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10 Ignored SEO Tasks That Can Boost Your Rankings

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10 Ignored SEO Tasks That Can Boost Your Rankings

Lenny Johnson
10 Ignored SEO Tasks That Can Boost Your Rankings

Search ranking will make or break your business, 46.8% of the global population accessed the Internet in 2017, and that figure is expected to reach 53.7% by 2021. The number of daily searches on Google is over 4 billion, and the top five results get 65% of the clicks.

In fact, 75% of users don’t even click past the first page of the search results. Paid Ads won’t save you either, with 80% of search engine users avoiding them all together.

With so much on the line for those lucrative top spots, the competition is fierce. Content marketing is expected to be a $300 billion industry by 2019. More and more businesses are realizing its importance, and even view their blogs as an essential asset.

The SERPs are becoming a vicious battleground, and it is crucial, now more than ever, to focus on SEO. Every second you waste is time your competitors are using to get higher rankings and most of the money in your niche.

 For those that don't live in the SEO world, the tasks required to compete in the SERPS can seem overwhelming. In this post, I will show you some overlooked SEO tasks that will help skyrocket you to the top.

1. Create Rich Cards

Rich cards are a form of structured data; they give users visually appealing information that is easy to understand and provides a flawless mobile search experience. They are Google’s way of taking advantage of the rise in mobile usages, which has surpassed desktop.

They aren’t just easy on the eyes though. Analysts at Google state that Schema markups will become more important when it comes to search ranking as time goes on.

Despite this coming straight from Google, only 20% of marketers are using structured data.

Rich card results stand out significantly from plain, old text results and even other forms of structured data like featured snippets and rich snippets.

This is a rich snippet:

Rich snippet

And this is a rich card:

Rich card

These eye-catching cards can boost your CTR through the roof. Understand the type of content your customers search for that regularly displays as rich cards. Then create this type of content, and optimize them as rich cards.

Rich cards can really give you an edge. Schema markups are an inexpensive and effective way to boost your organic rankings. You can read more about creating structured data here.

2. Disavow Negative Backlinks

More backlinks do not always mean higher rankings, and you should reject certain types of backlinks.

As you know, Google focuses on the authority of the website linking to your domain. What you might not know is that spammy sites linking to you can negatively impact your ranking. Even if you have absolutely nothing to do with them.

Doesn’t sound fair, I know. But Google does monitor where your backlinks are coming from, and a lot of bad websites linking back to you raises red flags.

There are three ways you can get negative backlinks:

  • Organically: As your authority grows on the web, you can expect less credible websites to start linking to you.

  • Blackhat SEO: Actively engaging in unethical practices that manipulate Google’s algorithms so you can rank higher. For example, buying links.

  • Sabotage: Sad but true. Some individuals will go on “de-ranking” campaigns to get their competitors to lose their search ranking.

They can link back to you from a large number of spam sites that make it look like you purchased backlinks or engage in spam. They can even duplicate your content on multiple websites.  

Unfortunately, sabotage is so prevalent it even has a name, “Negative SEO.”

This website specializes in Negative SEO services.

Negative SEO provider

If you are engaging in Blackhat SEO, you have to stop, or your website will get banned by Google. On the other hand, protecting yourself from negative backlinks, either organic or by design is relatively simple.

To see which sites are linking to you, go to your Google search console:

  1. Choose the site you want on the Search Console homepage.

  2. On the Dashboard, click Search Traffic, and then click Links to Your Site.

  3. Under Who links the most, click More.

Disavow negative backlinks

From here you can see the websites linking back to you. Simply disavow if they are low-quality websites. You can learn how to properly disavow a backlink here.

Ultimately, you will want to schedule time for backlink review, to examine if some of the websites linking to you can hurt your ranking, and deal with them before they cause real damage.

3. Create Skyscraper Content

If you haven’t heard of or don’t use skyscraper content, then you’re missing out on a lot of SEO juice. The term was coined by  Brian Dean, who used it to boost his traffic by 110% in 14 days.

