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But some of the best and most powerful SEO ideas are actually the most straightforward. Today, we cover 5 underutilized ones that anyone, from enterprise SEOs to local business owners, can use to boost search rankings.
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1. Scale your opportunities to drive search traffic
Each piece of content you create represents an opportunity to rank in search engines like Google and Bing. Videos, blog posts, product pages, landing pages, and more — these are all crawlable and indexable by Google. And if you think of each piece of content as a road that leads back to your website, the more roads you create, the more visitors you can drive to your site.
The problem is, creating content can be laborious. It requires planning, creative ideation, and execution. Luckily, you probably have more content than you think.
The problem with most content strategies
Most content strategies focus on creating single pieces of one-off content. For example, you set out to make a video or a blog post. You publish it and move on to the next piece of content. With this method, you get one potential road back to your content from Google.
But there’s a way to turn that one road into two or more. Take a video for example. An instructional video can easily be turned into a blog post. And the best part is the content is already there.
All it takes is transcribing the speech in the video, cleaning up the language to make it more text-friendly (getting rid of extra words like, “um,” “yeah,” “like”), and inserting some images to support your text. And you can easily outsource transcriptions for cheap.
Now you have two roads where you had only one. Let’s see if we can make it three.
Turning images into backlinks
What about imagery? Most images in blog posts are pulled from other content. As in, there aren’t very many original images being designed by content creators. For you, this is an opportunity.
Think of a way to visualize your written content. If you already have a video, you may be able to look back at individual slides or images you used in the video and put them in your blog post. If you don’t have those, look for elements of your text that can be easily visualized.
Statistics are a good example. Here’s an example of Google turning statistics into a very simple visual.
Anyone can make a visual like this with very basic image editing software. Put these into your content and now you’ve created an image that other people can use in their content. And when they do, most often they’ll credit you with a link (if they don’t, you can reverse Google image search and find the places it’s been used, then ask for a link back. This almost always works.)
So now you’ve turned some of your text into images that may turn into backlinks. These backlinks not only make your page more likely to show up higher in search engine results (by signaling to Google that you’re an authoritative and trustworthy source of information), but they serve as additional routes to your page themselves. Whenever someone links to your content in their post, there’s a chance the reader clicks through to your page. What’s more, it’ll help you draw impressions via Google image search, too.
Repurpose your content in alternative formats
But you don’t have to stop there. You can make an entirely new piece of content out of an image. Take this infographic from Brafton for example:
It’s an infographic version of an entire blog post. Here is yet another entirely new piece of content from what was originally a video turned into a blog post. Now you have three major roads leading back to your site that can be found in search engines.
And this is only the beginning. You can combine blog posts to make an ebook. You can condense a blog post into a downloadable tip sheet. Or you can do the reverse, and deconstruct ebooks or long reports into shorter guides, checklists, or content for blogging.
Now you’ve turned your original one piece of content into four or more pieces without having to make them entirely original every time. This method of content marketing will cut down on workload while also maximizing your opportunities to drive search traffic.
2. Share the old juice with new pages
Internal linking is an incredibly important part of on-page SEO strategy. Internal links aren’t just how users move from page to page on your site, it’s also how Googlebot finds and crawls your content. What’s more, internal links can work similarly to the way backlinks do.
The same way your page will get a rankings boost when a high-quality website links back to it, you can give individual pages on your site a rankings boost when higher-ranking pages from your own website link to it. If you have one page on your site that’s ranking particularly well in search engine results, you can link to other lower-ranking pages on your site to give it a little boost in Google.
What SEOs forget about internal linking
All this is pretty common knowledge in SEO. But what a lot of SEO practitioners forget to do is add backlinks from older, high-authority pages to new ones that may need a boost. And it makes sense, since you create content in linear order. You’re rarely going to add links to content that hasn’t been created yet. So, let’s say you wrote a small section on link building in a blog post before you had written an entire article or guide link building.
Well, now you can go back to that article, which has likely gained some search authority since you wrote it, and link that section to the newer article and/or guide on link building that you’ve just created. This is a quick and easy way to spread search authority around your site. And a lot of people overlook it.
3. Refocus your content on the searcher
The term “SEO” is a little misleading. Search engine optimization is about improving content to better satisfy search engines. But search engines want to satisfy the searcher. And so if you cut out the middleman and do the best job you can of satisfying the searcher instead of the engine, Google will reward you by bumping your content up its search engine results pages. In this way, SEO is less about search engine optimization and more about searcher optimization.
There’s a good chance you have some older content on your site. It’s time to audit it. Does it do the best possible job of satisfying the searcher?
Understanding search intent
To determine this, you have to understand search intent. Understanding search intent is about figuring out exactly what the user is looking for when they type a query into Google. Do they want to find a blog post? Product page? Video? Should the content be long, like a guide, or short like a definition or checklist? The way you find this out is by studying the first page of Google search engine results.
Type the target keyword phrase you’re trying to rank for into Google. What kind of content is ranking at the top of page one? Where are the focus keywords located in these articles, videos, or product pages? How are they organized? What content do they contain? Look at the featured snippet and the “People also ask” module. What do they say? Answering these questions will help you determine the perfect content for the query.
