The four most underrated SEO tactics
When we get to work on optimizing the site, we can make a basic mistake: focus on just a few more obvious or already known aspects and refer to generic best practices, or, on the contrary, focus everything on extreme experimentation to raise our fortunes. This means not evaluating the specific features of our project and neglecting some SEO tactics that, instead, can give really effective results.
SEO tactics to rediscover
Some time ago Russ Jones, former Principal Search Scientist of Moz, launched an open poll on Twitter asking his contacts to indicate what was, to them, the “most underrated SEO tactic“; the post got many comments and interactions (summarized in this screen by Jeffrey Kranz, still on Twitter) and offers interesting ideas to deepen the theme, also following what Nicolas Vargas highlighted on searchenginewatch.
For sure, in the SEO field experimentation can be an important quality to use to manage the ongoing evolution of Google and be able to follow the changes that affect the organic visibility of activities and the efforts to acquire the ranking. Many analysts point out that competitive advantage can only be created by doing “things differently” from other companies, but you can not only look for unexplored paths.
A competitive advantage from the overlooked tools
The competitive advantage that can allow our company to offer a higher or better value than all competitors to users who arrive from organic research can also come from these overlooked SEO tactics because, perhaps, considered too basic or granted.
In reality they are not, and they can indeed offer the right boost to thrive in a dynamic sector and to overcome a difficult but not impossible challenge. Instead of focusing on experimentation, implementing undervalued tactics can mean “doing things differently” to get a better return on our organic traffic acquisition efforts.
To update contents
Most marketing experts and publishers focus their attention on creating new contents, without examining the performance of articles and the involvement of users over time: actually – and we were also saying that a few months ago – adding contents does not automatically increase the organic traffic of the site.
Sometimes, if not always, it is more useful to think about refreshing the already present contents, which is the most underrated SEO tactic (which, of course, suits little to brand new sites) according to this survey: many commentators also think that websites that continually update old content could be scanned more often, potentially getting a boost in search engine results.
A valid strategy for all sites
We can focus primarily on the so-called evergreens, as they allow us to base our strategy on practical data that make us understand what is the way to take with our improvements: what our users are looking for and want and what Google is rewarding at that time. We can thus find out if it is necessary to change the focus to intercept the search intent highlighted by the SERP, if we have to insert some keywords not present in the text, if the tone used is not convincing and so on.
It is therefore essential to update our content based on user behavior, feedbacks and new technologies (for example, featured snippets and other Google rich results), really being able to create texts that inform or entertain our target audience (and are not just a bunch of keywords clumsily combined) and this work – often overlooked – can lead to an increase in visibility and traffic in the medium/ long term.
How to update the site’s old contents
Updating contents takes time and effort, reminds the article, but we can efficiently work by improving the old pages that still rank well.
The first operation is a proper traffic analysis, also investigating the sources of origin, both in terms of channels and pages: a significant part could come from old pages, to which we can give a boost without necessarily having to rewrite the entire content.
Some suggestions to improve the old contents of the site are:
- To check if it still responds to the search intent of users that has been identified by Google in SERP.
- To check if there are obsolete parts to update, modify or replace.
- To add some useful and new information, by entering new headings or other relevant keywords previously neglected or not yet emerged at the time.
- To rearrange information so to make them more intuitive.
- To add media resources.
- To correct any spelling or grammatical errors.
For local businesses (which tend to have a lot of static and outdated contents) some quick additions that extend the scope of the content and report an active online presence can also help potential customers gain confidence. You can for example insert new customer reviews, or update the list of services proposed by entering those not previously offered, change and improve the pictures of the services or work done.
The effects of this strategy: a case study
Vargas also reports a case study that testifies to the effectiveness of this strategy: the website animalz.co has updated its content and has reversed significantly the trend of visits, which was falling. The updated post received 90,137 page views in the time indicated, compared to an estimate of 59,927: a significant difference of 30,000 views, that certifies how necessary it is to consider this tactic as a valid opportunity to take advantage from.
Enhancing the internal links
The internal links are useful to connect the different contents within our site, provide support to users and give Google an idea of the site structure; thanks to these links, Google can establish a hierarchy and provide more link juice to the pages we deem essential.
There is no predefined structure to refer to, because the choice depends on the type of site and the business, and potentially each online project has different internal link management modes.
The scope of the internal link optimization
The test mentioned in the article gives us a practical indication of the value of this other neglected SEO tactic:
- 454 pages ranked with respect to the 161 pages present before the optimization.
- A rank for 1900 top 100 keywords compared to the previous 454 ones.
- Search volume of 388,190 on keywords classified among the top 100 compared to the previous 103,000.
Branding, an SEO tactic to reconsider
According to many analysts, the way to a better SEO inevitably passes through the work on branding: the brand is increasingly important for companies, because having a good brand awareness inspires confidence and helps to increase results, making users more inclined to click on a website of a company that they already know and maybe appreciate.
Simplifying, Vargas recalls that Google prioritizes search results by primarily taking into account the user and does not recognize the brands themselves. So, if a person clicks on the site, he signals to the search engine that he trusts our brand.
How to invest on branding
The work on strengthening the brand is a win-win situation that we should take advantage of and take advantage of, launching some specific actions such as:
- Investing on discovery channels.
- Encourage branded researches.
- Create something special and different.
The value of the brand
The case study of Uber – known company of ridesharing – offers us practical indications on the way to follow: the company had the highest brand awareness in the industry compared to its competitors and statistics show that they have high online revenues and, of course, many customers. Recently, the company is also on a crisis due to legal problems (as well as the battles with various European countries on the recognition of professional activity), and in the news previews you can see critical articles and negative information: nevertheless, the service still receives many clicks thanks to the strength of its brand.
Customers know Uber and, although they see the bad news, they keep their trust stable. On the other hand, it is also true that Uber could do a better job in terms of SEO, as it does have impressive results but can surely aim to something more.
The CTR is a metric that calculates how many users have clicked the link to our website compared to the total number of people who have seen it in SERP and has always been an essential part of SEO strategies.
If the site is well-ranked – if it appears, for example, in the top three positions of the search engine page – but only a few users click on the link it is time to work on the CTR optimization, that can help you get a better ranking because it offers to Google a sign that the site presents contents relevant to users or aligned to their intent and query.
How to improve CTR
There are various techniques to optimize the CTR, such as verifying the correspondence between intent and the content’s main keyword, improving the titles and description of the page to make them more persuasive, editing the URL and so on.
An example based on Pinterest helps us to better understand the effects of this work: the site was full of pins with no descriptions and it was enough to add a short relevant text to increase traffic by 30%.