Top Five Most Underrated SEO Strategies

By Patrice Meadows — Thursday, August 24th, 2017 at 11:00am

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Search has defined the Internet for decades, linking users to information in mere seconds. Today, more than six billion Internet searches are completed each day, helping drive traffic to websites of all kinds.

In the early days, Dogpile, Yahoo, AskJeeves (now, Ask.com) and other platforms drove traffic to sites. Today, Google dominates Search, facilitating nearly 80% of all search activity. This is no surprise considering Google, the platform, doubles as Google, the verb meaning to search online. Although several vendors are vying for larger stakes in the Search market (Bing and Yahoo, most notably), the lion share of SEO strategies are based on Google’s ever-changing algorithm.

Keeping up with all the changes and corresponding best practices is a full-time job, just ask any SEO practitioner struggling to increase their site’s rank in search engine result pages (SERP). While appearing on the coveted first page of results is quite the feat, doing so is not impossible. Try one or all five of the following underused, but highly effective, strategies to help your site move up in SERPs.  

Tip One: Optimize for mobile search

If you haven’t heard, mobile devices are quickly replacing desktops and laptops as the primary tool consumers use to access information online. According to a report by Hitwise, purveyors of audience intelligence software, nearly 60% of internet searches happen on mobile. This tidbit may also be behind Google’s announcement that the platform will transition to a mobile-first indexing strategy in late 2017. While experts anticipate the change benefitting those with mobile or responsive sites, the true impact is yet to be determined.

If your CMS is not already responsive (displays web content according to the device your site is being accessed on), it may be worth researching ones that are. In the meantime, use Google’s Search Console to see how your site renders on mobile. If key information is missing or out of place, adjust your site settings to ensure that everything appears appropriately. That way, when Google crawls your site for information to display in SERPs, your site will get the rank it deserves.

Tip Two: Focus on content quality and backlinks

Content overload makes ranking high in SERPs extremely difficult, even for some niche topics. One way to overcome this is to focus less on content quantity and more on content quality and attribution.

Write what helps your audience, not what helps you. Stay away from click bait titles, buzz phrases, and the overuse of keywords in content. Instead, focus on integrating rich (or direct) answers into content to increase the chances that search engines will list your content at the top of SERPs. Rich answers come in several forms, but generally, reference information taken directly from your site and displayed in SERPs so users get information they need without clicking through to your site. Staging content as Q&As is one way to integrate rich answers into your content. Sites like answer the public help content contributors see which questions are most popular within a certain topic.

Example:
Q: What is a CMS?
A:  A CMS is an application that manages the creation, modification, and distribution of digital content

Securing backlinks is another important element of SEO, as it is used to evaluate site content for rank. Monitoring mentions of your site is an easy way to get new sources for backlinks. Once you’ve identified which sites mention your brand, contact authors or web administrators to see if they will link their content to your site.

Speaking of backlinks, LinkedIn and other social networks offer another easy way to generate backlinks to site content. Sharing content or information that demonstrates your expertise helps establish you as a thought-leader in the area--the kind of thought leader people reference when creating content of their own. Publish posts and engage with followers regularly to grow your following, ultimately new links start to point to your site and your rank will increase as a result.  

Tip Three: Transcribe videos, twitter chats, and podcasts

The types of content created, stored and exchanged online has changed significantly as the Internet gained popularity. Videos, Twitter chats, podcasts and other forms of rich media are more common and can do a lot to help your site improve its position in SERPs. Since most engines can’t decode rich media, benefitting from their contents means transcribing them and posting the transcriptions to your site. This approach has the added benefit of making web content more accessible because it gives those with sight or hearing impairments alternative ways to engage with rich media.

For more tips on how to make your content more accessible, download this white paper on web accessibility.

Tip Four: Highlight content value with schema markup language

Schema Markup Language (is code semantic vocab) that helps search engines interpret results for users. Schema Markup Language tells search engines what your data means, not just what it says.

Example: The words  ‘apple’ and the word ‘computer’ appear in succession in a blog post, some search engines may not immediately detect the link to the iconic brand and suppress the site in SERPs as a result. Schema markup language helps place content in context so help users can easily understand what information means and how it can help them.

Resource: http://schema.org/

Tip Five: Optimize search for voice

Just as mobile replaced desktop as the preferred device for Internet activity, voice search is poised to replace data entry as the primary way to specify what type of information you are looking for. The 2016 Internet Trends Report estimates that alternative search methods (voice and image) will represent 50% of all search activity by 2020. To get ready for this next wave in SEO, here are a few tips for optimizing your site for search.

  1. Use conversational keywords and phrases to increase your chances of appearing high in SERPs for related searches.
  2. Create, maintain and regularly update FAQs that align with the conversational keywords and phrases your target buyer may use.
  3. Use schema markup language to help sites better interpret the information on your site.

What are some of your favorite (and most effective) SEO tips and tricks? Share them below or tweet us @hannon_hill

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