This isn’t your typical SEO tips article.
Why would we write a massive article that includes every tidbit about search engine optimization when we have an entire blog roll dedicated to SEO already?
On-page SEO? Check.
Off-page SEO? Check.
Technical SEO? Check.
Literally check. (See what we did there?)
So in this article, we’re going to explore 13 of our favorite SEO tips that never get the attention they deserve, but that can make or break your SEO strategy nonetheless.
More specifically, these are the tips we’re going to explore:
- 1. Reduce dependence on SEO
- 2. Don’t try to rank all of your content
- 3. Build your public relations muscles
- 4. Don’t forget to keep the attention
- 5. Stop relying on keyword rankings
- 6. Remove content before adding new content
- 7. Buy a high domain authority website
- 8. Create a slack group for sharing content
- 9. Be the last click
- 10. Actually update your old posts (instead of just changing the year)
- 11. Listen to Google when they telegraph their plays
- 12. Spend some damn money
- 13. Plan for diminishing returns
- Wrapping up
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1. Reduce dependence on SEO
You heard that right.
While search engine optimization can drive thousands of organic visitors and, ultimately, buyers to your website, don’t grow overreliant on it.
SEO specialists get caught with their blinders on too often, but one-trick ponies get put out to pasture.
Don’t forget to build a brand too. Instead of just focusing on increasing the number of keywords your website ranks for organically, spend time increasing the number of people who search for your brand to begin with.
Branded search queries matter too.
What’s a branded search query? Any keyword that includes your brand name, product or service name, or brand-specific terminology.
For example, “klientboost” or “breadcrumb technique” or “klientboost reviews” are all brand search queries.
You’re going to rank for most branded search queries naturally. That’s not the point.
The point is to remember that your job as a marketer and SEO is also to increase the number of people who search for those branded queries (and reduce your dependence on Google in the process).
Pro tip: if you want to build a brand and increase branded traffic, you need to start branding more of your thoughts and ideas. That’s why we invented “recipes” like the iceberg effect, the TLC email framework, SKAGs, the heat ladder approach (email), and the bottom-feeding approach.
2. Don’t try to rank all of your content
Say it with me: not every piece of content you produce needs to rank for competitive keywords on Google.
One more time: you don’t need to optimize everything you create.
Deep breath in through your nose...
And exhale through your mouth.
Feel better now?
It’s perfectly ok to create a piece of content, whether a blog post, service page, video, or resource, that doesn't need to be optimized for search.
That is all. Carry on.
3. Build your public relations muscles
SEO has evolved so much over the last decade.
Today, good SEO is the reward of good marketing.
And all good marketing includes a healthy dose of public relations, especially SEO.
What is public relations? Let’s look at the definition:
“Public relations is the practice of managing and disseminating information from an individual or an organization to the public in order to affect their public perception.”- Wikipedia
Think about the entire process of a winning SEO program. You research something you can rank for organically, produce a linkable asset (aka something “newsworthy”) that will get attention and deliver value, promote that linkable asset to the public and your colleagues, and receive free publicity.
That’s public relations, my friends.
Someone who understands PR and community building is going to do a better job of link building than someone who obsesses over Google algorithms. I promise you that.
Where do PR pros and journalists go to research subject-matter experts and potential sources for their stories? Google.
Not only is the process of SEO heavily influenced by public relations, but the result (ranking in search engine results pages) helps earn more publicity.
4. Don’t forget to keep the attention
You’ve likely heard the stat that 93% of your website visitors aren’t ready to buy.
Which makes sense, considering the recent research out of the Ehrenberg-Bass Institute of Marketing Science confirms that 95% of anyone who ever encounters your marketing communications isn’t in-market at the moment; they’re out of market and may not enter for days, months, years, or ever.
As SEO experts, we spend so much of our time trying to earn attention through organic search results that we often forget we also need to keep attention to make it work.
Ever heard of brand blindness?
No? That’s because I just made it up, but it’s real.
How many times have you clicked on a website from Google, read the entire article, found what you were looking for, and left the website without ever knowing who wrote the article?
It happens all the time—and it’s a missed opportunity.
For marketing to work, you need to keep attention.
Here are a few ideas on how to keep your visitor’s attention using content marketing:
- Branded newsletter (exclusively delivered through email)
- Series (email, blog, video)
- Blog subscription
5. Stop relying on keyword rankings
Why? So many reasons:
- Page one doesn't exist anymore. Personalized search results are different for everyone
- Most of your traffic will come from keywords you don’t track anyways
- Google doesn’t rank keywords; they rank answers (read: semantic SEO). That means you can rank for keywords that don’t appear on your page. How will you track those?
