We’ve said it till we are blue in the face: SEO is a long game.
There’s just no way around that fact. But that is not to say there aren’t quick wins along the way to encourage you.
By ‘quick wins’ I mean simple, actionable steps you can take that will move your website further.
While the broader game of SEO is long in scope, there are small steps you can take that will reap benefits along the way. In fact, by making some of these quick wins a regular habit, you may make the long game of SEO a bit shorter!
We’ve developed this list of quick wins based on our years of experience doing SEO for our websites, and coaching clients across industries. Every month we help our clients build and manage their SEO strategies, and while there are always larger initiatives we work on with them, we make sure to sprinkle in a few quick wins along the way to keep things moving.
This list is by no means exhaustive (download the guide at the end of the post for that), but from our experience these are some of the most impactful and actionable.
Remember, SEO is a long game but by following these quick wins you can “hack” your way to faster results and speed up the process.
Most guides on keyword research start and stop with plugging a keyword into a keyword research tool and trying to turn the resulting list into a content strategy.
As we’ve discussed in our guide to keyword research, that’s not a great approach because it ignores the context of why your target customer might be searching a particular keyword and what they would be searching for.
Context is everything. Ignoring the state at which your target customer is in will result in a “flat” approach to keyword research that results in ineffective content that does not land.
The simplest and easiest thing you can do is allow a bit of nuance to enter the conversation when doing keyword research. To do that, I like to explore keyword modifiers.
Take a keyword like “SEO software”. We’d love to rank for it, but it’s broad and competitive. It also tells us absolutely nothing about what our target customer is looking for – are they looking for advanced SEO software, easy to use SEO software, or SEO software for affiliate sites?
By branching off the root keywords with different modifiers, we get far more interesting keywords to explore:
And so on.
By exploring modifiers we can get a better understanding of how one topic is searched for throughout the funnel, which lends more nuance to our content strategy and makes it more effective.
You can do this easily in the Centori software with filters:
First we'll look up keywords related to "seo software"
Next we'll include the modifier "best"
Now I want to switch things up and include "for". Note keywords like "seo software for blogs" or "seo software for agencies" - much more interesting than just "seo software"!
You don’t have to just create new content to move your SEO strategy forward. Opportunities abound in your existing content as well.
If you have content that is ranking on page 2 or even page 3, then this content is already performing much better than a majority of the content out there also targeting this keyword.
Congrats! This is no small feat. It just needs a bit of tweaking to get over that next hump. Here are some tactics to try to identify and elevate your content to bump it up to page 1.
First, I like to look for the keywords I rank for position 11-20 in Google Search Console, you can do this in 2 ways in Centori.
Here we have all of our keywords from Google Search Console:
And here we have our opportunities report showing keywords that rank on page 2 of Google.
Once you have identified the keywords, find the content that ranks for them and consider how well it stacks up to pages ranking above yours, and what you can add to push it past them.
Some easy things to try are:
You may find the path to more pages ranking on page 1 of Google is much faster than you realized!
Similar to the previous tip, your content that ranks on page 1 also presents an incredible opportunity to drive more traffic to your website.
Of the pages ranking on page 1, there are likely pages that are being shown a lot in search results but are not generating many clicks. These pages are a goldmine of opportunity to driving more traffic to your website with minimal effort.
You already did the hard work of making it to page 1, now this page just needs to stand out a bit more in search results.
To do that, you can optimize the title and meta description for clickthroughs so that the website stands out more. Here are ways to enhance these pages:
I like to use our SEO opportunties report in Centori which is designed to make it simple to spot these kinds of opportunities to improve your rank. We have a prebuilt table to break out keywords you rank highly for but have a low click-through rate.
Brainstorming new content opportunities can be difficult. But it does not have to be.
Rather than solely rely on researching and brainstorming new opportunities for your website, you can identify new ranking opportunities in minutes by reviewing your Google Search Console data.
Suppose you have a page that ranks very well for a target keyword, but ranks on page 3,4, or 5 for a secondary keyword. Even though the page is not explicitly targeting this secondary keyword, it is good enough to rank fairly high for it.
It’s likely that this keyword is only tangentially related to the piece of content, which means you can create a new piece of content for it and not risk duplication. This is a great way to brainstorm new keyword ideas from your existing content, allowing you to target them with new pieces of content which can rank higher.
Here’s an example of it in action.
I like to use our SEO opportunties report in Centori which is designed to make it simple to spot these kinds of opportunities to improve your rank. We have a prebuilt table to break out keywords you rank on pages 3-5 for, which is a great way to identify keywords that are worth their own dedicated page on your website.
