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SEO Opportunities You May Be Missing

Keywords are an essential part of search engine optimization (SEO), but they are far from the whole story. If you want to appear on that coveted first page of search results consistently, you’ll need a holistic strategy that focuses on your content as well as your metadata. 

Whether you are preparing for an SEO audit of your existing digital content or are just getting started, don’t miss out on valuable opportunities to connect with your audience. Here are a few tips for pulling some less obvious levers to maximize your SEO.

How Do Search Engines Rank Results?

First things first: How does SEO work? 

When users type dog groomers near me or the best pillow for side sleepers into Google, the search engine must quickly identify related web content and attempt to rank it in order of relevance. The search results of common queries may seem to go on forever, but the cold, hard truth for brands is that most users will never look beyond page one

Hands on a laptop keyboard research missed SEO opportunities

The precise algorithms used to rank search results are highly complex, but the principle that underlies them is simple: Google prioritizes content that is helpful, reliable, and people-first. Marketers who want to win the SEO game should focus on creating content for users who would benefit from it and helping those users find that content. 

If you’re struggling to attract organic traffic or noticing that users abandon your site quickly, it’s time to take a look at the finer points of your SEO strategy.

1. Mix Short and Long-Tail Keywords

When we think of keywords, many marketing writers default to short-tail keywords only. These 1-3 word terms are an attempt to predict what potential consumers are already searching for. A company that sells luggage may focus on search terms like suitcase, travel bag, and carry-on.

While short-tail keywords certainly have value, competition for more generic terms can be extremely high. More importantly, they don’t reflect the user’s intent the way that long-tail keywords can. 

Long-tail keywords are more complex phrases that mimic the way that most users type a query into Google. Terms like best suitcase for international travel or carry-on bag for weekend trips contextualize your audience’s needs. Though they may not have the high search volumes of short-tail keywords, they can provide more specific results to users who want them. 

For best results, make sure you are using a combination of short and long-tail keywords in your headings and copy. This strategy allows you to tap into words with higher search volumes while also creating the opportunity to rank highly for more specific searches. 

Avoid Keyword Stuffing

The more keywords the better, right? 

When it comes to SEO, it’s entirely possible to have too much of a good thing. Keyword stuffing, or cramming too many keywords into a piece of content or metadata, will get you booted down the list of rankings. 

Google’s bots are always on the lookout for attempts to artificially inflate SEO value, so this tactic will backfire. As a general rule, if a section of copy sounds repetitive or spammy to the human ear, it should probably be reevaluated. 

2. Add Alt Text to Images

Alt text allows visually-impaired visitors to get the full experience of your website. People who browse online using screen readers rely on content creators and developers to add descriptions of any images. 

Not only does Google prioritize inclusive web design

Google user reviews SEO opportunities

, but it also crawls alt text for relevant keywords. Good alt text accurately describes images in a way that relates them back to the topic of the webpage. This helps a more diverse audience easily determine that they’ve landed on a helpful website. 

3. Write a Good Meta Description

Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) is the blueprint that determines how a webpage will be rendered. Even though not all HTML elements will be visible to users on their screens, Google still crawls and indexes them.

Your meta description is an HTML element that summarizes the content of your webpage. To optimize your site, ensure that every page has a meta description that contains relevant, high-value short and long-tail keywords.

If you don’t include a meta description, search engines will attempt to create one for you based on the content of your page — often with mixed results. 

This is particularly important because meta descriptions aren’t just for indexing. They also serve as the preview snippet that accompanies webpages in Google results. Craft a helpful, conversational meta description that lets users know what to expect from your sitelink. 

4. Be Strategic About Anchor Text

You’re probably already aware that a good linking strategy is important for building website authority, but how you link can harm or help your SEO. 

Opting for generic anchor text, like the classic click here provides no additional SEO value. Worse still is the practice of including the entire “naked” URL as a long, distracting hyperlink. 

Fortunately, there is an option that leverages keywords while keeping your page design tidy. Choosing a line or phrase of copy that contains natural-sounding keywords as your anchor text will help Google recognize your webpage as a trusted source with a cohesive point. 

5. Collaborate for Backlinks

Some SEO strategies can be executed with a few keystrokes, while others require you to play the long game. Linking to relevant, high-authority content should be a constant consideration for good marketing copy, but it’s a bit more challenging to convince high-authority sites to link back to you. 

Backlinks from trusted websites are a powerful tool for helping Google recognize that your content is helpful and high-quality. Well–established brands may collect backlinks organically, but newcomers likely need to put in effort.

Influencer hits the like button, collaborating for backlinks and more SEO opportunitiesDepending on your brand and the nature of your product or service category, look for opportunities to connect with consumers, mentors, or adjacent brands. This may be best accomplished by collaborating with influencers or simply by contributing to ongoing digital conversations in an authentic way. 

Establishing reciprocal relationships takes time, but proof of audience trust will have a powerful impact on your search rankings.

6. Be the Missing Piece

If you are feeling stressed about the challenge of outranking your competitors for your most frequently searched keywords, consider an alternate view. 

Your SEO strategy will never succeed if you are attempting to be all things to all people. It’s not about collecting the most site visits; it’s about connecting with the users who want to connect with you. 

Don’t be afraid to niche down and incorporate more specific, less frequently searched keywords and content topics. While they may not gather the same amount of broad interest, they are an opportunity to stand out to a subset of people who are naturally more likely to convert. 

Take a close look at your competitors, notice what they are leaving on the table, and then fill in those gaps in a way that is authentic to your brand voice. Create blogs on under-covered topics and sprinkle in more targeted, long-tail keywords. You’ll start to experience the benefits of a more engaged audience and better qualified leads.