At one point in every blogger’s career, they come across the question:
“How to increase keyword rankings in Google?”
You already published high-quality content, performed on-page optimizations, and perhaps built some quality backlinks as well.
Then why aren’t you on Google’s first page yet?
That’s exactly what we’re going to answer today.
Time to put on your learning cap — we have a lot of ground to cover.
Let’s dive in.
Tips To Improve Keywords Ranking in Google:
- 1. Update your knowledge of the Google ranking algorithm
- 2. Look for keywords you already rank for
- 3. Sort your keywords list according to keyword difficulty
- 4. Determine the business value of keywords
- 5. Perform a Search Engine Results Page or SERP analysis
- 6. Create an outline for your SEO-friendly content
- 7. Write SEO-friendly content
- 8. Make killer headlines
- 9. Implement a solid internal link architecture
- 10. Add internal links from existing pages to new posts
- 11. Execute other on-page SEO strategies
- 12. Put your content promotions into high gear
- 13. Track your keyword rankings for three to six months
- 14. Improve your content’s performance on factors that matter
- 15. Keep updating and promoting your content
Why Your Google Website Ranking Matters
Everybody knows search engines like Google process billions of queries a day.
The question is, how much of that traffic can bloggers like you actually soak in?
If you’ve never done SEO before, the answer is probably zero.
Statistics show that 91.5 percent of organic search traffic goes straight to Google’s first-page results.
To put things into perspective, let’s look at the search results for the keyword “how to build a WordPress website.”
According to Google, this query pulled in about 326,000,000 pages.
That’s a lot of content noise.
Want to know something utterly mind-blowing?
Out of the millions that rank for this keyword, less than 10 pages get 90 percent of all the traffic.
That epitomizes how competitive the SEO landscape really is. You either shoot for the first page or don’t bother ranking at all — that’s how you do SEO.
It’s go big or go home.
I completely understand new bloggers who shy away from the challenges of SEO.
Comprehensive SEO packages, after all, can easily cost over a thousand dollars a month. This is especially true for bloggers who have a long list of target keywords and posts to optimize.
Not to worry — I’ll show you how to get real, significant rank improvements by yourself.
What Makes This Guide Different?
Let’s face it, this probably isn’t your first SEO guide.
The last article you read may contain tons of valuable knowledge of SEO techniques, like keyword research and link building. But after hours or even days of careful execution, those tactics failed to give you results.
That doesn’t mean what you read from other blogs is pure nonsense. The problem is, most articles about SEO out there are written with a “spray and pray” mindset.
They cram an article with broad, generalized tips and leave the reader to figure out the rest of the formula.
Sure, their advice has merit and must have worked for someone else. But in order to make a strategy work for you, you need a process that factors in several variables, namely:
- Your target keywords
- The competitiveness of your niche
- Your products or services
- The current ranking potential of your blog
- Your goals
If you have a good handle on the variables above, you’re ready for some tangible progress in your SEO campaign.
The first step is to reinforce your working knowledge of the SEO industry.
1. Update your knowledge on the Google ranking algorithm
First and foremost, you should know that the ranking algorithms of search engines are in a constant state of flux.
I do my best to update my older posts to keep the information useful and relevant. But when it comes to SEO, you can never be too sure.
You never know when the next Google update will roll out and wreak havoc on a website’s keyword rankings.
Unfamiliar with how search engine algorithms work?
This official Google blog post is a great place to start.
You also need a resource like Moz’s Google Update History tracker to stay up to speed on the latest changes.
If you’re unlucky, your blog’s rankings may dip after a Google algorithm update. Your only chance is to read the latest update, identify what went wrong, and plan how to make things right.
In such situations, you need to act fast.
I recommend using Google Alerts to receive Google algorithm updates in your inbox. It monitors the web for content based on a keyword and sends email notifications.
To use Google Alerts, enter any keyword along with the email address you want to use. Click ‘Create Alert’ to finish the configuration.
To modify the frequency of alerts, click ‘Show options’ and select a new frequency in the ‘How often’ drop-down menu. You may also set the language, region, sources, and number of results you want for each alert.
The “Alert preview” section shows a list of pages that your current alert configuration will collect. Use it to make sure you used the right keyword in your alert.