Skyscraper content involves finding high performing content in your niche and creating something better, and then shamelessly promoting it.

Skyscraper content takes a lot of work to do right, and you might get a mild caffeine high before you are done, but boy is it worth it.

Here is how to get started with skyscraper content

Find Competitors on Google

Run a Google search for keywords related to your niche.

For example, the search term 'B2B Marketing' brings up Hubspot.

Hubspot on search result page

You can pick the first four results for now. When you have an idea of who your competitors are, your next task is to find content that has done well for them. 

You can find your competitor's most popular contents with SEMrush and Buzzsumo.

Using SEMrush

This process is as simple as inputting your competitor's URL in the SEMrush search bar. Choose organic research and examine the results.

Competitors top ranking pages on SEMrush

Not only will you see your competitor's top content, but SEMrush will also display the keywords they rank for.

Using Buzzsumo

You can also find popular content in your niche with Buzzsumo. All you have to do is input keywords related to your niche in the search bar, and Buzzsumo will provide you with popular content.

For example, if you are in the personal finance niche, you could use the keywords 'personal finance tips for moms'. And Buzzsumo will provide you with the most shared content for that keyword.

buzzsumo search results

Now that you have samples of the most popular content in your niche, you can start the content creator process and generate better ideas and content based upon thorough research.

How to create better content:

  • Add more detail: If the most comprehensive post on that topic has thin list content, add some meat to the bones. Go in-depth on everything.

  • Get insights from influencers: Getting experts to give you their take on a topic can add more value to a post than mere word count.

  • Perform an experiment: Did the most popular content you found on your niche reference vague ideas with little or no concrete data to back them up? Perform your experiment, or link to credible research from respected source to give your content more credibility.

  • Make it easily digestible: You can do this by creating video content or even infographics that are easier to understand and still provide a comprehensive take on the topic.

Skyscraper content has to be better than anything else out there. No one ever points to the 245th tallest skyscraper in the world and goes “Wow.” You have to be number one. Get creative and make something better.

But you can’t stop there. Once you have created great content, you also need to promote it. Go back to the top performing content in your niche on Buzzsumo and find the people linking back to it or sharing it.

You can do this with Buzzsumo by clicking the view sharers button.

Buzzsumo view sharers button

This link will display all the people who shared that content, along with their websites.

Buzzsumo Sharers list

Then you can either send them a direct message or email them by using the contact form on their websites. Keep the message short and straight to the point.

Like this:

Hi (Name)

I noticed that you shared (or linked to) (article).

It was a great article and even inspired me to write something similar. Only updated and with greater detail (Your link).

I think your readers will find it helpful.

Have a nice day.  

Cheers,

(Your name)

Then wait for the magic to happen.

PRO TIP:

Your message might get lost in the influencers email, so make sure you follow up a day after.

4. Optimize Your Landing Pages

One key factor Google uses to gauge the quality of a post is its bounce rate. How quickly people leave your website after clicking on it in the search results.

If people search Google and click on your website on the search results page, then discover it’s not relevant to them and quickly go back.

Google takes notice, and if this happens a lot more, Google will drop your raking for that search term.

This is where relevance comes into play. Sometimes it is not that you have poor content, it is just that what you are offering is not relevant to the user at that particular time.

Every page on your website must have a goal based on where your users are on the buyer's journey. This goal will help you determine whether you should teach, convert, sell or delight.

Trying to sell to someone looking for information will just annoy them and cause them to bounce. That is why you need to understand your users, where they are coming from and what they need at that stage.

The team at Groove creates a different landing page for each website they guest post on.

Groove HQ landing page for copyblogger readers

Before creating a page or posts, ask yourself:

  • Who is it for?

  • Where are they coming from?

  • What do they need at this stage?

  • What’s my goal?

  • How can I be more relevant?

Your page cannot target everyone. When you market to everyone, you market to no one.

5. Use infographics

People love infographics, but not a lot of marketers create them. I can’t stress how much of an effective SEO strategy they can be.

Consider that 65% of people are visual learners and are educated by images better. Images are also easier to remember.

