How does Google reward creativity?
Written by Philip Rudy and published
An idea is born. The juices are flowing, and you can’t wait to unleash your newest Internet adventure.
The marketing process starts with the first line of code. Correction: It starts before the first line of code.
Combining great content, a diverse search engine optimization strategy, a creative website and many other aspects of online marketing is what brings success in the long run. But you’ve got to have the missing ingredient: Creativity.
Google has an absolute spooky knack for finding quality on the Internet. And here’s a big clue: “quality” is usually answering a question to somebody’s problem. In this post, we’ll look at how to define creativity in marketing and discover how Google rewards that creativity.
Where does creativity come from?
People are always wondering… where does creativity come from?
For the SEO industry, creativity can come from many places, including:
- Industry involvement
- Research, research, and more research
- Using real life examples
- Constantly studying industry trends
- Leveraging new information
- Taking advantage of new technology (in the SEO space, being the first to use new Internet tools with high potential has many benefits)
- Developing content from common industry similarities
- Custom programming
But the first step to being creative in the SEO and online marketing space is caring. If your end goal is solely the money and you have no enjoyment in what you are doing, you’re ultimately going to fail.
And remember: it’s hard to start caring if you aren’t trying to provide a little bit of good in this world.
Once you’ve got that down, here are four creative strategies to try that just might get you a reward from Google.
1. Paying attention to current trends
Yes, Penguin and Panda made a certain type of link building extremely irrelevant, but there are (and always were) many other spaces in the Internet marketing world that can be utilized for traffic. For example: Google Images.
Gaining a massive amount of new visitors from new keywords can be as easy as paying close attention to Internet trends.
It is extremely easy to get images to rank in Google if you know what you are doing.
Trending news topics usually populate the images in Google images in almost real time.
Here is a step-by-step guide on how to land tons of traffic from Google Images:
- Pay close attention to trending topics
- When there is something related to your niche, begin keyword research
- Procure an image that is going to get noticed, whether it be a funny meme or a visually stunning display
- Optimize the “alt” attribute in the image tag
- Optimize the name of the image
- Make sure your header and page title includes the keyword you want to rank for
This exact process worked so well for us that the keyword we targeted for Google Images sent us more traffic than any other keyword from mid-October to mid-November.
What did we do? We leveraged all the news about the presidential campaigns, found a topic that related to Internet marketing (specifically SEO) and blogged about it. The article was about how Mitt Romney photos completely populated Google Image search when users searched the keyword phrase ‘completely wrong.’
You will see in a glimpse from our traffic that this keyword dominated other search terms – and since we are nowhere to be found organically for this keyword, you can bet those all came from Google images, where the image on our page ranks quite high.
2. Leveraging social media to build links
Stay creative when building links. A “fix-it-all” solution that involves many directory submissions that bring you little traffic is not creative, and neither is signing up for an endless amount of forums for profile link building.
Not only are these things not creative – they don’t even work anymore.
However, you can still creatively get traffic from resources like forums. How: By paying attention – especially to social media sites like Facebook & Twitter. Here is a quick example.
Noticing that there was a highly trending topic flowing through the SEO community, and
noticing that an industry thought leader posted in an SEO forum on that trending topic – we quickly did our research and came up with a blog post to capitalize on the sudden interest in this topic (which happened to be negative SEO).
Since the blog post was directly related to the topic of the forum post, we leveraged the community interest and posted a link of the blog post inside the thread (which mentioned the forum thread). Over a period of one week we got 99 new visitors from that one link in that one forum thread – and to this day, that link continues to be one of our best referrals.
Moral: Link build when there is something else at stake rather than your rankings. Be creative. Google seems to really like when a website has diversified traffic. If a link isn’t going to get you much traffic – is it really worth the time and effort to build?
3. Developing original content from experiences
One of my favorite blogs, ShoutmeLoud.com, is also one of the top blogs in India. Sometimes the content may seem very generic – but if you take a closer look you will realize that it really isn’t. It is extremely relevant and in a lot of cases it is extremely useful.
Take for example this recent post about identifying blog comment spam: A Huge List of SPAM Comments That Look Genuine.
The post lists more than 60 types of blog comments that look extremely real – but were in fact automated. Is there a formula for this type of content? No, it was thought up by using creativity and writing about something that appeals to a lot of people that nobody thought of before.
This is the exact type of creativity that Google rewards. (P.S. Many props to the owner and author, Harsh Agrawal. Everything from the company Facebook, to the design, to the content is great. A great example of how you can make money by being creative online).
4. Solving real life problems
Web design and paying attention to search demand are the two most important factors of how Google rewards creativity.
These days, anyone can throw up a WordPress template in a matter of 5 minutes and be on their way to coding. Google desires something more, so it is searching and rewarding people and companies that are willing to put in the extra work to make sure the design of the website is unique.
With that said, how could a website like ProToolsTutorial.org have a traffic graph that looks like this?
At first glance the website looks terribly coded (it is) and terribly put together (it is) – an overall mess. Taking a look at the way back machine you will also notice that the site hasn’t been touched in over a year yet the traffic still seems to grow (despite Panda and Penguin).
If you take a closer look you will see why.
- Even though the site’s code isn’t the prettiest – it is custom coded and also has a custom CMS where tutorial videos can be uploaded
- The site has over 30 custom coded HTML5 tutorial videos
- The site answers a search demand for “pro tools tutorials”
- The site has a title that inspires a high CTR
- People spend a considerable amount of time on the site
- It solves a serious problem, which is how to use music production software, so people MUST check the site out
Notice the word “custom” being a trend? Could this be an example of how Google rewards creativity?
Whenever you have to choose between the “cookie cutter” path or setting the trends, just remember: If you are being creative, not only will Google find you – it will reward you.
Top photo courtesy OliBac on Flickr