4 Tips for Improving Your Keyword Ranking. Keywords are at the core of search engine optimization (SEO). It’s one of the most important ranking factors used by Google, Bing and other search engines when determining what pages to show first for a given query. If you cannot get your pages ranking highly for the right keywords, then your other SEO efforts will be futile.
That being said, you cannot address keyword ranking in isolation but rather within the broader context of your overall SEO strategy. Therefore, if you want your pages ranking highly for your preferred keywords, here are some practical tips that can get you there.
1. Focus on the Subject Not Just the Keyword
Keywords are crucial but they are only as useful as the story they are weaved into. So don’t view your keywords in isolation. Rather, see them in the context of the subject you seek to draw attention to.
In the early days of SEO, website owners would come up with a list of the keyword phrases that were most relevant for their product or cause. They’d then create content focused on each phrase in an effort to rank for them all. This worked in the past but as Google’s search algorithm has evolved, following this strategy won’t yield as much result as you’d expect. Google is now firmly fixated on user search intent.
So even when you don’t use a particular keyword in a piece of content, Google may still display your page for the keyword if it’s associated with the same intent as the keyword you choose. What this means is you don’t have to have a page dedicated to just one keyword. You can group related keywords in the same page.
2. Monitor Click-Through-Rates (CTRs)
In the world of digital advertising, CTR is one of the most important metrics. Still, many SEOs and online marketers don’t pay as much attention to it as they should. The CTR is what tells you whether people are clicking on your links that show up when certain keywords are invoked in search queries. It doesn’t do your site much good if you rank 3rd on the first page of search results but receive much fewer clicks than result 4 through 10.
Schedule a regular audit of your CTRs. The Google Search Console is the easiest and cheapest way to do this though there’s no harm in using a third party keyword rank tracker instead or as well. With Google Search Console, you get a breakdown of the keywords drawing organic traffic to your site including the impressions, clicks and CTR of each. You can drill down this data to specific pages.
Pay attention to keywords with an above average CTR but rank low in overall traffic volume. Perhaps if you improve your ranking for such keywords, you may end up drawing much more organic traffic.
3. Refresh Older Content
Content that was fresh, current and relevant 2 years ago may be woefully out of date today. One of the fastest ways to see your page moving down search rankings is obsolescence. And Google’s algorithm has several ways to tell if your content is no longer authoritative and credible including bounce rates and the growth rate in backlinks. On the other hand, if you keep your content current, you can expect to raise your ranking in search results substantially.
Google favors the age of a page or website so if your content is current, you have a distinct advantage over competitors that came online later. Refreshing content is not just about the assertions and references on the page but also incorporating new terminology (i.e. keywords), revising subheadings, removing/correcting broken links and adding new links.
4. Deepening Your Link Building Campaign
Google’s Penguin update sent shivers down the spines of SEOs and created a fear of being penalized if one’s link building efforts were not deemed above board. Still, link building remains a crucial component of search keyword ranking. To make sure you are on the straight and narrow, focus your link building campaign on creating quality content and building long-term relationships.
If you get these two things right, your link building is likely to have a positive impact on your ranking. Position yourself as an authority on the subject matter. Connect to authoritative websites and bloggers in your domain without necessarily demanding a link back from them. Showcase your value and people will see linking to you as increasing the reputation of their site.
Keyword ranking is a broad topic and these tips represent just part of what you can do to improve your fortunes on search engine results pages. Nevertheless, they can give you a strong foundation to get moving in the right direction.