Organic search results don’t happen overnight. But that doesn’t mean you have to take a long time to set up different SEO efforts.
At This Just Works, iPullRank SEO Engineer Aleks Shklyar shared 5 fast-acting SEO tips.
- Set up Google Suite tools now
- Optimize for answer box results
- Leverage internal linking
- Fix your site architecture
- Look to page 2 for immediate opportunities
This session was presented at This Just Works, the digital anti-conference. You can see the full session (and 14 other talks) by registering here with code TJWAG2020.
1. Set up Google Suite tools now
“If you don’t already have these, get them immediately,” says Aleks.
- Google Analytics provides traffic data that can guide your SEO strategy
- Google Search Console provides traffic data, keyword data, and error flagging
- Both tools are free
- Data cannot be collected retroactively; create an account now even if you don’t need it
“If you don’t have the tool installed, you cannot collect any information. Like who’s visiting your site where people are making the purchases? Where are they coming from? So there’s so much great, great information, not just limited to organic search traffic, but also to like social, direct email, all these amazing things you can find out. And Google Search Console can even tell you where your site is broken. And it’s all free.”
2. Optimize for answer box results
“If you do use Google Like 99% of Americans, you’ll notice some answer box results. So what these are are quick answers that Google’s pulling off of your page directly to answer things that could potentially be answered immediately,” says Aleks.
Answer box snippets appear directly in the SERP (or search engine results page). You can adjust your content to answer these questions directly (include the question and schema markup when possible). Reviewing the “People also ask” section can give you more questions to answer with original content.
An answer box snippet search result.
Burger King is an awesome brand with cool marketing campaigns. If you go to the search results for the “is the Impossible Whopper organic,” you’ll notice 1 major theme.
The quick answer result is from The Guardian, and the next most-prominent answer is from Healthline.
In other words, none of the top results are coming from Burger King itself. Burger King brand is being represented by third-party results.
“There is absolutely no reason why those answers are not coming from Burger King itself. They could spin it in a way where they say like, well actually, it’s not part of a healthy daily diet. However, it’s something that’s a great treat for yourself once in a while. And also you’re helping the planet,” says Aleks.
“There’s a ton of ways to phrase the same thing and make Burger King look great. And right now they’re not doing that. So what you should do is think of your brand, think of the questions people are asking.”
Search questions yourself to see what answers are coming up. See what people also ask and create content around that. There’s no reason you shouldn’t own those answer boxes and shouldn’t have the answers to those questions answered by you!
“It’s a great tool and a great thing to do right away, just adding great content around things people actually want to know,” says Aleks.
3. Leverage internal linking
“Internal linking is so so powerful, I don’t understand why so many marketers and SEO specialists, leverage strictly external linking, they’re doing all this outreach or trying to do blog posts, sometimes even paying for links (which is against Google’s guidelines), and you should never do that. And then they just completely ignore what their site already has,” says Aleks.
- Links to pages from other pages on your site signal their importance to Google
- Promote content you want to prioritize to users in organic search by referencing it via internal links
- Only link from pages where it makes sense for UX (like a page about men’s running shoes linking to a page about women’s running shoes)
Your site has a level of authority. If you don’t use internal linking to promote pages that you actually want to show up in search, you’re basically leaving money on the table.
“Imagine you have a site about sneakers. You have a page about men’s running shoes and a page about women’s running shoes. There’s absolutely no reason those two should not link to each other. They’re so interrelated, and it will help Google actually understand better what these pages are about,” says Aleks.
The more you start interlinking, the more Google picks up on the signals. They’re going to see a page talking about a topic linking to another page talking about a similar topic. And it helps Google promote that page in search. You can bump that page up a few positions just by promoting internally and using internal linking to your advantage.
4. Fix your site architecture
“Your homepage is, by default, always going to be the strongest page because you have the most backlinks and internal links to the home page – plus every other page. What that means is if you link from the home page to another page, that page is getting great link equity passed on to it,” says Aleks.
“What it also means is, if you bury page 567 clicks deep, that page is basically as good as useless.”
The pages you want to receive organic traffic should not be more than 3 clicks deep.
This grid maps out the depth of clicks. The deeper you go, the less you’ll see clicks.
“What you want to do is flatten the site architecture. If a page is important, and it’s in any way possible, it should be linked from the top navigation. So if it’s a top revenue-driving page, in a paid or organic channel or email channel, that there’s no reason that page shouldn’t be linked to from the navigation if it’s making that much money for you,” notes Aleks.
“If people show if people find it through organic search, there’s a good chance that they’ll also engage with it in the same way and it doesn’t necessarily have to translate into revenue. If it’s just an informational page and you’re in the business of trying to help people find something that you think is valuable.
If you’re an athletic shoe business and you have a page about solving high arches that takes 5 clicks to get to that page, it says that you think someone might find it interesting but you don’t really care if they find it. If it’s a high-value page that people would benefit from, put it in the top navigation. That tells Google and tells your users this page is important to promote on Google.
5. Look to page 2 for immediate opportunities
“Pages on page 2 of Google are basically invisible. Nobody can ever find anything on page 2 of Google because nobody ever goes to page 2 of Google. If you get scrolled to the bottom of page one, click-through rates just go down to near zero.” says Aleks.
- The quickest ROI comes from getting a URL ranking on page 2 of Google to page 1
- Use internal linking for quick SEO boost to the pages within striking distance
- Refresh or add content on the pages being optimized with keywords in mind
“If you happen to have your amazing article in position 11, they’re never going to find that. People are just going to scroll back up and click something else. People refine searches in ways where they can get the result on the pit in the first page, rather than go to page 2. So it’s a winner-take-all mentality,” says Aleks.
Page 2 rankings can give you great ideas for content that will eventually get to page 1.
“You can use tools like Google Search Console to find those keywords – which are historically ranking somewhere in position 11-20 – and you can leverage that keyword and include it in the content itself.”
3 key takeaways for quick-start SEO
“If you’re just trying to rank for a term because of high search volume, it’s not necessarily the best strategy. A lot of high search volume terms aren’t really related to anything that you are promoting or offering. There’s a ton of keywords that look great but the intent is not there. People don’t really want to see what you have to offer. So find those specific intent matching questions, answer those questions, and you’ll be great.”
The 3 most important things to remember are:
- Create Google Search Console and Google Analytics accounts for your site(s)
- Take advantage of internal links and your site architecture to promote pages
- Answer the questions people are asking in search – especially the ones about you
To download the full recorded This Just Works digital event, go here to register with code TJWAG2020!