Content Remediation: How to Boost Your Ranking By Refreshing Old Content

So, you’ve done the heavy lifting making your case for content, doing your competitor and keyword research, identifying your best opportunities, creating a content strategy, etching in goals, and putting pen to paper.

But now that your content creation engine is chugging along like a sleek machine, you know there’s got to be other activities you can be doing to sneak up in the SERPs and capture more organic traffic. Enter: remediation!

Remediation is only a viable option if you already have a relatively deep well of content to work with (think at least 20 blogs published more than a few months ago). If you’re just starting out, no problem! Bookmark this page and revisit it next quarter or next year.

What is content remediation?

Content remediation is the systematic and strategic process of updating your growth content in order to give your readers new and up-to-date information and, debatably more importantly, send out the signal to search engines that there’s exciting fresh content that deserves a ranking boost.

As part of your bigger-picture content strategy, it can help fortify target keyword pillars and build greater authority in strategic areas.

Why remediate blog content?

I know what you’re thinking, your content is already great. And that’s probably true! But beyond adding some fresh information to make sure your post is as up to date and timely as possible, there are a lot of other reasons to implement a remediation strategy including but not limited to…

  1. You lost rankings because your competitors updated their content and you want to compete with them.
  2. You average time on page is low and you want to add new creative to the content to get readers staying on the page longer.
  3. The publish date is old and may discourage readers so you want to update the content and show the updated date to visitors. 
  4. Your bounce rate is higher than average and it’s because you don’t have enough internal links linking to your pillar pages. 
  5. You’re ranking on page 2 and you think with some minor improvements you’ll be able to rank on page 1.

The biggest takeaway: when we tell Google content is new, we’ll likely see a spike in traffic, making the relatively tiny amount of work required well worth it.

How to remediate content

First of all, it’s best to have a strategy in place before you start remediating old blog posts. If you have hundreds or thousands of blog posts, you’ll certainly need a plan for tackling all of these in bite-sized chunks over time. 

Process

Let’s begin with process and strategy. Before you begin creating content you typically start by building a content strategy, and that’s exactly what we’re going to do when we focus on remediation.

Similar to a content calendar, it’s useful to build out a content remediation process for each piece of content going forward. This is typically done on 30, 60, or 90-day basis, depending on how time-sensitive or evergreen your content is.

Once you’ve got the overall strategy nailed down, you’ll want to develop a strategy for each individual piece of content, which I’ll discuss now.

Improve

When setting out to improve an old post with good structure, it’s good to start with improvements in keyword targeting and general writing and grammar. You want to make sure that your blog post has a clear focus, targets a specific topic and keyword, and is doing so in proper English (or whatever language your blog may be in).

Once the content itself is in good shape, make sure to add any technical improvements that the piece may need, such as relevant internal links, alt text, or schema markup.

Then it’s time to make sure it’s pretty. Instead of big blocks of text, look for ways to make it chunkable and easier to read. This could be adding line breaks, paragraphs or creating bulleted or numbered lists. Visual improvements impact user experience and can keep people on the page longer, improving overall SEO. 

Expand and update

Another way to get more value out of your content is to repurpose or update the information contained to make old content fresh again. Data says that this is well worth the effort, with business bloggers who update older posts being 74% more likely to report strong results.

A few ways to expand or update a post are to explore a different take on the initial thesis, add newer data, or integrate more recent developments or changed opinions. Look to correct any data that is more than a year old with the most current information.  

Increasing word count has also shown to be beneficial, as longer blog posts typically perform better. This goes the same for adding images and other rich media such as infographics, videos, and charts and graphs.

Many of the blogs we recommend for remediation are under 750 words. We want to add more content as long as that content is good quality, answers FAQs, and provides the audience with useful information.

Update and add keywords

While remediating content, we also want to update the target keywords and add as many semantically related keywords as possible without crossing over the keyword stuffing line. The best way to add keywords is to include them within a sentence where it sounds natural. 

For example, in the sentences below, the keyword is in bold. Note how the first option sounds more natural, while the second one forces the keyword to create a jarring experience for the reader and the search engines.  

Do this: 

As a business owner, time is money. Save both by outsourcing bookkeeping services which allows you to focus on your company and not just your books.

Not this: 

Business outsourcing bookkeeping services tend to save time and money.

Add Images

Sometimes adding images to long-form content can completely rejuvenate the content by increasing the average time that readers spend on the page and in turn increasing its organic rankings. 

We recommend adding at least 3 images for every 1,000 words of content if possible. This can be done using a free stock image website such as Unsplash if you don’t have an extensive image library.

Content Remediation is The Low-Hanging Fruit of SEO Strategy

One of the things we find ourselves explaining most often: a great content strategy is one of the best long-term investments you can make when it comes to growth strategy. While, true, it’s a time consuming and can be more costly strategy to fire up and maintain, once you have a solid well of content, strategies like remediation can have you reaping riches for years to come.

Excited but not quite sure where to start? Let’s chat!

Typing on google search.

Branded and Non-Branded Organic Traffic: What Is It and Why It’s Important to Track It

Typing on google search.

When it comes to SEO (search engine optimization), it’s important to be able to track branded and non-branded organic traffic. So what is branded and non-branded organic traffic, why are they important, and how do you measure them? Let’s get into it. 

Simply put, branded organic traffic is any organic traffic that comes from a keyword phrase that contains a branded term. 

For example, QuietKat is a well-known eBike company so they receive a lot of branded searches, but not everyone spells their brand name correctly – or spells out the full name. Some examples of the branded searches that they receive are: 

  • quietkat bike
  • quiet cat bike
  • qk electric bike

Why is tracking branded and non-branded traffic Important?

It’s important to accurately track branded and non-branded organic traffic because it gives you a sense of how well your content and technical SEO is performing and what outside factors are having an effect on it. 

After all, the goal of technical seo and seo content is to help see higher search rankings and new traffic – not just to gain traction with people already looking for your brand. 

There are a lot of factors that lead to an increase or decrease in organic traffic and by tracking branded and non-branded keyword movements you’ll be better able to accurately pinpoint what the cause is. Let’s look at a few scenarios:

  1. You just hired a PR agency a few months ago and are seeing a 30% increase in organic traffic MoM (month over month). Is this increase due to the PR agency’s efforts, your SEO content strategy, or both?  
  2. Your brand reputation took a hit on social media. Organic traffic is steady but conversion rate is dropping. Could it be that non-branded organic traffic is still performing well but branded organic CVR (conversion rate) is decreasing?
  3. Your industry as a whole is growing exponentially and your company is reaping the benefits of this as organic traffic is up 60% MoM. Did your keyword rankings improve or did they stay the same but the monthly volume for those keywords has increased? 

