When you’re looking to improve SEO, you know you’re in for the long haul.
Unfortunately, we can’t help that we’re a society hooked on instant gratification. But while all those promises of quick wins and guaranteed SEO are enticing, the truth of the matter is that SEO takes a significant amount of time to build.
Even well established companies looking to improve their rankings have to commit to months of hard work in order to achieve the results they’re looking for.
We all know that content is what drives SEO. Unfortunately, content creation, publication, and promotion is an incredibly time-consuming task.
But did you know that there are other ways to improve SEO without creating new content? Here’s how.
9 Ways to Improve Your SEO Without Creating Content
1. Remove Low-Quality Content From Your Site.
Do you have any old content on your site from the days when you knew absolutely nothing about SEO? Bad news – it could be dragging you down.
Thin blog posts and low-quality content buried within your site’s architecture might be hurting your site. Search engine bots could be finding these low-quality pages, which hurts your SEO.
You have two options with this content – remove it or improve it.
Use an SEO crawler to conduct a content audit and SEO analysis and assess the results and group it into buckets based on content quality criteria. Your results should be broken up into three categories:
- Content that can hurt your site.
- Content that has no effect on your site.
- Content that helps your SEO.
Once you break your content into the three categories, create a course of action for each bucket, like:
- Don’t make changes.
- Update the content.
- Do a full rewrite.
- Consolidate it.
- No-index it.
Once you’ve got a plan of action, get cracking on that old content! Don’t let your past drag you down.
2. Historically Optimize Outdated Posts.
Everything in this world is constantly changing and being improved. This means that some of your old content might be outdated as far as information that it provides to your readers.
If your visitors no longer find value in your content because it’s outdated, it becomes stale on your website.
Identify content on your site that is performing poorly – can this content be improved? Go back and refresh the posts with updated information and a more comprehensive approach to the topic. Can you go more in depth with the subject matter you’re discussing?
Additionally, consider your SEO strategy when you’re updating your content. Are these posts optimized? What keywords could and should they be ranking for? Use keyword research to ensure that your content is ranking for relevant topics.
Additionally, keyword research can help you find better ranking opportunities for content that is already receiving high traffic.
Historically optimizing your old content can have a serious impact on your SEO and traffic. In fact, HubSpot reported that they received 106 percent increase in organic monthly search views for old content that they optimized.
3. Fix Your Broken Backlinks.
Broken link building is the process of identifying backlinks that no longer function properly and offering a replacement link to a website you want a backlink from. There’s a number of different reasons why a backlink might be broken, whether there’s a misspelled word in the link, the page has moved, or the site has been shut down.
Regardless of the problem, broken links are hurting sites, and most webmasters don't know about the ones on their site.
So, how do you fix them?
Once you’ve identified and compiled a list of broken links, reach out to the owner of the content to notify them of the problem and ask them to amend it with the updated link that you provided.
4. Keep Local Citations (Name, Address, Phone) Current.
Believe it or not, your contact information in local listings actually delivers SEO value.
Referred to as NAP citations (Name, Address, Phone Number), they’re especially important if you’re trying to rank for local SEO. A citation is when one of those three NAP attributes is mentioned on the web by a third party. You’ll typically find these on websites like Yelp, but they can appear anywhere.
These citations often provide a backlink to your website, which greatly improves SEO. Additionally, Google verifies this information, which proves to searchers that you exist and are trusted.
Make sure that your local citations are always kept up to date. Listings with outdated contact information or domains will hurt your SEO because Google won’t be able to verify it, and thus it will become distrusted.
Additionally, look out for duplicate listings with old, outdated contact information, as it can render as spam to search engines.
5. Request Testimonials and Reviews From Customers.
Requesting testimonials and reviews from recent customers can significantly improve your SEO. This is technically new content that benefits you, but you don’t have to actually create.
Google reviews validate your business and can help you stand out among your competitors. And nothing attracts visitors to your website like a five-star ranking on your business.
Wondering how to get more Google reviews?
It’s simple – just ask.
Compile a list of your happy customers – they’re the ones who are most likely to give you good reviews.
Write a personalized email touching on a specific point or topic of conversation that you shared with that particular customer. Keep your language casual and friendly, and ask them if they’d leave you a review of your product or services.
Don’t forget to include a review link in your email!
Additionally, you can also put a review link on your website, ask for reviews during a conversation over the phone, or send out cards with the review link on them.
6. Build New Internal Links.
An internal link is when a page on your website links to another page on your site. Like backlinks, internal links are important for improving SEO results.
Internal links improve PageRank flow on your website, which has been confirmed as one of Google’s SEO ranking factors. You can boost the traffic and ranking of lesser pages by internally linking them in top performing posts.
Run a performance audit on your content to determine which pages you should be linking between. You can do this on Ahrefs Site Explorer.
1. Plug Your Domain Into Site Explorer.
2. Navigate to the "Top Pages" Tab in the Sidebar.
3. Filter to Pages Ranked Between 2-4.
4. Run a Google Search on a Specific Keyword.
To do this, input: site:domain/blog "keyword." This will bring up all the pages you have that rank for this keyword. As you can see, in this example we chose to search for all of our content that ranks for "Instagram marketing."
