Myth: SEO is about creating great content, securing backlinks and “automatically” ranking in search results.
Truth: SEO is not a one and done deal. And it’s not just a series of “write, publish & repeat” strategies. That’s right; there’s more to SEO than just content.
In this article we’ll cover 5 tangible examples of SEO strategies that have NOTHING to do with a content factory approach.
All successful marketers use the techniques below.
These strategies are based on actionable advice tied to how people consume content, how Google “reads” your site and the tools that can help you measure the effectiveness of your SEO efforts.
But most importantly, these SEO tips and tricks strategies are exclusively tied to things you and your business can do today.
It does not require third party agencies, expensive tools, guest posting or any other run-of-the-mill strategies.
It’s all within your reach. And you can do them all - today! Let’s get down to it, shall we?
What’s scroll-driven content? It is the art of creating compelling content that makes people want to scroll more and more.
The primary goal with scroll-driven content is to ensure that the reader gets to the bottom of the article, no matter how long it is.
Why is it scroll-driven content so crucial to your SEO strategy?
You see, the amount of time people scroll through your content (also known as dwell time) is one of the key data points Google takes into account when maintaining your rankings or boosting them.
The longer readers take scrolling down the page, the more valuable your content is in the eyes of Google. After all, why would readers take their sweet time to read gibberish or worthless content?
There’s a very specific way of creating and presenting content to users that will make them scroll more down a page.
Some of these tricks are technical - font size, color, type, etc., while some are content-driven, including writing no more than two sentences per paragraph, add images every 300 words, etc.
Your content is competing for the reader’s attention with meaningless yet funny memes, chats from friends, cat videos and whatnot. So, how can you win user’s attention?
Most online users judge an article in a snap based on their first impression, which coincidentally happens to be the headline. After all, only 20 percent of online users read the entire article, while 80 percent read the headline.
Did you know that 59 percent of people share an article after just taking a peek at the headline and without actually reading it?
Fortunately, writing a share-worthy, captivating headline is easier than you think.
Just stick to these dos and don’ts of headline writing:
Include numbers. A number makes a headline sound specific, and tells readers exactly what they’re going to get. For instance, this article is called ‘5 Amazing Tactical SEO Tips and Tricks Strategies You Need to Follow in 2019’ versus ‘Tactical SEO TIPS and Tricks’. We chose to include two numbers in the headline:
5 - number of specific strategies we want you to learn about
2019 - we want you to know these strategies are relevant this year.
Don’t neglect emotions. Use emotionally-charged words like amazing, now, crazy, mistake, fast, etc. (see how our title has the word amazing in it?)
Do use Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) to add a sense of urgency to your headline.
Don’t make it all about you. Make it about the reader. Tell the consumers what's in it for them. For instance, here’s a tip that’ll change your life …
An awesome headline will get the reader as far as he first few paragraphs of your article. However, it’s a killer copy that will get them reading down to the bottom.
How do you write impressive copy?
Use brief yet concise sentences. They’re easier to comprehend and read. In fact, a 12-word sentence provides 711 percent better comprehension than a 54-word sentence.
Write as you talk. It sounds natural and homy to the reader.
Target a single person, not the mass.
Use the active voice. It can do wonders for comprehension as well as the feel of your copy.
Avoid big words. They are hard to understand, watering down the value of your article.
Write your copy for skimmers. Highlight important points, use subheadings, take advantage of takeaway lines, and so on. If you write a large block of text without subtitles, they’ll probably skip the article altogether. See how each paragraph in this article is 3-4 lines at the most?
Good copywriters don’t whip up their content from scratch. The good news is that there are writing templates/formulas for just about any type of content, from a blog and article to email newsletter and anything in between.
For instance, a landing page starts with a headline showcasing clear benefits, followed by social proof and body text written according to problem-agitate-solve formula. You will also need to add a transition and end with a clear call-to-action (CTA).
The value of the first sentence of an article is absolute. If the reader stops reading after the first or second sentence then your copy hasn’t achieved its intended purpose.
How to create a “slippery slide” copy? Use open loop sentences, short stories and other nuggets that'll get the reader excited about the rest of the article.
