"Content/time-starved" offsite SEO campaign - what'd you do?

Hi everyone

As one of my first larger scale SEO projects, I’ve been handed quite a competitive target topic - “datacentre” oriented services - for a UK-wide campaign.

My client has allocated just 2 hours my company’s work time per month for this, and it will not be easy to get fresh content from them to support any work I do. Onsite optimisation will take place and there’s a fair amount of original, half-relevant content on the site, in form of articles, downloadable PDFs and a video.

But, the offsite part is where I am going to struggle. I have explained, and they have accepted, that progress will be extremely slow with just 2 hours a month and no content to work with. I have almost persuaded them to provide me at least just one short article, per month. I think this is the best they will do to help their SEO.

My initial thought was “right, the only thing i can really rely on then is backlinks… this is what ill focus on. but how am i to avoid those backlinks being spammy, not-useful, irrelevant, or otherwise not quite credible, without anything to link to?”

This SEO has got to be very white hat and not ‘spammy’… I’ve considered, and been warned off, paying one of these “a billion pr 9 links a month!” animated-flashing-gif-banner-ad companies. I’ve also been warned off just commissioning a linkbuilder and letting them get on with it. And rightly so, now that I understand why (the links might have effect but will only be temporary, and this is a large company [not large enough to allocate decent resources to seo, it seems…] with a reputation to protect).

I’m now of the understanding that content is crucial, and I must therefore either get at least one small piece of content from this client each month, or allocate a part of my 2 hour limit to creating content. So, this gives me, absolutely maximum of 1 hour and a half left.

What would you more experienced guys do with that hour and a half, to salvage what could be salvaged of this ‘starved’ seo project??

I KNOW that what you’d probably do is say “look you need to give this a bit more investment or it won’t work – come back when you have more budget or are willing to contribute content”. But say if you HAD to. Like… if someone had a gun to your head?

As an example, something I thought of was to commission someone to conduct outreach, rather than build links for the sake of posting links. Give them my little pieces of content each month, and instruct them to go and build relationships in relevant communities and try to get links off credible related websites, this way, rather than “post links on loadsa forums and blogs. just post links.” Granted they might only actually get 3 or 4 links in this time, but they would be better quality links than the few hundred i could blast using SENuke or pay a standard ‘linkbuilder’ to create for me. Unsure if this is correct or a silly idea… would appreciate your feedback… call it a hypothetical challenge… :slight_smile:

Thanks very much guys

My initial concern, and what stopped me in my tracks, is that you only have 2 hours per month to work on this. There’s nothing you can do within 2 hours per month to generate enough content or links to rank you in the top 3 positions for “datacentre”.

Yeah I see what you’re saying – that’s my point in a sense, unfortunately I have no say in that.

I have decided it’s pretty much gonna have to be the case, that I should probably get a contractor to help me out – to ‘elongate’ my time; their rate per hour will probably be less than my company’s rate. Within 2 hours paid company time, the contractor could probably work a couple hours longer, with myself also working.

That’s still a very limited time though, so I’m struggling to ascertain what the most effective actions for me to be doing or the contractor to be doing (i know this can be ‘dangerous’ because i don’t want to get the wrong contractor - one who approaches SEO in the wrong way for this client…) within this short timeframe.

They know they aren’t gonna be number 1, without ‘cranking it up’, and the progress they do make will be slow.

But I still want to do the best I can and feel it’d be great for my learning to get some opinions on, given this hypothetical ‘time budget’ and lack of content, what’d you guys do?

Well, the first part of any effective SEO campaign is content or a reason for people to link to the site. Once you’ve established the content, it’s time to figure out how to get people to start linking to it. Which phase are you in?

Say you have posted the new content (fully optimized with the text and image contents) in their website, a regular professional SEO would normally first think that this has to be cached and indexed as soon as possible for this is an original content.

Given that 30 minutes for posting and optimizing their articles for their website, you 1 and a half hour is sure enough for you to build and make the new content viral on the same day you posted it using you link building skills.

I think that’s the only reasonable work you can do for their website if they’re strict about allotting you with 2 hours per month.

I’m afraid that I agree with JeffWalden, and I’d go further in saying that it would be near impossible to rank near the top for “datacentre”. As rightly said, you’d need to be top three to get anywhere, as images, news and other Google bits will dilute the search page. To put it mildly, if I were in that position, and I had a gun to my head, I’d probably pull the trigger myself.

That being said, I would probably not go down the route of traditional social media or SEO. Quite frankly, if a site doesn’t immediately lend itself to needing pages of content then writing articles for SEO sake will do absolutely nothing but waste time. What you need to target is demand for something. Service related companies can do a lot by being transparent with their knowledge-sharing in the form of writing articles and whitepapers, but that’s a long-term approach. At my current company we have a number of full-time content writers working on content, and even with this much writing power progress is still slow. We now get several million unique visitors a year, but given our target market there is far more we can do. You could go down this route, but you’d probably end up with little return.

