I tried it for few local businesses and it really helped my clients get more calls and emails. Though I didn’t think about the SEO benefits, but I guess it will definitely pass some SEO juice.

  7. Majid Bukhari :

    I was expecting that you’d mention page speed which is a top ranking factor.Thanks for the awesome post.

    • It’s important, though I consider it more of a direct way vs indirect which is why I didn’t include it.

  8. Rakesh Singh :

    Networking is such an important thing today, but I never thought that networking on different conferences, seminars and events can also boost the ranking indirectly. Reviews and social proofs on landing pages or on sites like Yelp are always good for sales and conversion, truly this can boost ranking indirectly. And I completely agree that UX can get better ranking over time as it has a direct connection with dwelling time and bounce rate. Really liked reading this post and thanks for sharing those new ideas.

    • With so much content out there, you want to optimize as many components as possible to provide the best experience. I’m glad you enjoyed this post Rakesh, if you need any further clarification, please don’t hesitate to ask.

  9. Aleric Stone :

    As always great article, since we offer services we always follow up with our customers and tell them to spread the word (since we are not suppose to encourage yelp reviews) a lot of our clients however do go yelp us, however we find it difficult for the reviews to stick we have 44 reviews and only 11 show up the rest are not recommended. Yelp has been a huge pain, but a lot of people do still find us through that channel.

    • Yah I know it hasn’t been that easy for business owners to navigate, but luckily it’s just one of the many components you need.

  10. Hi Neil, thanks as always for great information. I’m new to SEO but learning everything I can and your blogs are really helping. I’d just like to ask is it recommended to have an xml and html sitemap? Sorry if this is a silly question!

  11. Kruti Aparnathi :

    neilbhai thank you for this rocket science 🙂

  12. thank you Neil, i have experience for getting offline audience to be my online store visitor, search ranking can go up significantly.. i place advertisement on LED TV which spread to several location in this city, unfortunately that company shut down .. and i can’t find other company can give me affordable rates :d

  13. Cool article. I always ask our customers for a review either on our facebook or other reviewsite. I also ask who they think could benefit from our service. That usually works very good. Thanks again. Im glad I found you on faceb.

  14. Pawan Diwakar :

    Hi Neil, thanks as always for great information.

    This is very advanced articles, all gone over my mind…..lolz….

  15. Hello Neil,

    When we talk about marketing conferences, I’ve built something similar: http://www.jellymetrics.com/digital-marketing-conferences/

    It’s for Q1 2016. I need to update it to Q2 as soon as possible. 🙂

  16. Hello Neil,
    Thank you for this wonderful piece. I just arrived and I’ve really gleaned a lot from your masterful works.

  17. Hamza Sheikh :

    Hey Neil,

    You never stop amazing me with your knowledge.

    This is an actual welcome back gift to me! I was away from my blogging market, and now when I finally decided to return back I ended up reading this article.

    Thanks for speeding up the process!

    – Hamza

    • Welcome back! It might take a minute or so for you to get caught up with everything, but you’ll grow at an accelerated pace

  18. Sujatha Marsden :

    Do you know reviews on which platform matter more? Yelp, Google+ or Facebook?

    Great article, Neil!

    – Sujatha

  19. Thomas McCallum :

    Great post. I agree about yhe clutter free aspect of a site. I read on Digital Marketer they got results by going the other way in the niche they were in. Is this an odd anomaly or can this happen more often do you think?

  20. Hello Neil, hope all good, i want to ask something about online earning, do you know about clickbank product marketing plan or you suggest me any plan for earning that gives prompt result.

  21. Hey Neil
    Thank you for a great article…

    Everything was awesome, but I was particularly impressed with part of ‘contact customers after the sale’ – a good CRM start, I’d say!

    Your posts are never rambling, meaningless long-winded types and I’m going to share this one on Twitter soon…

  22. Hey Neil,

    Howdy?

    You already know that your blog is the Bible for content marketers like us 🙂
    I am glad for the point number 3. It’s difficult to explain most of the times & a lot of time as well as quality of design & copy is compromised.

    Thanks once again for validating my mind 🙂

    Keep up the awesome work.

    Tanvi
    Happiness Enabler

    • You’re welcome Tanvi, glad this was helpful. If you get stuck or have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask.

  23. Saket Panicker :

    Hello Neil,
    I’ve been going through every blog of yours. I can say that, I feel good to follow an dynamic expert like you.

    My concern is i’ve built blog content around my site. In fact curated it. So can you suggest what should be my social media approach to cover two things
    – My site gets a good ranking in SERP.
    – I get more visitors to my site

    Thanks
    – Saket

    • In addition to curating content, I suggest you create unique, high quality content as well. Then you can leverage the social media channels to promote that post.