I get it, we all want to rank for those super broad and high-volume terms.
Heck we’d love to rank for “SEO software” (though we do rank quite well for “SEO coaching”). But unless you’re operating a website that could rival companies like HubSpot or Salesforce it’s just not going to happen.
One of the best ways to build traffic and get SEO results quickly is to target low-competition and niche keywords. By doing this in bulk you can quickly build traffic and grow your website’s authority much faster than by targeting broad terms.
Using us as an example, we are in an incredibly crowded niche. Not only are we competing with massive SEO software companies, we’re also competing with marketing SaaS companies like HubSpot along with countless SEO and marketing agencies.
As a result, we take care to identify low-competition keywords that we can actually rank for. Watch our process here:
I also like to pay close attention to who is ranking for a particular keyword. For example, if sites like Reddit, Quora, or other online forums are ranking on page 1 of Google then this tells me that there is lower competition (because these sources of content are generally less valuable than an authoritative article). Use all of the clues at your disposal to identify your best ranking opportunities and speed up your path to page 1 of Google search results!
This one is similar to the above, but worth branching out into its own item.
Rather than chase the same keywords your competitors are targeting, look for the keywords they aren’t, but you know your customers care about. Chasing the same heavily trodden path is a great way to give yourself a very long road to getting results. But by charting a new course by identifying the keywords your competitors are overlooking, you can speed up the path to success.
Using us as an example again.
I noticed early on that many of these companies are focusing more on topics like keyword research and backlinks than they are on much more niche topics (like how to rank without backlinks, or various niche questions on Google Search Console).
By targeting lower competition keywords and niche questions I was able to much more quickly build up rankings for our website and we’re starting to gain authority that allows us to rank for more competitive terms.
Link building doesn’t require you to always go to outside websites to earn links to your own. You could leverage internal links in a similar fashion.
Pages on your website that are ranking well (say page 1 or 2) have a great deal of authority built up because of that. If you’re in the top 10-20 pages out of hundreds, or thousands, then you’re doing something right!
Just as earning a link from a website passes on a bit of authority to your own, these pages can lend some of their authority to the pages on your website that they link to.
I like to routinely identify the top performing pages on my website and explore content that I want to boost with a link from these pages. It’s an exceedingly simple way to leverage the authority your website has already build up and give content that is close to ranking a little boost. It may be enough to take a page from page 2 of Google to page 1!
You can do this in Centori by viewing your pages getting the most organic traffic:
Here’s another tip - these are great posts to optimize for conversions. Since they’re getting the most traffic, you’ll get your most “bang for your buck” by creating lead magnets or other conversion items for them.
Link building is a core piece of SEO, but let’s face it: the way most people approach link building is absolutely soul sucking. Writing a blog post and spamming it around is a miserable way to build links. They say it’s a numbers game, but if that number is 1 out of 10,000 is it really worth it?
No. The answer is no, and that’s ok, because there are plenty of other ways to build links. What I call “non-traditional ways”.
Let’s explore a few of my favorite tactics to build links that don’t require spamming hundreds of people.
The advancements in AI generation are nothing short of astounding, and they can be extremely useful for speeding up your work as an SEO.
We’ve covered before that Google is no longer frowning on AI-generated text as long as the text is useful, but AI can do so much more for your SEO strategy than help you write blog posts (though this is handy!).
Generative AI can be used to help you automate or speed up tedious tasks like writing titles, or even complex tasks like writing code. Here are a few of my favorite applications of using generative AI to speed up my SEO strategy.
You can use AI to:
As we said above, SEO is a long game. How long it takes to reap the benefits of your SEO efforts will depend on a few factors. Namely:
There is no way to speed up age, in that way all websites are bound to the pace that Father Time marches. You can apply a few of the quick wins we outlined above though to speed up the factors that are more under your control.
By speeding up the pace at which you can identify content opportunities or create content, you can scale up your website and demonstrate its authority to Google which will boost your rank.
Alternatively, by seeking out low-effort or creative ways to build backlinks then you can quickly build the authority of your website which will elevate your existing and newly created content.
For a brand-new website, it can take a year or more to build substantial traffic. For older websites though, the right strategy might net results in as little as a few months. We’ve seen it with a few of our customers.
For example, there's a video software company that grew their organic traffic 1000% in their first 3 months with us after building a winning strategy. They benefited from identifying a niche they could fill and working quickly to dominate it with content. Or there's the e-commerce company beating Amazon and Walmart in a crowded niche by capitalizing on their competitive advantage in search.
It takes time, but with effort you will see results.
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