During a recent webinar published on Digital Marketing Depot, Strategic SEO Solutions (SSS) founder and CEO Jon Lightfoot said that when we think about search engine optimization (SEO) success, we have a tendency to think about ranking only on the first page of Google. Lightfoot pointed out that beyond ranking at the top, a more important concern is actually ranking for the right keywords.
Ranking for the right keywords will not be the result of magically stuffing keywords into content or cranking up the density of keywords. Instead, the answer will often be making sure that all of your website content is considered authoritative by search engines and gets eaten up by large numbers of people.
Five Core Tactics to Help Outrank in Organic Search
During that webinar, Lightfoot shared insights on the following top five tactics you could be using:
Driving SEO Success via User Intent
Lightfoot said that intent is the purpose behind a user’s search. “There are four buckets to understand and nurture when it comes to your strategy,” Lightfoot said.
Those four areas of user intent he identified are related specifically to content or services that people are looking for. The four areas included:
- Informational: People seeking information like answers to questions.
- Navigational: People looking for certain websites.
- Commercial: People who are conducting research on a product or service.
- Transactional: People who are searching for products or services with the intent to buy.
When it comes to harnessing this and using it in a way that is effective for your company, Lightfoot said the first step is to perform keyword analysis. “The epicenter of this is understanding what people want to receive from these queries so you can then create the content that serves them,” he said.
In other words, analyzing keyword data for user intent purposes will mean looking at a lot more than just the volume of searches. There will also have to be considerable analysis of the many types of content keywords and related phrases bring up in the search results and an understanding of what an audience will want from such searches.
Rev-Up Qualitative Content – Not Quantitative
Lightfoot said ranking at the top of search results was only part of the battle, but staying there was in effect a much bigger struggle. He said companies have to be mindful of content quality signals.
Some of the signals that could be more telling would include the time a person spent on a page, the bounce rate, and the total number of page views. All of these different analytical measures can play a dramatic role in helping a marketer understand user behavior.
More importantly, these kinds of metrics are very telling when you are trying to determine how engaged people are with your website content. In most cases, they can inform you on when content should be revised or perhaps even just canned altogether.
Lightfoot said that in the end, it was all about optimizing in a qualitative way so that you nurture the core metrics and Google rewards you by maintaining your rankings. This also means that you should not just be focusing on publishing more content but on improving the existing content.
Companies will want to spend more time improving the quality of the content already being produced. Try to make the most important on-page elements as well-written and user-centric as possible.
Some of the specific areas that should be addressed include:
- Page titles: You will want to place your target keywords in the title with the primary terms in the front, and make sure they are crafted such that they are similar to competitors who are performing well in search results.
- Heading tags: Because headers can define a webpage’s body text, you will want to make heading tags specific to the information.
- Internal linking: Focus on using descriptive and keyword-rich anchor text that leads your readers to explore other related pages on your website.
E-A-T and Link Acquisition to Drive YMYL
The E-A-T phrase relates to building expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness. Lightfoot said it comes from not only the things you say but the areas that can support what you are saying.
“If you use external linking to provide more information to users, it shows that what you’re saying is validated by other sources,” Lightfoot said. “Linking to trustworthy sites proves your value and credentials.”.
When you are able to link to authoritative external sources, it will prove to website visitors that you have strongly considered making your content as strong as possible. If you link the material with the relevant anchor text, it can only help increase trust in your own website.
Lightfoot also strongly recommended using footnotes, adding that many websites failed to take this measure. Such resources, he said, only further prove that your information is being gleaned from trustworthy sources.
Five specific things Lightfoot recommended to improve your E-A-T score included:
- Outlink to relevant and authoritative sources to help support your topic
- Include a list of your source material, such as in the form of footnotes, to describe what it is you are outlinking to and to provide credit
- Do not be anonymous. Include the names of writers who created the article
- Support your authority regarding the topic by including the bios of the authors involved
- Cover your topic in detail to show that you understand and have fill control of the subject you are basing your article on
The Simple Secret – Tune-Up Your Consistency
Lightfoot said the easiest and least utilized aspect of SEO is consistency. As far as what this looks like, there were five items identified:
- Consistent content
- Consistent keyword usage
- Consistency in website architecture
- Consistency in NAP (Name, Address, and Phone number)
- Consistent link velocity
Instead of publishing 20 to 30 blogs at a time, Lightfoot spoke about publishing blogs on a consistent basis, such as every week for a period of six months. He cautioned that sudden bursts in the number of links can be very bad for Google because of the inconsistency, so it is best to limit yourselves to only a certain number each time for consistency.
When it comes to consistent content, Lightfoot said cadence was important, meaning you should establish a schedule and then stick to it. He also stressed the quality of the content and messaging that is unique and identifiable across all platforms.
Five ways to enhance consistency include:
- Utilizing content calendars
- Developing brand guidelines
- Use checklists to ensure consistency
- Create content with a purpose
- Operate within a keyword ecosystem
Go from 0 to 60 with Cohesion
“Don’t try to be everything to everybody,” Lightfoot said. He cautioned that a dentist who begins talking about architecture or telecommunications can become ambiguous and lose their voice.
Cohesion is thus related to being more specific to your industry, vertical, or niche. Lightfoot stressed keyword research concerns such as:
- Competitive analysis
- Page element optimization
- Thematic keyword picking
- Keyword mapping
- Semantic themes analysis
- Contextual analysis
- Purchase intent analysis
- Keyword analysis
He also discussed the need to cross-pollinate in the SEO ecosystem. This involved:
- On-Site: From page-level SEO and content optimization to server-side fortification
- Off-Site – From PR to Social Media: Supporting a cohesive keyword strategy from PR in-content links to social media captions
- Link Profile & Acquisitions: Backlink profile health and maintenance to domain authority
- Paid Search: Learnings derived from goals and conversions organically can cross-pollinate paid channels and vice versa
Find a Content Marketing Company in Houston | SERP Matrix
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