Given the resources, I’d probably look to work with a site like Reddit to promote the services at a cut-down price simply to get the word out and pray that people love the service enough to recommend it. It’s not strictly SEO, but with persuasion from the higher-up’s it could pay off later down the road. Outside of this, the typical on-site approaches ring true, such as checking the information architecture of the site and making recommendations on how to tidy things up.

Thanks all for your input, very helpful indeed

Well, there’s a fair bit of content dotted around the site… I’ll give you the URL of the current landing page (I’ve established with the client that I want to change a few onsite things, such as the actual placement of the landing page within site hierarchy etc - more detailed below.) http://getronics-uk.com/what-we-do/managed-services/data-centre-services.php

I’m close to my client accepting the idea that at least one piece of content needs to be generated per month, and this cannot be brand-centric and “boasting” and must represent valuable information to the target audience (I understand this isn’t even a requirement specific of just SEO, but web-based and/or inbound marketing all round, and needs to be done. I think, over time, they have come to understand this too.)

I also want to suggest the idea of a content inventory and ensuring any existing content isn’t wasted/overlooked, and is potentially recycled thru rewording and/or repurposing into different formats. I’m not sure what stage this would place me in, in answer to your question, but to simplify my response: we have established that we’ll be working with one new piece of content per month and that, after onsite optimisation tweaks, we will look at, categorise, and start leaning on content that already exists on the site.

How would you therefore begin establishing the most effective and relevant ways to draw attention to/create links to the content?

Thanks very much, glad you said this as this is the first “action step” I decided to take, whilst investigating how to actually proceed with the offsite optimisation yet considering such limited resources.

Here are the onsite “tweaks” I’ve suggested, listed below - do you think anything needs adding here or I should go “heavier” on the onsite optimisation to “make up for” the inevitably weak offsite optimisation that will go on each month? (The url of the site is above)

(For example, I was perhaps thinking, although it’s a bit over their budget for the one-off setup, of whipping up a quick ‘side-blog’, not visibly attaching the entire blog to the site, but syndicating posts to a “latest updates” feature on the datacentre landing page…)

Aims of below points:

  • further optimise datacentre section

  • drive more search engine focus to key areas: security, storage and management, colocation.

  • create a more ‘dedicated’ datacentre section of the website.

  • ensure any and all links we build are varied, relevant, and follow a clear consistent theme and ‘subthemes’.

    • give any and all datacentre video case studies, and other resources, that don’t currently have their own page and are just referenced as direct download links, their own dedicated pages with relevant urls that reflect keyphrases (for example, create a page with a brief amount of copy for the Datacentre PDF download, currently a direct PDF download link from the Datacentre landing page.)
  • *modify URLs of datacentre video case study pages, eg: http://getronics-uk.com/our-customers/video-case-studies.php?id=4&type=2 could be http://getronics-uk.com/data-centre-services/data-centre-case-study.php the visible look and feel, or navigation, on the pages needn’t change.

    • move the datacentre landing page and section in terms of actual site structure. perceived/visible site structure needn’t change.
      eg: http://getronics-uk.com/what-we-do/managed-services/data-centre-services.php could become http://getronics-uk.com/data-centre-services (or other better keyphrase).php , but the way the web visitor sees the navigation, stays the same.
  • add a ‘datacentre news’ feature within the sidebar of the datacentre landing page, update this every occasionally as part of the seo plan and add article links here.

    • increased keyword optimisation of datacentre landing page, and security and protection page, to follow new designated words and phrases: 1 hr.
    • give co-location it’s own page, add a bit more to existing copy, include any references or information about colocation that appear elsewhere on site.
    • give ‘fully managed service’ it’s own page, add a bit more to existing copy, include any references or information about data storage that appear elsewhere on site.
  • give the environmentally friendly bit, it’s own page. add a bit more to existing copy (this was quite a strong search topic, but, if you don’t want to ‘push’ this to the extent that you’ve told me you want to focus attention on colocation, security and storage/hosting, we will omit this change altogether.)

(By the way, just to clarify - I work for this client as a website designer, we haven’t claimed to be “SEO experts” or anything like that - we’re charging rock bottom prices and have been transparent about our knowledge. I thought I’d say because it makes me really annoyed when I see companies trying to sell themselves as experts at new concepts and I thought it might annoy you guys too if you realised this was quite a high profile company now I have given the URL :smiley: - we do not sell ourselves as “SEO consultants” whatsoever.)