In Social Media Examiner's 2018 social media marketing report, 32% of marketers said visual marketing was the most important form of content for their business, above blogging at 27% and videos 24%.

The most important content for marketers bar graph

The first step to creating an epic infographic involves knowing what content to produce.  What does your audience need to know and what will people be interested in finding out? Take those ideas and brainstorm; what can you offer?

Some ways of finding similar information for ideation purposes:

  • Find popular but older infographics in your niche and create updated and better information.

  • Turn complex subjects into easily understood infographics.

  • Repurpose popular content on your website.

Once you have an idea that you think is good based on the above research, your next task is to create it.

Ways to create infographics:

  • Hire freelance graphic designers: The cheapest and fastest way to make infographics is to hire freelance designers on Upwork, Fiverr, etc.

  • Hire a design agency: You can also work with an agency if you can foot the bill.  

  • Do it yourself: If you have an eye for design and are proficient with Canva and Photoshop, you can create infographics yourself.

You are not done yet. Once you have created an awesome infographic, the next step is to promote it.

Submit it to a few quality directories, and use the skyscraper technique to find influencers that shared and linked to other infographics and get them to notice yours.

6. Create More Videos

According to Omnicore, Youtube's monthly active users has surpassed 1.5 billion as of 2018.

Cisco even predicts online video will make up 80% of all online traffic by 2021, and even though there are more videos now than ever before, 85% of people say they would like to see more video from brands in 2018.

Google even incorporates videos into the results page, and since they own YouTube, we can only expect video results to rise. Videos have always been important, but now they are downright essential.

They pop up at the top of the search results page:

Videos at the top of the search results page

And Google even shows featured videos:

Featured video on Google

If you are not incorporating videos into your content marketing strategy, it is time to join the bandwagon.

Here is how to begin:

  • Find popular content on your website to repurpose into a video.

  • Find trending topics in your niche and make a video about these topics.

You don’t have to hire a Hollywood studio or use a $20,000 camera to begin. An ordinary camera and some good lighting and editing software will do.

PRO TIP:

Always add descriptions to your videos; use a minimum of 200 words. Most people either avoid descriptions altogether or mash a bunch of keywords together.

Remember that Google doesn’t know what your video is about. It relies on a text-based description to know if the video you just uploaded will be relevant to a user.

7. Create Your Own Keyword or Phrase

Bold I know. While it does require a bit of creativity and celebrity, it deserves mention.

I have already talked about Brian Dean and his skyscraper technique. What do you think would happen if you searched for that keyword right now? Who do you think would show up at the top?

brian dean ranking for skyscraper technique

If you thought Brian Dean, you are right.

When you create a unique system, a product or brand, you are the only one that is going to get traction for it, as long as it is truly original. And if it becomes popular, you are the default expert on the topic and could earn a number one ranking.

You can probably think of some unique concepts, systems, or products linked to a particular individual.

Maybe you know of Ramit Sethi and his briefcase technique?

Ramit Sethi ranking for the briefcase technique

You must know Tim Ferris and his four hour work week brand, right?

Tim Ferriss ranking for the four hour work week

All these individuals thought of a concept or system, added their own spin on things, gave it a name, and now rank for it.

Creating Your Own keyword

  • Name a system you use to do something really well: It can be anything from arranging home furniture or going through your inbox.

  • Create a name for something you have observed: A well known but unnamed occurrence in your niche or industry.

Once you have given your system or observation a name, link yourself to it and optimize your web presence for it. Use it regularly in your posts and share with influencers.

If it catches on, you will be the only one ranking for it.

8. Take Advantage of High-Performing Posts

You know that internal linking is a good SEO practice. But, do you optimize your internal linking for maximum effect?

At the beginning of this post, I told you that 73% of users don’t click past the first page. That means that your pages with less authority will be left out in the cold and will receive only the occasional stray or lucky click.

You can remedy this pretty quickly. If you have pages with high authority showing up on the first page of the search results, take advantage of this and link to lower ranking posts from these high-performing posts. This strategy can lead to more clicks and higher rankings.

