SEO undergoes several changes on a continuous basis, which is why it makes sense to try and understand what works and what doesn’t. If you’re looking for new ways to attract more traffic to your website, increase your business’s visibility, and rank better on SERPs, you may want to harness the power of time-tested SEO strategies.
With advancing technological innovations like Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning coming into the picture, 2018 wasn’t an easy year for SEO. Google’s emphasis on mobile-first indexing, the quest for quality content and links, the lack of awareness about featured and rich snippets, the emergence of voice search, and such further added to the confusion.
Here are a few statistics that should give you a clearer picture:
A study of over 1 million websites from Backlinko found that “pages with longer content ranked significantly better than short content. In fact, the average word count of a Google first page result is 1,890 words”.
According to a study by SEMrush, 41% of Google search results for questions contain a featured snippet.
Google’s latest research shows that “people who started using voice in the last six months are the most frequent voice adopters, with 42% using it daily.” Further, it is estimated that voice-enabled smart speakers will reach 55% of US households by 2022.
However, it’s time to put your SEO worries to rest and find solutions. Succeeding at SEO needs continuous effort and Sound advice from firsthand experiences from SEO stalwarts can make things easier.
We asked 55 marketing experts about the SEO tactics that worked for them in 2018. Based on their answers, we’ve divided this post into the following 14 categories. Here’s some expert-talk for SEO effectiveness.
SEO Strategies That Worked Best in 2018
The above image shows us the strategies experts used to make the most of SEO in 2018. The majority of them, i.e. 27% of the experts made use of content analysis and optimization, while 8% of them put their faith in link-building. Laying a solid SEO foundation was preferred by 6%, whereas adding featured snippets and video content was favored by 3% and 2% of the experts respectively. 1% of them used strategies such as competitor research, CRO, topic cluster content strategy, and updating website blog.
Q.1 What is the best SEO strategy that worked for you in 2018 and why?
Q.2 What this strategy entails?
“Update Old Blog Posts”, says Sujan Patel from Right Inbox.
At Right Inbox we updated 15 old blog posts that weren’t gaining much organic traffic. We decided to change the Title and Meta descriptions of these blog posts to be more keyword focused. I reached out to my network and got relevant quotes from them as well as adding links to external pieces of content. We usually added between 300-500 extra words per article. We also re-published the articles with new dates and promoted the articles like they were brand new pieces of content. We saw a considerable increase in organic traffic to these 15 blog posts with this strategy.
It may not always be necessary to churn out new blog posts to bring in more organic traffic. Sometimes, tweaking old posts can do the trick provided the topic is evergreen and the content is relevant. Optimizing the post with keywords, linking to external sources, increasing the word count, and changing the title and Meta descriptions can work wonders.
“Implement Your Link Building Strategy”
There is no one size fits all solution when it comes to SEO. You must follow all processes and use the right strategies for each client in every niche, says, Maria Johnsen.
I apply content writing, implementing the right content strategy for each client within their niche, then strengthening with a powerful link building strategy.
It is hilarious when I read or hear online in different languages from some so-called “SEO experts” that they rank a website without backlinks. Links are backbones of search engine optimization and without backlink building, your content won’t be visible for your keywords and phrases in search engines. Those who claim that they rank a website without links have no idea what they are talking about and how search engines work or they use unenthical methods. My answer to all those who claim that they rank a site without links is this:
Here is an example: Person A) and Person B). They both write content about “why watermelon is expensive in winter in cold countries”. They both have almost the same user-friendly websites, aged domains and high server speed. They both comply with Google Guidelines and the other search engines.
Person A) Writes up a quality well-written article, publish it, builds powerful and quality back-links for his article and promote it on social media which targeted users gladly share it with their followers.
Person B) on the other hand does nothing. Because person B is against link building. He just puts it there and hoping for the best maybe someone would read it. Which one of these two individual ‘articles rank higher in search engines?
When you publish an article and post it on your social media, you are building backlinks for it. If you do absolutely nothing, your article won’t get traffic, and nobody reads it.
When I talk about building backlinks I do not mean to create an artificial link building for a website. Google search engine is equipped with artificial intelligence and machine learning. If you apply one pattern such as link buying then stop doing it( because of its expensiveness), you penalize the website. Today buying links is riskier than even 2 years ago. You are dealing with an A.I search engine now.
The best SEO strategy is to apply all search engine optimization processes right otherwise your SEO won’t work.
Backlinks are crucial for the visibility of your keywords and phrases in search engines. Publishing your post on your blog and on social media amounts to creating viable backlinks, which will help attract more traffic to your article. However, backlinks should be created ethically and organically as artificial ones are detected and penalized by Google. Further, buying links is a strict no.
“Creating content based on what people want to know.” suggests, Jen VanIderstyne from Overit.
We all have things we want to talk about or content we want people to read. But in SEO, a content strategy based on research is still a solid bet. Studying what people search and how they search for it is critical to understanding what their questions really are and what people are worried about. When you can understand that, you can supply the best possible answers. When those best answers are framed properly using fundamental principles of SEO you then have great answers paired with clear signals of topical relevance creating a strong chance of being found as a solution.
“User Intent Using the EAT Framework”
In 2018, Shane Barker of Shane Barker Consulting tried out many SEO strategies. But the one that was most effective for me was creating quality content focused on user intent using the EAT framework – Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness.
“High-quality content has always been an important aspect of SEO. It helps you to generate high-quality organic traffic and improves search engine rankings. So, I decided to implement this strategy and focus on user intent and EAT.
