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This week’s #searchdrop talks advanced SEO tactics, tips on how to improve co-citation and co-occurrance and the findings of a recent study into ranking factors by SEMrush.

What are Co-Citation & Co-Occurrences?

Both co-citation and co-occurences are terms for the way search engines understand your relationship to topics. Both are valuable in similar ways and should be considered when link building and creating content.

What is a co-citation in SEO?

Co-citations are essentially mentions of your site across the web (linked or not linked) and these help Google to understand your brand’s place in regards to a topic. For example if ASSISTED. were mentioned on two different digital marketing blogs, alongside other digital marketing companies, Google would understand better our relationship with the topic “Digital Marketing” as well as our relationship to our competitors and our standing in the market against them.

What is a co-occurrence in SEO?

Co-occurrence is when a brand is mentioned in context near a topic or keyword, as well as how terms are searched for in relation to each other. For example if enough people were to search “Digital Marketing Company” then after that search “SEO Agency”, Google would begin to understand there is a relationship there.

What can you do to improve co-citations and co-occurrence?

  • Expand the way you perform keyword research to include extensions and variations of the keyword you’re targeting.
  • Try using similar words throughout your heading hierarchy.
  • Change the way your content creation team think about creating content. Instead of creating it for a term, create it for a topic, and include wider ideas and terminology for your target keywords.

For more on this subject, check out this post here.

How Website Speed, SEO, Content, and Schema Affect Rankings

SEMrush recently performed a small study into the impact of various ranking factors on site rankings, and delivered some interesting results that coincide nicely with findings from our financial services landing page research.

Below is a condensed version of this study’s results:

  • Does Schema markup play a role in organic rankings? – although it’s not a direct ranking factor, it did appear in nearly all the results of the study
  • How much content do you need on your landing pages to rank? – this largely depends on the industry/sector/niche but for the most part landing pages had over 1000 words (and the more Q&A focused sections of search pages were closer to 2500)
  • Does content freshness matter? – Yes – for the ‘people also asked’ section / rich snippets in the search results. It matters less so for landing pages or organic listings.
  • Does the number of reviews impact the position of a local business? – yes, but not in its entirety. The study also noted that the smaller the market, the less likely you are to need a large number of reviews to rank.
  • How does speed impact results? – it seems as though the top results weren’t always the fastest and actually Google may be comfortable with sacrificing speed for quality content.

The study looks at 3 terms and 30 search listings in total, and certainly provided some interesting ideas.

Advanced SEO Tactics to Boost Your Performance

SEO is an ever changing channel and everyone has access to the same sort of information as each other, meaning your approach to more advanced levels of SEO can be the difference between you or your competitor ranking. Below are some advanced SEO tactics to give you the edge:

  • Increase and cluster your content – seems like a straight forward one, but more content means more opportunities to rank, so increasing the detail in your content will support better rankings. Additionally, you need to ensure you’re structuring your content together, making sure that similar topics are nested together within the URL structure.
  • Optimise for featured snippets and add FAQ structured data – Featured snippets are the future of search listings, more and more content will be shown directly in the search results, which means your site copy needs to reflect this with succinct answers to questions, with supporting detail to inform users further. Adding FAQ schema to this will also ensure Google understands what your content does for the user and provide it to those users accordingly.
  • Repurpose top-performing content – imagine you created an article back in 2015 that still performs today. That article could be made much more useful to users in 2020 if you were to include up to date, relevant information. This can also support you in increasing your content output whilst allowing you to utilise work you’ve already done!
  • Guest post on healthy relevant websites – guest posting is still a valid tactic (much like content syndication) as long as it’s done correctly. Working with healthy (non-spammy) sites helps to get your brand out to a bigger audience and create co-citation and co-occurrence. It’s also important to ensure it’s clear to users that your post is a guest or sponsored post.
  • Build your local presence – through citation alignment and Google My Business you can build your local presence and improve local rankings in your area. It’s also important for local businesses to work with other local businesses to build links that are hyper-relevant to the local area.
  • Become an expert on Quora – Quora can support your brand becoming associated with a topic of your choosing, so long as you’re adding value. It’s got a huge user base and allows for links to site (albeit they’re no-follow). There’s value in engaging your audience in this way.
  • Use the Barnacle SEO method – this method of SEO is essentially where you try to perform well on a site that ranks well; think Amazon or MoneySuperMarket. Complete profiles, engaging the site to see what you can do to improve performance (and, in cases like Amazon, considering paid activity) are all important for smaller businesses in competitive markets.
  • Invite guest authors – inviting people in your sector to write on your site not only provides you with more content, but it also allows you to leverage their value as an authority in your chosen topic. For example, Martin Lewis writing a guest post for your financial business would be a big result in terms of your E.A.T.

For more detail on the above check out the original article here