How to Optimize Internal Linking

Identify your top ranking content with SEMrush. The video below shows you how to find your top ranking page.

Once you have found your highest performing pages, simply link from high ranking posts to a few low performing but high-quality articles to give them an organic boost.

9. Use Entity Salience

This is an advanced SEO technique. Entity salience is a relatively new concept brought about by search engines to improve the accuracy of search results by leveraging the known relationships between entities.

Entity salience steps beyond the boundaries of keywords. It is similar to co-occurrence, but instead of repeating keywords over and over again, or even variations of those keywords. It takes advantage of repeating themes for those keywords.

In short, entity salience looks beyond keywords on a page and instead focuses on the relationship between objects or entities.

To make it easier to understand, Cyrus Shepard paints a clear example of entity salience at work. Let’s say a page references Iron Man, Tony Stark, Pepper Potts, sci-fi, and the term Marvel Comics is only mentioned once.

That page despite only including the term “Marvel Comics” once, has a strong entity salience with Marvel Comics because it has a lot of keywords strongly related to Marvel Comics.

Marvel entity salience example

Let’s take another example, say, Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Flash, and Cyborg appear on a page. They would have a pretty strong entity salience with DC Comics now, wouldn’t they?

How does this apply to SEO?

Let’s say you are a fitness blogger and you created a post about interval training. Rather than stuffing your page with “Interval training” or even its variations, you can leverage entity salience by including strongly related subject matter in your post.

You can go into types of interval training, like Tabata and even include individuals strongly related to it like its discoverer Dr. Izumi. This technique shows that your page is relevant to the search term “Interval training” which is better than keyword stuffing.

How to Leverage Entity Salience in Your Pages

Once you have found a topic you want to write about, all you have to do is:

  • Find other related objects strongly connected to what you are writing about: The easiest way to do this is a Google search that reveals related items.

  • Go into detail on each of them: It doesn’t have to be a full post or stray too far away from the main topic but just some identifying detail.

10. Optimize For Voice Search

When was the last time you thought about optimizing for voice search?  According to Alpine.ai there are over 1 billion voice searches per month. Emarketer estimates that 35.8% of millennials use voice-enabled digital assistants at least once a month in 2017.

Here is a breakdown of usage by generation:

Bar graph of us voice-enabled digital assistant users by generation

Why You Should Optimize for Search

Besides the fact that search is a growing medium for getting information and that voice e-commerce sales reached $2 billion in 2018, below are a couple of other reasons why you should start optimizing.

Search Utilizes Long Search Queries

When we use voice search, we tend to be very specific about what we want. This verbalization makes long-tail keywords more valuable, and it gives less established websites an opportunity to rank.

Search Accurately Shows Intent

Going back to the specificity of search, when we use voice search we tend to be more specific; hence our intentions are more evident.

Just look at this line graph showing the difference in query length between voice and text.

Query length of voice and text based search

Compare the text search term ”fridge” and the voice search term “How much does a fridge cost.”

The text search query is vague and can mean anything from trying to decide the price of a fridge, reading information about one or comparing brands.

The voice search term clearly shows that the person wants to buy. You can bet the second search term will matter a lot to someone that sells refrigerators.

Search is Heavily Local

We know that Google has begun to prioritize local search, but voice search takes this to a whole other level, voice search is three times more likely to be local-based.

If you own a local business voice search will be very important to you, could allow you to rank for a greater selection of terms than ever before.

So how do you optimize for search?

  • Make your content easier to read by utilizing headers, subheaders, and list.

  • Use alt text and descriptions to tell Google what your images are about.

  • Use structured data to make clear what your content is about.

  • Use long-tail keywords in a conversational tone. Compare text-based search query “Hawaii travel cost” and voice search “How much does it cost to go to Hawaii.” By using long-tail conversational tone, you improve your chances of popping up on search.

As time goes on, voice search will become even more important than it is now, the sooner you start optimizing for it, the better.

