By Drew Cohen
Marketing professionals are always fighting to stay up to date on search engine optimization (SEO). Google’s frequent algorithm changes put a significant amount of pressure on SEO specialists to react quickly in order to avoid any drastic dips in search engine ranking. With so many “experts” on the web claiming to be top-notch SEO gurus, the plethora of SEO content can be overwhelming for companies looking to take positive steps forward. Who should you trust? Are you getting a fair price? Are these strategies going to be relevant six months from now? All of these questions are great ones to ask, but what about SEO tactics that don’t require an expert to implement or manage?
Let’s discuss some of these tactics that can be efficiently implemented.
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Internal Linking to Relevant Content
Internal links go from one page on a domain to a different page on the same domain. An example of a common internal linking tactic is a website’s navigation. For example, a small business's website navigation may include Home, About Us, Products, Blog, and Contact Us. All of those pages live on the same domain, and the internal links help users navigate through the content. According to Moz, internal links are most useful for establishing the architecture of a website and distributing link equity.
In order for individual pages to be indexed by search engines, the page needs to be visible. If a website’s link structure is not crawlable, a website cannot possibly increase their organic traffic. If you understand that search engine crawlers (a.k.a. spiders) are moving throughout a website at a rapid rate, the importance of internal links becomes more apparent. A spider can land on a webpage with no internal links via organic search, but then it gets stuck with no way out. However, if a spider lands on a webpage that has internal links, it can read through the content and continue crawling to the various pages linked to from that page. When linking internally, links should include descriptive anchor text that informs both the user and the search engines of where that link leads. For marketers looking to take the first step with internal linking, Consider working one or two internal links into your blog posts that lead to relevant content elsewhere on your website—including informational webpages, as well as other blog posts.
Digestible Sections of Content
We live in a fast-paced world, with more and more people having less and less time. Therefore, webmasters need to consider the content on their website from both a user experience and an SEO standpoint. Long paragraphs of content on a webpage can turn off readers and not be as easy to navigate for search engine spiders. Just like this blog post, a webpage should be broken down into sections. If you, the reader, didn’t care about internal links, you could skip right over that first subsection, and jump directly here to content that is most relevant and appealing to you.
In this blog example, the blog post title is our H1, and the subheaders (e.g., digestible sections of content) are H2s. This structure tells Google that the subheader (H2) supports the main idea of this post (H1). Instead of throwing 800 words into a few giant paragraphs, I’ve done my best to make it easy for search engines to decipher what I’m writing about. If you also consider the recent trend of Google displaying rich snippets, digestible sections of content become even more relevant due to the fact that using sections broken down into bullet points and lists become highly skimmable material that is more easily understood by Google.
Leverage Vendors or Partners for Guest Blogging
If you follow SmartBug or any of the content published by HubSpot, you’re already well aware of the value of blogging. Prospects, customers, and search engines alike all value this type of material, but the struggle for businesses is how to consistently produce quality content. If you’re not working with an agency like SmartBug to develop highly targeted SEO-optimized material, you should consider creating a list of your business’s top vendors or partners. After listing them out in column A, use column B on a spreadsheet to list the website’s domain authority (DA). Column C should include the blog URL of that business, if applicable. If a partner doesn’t have a blog, they should be deprioritized for the purposes of this exercise. Prioritize your partners/vendors that have a blog based on who has the highest domain authority. Now, you can begin your outreach.
Guest blogging can include you requesting their expertise on your blog, but I usually suggest to clients that they make the most out of a guest-posting conversation. For example, if I’m reaching out to a vendor, I may want their expertise on my blog, but I can also offer to blog on their website. It’s a win for both parties. I get to publish content on an external website (hopefully with a backlink to my website), and I also get my vendor to publish high-quality material on my blog. It doesn’t always have to be a two-way swap, but I encourage this practice from time to time—especially for organizations who struggle to produce their own content in-house.