Source: Roger Montti, Search Engine Journal
There are thousands of tactics that can be deployed as part of a tailored SEO strategy in St Catharines and the Niagara Region.
In this post, we will share five SEO tactics that are working most effectively for us – and that you can start implementing today.
We’ve looked to avoid any overly covered tactics so that this article brings something fresh to your current strategic approach to delivering SEO.
Hopefully you’ll find plenty of practical advice to help get you going with them, too.
Tactic 1: “Near Me” and “Close by” – It’s Time to Get Even More Local
Local optimization and hyper-local intent targeting is nothing new for an SEO tactic.
However, there has been dramatic growth in search intent targeting opportunity specifically for search query demand on subtopics like “near me,” “nearby,” “close by,” and other variations.
Here is the scale of this change, and the continuous peaks in search behavior which are driving the need to focus on this tactic now and as an ongoing SEO tactic:
The main factors driving this increased local/hyper-local search intent targeting opportunity include:
- Growing voice search demand.
- Adoption of personal assistants and interactive home speakers.
- Movement toward mobile first search.
- Increased touchpoints in the typical user journey and moving away from single interaction attribution.
- Increased value, trust, and authority on location within search results.
- Added contextualization of search queries and artificial intelligence (AI) within search engine marketing and the Google algorithm.
Applying the ‘Near Me’ Tactic
There are many ways to practically incorporate this tactic into your SEO delivery – some of the ways that I have used this include the following.
Revising Existing Page Content
Revising blog posts, media content, and other company pages (predominantly service pages) is a good idea, especially when you are servicing an area as it is natural to seed in ‘near you’, ‘close by’ and other location intent term variations.
This helps re-position existing content specifically for this search intent and opportunity.
If you are trying to include these types of phrases, and it feels unnatural, the chances are that you are not focusing on the right type of pages.
Avoid stuffing in these terms, it is about repositioning existing content that has locational relevancy to help it appear for new visibility areas that didn’t exist (or barely existed compared to current opportunity volumes).
In addition to claiming more impression volumes and rankings, you are looking to entice searchers to click on your ads.
Assuming a likely majority of searchers (unless you are a B2B company) are using mobile devices, your ads will appeal to them more effectively, when placed on the correct intent pages, by reinforcing the local nature of the content and business to service their need.
For example, someone looking for a tradesman will almost always want a local supplier, so adding “nearby” and variations to ads will increase click-through rates.
Creating New Intent-Targeted Content
Blog posts are the perfect content type to utilize in order to gain location intent visitors onto your website and drive them to a converting page.
To convert visitors in-post, you can also incorporate short forms to a blog post.
Using keywords such as ‘How to choose the best tradesman near you’, ‘comparing local suppliers near you’, are examples of this in practice.
Tactic 2: Solving Problems Higher in the Website Hierarchy
Traditionally, websites tend to answer user queries either in a single location (i.e., FAQs page) or outside of the main product and service landing pages (i.e., blog posts and other resource-driven sections of the website).
However, the greater opportunity for gains lies higher in your website hierarchy.
When you start solving user dilemmas within product and service pages you are able to land greater volumes of people directly to your converting pages.
Plus, the extra targeted content enables these pages to improve their quality scores, rank more effectively, and appear for transactional as well as informational intent terms.
Applying the Problem-Solving Tactic
This tactic works particularly well in service-based industries, where there is a natural volume of common user questions that would ordinarily get resolved by front end staff, but it can also be effective for e-commerce stores too.
In this example, a furniture company I work with took this approach:
- Create new question-and-answer content using known topic-related search queries.
- Add the content to the base of the page, below the key converting product information.
- Refine content incorporating changing user needs.
The depth and variation of content added will change over time – the important part of this tactic is basing it on the user needs.
Tactic 3: Expanding, Not Shrinking, When Redressing Issues
Over the years a common thread has appeared, which is:
Regardless of website industry or objective, you will achieve your search marketing goals faster by growing (content, backlinks, social shares etc.) rather than reducing them.
Let me put this into context:
People regularly shrink important website content, backlinks, and other authority and performance areas by trying to solve problems (examples below), but this approach of removal needs to be reconsidered in almost all cases.