2. Look for keywords you already rank for
There are two types of people reading this post:
- People who are new to blogging
- People who did SEO, but didn’t get the results they want
For those who are new to blogging, feel free to skip this step.
What you need to do is search for long-tail keywords and learn how to integrate them into your content strategy. I created an in-depth long-tail keyword research tutorial for this purpose.
When you’re done, jump ahead to step number three — that’s where the real work begins.
With that out of the way, allow me to address those who overcame their doubts and took action.
If you’ve spent the last couple of weeks building links and optimizing your site, check your keyword rankings.
Believe it or not, you could already be ranking for a few relevant keywords in your niche.
I’m not saying you’re already on the first page of those organic keywords. Nevertheless, targeting them in your SEO strategies will get the most returns for the least amount of work.
You can use a tool like SEMrush to identify organic keywords you already rank for.
On the main SEMrush dashboard, simply enter your domain and click ‘Search.’
The “Domain Overview” page contains valuable information about your website’s online visibility.
Some key pieces of information are your organic search traffic, total backlinks, paid traffic, and so on.
How about an exclusive peek at Master Blogging’s organic search data?
Just below these metrics, you can view Master Blogging’s top organic keywords.
In the screenshot above, you can see that my blog ranks 11th for the keywords “free proofreading” and “Grammarly coupon.”
These are organic keywords that I already rank for on Google’s second page.
As such, prioritizing them in my SEO campaign is a cost-effective way to get to Google’s first page. The SEO community also refers to these keywords as “low-hanging fruits.”
Clicking ‘View full report’ will take you to a much longer list of organic keywords. There, you can also utilize filters to handily find low-hanging fruit keywords.
Selecting “#11-20” under the ‘Positions’ drop-down menu, for instance, should reveal your page-two keywords.
Looks like I still have quite a backlog of page-two keywords to work with.
Couldn’t find page-two keywords you can leverage?
If that’s the case, just increase your positions filter range to “#21-50” — AKA your keywords on page three to five.
I wouldn’t exactly call them low-hanging fruits. Still, targeting these keywords should be more practical than starting from square one.
You know what would be nice?
A tracker for these lucrative keyword opportunities.
The most straightforward approach is to use the built-in ‘Export’ button on the organic research page. To keep things simple, use either the ‘Excel’ or ‘CSV’ exporting options.
Here’s what your organic keyword list should look like once downloaded:
Be sure to create a tracker even if you’re doing keyword research for the very first time.
The best keyword research tools come with an export feature that saves keyword ideas along with pertinent metrics. At the very least, the following metrics should be included in your keyword tracker:
- Keyword Difficulty
- Search Volume
- Organic Search Position (if you already rank for them)
Nice — you now have a handy tracker that will help you stay on course.
What comes next is to start sorting these keywords, letting you know what to prioritize in your SEO campaign.
3. Sort your keywords list according to keyword difficulty
Before we go further, let’s get one thing clear:
If you made a list of low-hanging fruit keywords, you don’t need to sort them according to difficulty.
The fact that you already rank for them on pages two to five indicates that they’re well within your reach. They just need a little more push to make it to Google’s first page — don’t give up on them now.
For new bloggers, however, it’s imperative that you select low-competition, long-tail keywords to target. Doing so will help your SEO efforts get meaningful results.
Microsoft Excel and similar applications can help you sieve out these keywords in your tracker. To do this, select any cell, switch to the ‘Data’ tab, and click ‘Sort.’
This will bring up the “Sort” window where you can specify the column you want to focus on. And right now, you need to sort the list according to keyword difficulty.
In the ‘Sort by’ drop-down menu, click ‘Keyword Difficulty.’ You can then leave the rest of the configuration to their default values.
Upon clicking ‘OK,’ everything should now be sorted according to keyword difficulty.
Just remember that the keyword difficulty metric isn’t universal.
Different SEO tools are made with different codes. Hence, it’s highly unlikely for their keyword difficulty scales to line up perfectly.
For example, if you use SEMrush, then the ideal keyword difficulty rating for new websites is 60 or less. But if you use Ubersuggest, the recommended keyword difficulty rating is around 30.
Keep this in mind as you comb through your target keywords list in the next stages of evaluation.