These are just a few reasons why it’s important to track everything you can about your organic traffic and keyword rankings. 

How to track branded and non-branded organic traffic

So now you know why tracking organic keyword movement is important, but how do you track your keywords? There are a few different ways to do so. Let’s discuss the options. 

SEMrush

Report data from SEMRush.

SEMrush is probably the easiest way to track branded and non-branded organic traffic, along with other keyword movements. SEMrush is built for SEO keyword research so it’s no surprise that it’s the number one option. 

With SEMrush, there is no math involved because not only do they calculate branded and non-branded traffic for you, they even plot it on a timeline so that you can see the historic performance as well. 

There are a few caveats with SEMrush’s calculations and you should not completely take this at face value. I suggest taking a look at the keyword rankings and doing some quick math in your head to see if the percentage of organic traffic matches with these calculations. Sometimes SEMrush doesn’t count certain words that are misspelled or contain a space in the brand name, etc.,

Keyword report from SEMRush.

By looking at the keyword rankings, you can filter the keywords by branded and non-branded keywords and focus on the Traffic % column.

Google Analytics & Google Search Console

The second way to track branded and non-branded organic traffic and sales is to use Google Analytics and Google Search Console. 

One advantage of using GA & GSC is that you can view organic sales data as well as other on-page metrics that GA tracks. Another advantage of using GA is that people are generally much more familiar with GA than SEMrush and have more experience working with the data.

In order to track organic keywords in Google Analytics, you’ll need to make sure that Google Search Console is connected to Google Analytics. This takes just a minute and will be worth it in the long run. It’s important that you do this asap because Google only starts tracking data from the date when you connected to two platforms.

Search data from Google Analytics.

From here, we’re able to export this information to a spreadsheet and calculate the percentage of organic traffic from branded and non-branded keywords. 

Conclusion

Whether you’re an agency or a brand, it’s important to understand and measure the difference in traffic, sales, and CVR between branded and non-branded traffic. If you’re running PPC campaigns alongside your organic efforts then you probably know how important it is to track branded and non-branded keywords and the different ROAS you get from each campaign.

Branded vs non-branded organic traffic and sales reports can be a game-changer when reporting on your SEO performance. 

Are you tracking your branded and non-branded organic traffic? What are some trends you’ve noticed? Let us know!

How We Outranked Home Depot for the #1 Position

Early in 2020, Renogy approached Tuff to handle all of their SEO needs for their US and international websites. 

Tuff had previously been creating blog content for Renogy’s US website but was not managing technical SEO or anything else.

We analyzed all of their existing websites and put together a comprehensive SEO strategy to increase organic traffic and revenue. This is how we did it.

Technical SEO

When we first took over SEO implementation for all of Renogy’s international sites nobody had previously been maintaining their technical SEO. With that being said, it’s no surprise that there were quite a few errors that needed to be addressed.

This isn’t to say that the websites were in bad shape, they just weren’t SEO-optimized and there’s a big difference. So our first step was to make sure that all the international websites were SEO-optimized. This is how we did it…

International SEO (hreflang tags)

The first issue to tackle was the hreflang tags, and Renogy had about 16,000 of them. 

If you have multiple versions of a page for different languages or regions, hreflang tags are a way to tell Google about these variations. 

For instance, you may have a US and UK website and they’re both in English but one is in US English and one is in British English. Aside from having two different URLs – either uk.domain, domain.uk, or domain.com/uk – we need to specifically tell Google about the language differences.

The same goes for international versions with completely different languages such as German, French, or Chinese, etc.,

Some of the most common hreflang tag errors are:

  1. Not having any hreflang tags
  2. Having incorrect hreflang tags (Ex. having your French tags on your German site)
  3. Hreflang tags being incorrectly coded
  4. No self-referencing hreflang tags

The most common issue is not having any self-referencing hreflang tags, and that’s the issue that we were dealing with on Renogy’s websites. Fortunately, this can be solved programmatically so it’s not extremely time-consuming to fix all 16,000+ errors.

Meta Descriptions

Once the hreflang tags were fixed, one of the most common technical SEO errors across all websites has to do with meta descriptions. Whether it be missing or duplicate meta descriptions, this is something that commonly goes unnoticed.

Sometimes these fixes can be done programmatically by pulling the first sentence on the page and setting it as the meta description but for a variety of reasons, this wasn’t possible for Renogy. One of those reasons is that their website is hosted on Big Commerce and this makes it more difficult. Another reason is that the first sentence wasn’t ideal for a meta description.

So long story short, I began manually fixing and creating hundreds of meta descriptions so that there weren’t duplicate or missing meta descriptions across all of their international websites. 

Internal Linking & Broken Internal Links

Internal links are a very important part of technical SEO, whether it be improving the internal linking throughout the website or fixing the broken links. We did both, starting with the broken links. 

Having broken internal links on your website is another common SEO issue that can not only harm your organic performance but also your user experience and revenue. 

When fixing the broken links, my initial focus was on top-performing product pages to make sure we weren’t losing revenue due to users not being able to purchase the product. 

This is another manual fix so some of it was done in unison with the meta description fixes since I was already going through the pages manually.

No-indexing Pages

It’s important to remove low-quality pages from Google’s search engine. 

Most of us have a habit of wanting all pages to be indexed in Google and I understand it. But when we think about how Google ranks a website, it doesn’t make sense to have our blog tag archives, author archive pages, and other similar pages indexed in Google, for a few reasons. 

  1. When you search for something in Google, you are presented with its search engine results page (SERP) and for that reason, Google doesn’t like to direct traffic to another SERP, even if it’s your own website’s SERP. 
  2. This typically isn’t a good user experience. If someone is searching for 
  3. For these reasons, Google won’t rank these pages very well and if you have a lot of low-quality pages, it will eventually harm your whole website.

For these reasons, we no-indexed any low-quality archive pages that were on the Renogy website. 

Content Creation

Now that the technical SEO is all done, let’s talk about the SEO content strategy and content creation that we executed. 

We began by creating a few pillar pieces of content that we could build a cluster strategy around. We defined a few high-traffic keywords that were essential to the business and created high-quality content around those topics. These pieces of content live at the top of the Renogy blog. 

We then created 3 to 4 pieces of related content that we used to link to these hub pages as well as internally linked dozens of existing content.

Aside from the hub pages, we consistently produce one new blog post each week for each of Renogy’s website properties. 

The other main piece of content that we created was what we refer to as customer service content.

E-commerce Customer Service Content

E-commerce Customer Service Content is essentially FAQ data that is specific to the page that it is on. Not only is it helpful for SEO, but it’s also helpful for the user experience. 

You can find this content on all the major ecommerce websites. 