Attention, Interest, Desire, and Action (AIDA) formula might also come in handy here. It's an ideal copywriting formula especially for crafting awesome video scripts, newsletters, squeeze pages and sales pages.
If you want an article that will get read fully, you have to write like you’re talking to a customer. That’s why you need to do a bit of research about your typical customer/reader.
Leverage reader surveys, industry insights, Amazon reviews, social media interactions, and customer interviews to understand your target audience in and out.
You should spice up your copy with visually-stunning images, and with good reasons. Humans are naturally inclined towards visuals. In fact, our brains process visuals 60,000 times faster than text or audio.
● 64 percent of readers will remember content that includes images
● 80 percent of online users are likely to read image-rich content
Whether in blogs, social media pages, email marketing copy, website content or white papers, visuals can do wonders for your audience engagement.
Marketing specialists who rely more on images tend to have a larger audience, more followers, more leads, higher sales, and overall better ROI.
That’s where image search optimization comes into action. Here’s a mini-guide to help you stay on top of content imagery and image SEO.
Image SEO refers to the use of proper image alignment, captions, dimensions, filenames, alt tags, and attributes, as well as a set of techniques and tactics you can leverage to optimize your content images for search and internet browsing.
Properly optimized images create a pleasant user experience, which is a key ranking factor used by Google. They keep your readers engaged and improve the bounce rate of your website. All in all, SEO-friendly images can have a positive impact on the overall UX.
Increase site loading speeds. Image SEO allows you to reduce the size of images which enables your site pages to load faster and rank higher on search. Given that people don’t want sites that load longer than 3 seconds, you’ll also prevent site abandonment.
Makes your content more worth sharing. People love sharing optimized videos, pictures and other forms of multimedia. They are relevant, easy to engage with and can help you tell your brand story and convey your message better. In a nutshell, if you want your content to go viral, it’s best to do image SEO.
Improve your image search ranking. 60 percent of Google image browsers are likely to go to the site of origination. With image search gaining more and more traction each passing year, optimizing your images for the internet can help pull in more search traffic to your site.
Image optimization is one of the most important SEO tips and tricks that you should have in your market toolkit. Here are the top image SEO hacks:
Tip 1. Use quality images
Using irrelevant images will water down the value of your content, not to mention that they will confuse the reader. On the other hand, low-quality (wrongly cropped, blurry, pixelated, etc.) images will paint your content in a bad light. Poor images can push your article’s bounce rate through the roof.
Tip 2. Use Image Alt Text
Search engines can’t “read” images (yet!). You have to tell them what’s happening using proper alt tags. Good thing, if the image fails to load, alt text will be shown in its place. That’s great for user experience and readership.
Using image alt tags also helps your website stay in compliance with ADA web accessibility regulations. More importantly, you can take advantage of the text to optimize the image for search.
For optimal results, be as specific as possible, keep the text brief and use proper keywords. Of course, don't use images (such as emojis) as text, and don't forget form buttons.
Tip 3. Use XML Image Markups
Include XML image sitemaps to tell Google more info about the image in question, including its exact location. For more details, check out this article on technical SEO tips.
Tip 4. Personalize Image Filename
It's somewhat laughable that some developers don't customize the filenames of their images. It's easy to do and can help users understand what your image is all about before they even view it. If it’s possible, squeeze in a keyword into the filename.
Tip 5. Finding the Perfect Size-to-Quality Ratio is Crucial
You want your image to look stunning, but you don't want the size to bog down your site's loading speed. You can use Adobe Photoshop, Windows Paint software, Mac's Preview or robust tools like JPEGmini and TinyPNG to get the right size-to-quality ratio of your images.
Tip 6. Store Images On your Site
You probably host your images in 3rd party platforms like Google Drive, Imgur, Tumblr, etc. to save space. Unfortunately, when the third party hosting site experiences traffic problems, downtimes or overloads, your images will fail to load. That’s a big no-no for user experience and SEO purposes.
Both web visitors and search engines love fresh, up-to-date content.
However, very few people understand that you can be at the top of Google search results for 5 or more years with the same old content if you update it regularly.
True, old is gold. But gold needs polishing too!
According to an illustration by MOZ, your content loses its freshness over time. But how fresh your content is an important SEO ranking factor that Google uses to score the quality of your site.