In 2016, Google introduced user intent as one of the core factors to decide search engine rankings. This means you need to create content which is not only of high-quality but also fulfills users’ search requirements.
So, I decided to create high-quality content on a regular basis and make sure it is also engaging and educational to my audience. My priority was to understand the needs of my audience and create content accordingly. This resulted in an improvement of my website rankings.
I also used the expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness (EAT) framework for my content. EAT is another important factor which Google uses to define high-quality content for SEO. So, this means, high-quality websites need to have a high level of expertise, trustworthiness, and authoritativeness.
I followed the following steps to improve the EAT of my website.
1. Audited my brand – I started questioning the existence of my website and/or business. I conducted a quick survey with my existing audience and asked them to share their experience with me. I wanted them to tell me what they liked or disliked about my business.
I also started to scan my website to see if it looked trustworthy or not. And I checked whether the homepage of my website reflected that I am an expert. Apart from the website, I also scanned social media to find out the impression people had regarding my business. Are they happy or not? Are they saying anything wrong or bringing up any issues? And I tried to resolve the issue from the source itself, which stopped it from happening again.
2. Audited my existing content – After a thorough examination of my website, I focused on my content. I evaluated all the content on my website to see if it fulfills the needs of my visitors. I came across a few posts which were not up-to-the-mark and would likely confuse/be of no use to my visitors. So, I revised them to fulfill user intent and match my level of expertise.
3. Built a framework for content creation – The careful inspection of my website and my content helped me to create a framework for content creation. The framework was developed to make sure that future content reflects the high level of expertise, trustworthiness, and authoritativeness that I have.
This is an outline of how I created high-quality content with an aim to fulfill my visitors’ needs while focusing on EAT. This strategy helped me to improve my search engine rankings, gain the trust of my audience, and generate high-quality organic traffic to my website.”
High-quality content based on user intent using the EAT (Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness) framework not only helps you generate organic traffic but also improves your search engine rankings. Google agrees that quality websites need to have content that reflects a high level of expertise, trustworthiness, and authoritativeness. It helps to audit your brand and existing website content to find scope for improvement and apply the framework when creating fresh content for it so you can achieve your SEO goals.
Robert Ryan says for clients use a heavy content-led strategy which systematically focuses on intent heavy keywords so that my client’s products & services can be exposed to those who never knew that they were interested in what my client has to offer. Content which can then be repurposed into PDFs, mailblasts and also used for expanding the social footprint (both on and offline) has proven very effective as it helps keep all the key SEO levers moving (fresh content, SMM fodder, backlink generation) whilst also providing good, useful content to the audience.
It may sound trivial, but the last few years have seen a tremendous surge in the amount of content being created online. From videos to images to blog posts, says, Ben Wright from Today’s Local Media, have never seen more people call themselves “Content Marketers”. Yet as the amount of content produced has gone up, the quality, in general, has gone down. That is why SEO is no longer about generating content, but about creating wonderfully engaging content that both Google and users love. If you keep your standards high, you will be rewarded.
Consistency is the key to SEO. Every blog post and page on our website uses Yoast so we can assess that the most effective keywords have been chosen and used appropriately in every aspect of it, including all visual file names and descriptions, says John Rampton from Calendar.com. It may seem deceptively simple, but it has helped us quickly gain traction with search engines.
Every blog title is created with keywords in mind based on other article rankings and most-read subject matter. Each blog that is created is then run through Yoast on WordPress to ensure it meets the criteria Yoast has established for effective SEO. This helps everyone on the team produce the same level of SEO results for us.
Maintaining consistency in using keywords, adding visual file names and descriptions, and optimizing blog titles and content can help you win over the search engines. Following effective SEO guidelines consistently is key to achieving outstanding SEO results.
Warren Whitlock offers, the best way to make sure you get traffic from search engines is to make great content. Then truly engage with your readers. Find similar blogs and social groups and be active. The more you help your audience, the more they will come to check out your content and share it. Focus on others, their sites, their passions, and their desires.
inPowered‘s Chad Pollitt, says 2018 SEO experience was unique in that I took on a site from almost scratch with no search work done on it ever! I kept it basic. Fix the on-page content that wasn’t optimized and blog, blog, blog. It had a massive impact almost immediately. Sometimes the K.I.S.S. principle is the best principle.
As Marcus Sheridan wrote, “they ask, you answer.” I write posts that answer common questions we encounter in the field. Those just happen to be the questions people type into Google and there are not many folks answering them using a blog.
“Data-Driven Content Marketing with Outreach/Promotion”
Kristin M Tynski, says Fractl does for itself what we sell as a service to our clients. We drive brand growth, link building, organic search visibility by creating data-driven, newsworthy content relevant to our service offering. We do in-depth research on content marketing, viral marketing, and digital PR/outreach, and share our findings in a variety of visually compelling ways.
“Creating More Comprehensive Content for Both, Users and Search”
Jeff Baker from Brafton created a new process for writing content that results in more comprehensive answers to search terms. The idea is to evaluate the top 20 results in SERPs for a given keyword, and not all of the main topics discussed. With that blueprint of topics, create a new piece, or re-optimize an existing piece of content. The result is the most comprehensive document on the web for that keyword.
The actual process is explained in this Moz article:
The result of this work was an 81% increase in traffic, year over year, and a 180% increase in inbound leads.
Creating content that is easily understood by search engines as well as resonates with readers may take work, but is well worth the effort. It begins by understanding what topic people are searching for and which keywords they are using when performing the search. This way you can create compelling content that brings you high traffic and enhances engagement with your audience. Such content can be optimized with keywords and repurposed in different formats to keep it SEO-relevant. At the end of the day, it is the quality of the content that matters, rather than the quantity.
