Posted by Spencer Haws | July 24, 2019
When it comes to SEO and trying to get your website to rank in Google, the “exciting” tasks often get all the attention.
It’s exciting to publish new articles.
It’s exciting to get new external backlinks.
While these types of tasks are important for ranking your site, there are often some “forgotten” strategies that can be just as powerful for getting your site to the top of Google.
Today, I want to cover 4 on-page SEO strategies that you may have let slip through the cracks.
1. Updating Old Content
One of the most powerful ways to boost your rankings is to update the content.
If it’s been a year or more since you first published an article, it might be worth going back and seeing if you can add more depth and length to the article, as well as “fix” any issues you may have introduced when it was first published.
But first, let’s look at some results that can occur by simply updating your content a bit.
I was able to boost the organic traffic to one of my articles by 712% in 30 days by following these strategies.
And it’s not like that one article was a fluke. Keeping my content fresh and updated has worked so well, I’ve now gone back and updated dozens of articles. In addition, I now have a process in place where a couple of articles each week get updated on NichePursuits.com.
Here’s the short version of the steps to follow when updating content:
1. Identify The Content To Update
I would recommend updating content that fits one of these 3 things:
- Find the articles getting the most traffic in Google already
- Find articles ranking low on the first page of Google or the second page of Google
- Find well-written content that isn’t targeting keywords as well as it should be
2. Document Your Starting Position
It’s difficult to measure the impact of your changes if you don’t document how your content is performing before you start.
3. Improve Your Content by Including More Related Keywords
No, I don’t want you to keyword stuff. However, you may have been missing some latent semantic keywords when you originally wrote your content.
You can find keyword suggestions and variations to use in Google Search Console, Google related searches, and other free or premium keyword research tools.
4. Word Count
Just because your content is longer doesn’t mean that it’s guaranteed to rank higher. However, there is a strong correlation between content length and ranking in Google.
However, don’t just add fluff! The idea is to TRULY make your content better by adding more depth to the subject. Think of ways that you can include examples or come at the topic from an angle that perhaps you hadn’t included the first time.
5. Improve Time On Page
In addition to making sure you are targeting the right keywords and improving the depth and word count of your content, you should also think of ways to keep your visitors around.
Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Add images
- Add videos
- Add podcasts
- Add Charts and Data
6. Add Internal Links
After I’ve gone through and improved the content based on the strategy I just listed above, my next step is to add internal links.
I go through my site and find content related to the updated article and link TO the related article. Google values internal links and these links do improve rankings.
I would recommend trying to add 10 or more new internal links to your updated content (if possible).
7. Change The Publish Date To Today
The final step is to change the publish date to today. Rather than just hit “Update” in WordPress, go in and change the publish date to today so Google knows it’s fresh content.
Google values fresh content and there are clear ranking improvements to be made by updating your publish date. However, never update your publish date, unless you have made changes to your content.
2. Use Internal Links to Spread Authority
I know I just mentioned adding internal links to content you’ve recently updated, but internal links can be used for more than just linking to updated content.
The truth of the matter is that Google values links and using links to help rank your pages. However, what is often forgotten is that links from other pages; even those from your website are still seen as a “link” in Google eyes.
Sure, an external and an internal link may be valued a little bit differently, but an internal link still passes link juice from one page to another on your site.
Use this to your advantage.
I would recommend using internal links in 3 ways to improve your presence in Google.
First, always link out from new content you are writing to old articles you’ve written in the past. If you get in the habit of adding 5 or 6 (or more ideally) internal links, your site structure will grow over time and help all your pages gain authority.
Second, I would go back through all your old content and find “orphaned” articles. These are articles that don’t have a single internal link pointing to them.
I’m always baffled that someone would do tons of keyword research, work hard to write an in-depth article, but never think to link to that new article from some of their older (and possibly powerful) content.
Finally, I would recommend spreading the “link juice” from your pages that have attracted lots of external links to your pages (and particularly money pages) that might not attract links as easily.
So, perhaps you’ve written a witty article that has attracted naturally a bunch of links. Or perhaps you’ve used the Hoth to build some great guest post links to a certain page.
These pages have power and you can use that to your advantage. Go into those articles and build some internal links to your newer content or other content that you are hoping to boost in Google.
I’ve personally seen such good results from building internal links in the past, that I wanted a way to speed up the process.
For that reason, I recently created an internal linking tool for WordPress called Link Whisper.
Link Whisper automatically suggests articles to link to and the anchor text to use as you write in the WordPress editor.
It’s as simple as checking a box and clicking “Add” to create an internal link.
Also, Link Whisper allows to quickly get link suggestions and add internal links to old content that has been written in the past.
Finally, Link Whisper gives you full internal links reporting so you can find orphaned content that has no internal links or other content that you want to quickly build a few more internal links too.
If you want to see exactly how Link Whisper can make internal linking easier for you, check it out here.
3. Use Google Search Console to Improve Keyword Targeting
Google search console is a powerful tool that I believe is often underused or forgotten about.
Did you know that your articles are often ranking for keywords in Google that are not even mentioned exactly on your page?
If you go into search console, first click on “search results” under performance. Then click on Pages and select a page of your choice. Then simply toggle back to the “Queries” tab and Google will show you every single search term that is bringing in search traffic for that particular page.
It will also show you where you rank for that term and how many “impressions” that term has gotten over the time period you’ve selected.
This is incredibly powerful information!
As you review the search terms, compare that to what you’ve written on your page to see if you can include the keyword better in your content or headers (H1, H2, H3 tags).
If you find a search term that appears to get a decent amount of volume that you haven’t targeted that well, this would be a great time to add a new section to your article and include content that answers that search query!
4. Use Auto-Updating Dates in Your SEO Titles
Did you know that TONS of search queries are modified by searches by simply adding the current year to it?
For example, “how to start a blog” gets great search volume, but many people might actually type in “how to start a blog in 2019”.
And yes, the Google search results are very different for each of those queries.
Or someone might type in, “best survival knife 2019”. By simply adding the year, people are using a different keyword technically.
One option is for you to simply add the year to your title. But then you would need to go back and change the year every January first on all of your content. Who wants to do that!?
So, here’s a simple hack that maybe you didn’t know about to automatically keep the year updated on all your content.
I use the Yoast SEO plugin for this. Simply go to the “SEO Title” section and write in the title you want and then add the code: %%currentyear%%.
This code will auto-populate your Title with the current year and changes when the calendar changes without your involvement.
If you want to see it in action, you can do the search query of “Long Tail Pro Review”. You should find my site, NichePursuits.com, ranking near the top.
You will notice that Google shows the Title with the year 2019 in it. However, if you click the link and go to my article, the title on my page does not have the year in it.
This is the magic of the Yoast SEO Title function at work. I won’t touch the title of that article when the year changes, but it will show “2020” in my title when January 1st rolls around.
This little trick will help you capture more long-tail search traffic that is related to years.
Overall, I’ve shared 4 powerful on-page SEO strategies that can boost your rankings in Google. These sometimes forgotten strategies have provided huge boosts in traffic for my sites and I know it can do the same for you.
Spencer Haws is a blogger, podcaster, and software entrepreneur over at NichePursuits.com. He recently created a WordPress plugin that makes internal linking smarter and faster at LinkWhisper.com. When Spencer is not building niche sites or starting a new software projects, he enjoys running long distances and spending time with his wife and 4 children.