How To Rank Without Producing Content

Everyone wants to perform well on Google, but we don’t always have time or resources to produce frequent content.

Setting up our client’s SEO for top rankings in search has been crucial for us over the years. Yet it’s often an under-valued and under-utilized tactic for a lot of reasons.

Writing fresh content is the best SEO advice. It’s also a long-term strategy that requires attentive analytics to properly measure results, which causes business owners to hesitate on fully committing it to their SEO strategy.

Researching and writing targeted, high-quality, and unique content can turn into a pain-staking grind. Consistency is hard, we get it. But it’s also extremely valuable to your SEO plan.

If you’re in the situation where producing high-quality content on a frequent basis is not possible, there are still things you can work on.

Follow this list of additional tactics to improve keyword rankings without writing more content. I’ll also include their level of difficulty (time/money) compared to copywriting and content marketing.

Local SEO [Listings]

Company Page results are positioned above organic results and receive the most clicks. Set up separate Google My Business listings for each location you have.

Difficulty compared to content marketing: $

Local listings with SEO setups

Technical SEO

A proper technical SEO setup helps Google to index the current pages of your website more effectively. Primary areas are:

  • Title tags: A main indicator to Google what your page is about
    (e.g., Keyword 1 – Keyword 2 | Company Name).
  • URL structures: Also a main indicator to Google what your page is about. The page name (domain.com/page-name/) should match the title tag to affirm your primary keyword.
  • XML sitemap: A table of contents for Google that helps it crawl your entire site more efficiently.
  • Robots.txt: Tells Google which pages not to crawl or index.
  • Search Console settings: This tool lets you set your site’s preferences and request manual crawls from Google (e.g., www vs. non-www, http vs. https).

Read How SEO Setups Increase Traffic to learn more about technical SEO and it’s influence on rankings.

Difficulty compared to content marketing: $$

Page Speed Load Times

Google found that when pages load too slowly, users tend to use Google less—especially on mobile. To solve that, Google made page speed an official ranking factor, and improving your site’s load times could boost your rank.

Use the following tools to run a speed check on your site. These reports will tell you what needs to be fixed to improve your load time.

To make this even more important Google announced their plans to switch to mobile-first indexing.

Google is moving to mobile-first indexing making mobile usability and load-time even more important! Click To Tweet.

Difficulty compared to copywriting and content marketing: $$

Internal Link Structures

Improving the amount of existing pages that are internally-linked to one another helps Google crawl your webpages more thoroughly. It also uses the anchor text link (the part that’s hyperlinked) as context for what your page is about. E.g. link the keywords, and not a generic phrase like “click here.”

View the image below for an example of internal-linking.

SEO setups cross linking image

Difficulty compared to content marketing: $

Social Media

Consistent engagement with your audience can generate additional interest as well as contribute more incoming links. The best platforms, that take the least amount of time to manage are:

  • Twitter: Top hours for getting retweets are 9 a.m., noon, 3 p.m., and 6 p.m.
  • LinkedIn: Routinely updating photos, work experience, and contacts will keep your profile fresh. Each update sends an alert to your network.

Difficulty compared to content marketing: $

Directories

Sometimes directory and local listing sites will dominate the SERPs (search engine results pages) for keywords. The smartest thing to do in this case is to leverage their visibility. Being included on top-ranking directories, review sites, or listicle-type posts will give you the “next-best” visibility to top-performing sites.

Examples are pretty widespread depending on your industry, but some of the more popular ones include:

  • AngiesList.com
  • Yelp.com
  • Thumbtack.com
  • InsiderPages.com
  • YellowPages.com
  • TripAdvisor.com

Difficulty compared to content marketing: $

Link Acquisition

It’s no secret that more incoming links will boost your SEO and overall traffic faster than any other tactic. In fact, it’s even more effective than content marketing – it’s the #1 ranking signal. Trouble is, it’s very tough to acquire new links from quality websites.

What is required?

  • Keyword research and an analysis of search result pages
  • Manual outreach to site owners to provide reason for linking to you. This is done via phone calls, emails, social media, or in person.

Difficulty compared to content marketing: $$$$

Ultimately, the best option for generating more search traffic is through writing good content and answering your audiences questions. If you can’t commit to that, but you want to drive more traffic to your site, you can – just be prepared to pay for it. Directly in PPC (pay-per-click) advertising dollars or indirectly in lost opportunities and revenue.

Also be aware that with paid tactics that once you stop paying, the traffic ends. Whereas consistent content production will continue to drive traffic even years after initial publication.