“Removing content from pages that dilutes the contextual relevance necessary to target the primary target topics and terms”, says, From The Future‘s Nick Eubanks.
In the wake of the algorithm updates of late Q3 and throughout Q4 of 2018, matching content to query intent has never been so important for getting pages to rank for truly competitive keywords. Once a topic model is built it becomes much easier to dial in the page-level requirements for tone, voice, level of content and begin to paint a clear picture of what content no longer belongs on a page.
Great examples come from the evolution of RankBrain, where before (when G still relied primarily on its human quality-raters) you could get away with having informational content on a page built to target commercial terms. But now, we see that informational topics don’t belong on a transactional query results page.. they take away from delivering the best experience (and information) to the user, so they no longer perform as they once did.
“Optimize for High Click-Through Rate”
Optimize for SEO user engagement — aka organic search click-through rate, says Larry Kim from MobileMonkey, Inc. Google’s machine learning algorithm surfaces what they believe is popular based on an unusually high click-through rate compared to the expected click-through rate. In other words, high click-through rate (and low bounce rate) from a search results page results in higher rankings.
1. Identify your lowest CTR content (or content with below-expected CTR for its rank). Export the search analytics data from Google Search Console. Plot organic search CTR and organic rankings in Excel. Focus on the keywords that fall below average.
2. Rewrite titles and heading tags that are dry and keyword heavy to emotionally charged and value-based.
3. Include a relatable persona in the headline (personas like the comedian, the good friend, the bearer of bad news, the hero/villain).
4. Use power words: dramatically, powerful, instant, amazing, proven, etc.
5. You can even write multiple versions and audition them using Facebook and Google Ads to get data on top CTR.
Marko Saric from How To Make My Blog says, Content creation for SEO purposes is all about figuring out what real people want. What questions do they have? What are their problems? What issues do they want to solve? When I know answers to these questions then it’s about creating the best possible content that really gives people what they want. It informs them, it educates them, it entertains them. And it does it better, faster and easier than all the other content that they can get other places.
According to Cornelia Cozmiuc from CognitiveSEO, Knowing that there is a strong correlation between content performance and rankings, we applied the content optimization technique on 40 blog posts. We’ve improved them by using only the Keyword Tool & Content Assistant in order to figure out if and how the ranks and traffic will be influenced. The results: far better than we’ve expected – almost 70% increase in SEO visibility.
We did everything with the help of one technique, one tool, and 3 simple steps:
Step 1: Keyword Research
Step 2: Optimize the Content
Step 3: Use Fetch as Google
“Competitors’ Study from Keyword to Content”
Building authority content assets which are 5,000+ words and ranking for highly competitive keywords. Building authority links to these assets and updating the content asset on a regular basis. This type of strategy worked very well in 2018 and I see it working well in 2019 also, says
Prosperity Media‘s James Norquay.
Building an authority content asset, you want to ensure you are building a piece of content which is going to be the best for a specific keyword, review all competitors landing pages already ranking for terms you want to target.
Using tools like POP and CORA can achieve this.
Once the asset is live you need to acquire links to the content and also update it on an on-going basis.
“Content Audit of Existing Website and Revising Content”
My favorite strategy in 2018 was to revisit old content, update it and then relaunch it to my email list and social network, says Steven Macdonald of SuperOffice. In 2018, we published fewer blog posts than we did in 2017, yet blog post traffic grew from 1.2 million visits to 1.9 million visits.
Updating old content keeps content fresh, takes fewer resources and helped us generate additional 700,000 visits in 2018. That’s why it’s my favorite SEO strategy right now.
Harsh Agrawal moved ShoutMeLoud from publishing more to less and started creating articles with word length up to 5000.
Before last year, I use to churn out 1500 words but now 3000-5000 words are a new limit. This has helped us not only rank for head terms but also other terms around it.
In 2019, I’m targeting to hit 10K word limit for at least one of our articles.
Writing long-form content with a word count for around 5000 has done magic in this case.
“Optimize Content with Quality Links”
A little link building never hurts. Adding a few quality links can really enhance your content optimization. says, SumoLeap‘s Jared Banz.
In much of my work with local businesses, I’ve found that on-page efforts like content optimization and content creation continue to work well if you are strategic.
If you are a seasonal business, optimize your home page and related pages 1-2 months before that season hit (i.e. Air Conditioning Repair, Furnace Repair). This will give Google time to index and rank your site well before many competitors who are still targeting terms for the current season.
I’ve also found that many folks don’t do proper research on what terms to target, and therefore, they resort to targeting terms that are way too competitive. Unless you rank on page 1 for these terms, you’ll likely get no organic traffic. That said, if you target a less competitive keyword variation, you can likely rank well and get great quality traffic.
“Optimize Content with Quality Links”
Best SEO strategy worked for RazorSocial‘s Ian Cleary, was doing a content audit of my existing website and revising my content based on this.
Step: 1. redirecting posts that had no traffic but good links
Step: 2. deleting posts that had no traffic and no links
Step: 3. updating existing content that was getting good traffic.
Step: 4. Reviewing our internal linking structure and making improvements.
Step: 5. Doing guest posting on sites to generate links to content we wanted to push up the ranking.
Step: 6. Reviewing click-through rates through Google Search Console and improving meta titles and descriptions
Step: 7. Resolving any technical errors on the site. So far we’ve seen a 10% improvement in traffic but we expect more as time goes on. People spend too much time on the new content and not enough time focussing on the existing content.
