Don’t Forget the Low Hanging Fruit in SEO


Search engine optimizers and SEO clients alike tend to often fall into a daydream state coveting the attainment of the first place ranking for their industry’s top keyword(s). You should in fact wish for this, and no doubt work for it.

The problem is that many wear proverbial “blinders”, dead set on the single keyword obsession. Ultimately you find yourself many hours and resource dollars down the road albeit closer to your goal but still waiting for the money train of traffic that will undoubtedly take longer to attain.

While you plan and work toward long-term SEO goals, which is fine, you should take notice that you may have several low-hanging opportunities helping to drive short-term success as you plug away at those top terms. In short, these are the terms that can be found at bottom of the first page or the top of second page of search engine results. These rankings may simply need a little more focus to help nudge them a little higher.

Where to Go and What to Do

Start by logging into your Google Analytics program. Sort Organic landing pages by visits.

Export a list of the top 10 or 25 pages to have handy. Also select the Secondary Dimension of Keywords so that you can see what the top keywords per Landing Page.

It also makes life a little easier to filter out branded traffic as we only want to look at non-branded traffic in this example. Export this additional list to see where you need to focus mainly.

Take this list of 50 keywords or so and either manually assess rankings or generate a ranking report in Google and Bing. You are likely to see that there will no doubt be some Top 1-5 rankings here for either broad of longer tail terms.

For the longer tail terms, if you have top 3 rankings you are likely sucking all of the value out of the SERPs that you can so there is no need to dedicate a lot of time there. The sweet spot you’re looking for here is the 8-12 ranking positions in Google and Bing.

Now that you now your list of ranking terms in this area, take the list into Google AdWords Keyword tool and get a feel for the search volume of these terms.

Now you have a whittled down list of terms you already get traffic for that aren’t in the top three-quarters of the first page of SERPs (but are close) and that actually have decent search volume. Let’s now put our SEO hats on and ask ourselves some questions since these are terms we probably haven’t paid much attention to or they are “accidental rankings” – basically, we didn’t even try to rank for them.

  • Have I mentioned this term in my title element or copy area elements but not both?
  • Does the copy area mention this term or slight variations, but only vaguely?
  • How do I internally link to this page by way of navigational text or in copy anchor text? Can I do a better job of being keyword-rich in this process?
  • Does this page feature inbound anchor text respective of this term? (Note: If your link profile is very non-branded in nature you should be reversing that and not worsening it.)
  • Could I potentially create a supporting piece of textual or digital content to link internally to this page?

Pay Attention to the Small Things

See, this is very basic SEO at its finest, but you may be surprised that sometimes it is all about adjusting focus and making a good thing even better. Are you so consumed with working toward something you don’t have to understand what you do have in the waiting?

Once you define what is “almost there” it often isn’t too hard to get additional traction for the medium level terms that collaboratively can pay off. This can be a great way to squeak out a few hundred additional visits in a month.

Yes, this helps to bring visitors in the door but I would also recommend performing the same Google Analytics pathway above but ultimately sorting the results by bounce rate, conversion rate, or transactional performance. This will then allow you to work on quickly increasing the conversion performance of top pages to go along with your new visits you have coming into the site.

Related reading

Google for branding: Getting more from search engine services
The changing face of search: Dynamic content and experiences that perform
Case Study: How BDCenter transformed a reputation from 48% negative on Google to neutral