Ex. Amazon

Ex. Best Buy

Renogy was missing this content on their core category solar panel listing pages, including their solar panel kits listing page, and by adding it, it helped us increase organic rankings of these pages and in return, drive more sales.

We’ve seen the most significant organic improvements to the pages that we added this customer service content to.

Results

After all of these improvements and about 6 months’ time, we are ranking #1 in Google for ‘solar panel kits’ – outranking Amazon and Home Depot when we previously weren’t ranking in the top 100. We also rank #4 for ‘solar kit’ when we previously weren’t ranking in the top 100.

In addition to that, we increased our ranking for ‘solar panels for sale’ from position 12 to position 5.

We’ve also seen significant improvements in tons of other organic keywords that are essential to Renogy’s business and bottom line. 

As I write this, organic traffic is up over 32% from when we finished our implementations and organic revenue is steadily increasing and growing about 37% quarter over quarter.

 

tuff seo chsrt

How We Increased Our Organic Traffic by 630% in 12 months (And as a result, increased our monthly revenue by over 60%)

tuff seo chsrt

As a growth marketing agency, we work hard to balance quick wins with long-term strategy. Our process helps us identify which channels to test first based on our target audience and what combination of tactics will help us hit our goals. We’ve done this for over 35 different businesses in the last 3 years. 

Last year, though, we decided to get serious about our own growth strategy at Tuff. We help companies grow every day with a combination of different marketing tactics, what will happen if we test some of those out for our own growth? 

Up until this year, we had grown steadily through referrals – either from an existing client or from someone finding our Google Reviews and reaching out. Then, in November 2019, we did three things: 

  • Identified our USP (value props!)
  • Did a deep dive on our competitors
  • Fleshed out our ICP (target client!) 

With this research, we then put together a full growth marketing strategy for Tuff, with the primary focus on organic growth. While organic is tough, takes patience, consistency, and time, we knew it was the one channel that could bring us compounding growth if done right. 

For us, SEO has turned out to be a game-changer…

  • We rank for top keywords
  • Leads come knocking on our door 
  • Sales are steady and consistent (we don’t spend any money on lead gen) 

tuff seo chsrt

tuff keywords

In this post, we’ll take you through the exact steps we took to jumpstart our organic performance at Tuff. 

  1. Wrote down all the questions we get from prospects and clients 
  2. Mapped these questions to each stage of the user journey 
  3. Did an SEO audit on other growth marketing agencies to see where they “won” with SEO
  4. Identified the keywords we were already ranking for on Google 
  5. Listed the keywords we wanted to rank for on Google
  6. Made significant improvements to the content and internal linking on the Tuff website with landing pages 
  7. Developed an editorial calendar with content clusters for our target keyword list 
  8. Committed to consistently publishing 5-7 articles a month on the Tuff blog (internal team and freelancers) 

Let’s dive in! 

Wrote down all the questions we get from prospects and clients 

High-quality content is all about providing value to your customers and you can’t do that if you don’t know what your customers are looking for. 

The first step in building an SEO strategy for a B2B company is to understand who the target audience is and what they’re looking for. The best way to know what your customers want is to ask them, or to build a list of all the questions they ask you, which is what we did.

If you’re just getting started and don’t have a list of customer questions then the next best step is to build a buyer persona.

These were questions like: 

  • I’m trying to figure out if I should hire an agency or bring it in-house – what do you think?
  • How much money do we need to set aside for a testing budget? 
  • How do we decide what budget is enough? 
  • Do you offer a performance-based pricing structure? 
  • What should we expect from hiring an agency? 
  • Do you do any YouTube ads? 
  • How long does it take to see results? 

We paired the above list, and others, with more qualitative research as well. We read blogs, we chatted with other business owners, and we studied all our existing and previous clients. 

Mapped these questions to each stage of the user journey 

Once we had our list of questions, we began to conduct keyword research and map out the buyer journey. This is how we did it. 

We cross-referenced the list of questions with target keyword research to find the questions with the most value to our customers. We did this by focusing on a few different metrics, amongst others: 

  1. Search volume – how many professionals have this exact or similar question.  
  2. Keyword difficulty – do we have a chance of ranking for this keyword
  3. Keyword cannibalization – do we already have content around this keyword that we can improve

Once we finished cross-referencing our list of questions with our keyword research and narrowed it down to a dozen or so keywords, we had to figure out where these keywords fit in the buyer journey. 

tuff buyer journey

We wanted to make sure that we weren’t targeting a ton of top-of-funnel or bottom-of-funnel keywords. The goal is to use high-quality content to properly guide the customer through the sales funnel.

Did an SEO audit on other growth marketing agencies to see where they “won” with SEO 

After doing an initial technical SEO audit on our own website, we conducted competitive analysis on other growth marketing agencies to see where they “won” with SEO. What we found was rather interesting and helped us create additional pieces of content.

We found that some agencies were utilizing list posts to drive organic traffic to their website. We took this with a grain of salt as these articles definitely helped to drive organic traffic but were very top-of-funnel. Taking that into consideration, we included a few of these list posts into our SEO content strategy wherever we had additional content to follow it up with. 

I recorded a short video explaining this SEO competitive analysis more in-depth if you’re interested in watching it.

Identified the keywords we were already ranking for on Google 

On top of the initial keyword research that was done, we looked for “quick wins” where we were ranking on page 2 or 3 and thought we had a good chance to move up to page 1. We looked at the keyword volume, difficulty, and top-10 ranking pages to decide if we had a good chance of ranking for that keyword or not. In regards to the keyword difficulty, we typically try to focus on keywords that have a difficulty of less than 70% but this isn’t a hard rule.

We also take into consideration whether or not this is a valuable keyword for our business and if it’s going to drive not just organic traffic but sales leads.

For Q4 2020, these are a few of the keywords that we’ve identified and are strengthening:

tuff q4 keywords

We also took a look at what page we currently had ranking and how we could improve it and support it with additional content. 

Seeing what’s currently ranking in the top-10 and analyzing those pages is one of the best ways to figure out what Google is looking for. Some important things to look for are word count, the quality of the content, rich media, the authoritativeness of the brand, and how unique the content is compared to the other rankings. Then the ultimate question becomes, can we produce better content than what is currently ranking in the top-10?

In regards to the authoritativeness of the brand, if you’re unsure about the particular brand, you can check their domain authority in SEMrush, ahrefs, Moz, or several other tools. 

Listed the keywords we wanted to rank for on Google

After all of that research, we adjusted and narrowed our focus down to about 10 primary keywords that are vital to our business. We work on quarterly SEO sprints because SEO is not a quick solution and in order to rank on page 1 for 10 keywords we need to consistently produce high-quality comprehensive content, which takes a while. 