Emory Rowland from Leverable SEO, says, the strategy that worked for me is an age-old simple one: create exceptional content that appeals to your audience. If the site has a healthy backlink profile and reasonably sound technical SEO, this is often enough to garner some initial results to build upon.
In a nutshell, research the kind of content that the site needs (look at keywords, personas and any data you can get from the business, interview the owners, etc.). Create a catchy title that includes the keyword phrase. Get an expert (not a general writer) to create the posts. Make sure the content does a much better job of answering the searchers’ query than that of competitors. Format the content for web readability. Include at least one remarkable graphic.
In 2018 Donna Moritz from Socially Sorted, did a number of things to optimize my blog posts and website for search, ultimately increasing my web traffic by almost 100%.
1. I got a lot more strategic about writing blog content that my audience was searching for around my core focus of visual storytelling and content strategy. I would use tools like SEMRush to do keyword searches and then look at competing sites that were ranking and find topics and keyword terms that were not too competitive but also had high enough search volume for me to rank for. Then I wrote a detailed and helpful post around the particular topic I wanted to rank for, using a number of related keywords. This lead to a number of blog posts ranking well and increasing relevant traffic to my site.
2. I started reviewing old posts and updating them. My blog has been around since 2011, so there are a few posts that have become dated. I focused on updating posts that were attracting traffic but still had out-of-date content. I then included them back into my rotation for social shares.
3. I started using Yoast Premium Plugin to make sure that every blog post was optimized for search – including keywords, title, image alt-tags and internal and external links.
Writing content strategically so the audience can find what they’re looking for, focusing on visual storytelling, and performing keyword research are some of the factors that will help your posts rank well and bring in more traffic. Updating old posts and optimizing them for search by including keywords, title, image alt-tags and internal and external links are other steps that can be taken for even better SEO outcomes.
Ashwin Ramesh from Synup, says,
1. Building actionable content that caters to people’s “how-to” questions, interlinking it internally, and optimizing the metadata of the webpage for SEO. In fact, our website’s /how-to/ section contributes to upwards of 20% of our entire traffic and over 42% of our organic traffic. We also learned that getting 100% of 50 GMS was much better than getting 0% of 5000 GMS, and we optimized our content for long tail keywords and phrases that were very much a part of our niche but had a significantly lower competition and GMS.
2. People love tools and resources, and 2018 was definitely a good year for us on that front. Our Voice Readiness Test tool and Review Response Templates resource are raking in a significant amount of traffic as a result of good keyword targeting and optimization.
Grit PH‘s Jason Acidre core strategy is quite simple. The strategy that we’ve had the most success with for many of the SEO campaigns we’ve handled over the past few years has always been a combination of focus on authority building (through high-value content & links) and optimizing for better site performance (technical SEO & content-level optimization). But for 2018, one of the core tasks that I think we have done a lot (and have yielded the most results) is revisiting a site’s existing content assets and re-optimizing them to match searcher intent. We mainly do this by making sure that the content: Is able to provide the answer/solution to most of the search queries it is getting ranked for (using Search Console data) Analyzing search results history for important keywords (via Ahrefs) and identifying the aspects of the URLs with better trajectory. Then use these insights to further improve our own pages’ content (or links being acquired). Identifying more opportunities for rankings, by knowing other related topics/questions that our existing content should also be able to address.
While building your website’s online authority and optimizing it for better performance are great for SEO, it also makes sense to relook your site’s existing content and re-optimize it to match searcher intent. Identifying the important keywords and certain aspects from the URLs can help further enhance page content. Moreover, creating content related to existing high-performing content can help improve rankings too.
“Content Gap Analysis”
The Best SEO strategy that worked for us in 2018 was utilizing Content Gap Analysis and evaluating it via a customer journey, says Michael Bonfil from Sem International. This has allowed us to identify where there are content weaknesses on a persona level so we can have our clients address those gaps in a more strategic fashion. It works well for us and we continue to create better processes of analysis and strategy based on our findings.
Content Gap Analysis and evaluating it via a customer journey can help digital marketers identify weaknesses in the content. These gaps can be closed strategically through improved analysis and research findings.
Fluxe Digital Marketing‘s Joel Widmer suggest, SEO strategy that worked (and continues to work) for us last year was updating and relaunching existing content that was either slipping in ranks or was ranking for a few keywords but had the potential to improve. By doing a little competitive intel, identifying what content we were missing, and making sure our content matched search intent, we were able to significantly improve keyword rankings for existing content. And it doesn’t hurt that Google loves updated content!
“Turning High-Ranking Organic Pages into Landing Pages”
The best SEO strategy that worked for Brian Massey of Conversion Sciences in 2018 was turning high-ranking organic pages into landing pages. Articles and blog posts rank well. But when the traffic comes, are you capitalizing on it? Over and over again, the answer is no. SEO landing page strategy:
Step: 1. Develop downloadable content that is relevant to your highest trafficked articles and posts, a report, checklist or cheat sheet is typical.
Step: 2. Place an exit-intent popup on these pages featuring your content. Ask for Name and Email.
Step: 3. The place offers for the downloadable content with the article or post. A “dripping pan” offers it at the end. A “sidecar” offers it in the right sidebar. A “coffee break” interrupts the article or post with an offer of the content.
Step: 4. Add these emails to a list that gets an autoresponder series that qualifies them as customers. Also, regular updates from your blog can be sent to them. This strategy ensures you get the most value from your SEO effort, even from people who are not yet ready to buy or become a lead.
