7 SEO Best Practices from Top Marketers

SEO can go as deep as you’ll take it, but every marketer should have an understanding of SEO fundamentals and the latest algorithm updates. I asked a handful of top marketers what they think the latest best practices in SEO are and I’ve put together their answers for you. In short, analyze your competitors and do what they do better, answer your customers’ questions religiously, and don’t forget to get technical. Here are their SEO best practices in full:

1. Before you write anything…

In my years of doing SEO, I have come to realize that more than anything, quality content is key. Obvious. But I mean making sure the content you are pushing is going to be better than anything else in the search results for that query.

Understanding what appears in the entire search engine results page and having that market intel is probably one of the most important things you can do when crafting great SEO friendly content that is going to rank well.

Before you write anything, do some basic investigation and Google the target terms you want to rank for. See what else is there and figure out what others have left out or missed. Maybe they just have text and some Aaron Friedmangreat images will make the difference. Maybe their content is thin. Or maybe, it’s actually really good, and you need a new angle.

Bottom line, when you are thinking about SEO and a content strategy, make sure you do your homework far beyond the traffic volume of keywords.

Aaron Friedman is the Director of Innovation at Digital Brand and Reputation Management agency .

2. Answer the questions that your customers and prospects are asking

By nature, these may be long-tail searches (very relevant, but a smaller volume), but providing those answers is critical. The amount of content grows exponentially every year and the best way to attract the right people is by answering their questions. This is still the primary use of search and something that many marketing teams ignore.

Chris Moody, Oracle's Director of ContentAsk your customer support team, your sales staff and your product team what questions they answer every week – and answer them. It may be a small number for a period of time, but those are the search terms you want to win. Any question usually implies consideration which is much stronger than trying to win huge volumes of people with common terms everyone is using. Get the right people to your website or blog and answer their questions.

Chris Moody, Director of Content & Social at Oracle Marketing Cloud

3. Take that one step further and make their questions the title of the blog post

Google’s hummingbird update altered the algorithm to prefer “answers to questions” or guides.  So if you have a business blog, your posts should have titles like “How to register a patent”, so when someone asks the question “how do i patent my idea” or 1000 of the other permutations of that questions will drive long tail seo traffic.

Ilan Nass is the Founder of Taktical, a Startup Marketing Consultant, and Writer for SEJ and HuffPo.

4. Write the most educational blog post about your competitor as you can

If you want SEO to work for you, you should stop selling and try building an endless amount of added value for your readers. Bombard them with useful tools, tips and resources. Here is a crazy example: write the most educational blog post about your competitors.

You’re not looking write in positive or negative language. When you write about your competitor you just want to be informative. I truly believe that if your own product is good then you should never have any fear of writing about your competitors in an informative way. If for any reason your product is inferior, you have a whole different set of problems that no blog post can change.

The more you write useful content that brings value the less you will have to work on building links and begging for traffic.

Avishai Sam Bitton is the Founder of marketing analytics platform Oribi.

5. Let’s get technical – add Scroll Tracking to your analytics toolbox

In your analytics setup, start measuring Scroll Tracking (in GA  it’s an easy goal to set up). Look in Google Search Console (GSC) and and look at pages ranking 11-20 (basically page 2). Based on your scroll tracking see where people are bouncing/leaving on those LPs that are ranking on page 2 and either:

  1. Add some sort of incentive to click thru to another page, or
  2. Improve the content so people bounce less.

To improve the content, look what terms people are using to land on those URLs in SearchVladimir-Fefer-Headshot Console and improve the content for those terms. After you improve the content, submit the URLs to be crawled via GSC. About 6-9 weeks after you improve the content/submit the pages, check the rankings. If you did a good job, they will have climbed (hopefully onto page 1).

Vlad Fefer is the SEO Manager at 3QDigital

6. Back to basics – place important parts of the text as high as possible (above the fold)

Ranking your content in the SERPs for high volume competitive keywords is nearly impossible today without a solid content distribution strategy. In many ways content distribution has become the new “link building”. But before launching your distribution strategy, don’t forget the bread and butter of good SEO. Always include important text or keywords that you’d like to appear on organic search results as high as possible including your title, your description, & your headlines.

Order does count when it comes to Google’s crawlers!

Will Fleiss is the Head of Content Marketing at Outbrain  

7. One last reminder – make sure your content is unique

All of your content needs to be original. Google rewards rich, relevant, informative, and unique content. Rich, relevant, and informative may be challenges, but unique isn’t negotiable.
Will Fleiss is the Head of Content Marketing at Outbrain

8. Outside the blog: learn and master the “breadcrumb” strategy

One of our main strategies is having our SEO user generated, what I call the “Breadcrumb” strategy.

The strategy is attracting your ideal tribe to your product and content – and give it away for free – then… when they use it, they leave “breadcrumbs” all over the internet. Below is how we use YouTube for our “breadcrumb” strategy.

Where everytime someone creates a PowToon – they’re inspiring THEIR audience to also make PowToons, via “breadcrumbs”. The key is adding value – we’re giving a software away completely free. If it wasn’t valuable, people wouldn’t want to tell their friends and colleagues about it.

We do this in a number of different ways with our different publishing platforms, but for YouTube, it works like this:

Everytime someone publishes their PowToon on YouTube, we have a description that is automatically written. Of course, anyone can change it whenever they want. Here’s the first line:

“Created using PowToon — Free sign up at http://www.powtoon.com. Create animated videos and animated presentations for free.”

Ari SherbillThe idea is instead of trying yourself – inspire your users to generate content by giving them something very valuable for free. It boils down to the simple concept of sharing. When you give someone value – they want to tell others about it.

We grew our userbase by 50% to over 8.4M last year organically – so it’s absolutely working. In fact, right now – a PowToon is created every 2 seconds of everyday, 24/7.

Ari Sherbill is the VP of Business Development at PowToon.