SEO is a huge area, and it can seem like there are a million (often confusing) ways to get to your goals of higher rankings and more traffic.
Today, let’s look at a way you can get closer to your goals using a technique that I believe to be underrated, but which is beautifully simple.
We are going to be using a tool called Google Search Console (formerly Google Webmaster Tools), so fingers crossed you already have it enabled on your website. If you don’t, take a minute to set it up, then come back to continue reading.
Step 1 – Search Console Reports
If you are already familiar with Search Console, it doesn’t need much explaining, and so we can dive right in. We are going to be using the ‘Search Analytics’ report within the ‘Search Traffic’ section of Search Console. You may be familiar with it but below is where you can find it.
After you’ve clicked on the link to your site in the list of sites you manage in Search Console, you’ll land on this screen:
Click on the ‘Search Analytics’ tab, which will bring you to the screen below:
The ‘Clicks’ checkbox is already ticked, but check the others boxes too (Impressions, CTR, Positions). This will generate additional valuable data. Also click on the ‘Dates’ button, then ‘Select date range’.
Choose ‘Last 90 days’ to get a good overview of the last three months’ worth of data. You should now see the following colourful graph showing clicks, impressions, CTR and position data for the past 90 days on queries for which you are appearing in Google search results (listed underneath the graph).
Step 2 – Identify Your Target Keywords
This is where it gets interesting. What we are looking for are queries for which on average we are appearing on page 2 of Google. You can find these queries by scanning the keywords that show a position of between 11 and 20 in the ‘Position’ column of the report.
Why? Because these are the queries (or keywords, if you prefer), where Google is indicating that it almost ‘wants’ you to appear for on page 1. You can think of these keywords as ‘low-hanging fruit’, and as those you can target right now with the goal of moving them to page 1.
Why go after keywords on page 6 when you have an opportunity right now to dramatically increase your traffic through moving these keywords to page 1 of Google?
Now, of course these should also be keywords that matter to you – they should be relevant and represent a real opportunity to get more search traffic to your site. So for example, if you see a keyword that you don’t see adding much value, then choose another instead or even consider expanding to page 3 if you run out of keywords.
Or perhaps the keyword has very low search volume and another could bring more traffic and value instead. Either way, you will know what is important to you.
Step 3 – Map Keywords to Content
Now that you’ve identified your top target keywords, it’s time to think about how you can use content to influence ranking movements towards page 1 for these terms.
Let’s take the example of a website that provides antique shop listings and useful articles relating to the antiques industry.
As you can see, some of the keywords triggering results on page 2 include the names of antique shops in the UK. This is just for illustration, but it gives us an idea of the kind of content we could develop to target these terms.
Some ideas include:
- An article on the blog talking directly about one or more of the shops. We could write an article featuring ‘Hay on Wye antiques’, post it on the blog and link to it from the shop’s listing page (and vice versa).
- We could also have the owner of Hay and Wye antiques link to the post from their website (I am sure they would be delighted to do this too!). Bonus points – some ‘link juice’ from an external site that may have been around for a while.
- An interview with the owner of Hay and Wye, perhaps telling the story of the shop, its history, interesting antiques of note, famous visitors to the shop, advice on ways to care for heirlooms, etc.
- Bonus idea – is there another shop name showing a page 2 position in Search Console, that is also in the same geographic area as Hay and Wye? If there is, why not write a post focusing on that particular region and the antiques scene in the area?
These are just some ideas, but you can see how you could apply this approach to your own site. It doesn’t matter whether you sell antiques or blue widgets, or whether you have a service business or own a hotel, opportunities abound for getting into the data and pinpointing what keywords and content avenues you can pursue.
Maybe you run a web design or accountancy business and can see keywords like ‘web design + city’, or ‘tax return advice’ on page 2?
I hope you found this post useful and will factor this technique into your SEO strategy!
Got questions or comments about this technique? Simply post in the comments below!