To get the ideal keyword difficulty rating for new websites, don’t hesitate to contact your platform’s developers. You may also consult the community in the forums or the tool’s social media group.
4. Determine the business value of keywords
Don’t close your keyword tracker just yet — there’s something else we should do.
When handpicking target keywords, you have to pay attention to the user intent behind them.
I talked about this in a post about reducing bounce rate, which discusses the importance of matching content with intent. Basically, all search engine queries are fueled by one of three possible intentions:
- Informational — When a search is performed with informational intent, users aren’t necessarily interested in buying something. Most of the time, they only need to obtain certain information and would prefer to do so for free.
- Navigational — If a search query contains a branded term or name, it only means the user already knows what they want. In which case, the search engine only functions as a means of navigation to a specific web page.
- Transactional — Lastly, transactional queries are done when the user intends to solve a problem with money. That means they’re more receptive of the right paid product or service sent their way.
You don’t need to be an expert to know that transactional keywords have the most business value.
It doesn’t matter if you intend to make money blogging using affiliate marketing, paid ads, or e-commerce. Users who are willing to pay and take the next step are the lifeblood of blog monetization.
How do you find transactional keywords in your tracker?
Easy — look for keywords that contain commercial-related terms like “buy,” “pricing,” or “discount.”
Keywords that contain a specific product name or type are also transactional since they’re used by people with commercial intent.
Looking at my tracker, I spotted the keyword “Thrive Themes pricing” with a reasonable search volume of 110.
My Google keyword ranking for it is also at 11th.
In other words, I only need to overtake a couple of pages to reach Google’s first page.
That’s the advantage of exporting a list of keywords that you already rank for.
To quickly find your transactional keywords later, copy and paste them into a separate sheet of your tracker.
If you performed keyword research from scratch, you still have to pluck out transactional keywords from your tracker. However, don’t be reluctant to target long-tail keywords that are informational in nature.
Although users with informational intent don’t convert as much as those with transactional intent, they’re still good traffic. Not only is a healthy reader base essential for blog growth, you can also leverage their reach via social shares.
For this, you need strategies that will maximize audience engagement as well as the shareability of your content. I’ll spill the details later in point number seven — we’ll get there pretty soon.
5. Perform a Search Engine Results Page or SERP analysis
You now have an idea of the user intent behind your target keywords.
Can you match your target audience’s expectations with the right content strategy?
You can eliminate the guesswork by analyzing the organic results for your target keyword. This can be done by either running a Google search or a keyword analysis with an SEO tool.
Let’s say you’re interested in the keyword “Top Genesis child themes.”
On Google, this keyword generates the following pages:
What do these pages have to say about the content expectations of users?
You guessed it — they’re looking for a listicle about the best genesis child themes for WordPress.
Whatever you do, don’t try to squeeze topics that deviate from the audience’s anticipations.
For instance, it’s already established that the readers want list posts about the best Genesis child themes. That said, you’ve absolutely no reason to try other topic angles, like “the history of Genesis themes” and so on.
Other than that, a SERP analysis will also help you determine if the keyword is the right fit for your blog.
Picture this: suppose you own a tech blog and is thinking about selling keyboard covers as an affiliate.
During your keyword research, you stumbled across the keyword “laptop keyboard cover.”
Even if your site’s big enough for the keyword’s difficulty rating, a blog post probably won’t do.
Why is that?
If you do a SERP analysis, you’ll find out that the top results are product pages in popular e-commerce sites.
That’s it — you should now know how to distinguish the lucrative keyword opportunities in your tracker.
For the rest of this guide, leave your keyword tracker open and highlight the ones you’re working with. Take a page from my book and color-code keywords to keep your workflow organized.
In the screenshot below, I highlighted the keywords with the color green if they’re ready for an outline. Red keywords, on the other hand, are too competitive whereas yellow keywords don’t offer much business value.
Of course, color coding your tracker is optional. But it should help you sail through the rest of the steps in this post.
6. Create an outline for your SEO-friendly content
Got an idea on what content type to produce?
Your focus keyword alone should enable you to visualize how your content’s going to turn out. But before you type a single word, you must construct the full skeleton or outline of your article.
The goal here is to put together sub-topics related to your target keyword.