  24. Hey Neil,
    Like always another great article here in quicksprout. All the above-mentioned tips are practical and for the long run.
    Thank you.

  25. Hemang Rindani :

    Great sharing. Agree to all the things mentioned here. I would like to add a suggestion regarding point #3 and #4. Hiring best writers and designers to improve user experience is incomplete without using any of the enterprise web content management service like WordPress or Sitefinity CMS. This is purely because one can manage entire development and management processes effortlessly and accurately.
    I feel user experience plays a big role in improving search results and in decreasing the bounce rates. Google’s latest algorithm plays around the Human Mindset and analyze a site considering ease of accessibility, thus it becomes important to provide easy access to all the pages on website. An uncluttered structure mean that visitors don’t get lost in the jungle of data and can find relevant information restlessly.

    • There’s a lot of work that goes into making the user experience easy, but that’s what will separate the marketers who succeed from the ones who don’t

  26. Hey Neil,

    Thanks for the article. The Case study very useful.

    -Feroze

  27. Hi Neil,

    Hope you are doing good!

    I read your today’s post, I felt its one of the amazing information. So, I am here with one query regarding my site’s backlinks. I have been working on it since 2 months but still not able to get backlinks in webmaster tool. What could be the reason? Please tell me, will appreciate your help.

  28. What an awesome article! The 4 ways in this post are key points to improving a search ranking.

    Thanks for the amazing insights in this post, I really enjoyed reading it! 🙂

  29. Very nice article Neil bro, page speed is important, need to learn more things to optimize in a best way.

  30. Julio Jozwiak :

    Such a great idea. It really helps a lot to improve a search ranking.. Thanks..

  31. Yvette L. Marshall :

    That was a great tips to improve search ranking. I’ve got a lot of ideas from this post.

    Thanks.

  32. Neil,

    These are genius ideas to increase your search rankings. What surprises me the most was having freelancers linking to your site from Dribble and Behance, I’ve never though of it. 😛

    Thanks for sharing!

    Cheers,
    Anh

  33. Great information Neil. Thank you!

  34. woaah.

    thats great tips dude, review from customer can boost website rank? i just know it from u

  35. Very useful tips for improving SEO Ranking… we found here most of the information is unique and valuable… 🙂

  36. Faris Azzam S :

    “Basically, if a Google user clicks on your page but then goes right back to the search results for another, it indicates to Google that your content didn’t satisfy the user.

    Conversely, if most users stop on your page, you did a good job and are rewarded with better search rankings.”

    I forgot this principle while I create content, thanks.

  37. Again read a great article by you.Really appreciate.I always found awesome tips from this website .

  38. Shilpi Gupta :

    Great Article.. Improving search engine ranking is always a tough job and we need to be updated with the customers strategies…

  39. Tauseef Alam :

    Hi Neil,

    Indeed a good read.

    I am trying hard to get my guest posts published on top blogs but I am not an authority. Although I am running blogs since 2010 but never build links through guest blogging. All top blogs ask for reference guest posts that I have published on other top blogs but I don’t have any to showcase. Please suggest how to go about. Any tips.

    • If you cant get your site on the top blogs, get them on the mid tier blogs. That way when you have a few under your belt, the top tiers will be more likely to do publish your content

  40. Prateek Kumar Singh :

    We all know you are fooling everyone, you outsource everything be it content, design etc

  41. Hi Neil Sir,
    Great guide, In recent days my search traffic came down,
    But now I will try to improve with the ways you have mentioned in
    the article.

    Thank you,
    Akash Navi.

  42. Hi Neil,
    I agree that hiring good writers and designers are critical, too often I see sites that lack even basics of engaging “storytelling” in their content. As a writer, it’s sad to see.
    On another note, thanks for sharing the quick tip on finding conferences, I’d been needing to do that for some time and you reinforced that idea!

    • Lots of people have had great experiences, but if you don’t know how to turn it into an engaging story, no one will ever hear it.

  43. Thanks for the useful information.Utilizing customer reviews is the one which I didn’t tried yet. Let me implement customers feedback in social sites for my business and check the improvement.

    Regards
    Pavithra

  44. Useful Article,I Have Small Help,I Am Doing SEO For My Site,I didnt get any improvement in Traffic and Ranking Let Me Know the Reason For this?..

  45. Jared Rogers :

    If only one could insert a meme about the awesomeness of this post. 🙂

    I always feel like this after reading one of your posts:
    http://www.thedogtrainingsecret.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/happy-dog.png

    Thanks for being a bawse Neil!

