Most companies understand the value of organic search and while some rely solely on popular “best practices”, others spend a lot of time experimenting to find out uncommon actions that generate higher returns for their business. Experimentation is becoming a critical tool marketers need to use to deal with Google’s ongoing evolution and changes which impact their businesses organic visibility and acquisition efforts. According to Rand Fishkin from Sparktoro statistics show that over 50% of Google searches result in no clicks in June 2019 and this trend has been steady growth since 2016. Everyone knows thriving in a dynamic industry is hard, however, it is not impossible. According to FastCompany: “Businesses need to do things differently in a way that creates a competitive advantage”. A competitive advantage that will allow your business to provide more or better value to organic search users than any of your competitors. Doing things differently in online business means two things ongoing experimentation and implementation of underrated SEO tactics. This article will be covering the most underrated SEO tactics. Recently, Russ Jones, ex-principal search scientist at Moz, asked on Twitter: “What do you think is the most underrated SEO tactic?” And SEO experts came back to Russ’s question with the following answers: Let’s dig deeper into the most underrated SEO tactics you should consider to make things differently and get a better return on your organic acquisition efforts.
SEO tactics #1: Updating content
“CTRs are gone. They’re not coming back, but engagement on social is not falling off, So the shift in strategy then has to be okay, how do you drive engagement within those platforms and how do you grow an audience within those platforms and then once you have that audience, what do you actually do with it.” — Meghan Keaney Anderson Vice President of Marketing at HubSpot
Most marketers focus their attention on creating new content, without looking into performance and user engagement over time, you must know that old content can be more valuable than new content because it gives you a better understanding on how you can improve it for your users. It is vital to refresh your content based on user behaviour, feedback and new technologies (which is, Featured snippets), once this is done properly you can expect a boost in visibility and traffic. Stop creating content like most people do a bunch of words targeting a topic, instead, create content that actually educates or entertain your audience. Remember that we are not in the 90s anymore and you need to create something exceptional to be able to compete against content kings like Google or Netflix.
How to do it:
Updating content requires time and effort, but you can work efficiently by boosting the old pages that still rank well. Content Audit (not relevant for brand new sites): You must do proper traffic analysis and find out where your traffic is coming from. You might be surprised to see that a significant amount of it comes from old pages. If this is the case, you don’t have to rewrite the entire content. Let’s see a few tips:
- You can check it to be up-to-date and change the outdated parts
- Add a few useful information, maybe a few subheadings or other relevant keywords
- Reorganize the information to be more user-friendly
- Add multimedia
- Fix eventual spelling or grammar errors
To better understand the power of refreshing old content, here’s a short case study from animalz.co: The updated post received 90,137 pageviews in the time given, compared to an estimate of 59,927 pageviews. This is a significant difference of 30,000 pageviews during the observation time, which shows us the potential to refresh and why you should consider it. Updating old content can be pure gold for your SEO tactic. It is an underrated strategy, so you must benefit from this and see it as an opportunity.
SEO tactics #2: Internal linking
“Internal links aren’t just for you. They’re for your readers. So make sure that each link is helpful.” — Jeffrey Kranz Co-founder of Overthink Group.
Internal links connect content within your site, provide support to user users and give Google an idea of the structure of your website. Based on the internal linking, Google can establish a hierarchy and provide the most link value to the essential pages. According to Kevin Indig, the right structure depends on the type of site, business. Every website has a different kind of internal linking, and choosing the right one for your business can boost your SEO results.
How to do it:
- Define your site structure
- Crawl Your Site
- Calculate internal PR and CR
- Add backlinks to get “true PR”
- Add crawl rate form log files to understand impact of (internal + links) over time
- Sort and rank metrics
- Optimize for optimal link balance/focus
Oncrawl run an experiment that revealed the following:
- 454 positioned pages compared to 161 before linking;
- rankings for 1900 top 100 keywords compared to 454 before;
- volume research of 388.190 on keywords ranked in the top 100 compared to 103.000 before linking.
SEO tactics #3: Branding
“Branding is our only hope for conducting better SEO.” — Brad Smith Founder at Codeless.
All marketers know how important branding is for businesses. A brand inspires trust, and this increases the SEO results because users will be more prone to click on your website if they know about your company. And this is a hint for Google algorithms that your site has high authority and rewards it with good rankings. Google prioritizes the search results mainly taking into consideration the user; the search engine does not recognize brands per se. If a user clicks on your website links, it shows the search engine that trusts your brand. It’s a win-win situation and you should take advantage of this opportunity, investing in branding.
How to do it:
- Invest on Discovery Channels
- Encourage Branded Search
- Create something special
We can take a practical example. You sure are familiar with Uber, the ridesharing company. This company had the highest brand awareness compared with its competitors, and the statistics show us that they have high revenues online and, of course, many customers. Even though the company struggles with some legal issues with drivers who allegedly committed serious violent crimes against customers, and those concerning news are shown in snippets, Uber still gets a lot of clicks. This is possible due to good branding. Customers know this company, and even if they see the negative news, their trust remains. Is it true though that Uber could do a better job at SEO, still has impressive results and can be aiming for more.
SEO tactics #4: CTR optimization
“Look at a SERP that you want to dominate. It’s going to look pretty similar (even boring), so do something to surprise the user. Make your offer sound exciting and better than the rest.” — Kirsty Finlayson Content Strategist at Holded
CTR stands for click-through-rate and is a calculated metric that shows you how many users clicked on your website link out of the total number of people who saw it. CTR is an essential part of SEO strategies. If your site is ranked well, let’s say that it is shown on the three positions in the search engine page, but only a few users click on it, this is a sign that you need CTR optimization. Click-through rates will help you to obtain a better ranking. If your website has a high CTR, it’s a sign for Google that you provide relevant content for the users or that aligns with the query.
How to do it:
You can optimize the CTR through many methods, such as optimizing titles, meta descriptions, URLs.
- Keyword Intent Matching
- Optimize your messaging
- Enhance your SERP
Let’s see an example for better understanding. An experiment was conducted on Pinterest. The conductors of the test noticed that Pinterest is full of pins that lack descriptions. They picked specific pins and improved descriptions for them, showing them in addition to the existing description. The experiment’s results were unexpected: the traffic increased by approx 30%. This is an example of what a good optimization CTR campaign can do for your business.
Technology is constantly changing, search engines are not the exception, and it can be challenging to run a successful marketing campaign with these uncertain conditions. Always look at these underrated tactics as opportunities, give them adequate attention and experiment with them until you find the most suitable option for your business. Now I’d like to turn it over to you: What was your favourite tactic or case study from this article? Or maybe you have an excellent piece of content that you think I should add. Either way, let me know by leaving a comment below.