Comprehensive coverage is typically at least 4 pieces of content and includes a high-quality landing page and 3 corresponding blog posts that internally link to that landing page. This is often referred to as a cluster strategy or a pillar page with supporting content.

At the end of the quarter, we review all of our content efforts to see where we won and lost. We also review our keyword rankings in SEMrush and Google Search Console to determine which keywords we want to focus on for the next quarter. A few of the keywords will be chosen based on where we’re currently ranking and what probability we have of ranking on the first page.

Made significant improvements to the content and internal linking on the Tuff website with landing pages 

As mentioned earlier, whenever creating content we want to make sure that we have comprehensive coverage on that topic. We want to be seen as an authoritative voice in the industry and you can’t do that by creating just 1 or 2 pieces of content. 

One way to stand out from the competition and let customers know that this is one of your core services is to create a landing page or pillar page, which is exactly what we did.

We rolled out a 12-page landing page strategy that was backed by blog posts, case studies, and more. 

tuff footer

Some of these landing pages are focused on our core services while others are focused on our culture, the industries we serve, and the processes we follow when working with clients. All of these pages have not only helped with organic traffic but also with leading customers through the sales funnel. 

Developed an editorial calendar with content clusters for our target keyword list 

We wanted to tackle the website content first because we knew it would have the biggest impact on our organic growth. This isn’t always the case but our website, at the time, was pretty thin. The content was generic, duplicated in some areas, and in need of a revamp.

Once we got through the website content updates, we went back to our target keyword list, reviewed our target audience information one more time, and then built out an editorial calendar. Here were the details: 

  • Dates: April – September 
  • Target Number of Articles: 42
  • Actual Number of Articles Published: 25  

At first, we built this out in excel, using tabs to differentiate between content priorities. For us, we have the below categories: 

tuff content categories

Over time, we moved this over to Trello so we could. The idea was to get moving on articles (balance the quality and quantity conundrum) with an easy-to-use spreadsheet. Once we started getting traction, we upgraded to a project management tool to help us streamline the process and give the internal team more visibility on the content queue. 

Here’s what it looks like now: 

Committed to consistently publishing 5-7 articles a month on the Tuff blog (internal team and freelancers) 

We had the editorial calendar, the target keywords, and the due dates. But who the heck was going to write all the content? 

Our industry isn’t overly complex but we wanted to make sure the articles we published reflected real results, accurate analysis, and our experience working with almost every type of client on 20+ marketing channels. 

We decided to produce 70% of the content in-house and outsource 30%.

For the in-house articles, we leaned on the internal team to help support. Each team member was asked to write 1 to 2 articles a month, based on their area of expertise. These could include case studies, channel deep dives, campaign results, and strategy – but needed to map back to our editorial calendar and keyword list. 

For the out-source articles, we found a combination of freelancers who we could onboard to the Tuff voice. We identified 5-6 posts, wrote outlines, and gave to a freelancer to help us bulk up content efforts on a particular keyword. 

While we would like to (one day) write all the Tuff content in-house, this was a helpful split to offset the workload. The content was primarily written by the team, we had oversight on strategic direction for anything we outsourced and were able to push out high-value articles on a variety of topics. We couldn’t have done this without the internal team willing to contribute or freelancers to help fill gaps. 

Next Up 

For the next couple of months, our focus is still on feeding our content process with high-quality, diverse content for the Tuff blog.  Here’s what we have on the roadmap to keep improving our organic performance: 

  • Implement UX fixes on the blog to make it easier to navigate 
  • Add author pages to the blog so users can filter by each team member at Tuff 
  • Implement a remediation plan to make sure we remove any content that is outdated, irrelevant, and not bringing value 
  • Launch two new core playlists on the blog – SEO and LinkedIn Ads 

If you’re curious about what we did to get these results, have feedback on our process, or simply want to chat about organic performance, shoot us a note. We can chat in more detail about the content plan and SEO strategy we used that might work for your businesses in a similar way.

typing on the computer

How to Create a B2B SEO Strategy in 2020

typing on the computer

In this post you’ll learn:

  • What is B2B SEO?
  • How B2B SEO works
  • How SEO for B2B is different than B2C SEO
  • How to create content that turns into leads
  • B2B SEO Best Practices
  • And more…

What is B2B SEO?

B2B SEO is about driving professionals to your website via organic traffic. 

It doesn’t matter what professional industry you’re in. If you’re in a B2B business and have a website, you can and should take advantage of SEO. By effectively implementing these SEO best practices, B2B organizations can improve lead quality, build valuable relationships, and drive organic sales.

Some examples of B2B SEO search terms are:

“enterprise cybersecurity software”

“YouTube ads agency”

Assuming the person searching these keywords is a business professional, this is an example of B2B SEO. 

How B2B SEO works

SEO is SEO. Whether we’re talking about YouTube SEO, B2C SEO, or B2B, we typically follow the same best practices and break SEO down into three categories.

  1. Technical SEO is one of the most important aspects of SEO. Technical SEO ensures that your website is functioning properly and is SEO-optimized for your target audience. 
  2. Onpage SEO is typically what B2B companies will focus on most when it comes to SEO. This may include landing pages, white papers, blog posts, case studies, and more.
  3. Offpage SEO is tough no matter whether you’re a B2B or B2C company and involves getting other websites in your industry to link to you. 

How SEO for B2B is different than B2C

Where B2B SEO really differs is in the keyword and topic research. B2B companies typically have a narrower target audience than B2C companies and we want to make sure that we’re properly targeting that audience of professionals correctly. We do that by choosing the correct keywords and using content to lead the user through the buyer journey. 

Generally, B2B companies that focus on SEO face less competition than B2C companies. From my experience, most B2B companies focus their resources on paid advertising, causing paid advertising to be more competitive, CPCs to skyrocket, and organic search to be less competitive. 

One reason for this is because B2B companies put their most valuable content in white paper downloads, PDFs, and behind paywalls. This makes it difficult for this content to rank in SERP because it is not easily accessible to search engines.

This offers an advantage to most B2B companies, depending on what industry you’re in. The SaaS industry is super competitive and SEO is no exception, but I still find that most SaaS companies have a ton of room for improvement when it comes to SEO.

One SEO ‘hack’ that a lot of B2C companies don’t have the opportunity to take advantage of is optimizing your support and knowledge base content.

DigitalOcean is an example of a company that does this very well. They blend their tutorials, guides, and knowledgebase content very seamlessly and optimize it so that it is generating a ton of organic traffic.