  46. Arbab Rasool Khan :

    Nice Sharing.. Improving search engine ranking is always a tough job and we need to be updated with the customers strategies…

  47. thanks for providing this flexible article showcasing the depth of seo and how efficiently it should be done.

  48. Siddique khan :

    I think seo is a continuous work . it take a lot of hard work and time to get better result .
    if want to do seo we should know latest technique and update . if do seo in old way then it result only waste of time and hard work.
    You have share a good article . you describe the words in unique a way .
    Thanks a lot for sharing a such a good article with us .

  49. I am also seeking to hire someone you can manage my links. Although its not that necessary but still I need some help :p

    • As an entrepreneur, you’ll wear a ton of hats in the beginning, but as you grow, you can start brining on more people to delegate the work

  50. Google reviews can also help to boost ranking??

  51. hi Neil, i just want to ask you how to start blog. Please share the steps

  52. Very useful tips for improving SEO Ranking… I found here most of the information is unique and valuable.. Thanks Neil. Keep Updating

  53. sonali singh :

    I always get new idea to improve SEO ranking.. I like the post

  54. Startup Bro :

    In regard to site architecture, you can skip a level and link from homepage to a sub-sub page, to give it an extra boost. Can be helpful for seasonal terms that you want to rank for quickly.

  55. Hi Neil
    First of all thanks for sharing this post 🙂 As a fresher in SEO am looking forward to learn a lot. So this post also helped me to learn. And can you please share what are the steps need to do as a SEO for a startup site ? Looking forward for your reply 🙂

  56. David Washington :

    This is such a genius post. This information shows very useful in improving SEO ranking.

  57. Aptha Gowda :

    Very much useful article for newbie bloggers. Thanks for sharing such a nice information.

  58. Great tips to increase SEO ranking indirectly. With recent changes from google it became difficult to ask for g+ reviews from our customers. I recently came across a tool that helps you generate g+ link for review. I hope you don’t mind me posting this link, thought it would be useful for other readers coming to your blog. https://www.grade.us/home/labs/google-review-link-generator

    Just send the link generate to your customers through email and ask them to leave a review.

  59. Harga Produk Shaklee :

    Thanks Neil

    especially for including a recommendation content writer that i can hire. 🙂

  60. Very nice post!

    Will it help for google 3 pack listing?

  61. Gaurav Verma :

    great point mentioned, thanks neil

  62. vamsikrishna :

    nice post,thanks for sharing.

  63. nice post ,
    but why our website still didn’t rank in google .

  64. Definitely promoting content more.

  65. Hm, its logic.
    we can get a natural backlink from our customer, but i think it cant to use in all website niche.

  66. Mannjual Gensety :

    I think, we should try the first one. getting follow up of my cust.
    thanks for tips

  67. Very useful and informative post. Thanks for sharing these nice tips with us. Definitely I’ll try to follow these and improve my PR.

  68. Nice article. I always ask our customers for a review either on our facebook or other reviewsite. I also ask who they think could benefit from our service.

  69. Thanks, you guys that is a great explanation. keep up the good work in your granite blog !

  70. tank trouble unblocked :

    Wow amazing.. This news very interesting, article you wrote a very informative.

  71. Rajiv Pandey :

    Hi,

    This was really informative, I’ve gone through your previous blog on content audit and both are good for promoting content for different clients websites.

    • Glad this has been helpful for Rajiv! Let me know if you have any additional questions you’d like help with

  72. baixar facebook :

    I have read so many posts about the blogger lovers but this article is truly a nice post, keep it up.

  73. Hi Neil Great Article.
    How to improve your search rankings in different countries.
    For eg. You have an established bussiness in India but are starting out in United states.
    How to rank a Website in Such a case?
    Do same principles apply there as well.

    • You need to get other relevant websites from that country to link out to you, but yes same principles apply

  74. Jual rok celana :

    instead focus on offpage, this method focus on onpage, is that right?
    mostly people nowdays just focus offpage instead onpage…

    btw niche article but only a little piece from this article that i can copy into my website :'(

  75. Hey,

    Your article is really going to help me a lot. I’m new for this Blogging industry and recently I started searching for the content writers to my Blog. I came across many freelancers but all of them are only passionate in making money rather than providing great contents. By checking out your blog I’ve got some idea about picking up the best freelancer for my work. I really thanks for the post.

  76. Hey Neil,

    This is the most comprehensive post about SEO. The suggestion which you have given is very helpful.

  77. vishal sharma :

    Hi Neil,

    You have shared the nice techniques to improve ranking but at the end, we are getting links from above techniques which is a part of building links from different websites.

  78. Nice share Neil,Can you give me a idea about how to create back links for Dental clinic website.

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