Top 5 Content Components of Competitive SEO Strategies
To attract organic traffic to your website, you need to employ competitive SEO strategies to help you gain visibility. Achieving good search engine rankings may seem like a daunting task, as algorithms are constantly changing. However, there are basic principles you should always consider for your SEO content strategy.
Types of SEO strategies
SEO encompasses various techniques aimed at promoting the recognition and ranking of a page. This is usually divided into three groups:
- Technical SEO,
- Off-site or off-page SEO and
- On-site or on-page SEO
As easily presumed, the first category refers to aspects related to the backend of a web page. It is certainly important, but optimizing these elements requires specific programming skills.
On the other hand, off-site SEO deals with all the actions that take place outside the site, such as backlink building. This indicates to Google that it is a trusted or authoritative source which helps to improve the site’s ranking.
In reality, however, competitive SEO strategies tend to focus mainly on aspects related to on-site SEO. This is centered on the content of the page. Your goal is to optimize it through the use of keywords, meta tags and other techniques.
Below we detail approaches to help you create your own competitive SEO strategy. Furthermore, we will unveil the secret of competitive SEO strategies and explain why they are so effective.
5 on-site SEO strategies to stand out from the competition
Competitive SEO strategies consist of 5 basic components. They are easy to implement and are proven to be effective. Just remember that optimizations should be applied to both new and existing content. Your website is a living entity which needs to evolve alongside the interests and demands of your audience.
1. Create engaging and valuable content to reduce your bounce rate
In order to achieve a good ranking, it is essential to provide quality content. Although Google uses complicated algorithms to give visibility to pages, nothing is more important than quality. At least, this is what they emphasize in their SEO guide.
Although it might seem that this would not have any connection to competitive SEO strategies, it is truly critical. The reasoning is also quite simple. The goal of search engines is to provide useful results to the audience. That is, they call up relevant content that responds to the audience’s intention and interest. Although a text may have the right keywords, it will receive a low ranking if it does not provide value to users.
On the other hand, good content is immediately noted and duly shared by word of mouth. This is a powerful tool that works for both face-to-face communication and online. It is a vital channel through which useful content is likely to be recommended. When this happens on the Internet, through comments or ratings, Google crawls it and takes its reception into account for ranking.
In addition, when a user finds the answer to their search request on a page, they tend to grant the page a certain authority. As a result, that same user is likely to visit the same page again when additional information on that topic is needed.
What is quality content?
In short, quality content is content that effectively and accurately responds to the users’ interests and search requests. However, in establishing guidelines, some essential requirements should be kept in mind:
- Quality content is well written and free of grammatical and spelling errors.
- It is easy to read. An inaccurate, unorganized or rambling text will confuse readers and prompt them to seek answers elsewhere.
- It is original. Plagiarism is penalized by search engines (and by users) even if the content in question contains paraphrased versions of other content on your own site. Don’t forget that the key is to provide value; repetition of content becomes irrelevant.
It is important to remember that without good content, even the best competitive SEO strategies will not help you earn a higher rank. In other words, if the level of quality of the content is high, that alone will help distinguish the content.
2. Create pillar pages and topic groups
Competitive SEO strategies are very aware of the constant evolution and necessary updates of the digital environment. For example, web architecture has been modified by changes in user search patterns. Simultaneously, the classification approach has been adapted to respond to these new practices.
Internet queries are longer and more specific than they were years ago. Without going into too much detail, this may be due to the confluence of two realities:
- The rise in voice searches, thanks to devices such as Siri, Alexa or Google Assistant.
- The overwhelming amount of information circulating on the web. The accuracy of the search acts as a filter, discarding generic results or results that do not match the user’s interest.
Consequently, content must be structured and provided in other ways. Thus, the organization into pillars and topic groups has proven to be one of the main competitive SEO strategies. It is essentially based on three elements: pillar pages, topic groups and hyperlinks. The heart of this framework forms the backbone of the page. This is a broad and extensive content that briefly explains all aspects of a subject.
The pillar page complements and links to the topic groups or cluster content. These are articles that deal with the different aspects of the topic in greater detail. They link to both the pillar page and other content. The intention is to guide and accompany the user throughout their visit to the site. It ranges from the general overview to more specific and detailed knowledge.
One of the criteria used by Google to confer authority to a page is content linking, particularly if the linked content is based on keywords related to a topic. However, this is not the only reason to consider this approach as one of the most recommended competitive SEO strategies. It is important to keep in mind that the organization of a website is also rewarded by search engines.
3. Research keywords and optimize your site
The most well-known concepts related to SEO, are, of course, keywords and optimization. Indeed, keyword research is essential to search engine-friendly content writing. In this process, knowledge of the audience is decisive. You need to be familiar with the specific terms your audience uses when making a web query.