Compelling articles and posts rank well, which is why they can be used to bring you higher traffic. Developing content that resonates with your target audience, using pop-ups to get readers’ information, and offering downloadable content (along with regular updates) via email to your audience can help you make the most of your content strategy and boost your SEO.
Ryan Stewart of The Blueprint Training says, there’s too much noise and competition for SEO – the video serves as means to break through the noise with a different medium, messaging and a deeper way to connect with an audience. Video is by far and away from the best way to have organic success right NOW.
Authority and relevance, links and keywords, those are, of course, the two biggest search ranking factors by Andy Crestodina of Orbit Media Studios, Inc. But there’s a third, much more subtle ranking factor that I’ve focused on with great results: user interaction signals.
The idea is to make sure that visitors who come from search don’t leave within the first few seconds. This is called the “short click” and it sends a signal to Google that your page isn’t high quality. That’s bad. But if the visitor stays for several long minutes, that’s a “long click” and it sends a positive signal. That’s good for rankings and traffic.
So how am I creating the long click? Video. Yes, it’s helpful to have long pages with deep content and lots of answers. But video is a secret weapon for SEOs. A strong video with a compelling custom thumbnail high on the page can help keep that visitor longer.
This is important for two of the three types of videos, content marketing, and conversion videos. These appear on different pages of your site: blog posts and service pages. They teach they help, they build trust. But they also create the long click.
Not surprising, the posts with videos are the posts with the longest time on page. And often, the posts that rank highest. Why? They have authority and relevance, but they also have excellent user interaction signals.
“Round up Posts, because easy links”
Best SEO strategy worked for Darren Shaw of Whitespark, roundups, because of easy links. People email you to ask if you can participate in a roundup post, and you decide to participate.
Round-up posts work well for SEO because it is easy to get links from them. The process of creating such posts is straightforward and involves the use of email.
“Building Local Links and Unlinked Brand Mentions”
“Attaining local links via local content, resource pages, sponsorships, and partnerships with local businesses”, says Integrate Digital Marketing‘s Brian Barwig.
such posts are straightforward and involve the use of email.
This isn’t a mind-blowing strategy, and it’s not even a ‘new’ one by Jon Clark of Moving Traffic Media. The idea has been around for a while but it’s something we never really dedicated an ongoing strategy to. This past year we had an opportunity to work with a handful of clients in highly regulated industries. This made ‘traditional’ link building difficult and, in some cases, simply impossible. As a result, we pulled out some of the core link building strategies and identified unlinked brand mentions as the best opportunity. First, we worked with IT to get a dedicated, branded email address to perform outreach. Next, we evaluated the opportunities using AHREFs Content Explorer feature and identified pieces that mentioned the brand (or naked URL) but did not include a link back to the client site. Next, if we couldn’t identify the site contact or content author directly from the site, we would use a tool like https://hunter.io/ to identify an author’s email. And, lastly, we used a standard email template to send requests to each identified email address (this post has a great sample: http://fuzeseo.co/28-awesome-email-outreach-templates/#Brand_Mention_Email). The conversion rate and impact were astounding further proving SEO strategies don’t need to reinvent the wheel. Some times the basics are all you need to find success.
“Content-Based Links or Guest Post Link Building”
Justin Herring of YEAH! Local says we do manual outreach to websites with at least a DA 30+ and good traffic suggesting an article topic to guest post on their blog. For this to work effectively and improve the ranking of your website you must get backlinks from high authority blogs. We then write the article with a backlink to your own article in it. Along with proper on-site optimization, this is the basis of ranking articles and pages.
“Be Consistent with content and link building”, says, Colton Miller.
This significantly helped many of my personal sites and hundreds of client websites. The consistency came in the form of work, both content and link building. Those that were consistent in content generation and link building activities outperformed those only participating in one or the other.
“Brand Building and Press Release”
Sean Work of Judicious, Inc. offers, brand building and press. It builds trust with prospects and consumers, which helps content earn links more easily over time. Also, a PR strategy naturally creates backlinks and usually from more authoritative sources.
Getting the client in the right publications, getting stories written up, contributing to other publications. Finally, ensuring the brand style and messaging is consistent across all channels.
“Brand Building and Press Release”
Craig Campbell SEO‘s Craig Campbell suggested, you have asked for just one strategy that works, which isn’t actually the case with SEO, its a combination of having a nice clean fast loading website, with some good on-page SEO, Internal Linking and then followed up with a good quality relevant backlink profile. So there are a number of things that need to happen for you to get any real traction with a website, but I’ve mentioned link building because I’ve seen many others do everything else very well but failed when it comes to Link Building as this seems to be an area where people struggle.
People will often debate what the single most important ranking factor is and they will all come from their own angles, so links won’t work if the content is duplicated and so on. But for me getting good quality links really is what moves the needle once you get everything else right. So I used a strategy where I got some citations from citationsbuilder.com initially as this is what helps with GMB listings. I then moved on and used moneyhat.co.uk to get myself some decent outreach links, alongside hiring a PR Freelancer who was able to get me some coverage in some Press Related sites.
From there I topped this off with some PBNS (Private Blog Networks) and Niche edits as the icing on top, but it is important that when building links try and do it in the most organic way possible.
SEO is done best when a combination of tactics that work is used in tandem. Website owners may want to focus on building a user-friendly and fast-loading site, applying on-page SEO strategies, producing engaging content, carrying out internal linking, and creating a high-quality and relevant backlink profile.