SEO keyword research & how to create content that turns into leads

When conducting B2B SEO, we want to make sure that we have a clear sales funnel in place and that our keywords fit within that sales funnel. We also need a clear buyer persona to truly understand the target customer and to understand where they’re in the buying cycle. I won’t dive into how to create a buyer persona in this article but it’s certainly one of the first steps to consider when building a content strategy.

content funnel

What I mean by this is that we need to be aware of where in the funnel our keywords fit and that is going to dictate what type of content we create. For instance, is it a top of funnel keyword or is it a keyword with direct buyer intent?

After finding 5 or 10 target keywords that we want to rank for, we need to know where in the buyer journey these keywords belong. Is this keyword going to be for an introductory informational blog post or is it going to be on the landing page where we are collecting leads? The difference is super important. 

Whenever creating content that is top of the funnel, we want to have another piece of content that follows it up. That way we can lead the user through the buyer journey using content. For that reason, it’s important to understand the whole buyer journey before creating the first piece of content.

Unlike B2C SEO where you can target high-volume keywords that don’t necessarily have buyer intent, B2B content is a lot more strategical and focused on low-volume keywords with real benefits to the business. 

B2B buyers want personalized content so it’s important to think from the buyer’s perspective when building an SEO strategy.

B2B SEO Best Practices

Let’s take a look at some of the top B2B SEO best practices that all B2B companies should be aware of. Following these best practices will certainly improve your SEO strategy in 2020 and beyond.

  1. Publish content strategically that targets decision-makers.
  2. Target low-volume keywords that have buyer intent.
  3. Utilize CTAs within the content to convert that organic traffic to leads.
  4. Optimize technical SEO before focusing on content.
  5. SEO-optimize your support and knowledgebase content if you have it.
  6. Publish high-quality landing pages that target different decision-makers.
  7. Create a buyer persona.

Conclusion

For the most part, SEO is SEO and for that reason, the same SEO best practices that work for B2C companies will also work for B2B corporations. With that being said, there are a lot of differences between B2C and B2B SEO when it comes to content and SEO strategy. 

B2B SEO focuses more heavily on the target customer than B2C SEO does. It makes sense considering that a B2B customer typically pays a lot more than a B2C customer and the sales process is considerably longer.

When it comes to B2B, your target market isn’t typically a broad audience such as “newlyweds” or “college athletes” and for this reason, your content and SEO strategy needs to be significantly more targeted and thought out. 

SEO search console

How to Conduct SEO Competitive Analysis

SEO search console

Competitive analysis can be conducted in many different ways and it is something that all website owners and business owners should be doing. A thorough SEO competitive analysis can be the founding block for a very successful SEO strategy.

It can help you identify who your search competitors are, what they are strong at, and where they are weak. Along with keyword research, it can help you identify new topics to focus on.

This competitive analysis is going to focus solely on SEO content because technical SEO is something that you should optimize to the best of your ability, regardless of what your competition is doing. There is a slim chance that you may be able to deduce a technical SEO strategy from your competitors that you hadn’t thought of but I’ll save that for another day.

So what exactly is SEO competitive analysis and how do we begin?

Build a Competitor List – Search Competitors & Business Competitors

First, let’s start by building a list of competitors. This list should include search competitors and business competitors. 

A search competitor is a website that appears in search results for a keyword that you’re trying to rank for but is not a direct business competitor. If you’re in the e-commerce space, this may be a retailer who sells your products as well as competitors’ products. they are not a direct competitor but they are a search competitor and for that reason, we want to outrank them in SERP.

You can find a list of search competitors by doing a quick Google search and seeing who appears in the top 10 or by using a tool such as SEMrush or ahrefs.

Keyword Gap Analysis

Once we’ve built a list of competitors, the next thing to do is run a keyword gap analysis using a tool like SEMRush. A keyword gap analysis allows you to see what keywords you and your competitors are both ranking for, which keywords your competitors are outperforming you for, and which keywords you are outperforming your competitors for.

This is helpful because it allows you to find keywords and topics that you can improve on in order to outrank your competitors. It also shows you which keywords they are focusing most heavily on. 

All of this information is helpful and necessary to build a comprehensive SEO strategy. In order to beat your competition, you must know yours and their strengths and weaknesses.

Backlink Audit

The next step in SEO competitive analysis is a backlink audit. The purpose of the backlink audit is to find out which of your competitor’s pages are the most popular, the most linked to, and why. Once you have that information, you can develop a strategy to effectively replicate that success.

Using SEMrush, we can quickly see which pages have the most backlinks, sorted by domains or individual pages. With a little bit of work, we can filter out the low-quality backlinks and only focus on pages with high-quality backlinks. This is important because the larger the website, the more low quality backlinks they will have, by nature. we don’t want to take these low-quality backlinks into consideration so it’s important to filter them out.

 

backlink analysis

We can also see the most powerful backlinks our competitor has and choose to see only one backlink per domain and to filter out the nofollow backlinks.

backlink audit

 

By analyzing the backlinks we may be able to figure out if they have an outreach strategy or if the backlinks are coming in naturally.

We can also quickly see which pages are driving the most organic traffic in which keywords are driving that traffic. After finding these top-performing pages, we manually analyze them to figure out why they are performing so well.

Types of Content & Content Gap Analysis

When analyzing the top-performing content, the first thing we want to look at is what type of content is it? Is it an infographic, a lengthy blog post, a video, or something else?

If you noticed that your competitor’s top-performing organic pages all have something in common, then that is most likely their SEO strategy. If their top-performing organic pages are all list pages or comparisons or reviews, etc., then that may be something that you want to incorporate into your own SEO content strategy.

If your competitors are generating more organic traffic based on the sheer number of pages that they have, then you may want to build a content strategy to beef up the number of pages that you have on your website.

This is essentially a content gap analysis, similar to a keyword gap analysis, but on a broader level. It’s important that you know where your content gaps are if you intend to improve them.

Paid Ads Keywords

Though this is not technically organic traffic, it’s important to see which keywords your competitors are spending money on. This can be done through SEMrush or SpyFu or other ads spying tools. This information is helpful because it shows you the keywords that they want to rank number one for. The keywords that they are willing to pay money for.

This may allow you to discover which of the products have the highest profit margin or which of their pages have the highest conversion rate. If all of their paid ads are leading to one product category or one landing page then there is probably a good reason for that and a lot that you can learn from that.

backlink audit

 

Conclusion

SEO competitive analysis is a very powerful tool when done correctly. It can be the basis of your own SEO content strategy or simply a small addition to your current SEO strategy. If you would like to know more, please reach out to Tuff’s SEO department.

two women looking at a computer

The 30-Minute Technical SEO Audit Anyone Can Do

two women looking at a computer

In the last article, we talked to about technical SEO and what it entails. 

In this article, we’ll talk about how to conduct a technical SEO audit. What to look for? What tools to use? And what to focus on? 