Conclusion

The SEO game is tough; there are very few winners and a pile of losers. Search results pages two and three have a combined CTR of just 6%; you don't want to be stuck on these pages. However, a lot of people like to avoid SEO because they feel it is too technical and boring or it costs too much.

Burying your head in the sand won’t make it go away; you have to start making SEO a priority, and optimizing on all fronts will give you an advantage. You have to build a strong SEO foundation to get the great content that you produce seen by the people you created it for and to help you do that you will need some great tools.

The ten ignored tasks I have broken down above can help any business get started. 

To recap you should:

  • Optimize for quick mobile search.

  • Monitor for attacks.

  • Be relevant.

  • Create skyscraper content.

  • Jump on the video bandwagon.

  • Make and promote Infographics.

  • Use originality to create your own keywords.

  • Optimize for voice search.

Are there some overlooked but effective SEO techniques you use that I failed to mention?

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Lenny Johnson is a freelance writer and content strategist at B2B Content Lab. He engineers high impact content that builds authority, drive sales and increases customer loyalty for B2B SaaS and marketing brands.
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Charmsruddy
This is a fantastic post Lenny. I'm an SEO newbie and currently an intern with a travel agency [link removed by moderator] working on the SEO of their site.

Not long ago i had a back and forth talk with some of my colleagues on which aspect of SEO is most important for one to focus on. i understand that SEO has 3 - 4 parts but i'm struggling to know which of the 4 is more important , that's a must do in ones SEO process..

1) Onsite (On-Page SEO )

2) Offsite SEO

3)Technical SEO and

4) Local SEO

I s there any of these parts that should command more attention than the other?

Thanks
Thanks for the sharing that important SEO factor for the good ranking..
Boom 💥

Actionable tasks I can share with the team at Fertile Frog 🐸 on Monday 😀
Cracking article - will be using these tips - thank you very much
Sergio Aicardi
Glad to have caught this one, it's more than just another post explaining rudimentary SEO tips. Well done Lenny.
nice blog
White Rabbit
Great points on structured data and entity salience, two areas I have seen some of the most prominent impact on rankings and CTR recently. Terrific post Lenny.
Wonderful, you defined, explained and segmented digital marketing in one of the best ways I’ve seen. What I also mean by this is that you did not just stuffed channels but included only the key and meaningful digital marketing platforms or channels. Thanks for the post, loved reading it.
Anish George
Wonderful information. Thanks for sharing Lenny.
Kevin Morales
I tried Google Adwords because I felt I had to. The "what if" came to mind. The number of impressions was huge but the clickthrough rate was minuscule. I even tried a phone call advert with same results. It wasn't from lack of effort why it didn't succeed. We tried numerous key word phrases targeted to my niche. Researched and posted at most popular times for my time zone. etc etc etc. One thing I have learned as a realtor the real estate market is dog eat dog competitive online.

"80% of search engine users avoid paid ads" (from above)
jassi
very helpful post thank you for share this informative post
jassi
very helpful post thank you for share this informative post
Aravinth R
So cool! This post is a great resource for digital marketers.
Thanks for writing a great post that caught my attention.
Moss Clement
Amazing tips, Lenny. What more can I say. I love the fact that you mentioned creating "skyscraper content." And the best way is to find your competitors content that has gone viral and create your own version of it. I have ben using the SEMrush keyword tools for as long as I can remember, and it works like magic. Infographics are also amazing because humans relate more with visuals. In fact, people can consume and retain visual content over 300% more than text content. So visuals such as infographic and videos are phenomenal ways to distribute information with incredible results.