Rather than deciding on a whim, you can do competitor keyword research and let data lead the way.
If you haven’t yet, read my competitor keyword research guide. It will teach you how to tap into your competitor’s content strategy and reveal their target keywords.
Don’t have the time to read another full-length blog post?
Then let me show you the simplified version.
All you have to do is use a tool like SEMrush and enter the URL of your competitor’s content. Alternatively, just click on one of the top organic search results from the keyword overview report.
For example, after running a keyword analysis on the keyword “Top Genesis child themes,” scroll down to “Organic Search Results.”
From there, click on any page to launch a new organic research session.
The “Organic Research” page shows a handful of interesting data about your competitor’s page. More importantly, it will reveal the top organic keywords it currently ranks for.
What you’re looking for is the “Top Organic Keywords” section below the traffic trend chart.
Looking at their top seven keywords, your content outline may include the following talking points:
- A quick explanation of the Genesis framework
- Genesis child themes specifically for bloggers
- The best Genesis child themes overall
Clicking ‘View all 202 organic keywords’ will display a bigger list of keywords that you can add to your content’s outline.
A great example would be the keyword “What is a Genesis child theme.” This suggests that you write an intro that explains Genesis child themes to readers who are unfamiliar with the subject.
It’s all about connecting contextually-relevant keywords and comprehending how they tie to the target audience’s journey.
With the keywords above, your new blog post outline may look like:
- What is a Genesis Child Theme?
- Installing Genesis Child Theme on WordPress
- Best Genesis Child Themes for Bloggers
- Genesis Framework Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
7. Write SEO-friendly content
Enough planning — it’s time for what bloggers are supposed to do best.
Writing brilliant blog content that can rank higher on Google is a topic that warrants its own article. That’s why I published a step-by-step guide to writing quality blog posts as a content pillar in Master Blogging.
For your convenience, let’s do a quick rundown of the best content writing practices you ought to remember.
Here are the crucial content writing techniques that will help you produce top-notch, rank-worthy content for your blog:
Write shorter sentences and paragraphs
In case you haven’t noticed, I’ve fully committed myself to write short sentences.
Go ahead and check the length of every sentence in this post. I bet you won’t find a sentence that’s over 20 words in length.
The thing is, keeping sentences short and crisp will instantly boost the readability of any article. The same can be said for paragraphs, which I limit to only two sentences max.
Make your content more scannable
Even with short sentences and paragraph, there’s still no guarantee that they’ll read the whole post.
Think about it: what’s the first thing you do when you come across a long blog post?
Me, I’d scroll and scan the entire page to see if I can easily get the information I want.
You see, a lot of bloggers have the nasty habit of constructing articles with thick walls of text. This can make the entire reading experience tedious and downright boring.
To avoid this, include an adequate number of headings within your content’s body.
Yoast SEO recommends a subheading distribution of one heading per 300 words. Take advantage of the H3 and H4 tags to ensure no section of your content drags on for too long.
If it can’t be helped, there are other types of breaks you can insert to make sections more engaging.
Insert tweetable quotes
Adding tweetable quotes to your content serves two purposes:
- They function as a visual break that improves the readability of your posts.
- They make it easier and intuitive for readers to spread the word on your blog.
I personally use Social Snap to insert tweetable quotes into my posts in seconds. Using the Gutenberg editor, I simply click ‘[Social Snap] Click to Tweet’ from the ‘Add block’ menu.
With the “Click to Tweet” block active, just type in the quote you want to make tweetable. For such an easy setup, I must say the output looks really impressive.
If you want a free alternative to Social Snap, read my post about the top social sharing plugins for WordPress.
Add eye-catching visual content
Aside from headings and tweetable quotes, you can spice up the reading experience on your blog with visual content.
As a blogger, it’s easy to make the excuse that visual content isn’t your forte. But with cloud-based visual tools that virtually take no effort to use, that excuse is no longer acceptable.
Visme, for instance, lets you create anything from infographics to custom web graphics in minutes. It features a drag-and-drop interface that lets you mix and match shapes, text, and various elements to build your design.
If you need to convey instructions to your readers, use photographs or screenshots of each step.