Skyrocket your site traffic. Did you know that updating your old content can help you spike your traffic by 15 - 30 percent? If your older posts account for a significant percentage of your website’s overall traffic, you can still increase their potential.
Improve your organic search CTR. It’s a no-brainer that searchers are more likely to click through to content that appears to be recent than dated.
Fix typos and grammar errors. They happen to the best of us. A second look at your content can help fish out these cringe-worthy mistakes that could be hampering your search ranking efforts. For instance, Ahrefs managed to increase traffic to a page by 486 percent by just making minor changes and weeding out grammar and spelling errors.
Improve content accuracy and authenticity. With time, some content such as listicles become irrelevant. Updating your content will help you add corroborations and remove any discrepancies.
Get rid of broken/outdated links. Some links you added to your content might be broken, outdated or downright irrelevant at the moment. A second look allows you to update these links providing more value to the reader (Google will love you for it).
Unfortunately, even the best of SEO gurus lack update techniques and hacks. So, what’s the best methodology for updating content that you wrote and published 3 years or so years ago?
(a) Add Images, Videos and Other Multimedia
If you wrote your content 3 or more years ago, there’s a good chance you didn't include multimedia. Even if you did, the image, videos, etc. are probably low-quality or generic.
This is your chance to put your best foot forward when it comes to image SEO. Add an image or other multimedia to your copy after every 100-350 words. This way, you will pep up your content and make it more appealing and engaging.
(b) Refresh the Links
When updating your old content, you might want to refresh the links. Use tools like LinkMiner to fish out broken links. Remove old, broken or outdated links, as well as add new, more relevant ones. This will make your content more appealing to Google. More importantly, link old content to your own recently published blogs, articles, and pages.
(c) Do the Actual On-Page Updates
Found any outdated study? Update it. Have a list of the best apps for 2016? Bring it up to the 2019 version. Do a top-down analysis of the entire content to assess accuracy, relevance, and freshness.
(d) Add New Sections/Subsections
Thickening your content is a crucial part of the update. It helps spruce up the feel and look of your article. New findings relevant to your content? Create a new section to reflect these updates.
(d) Switch to ‘Last Updated’ Timestamp
Most forward-thinking SEOs have already switched from “published on” timestamps to “last updated.” If you are going to make significant alterations and updates to your older posts, this will come in especially handy.
(e) Think about Refreshing the Title Tag
Update your title tag with more appropriate modifiers to make it more clickable. However, don't make changes to the title tag that will harm your current CTR and ranking.
(f) Make your Content More Shareable and Linkable
This is especially important if you're in a highly competitive niche. You can make your current content more linkable by adding an infographic, an interactive media or industry report/sponsored survey.
(g) Update your Call to Actions (CTAs)
The discounts, incentives and other offers that you made in the past might no longer be viable or applicable. This is your best shot to update the copy and remain relevant.
(h) Pull in More Social Traffic
Your old content might be a little “rusty” but re-sharing it on social media sites can create some buzz. Be creative how you do, but don’t lie to your fans that it’s new content. It might backfire on you.
Internal links are the unsung heroes of the world of link-building for SEO. While external backlinks take most of the credit, you can take advantage of internal links to drive more traffic.
Take Ninja Traffic, for instance; the site upped their organic traffic by 40 percent by leveraging this often ignored strategy: internal link-building.
There’s an entire science about internal backlinking - how it works, why it matters and the results you will get if this works. This has always been there but most marketers don’t know how to leverage this technique correctly.
Internal backlinking is tied to the “lingering effect” of an article page and how Google splits SEO value between links on a page. This, in turn, impacts how you do SEO as a whole. Let’s delve right in.
What’s Internal Linking?
Internals links connect one page to another on the same site. The idea behind internal linking is that both the origin and target domain of the link should the same.
These internal links serve several different purposes.
They give Google a hint about your website, and how it is structured. More importantly, however, is that search engines use these links to discover and score new content within your website/domain.
They help the user navigate your site better. Links direct them to complementary resources, related content and other important pages within the site.
They define the hierarchy and architecture of your site. Ultimately, internal links help with user experience.
Help score pages based on their authority. The more internal links to a particular page, the more authoritative it will seem both to the user and Google. Imagine your website as a pyramid, with least authoritative content at the bottom and most important ones at the top.