“Hire SEO agency”
Return On Now‘s Tommy Landry, offers, as SEOs, our strategy to date has been to employ our own efforts in-house for all technical, on-page, and off-page efforts. However, in 2018, we were approached by a couple of other companies who had a unique spin on link building. They were partnering with other digital marketing companies, all of whom were seeking links for clients. We then collaborated on placing links among the various sites, focusing on quality content, relevance, and value-add. In the end, we were able to each acquire good links on authority sites, without having to undertake a massive outreach program to place this content. Try it in 2019; it was very effective for us
“Reporting Spam on Maps”
More Customers More Sales‘ Margaret Ornsby starts with the premise that SEO is not as much about search engine optimization as it is about getting your business (or your client’s business) able to be found online by people who more likely do not know about your business.
With that in mind, one of the quickest ways to get results for clients is to take out the fake competition. Note: this tactic is for Local SEO only – for businesses who use Google My Business as a source of customers.
Google’s guidelines (https://support.google.com/business/answer/3038177) broadly can be summarised as one listing per business per location, that accurately reflects your business.
Unfortunately, many businesses either don’t care or don’t know about those guidelines and create multiple listings for their business.
As an example, a lawyer created 60 listings around the country. One location was supposedly at a church! In reality, they had just 8 offices around the country.
In another instance, we reported 60 fake plumber locations in one city. That’s _a lot_ of unnecessary competition.
Once you have eliminated the fake listings, you can turn your attention to the site and the location pages.
Optimize the GMB listing. Be sure to add services / products, _fill out all the information you can_. Remember, the GMB listing may be the only thing customers look at – they may never see the website!
Optimize your client’s location page / website for the location and range of services.
Remember to use similar terms searchers might use to find your business.
Even if you can’t put them on the listing (some categories don’t have this option), Google can take information from your website and insert it into the local listings.
The main intent behind employing SEO is to enable your business to be found online by the people looking for it, but don’t know about it. Hence, removing fake competition is a must and can be done by eliminating fake listings on Google My Business while optimizing your own. Apart from this, you should also report spam websites and location pages.
There is no special trick or quick fixes for SEO says Greg Shadik, LeadsNearby. Without an SEO-friendly website, an independent review platform and consistent local business listings, your entire digital marketing program will not provide the results that you expect. Focus on these 3 things and then you can implement other marketing strategies that can take you to the next level.
Matt Janaway from Marketing Labs, says,
“Strategy: Writing unique product descriptions!”
Why: Putting time and effort into writing descriptive, keyword rich and interesting product descriptions is a strategy many eCommerce businesses do not bother to take seriously! With most website owners copying or tweaking competitor or supplier descriptions, investing time into curating your own content is a very effective way to skyrocket your product page rankings in search results. Not only does it create lots of unique content for search engine crawlers, it also sets you apart from your competitors as your content is sure to provide more value to your visitors. Best of all, writing unique product descriptions will help improve your website’s SEO year after year. ”
Writing product descriptions for SEO consists of 3 areas; keyword research, content curation and gathering data to improve the page over time.
The strategy for writing awesome product descriptions always starts with keyword research. It’s very important to understand what your potential customers are searching for in addition to understanding what keywords they may be using. Time after time, product listings simply do not contain the relevant keywords that potential customers use to search for products. For example, ‘ladies pale blue jacket’ after keyword research should be called ‘women’s light blue coat’. When writing product content, try to keep things relatively mainstream by breaking down the text into areas such as informative bullet points, technical descriptions, and product benefits. Finally, be sure to gather data on how your new product content is performing in search results. Over time, this information can be used to improve the content to target more keywords or to increase current SERP positions.
Marketing Labs‘s Mike McManus agrees: 2018 was yet another year when basic foundational SEO was missed by many website owners! In the midst of launching a website, many business owners spend time and effort worrying about the design rather than correctly building a website on strong SEO foundations. Switching the focus from design to SEO saves lots of problems in the future as technical SEO elements are in place from day 1. When running a digital business, it’s important to remember that a beautiful website built on soft ground is a dead duck. Just like a house, the exterior design can be tweaked, but the foundations can’t.
Building a strong foundational website SEO is simple – it’s all about going back to basics. From choosing a suitable coding language or CMS platform to concentrating early on about speed, foundational SEO starts with ticking the boxes that search engine crawlers care about and not your customers. Although every website is uniquely different, foundational SEO fundamentals such as mobile responsiveness, on-page SEO structures, unique content, site architecture, and sitemaps need to be considered carefully. Executing strong SEO foundations always pays dividends in the future and should not be something that is thought about after a website is launched!
Website owners should not underestimate the impact of laying a strong SEO foundation. Having the right technical SEO elements in place will boost your digital marketing strategy. Factors such as mobile responsiveness, on-page SEO structures, unique content, as well as site architecture and sitemaps are highly instrumental in augmenting your overall SEO initiatives in the long term.
Discover Corps‘s Amanda DiSilvestro says we decided to really focus on our page speed this year. With a large website, it can be easy to push something like that off to the side because the results don’t look TOO terrible, you aren’t noticing a slow-down, and you’ve never heard complaints. However, we knew beyond just user experience it was important for SEO, so we took the time to work with a developer and really dig-in to the backend of our website. As it turns out, many plugins have sloppy development, so even when they are deleted on the front end, they are not deleted on the back end. A bit of cleanup later and our SEO is already improving!
A developer had to copy our website and then essentially keep breaking it. He would delete several lines of code to determine what was needed and what wasn’t, and manually went through our entire site. He would have more detailed knowledge about what happened, but essentially what it entailed from me was pulling the page speed report from Google, speaking with a developer, and waiting about one week (a 20-hour job) for results.
