7 Useful SEO Tips to Improve Organic Performance

Getting started with SEO can be tough, equally so can building on an existing campaign that has been worked on to great lengths. In my latest post, I’ve gathered a number of tried and tested SEO tips that’ll help to give you that competitive edge in search, helping to improve the overall organic performance of your website.

  1. Long Tail Keyword Targeting
  2. Grabbing the Low-Hanging Fruit
  3. Content Listing Structure
  4. Internal Linking Between Old and New Content
  5. Outbound Linking
  6. Broken Links
  7. Hyper-Relevant Linking Opportunities

1. Long Tail Keywords

Sometimes, ranking highly for that vanity, exact-match keyword isn’t a short-term possibility, especially when you’re trying to compete with well-established brands.

When in a situation like this, it’s important to think outside the box. Think beyond exact-match keywords and look towards long tail.

Although in their individuality, long tail keywords may bring in a lot less search volume, collectively long tail accounts for around 70% of all searches made. Along with that, they’re a lot less competitive and given the nature of how specific these keywords are, they often bring in a higher quality of traffic. What’s not to love?

From rich blog content to optimised FAQ pages, targeting long tail keywords is possible for even those with limited resources, providing an opportunity to tap into traffic large competitors may be ignoring.

Wanting more information on how you can leverage long tail keywords to benefit your business? Check out my previous post which is exactly on this subject!

2. Grabbing the Low-Hanging Fruit

Page one ranking: the sweet spot. Page two ranking: not so sweet, in fact, a little useless. Although this may be the case, page two rankings are a fantastic stepping stone towards securing a page one position. Those page two rankings are our ‘low-hanging fruits’, as with a little work, we could get ourselves onto that first page.

Finding the Opportunities

There are a tonne of tools out there that we can use to find ‘low-hanging fruits’ worth going after. Whilst we can do this with Google Search Console completely free, I much prefer SEMRush as it clearly highlights the keyword, positions and unlike Search Console, the pages ranking for the keyword:

semrush-low-hanging-fruit

As shown above, through using a number of advanced filters, we can exclude all the data we don’t want, leaving us with just our keywords floating around page 2. To get to the above, after inputting your domain, navigate to the ‘Positions’ section within the ‘Organic Research’ report under ‘Domain Analytics’. Once you’re here, apply the necessary filters to get the data you need – I tend to just specify positions then sort the data by ‘volume’ descending.

Don’t forget, we’re looking to build upon the keyword performances of those low-hanging fruits that will make the biggest difference to your end goal.

Internal Linking

So, we’ve identified those pages that with a little push, could potentially drive strong improvements. We now want to discover the most powerful pages on our site and look for opportunities to point links out from to our low-hanging fruit pages.

It’s important that in this process you don’t become ‘spammy’. Make sure that any page we’re linking from to our low-hanging fruit page is relevant.

To identify those strong, authoritative pages on a website, I tend to use Ahrefs as it’s simple to use and gives me the exact data I need.

ahrefs-best-pages-by-links

To get the above information, after inputting your domain, navigate to the ‘Best by links’ report within ‘Pages’ then sort by Referring Domain (RD).

Now we have all of our strong pages and low-hanging fruits identified, look for relevant linking opportunities that will both help to bridge any authority gaps whilst also facilitating a user’s experience.

3. Content Listing Structure

Without a well thought through site structure, content can be lost deep within a website’s architecture. There are a number of things that can be done to leverage old content, reviving content within search that through time may have become pushed out of reasonable reach from both users and crawlers.

Pagination

One of the most commonly used forms of pagination I’ve seen is the use of next/previous or older/newer anchor text links towards the end of content listings, as seen on The Drum’s website:

the-drum-pagination-structure

Whilst this may be plausible for a small website with very limited content, this makes for a very linear site structure and so if you’re a big website full of rich content, you’re missing an opportunity to allow crawlers and users to reach deep content within your website.

Utilising a combination of the next/previous anchor text links along with links directly pointing to the following pages creates a well-structured site architecture, allowing for users and crawlers to access pages that would have originally been many clicks away in just one click. See HubSpot’s blog as an example of how it’s done:

hubspot-pagination-structure

Be it old or new, great content is great content, give your content the visibility it deserves!

Item Listing

Structuring content doesn’t just stop at pagination; we also need to make sure we’re listing a reasonable number of items per page. This is a case of striking a balance, the more items listed on each page means fewer results pages created, equally if we chuck all our content on one page, that makes for a huge page that will take a noticeable time to load.

Try using a reasonable number of listings. Although Google dropped the 100-links-per-page guideline, I’d still try and keep the listing relatively small as throwing a large number of links at a user all at once could be daunting.

A sweet spot I’ve found is around 10-20 items per page but of course, this is relative to the size of the site you’re working on. Test!

Extra Tip: Implement the rel=”next” and rel=”prev” tags to ensure crawlers can make sense of your paginated content. For information on how to indicate paginated content, visit Google’s dedicated resource.

