Olga Zarzeczna believes that SEOs should go the extra mile when conducting website SEO audits and creating content in 2023, and warns you not to rely on just a few tools and tactics.
Olga says: “Always go the extra mile with anything you do in SEO, whether it is keyword research, content creation, content audits, or technical SEO.”
How do you go the extra mile on keyword research?
“First, you should treat them as topics, not keywords. Then, when looking for new keywords, don’t just rely on one tool, but five or more. You can use standard keyword tools such as Keyword Explorer, Ahrefs, and Semrush, and you can explore Google Autocomplete whenever you have a keyword.”
How do you utilise long-tail keyword phrases and questions that don’t have much search volume? Do you use a combination of them alongside high search volume phrases?
“In the case of in-depth longer guides, you can usually rely on keywords with high-volume search. Then, for the supporting articles, you can depend on longer-tail keywords that don’t have any search volume from the tools.
From experience, even those long-tail zero-volume keywords can bring in significant traffic. Hence, you shouldn’t weigh the keyword by what volume it has. Instead, find the ones that you can explore and talk about those topics.
If you create many of those articles about specific long-tail topics, you already have a silo on the site. Usually, the silo works fine and supports those hard, more competitive and difficult keywords.”
Why are keywords with allegedly no search volume bringing in a decent amount of traffic? Are platforms like Google and other keyword data providers just not giving us the information?
“Those tools might not have data about those keywords yet. Usually, Google has about 20% of new keywords entered into its search engine every day. Hence, we may not have data about some of those keywords yet.
Sometimes, when a new product comes out, we can immediately know what keywords may be used to search for it. Then, we can decide about those keywords in advance. We might not need that data because there are so many different variations, and you might not want to spend a lot of time analysing keyword volume. Instead, focus on what’s ranking at the top and whether you stand a chance of landing there.”
Your number two way of going the extra mile was focusing on content creation. What do you mean by this?
“That is slightly connected to keyword research as well. When you create new content, go the extra mile by creating something more in-depth, and don’t just summarise what’s already in the top 10 results. Rather, create something new, and add your own commentary, unique insights, research results, conclusions, or experience. These are things that will be interesting to people.
Of course, you must keep search intent in mind. You cannot just create something totally different because you will not rank if your content doesn’t satisfy the intent. Therefore, spend more time on creating those articles, but do them in a better way.”
What about going the extra mile with content audits?
“Don’t just rely on the tools to tell you what to do or what issues the site has. You should follow your template and have a list of things you check when you do an audit. Plus, always apply common sense and tap into your SEO experience when doing an audit.
Even though you’re supposed to audit the site and find the issues, you may add a “quick wins” section with at least ten things that can be improved easily and bring relatively quick results. Usually, this will make your SEO audit way more powerful. And you will be able to provide results within weeks, months or even years, depending on the case.”
Do you have any examples of quick wins that a traditional SEO audit wouldn’t necessarily pick up?
“Usually, you can analyse the sites that already rank relatively well and offer further optimisations - for example, through internal linking or on-page optimisation. Check how the site ranks in Google Search Console, Semrush, and all those tools.
Another thing is to check what pages have the best backlinks. On those pages, add internal links to pages which you want to help move higher up. It is not common to do as part of an audit, especially a technical SEO audit, but it could be a bonus.”
Coming up with an internal link strategy seems to lie between technical SEO and SEO content strategy. Is internal linking often missed during an audit?
“Practically every site audit always has something to be improved in that regard.”
How do you go the extra mile by focusing on technical SEO?
What specifically are you looking for that’s different between Screaming Frog and Sitebulb? Is there a potential negative in not knowing which information to trust if you use too many tools?
“Each tool works differently and shows different results. It helps to follow your lead, have a specific checklist, and then analyse the results. That way, it is not the tool telling you what the problem is.
When creating templates for conducting an SEO audit, do you design a bespoke template for each site based on what the issues and outcomes are likely to be?
“You can have a universal template with multiple items included. Sometimes the list won’t apply to a specific site, so you remove them, but it should have everything from technical SEO to content analysis to even Google questions about core updates to EAT. You then adjust that template depending on the type of audit the client needs.”
What shouldn’t SEOs be doing in 2023? What is seductive in terms of time, but ultimately counterproductive?
“Regarding SEO audits, less experienced SEOs usually rely on automated audits like Sitebulb. Practically any tool can generate a long, automated SEO audit with many pages and explanations. It is tempting to just hit ‘Generate exports’, however, you shouldn’t do that.
Usually, the audit results will have nothing to do with how you want the site to look. Only you can decide whether a specific issue marked by the tool is really an issue because only you know the site’s context, scope, and purpose.
Instead, create SEO audits and add your own commentary tailored to the site with relevant examples.”
Olga Zarzeczna is an SEO Consultant and CEO at SEOSLY and you can find her over at seosly.com.
If you like to get up-close with your favourite SEO experts, these one-to-one interviews might just be for you.
Watch all of our episodes, FREE, on our dedicated SEO in 2023 playlist.
Maybe you are more of a listener than a watcher, or prefer to learn while you commute.
SEO in 2023 is available now via all the usual podcast platforms
Opt-in to receive email updates.
It's the fastest way to find out more about SEO in 2023.