Search engine optimization is huge. It’s bigger than a T-Rex. It’s bigger than Jack Black in Lilliput.
You might already have an overwhelming list of 200 things to do to boost your SEO. And you might already be doing some of them.
But here are a few golden SEO opportunities you might have missed – low-hanging fruit that might be easier than many of those 200 things on your overwhelming list.
Your competitors surely have missed these, so this is your chance to get a jump on the competition.
Time-traveling to reclaim deleted articles
If you are like me, you’ve been writing articles for various websites over time. So, there is a good chance something like this has happened to you, just like it happened to me.
And there is an equally good chance that you did not know it happened to you, just as I did not know it happened to me.
Here’s my story.
I used to write regular articles for a website. It gave me good publicity. It gave me authority with one of my target markets. The links brought me traffic and presumably good SEO juice.
Then the owner sold his website.
The new owner wanted writers to pay each time they posted. Nope, not me. I stopped posting.
But the articles remained. There remained value in the work I had already done. Over time, I got busy with a multitude of other things. Life is busy, marketing is busy, and business is busy.
I was writing an article not long ago, and I wanted to link to one of the articles on that website as a reference. But search as I might, I could not find the article I was looking for. Nor any of my other articles on that website.
Far from breaking down and crying, I saw this as an opportunity. Here is what I did.
- I found the URL for one of the articles. No, I am not the most organized person, but I was able to find one of them.
- I went to https://archive.org/ (the Wayback Machine) and dropped in the URL. Almost every URL that ever existed lives as a shadow page from the past on the Wayback Machine. Below is a screenshot of this blog’s home page listings.
- I picked the most recent version available and found myself magically back in the website as it had been when I had written that article.
- I clicked through to my user profile on this time travel website.
- I grabbed that user profile URL and dropped it into https://archive.org/. This way, I could find the most recent version of my user profile that had been recorded.
- I clicked on that version, which I knew would link to even the most recent of the articles I had written for the website.
- One by one, I clicked through to each of my articles, deleted in the present but immaculately preserved in the past like a mammoth inside a glacier, thanks to the Wayback Machine.
- One by one, I copied and pasted my articles from the past, including the embedded links and formatting, into a Word document in the present.
- I went through each of them to update and modernize them before offering them to new publishers. Some were horrifically outdated, but most were relatively easy to update.
Each of my salvaged articles is original content, published nowhere else (anymore) on the Web. I had worked hard to write them and bring them up to date.
So why not? It’s a golden SEO opportunity – a dozen old articles of mine, reclaimed and republished on a dozen new websites.
This is not a no-work plan. But I estimate that I put in about half the work refurbishing and republishing the old articles as I would by writing new ones. And all my old fresh ideas were new again, without having to come up with new ideas from scratch.
This is the ultimate low-hanging fruit link-building tactic. And you won’t find it in even the most comprehensive link building guides.
Full semantic text
SEO has changed so much from when I started out. Back then, it was all about exact-match this and exact-match that. The text on your page had to match exactly what people would type into search engines.
I recall how one client came to me in exasperation because he could not just place “people search Australia” in his text without looking stupid. Yet, that’s what he had to do because that’s how people searched.
As an aside, I found a way. I rewrote his text, referring to “the best people search Australia has ever seen” and “the people search Australia loves best.”
Times have changed.
Algorithms have changed.
Exact match phrasing can still be very helpful, but search engines look for many other clues. They read other words on the page to determine both the quality and the context.
Let’s suppose the search engines see a page that mentions “business plan template” in the singular five times on a page. Let’s also suppose they don’t see “business plan templates” in the plural and never just “business plan” or “business plans.”
That smacks of a page written just to rank well for one specific phrase: “business plan template”. In other words, it’s a low-quality page that should not rank well for anything, not even for the Richmond County Fair blueberry pie baking contest.
So, make sure to use natural variations of your primary keyword for the page.
The search engines also look at the other words on the page to determine what the page is about. This is full semantic keyword use.
What kind of kiwi?
