We’ve covered SEO tips for SMEs and mobile search, now we’re asking contributors to Econsultancy’s new SEO Best Practice Guide about the ‘low hanging fruit’ – things that companies can implement easily to improve their search rankings. 

Suggestions include the use of online video, Google Places, making use of social signals and optimising for research queries…  

Will Critchlow, founder and Chief Strategist, Distilled

As the long-tail of search is shaken up by Panda (and the additional changes that we have to anticipate will follow), I think there will be huge new opportunities there as the old tactics of using massive domain authority and any-quality content decline.

As the old players move aside, someone has to rise to fill that gap. I’m also excited by the opportunities in video as online video consumption grows.

Jack Hubbard, CEO, Propellernet

If the SEO market is saturated why then do marketers only invest tens of thousands on SEO but millions on PPC, despite the fact that 90% of searchers favour the organic results?  It’s because most programs are owned and managed exclusively by the technically led SEOs tinkering with site-wide best practice.

If you get creative content and PR people working alongside your SEO techies in a focused way, you will find an orchard of low hanging fruit, because hardly anyone seems to have figured out how to do this properly.

Lisa Myers, CEO of Verve Search

Google Places and Google Products/Shopping. It is shocking how few SEO companies actually do Local and Product optimisation, especially Local Search.

Google Places totally dominates the search engine results page, and with 20% of all Google search queries being related to local search, it’s a low hanging fruit that is just begging to be picked.

Don’t be put off by the notoriously difficult verification process of Google Places, if you have (or have a client that has) a business that relates to local search queries I would highly recommend you invest heavily in the time and effort it takes to optimise your listings, the results are staggering!

Alex Moss, Search Marketing Consultant, Pleer

Utilising the brand’s social presence more effectively and concentrating on long tail to attract higher quality visitors.

Malcolm Coles, Director at Digital Sparkle

Making use of social signals, which are going to be increasingly important for SEO, is an obvious one. Embedding the ability to like, tweet etc into the actions that people take on websites, whether purchasing, reviewing, watching a video or whatever, is the best way to encourage people to do these things.

Too often site owners don’t make it easy for users to share content and just throw a few random buttons onto the page. Make sharing integral to what you want users to do on your site.

And remember that you don’t have to run a Facebook page to communicate with people via Facebook. By making use of OpenGraph you can use FB as a marketing channel without the overhead of managing comments etc.  That way you can drive traffic and encourage people to share your content.

The other low hanging fruit is, still, good content. Far too much so-called SEO copywriting is focussed on inserting specific keywords into appropriate heading levels. Yawn.

Site owners should think about making great content, whether it’s written, video, infographics or an interactive tool. Yes, use the words that people will search for in that content. But that’s a hygiene factor. Your first step should be to work out what “good” is going to look like.

Rishi Lakhani, Search Marketing Consultant

Research queries. The reason why sites like eHow are doing well is because they are answering those generic research questions that people ask. Many sites, especially e-commerce sites don’t offer these, but the traffic and the rankings are there to be had. 

Take, for example, Questions such as “Types of laptops”. 

Consumers buying laptops start their research with these questions. Who ranks for them? PCMag, ehow, affiliates. The query in itself has very low volume, but when tied in with the other 10,000 questions consumers ask, you have this long tail powerhouse that you can build if you spent your time catering for these.

Not to mention the links, tweets, likes and fans you can get by providing this type of mundane but necessary content. 

Lee Colbran, SEO Director at Fresh Egg

On site optimisation is still under valued as an SEO technique and yet arguably it’s the easiest to look at and improve (rarely is a site 100% optimised).

Site speed, poor coding, poor internal linking are all things that can be corrected and give an immediate boost.

Kelvin Newman, Creative Director at Site Visibility

In every industry there are search queries which commercial websites aren’t currently doing a good job answering, normally these are questions or comparisons. I think there’s a huge opportunity for businesses to start creating content that answers these questions or makes the comparisons between products and services.

There may not be huge volumes in these terms, but there is good will and with personalised search I think we’re all going to be concentrating on how to get people to visit early and visit often, so you can reap the reward when that commercial ‘I’m buying’ query does take place.

Andrew Girdwood, Media Innovations Director, bigmouthmedia

Reaching the nearby fruit very much depends on where you are standing. 

I think boutique agencies may have to diversify unless they can find and protect a remarkable unique selling point. I think the larger agencies now have the ability to blend their SEO offering with Branded Content, Social Media and other full digital marketing services. Success with this opportunity is not a given but does represent tremendous value for their clients.

I also think it makes a lot of sense for the SEO agency, of any size, to be the analytics insight agency employed by a brand. This helps the SEO agency add value and helps the brand with the business intelligence it needs to make coordinated digital marketing decisions.

SEO agencies are well placed to perform this role as most have strong analytics capabilities and agencies without a strong service offering tend to lack in search reporting tools.