Using traditional methods like HTML sitemaps and improved internal linking setups gave the best results says, Jan-Willem Bobbink of Notprovided.eu. Due to making all important pages available through a sitewide linked HTML sitemap, link value is better to spread across the domain.
Robin Rozhon of Electronic Arts (EA) agrees: that search engines are able to discover important pages and understand them. This is essential for the success of any SEO Strategy but there are still many large websites that get this wrong.
“In 2018, I’ve seen a few large websites that drove great results by working on one or both items below.
1) JS rendering – Even though Google is capable of rendering JS, we didn’t want to rely on that. Improving the success rate of our prerending service helped to drive significant gains. If you use a prerendering service for your SPA, make sure to monitor the prerendering success rate over time.
You need to serve server-side rendered HTML if you want to succeed in Bing, Yandex, Baidu, and other search engines because they are not as advanced as Google’s Web Rendering Service (WRS). Also, don’t forget about social media crawlers (Facebook, Twitter, etc). They don’t execute JS either so your Open Graph tags and Twitter cards won’t be discovered unless they are server-side rendered.
2) Crawling and Indexing – We reduced the number of URLs that were discoverable, crawlable and indexable by search engines. This especially worked for category pages on eCommerce websites. Googlebot wants to crawl a website efficiently and our job is to help with that. If a website has less than 100K real pages, there’s no reason why Googlebot should discover and index over 500K URLs.”
In order to rank well, it is crucial that search engines are able to discover and understand your website’s important pages. Website owners need to work on prerendering JS and have an appropriate number of URLs that are discoverable, crawlable, and indexable by search engines.
“Targeting featured snippets and advanced SERP features”
Bowler Hat‘s Marcus Miller says, for businesses that see lots of traffic via organic search to content pieces featured snippets that sit above the search results are an opportunity and a threat. If a snippet pops up then you may see less engagement with your organic listing as this snippet sits above the standard results. However, if you have your content in that snippet then you will often have the snippet which is a huge listing and your organic listing – this maximizes the amount of visibility and often clickthrough traffic to your site.
To target these snippets you first have to be aware of them and identify keywords that you rank well for that currently show snippets. Then, you have to tweak your content to ensure you provide an answer that Google can use in the snippet. Often this is a suitable paragraph of text but other formats, like bullets, also exist so using well-structured HTML and H2 tags can often help.
Targeting featured snippets can maximize visibility and improve clickthrough traffic to the site so it’s has been a winning strategy for our clients in 2018.
Targeting featured snippets helps maximize visibility and enhance the flow of click-through traffic to a website. Hence, it makes sense to update content for featured snippets. Updating your existing content with additional subtopics and restructuring it for search engines to resemble the current ranking featured snippet also works well.
“Featured Answers for the Client”
The best SEO strategy for Wiideman Consulting Group‘s Steve Wiideman shares: focusing on earning more of the Featured Answer real estate for our clients. It made the outreach easier since we weren’t asking for links, and helped us earn links to definitions, how to’s, and helpful guides where a short answer or list made sense and was easy to copy and share. 100% increase in organic traffic (drop in conversion rate but an increase in conversion volume) year over year. 400% lift in organic links versus earned links via outreach. We plan to keep this going for the next few years as long as there’s a Position Zero.
Our team researched how/what/why and glossary terms for our clients. We then organized a calendar and built a repeatable routine for publishing and syndicating helpful short answers, starting with owned profiles such as social media and affiliates. The team gets daily Google Alerts and drops their answer into new threads all the time, helping us maintain velocity. We measure using Conductor SearchLight or SEMrush, segmenting Answer Box in our reporting to our clients.
An effective SEO strategy is to try and earn more Featured Answers for clients. Doing so makes outreaching easier since you don’t have to ask for links. It also helps you earn links to definitions, how-to, and other helpful guides.
“Updating content for featured snippets was the best strategy” worked for Oleg from SmartSites
The top featured snippet listing in search results get the bulk of organic clicks. It is in everyone’s best interest to grab that spot (both text link and thumbnail image).
My best strategy in 2018 (and continuing in 2019) is going through existing content, updating it with additional subtopics and reformatting it to mimic the structure of the current ranking featured snippet.
Up-to-date, detailed content that’s formatted for search engines (& readers!) has skyrocketed our clients’ rankings across the board.
One of the things Dennis Seymour from LeapFroggr Inc. experimented a lot on in 2018 was getting traffic from competitors. I’m pretty happy with all the other SEO strategies already that I’m implementing and I just needed to find another avenue to have an extra edge on competitors.
Basically, I just ranked keywords based on their brand’s search terms. There are brands that you just can’t beat for the number 1 spot since it is their brand name but as long as it ranks in the top 3, then that’s a win as you are already getting traffic that’s still targeted. Couple that with paid strategies and you’re set.
“Having a More Increased Focus on CRO”
Andy Monte, Directive Consulting shares that, a lot of other search agencies just focus on getting their clients to rank for more keywords, or bring in more traffic, but we like to focus on turning our clients’ existing traffic into more opportunities, deals, and revenue first. Then, when we actually focus on increasing keyword rankings and traffic, we see an even greater impact on their performance.
Turning the client’s existing traffic into opportunities, deals and revenue can push website owners forward to increase their keyword rankings and traffic. This simply tactic can boost your website’s performance to a great extent.
“Looked to see how our client could own more SERP results by creating a FAQ and coupons page”, says, Seer Interactive‘s Samantha Gower.