Consider the word “kiwi.” Is it a fruit? Is it a bird? Is it slang for New Zealander?
The search engines will know what type of kiwi you are talking about based on the other words on the page.
If you are writing well, many of those words will naturally appear on your page. And if your competitor is writing well, many of those words will naturally appear on their page, too.
How do you outdo your competitor?
There’s an app for that!
Google leaves clues for you, and TextOptimizer grabs those clues and spits them out for you. The words it shows are words common to several high-ranking pages on your theme, such as “kiwi” the fruit.
These are the words that help Google recognize that when you say “kiwi,” you mean the fruit, not the bird or the New Zealander.
Pick a couple of dozen, and weave them naturally into your text. Use a few of them more than once, perhaps varying their form. Remember to keep it natural so that it makes sense to the humans visiting your page.
These semantic variations and related terms also form potential low-competition, long-tail search terms. And we all know that long tail searches convert best – 11 times better than short tail keywords, according to this case study.
These SEO opportunities are not to be missed.
Modern JSON Schema
If you haven’t heard of schema markup, now is a great time to learn. Have you ever noticed how Google pulls out tidbits from web pages and places them near the top of the search results? It might be pricing. It might be FAQs. It might be a Q&A. These all come from schema mark-up.
Schema markup creates structured data. It tells the search engines that this part of the page is a recipe and that part of the page is about the author. It tells them there is a review or a question is being answered.
Schema markup began as pretty simple HTML. Yes, even I could code it. Whether I was coding it properly or not, let’s not discuss. Let’s just say that it worked at the time.
But that was then, and this is now. And you see that I need to update my code.
There are now three formats to write structured data, but that might change over time. Google explicitly recommends JSON, which is above my tech skills. So cheapo David will hire somebody to create my structured data as soon as I finish redeveloping the back end of my website.
If you look at the code for a page like https://thgmwriters.com/writing/book-writers/ shortly after this article publishes, you’ll be able to see the schema mess on the page. If you read this article a little later, you’ll see the modern, functioning schema markup (Yes, this is my work in progress!).
Schema will help your page stand out more in the search results. It won’t help you rank higher. But it can help you get noticed. And that is just as important.
Your SEO strategy
Don’t miss these easy SEO opportunities just waiting for you to grab.
Your competitors are not reclaiming their deleted articles.
Your competitors probably are not using as many semantic terms as they could on their web pages.
Your competitors probably haven’t updated to the Google-recommended structured data.
In fact. Most small businesses don’t even have an SEO strategy. So, they are not even doing the basics.
But you do have an SEO strategy. (You do, right?) You can jump on these SEO opportunities and thereby get ahead of the competition.
David Leonhardt runs THGM Writing Services. When he is not writing on every available surface, he and his team help are helping clients with both their online and offline content creation.
- Three Golden SEO Opportunities That Your Competitors Are Missing - November 11, 2022
6 thoughts on “Three Golden SEO Opportunities That Your Competitors Are Missing”
David, I love this one! I had written one on Ryan’s blog that I would love to find. Also on other sites too that may no longer be around. What an awesome tip! Thank you so much Anthony for having him write this one for us.
I have already used this tip for 5 articles. 🙂 I’m working on sourcing old articles from a major site where I published several pieces before they stopped accepting guest writers in favor of staff writers and then deleted all content from guest writers. Great tips!
David that first tip is pure gold! I have over 1200 guest posts on Blogging Tips but all were deleted when Zac sold it. I suspect that I guest posted for the same blogger who sold his blog to new owners who charged for all future guest posts. Thanks for sharing.
Ryan, you are a writing machine! You need to create a course (if you don’t already have one) that details how you can produce that much content and stay focused.
I’m glad the tip is helpful, Ryan. And I hope you can recover many of the articles. You often offer readers timeless wisdom, so I am sure most of your guest posts won’t need too much tinkering to make them relevant today.
This is one I was unfamiliar with, David. I’ve just reclaimed through articles from an agency I worked for years back. They shut their doors a year or two back, and I was able to regain numerous articles that no longer exist online because the site was shut down. Thanks!