Thanks for sharing.
Simon Cox
Excellent list and explanations! Not surprised Rich Cards was first - often overlooked.
David S Freid
Thank you Lenny, enjoyed the read and several good takeaways...
Lenny Johnson
David S Freid
Thanks David. I'm glad you like it.
Jayanath
Great post indeed The way you have explained each and every point was awesome.
Patrick Hoffmann
1. Make sure to not exagerate the disavowing part. If you for instance disavow every nofollow link you should be kicked on the leg. You backlink profile should have a lot of nofollow even though Google said it is marked as a “paid ad”.
2. Yes, skyscraper content, all the time, also on social medias.
3. Optimizing landing pages OFC!
4. Infographics - don’t overdrive them and make them 10 ‘scrolls’ long.
5. I just love videos. I now know how to rank on YouTube organically, so this is one of my key focus areas.
6. Voice Search. Don’t believe it until I see it. At some point enough is enough. If your voice optimization undermines your normal search engine optimization you should stop yourself. Don’t cut you income by focusing where you MIGHT earn money in the future. Right now voice doesn’t bring you food on the table and it might not do in the future (regardless of what so called experts claims it will - be smarter)

Thank you! :-)
Lenny Johnson
Patrick Hoffmann
Patrick, I totally agree with what you said. But voice search won't hurt your ranking if done the right way. Most websites appear on voice search by optimizing their FAQ page and going for long tail keywords. Both are excellent practices regardless.

And yes you should definitely try to rock it with video, it's going places.
Kelechi Ibe
Thanks for sharing, Lenny!

I learned something new today - Entity Salience. Pretty interesting!

Disavowing negative backlinks is a very good SEO practice that could give a business an edge over their counterparts seeing most people don't take the time to do it.

Another overlooked but rather effective SEO technique is the use of topic clusters.

Once again, thanks for sharing!
Lenny Johnson
Kelechi Ibe
Try not to go overboard with disavowing Kelechi. In fact, Google would rather you tell the admin of the website to stop linking to you. Disavowing should be done if they persist, or if you know they're deliberately trying to sabotage your ranking.
AppSierra
Currently I am not working with most of them, but after going through this blog it seems that it will be great result to work upon these techniques. Thanks Lenny for sharing :)
Anand Joshi
Great article thanks for sharing. I read the first time about Entity Salience in detailes. Thank you
Saravanan Subramani
I love all the detail in this post! And I really agree with your explanation here and this information is so important to me as a beginner in the world the SEO.!!
Lenny Johnson
Saravanan Subramani
Hey Saravanan, try to go for the SEO techniques that will give you greater value for your effort, some of the techniques listed here should be left until you've achieved some growth.

Check this out https://www.semrush.com/ranking-factors/
Good post , there are many valid points in these that I came to know after reading this post.Can you suggest me any changes for my website in case of backlinks.
Greg Shuey
There are always little SEO tasks that people are forgetting about and they can make a huge impact. I really like the section on scheduling time for backlink review. This is something I find many companies do every once in awhile, but not enough. I love that it says to schedule time for backlink review before negative SEO can cause real damage. Google is constantly updating and changing rankings and that is why we need to be on top of them. You need to catch them before Google decreases your spot on the SERP. Scheduling time for this more frequently is better than waster time in the future on links your could have got rid of beforehand.
Lenny Johnson
Greg Shuey
I couldn't have said it better myself Greg. I'm glad you liked it.
Lenny Johnson
Greg Shuey
I couldn't have said it better myself Greg. I'm glad you liked it.
Concise and interesting to understand.
Lenny Johnson
Sam Hughes
Thank you Sam.
For "Entity Salience" see "Pedantic with Semantics" lol - Great little article. Thanks
Vaibhav Aggarwal
Good detailed article but i feel 2 points which people focus too less i.e. load time optimizations, mobile usability should be added in this content.
Good , detailed article. will be sharing this to my colleagues
Lenny Johnson
Dimas
I appreciate the effort Dimas.
You sort of touched on it, but maybe look at document topic classification and how to achieve it.
Pleasantly surprised. Solid article. Entity Salience - shamelessly nicking that one.
Lenny Johnson
Mark Sharron
:D By all means Mark, shamelessly nick away.
Great article. Very useful tips that are actionable. Will be sharing with our team and implementing as much of these takeaways into our process as we can. There is no shortage of articles giving "SEO Tips" out there; this one is by far one of the best I've come across. Well done.
Lenny Johnson
Zehn Root
Thank you, Zen.