As you can see, adding annotated screenshots is one of the selling points of my content. I take them with Snagit 2019, but you can also use any of the following tools:
If you want to level up your visual content strategy, explore more creative media like animations, videos, and interactive elements. They aren’t really a necessity, but they’ll surely help you turn more heads.
Use LSI or Latent Semantic Indexing keywords
To cement the topical relevance of your content, sprinkle it with LSI — short for latent semantic indexing — keywords.
These are keywords that are related to your primary keyword. But unlike long-tail keyword variations, LSI keywords don’t always pertain to the same topic.
Any keyword research tool can be used to look for LSI keywords. There are also tools like LSIKeywords.com specifically designed to help bloggers and content marketers find them.
LSIKeywords.com generates LSI keyword ideas for up to 10 seed keywords.
The tool will also include important keyword data, namely the monthly search volume, Cost Per Click, and competitiveness. This will help you decide which LSI keywords are worth weaving into your content.
If you still have questions regarding LSI keywords, I’ve probably already answered them in my ultimate guide to LSI keywords.
Fulfill the user intent by the conclusion
Let me tell you a secret.
I can only be satisfied with an article I’ve written if I can confidently and effortlessly write a compelling conclusion.
In between your tweetable quotes, graphics, and data-driven sentences, you must always remember the user intent you’re trying to serve.
Cut the jargon
All in all, a post must be a cohesive, well-flowing piece that takes readers from point A to point B.
You can’t accomplish that if readers need a dictionary to understand what you mean.
That said, avoid overly-technical and hifalutin words. Go with simple words that your audience will have no trouble comprehending.
The Hemingway App is a free tool that rates the readability of your content and highlights possible improvements. You don’t even need to create an account to get cracking — simply paste your draft into the editor.
Regardless of your blog niche, aim for a reading level of anywhere between five and nine.
It may result in a ton of revisions in your first few posts. Just keep practicing and you’ll eventually learn to write naturally using simple language.
The bottom line is, your content must be noticeably better than your competitor in every possible way.
Your word choices may seem insignificant, but you need to grab any opportunity you can get to outperform competitors.
8. Make killer headlines
An SEO-friendly blog post isn’t complete without a powerful headline that makes users think:
“I need to read that.”
Fortunately for you, your quest for killer headlines can be finished with a single tool.
The CoSchedule Headline Analyzer scores your headline and provides actionable insights on five key aspects:
- Word balance — A captivating headline utilizes the perfect balance of common words, uncommon words, emotional words, and power words. Headline Analyzer measures your usage of those words to help you achieve the ideal combination.
- Headline length — To be displayed properly in SERPs, your headline must be no longer than 70 characters. However, Headline Analyzer recommends a length of around 55 words for more click-throughs.
- First & last three words — When skimming the web, users tend to fixate on the first and last three words of a headline. Use this to your advantage by placing terms related to your keyword or the user’s goals in those places.
- Keywords — A keyword-optimized headline is another can’t-miss item in your SEO checklist. If Headline Analyzer doesn’t detect the right focus keyword, you may have to restructure your headline.
- Sentiment — Your headline must either have a strong positive or negative sentiment to be effective. It’ll be hard to convince users to click on your page if they aren’t moved on an emotional level.
In addition to the factors above, Headline Analyzer also examines your headline’s type and shows a SERP preview. For more information, visit my post on the seven ways to use the CoSchedule Headline Analyzer to create amazing headlines.
You can also review the organic results for your keyword for ideas on what words and value propositions to use.
Let’s say you want to publish a blog post about raw food diets.
Google’s first page should have several unique headlines you can borrow words from.
9. Implement a solid internal link architecture
Speaking of SEO-friendly posts, another way to keep readers absorbed in your blog is to use internal links.
Put simply, a link is internal if it points to a page on the same website.
The rule of thumb is to only link to relevant pages that align with the user intent.
To illustrate, I’m currently talking about internal links — a fairly advanced topic that requires intense planning. Instead of discussing everything here, I’ll insert an internal link that points to my guide to internal linking.
As a result, I can encourage readers to check out more of my content. Internal links also spread “link equity” all over my site, which boosts its overall ranking potential.
Before we move on, here are a few must-have tips when building your website’s internal link architecture:
- Don’t include too many internal links in one page — As useful as internal links are, they can derail users from their original goal. Only include internal links when they make sense and space them out to keep your content looking clean.
