3 quick SEO wins to turbo-boost new content marketing strategies
Content marketing takes time to show tangible SEO results, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get at least something in the short term.
In this article, we dive into a world of low-hanging fruit – the three quick SEO wins you can achieve before you start content marketing.
1) Fix crawl errors using Search Console
There are a lot of different types of crawl errors, but today we’re looking at 404 pages. These are links that lead to a non-existent page on your site, whether because you’ve recently migrated and the URL has changed, or it has been misspelled in a hyperlink.
These errors are bad because they either prevent the Googlebot from searching further into your entire site, stop a critical page from being able to rank, or hinder user navigation.
– How to find and fix your 404 errors
According to Moz’s Rand Fishkin, you should fix a 404 page if it receives a substantial amount of web traffic (or is meant to), receives links from external sources, or is an obvious URL that people would be searching for. Otherwise, it’s a low priority.
You can find 404 errors by using Search Console and going to the Crawl Errors page. By creating an error report, you’ll see any pages listed as 404 – find these, check the hyperlinks are spelled correctly, publish the page if it has been accidentally left in draft state, or add a redirect link from the dead page to a better one (if you don’t want to revive the dead page).
- Results achieved: Critical pages will now be available to rank in search, and all inbound links from external sources (such as social media) will stop going to a dead page. If your page already received high amounts of traffic, it may start to rank straight away.
2) Build external hyperlinks from brand mentions
External links – that is, links from other websites to yours – can make for an easy SEO win. In fact, Moz found that SEO experts tout external links as the most influential Google ranking factor.
You might think that these are outside of your control, but they aren’t. In fact, if there are websites out there talking about you and not linking to your website, each of these could be a valuable opportunity.
– How to acquire new external links through brand mentions
Scour the web regularly to see if other companies are talking about your brand. You can do this through a cursory Google search, or using a tool like Google Alerts or BuzzSumo Monitoring.
When you see a mention, reach out to the publication and politely ask for your company name to be linked. Most publications will happily oblige.
But be choosy about from whom you ask for links: Google looks at the perceived trustworthiness and popularity of a linking page, to prevent SEOs from purchasing spammy links from third-party link farms. Only choose brand mentions from legitimate publications for external linking requests.
- Results achieved: As a powerful ranking influencer, any page that receives multiple external links is going to start rising very quickly up the leaderboard. In addition, you may see an influx of traffic from the linking page’s own readers flowing through to your site.
3) Improve pre-existing content
Polishing pre-existing content can be one of the fastest ways to gain an SEO victory. You could take content with a high clickthrough rate (CTR) and get it ranking on page one, or take poorly performing content and add extra value.
Pre-existing content is as important as new content because it helps build strong foundational SEO across your site, such as expanding a network of internal hyperlinks, pushing your primary keywords or just generally getting users to your website to start building authority and trustworthiness.
– How to improve pre-existing content
First, identify two types of content: Those which perform well (high CTR, good time-on-page) and those that don’t.
For your high performers:
- Don’t mess with them too much: Lest you ruin what makes them rank well.
- Tweak the first paragraph: Ensure it tells the reader what they’re about to read and why they should read it (it doesn’t need more than that). This is the first thing someone will read, and it defines whether they will want to scroll down or click away.
- Ensure it has all the appropriate tags: That means headings (H1), title tags and meta descriptions. And ensure they are an appropriate size (max of 60 characters for heading/title tag, 160 characters for a meta description).
For your low performers:
- Optimise all meta tags for SEO: Does the heading, title tag and meta description include your primary keyword? Are they within the appropriate character count? And, more importantly, do they scream “Read me!” to users?
- Expand on content: If there isn’t much content on the page, we advise expanding it. Take the opportunity to go more in-depth about your subject. Longer content has been known to perform better in search, so long as it’s valuable – don’t just pad it out with fluff, or it’ll have a negative effect.
- Optimise content: Now optimise the text for a reader’s enjoyment. Try to avoid any paragraphs being too large, and use numbered lists and bullet points where you can – these make content easy to skim-read. Subheadings are important, too, as well as visual media such as YouTube videos, social embeds and so on.
- Results achieved: By optimising pre-existing content, you should see a quick Google rankings bump on high-performing pages, and smaller bumps on pages that previously ranked low. Plus, any traffic you direct to those pages is more likely to stick, because the content is of higher quality and more worth a user’s time.
Use this checklist to help you get started
This can be a lot to take in, so compare your website with our handy checklist below to remind you what needs done. If you can tick off each of these, you’ll be all set!
Now you’re ready. It’s time to start your content marketing strategy for real, and publish fresh, exciting new content.
Good luck! We’d love to hear how it goes.