Keep in mind that expert users will use specialized keywords. In contrast, other types of visitors may use more generic terms. Be sure to use keywords that effectively address the intent and value of your content. All competitive SEO strategies are based on sound knowledge of the public, specifically, a brand’s audience, for example, and their needs.
But this is only the first step. No doubt, it will help you reach the desired users with the right message. However, there is still much to be done. Simply identifying keywords is insufficient. You need to creatively and intelligently integrate them into your content. That is, with the right density and location.
What is keyword density?
Keyword density refers to the number of times the keyword is used in a piece of content. When you write about any subject, certain terms will be repeated. It is not necessary to force these instances because the need for the terms will naturally arise more than once.
There are various opinions on the “ideal” keyword frequency. However, this is an indicator that is constantly changing based on improvements in search engine algorithms. Rather than simply repeating terms, competitive SEO strategies use synonyms or keyword variants. This provides the content with richness and also impacts keyword density.
Where should keywords be placed?
Keyword placement also affects ranking. It is important to distribute them throughout the content. While many search engines index entire pages, others are limited to the first few lines of text.
For competitive SEO strategies, it is recommended that the keyword(s) be included in the beginning of your content. Try to use it within the first 100 to 200 words. This indicates to search engines that it is a relevant term in your content. In addition, it ensures its integration into the indexed text block.
These considerations do not only apply to new content. If you want to improve the performance of your page, you should also review and optimize old posts. Adapt the content pieces, adding keywords and variations of the keywords. You can also identify new perspectives or alternate ways of approaching a topic, allowing you to use long-tail keywords.
In any case, don’t lose sight of your audience. Optimization should not be understood as an automated process but rather one that responds to human criteria. This is the real secret of competitive SEO strategies. Think about what your audience’s search needs are and how you can help them. Then, aim to satisfy those interests with valuable content. Always avoid the temptation to force keywords into your text. Not only will the text feel unauthentic, but you will also lose credibility which could affect your ranking.
4. Correct use of header formatting
Header tags are clues for search engines and users. Their function is to help organize the information. These are HTML code elements that indicate which is the most important topic on a page. The headers can be seen in the source code of the page and are identified with the tags, etc.
The numbering of the tags is related to the hierarchy, with H1 indicating the highest level. Be sure to include the keyword in the H1 heading, but in a way that appears natural. Also, make sure that the label text is accurate, unique and related to the content.
You may think that this has nothing to do with competitive SEO strategies. Moreover, some claim that including keywords in headers has little impact on a website’s ranking. Such a claim is based on updates to Google’s algorithm, which is now able to “understand” semantic context. That is, crawlers can understand search intent and recognize synonyms and language variations. However, it is undeniable that tags, by bringing order, contribute to the usability of the page. This is then rewarded by search engines.
In addition, Google is known to analyze headers for relevance and consistency. Thus, it compares the keywords in the tags with the content they precede. The greater the compatibility, the better the weighting. Although this is not a rigid standard, it is a practice that could contribute to improved classification. Remember that competitive SEO strategies consist of slight adjustments to standard practices.
Do the header tags need to be updated?
To keep your website relevant and effective, you may need to periodically update your content. For the sake of consistency, you should also review the structure of your headings and make any necessary adjustments.
Do not forget to optimize and refresh the tags as well. Competitive SEO strategies often include variations or long tail keywords in these headings to maximize their relevance.
5. Add meta descriptions
Similarly, meta descriptions also function as signals to users and search engines. In fact, they are one of the most important factors in on-page SEO and are essential in competitive SEO strategies.
The meta description is a short text which summarizes the content of a page. Although some search engines do not consider the meta description when crawling a website, it serves as a snippet of the content, which is displayed in the search results. If the keyword is included in the meta description, it will be highlighted. To some extent, this can encourage visits, as it attracts the user’s attention to your page.
This is why claims are made stating that the meta description is audience-oriented and not SEO-oriented. Indeed, even specialists deny the usefulness of optimizing them. It has, however, been proven to have an influence on the Click Through Rate (CTR) or percentage of clicks on a page. As you’ve probably guessed, Google does consider CTR a relevant factor. This is another small nugget of information to keep in mind if you want to apply competitive SEO strategies.
How to write an effective meta description
As the meta description is the first contact that the audience will have with the content of your page, it must be an alluring and attractive text. It should motivate them to visit your website and choose it from among all the other search results. However, writing a meta description is not about writing clever copy but about focusing on the quality of the content. The user must be persuaded to search for the answer to their query on your website.
Competitive SEO strategies target basic human emotions: happiness, sadness, anger, fear or surprise. It is also a good idea to include a call to action, which provides an extra incentive to visit your page. Of course, to encourage this, the meta description for each page must be unique as well as meaningful and relevant to the content.
Finally, it is important to pay attention to the length of the meta description. Although this may vary depending on the search engine used, the general range is between 150 and 165 characters. A longer meta description will not be displayed in full on the results page. Consequently, it would lose much of its impact, affecting the effectiveness of competitive SEO strategies.