- Open links in a new tab — This can easily be done by enabling the “Open in New Tab” switch in WordPress Gutenberg. Otherwise, you have to add the target=”_blank” attribute to your <a href=” “> tag.
- Keep anchor texts natural — While the anchor text for your internal links may contain a keyword, don’t overdo it. Use natural language and don’t force exact match keywords as anchor texts.
- Explain the link to readers — As a courtesy to readers who trust you enough to click internal links, clearly describe where they go. Mentioning the benefits of reading the linked page will also earn you more click-throughs.
- Remember to link to your product or service pages —If you care about blog monetization, don’t forget internal links to your money pages. To avoid disrupting the experience of readers, slide these internal links into the sidebar or footer.
10. Add internal links from existing pages to new posts
There’s one more internal linking strategy you can use to improve the Google positioning of your new posts.
That catch is, this will only work if you already have a page that’s already indexed by Google.
Got a page in mind?
Sweet — you can now add internal links from that existing page to a new, relevant post.
To help you understand the steps, let me walk you through the process of finding internal link opportunities.
Suppose I created a detailed guide on how to run successful email marketing campaigns.
After publishing it, I then head to Google to perform a search with the “site:” operator attached to my domain.
Since my topic is email marketing, let’s see if Google already indexed one of my posts for “email marketing.”
As it turns out, Google managed to find a few posts.
There we go — existing pages where I can put an internal link to my new email marketing post.
To find a suitable spot for the link, open one of the pages and use the integrated “Find” command.
For Safari users, the shortcut you’re looking for is ‘Command’ + ‘F.’
The find feature lets you scan an entire page for instances of any keyword or phrase. To find where I can naturally link to my new email marketing post, I just need to enter “email marketing.”
Thanks to the find feature, I now have plenty of possible internal link locations to my new post. All that’s left to do is find a paragraph where the link would fit right in.
11. Execute other on-page SEO strategies
Internal linking is just one of the many components of an on-page SEO strategy.
Keep in mind that SEO consists of many moving parts. If you want a higher search engine ranking, you can’t afford to miss any on-page SEO factor in your content development efforts.
Given the depth of this topic, I’ll let you learn the fundamentals of on-page SEO techniques on your own pace. The least I can do is refer you to this post about the seven crucial on-page SEO factors.
Below are the things you should expect to learn by visiting that link:
- How to optimize your images for search engines
- Where to use your target keywords
- When and how should you use external links
- How to improve your website’s loading speed
- Best mobile-friendliness tips for bloggers
If the list above made you scratch your head, I suggest you bookmark that page and read it thoroughly later.
On-page SEO may take days or even weeks to do.
In the meantime, let’s proceed to the next step that will give your blog that much-needed SEO boost.
12. Put your content promotions into high gear
Ever heard of the quote “if you build it, they will come”?
Well, that doesn’t apply to SEO.
You can have the best content in the world and perform all the on-page optimizations you want. But unless you head out there and actively promote your blog, readers won’t just appear on your doorstep.
If you’re low on your marketing budget, there are plenty of content promotion strategies out there that are practically free. You can share your post on social media, leverage community-based promotion platforms, and reach out to users who mention you.
I’ve unpacked all the juicy details in my article called How to Promote Blog Posts. Give it a read and traffic should soon come pouring in.
For the purpose of increasing your keyword rankings, your go-to strategy will be an outreach-driven link building campaign.
Our game plan:
- Look for domains that already linked to your competitor’s content
- Assess the weaknesses of your competitor’s content
- Use that weakness and send an outreach email that says why the linking domain should link to you instead
To find domains that link to your competitors, you need to work backward. That means you must first identify your competitors by viewing the organic search results for your target keyword.
To give you an idea, imagine that you’re writing a list post that contains SEMrush alternatives.
When you analyze the keyword “SEMrush alternative,” you’ll find the following organic search results:
On that list, you can pick any competitor page you want to obtain prospective link sources from.
For the sake of this guide, let’s pretend that Master Blogging is your competitor.
This page looks really enticing:
Going forward, clicking on your competitor’s page will take you to the domain overview report. But since the objective is to find domains that linked to their page, we need to navigate to the ‘Backlinks’ tab.
