Once you find an SEO strategy that works it can be tempting to cling onto it, even when it stops working. We tend to attach ourselves to ideas and strategies that gave us initial success, but a new way of thinking could be just what your website needs to get back to where it was before — or perhaps even elevate it to new heights.
Creativity has been both a staple and a dirty word of SEO. Some people put a lot into making their content innovative, while others think of SEO as straightforward and a robotic box-checking process. In truth, a little spark of creativity can make a huge difference to your SEO strategy, opening up new opportunities to drive targeted traffic and generate leads.
What can you SEO strategy gain from being more creative? Let’s find out.
Good quality keyword research should be at the heart of any good SEO campaign.
Sometimes, keyword research is a process of confirming what you already know; you’re just discovering how popular the terms are and in what order they actually rank. Adding a bit of creative thinking into how you do your keyword research can give you a new outlook and some interesting results.
Targeting keywords that are a bit out of the box is simply giving yourself a wider net to catch users with. We’re not saying try and rank for unrelated terms but think creatively about how the audience searches. In turn, it gives you an idea of what doesn’t work.
This strategy can also give you a head start on the competition who will be focusing on a limited selection of keywords. Thinking narrowly is limiting the potential of your SEO campaign. These don’t even have to just be niche long-tail keywords; it’s simply a creative exercise to try and expand your reach and appeal.
Taking the process of being more creative in the literal sense, your content marketing strategy has a lot of gain from this change in approach.
You shouldn’t be keyword stuffing, but if you’re thinking of content as a means to an end, getting more creative can shift your mindset and improve the overall quality of your content. Writing guest posts shouldn’t be a box-checking exercise, either; it should be a chance to showcase your quality and network for some more link building opportunities.
The websites you’re writing for will likely be impressed by the quality and unique nature of your content and want you to write more, leading to further backlink opportunities. Your content portfolio will grow, giving you something that will impress higher profile websites and lead to opportunities with them.
Getting creative also means delving into new types of content. Infographics, for example, may appeal to an entirely different type of audience to written content. If you experiment in this type of content you’ve got more guest pieces to link to and a new audience to tap into.
Here’s a creative exercise: try and picture the terms you would never realistically be able to rank for. How much time of your original SEO strategy would you need to invest to get anywhere close to ranking for it? Could you even do it? By thinking outside the box, you could.
This is a great example of how creative thinking leads to great SEO. Hijacking terms doesn’t mean copying other webpages or misleading the audience; it’s about finding alternative ways to rank with creative content and ideas. Take this sad but undoubtedly creative example highlighted by Chris Leone. It took a popular term and built content around an alternative way of thinking about it. Think of it as a way of giving audiences something extra for their search rather than something they weren’t looking for. It can give you a huge source of ranking from unlikely places.
A similar idea is using avenues like Google News to achieve rankings on unique terms, as Greg Jarboe highlights on the Marketing Speak podcast. It can be a great way of achieving ranking through appearing authoritative.
In the same way that producing better quality content can lead to you getting better quality link placements, creative thinking can lead to more unique link placement opportunities. Just because a website might not have featured in your original SEO strategy, doesn’t mean they’re unsuitable. Get creative in the websites and opportunities you pursue and you can uncover some valuable one-off placement opportunities and once your content goes live you can perform an SEO check to ensure it's up to scratch.
Take link placements on forum websites such as Quora, for example. While a lot of these can be bad links, high-quality examples do exist. As Search Engine Land explains, a website such as Quora can help establish expertise, authority and trust. These are rare opportunities — with potentially big results — that traditional thinking doesn’t necessarily consider. Think about what websites you might be missing with your strategy.
All of these creative methods can be seen as a way of testing what your audience reacts to. Whether it’s how they search or what they’re searching for, creative thinking is simply giving you a wider scope of results and information to learn from. It’s something your original strategy could never give you.
This approach can not only lead to a tighter, more user-focused SEO strategy, but can influence other areas of your marketing. For instance, if your audience responds well to your more creative take on onsite content, why not lend this technique to your email marketing campaigns? Similarly, your social media ads may capture more attention and drive engagement by leaning into your more idiosyncratic sensibilities.
Getting creative can be a difficult thing to do in SEO, especially when you’re deep into a certain strategy. There are numerous benefits to some unique thinking, however, whether it’s in the form of direct rankings, a better quality of backlinks, or a touch of insight you’d have never otherwise had. In summary, don’t be afraid to think a little differently when it comes to your SEO and content marketing strategies.