To deliver the best SEO results, review and update your internal linking strategy once every month. How?
(a) Create a ton of content
Without content, your internal links will be non-existent. So, the first step to an awesome internal linking strategy is to have an impressive content marketing strategy.
The more content you churn out, the more linkable resources you’ll have at your disposal, and therefore the better your internal linking strategy. Create quality content for each silo.
(b) Make proper use of anchor text
Proper anchor text is not the same as an optimized anchor. It should be precise in conveying the message about the target resource to the reader. Don’t overthink the whole process, nor black-hat linking tactics. Those won’t ride well with Google.
(c) Embrace contextual linking approach
This is an approach whereby you have a piece of content that you want to rank above the rest. For instance, if you have a comprehensive article titled “the ultimate guide to SEO”, you want it to rank above the fold.
For this approach, you will link several other relevant articles to this cornerstone article. It should be longer, more valuable to the reader, and rich in visuals.
(d) Go beyond the cliche links like homepage and contact us page (go deeper)
Take your internal linking to a whole new and unique level. In fact, you should avoid linking to top-level pages altogether, unless that’s your ultimate goal. It doesn’t matter if you are a B2B or B2C company. If your clients are other companies - make sure your content links to your relevant service pages. If you sell products online, make sure your content links to specific product pages.
(e) Be realistic
Your internal links should sound and feel natural both to the reader and search engines. Don’t add links for the sake of it. They should add more value to the user in terms of experience and information found in the target link.
What’s the reasonable number of internal links per article? Neil Patel suggests that you throw in 4-5 links in every article longer than 1,500 words. If it’s shorter, you might want to stick to fewer links, lest you stifle your Google ranking.
(f) Use do-follow links but don’t forget no-follow links
If you opt for a silo internal linking approach, do-follow links will help you set the tone and establish the hierarchy of your content marketing. Including no-follow links is also a fantastic idea, and a great way to give more authority to more important pages. For instance, you want Google to distinguish between a link going to the login page to one directing users to the contact us page.
There are hundreds of SEO tools in the world. But NONE is more accurate than the one Google gives, for free, to everyone. It was referred to as Google Webmaster Tools until 2015, before being born again as the Google Search Console.
That said, most companies and some agencies don’t even use it - or have even heard of.
That in and of itself is inexcusable considering that this is the only real-time tool that Google actually uses to score your content and rank your site.
Befittingly, we’ll dedicate this final section of our article for all-things Google Search Console and Webmaster Tools. We shall cover the most important SEO tips and tricks that pertain to this nifty tool.
Often shortened GSC (or previously WMT), Google Search Console is a powerful tool that Google has made available for free to every digital marketer, SEO, and webmaster.
The primary goal of GSC is to help you track and manage every aspect of the search functionality of your website.
Technically, this is a batch of analytics tools and reports that will help webmasters and SEO experts remedy crawling errors, as well as create proper strategies for optimizing their sites for better search rankings.
So, if you have ever wondered what information Google has after crawling your entire website, wonder no more. It’s all in this powerful tool.
The current version of GSC officially graduated from beta sometime in January 2019.
GSC is crucial for your SEO ambitions. It will act as the compass for all your forthcoming SEO efforts and overall strategy.
GSC is divided into top-level categories - namely, Search Appearance, Search Traffic, Google Index and Crawl, as well as subsections under the main sections.
You can use this section to do a great deal of SEO research. It can tell you a ton of information about your site, too. Whether your Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) are on, whether you have structured data errors, and so forth. We’ve covered some of these critical SEO factors in a previous article available here.
The subsections under Search Appearance are:
● Structure Data - This subsection has everything about your HTML markup codes and other structured data Google needs to categorize and index your site better, as well as serve up results in the form of rich & informative snippets.
● Rich Card - You can deploy visually-stunning rich cards for movies, recipes, etc. You’ll find all the info about your rich cards here.
● Data Highlighter - This is a less complicated version of structured data
● HTML Improvements - This an in-depth report that showcases all issues that Google has found while indexing or crawling your website. It’s not available in the new version.
● Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) - This is a report that reveals all the errors in your AMP markup.