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Creating content based on intent
When it evaluates content, Google rewards comprehensiveness and user-friendliness. Comprehensive doesn’t necessarily mean long. It just means that it gives the user everything they’re looking for. Sometimes they’re looking for a long guide, and other times they’re looking for a short definition. Comprehensive content can be both short and long.
User-friendliness has to do with aspects of the content that make it easy to consume. Is it optimized for load speed? Is it separated into small paragraphs if there’s a lot of text? Is it organized with headers and subheaders? Jump links? Have you done keyword research for short-tail and long-tail keywords to determine what to include in your content?
It’s also important that you make it easy for people to understand what your content is about before they even reach your page. This can be done with title tags and meta descriptions.
Title tags and meta descriptions are a brief title and description of your web page’s content, which shows up on a SERP when you rank for a particular search term. Here’s an example from SitePoint:
Good titles and meta descriptions help boost your SERP click-through rate (CTR), which can affect ranking. Titles and meta descriptions will also show up in social media thumbnails when you share your content, and though social media isn’t a direct impactor of search ranking, there is a correlation between social media posts and backlinks.
Also important is knowing what kind of device your target audience is searching on. If more mobile users enter a particular search query than desktop users, it’s something to take into account. Mobile search is Google’s priority to the point they’ve committed to mobile-first indexing. So your content should accommodate mobile devices of all sizes.
All these contribute to a good user experience. High-quality content is the most important part of on-page SEO, and it plays a significant part in off-page SEO, too. Getting it right can mean a major rankings boost, but it requires a lot of work, and a refocus on the searcher from the traditional search engine.
4. Do more with your images
For a lot of webmasters, images are an afterthought. But images provide some of the most underutilized ways to boost SEO.
Earlier in the post we outlined how images can actually get you backlinks. When they’re optimized well, they can also help you earn search impressions, make your site faster, and make it easier for crawlers to process, too. Here’s how:
- Optimize your file names and alt text: File names and alt text can actually provide clues to Google about your image. Be descriptive, and if you can, use your keyword (but don’t force it). Write your image file name in “this-format-with-dashes” and your alt text like a sentence. This can help your on-page SEO, and it can earn you search impressions through Google image search.
- Eliminate unnecessary images and optimize file types: One study from Google found that images were the number one cause of slow page speed on mobile landing pages. Load speeds are so important to Google now that they’re an official ranking factor. Compressing your images and eliminating ones that don’t add value to your website can improve page load speed, decrease bounce rate, and boost your SEO.
- Use text instead of images for headers and navigation menus: Google is getting more advanced but it still has a hard time perfectly understanding images. So when you use images of text instead of text on important website elements, like navigation or headers, Google can’t crawl them as effectively. For better crawlability, look for areas where you’ve used images of text and replace them with traditional text.
- Create an image sitemap: Just like an XML sitemap can help Google find your pages, an image sitemap can help Google find your images. Google says: “Images are an important source of information about the content on your site. You can give Google additional details about your images, and provide the URL of images we might not otherwise discover by adding information to an image sitemap.”
These are just three impactful ways that you can boost SEO with images. There are lots more, like using schema markup, lazy loading, vector graphics, etc.
5. Remove spammy inbound links
Backlinks communicate to Google that other websites trust you as an authoritative and valuable source. Usually, the more backlinks to your pages, the better you look to Google. And the higher quality these backlinks are, the better you look, too.
For example, a backlink from Google will more positively affect your SEO than a backlink from a local marketing agency, which is why search engine optimizers try to build backlinks from authoritative and trustworthy sites.
But what some website owners overlook is that backlinks from low-quality websites can make you look bad to Google the same way links from high-quality websites can make you look good. To Google, the company you keep says a lot about you. Says Sidra Condron in a blog post for SpyFu:
When your website has numerous bad backlinks, it puts your credibility into question. It indicates that you have resorted to unnatural or suspicious means to acquire those links.
As a result, it triggers Google’s spam filter and may get your website penalized. Your website is likely to experience a massive drop in search engine rankings and may even get banned by Google altogether. This can be detrimental to the growth of your business and makes it necessary to remove bad backlinks coming to your site.
What’s worse is you don’t always have control over who links back to your site. In fact, research has shown that 34% of SEOs have resorted to sending spammy backlinks to their competitors to hurt their rankings.
Assuming you’re not the victim of an attack on your SEO, the kind of backlinks you want to avoid are:
- Links from domains that have been penalized
- Links from directories and link farms
- Links from unsavory industries like online gambling or porn
- Links from foreign language sites
- A large number of links from unrelated websites
- A large number of exact-match anchor text links.
If you’re getting backlinks from any of these, it could be hurting your rankings. Reach out to the website owners and ask them to remove the links to your site. If that doesn’t work, you can tell search engines to devalue the link by disavowing it in tools like Google Search Console, Bing Webmaster Tools, and even third-party software like SEMRush.
Get a complimentary SEO audit
Climbing the SERPs to page one requires digging a little deeper into your basket of SEO ideas. The 5 above are just a few of the lesser common ones that anybody can use to boost their rankings.
Want to find out how you’re doing with SEO? Get a free audit below, or schedule a consultation to learn how intent SEO can boost traffic revenue by 700%.