Examples of Common Website Shrinking Triggers
The first action experts regularly take when receiving a link-based penalty is the manual removal of backlinks and the use (often to the extreme) of the disavow file. However, this – in isolation – is not enough.
You need to grow your backlinks still as part of your penalty recovery approach and replace all the artificial value that you were previously receiving with the unnatural links, with genuine, value-based backlink volumes.
Many sites suffer from duplicate content and having a number of unwanted indexed pages competing. Often a first step is to add canonical tags, robots.txt remove from future crawling, or complete other actions like direct removal from search results.
Something that people tend to overlook is the traffic and/or revenue that these pages can drive.
If we go back to the “expand, not shrink” mentality, the tactic turns to building fresh content into these pages, looking at the purpose of the pages, and creating something of standalone value.
If users and search engines already like these pages, don’t stop that momentum. Build on it!
One of the first things companies do when launching a new site is to remove all the old content, blog posts, news articles, and other content types that appear out of date with the new design.
Similar to the duplicate content feedback above, there will be some hidden gems of content that are working hard to drive rankings, traffic and ROI – these need to be identified, brought up to date, and turned into hero content items that can deliver even more value to you and your users moving forward.
Tactic 4: Improving the User Experience
While SEO and user experience (UX) are two separate areas of expertise, both heavily depend on each other to succeed.
- UX requires the right type of people landing on websites in order to derive useful data and deliver end results.
- SEO requires an effective route to an end result in order to provide a return on investment.
Over the last few years there were a number of updates associated to this from Google and the wider online community, and there is some useful reading on getting SEO and UX to work together that is well worth a few moments going through.
For the purposes of this post, improving your website UX and integrating UX and SEO more effectively will help to:
- Increase click-through rates (CTRs) by targeting the user and refining advert intent.
- Improve website content and pitching.
- Encourage social sharing and user engagement with content (supporting ranking gains and quality score improvements).
- Make greater use of the vast majority of users landing on your website and not converting.
- Discover new keyword target areas and topics for filling gaps in your marketing approach with the added data in insight gains of merging SEO and UX.
- Encourage website testing, experimentation, and general improvements – making your site work harder and increasing user sentiment.
- Drive internal page views from high traffic landing pages through to better-converting sections of the website
- Speed up the user buying cycle.
- Increase goal completions and sales.
Tactic 5: Start Thinking About Topics, Not Key Terms
There are many reasons to start expanding beyond the traditional keyword focus:
- The Google Maccabees update included lots of speculation related to overly targeted pages tied to search terms.
- User expectations include deep content delivery and easy expedient access to information (often in a single place rather than numerous extra clicks).
- Search engine top performing content is frequently longer, incorporating mixed content types, and picking up lots of sharing and link signals (something keyword refined content will always struggle to deliver).
Applying the Content Topics Approach
The first thing you need to do when applying this topical based approach to your website is to complete a site crawl and use available data from Google Search Console and Google Analytics to segment and visualize content into topics.
The output of this would be a mind map of the main website topics scaled by size and an associated document detailing website URLs and content types (blog, service page, video etc.).
You can then see whether your website’s current setup and the content focus reflect the business prioritization. If it doesn’t, this provides your first project – filling gaps and boosting content needs for under-prioritized content areas.
Other actions you can complete to practically progress this tactic include:
- Creating roll-up content items that pull together existing disperse content URLs into one user-focused landing hub/resource area. This can include internal and external reference points.
- Refreshing older content and including items like related reading to the posts to encourage fresh content signals and integrate associated content areas more effectively.
- Building on the currently performing main topical pages with new layers of content. This can include videos (please remember to include a readable video transcript, too), new sections of content tied to the search queries the page is ranking for, plus other actions like adding in images, FAQs, and more.
Here is an example of creating roll-up content for the purposes of a user-centric problem-solving hub of information/topical content resource. This is based on a company I work with:
The five SEO tactics detailed in this post should help practically get you going with website updates to support SEO gains.
These tactics can be as expansive and prominent within your SEO approach as you are able to commit to at this stage, but I urge you to at least trial them and give them a fair chance of succeeding, as they do work!