- Keyword rankings don’t account for changing SERP layouts (i.e. more Google featured snippets stealing clicks)
- Keyword rankings don’t tell you what happens after the click (e.g. purchase, subscribe, bounce, etc.)
- Keyword rankings don’t account for decline of interest overtime (not all keywords stay relevant)
Target keywords and keyword research will always matter in SEO.
But keyword rankings took a backseat years ago.
We’re not recommending that you turn off keyword tracking entirely. Just don’t fall in love with the data. It’s misleading at worst, and it only tells a fraction of the story at best.
6. Remove content before adding new content
Did you know that low-quality content can actually inflict more harm than good?
Back in 2011, Google launched the Panda Update that sought to exterminate low-quality, thin, valueless content from search results altogether. They’ve been updating their algorithm to incorporate content signals ever since.
Most recently, they added E-A-T (expertise, authority, trust) to their Quality Raters’ Guidelines, which means that a team of real people scour the internet grading websites manually and running experiments that will eventually inform the algorithm.
If real people at Google are grading content based on levels of E-A-T present in the content, you know Google’s algorithm is trying to do the same.
Bottom line: low-quality content is a total waste of time.
But do you know how many websites still produce low-quality blog articles just because some uninformed SEO “expert” told them that publishing anything will improve their SEO? Tons.
Instead of adding new pages to your website, think about removing (or updating) thin, low-performing pages first.
Not only does this thin content live dormant on your website with no search traffic or website visitors, but it dilutes the page authority of high-quality content, which is probably costing you traffic.
Page authority passes from one page to another via internal links, and if you have tons of internal links going to low-quality content, you’re diluting page authority with pages that will never rank.
Remove low-performing content or update it.
7. Buy a high domain authority website
If you have the money, use it.
It can take years to accumulate the domain authority (DA) needed to rank atop Google search results and drive a substantial amount of organic traffic to your website. Never mind the talent needed to make it all happen.
Or you can purchase a domain in your niche that already has domain authority, traffic, subscribers, and maybe even writers.
This isn’t for everyone, and not every industry will have a high DA blog floating around just waiting to get bought for next to nothing, but they do exist.
Joe Pulizzi, formerly of the Content Marketing Institute, calls this “acquiring content marketing.”
If you’re a newer business with financial backing looking to enter a competitive SEO landscape, consider purchasing a blog or website to get a headstart.
Here are a few of our favorite marketplaces for buying blogs and businesses:
8. Create a slack group for sharing content
It’s tough to succeed in SEO unless you build a sphere of influence comprised of experts and thought-leaders who can share your content and link back to it from their own websites.
To give your content wings (and receive backlinks and referral traffic), it needs to get in front of relevant leaders who have their own audiences who will also value your content.
Instead of hitting the drawing board every time you publish an article, start cultivating a community of influencers that you can distribute articles to.
At the very least, join as many as you can.
Slack is the perfect tool to do it (or any social media forum like FB Groups).
In fact, there are dozens of Slack user groups related to marketing that you can join today:
- Demand Curve (for growth marketers)
- Marketers Chat
- Product-led Growth
- Online Geniuses
- Traffic Think Tank (paid)
While public slack groups have their merits, and we absolutely recommend you join as many as you can, they tend to get pretty spammy over time.
For your own self-interest, we recommend keeping your personal slack groups small, connected, and private. Use your slack group for building relationships, not just seeding content. Whatever you do, don’t turn your slack channel into a one-way self-promotional gimmick.
Create a slack group for your fellow employees, your industry colleagues, publishers, reporters, or any other community that might benefit from your articles and share them with their audience.
9. Be the last click
This one is a no-brainer.
“Be the Wikipedia page for your topic.”
Whatever or however you want to refer to it, produce content that provides all of the answers a searcher intends on finding, not just some of them. Go deep. Embrace long-form content.
There is no better way to extract value from your SEO than by ensuring an organic visitor doesn't need to pogo-stick back to SERPs to find a better answer.
There’s long been a debate about whether or not Google uses user behavior metrics like dwell time, pogo-sticking, bounce rates, or time on page as ranking factors.
The truth: it doesn’t matter.
Google has long stated that your web pages should help visitors complete their objectives—and that’s exactly what you should aim to do.
