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Tutorial: Get your page ranking for specific keywords

This workflow is built to accompany basic practices of SEO. It takes quality content and off-page work to get your page ranking in the top positions on a search. A high rank, though, is only the first goal in a series of steps toward a bigger payoff. Ultimately, clicks are worth more than rankings.

Approach your SEO goals as: “get more clicks from my rankings on specific keywords.”

Step 1.  Research Keywords

Focus on easy wins with high potential, then move on to a blend of high potential with added difficulty.

You can start finding keyword ideas in SpyFu using a few different approaches:

  1. Download and filter your competitor’s keywords.
  2. Get the list of keywords that a few of your competitors all share.
  3. Start with a broad keyword, and find suggestions for similar ideas based on it. Pay special attention to the filters that let you set ranking difficulty (easy wins) and potential (clicks per day, click rate, etc). Follow the steps here.

We’ve included a separate, detailed workflow you can follow: “Find Important Keywords for Your Campaign”

Step 2. Establish Your Baseline Page Ranking

Find your starting point so you can measure your growth.

We suggest that you set up keyword tracking. Using the keywords from step 1, create a group (or groups) in MySpyFu. We will automatically track your domain’s ranking (and paid ad position) each week in Google and Bing.

Create a keyword group to track inside MySpyFu
  • Login to SpyFu and open the MySpyFu project manager slider on the right side of the page.
  • Start with a project. Type in the domain that you tie these keywords to.
  • The next step will automatically import helpful keyword groups for you. You can skip it, but this is an easy step that goes a long way.
  • Now that the project is created, you can import the original keywords that you have been collecting. Paste them in into that project’s groups or add them directly from a list of keywords you find when you use SpyFu.
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Step 3. Run a Technical Site Audit

As Google updates its algorithm these factors go up and down in importance. That being said, these details are worth tightening and polishing as a good practice.

We’ve included a separate, very detailed workflow you can follow: Run a Technical Site Audit.

Step 4. Check one more detail

Did you use an SEO consultant for your website prior to 2013?

Some of the more common practices during that time might have lingering effects on your SEO today. Use tools to weed out any damaging links.

Google Search Console — Allows you to disavow bad links that could be weighing down your page’s SEO juice.

Ahrefs — Use their site explorer tool to find broken links on your page (inbound and outbound).

Majestic — The Backlink History tool shows points in time where the number of links to a site dropped off or shot up. This can be helpful in determining what triggered a big loss of links so you can work toward a fix.

Step 5. Build Links

Get some easy wins under your belt — link to your own site from directories and forums.

Broken Link outreach

Find broken links on pages that could link to you. If you can suggest a replacement link to your content (that fits), it benefits both of you. If you don’t have relevant content to suit them, at least helping them spot the error can start building goodwill with a potential partner.

Blog comment baiting

Many blog comments include “no follow” settings on links, meaning that at best, if you comment on someone’s post with a link back to your page, it won’t count for much. In fact, it could even be automatically blocked as spam. However, the blog could still be your way in.

Offer a new angle they didn’t cover. Contribute a piece of advice that ties to their topic. Elaborate on a point they made. Any of these are thoughtful, relevant additions to the post that the author would welcome. If your content supports what you’ve added, then your link is now a productive part of the story.

 

Step 6. Create supporting content around your best pieces

Identify your best pieces of content, and create related pieces that complement it: supplementary information, alternative viewpoints, interview pieces, and videos.  

Link to the main article (the one you want to move up), and promote your new pieces. 

We’ve included a separate, detailed workflow you can follow: “Plan a Content Marketing Campaign”

Step 7. Own the whole page

Google has its habits — play along. Often, they serve up a YouTube video in the SERP, they show images, and they offer shopping options. Expand your content type (create a video, register a location, etc.) so you can be the one they show in these slots. 

  1. Social
  2. Local
  3. Images, Videos, Feeds (Products, Recipes, etc)

Step 8. Be Opportunistic

Stay alert — Create search notifications, alerts, brand monitoring.  This gives you an opportunity to grow that mention into a potentially more substantial link with richer content.

The only thing you should automate is an alert.

People see through a template response. The inauthenticity might even push people away. The point of these alerts is to constantly seek opportunities to engage (and promote). Once you find them, respond based on the situation and environment.

If someone has a problem you can solve with your brand, that’s fair game to promote yourself. Is someone asking specifically about your brand? Let others vouch for you. Gently offer to help with any questions, but don’t sell. It comes off as pushy vs. the first situation where you’re helping with solutions.