Read more about why the information in this Google section is critical to the overall success of your SEO campaign in this article: The Only Guide to Technical SEO You Will Ever Need to Read (23 Actionable Tips)
Search Traffic section is a gem for every SEO specialist. You’ll find out well-performing pages. It comes with 6 subsections:
● Performance (formerly Search Analytics) - Gives you the site’s search performance across several metrics, including pages, devices, countries, search appearance, date, search type, and queries.
● Links to Your Site
● Internal Links
● Manual Actions
● International Targeting
● Mobile Usability
This section provides you with reports on how your site content is performing in terms of search. The subsections under this category are:
● Index Coverage/Index Status (old GSC)
● Content Keywords
● Blocked Resources
● Remove URLs
This section provides you with several crawling error reports, your sitemap, and of course, Fetch as Google tool. The subsections found in this category are:
● Crawl Errors
● Crawl Stats
● Fetch as Google
● Robots.txt Tester
● URL Parameters
Here are 10 best ways you can use GSC to spruce up your SEO and take your ranking to the next level.
Duplicate content can spell doom to your SEO efforts in a big way. Thankfully, you can use the URL Parameters tool to fix it. Not just that, this tool can help you stay on top of your crawl budget, as well.
The chances are that you didn’t nail your keyword research the first time around. Once you have created a lot of content, go to GSC and find keywords you can optimize for better ranking.
Go Performance/Search Analytics then check the following boxes Positions, CTR and Impressions. Sort by impressions to find a term that’s ranked between positions 3 and 7, but top-performing in terms of impression. Add part or the entire phrase to H1 or Title tag.
It’s simple just watch out for sitemap report warnings under Crawl.
Go to Performance subsection and check Queries and Clicks boxes. Check Impressions if you want keyword suggestions for your ad copy too.
Check crawl errors, URLs being blocked for Googlebot, URLs going to "useless" pages, and server errors. Identify and fix these errors to boost your SEO.
Leverage the power of Data Highlighter in GSC to personalize your website’s appearance on Google SERP. tweak page metadata to improve ranking, make your pages stand out in search and provide Google with better context about your content.
No-index tags serve a good purpose, but if you forget them long after their use has elapsed, you are hampering your site’s ranking. Check out no-index tags under GSC so you don’t have to do a complete evaluation of your HTML code.
User experience has become Google’s go-to ranking factor. Use page loading times, font size issues, mobile responsiveness, error 404 reports, broken link reports, and other hints from Google Search Console you improve your site’s user experience.
Use GSC to develop a better internal link building strategy to increase your site’s authority. For instance, you can find out which are the top-ranking pages. This way, you can link from these pages to the ones that you want to improve.
Monitor the Index Coverage/Index Status for sharp spikes or dips in the number of indexed pages. If you see pages that you don’t want indexed appearing in the list, you can add no-index tags to robot.txt to prevent further index bloating.
There’s more to SEO than crafting great content, securing backlinks, and just expecting automatic ranking in search results. It’s an ongoing strategy, and not a one and done deal.
As discussed in great length, here are 5 unique SEO tips and tricks strategies you can use to take your search ranking to the next level:
To start off, you need to craft scroll-driven content. In order to do that, you need to take important steps including:
● Create a compelling headline
● Write an impressive copy
● Leverage a writing formula or template relevant to the type of content you are creating
● Create content with the end consumer in mind.
Next, you need to do proper image SEO to improve site load speeds, make your content more viral, and improve your image search ranking. Top image SEO tips include:
● Using high-quality, relevant images
● Using image alt text/tags
● Personalizing the filename
● Finding the optimal quality-to-size ratio
● Hosting images on-site
Don’t forget to regularly update your content to fix grammar/spelling errors, drive more traffic, improve content accuracy, and refresh links.
Reviewing & updating your internal linking strategy once a month is another crucial SEO tips and tricks strategy to keep in mind. Important tips for your internal link building include:
● Creating a boatload of content
● Using anchor texts properly
● Be realistic - use 3-4 internal links per 1500-word article
● Use contextual internal links
● Use follow links to help Google crawlers out
Finally, make sure to take advantage of Google Search Console (GSC).
Interested in learning more about SEO? Read our recent article on why many websites lost their rankings in 2019.