“Leveraging Data from PPC to Direct SEO Strategies”
Lisa Devieux from Seer Interactive offers that, this strategy results in tons of different types of optimization opportunities, but largely the premise is simple: conversion data (along with impressions, clicks, etc.) on a search term level is still provided via PPC. Marrying PPC search term data to SEO keywords gives far greater insight into what works and what doesn’t than rank and MSV alone. Bonus points for pulling that data into a data viz tool like PowerBI or Tableau for quick & easy analysis. Results have been extremely positive for low-funnel initiatives.
In short, combining PPC search term data and SEO keywords gives better answers about which tactics work and which don’t for your website. This data can also be further analyzed to avail better results.
“Craft Some Tweet and Use Hashtags”
“This was not for me, but for a client”, says, David Leonhardt from The Happy Guy Marketing. We carefully crafted some tweets, paying particular attention to hashtags and Twitter cards. The results were so impressive that I wrote about the case study on my blog.
The first thing we did is set up the Twitter card for the page. We created an image optimized for the size of the “large” Twitter card image. We write a summary that fits just nicely beneath the image. We tested this, by the way, on a staging account on Twitter, to make sure it came across looking professional. This way, the tweet would appear very professional when people saw it – worth visiting, worth sharing, worth linking to. The second thing we did was research the hashtags. We were not interested in which hastags were the most “used”. “Used” usually means published. We wanted to know which got the most engagement. So we looked for hashtags that got retweeted, and we did some guesswork as to which hashtags had the most fans (people who would follow the hashtag). These are often not high-volume hashtags, but rather very niche-specific high-interest hashtags. I wrote about it at https://seo-writer.com/blog/2018/06/02/twitter-for-seo/. As you can see, it was a lot of work…but the page ranked well and quickly.
Creating tweets while paying particular attention to hashtags and Twitter cards can work wonders in boosting your page rankings. The trick lies in using hashtags that get retweeted and receive the most engagement. These hashtags are typically very niche-specific and high-interest rather than high-volume in nature.
“Content Optimize for Voice Search”
“Voice search has been steadily rising in popularity as more and more users are making use of this function through their devices”, says, Sean Si of SEO Hacker. One of the primary ways to increase visibility in voice search is through ranking for the sought-after featured snippet in the Google SERPs. Of course, this entails that you have to publish high-quality content that answers who, what where, etc. questions that are structured to be easily “snipped”, coupled with links that come from high DA, authoritative websites that point to that specific post, then getting the spot for the featured snippet is just a matter of time.
Always remember that high-quality content involves a type of content that is for users AND search engines. Content that is useful and informative for the users while targeting specific keywords is the proper way to produce high-quality content.
Lastly, ranking for the featured snippet entails that your page or post is ranking in the first page of Google SERPs. The higher your position is, the higher your chances of ranking for the featured snippet. Studies have been published that the majority of featured snippets in the web are from the pages that are 1st in the rankings of the specific keyword.
Voice search is gaining increasing popularity. Visibility in voice search can be increased through ranking for the most sought-after featured snippet in Google SERPs. Ranking for the featured snippet, in turn, requires your page/post to rank in the first page of Google search results. A higher ranks increases your chances of ranking for the featured snippet.
“Adopting the Topic Cluster Content Strategy”
Aira‘s Matthew Kay shares “adopting the topic cluster content strategy and tying that content into the buyer’s journey.”
“The topic cluster model is an approach to an on-site content generation that formalizes what many SEOs have been doing for years. The strategy involves covering a topic (focusing on a short-tail keyword) and creating a page on your site that goes over the overarching topic pretty broadly. This content piece is a usually long-form piece and is referred to as a ‘pillar page’.
Once you’ve created this piece, you then start to create ‘cluster pages’ – normally blog articles but could be FAQ pages or other site content that focus on the long-tail. This cluster content niches down on a particular area within the overarching topic but crucially, the page contains a link with keyword-rich anchor text back to the main pillar page. The pillar page would then start to link out to the other articles within the ‘topic cluster’ meaning that if any article within the cluster got a link, the whole topic cluster gets a boost.
Where we have taken this further is. There are many versions of the buyer’s journey, but we commonly talk about the following three:
Awareness – those are just researching around a particular problem or opportunity
Consideration – those who are starting looking for solutions or a resolution that problem or opportunity
Decision – those that know what solution they want, and are looking at suppliers or vendors
Most content generated by marketers is at the decision stage – which is definitely the right thing to do because that audience is ready to buy or looking to buy – but that doesn’t mean we should ignore those are just looking for information. Through other tactics like lead capture, email marketing and retargeting we aim to be front of mind when the audience is ready to buy!
You can read more on this approach on my Moz post (https://moz.com/blog/keyword-research-to-match-buyers-journey) from last year.”
With the practice of Topic Clustering gaining momentum, it makes sense to actually put it to use and boost your SEO effort. This can be done by creating keyword-rich content for website pages. Also, linking to other articles on the pillar page works because if any article within the cluster gets a link, the entire topic cluster gets a boost. It also helps to map the content to relevant stages of the buyer’s journey. These stages include Awareness, Consideration, and Decision.
“Accepting guest blog posts on a wide variety of topics”, says Michael Schiemer from Bootstrap Business.
Publishing guest blog posts on our business websites has proven to be very effective at driving more website traffic from social media, email marketing, and Google organic search. As long as the articles satisfy or exceed your website standards, they add new perspectives for your readers and help you to rank for new keywords.
And because the guest authors are benefiting from their post being published, they are more likely to share your published post on their social media or link back to it on their websites.
I’ve had guest posts that some people may not have given a chance to generate tens of thousands of website views and rank for dozens of valuable keywords.