Next, pick a page from the results that you want to boost traffic for. For this example, we'll choose to boost traffic for our blog post, "The Dos and Don'ts of Running an Instagram Business Account."
5. Find a Relevant Page on Ahrefs.
From the top performing pages on your Ahrefs report, find a post that is relevant to the keyword that you're trying to rank for and relatable to the page you want to internally link.
As you can see, we have a blog post entitled "16 Free Social Media Management Tools That Will Save Time and Kick Ass." As this page relates to social media, it will most likely discuss Instagram within the post.
6. Find a Place to Add an Internal Link.
Once you've chosen your two pages, navigate to the top performing page and find a section that would work well as anchor text for your internal link.
As you can see, we've found the word "Instagram" in the opener of this blog post, which will serve as excellent anchor text for our blog post on running an Instagram business account!
Once you've done this for one pair of links, you can do it for many more! The more you run through this process of internal link building, the more streamlined it will become.
7. Conduct Link Building Outreach.
Once you’ve got your internal links squared away, start investing your time in your backlink strategy.
Backlinks are like a little golden ticket for SEO – Google just loves them. However, backlinks won’t often be handed to you on a silver platter. Most link building campaigns involve some form of outreach to actually ask third parties for backlinks.
Here’s what conducting link building outreach requires:
- First, you need awesome, quality content that others will want to link to. Your content will need to provide value to their own site.
- Next, you need to put together a list of targeted, relevant sites you want backlinks from.
- Then, find points of contact for these sites. Finding an email address for a blog post author or content manager is a good place to start. Once you find these points of contact, start reaching out!
There’s an art to asking for backlinks – make sure you know best practices of outreach so you improve your chances for earning that golden ticket.
8. Make Responsive Web Design a Priority.
Did you know that according to a report by Statista, 60 percent of Google searches are conducted via mobile devices? Five years ago, the figure was almost half that – just 34 percent. Additionally, 65 percent of clicks on paid Google search results come from mobile devices.
So, what do these numbers tell us? That consumer search trends are leaning more and more toward mobile use.
In fact, Google announced mobile first site indexing back in 2016 – this means that mobile websites now take indexing and SEO priority over desktop websites.
Since then, mobile use for web searches has grown exponentially, furthering its priority within the realm of indexing.
What does this mean for you? It means that if you don’t have a user friendly mobile version of your website, you and your SEO should be shaking in your boots right about now.
Work with your web development and design team to ensure that your website is mobile optimized. Your website should be highly responsive – meaning that it looks just as good, runs just as easily, and is equally functionable on a phone as on a computer.
9. Drive CTR on Top Ranking Pages.
Your click-through rate (CTR) is seriously impacted by the quality of your titles and headers. An enticing and impactful title will intrigue site visitors into clicking on your page, while a bland one will drive them away.
Focus on your title tag – the primary line that will appear on search engine result pages (SERPs). Try using a tool like CoSchedule to test the quality and impact factor of your titles.
In general, pay attention to these core elements in order to write a powerful title tag:
Use Brackets and Parentheses
Using brackets and parentheses improves readability by breaking up your title to make it more digestible for the reader. Additionally, you can also use brackets and parentheses to provide clarification on your topic within the title, such as with this title from one of our Bluleadz blog posts, below.
The information within the parentheses lets the reader know that they can expect to find useful templates and tips for best practices within this specific post. This attracts visitors looking for more in depth learning tools on this subject.
Refrain from using clickbait phrases in favor of sparking interest within your audience. Over time, web users have become more attuned to the workings of the internet. With this new insight, clickbait phrases often appear spammy and turn readers away.
Examples of clickbait phrases include words and phrases like "amazing," "shocking," "unbelievable," and "simple tricks."
Instead, focus on generating curiosity within your reader, by asking a question in your title, such as this headline does:
Use Power Words to Stir Emotions
There’s no two ways about it, words have power. Find the right words to stir emotion, and you’ve hit a jackpot for your CTR. Utilizing emotion has been proven to be a highly effective marketing tactic, so why not do it in the titles of your top content?
Cut Titles Down
Lengthy titles aren’t doing you any favors. For starters, any title over 50-60 characters will get cut short on Google’s SERPs, which looks sloppy and could leave out an important point you try to make with the title.
Cut your titles down to improve readability and get your point across in a clear, concise way. Here's an example of a clear, concise, and direct title:
Get the Ball Rolling
Just like with content creation, implementing these strategies still requires a time investment to improve SEO results.
Nevertheless, it’s important to make sure that you’re focused on establishing a well-rounded SEO strategy that combines continual quality content creation with this list of tips and tricks.
The best time to start using these tips is right now. It’s easy to get behind on your SEO efforts if you let them fall by the wayside.
Being proactive about your search engine optimization is the best way to get on top of it and boost your rankings over time.