At first, you will be redirected to the backlinks overview section. It’s packed with useful information that can help you gauge your competitor’s SEO performance.
To divulge your competitor’s link sources, we need to inspect their referring domains. You can do this by clicking ‘Referring Domains’ on the backlinks overview page.
Your potential link prospects should be neatly presented under the “Referring Domains” section — served in a silver platter.
Next comes the most important part of this strategy: outshining the competitor’s content.
It doesn’t matter how authoritative your competitor is. There’s bound to be flaws in their content that you can improve upon.
If I were you, I’d keep my eyes peeled for the following:
- Outdated information — If your competitor’s content has been published for a while, chances are they mentioned outdated data. Create content with the updated statistics to give their referring domains a solid reason to link to you.
- Lack of visual content — Using visual content to convey your content’s message just might give you the edge you need. This is especially true if your competitor tends to write long, boring paragraphs that are 100% text.
- Inaccuracies — This may be a lot harder to spot if the referring domain has strict editorial guidelines. But if you find factual inaccuracies in your competitor’s content, see to it that you don’t make the same mistakes.
Once you’re confident in the quality of your content, you can now create convincing outreach emails.
The principles here are the same as when you’re performing blogger outreach. You need to be honest, to-the-point, and direct when delivering your propositions.
I listed down a handful of expert tips on crafting outreach emails in my blogger outreach guide. To help you save time, I also threw in a couple of email templates you can use.
Just remember to mention a believable reason why you decided to contact them. This must be based on the improvements your content has over your competitor’s.
Let me give you a quick sample of an outreach email done right:
Some quick reminders when you’re doing email outreach:
- Keep your outreach email short and don’t make your prospect wait too long for your link proposition
- Write as if you’re talking to a friend
- Make your email about your prospect’s content — don’t make it seem like you only care about getting a link
- Don’t be afraid to send a follow-up email after two or more days
13. Track your keyword rankings for three to six months
Even if you manage to secure backlinks to your content, you shouldn’t expect your keyword rankings to suddenly skyrocket.
It’ll take weeks before your efforts pay off and give you the improved search engine ranking you deserve.
During this period, your course of action should consist of three things:
- Regularly track your keyword rankings
- Work on the next keyword in your tracker
- Keep building quality backlinks
To track your keyword rankings, you need a rank checker tool that can give you real-time reports on your SERP positions.
I have an entire post that discusses the top 11 keyword rank checker tools in the market. Also included are mini-tutorials that will show you how to use them.
If you’ve been paying attention, you should already know that SEMrush displays your top keyword positions right off the bat.
Remember the top organic keywords list on the domain overview page?
However, it’s way more efficient to use SEMrush’s position tracking tool to get real-time updates on your keyword rankings.
Position tracking can be accessed by creating a new project. Alternatively, you may activate this tool on the ‘SEO Dashboard’ page from the main menu.
Under the “Trend: Devices & Locations” section, click ‘Set up Position Tracking’ to proceed.
The four-step configuration process shouldn’t take long to complete. You simply need to enter your domain details, location, preferred user device, competitors, and keywords.
What keywords should you enter into the position tracking tool?
You can answer this question yourself by referring to the keyword tracker you’ve created earlier. If you created a CSV report of your top organic keywords, you can also import your list directly.
The position tracking page starts you off on the ‘Landscape’ tab. This gives you a bird’s-eye view of your blog’s organic visibility.’
You can check your individual keyword rankings on the ‘Rankings’ tab. Here, you can freely add new keywords to track and review metrics like their search volume, CPC, and SERP features.
To set up alerts, click the ‘Alerts’ button on the upper-right corner of the screen and click ‘Edit triggers.’
The good news is, you don’t need to configure alerts for every individual keyword.
A single trigger can be used for all tracked keywords, which may use one of the five conditions:
- Changes by more than — Send an alert whenever your keyword rankings change by a certain number of positions.
- Enters/Leaves the top — Send an alert whenever your site ranks or de-ranks for the top number of organic results you specify.
- Gains/Loses more than — Send an alert whenever your site’s rankings increase by a certain number of positions.
Need more alert triggers?