Tools for alerts

Google is the first name in search alerts, but they have grown notoriously inconsistent. It doesn’t hurt to set it up, but we suggest a back-up plan.

Mention – Give them your branded terms, and they’ll send you the link when they find anyone mentioning your company. It’s easier to manage than Google alerts are, especially when you want to search through your history or mentions.

IFTTT – With dozens of familiar services on its menu, you can set up your own custom notification system. It’s an abbreviation of “If This, Then That” as in “If someone on Reddit asks about services I provide, then send me an email.”

Step 9. Measure and Report

Your last step is to find what worked, and then adjust. This isn’t the end. Now you’re comparing your results to what you saw in Step 2 so that you can reset the work ahead of you.

Consider it a cycle, and this tells you where to focus your work for the next round.

Use tools like the Google Search Console/Google Analytics and SpyFu to measure key parts of your SEO performance:

  • Rankings (and not just the strong ones)
  • Traffic/Clicks from those rankings
  • Conversions from those clicks
You could venture into deeper metrics to truly measure the success of your SEO campaign. We’re keeping it simple to stay focused on the initial goal of moving yourself up the page on a search result.

Rankings

Remember the tip when we started. Rankings are your starting blocks to draw clicks, so they earn the attention they get (as long as you don’t stop there).

Here’s how to build on your rankings–no matter where you landed.

Top keywords: In sites like SpyFu and similar tools, terms with mid- to high-search volume that show your domain as a top search result are considered “top keywords.”

Once you identify them, double down. As long as those keywords match your niche, keep nurturing the content that ranks.

How do you identify them?

  • Type your domain into the SpyFu search bar.
  • Scroll down to the “Top Keywords” section on the left, and click through to view the full list.
  • The automatic sort will give you the “most valuable” keywords that we expect to deliver the most clicks from the most competitive terms.

Rankings that are almost there:  Don’t let off the gas. Keywords that rank at positions 11, 12, and 13 are one small jump away from nearly exponential growth in clicks. The difference you see in landing on the first page will justify a big push on these keywords.

How do you identify them?

  • Type your domain into the SpyFu search bar.
  • Scroll down to the “Top Keywords” section on the left, and click through to view the full list.
  • Change the keyword filter from “Most Valuable” to “Almost There” keywords.” This will filter the list to those that rank at the top half of the second page.

Your biggest opportunities: Considering that the theme of this workflow is about moving yourself up the page, these keywords make a great target. These are keywords where you have a combination of room for growth and a potentially strong payoff once you improve your rankings.

How do you identify them?

  • Log in to SpyFu and choose the Reports tab.
  • Click “New SEO Report”
  • Enter your own domain when asked for a domain for the report.
  • When the results come back, there will be two sections that can help you identify your best areas for improvement:
  • Keywords with the Biggest Opportunities
  • Keyword Groups with the Most Potential

Weekly Rankings
Your most important keywords deserve a more frequent look at their rankings and how they shift from week to week. You can set up multiple groups of keywords in the MySpyFu personal project manager, and you will get weekly updates of how your domain ranked on each one. Updates apply to keyword groups, too.

We’ve included details about how to set that up and what kind of updates you will see.

Clicks/Organic Traffic

Rankings are the start, but not all rankings carry the same weight.

You can rank high on low-search volume keywords, and that won’t mean much if people aren’t really looking there that often. Keep this in mind when you’re measuring your progress.

Clicks from a direct search (branded term) are navigational. People knew about you and just needed a reminder of how to get there.

If you are looking to SEO as a business builder/traffic generator, then put more weight in the clicks that you get from informational searches. This is where someone discovers you when they wouldn’t have know about your site before.

Conversions

Your conversion measurements require internal analytics. Whether you are measuring product sales, email signups, or whitepaper downloads, those things are measured by your in-house systems. Ultimately your conversion is the target.

Finally, follow through in your content

It takes strong content to rank high, so you’re on the right track to maximizing your clicks.

Once the visitor gets to your content (whether it’s your site, an article, a podcast, etc.) you still have to deliver on the promise. What were they hoping to find when they clicked? Improve the relevance of your content to truly get the most out of that click that you fought so hard to earn.

Just like with a paid ad, the first step is getting people TO your page. The next is getting them to act. The benefit is that high-quality content works on the back-end by actually converting visitors, and it pays off with drawing more people to your site as Google tends to reward quality pages.