How do you do that?
First, your content should eliminate as many steps as possible between point A (question) and point B (answer). Visitors shouldn’t have to search elsewhere to complete the mission.
Second, when writing content, think about all of the new questions that will arise as your visitors read through it and learn, which are usually questions they’ve never asked before. Now provide answers to those questions too.
I’ve been writing for ten years now and those two tips have never failed me.
10. Actually update your old posts (instead of just changing the year)
Pet peeve alert.
There's nothing more annoying than reading what you think is the most current article (because the post title uses the most recent year), only to find out that the words within the article reference the prior year.
Like this article that references 2021 in the title:
But the body of the article references 2019:
Actually update your posts.
Google has various patents that describe ways in which they may rank current (or “fresh”) articles higher. In 2011, they even announced their “Freshness Update,” designed to better rank updated and/or current content.
No to mention your website visitors aren’t stupid; don’t treat them like it.
When updating old content, look for the following:
- Pages with most traffic: make your most viewed articles better
- Pages with most links: make your most popular articles more linkable
- Pages on first page of SERPs: move from low page one to high page one with an update
- Pages with low click-through rate (CTR) but high impressions: revisit search intent, title tags, and meta descriptions to increase CTR from SERPs
- Pages that actually need updating: not everything needs an update (e.g. the CrazyEgg article above doesn't need a bait and switch title to begin with; it’s not a current topic)
11. Listen to Google when they telegraph their plays
When I started in SEO over a decade ago (c. 2010), there were tons of “old-timers” who literally didn’t believe anything Google said publicly.
In their defense, this was a time when Google talked more than it walked, but only because Google was projecting the future they were heading toward, not reflecting on a future they had achieved.
Fast forward ten years later and everything Google said back then has come to fruition:
It all happened.
So next time Google telegraphs their plays, pay attention.
What are they telegraphing at the moment (it’s Dec 2021 at the time of writing this): user experience signals.
Most recently, Google announced the full rollout of the Page Experience Update (desktop and mobile). With this update, Google will add a few critical UX ranking factors to their algorithm (which already includes page speed, mobile-friendliness, HTTPS, and pop-ups).
Google calls these new factors Core Web Vitals.
Good news: we wrote an entire article on UX for SEO that explores each of Google’s UX ranking factors.
12. Spend some damn money
You can’t do SEO for free.
If you don’t have money, but you do have time (even a lot of time), you still probably can’t do it for free.
Not unless you plan on waiting years to generate enough organic traffic to sustain a business.
As of today (Dec 2021), the KlientBoost blog generates roughly 30K monthly organic visitors, and we’ve acquired over 36K backlinks. That’s a ton of traffic and publicity. Not to mention most of our new business comes directly from organic search.
How much have we spent over the last six years on SEO? Literally millions.
Yes, Millions with a capital M.
How much should you spend? We actually wrote an entire article on how much you should expect to spend to win with search engine optimization.
Short answer: you get what you pay for.
There’s a real opportunity cost to cheap SEO: wasted time and money.
13. Plan for diminishing returns
Gone are the days of SEO bliss where you could keyword stuff your way to page one search engine rankings and drive hundreds of thousands of clicks to your website.
Today, your biggest competitor is… Google.
That’s right: fewer than 50% of all queries today end in a click because Google is keeping visitors within their properties (featured snippets, answer boxes, Google Ads, etc.).
But that’s not all. According to Rand Fishkin of SparkToro, it gets worse:
- Decreasing click-through rates, especially on mobile
- Plateauing of total searches globally
- Hyper competition vying for fewer spots and less traffic
- Voice search cannibalizing more and more search results
- Entrenched incumbents making it impossible for new business to succeed
The writing’s on the walls. Don’t ignore it. Plan accordingly.
Good SEO comes down to finding little pockets of goodness that no one else has exploited yet. We hope this list of tips has helped uncover a few SEO opportunities still ripe for the taking.
Other areas of SEO we encourage you to explore, but weren't mentioned in this list include:
- Schema markup (structured data)
- Optimizing page tiles
- Search volume as it related to keyword difficulty
- Alt text for image SEO
- Technical SEO audit
In keeping with the spirit of SEO, we figured there was only one way to end an SEO tips article…
By asking for SEO tips:
You can venmo SEO tips ($$$) directly to my bank account (DM for number). No pressure.
On a more serious note, honestly, I’d prefer wire transfer. It’s just quicker (and it doesn’t ding me 10%).