With SEMrush, you can use up to ten triggers with the position tracking tool. Just click on ‘Add new trigger’ on the “Position Tracking Settings” window to create more.
With keyword position tracking ready to go, your focus should now shift towards focusing on other keywords and building links.
You shouldn’t have any problem diversifying your keyword portfolio, especially now that you have a comprehensive keyword tracker.
What should take the bulk of your time is your link building campaign.
We already discussed one strategy on how to build natural links via email outreach. Keep the momentum going by reading my list of surefire link building strategies, including blog commenting and writing roundup posts.
14. Improve your content’s performance on factors that matter
Link building, content promotions, and on-page SEO should help you get to Google’s first page.
Climbing to the top three positions, however, requires you to perfect the user experience component of your blog content strategy.
The truth is, all I can really give you are guidelines on how to produce content that captivates readers. But at the end of the day, your results will depend on your execution of the strategies I’ve shared.
Your best bet is to adopt long-term practices that monitor and improve the performance of your content over time.
Let me introduce you to Google Search Console — a free SEO analytics service.
Read this post to learn how to add your website to your Google Search Console account. If successful, you should be able to select your domain on the left drop-down menu.
Here are the metrics you should monitor on Google Search Console if you want to reach Google’s top three results:
Your blog’s CTR or click-through rate measures the likelihood of search engine users to click on your website.
To view this metric, click ‘Search results’ under the ‘Performance’ sub-menu. The overall CTR for your entire domain is displayed above the clicks and impressions chart.
However, this isn’t the CTR value you want to focus on. You only need to track the CTR for users who use certain queries.
For example, there’s no reason for me to worry over my average CTR for the search query “admin blogger.” What I should worry about is my average CTR for my top keywords like “Grammarly discount.”
To find the CTR for that keyword, I simply click on ‘New’ on the filter bar and select ‘Query.’
The next steps should be pretty obvious. I simply enter “Grammarly discount” into the keyword field and click ‘Apply.’
I should now arrive at a refreshed queries list that contains my focus keyword along with related keywords. This can be found directly below the clicks and impressions chart.
To calculate the CTR for a keyword, simply divide the number clicks by the total number of impressions.
In the example above, my keyword “Grammarly discount” generates 1,706 clicks out of 9,783 impressions. That means my CTR for that keyword would be:
1,706 / 9,783 = 0.174 or 17.4%
I’m more than happy to live with that.
Since I only rank fourth for that keyword, industry averages suggest that I should get a CTR of 6-8.94%.
You can refer to the Organic CTR History by Advanced Web Ranking for the average CTR for positions 1-20.
If your CTR is below the statistical average, here is the list of things I would look at:
- Meta data — Are your content’s title and meta description enticing enough to attract clicks?
- Call to action — Does your meta description contain a persuasive CTA or call-to-action?
- Search intent — Does your content match the user expectations based on search intent?
Aside from CTR, the other content performance metrics you should diagnose are bounce rate, session duration, and pages per session.
Both of these metrics can be tracked with Google Analytics — another free tool that provides vital SEO data.
Since Google Analytics is another in-depth topic by itself, I’ll let you learn it from my Google Analytics ultimate guide. You will also learn tips on how to improve these metrics and make the most out of your content.
15. Keep updating and promoting your content
Understand that reaching the top position on Google isn’t permanent.
You have to continue protecting your position by updating and relaunching your content whenever necessary.
I proudly update some of my most popular content to keep it relevant over the years. That’s why you see a lot of revamped content on my blog.
You can verify this by searching “2019” on Master Blogging right now.
To wrap up this guide, below is a short checklist of the tasks involved in relaunching content.
- Update old data
- Provide more recent examples
- Offer more products or tools that are relevant today
- Look at the comments section for suggestions
- Re-run your content promotions
Congratulations — you’re now equipped with everything you need to know to improve SEO positions for your organic keywords.
I’ve dispensed all the knowledge I have that will allow you to climb your way into Google’s first page. That included staying updated regarding Google’s ranking algorithm to refreshing old content to maintain relevance.
With that being said, I hope you can help me update this post in the future by providing your feedback. Let me know what you think in the comments below!
Finally, I’d like to extend my wholehearted thanks to my loyal readers who’ve made this blog possible.
Thank you and more power to everyone.