In 2023, good SEO runs parallel to good user experience. Unless you’re providing a good user experience to your visitors, no amount of great SEO practices are going to make your website rank high. In fact, your SEO practices must be geared towards making your website viewing experience a much more meaningful and useful experience for visitors. That said, however, there are still plenty of opportunities for improving your SEO.
SEO Opportunities in 2023
Selectively looking at keyword CTR, upgrading your content smartly, and looking up your site architecture – here are 8 advanced tactics that you may not have thought of.
1. Locate Low Hanging Keywords
Low hanging keywords refer to your keywords that are ranking just below the first position. You may consider all the keywords that are ranked from 2 to 15. These are the keywords you should concentrate on first, as these represent opportunities for significant organic CTR improvement. With the help of tools like SEMRush or Ahrefs, you can identify the ones with lower keyword difficulty – meaning the keywords that present the least competition when ranking. Search up those keywords and check how well they’re ranking for your site. If they’re not at the top (or near the top), optimization is required.
Through your Google Search Console, you can see what precisely the CTR is for your individual keywords. Avoid targeting keywords that lead to very specific answers, or keywords that include other brand names, as they’ll always be competitive, and it is very unlikely that you’ll rank high for them. Any of your other pages that have a CTR of 1% or lower, or pages that are ranking above the 5th position are really good targets for optimization.
2. Match Search Intent
Targeting low hanging or opportunity keywords is simply the first step. Next, you must create content that matches the search intent of the audiences. For example, if your keyword is based around an issue that people want a solution to, they may not want to read a high-level detailed guide. Instead, they’re perhaps looking for listicles, or a simple and to-the-point step-by-step guide. The content you churn out must match that intent. Only then will your CTR increase, and Google will start ranking your content better.
3. Test Title tags and Meta Descriptions
Your title tags and meta descriptions are crawled first by search engines, and are a great place for keyword optimization. Test out multiple meta tags to check which ones are producing the best results. You can conduct a simple experiment in order to optimize your CTR this way.
Select a page, and set its current CTR as a benchmark. Then come up with at least 10-15 different variations of title tags, and start implementing them. Make one live, and let it stay for 2-4 weeks to collect data. Then repeat the process again with a new title tag. This way, the best keywords providing the highest CTR will make themselves evident. Conduct a similar experiment with your meta description as well.
As for how exactly you should come up with variations, try to use a variety of power words. Words like best, bonus, crazy, extraordinary, secure, bold, professional, etc. are considered very effective for inciting clicks from viewers (note how these are usually the words you get to see in the largest font on ads). Try using large numbers too if you can, since they are also proven to invite clicks (news outlets use this frequently).
4. Is Your Content Long Enough?
Even before trying out on-page SEO optimization, you need to first see if your content is long enough. That alone might be enough to boost your page a little, since it gives search engines much more content to crawl. Of course, your content needs to be relevant as well in order not to be flagged or remain unindexed. 1447 words – that’s the average number of words on sites that rank on the first page of Google (Backlinko).
5. Upgrade Your Content
You can also significantly improve the perceived quality and value of your content by making some tweaks to your content strategy. Include high-quality unique visuals such as images and animations to make the read visually appealing. Add video summaries to your content as well. Make sure you add alt text to all of your embedded elements so that search engines can crawl them easily. Even the overall design of your page and the way that the content is arranged can make a huge difference in the amount of time people spend on your page. The primary idea here is not just to improve the reading experience, but also to make your content much more linkable. Market studies and high-quality infographics work particularly well in this regard.
Make sure that these pages are also internally linked well. Relevant pages across your blog or website must link back to these pages. And if you don’t have enough relevant pages to link back to these pages that you want to rank, that is an indicator that you don’t have enough topical authority, and your website probably needs more pages. In such cases, high quality linkable content is still your best friend, since backlinks also go a long way in improving your authority.
6. Create Hooks
This is a definitive way of getting people to link to your blog. The idea is to find out what exactly people are linking to for a certain topic. For example, if your keyword is based around modern technologies, you’ll find that most articles that appear on the first page will state numerous statistics, and then link back to the pages where they found those statistics. So if you can create an entire article that’s full of bite-sized statistics relevant to a certain industry or even search term, you’ve got an attractive hook that many people will likely link back to.
Similarly, new and unique techniques to manage a task are a great hook. If you’ve found a way to achieve a task that’s relevant to your industry, and you write a blog about it, you might soon see several people not only following your advice, but also linking back to the source (you). Definitive guides on a certain topic are also a great hook, since most people don’t necessarily cover every niche aspect when writing on a topic. It is much more helpful for them to link back to your “definitive” blog post for the full spectrum of information, if their readers want that.
Case studies and market studies (as mentioned earlier) are another great way to get backlinks. Here, your blog itself becomes the primary source of information, and thus becomes very linkable. If that case study is based around a singular hook that will grab people’s attention (single as a niche stat), then even better!
7. Audit Your Website’s Architecture
The most important pages of your website – those that you want to rank for – must not be more than 3 clicks deep within your website. The problem here is two-fold. Firstly, it makes it difficult for search engines to crawl those pages. The deeper your page is, the more likely it is that it will remain unindexed.
More importantly, it will lead to much higher bounce rates. If people aren’t easily able to access what they are looking for, they’ll simply move on to the next site. When search engines note this bounce rate, they simply mark your website as lacking in the proper domain and topical authority, and you’ll almost definitely lose rank.
A big part of this, once again, is to identify pages that have poor internal link coverage. Once again, SEO tools like SEMrushcan be very helpful for this.
8. Simply Mobile Responsive is Not Enough
Since Google went mobile-first and added mobile-friendliness as one of the important ranking factors, every website is employing a mobile responsive design. All statistics show that various tasks ranging from online shopping to simple Google searches that were typically done on desktops even 5–6 years ago are now done on phones. Naturally, a mobile-friendly website is going to get you much more views. However, that’s not necessarily good enough.
Simply adapting the website content to mobile resolutions is not enough. And that is exactly what most mobile responsive themes achieve – they try to fit all of the desktop content within a mobile screen without necessarily optimizing it. Of course, a responsive design is very important, but further manual tweaks can make your mobile website experience much more pleasant to visitors. For example, simple style changes that make the action buttons easier to locate and click on, hiding unnecessary elements that desktops have the space for but mobiles don’t, reducing the size of videos and animations (or removing them altogether), implementing a simpler checkout process (in case of eCommerce), adding call buttons, getting rid of side boxes and popups, and so on.
While this is not technically directly related to SEO, what they achieve is to make the mobile viewing experience significantly better. And while Google doesn’t yet rank for the inclusion (or exclusion) of such elements, what it does rank for is how much time people are spending on your website. Such tweaks will ensure people spend much more quality time on your site.
Understanding and implementing these tweaks to your content and SEO strategy will take time and patience. However, they shouldn’t be ignored if you don’t want to miss out on high search engine ranks. While other standard and well known SEO tips and tricks are all still valid, these ones can really make the difference you’re looking for.
You may also read the blog “How Will AI Impact The Future Of SEO?” for a better insight on upcoming SEO practices.