4. Internal Linking Between Old and New Content

Efficient internal linking is a key part of the overall success of a page, especially when it’s a new addition to a site. Not only do internal links help to build a strong site architecture and therefore discoverability of content on your website, it also helps to spread authority.

Don’t let new content just exist within your website, be conscious of how it can be leveraged to revive old content deep within your website. Equally, be aware of how old, authoritative content can be used to help your new addition hit the ground running organically.

Linking to Old Content

Using the following search operator is a useful way to find relevant articles previously published on your website worth linking out to when creating new content:

site:domain intext:”keyword

search-operator-for-linking

By building links from new to old content, we’re building deep links to content that’s likely too far within the website’s architecture to be found with ease. We’re greatly increasing the chances of this content being viewed and crawled, which is a definite win.

Of course, don’t go linking out to any page you find just because it includes your target keyword. Remember that this internal linking task is mostly for the benefit of the user rather than the crawler, the latter is just a bonus.

Linking to New Content

Linking from old content on your website is equally as beneficial as linking to it, especially if it’s a good piece of content with some strong authority behind it. Linking out from authoritative content will help give any new content that little push to perform well organically and given that it’s an additional link to the page, it increases the chances of it being crawled.

Like what we discussed in the Low Hanging Fruit tip, we want to identify the strong, authoritative pages within our website worth linking from. Using the same search operator as above, collate a short list of relevant linking opportunities.

With your list, dependent on the size of the list, run each URL through the Ahrefs ‘Best by links’ report to see if they hold any authority. Majestic is also useful for this sort of URL analysis:

majestic-url-level-review

If you’ve got yourself quite a big list, speed this process up with URL Profiler (which I show you how to do later).

(Another) Extra Tip: Being aware of how content can be integrated within a website’s architecture is a great habit to be in. Making the above tip part of an ongoing process, it will make for a well-structured website in the long run!

5. Outbound Linking

For many years, SEO’s have questioned the benefits of outbound links and whether they provided noticeable worth to the referring site.

Although the extent of their impact is still questionable, one thing that has been confirmed in a study is that linking out to authoritative, relative sites does correlate to improved performances with rankings.

“Outgoing relevant links to authoritative sites are considered in the algorithms and do have a positive impact on rankings.” – Shai Aharony

With this in mind, surely we should be linking out to our heart’s content? Well no, that would be easy. To be safe and to make sure you’re ‘doing it right’, stick to the following two rules:

  • Make sure outbound links provide value to the user.
  • Don’t spam. Only link out when necessary, or else.

Don’t worry, I’m not about to teach you the basics of SEO here, instead, it’s a tip on how I prioritise website crawl issues when they’re in their thousands.

Rather than aimlessly chugging away at each individual issue flagged in Google Search Console (GSC), for the sake of my sanity, I prioritise. I want to work out which broken links are the most detrimental to my site and which are the ones that if fixed, can provide the greatest deal of value.

Firstly, you want to take your export of the Crawl Errors Report from GSC and amend the document so all we’re working with are those pages serving a 404-status code. I tend to validate that all the 404 pages we are dealing with are still issues by running the list through Screaming Frog – issues may have been resolved since initially being flagged.

Once you’ve got your list of broken links, copy and paste them into URL Profiler, ensuring you’re exporting URL Level Data from both Majestic and Ahrefs:

url-profiler-tool

Side note: This tool is an absolute godsend and really makes large tasks like these a lot more manageable. It’s definitely something I’d recommend investing in.

Once the tool has finished running, grab your export. Using the data in the document, identify the broken links that have external links pointing to them, these are the URL’s we’ll be starting with as they’ll provide the most value.

url-profiler-export

We won’t be just leaving the rest. After completing the above task, refresh the Crawl Errors Report by marking all as fixed, then monitor over the coming weeks for any new issues and resolve as they come through.

7. Hyper-Relevant Linking Opportunities

Identifying business relevant, authoritative backlinks to help build a strong link profile can be a lengthy task, but why should you do all of the work when your competitors have already done some of it already?

Clique Hunter

Majestic have a fantastic resource in their suite of tools called Clique Hunter. In short, this tool can be used to highlight common backlinks between competition, helping to identify hyper-relevant potential links worth targeting.

majestic-clique-hunter-tool

With the capability to compare up to ten websites at once, you can get a great idea of the sorts of domains you should be looking towards securing links from.

Your turn…

Do you have any SEO tips that have been working for you recently? I’m keen to hear them! Equally, if you try any of the above tips, I’d love to hear how everything goes.

Leave me a comment below or drop me a message on Twitter @LukeTheMono.

About Luke Monaghan

Luke Monaghan is an SEO Executive at Koozai, a Southampton based Digital Marketing Agency. He has a keen interest in organic search, specifically the growth of mobile search and how it’s changing the search landscape.