Selecting Your SEO Tools

Unless your website has less than 50 pages or so, you’re going to need an SEO auditing tool to crawl the website. The most popular SEO auditing software tools are SEMrush, ahrefs, and ScreamingFrog. 

Personally, SEMrush is my favorite because they grade your overall site health and provide a comprehensive user-interface for reporting, keyword tracking, and a lot of other features. 

Ahrefs is great for backlink auditing, building backlinks, and anything that has to do with the back links. But it is not ideal for auditing websites.

ScreamingFrog is a great tool and I will sometimes run it in parallel alongside SEMRush. It’s also significantly cheaper than both SEMrush and ahrefs, probably because there is no user interface in the cloud. It’s great to crawl the website and export that data to Google Sheets or Excel but there isn’t a user interface that allows you to run reports and present to clients.

Google Search Console and Google Analytics are also tools that you will want to have set up and connected so that you can accurately track your organic traffic.

For the purpose of this article, I will be using SEMrush and a few other tools for specific things such as site speed.

What to Focus on First

SEM Rush errors.

Another reason why I like SEMrush is that it prioritizes the most important errors, warnings, and notices.

  • Errors are issues of the highest severity and should be fixed first. 
  • Warnings aren’t as important but you should attempt to fix as many as possible. 
  • Notices are not so important and most likely will not be fixed on larger sites. 

These errors may look alarming but it’s important to understand that you’re not going to be fixing every single one. The audit takes into account SEO best practices and this would be the ideal if you are 100% focused on SEO and we’re willing to potentially compromise other aspects of the website to fix all SEO notices. So let’s drill down into the errors and see what to fix first. 

Errors list in SEM Rush.

The above screenshot shows the eight most critical errors that we must fix. You can click on each one and drill down to see exactly which pages the errors occur on. They also do a great job of explaining what the error is and how to fix it.

Since we have to fix them all we have to decide which one to start with. The easy thing to do is look at which one has the most errors and start there – hreflang conflicts. Another reason why this is a good error to start with is that it can be fixed programmatically. With a few lines of code, we can fix all 1400+ hreflang errors in the span of a few hours.

This is just a personal preference, but it’s always great to come back to your client and say “hey look, we fixed 1400 errors in our first week of implementing SEO fixes”. It’s a quick win and it goes a long way rather than starting with the 900 duplicate meta descriptions, which may take weeks to completely finish and deliver to the client.

After fixing all of the errors to the best of our ability we would then go on and do the same with the warnings and then the notices. My personal goal is to get the site health to 90%. That tends to be very challenging with large websites.

Page Speed

With page speed being so important, there are a dozen different tools we could use to check our page speed. We’re going to rely on the ones that are provided by Google today, specifically Google pagespeed insights.

Google page speed insights report example.

Focusing on the opportunities, we can see that images are significantly slowing down this particular website. So we would click on the errors and find solutions to the problems and present them to the client. 

Mobile Accessibility & Core Web Vitals

The rest of the technical SEO aspects that we’re going to look at today can all be viewed from Google Search Console.

Google search console screenshot.

Fortunately, this particular website doesn’t have any errors but if it did we would click on open report, find the specific hour, and go in and fix it.

Google search console screenshot.

This usually requires working closely with the developer as you can see most of the errors revolve around coding. This is also the same for the core web vitals, which mainly focuses on the speed of the website on desktop and mobile.

Conclusion

This is not an exhaustive list of all technical SEO aspects that you should be focusing on and fixing but it does cover the most critical issues that you should be prioritizing. If you are not experienced with this then I recommend hiring a technical SEO agency to take care of it for you.

The Power of Technical SEO: How Optimizing Your Site Will Increase Organic Performance

Technical SEO is one of the most important elements of your website. It’s also, at times, one of the most confusing. 

You don’t need to be an expert, but a basic technical knowledge will help you optimize your site for search engines and avoid costly mistakes. 

As Tuff’s technical SEO strategist, I work on sites of all sizes. From websites with 5 pages to websites with 5,000 pages, I’ve helped companies make sure their web pages are structured for both crawlers and humans. 

In today’s post, I share my experiences and strategies with you and leverage these learnings to help you get started with technical SEO tactics on your own website. 

Let’s dig in! 

What is technical SEO

Technical SEO covers a variety of different technical optimization techniques and strategies to improve a website’s organic traffic. Some areas are more technical in nature than others. Some borderline on development and some borderline on content SEO, which we’ll touch upon later.

Why is technical SEO important?

Technical SEO is important because it is the foundation of your website, which may also be the foundation of your whole company. If you build a weak foundation, then nothing you do afterwards well give you the results that you’re looking for.

It’s important to start with technical SEO before any other areas of SEO. If you start building high-quality content or high-quality backlinks on a website that is not fundamentally strong then you will not rank well in SERP. 

Most important aspects of technical SEO

Core Web Vitals

Rankings on core website vitals.

Just a few months ago, Google released what is now known as the core web vitals that revolve around loading, interactivity, and visual stability. 

And they describe them as,

“Web Vitals is an initiative by Google to provide unified guidance for quality signals that are essential to delivering a great user experience on the web…Core Web Vitals are the subset of Web Vitals that apply to all web pages, should be measured by all site owners, and will be surfaced across all Google tools. Each of the Core Web Vitals represents a distinct facet of the user experience, is measurable in the field, and reflects the real-world experience of a critical user-centric outcome.”

  • Largest Contentful Paint (LCP): measures loading performance. To provide a good user experience, LCP should occur within 2.5 seconds of when the page first starts loading.
  • First Input Delay (FID): measures interactivity. To provide a good user experience, pages should have a FID of less than 100 milliseconds.
  • Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS): measures visual stability. To provide a good user experience, pages should maintain a CLS of less than 0.1.

Speed

From tracking how long it takes before the page visually loads, to how soon you can start interacting with the page, and then if the page moves after you start interacting with the page; the core web vitals all revolve around website speed and usability. 

Google wants its users to have the best experience possible so it’s easy to see why they have such a focus on speed and usability, as well as security.

Mobile Usability

In this mobile-first indexing world it’s necessary to make sure that your website performs well on mobile. 

Security – HTTPS

Having a secure site that runs on HTTPS is certainly a ranking factor that Google looks at. As far back as 2014 they started to penalize websites that were not secure with https. This also includes the sites that you linked to. So if you’re linking to websites that are not secure, I recommend that you update your external links with secure HTTPS links.

Duplicate Content

There are many different types of duplicate content. The most common is duplicate content within your own website. 

