Have you ever wondered about the not so obvious SEO metrics that leave you scratching your head trying to figure out how someone managed to acquire a one box (site wide links) or #1 position for a competitive keyword and the keyword is nowhere on the page whatsoever? Then perhaps the following post will provide some insight behind a few of the types of uncommon SEO metrics they use to produce the result.
While most are content with straightforward SEO basics, have you ever experimented with on page #anchors, block quotes (bullets) or the alt attribute of images for consolidating or producing additional relevance for organic search engine rankings?
I must admit, we have experimented and tested multiple variations of tactics like this and would like to share a few of our on page SEO discoveries which resulting in higher positions for competitive rankings. Like any type of analysis, you have to know which metrics to test in order to find out of the box tactics and techniques. These are ethical yet underestimated SEO metrics that separate a simple top 10 ranking from a dominant #1 position.
Granted, it has been some time since I tested these metrics, the pages that they were used for the tests still rank in the #1 position to this day, despite the competition and no additional backlinks to shore up the results.
Although you can speculate how effective this one technique is in and of itself. However, SEO represents a collaborative array of granular changes that produce a unique signature when consolidated. SEO by nature is based on the premise of satisfying a variety of aggregate ranking factors and when the right proportions are administered (over time) the results become tangible and solidify as rankings.
Just consider each combination like algorithmic recipes, for example, one recipe that is quite common is to mirror relevant internal link anchor text in tandem with relevant “exact match” titles.
The continuity between the two variables creates integrity as a result of prominence and communicates a predominant unification of two metrics. Imagine having a plethora of dozens of metrics to select from your arsenal which you can employ in a systemic fashion. Testing reveals an array of breakthroughs that can serve as a common thread to reinforce relevance to search engines. Only when you test or delve into the root cause vs. simply being satisfied with the result do you start to peeling away the layers and arrive on the brink of advanced SEO (like ranking with 1 /100 th of the links, a fragment of the content, or a fraction of the domain age and authority as your competitors).
For example, since prominence for keywords, bold, anchor text and block quotes all have specific emphasis to search engine spiders (as well as human readers). Unique weights are algorithmically applied to each.
In our tests, we also found that alt attributes work well in tandem to provide extraordinary weight to lean pages to redefine the on page focus vs. using anchor text links (the text in the link) to produce strong internal links.
We have one page which continues to stem using this formula that has less than 50 words on the page yet it has the capacity to hold a number one spot for multiple variations of keywords that only exist in the title and description tag (not even on the page itself).
Most would think that this is Google bombing (a technique where you overwhelm search engines with off page links to a target page until it ranks for unrelated keywords). In this instance, it was in fact, quite the reverse.
Think of it more along the lines of producing a undeniable stream of continuity and integrity that when allowed to age and essentially reverberate in the page from multiple metrics, that by the time we needed to build links, the page had already produced the majority of its own ranking factor and needed a minimum amount of off page links.
In this instance, the combination/recipe was 90% internal links and 10% external links from other sites. The internal links represented the “trophy phrase” / “preferred keyword” and the external links were used to promote keyword stemming (by using some variation of the keyword and modifier).
The keywords that were the target of stemming were also reinforced in the shingles (groups of words) in the description tag as well as a singular and plural variation of the keyword. So, on the actual page itself it was similar to a synopsis of the two.
As a result, any combination of the keywords that resonated in the title, the description or body text were essentially interchangeable and capable or being returned as a relevant search query.
This is where it gets interesting, instead of inflating relevance for the keyword in question across the other pages in the website we used to produce the primary ranking factor, we opted to use alt attributes instead. This way, you can essentially use images to create links without throwing off the balance of each pages unique signature of keywords, links, etc.
This also allows you to keep the pages supplying the real ranking factor free and clear of cannibalization as the keyword they are promoting only appears in the codes alt attribute and not as part of a sentence or relative shingle on the page. You have to dig into the source code to find it, but it’s there.
You can essentially consolidate ranking factor in this way, without broadcasting where it is coming from. Also, unless someone is trained or has used this tact (like other SEO’s trying to figure out how you maintain that position), they probably will overlook it. Most SEO’s primarily look at external links for competitive analysis and underestimate the impact of the sheer volume of using images site wide in a template across multiple pages harboring authority.
There is nothing more frustrating than seeing someone hold down a #1 spot for a keyword or shingle (group of words / query) that hardly if even that exist on the page. But at least you know how to accomplish this advanced SEO technique or how to spot it when you’re trying to figure out how they are funneling the pages primary ranking factor.
Getting back to the gist, as a result, the dependency on the landing pages need for external links diminished and the alt attribute acted as a means to consolidate the absolute ranking factor (using absolute links from dominant pages in the site) to pass on that ranking factor to the new target page.
There are other tactics like this we discovered with sitemaps, creating links tiered one or two off from the target page and then using a method for link transference (and no not 301 redirects) to consolidate the ranking factor to the target page which assumes the ranking / attributes.
Eventually after the tests are complete, you can combine proven concepts with a stint of programming know how to integrate tactical SEO breakthroughs into an optimized CMS, useful SEO plugins or WordPress Themes (hint hint) and you can debut the next generation of SEO principles founded on the premise of past success with the ability to fine-tune results on the fly.
In closing, the challenge is to look beyond the obvious, break the conventions of comfortable notions and the normal mandate and challenge yourself to see outside of “me too” mannerisms that would tell you to keep it safe and “go along with the herd“.
The bottom line is, your SEO experiments today are the breakthroughs of tomorrow and there is no definitive SEO method, only heuristic trial and error with what you can measure in between…