Do you have a website that provides similar information, looks the same, has a similar layout than another site in your niche? Then you might have a problem.
One of the things that I’ve noticed about my sites is that the ones that do the best in terms of both search engine placement and conversion rates are those that are a little bit different to many of the other sites out there.
If a site of mine either contains a new or unique viewpoint or presents information in a different way to most of the other websites in its niche then it’s so much easier to rank and essentially get conversions (sales) from it.
So is originality or uniqueness a ranking factor in Google?
While I don’t even pretend to have any idea about what G is looking for, it would make sense that a bot would be able to determine how different your site is compared to others in a similar niche.
It’s the reason why most ‘make money online’ eBooks/courses fail for buyers, even if it did work for the original author. Once a method has started to gain in popularity it no longer becomes unique. I mean how many IPK, Google Sniper or Xfactor sites worked as well for the buyers as they did for the author? You’ll find thousands of forum posts from buyers asking why they aren’t raking in the millions even though “they followed the steps exactly”.
If you followed the steps exactly as someone else, then you are no longer original.
So how do you create a unique site?
As marketers our challenge is to think outside the box a little bit. That doesn’t mean that you have to re-invent the wheel – I mean how unique can you be talking about food dehydrators? But it does mean that you have to add elements to your website and content that other sites don’t have.
It could be as simple as using a static html site when everyone else uses blogs. Or it might be that you have to go all out and add flash elements, video case studies, unique design layouts or more.
So I’ve included a few tips here that can help your site becoming a little bit different to others in your niche.
And yes I understand the irony of providing this advice that many people may or may not follow and therefore will no longer make your site unique. I’m counting on the fact that I’m still very unknown (I like it that way) so there won’t be many of you actually reading this.
1. Add a contact page.
No I don’t mean just adding a contact form – everyone does that. I mean a fully fleshed out contact details page including physical addresses and real phone numbers.
You are probably thinking I mean YOUR address and phone number (no I don’t – unless you like getting phone calls at 3 am asking if you have ‘such and such’ in stock and yes that HAS happened to me – my partner answered and wasn’t at all impressed).
But the contact details of the companies that produce or manufacture the products you promote. If you primarily sell Bugaboo Prams then put down the contact details for Bugaboo including address, phone number, contact people (such as media or sales enquires) and email addresses if they have them on the site).
Don’t say that YOU are Bugaboo though – you don’t want any lawsuits – you are just providing the contact details FOR the manufacturers for good customer service.
Ok that was an easy one, but you’d be surprised how few people do this and how something so simple can make you look much more credible and give you a tiny boost to rankings.
2. Creating Original Images
You usually just go to Google images and save a good picture from there right? Yeah so does everyone else too.
So if you really want to stand out that means you are going to have to create your own images. If you have a camera then start clicking away. This works really well if you are writing a review and can take your own pictures of the item from different angles.
You holding the item will be a good selling feature too – it builds trustworthiness.
Don’t have the product to take pictures of? Then get a really good image from the manufacturer and make it your own by adding facts or information right there on the image.
Or if you prefer it could even be as simple as adding your own personal headers.
Oh and if you don’t want people stealing YOUR images from Google images, add this to your robots.txt file
User-agent: Googlebot-Image Disallow: /images/
Although personally I don’t bother too much – it is a source of some traffic after all.
3. Adding Helpful and/or Interactive Features
How many times are you searching for information and all you seem to find are boring websites full of just lots and lots of 300-400 word keyword enriched articles. I even have a couple of these old sites myself. They suck. They don’t convert. They are not memorable.
Think about what your customer wants that they currently are not getting from other websites.
One feature that has really increased my conversions is creating pages of ‘sorted’ products. You can sort your products by price, colour, size and so on. Sorting products by price is one of my most popular features.
And no I don’t use a plugin for this – I manually go and create these pages myself. I create a list of all the products I’m promoting within a category and create pages for products say “Less than $100”, “$100 – $200”, and so on.
It’s not an article or post – It’s an actually page with the menu on the main navigation so customers can find it easily.
I check and update this monthly to make sure that Amazon still has the products in stock and they are selling in the right price bracket.
Does that mean you should put the price on your product page? No. Amazon doesn’t allow that. But they will allow you to put a price guide on your page. So you can say – Price Guide: $100 – $150 for each product. Customers like this – especially for higher priced products.
If you have a shoe site then use a sort by size or colour. A toy site, then sort by age groups. You get the idea.
Again, it’s amazing how something so simple can really make your site unique amongst the rest of the affiliate crap out there.
Ok, so far we’ve been talking about lots of onpage stuff that you can do to increase your uniqueness. But what about offpage things like links?
4. Getting Unique Links
Is it really possible to get a bunch of unique backlinks that your competitors don’t have? Yes it is. But you have to know your industry and be prepared to put in the work.
Most affiliate markets (me included) are lazy. We stick to using tools such as BMR or article syndication.
More links for less work right?
Well that can help, but what works even more is getting REAL links from REAL blogs and websites. Unique links that your competitors don’t have.
What you think no-one is going to link to your pink sock website? You’d be surprised, but it does take some work.
Guest posting is nothing new, but the way most people do it is send out a whole bunch of spam emails to related sites asking if they would like a guest article. Or they’ll do a search in Google for niche + “guest post” or “write for us”.
You’ll get the obligatory list of sites and perhaps even a few will respond. But it’s what everyone does and it usually isn’t the best way to do it.
The best way is to get noticed by the big players in your niche (even if it’s loosely related like a fashion blogger who see’s your article on cat hats for dogs and thinks it would make a good story) is to start 1) commenting on their blog regularly, 2) responding to some of their twitter posts and 3) write articles and link to them.
Yes that means being social in your niche.
How do you think I got big players like Grizz to link to me? I was a regular commenter on his blog and I wrote posts that linked back to him.
I engaged him and he responded.
Before him I was unknown by the three people that read this blog. I don’t try to get search traffic here. I don’t actually want search traffic here. I like being relatively anonymous.
But on my money sites – it’s different. I engage, chat in forums, link to other blogs in my niche. It’s easier and much more effective than spinning articles and sending out the various copies to directories.
People link to people. I have had some great blogs (including TVguide.com) link to me. Think a link from tvguide.com will help your rankings. You betcha!
Well, it looks like I’ve just hit 1,500 works so it’s probably time to go and hang the washing on the line – ahh a stay at home marketer’s job is never done.
But before you go I’d like to mention two things.
One – a big thanks to Alexis for kicking me up the butt and telling me I needed another post on this blog. This one’s for you – I hope you liked it.
And Two. Anyone a member of Threadless (the t-shirt site)? Then go and give my partner a 5 on his latest t-shirt design so his design talents can be validated.
Until next time …