This usually happens when you duplicate a page and then forget to change the title and/or meta description on that page. Search engines will penalize you for this, especially if the main body of content on the page is not unique. The reason for this is if both pages are the same how does Google know which one to rank. This is common with archived pages that have the same title and meta description on each paginated page. One way to avoid this is with canonical tags.

Crawlability

One of the most important aspects of technical SEO is making sure that Google and other search engines can crawl your website efficiently.

Depending on how large and complex your website is, this will most likely involve editing your robots.txt file, a well-thought-out XML and HTML sitemap, and the use of noindex tags to save your crawl budget. 

Broken Pages & Links

Having broken pages in broken internal and external links on your website will not only hurt your organic traffic but also your user experience. 

Search engines crawl all of the links on your website and check, amongst other things, if that page is broken or not. if you have a lot of broken pages or broken links on your website then it is seen as a poor user experience and search engines will penalize you for it.

SEO Tracking & Reporting

This is something that I don’t see mentioned much when talking about technical SEO and I believe it is an important piece that needs to be addressed. The famous saying “if you can’t measure it then it doesn’t exist” applies to SEO as well. 

Assuming you’ve got Google Analytics and Google Search Console set up, the first thing to do is connect those two together. This way you can view your organic search traffic in Google Analytics. This gives you the ability to run reports and compare organic to other channels as well as other useful capabilities.

The next thing to do is get a keyword tracking tool such as SEMrush or ahrefs so that you can track your organic progress month-over-month

Conclusion

The above is a non-exhaustive list of the most important technical SEO aspects to optimize. 

In my next article, I will describe more in-depth how to conduct a technical SEO audit. With that being said, in order to efficiently conduct a full technical SEO audit of your web properties, you will need an experienced SEO or technical SEO agency.

Implementing technical SEO fixes generally require going into the code and/or advising a developer on what changes to make. 

Though technical SEO is the first aspect of SEO that you should focus on, it is still only one piece of the puzzle.

Google search console results.

How to do SEO Link Building in 2020 [Free Email Template]

Google search console results.

Behind only quality content, content is always king, high quality link building is arguably the most important SEO ranking factor. So it’s no surprise that companies and SEOs put a lot of effort into building backlinks. I stress the term high quality, because the majority of link building that goes on is not high quality in my opinion. So what exactly does link building entail?

Link building can be both technical SEO and content SEO. It usually involves public relations, partnerships, and communication. In simple terms, link building is the process of getting another website to link to your website. This can be done naturally or it can be done strategically. 

Why is link building important?

Link building is important because one of the most important ranking factors that Google uses to determine how and where to rank your page in Google search results. Acquiring backlinks from authoritative domains can be very beneficial for your company. 

For SEO purposes, search engines crawl two different types of backlinks. A dofollow link and a nofollow link. A dofollow link simply tells the search engine crawler to follow that link, whereas a nofollow link does the opposite. So if you’re receiving a backlink from another website, a dofollow link is preferred, since a nofollow may not be crawled at all, though Google has recently announced that using nofollow is now seen as a hint, not a directive.

Beyond just getting a link from a high-quality website, there are a lot of additional factors that Google is looking at to determine how high quality that link is. The links that appear in the body of content with related anchor text are some of the highest quality backlinks you can get. For instance, if a news outlet covers a story on your company and links to your web page with text that is related to your core business, that is seen as a high quality backlink.

Link building research

When crafting a link building strategy, research is one of the most important factors. You’ll want to know exactly what type of link building you’re going to be doing, what websites and blogs you’re going to be focusing on, how you’re going to reach out, and what you’re going to offer.

Link building is certainly not easy. If you’re asking someone to insert a link to your website you better have a good reason why they should do so.

Let’s look at some different types of Link building strategies.

Link Building Strategies

This is not an exhaustive list but rather some of the most common link building strategies.

Mentions – using a tool such as Mention to find all mentions of your brand name and then reaching out to that webmaster and asking if they will link to your website because it will be beneficial to their readers.this has a higher success rate since they are already talking about your brand name and are familiar with your company.

Lost backlinks – this technique involves using a tool such as SEMrush or ahrefs to find backlinks that you have lost, for whatever reason, reaching out to the particular website or blog owner and asking if they can add back the backlink. This has varying degrees of success because maybe they removed the link on their own or maybe the link was broken, which takes us to our next method.

Partnership building – This is the most common form of link building. General outreach to bloggers and webmasters in your industry. Just like any other outreach, its success depends on how targeted the outreach is, how enticing your offer is, how relevant your content is to their audience, and so on. NinjaOutreach and BuzzStream can be great tools for mass outreach, though I’ve always chosen to do it manually.

Since I’ve had pretty good success with this method in the past, I’m going to share with you some things that have worked well for me in the next section. 

Broken links – this method is very tedious and has a lower success rate than the previous methods. For this method, you use a tool such as ScreamingFrog to crawl a website with related content and find broken links. Once you find a broken link that is linking out to a piece of content that is similar to a piece of content on your website, you reach out to the blog owner and ask him/her if they want to replace the broken link with your new link.

HAROHARO stands for Help a Reporter Out and provides writers with daily opportunities to be featured in high quality articles. Each day you receive an email with stories that reporters are working on and if you are an expert on any of the topics, you respond and have a chance to be featured in the article. This doesn’t always guarantee a backlink, but they usually make it clear whether or not they will link to you.

Guest posting – guest posting is one of the most common forms of backlinking and involves writing a guest post to be featured on another website. Within that guest post you will ideally link a few times to specific pages on your website. This is okay as long as you’re not paying to post the guest. Google has recently said selling paid links on blogs is against its webmaster guidelines.

Partnership Building Outreach Template

Here is an email template that has worked well for me in the past. One important thing to note is that you usually need to offer a link swap, or a way to drive traffic back to their website as well. Nobody wants to do anything for you for free. Before I include the template, lets talk about the steps that lead up to it.

  1. Build a spreadsheet of 5 target pages that you want to build link to and save it in Sheet 1
  2. On Sheet 2 (if doing manual outreach) build a list of target blogs and keep track of the URL, website name, DA, contact’s name, and contact’s email.
  3. Once you have that information, you can create a mail merge directly in Google Sheets.

Email template

Hi,

My name is Derek, and I’m reaching out on behalf of [Your Company].

I wanted to see if you’d be interested in exploring ways we can collaborate on content sharing between your blog and [Your Company]. I’ve been reading [WEBSITE/BLOG] for some time and have noticed a lot of content overlap. I think we could benefit from driving our audiences back to relevant content where applicable.

Let me know if you’re interested in discussing further.

Thanks,

Conclusion

These are just a few link building strategies but the best strategy is always to create high-quality content and share it with an interested audience so that they will naturally build backlinks for you. 

tuff-growth-marketing

YouTube SEO: 12 Ways to Optimize YouTube Videos

SEO for youtube search results.

