SEO tactics to implement tonight – Lukasz Zelezny’s Benchmark 2017 talk
Appearing back at Benchmark for the second time, Lukasz Zelezny, Head of Organic Acquisition at uSwitch first apologised to the audience, saying that he had to jet-off, (literally) after the conference for his wife’s birthday, which he’d forgotten until 48 hours earlier. What he hadn’t forgotten however were some of the most insightful and useful SEO tips that businesses should be implementing straight away
One of the key takeaways from the early part of Lukasz’s talk was the importance of having the correct tools in place. He mentioned a few that businesses should be using and explained that Searchmetrics would be his example platform. The tips that he had, which businesses could use right away were as follows:
- Use a snapshot approach to keyword research
- Implement Gap Analysis
- How to deal with answer boxes
For the first of these tips, he suggested that there were certain parameters that you had to look at to see where you were ranking and the filters that you should apply to make sure that you are not looking for too broad search terms.
He pulled up data for uSwitch – the utilities comparison site, as to where they were currently ranking and for which terms.
Lukasz explained how the list was very mixed and that he needed to filter it down in order to ensure that he has the most relevant keywords for the business. To do this he went into the internal filters of Searchmetrics and selected all of the keywords that were ranking in positions 2-10 (Those in P1 are already performing). These are the results that appear on the first page, as they are the only ones that matter. He joked that if you want to hide a dead body, put it on the second page of Google as nobody looks there.
He also filtered it to show all of the keywords that had between 1000 – 20,000 searches in the search volume panel. This is because they were too low under 1000 to really matter and were likely to be too broad above 20,000 to get a fair set of results. Those over 20,000 could be generating traffic based on them being branded or for direct competitors. uSwitch don’t want to rank for these terms because although they might get some traffic it won’t be very relevant.
By applying the filter, Lukasz then generated a much more targeted list, with which his team could work on. He generated a list of keywords that pointed to many areas of the website, meaning if one of them was too competitive you can target offer products and landing pages.
He then looked at the trends in terms of click-through rate based on the top 10 results produced by a Google search.
As you can see from the organic CTR distribution model above there is a figure of 18% for P1 CTR in organic search. Lukasz touched on the point that this may be challenged by others in the industry but it was really to show the disparity between the top positions and the others on page one. If you are in P5 -10 it really doesn’t matter as the CTR is nearly always the same. The sweet spot is in the first three positions. If as a business you take a keyword and multiply the number of organic searches by the CTR you will get the number of visits. The gap between the calculation for P1 and P2 in Lukasz’s example was a huge 1401 visits to the landing page. This is an enormous amount of potential business lost.
The next stage is to calculate your traffic index (TI) potential which is done with the following formula.
If you then sort the results in your spreadsheet based on search volume and TI Difference (TIDiff) you will end up with two sets of keywords. This list can be ordered to see where potential overlaps occur and where you can target to bring the value of ranking for a keyword up. These lists will look as follows.
With enough research and data, you can evaluate opportunities and improve rankings by choosing your battles well.
For tactic two Lukasz spoke about gap analysis and how important it was to look at what both you and those businesses directly in your market are targeting. Once you have these lists it is essential that you compare them and that you pull out all of the keywords that your competitors are ranking for that you are not.
You should also look at the keywords which you hold the upper hand over and maintain focus on these to keep your gap in place. This means you will have greater coverage and should outrank your competitors.
Lukasz recommended using SEMrush to compare domains and suggested using the built in gap analysis tool. This all adds to the information that you gather and that you can feed back to the copywriting team when you generate new content to fill the gap.
When given the example of comparing the top 100 keywords for which the Independent and the Telegraph rank for on Google.co.uk, Lukasz found that there were a lot of common words like Facebook, Daily Mail etc.
This is too broad, so he refined the search to contain the word ‘Scotland’ and generated the following.
Using this information you can draw up a strategy to maintain or outrank the competitors. This can be done over multiple domains at once meaning you have as much data as possible.
When Lukasz did this for his industry he was looking at how businesses were ranking for keywords surrounding ‘mortgages’ with which uSwitch didn’t rank in the top 10 positions. Below are his findings and they seemed to point to mortgage calculators, something that uSwitch didn’t have in place. The below images show the results first and the brief he then sent to the content team to fill the gap.
For the final part of his talk, Lukasz spoke about dealing with answer boxes. These are the results, usually when the query is a question, which sits between the PPC at the top of the page and above the organic search results.
Lukasz used the example ‘What is a smart meter?’ and uSwitch were occupying the answer box. He explained that this was a double edged sword, as they were where they wanted to be but were also exposed by Google as giving the best answer on this question. This query might have a large search volume and if a competitor targeted the term it could be lost if your answer was not the best available.
The benefit is that if you then target the term for organic and paid search then you could, in theory hold three of the top results on the page, an ad, the answer box and the organic page.
In order to get to the answer box you are relying on artificial intelligence (AI) picking up the text on your website. This is difficult because the human mind and the way that we search are so much more advanced. Lukasz recommended using simple English for your content where possible to fulfil this need and bridge the gap between man and machine.
In order to be considered for an answer box it is pretty much a given that you will also rank highly organically. This will because you have the content that provides an answer and fulfils other searches. Lukasz provided these handy tips for boosting your chance of getting an answer box.
Lukasz’s talk looked at:
- Use a snapshot method of evaluating keyword opportunities using multiple tools and calculating worth vs cost on improving keywords which already rank
- Title tag modification
- Strong tags
- Alt tags
- IMG filenames (keyword)
- Header modification <h1><h2><h3>
- Internal links with keyword anchors
- GAP is about analysing the non-brand keywords missing from your profile that your competitors all rank for but your brand does not and looking for opportunities
- For pages with answer boxes, you have the opportunity, with paid and organic, to feature three times for a single query, so pursue it fully.
- Divs may help when pursuing the answer box
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