Webstrategies SEO News Roundup -August 2017
Ashley Bryan |
September 7th 2017
This month we look at how to handle competition in an SEO campaign, we find out whether press releases are still useful for SEO, and we discuss 3 SEO experiments that are worth trying this year; all in our monthly SEO news wrap-up.
Handling competition in your SEO campaign
In the world of SEO, a competitor outranking you for one or more important keywords could cause your traffic and leads to fall. Not only that, the traffic you lose would now be going to a competing website. So what can you do to prepare yourself, and fight against, the inevitable onslaught by your SEO competitors?
Before you can do anything to defend against the competition, you will need to know where the threat is coming from as well as what it will take to handle it. To do this, you will need to analyse the following things:
- Keywords. Analyse the keywords your competitor is using to outrank you.
- Audience. Find out if you’re targeting the same audience as your competitor.
- Goals. Is your competitor actively trying to outrank you or did it happen naturally?
- Strength. How strong is your competitor in terms of their link portfolio, available resources and the amount of time they’ve been around.
Once you understand the threat, then you can decide whether to differentiate yourself or try to go head-to-head with your competitor with the aim of outperforming them.
If you decide to take the differentiation route (either because your opponent is too strong or your audiences are different to a significant extent), you can use these strategies:
- Select new keywords to target.
- Opt for a niche that is slightly different to your competitor.
- Broaden or narrow your scope.
If you’re confident you can take on your competitor and try to outperform them, you can use these strategies:
- Mimic and expand the link profiles of your competitor.
- Create better content than your competitor.
- Double down on the important keywords you’re competing for.
Are press releases still useful for SEO?
Historically, press releases were used by companies to inform journalists of big events such as the launch of a new product, the award of a significant contract, or the winning of an award. The idea was that the press release (which was sent out to various media outlets) would attract attention from journalists who would then contact the company for additional information and maybe run a story about the development or interview someone from the company.
As the internet became popular, “newswire” sites where such releases could be published mushroomed making it easy for companies to disseminate press releases. In search of backlinks to boost their rankings, SEOs realised that issuing press releases gave them an opportunity to have a link back to their company’s website syndicated by numerous online media outlets.
Like any other SEO fad, online press releases became overdone and pretty soon Google took action to start penalising sites that created this kind of links as well as those that carried them. Currently, almost all “newswire” sites that publish press releases use non-follow links, which are pretty ineffective for SEO.
So are press releases still valuable for SEO? Like many other questions relating to SEO, there isn’t a simple answer to this. However, press releases continue to perform the same function they’ve always had; attracting attention from journalists (and now bloggers). This interest could lead to articles, interviews, and eventually links; quality links.
3 SEO experiments worth trying out this year
Competition is always at the core of SEO. To rank higher than your competitors, you either need to do what they are doing better or come up with new strategies to attract traffic. Improvement and innovation require experimentation, and as such, we’ll list 3 areas that could deliver dramatic gains for your site if only you tweaked them a little:
- Content pruning. If you have been in the SEO scene for more than two seconds, then you must have come across the old adage “content is king”. Unfortunately, many people believe this means “create more content” – which it doesn’t.
Google aggregates the individual scores of your website’s pages to come up with the overall authority of your domain. Having many pages that are of little value could actually devalue your site’s overall SEO strength. For this reason, you should do an analysis of your URLs and get rid of those that have few backlinks and very little traffic.
- User experience optimisation. With the amount of importance Google is placing on user experience, UX optimisation should be a never-ending experiment for any SEO. Continuously survey your audience to find out how satisfied they are, and use tools such as Hotjar to track visitor interactions with your site. Use the information you gather from this to keep improving the user experience of your website.
- Boosting internal linking. Many SEOs focus on acquiring new backlinks and forget that internal links can be impactful as well if implemented well. Find pages that are currently not ranking as well as you’d like and find out the keywords you would like them to rank well for. Search your website on Google for pages that are considered valuable for this terms by the engine and link them to your target pages. Track the progress of the newly linked pages and repeat the same with other pages if you see an improvement in ranking.