YouTube is many things. It’s a place to share your creativity with the world. A platform for aspiring artists to garner fame. A source of unlimited entertainment. It also happens to be the second-largest search engine in the world, behind its parent company – Google. 

Luckily for us, a lot of SEO best practices for ranking in Google also apply to ranking in YouTube. Additionally, a well-optimized YouTube video may also appear in Google search results so it’s important to follow the YouTube SEO best practices. If you’re unfamiliar with SEO or YouTube best practices, it may be best to hire a YouTube Ads agency to manage all of your YouTube marketing needs.

Curious to find out more on YouTube SEO? Read on for our top optimization tips.

1. Rename your video file to include a target keyword.

If you’re familiar with the SEO best practices for images, then this shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. The same way that naming images for SEO will improve your search engine rankings and website traffic, naming your YouTube videos will have the same effect in YouTube search results. It’s another way to tell YouTube’s algorithms what this video is about so that they can display it accordingly.

2. Naturally Insert your keyword in the title of the video.

Although you may have a target keyword in mind that you want to rank for, it’s important that it matches when a viewer will be searching on YouTube. Research conducted by Backlinko found that videos with an exact keyword match in the title have only a slight advantage over those that don’t.

I’ve mentioned targeting keywords a bit but exactly how do you conduct keyword research for YouTube? YouTube keyword research has a whole new set of keyword research tools. There are a few to choose from but I recommend VidIQ to find new keywords, tags, and categories for your YT video. 

Example of keywords in a title of a YouTube video.

3. SEO-Optimize your video description.

YouTube uses your video description to understand what the video is about. A well-optimized description can boost your video’s rankings in YouTube search and Suggested Video. According to SearchEngineJournal, “More than 70% of YouTube watch time comes from mobile devices, so you need a mobile-first strategy for suggested videos.”

If you do choose to write a longer description, keep in mind that YouTube only displays the first two or three lines of text — that amounts to about 100 characters

4. Transcribe your video and include the transcription in the description.

This is another best practice that comes from Google SEO. Transcribing the video and including it in the description allows you to add a lot more indexable content to your YouTube video page. This way you can be discovered for a lot more content than was originally included in the description. The best part is that YouTube automatically transcribes all videos, you just need to edit it and include it in the description.

An example of transcribing a video for YouTube SEO.

5. Tag your video with SEO-optimized relevant tags.

YouTube’s official Creator Academy suggests including tags to let viewers know what your video is about. Just like normal SEO, you’re not just informing your viewers — you’re also informing YouTube itself.

Don’t use irrelevant tags because you think you’ll get more views – Google might penalize you for that.

According to VidIQ, “58% of viewers arrive at your videos because of YouTube Search and Related Videos. We’ll help you increase your library of tags by 10x in less than 10 minutes, and discover content opportunities you’re missing out on.”

6. Categorize your video.

After you upload your video, you can categorize it under “Advanced settings.” Choosing a category is another way to group your video with similar content on YouTube so it ends up in other playlists and gains exposure to more viewers who identify with your audience. If you’re a musical artist, this is similar to adding a genre to your music with the hopes that Spotify will include it in a genre-specific playlist. You don’t want a country song to appear on a hip hop playlist so it’s important that you categorize your video correctly. 

Look at some of the top creators within the category. Research what they’re known for and see what they do well and how you can replicate their success and make it your own. Figure out if your video fits into this category before categorizing it.

Try to look for patterns between audiences to discover new categories and content ideas. 

Also, make sure that your video production quality is on par with some of the other videos in the category. If you accidentally

7. Promote your video.

A lot of the YouTube ranking factors depend on how much engagement your video is receiving. YouTube algorithms take into account how many comments your video has, how many views your video has, how many upvotes it has, and how many views it has. By sending your video out to friends on Facebook or an email list, this will help speed up the process and show YouTube that people are interested in your video. 

8. Upload a custom thumbnail.

The Creator Academy reports that “90% of the best performing videos on YouTube have custom thumbnails,” recommending the use of images that are 1280×720 pixels — representing a 16:9 ratio — that are saved as 2MB or smaller .jpg, .gif, .bmp, or .png files. If you follow those parameters, it can help to ensure that your thumbnail appears with equally high quality across multiple viewing platforms.

Choose a great thumbnail that teases a great scene from the video and makes people want to click on it.

Custom thumbnail example for YouTube SEO.

9. Use an SRT File to add subtitles & closed captions.

Subtitles and closed captions can improve YouTube search visibility and improve the user experience by highlighting important keywords. The more visually appealing the video is, the more likely it is to be organically shared with friends, thus improving your YouTube rank.

To add subtitles or closed captions to your video, you need to upload a text transcript or subtitles file. I recommend reading the Creator Academy caption guidelines if this is your first time doing so.

10. Add Cards and End Screens to increase your YouTube channel’s viewership.

Cards

When you’re watching a YouTube video, have you ever seen a small white, circular icon with an “i” in the center appear in the corner of your video? Or a translucent bar of text asking you to subscribe? Those are Cards, which Creator Academy describes as “preformatted notifications that appear on desktop and mobile which you can set up to promote your brand and other videos on your channel.”

You can add up to five cards to a single video, and there are six types:

  • Channel cards send viewers to another channel
  • Donation cards to encourage fundraising on behalf of a U.S. nonprofit
  • Fan cards to ask viewers to help support you
  • Link cards, which send viewers to external sites
  • Poll cards allow viewers to vote on a response
  • Video/playlist cards link to other YouTube videos and playlists.

End Screens

End screens display information similar to cards, but they only appear at the end of video. They’re usually a bit more visual and take up the whole screen. If a user watches your whole video, this may be a good time to ask them to subscribe to your YouTube channel to check out more of your videos. This is your chance to persuade viewers why they should go and watch another video in your series.

11. Create playlists

If you have a lot of videos then it’s best to split them up into different playlists to make it easier for your viewers to find them. If you have a lot of videos, then I recommend developing a series of videos that are organically connected so that YouTube will use one of those videos in the Suggested Videos when someone is watching another one of the videos in the series.

Example of a playlist on YouTube.

12. Great content

This one is a no-brainer so I saved it for the end. It’s also a bit discouraging to click on a post about how to optimize your content only to have it say “create amazing content that people want to share”. Duh. So why did I include it at all? Because content is king now more than ever. Similar to an article or a song, you need to create a compelling intro that will keep your viewers interested.

 

We’d love to work with you.

Schedule a call with our team and we’ll analyze your videos, SEO, metrics, and business. Then, present a Growth Plan with actionable strategies to help you supercharge your YouTube SEO efforts.