Double Your Search Engine Traffic in 7 Days
We all know that search engines can bring us free traffic, so last week we covered the basics of how to SEO a blog. That’s where you should start if you haven’t already.
The next step, though, is to start ranking well for terms that you already rank for somewhere in the results. Pages in the top 3 results can get ten times as much traffic (or more) than pages that appear on page 2 or later, so we want to move those low-ranking pages up as high as we can.
I’ll give you an example. I noticed a few weeks ago that Google had Kim ranked at #15 for ER Nurse. So, I changed her homepage <title> from just “Emergiblog” to “Emergiblog // The Life & Times of an ER Nurse.” (That was already her tagline, but we just added it to the <title> to get “ER Nurse” into it.) Within just 3 or 4 days, she had moved to #11. It really was just as easy as that.
I definitely don’t want to stop there in trying to move her up, but I just wanted to make a simple, easy change to show how much you could affect the results with very little effort. I’ll cover later what else we want to do to move her up even higher, but before I do that let’s step through the process from the beginning.
Pick Your Target Phrases
For this particular technique, we’re attempting to rank well for phrases we already rank for somewhere. So how do you find out what you’re already ranking for?
The stats program you run on your blog will tell you where your traffic is coming from. Many will even give you a report specifically listing the keywords that visitors used to find your site without you having to sift through all the referrers. There’s also a new company on the block called HitTail that does nothing but tell you what keywords are sending you traffic.
So get your list of keywords and sort them by how many visitors have found your site using them. Then start with the most popular one and see where you rank. If you rank lower than 10th (i.e. 11, 12, 13, etc.), make a note of exactly which page is ranking (it likely won’t be your homepage) and move on to the next step.
Tweaking the Page to Rank Better
Once you find a page that is ranking for a term but could be ranking better, it’s time to tweak the page to help it move up in the rankings. There are three ways to do that.
Get the Phrase into the <title>
The <title> tag is the single most important element on the entire page, so adding your phrase there somewhere will almost always improve its ranking noticeably. The great thing is, it’s easy to do that in most cases. The <title> is just the title of your post, so all you have to do is tweak the title to include your phrase. (If it’s the homepage you’re looking to change, you’ll actually have to modify your template to do that in most cases.)
Get the Phrase into the Page More Times
In addition to getting the phrases into the <title>, you also want to make sure you use it as often as you can in the page itself without being unnatural. I can’t stress that last part enough. Your blog is for readers, not search engines. We’re making tweaks to help our rankings, not reformatting our blogs. Don’t go overboard here, or you risk turning off your readers.
My post about tattooed women is an extreme example of using your target phrase multiple times, and is a great example of going overboard. It definitely ranks well, but it’s extraordinarily awkward to read. That’s not a good trade-off.
Notice in that post, too, that I used the phrase both in italics and in bold text various places. It’s possible that emphasizing the phrase that way gives it a little extra weight. If it does, it’s not much, but it doesn’t hurt to try if you can work it in.
Finally, look for opportunities to link to the page using the phrase you’re trying to improve rankings for. For example, I’ve noticed that my “Best Free WordPress Themes” post actually ranks pretty well for best wordpress themes but could be ranking much better. Because of that, whenever I find myself naturally linking to that page, I try to link to it as best WordPress themes. Google, especially, puts a lot of weight on what words were used to link to the page, so this is another great way to nudge those rankings up.
Why Start with These Phrases?
You want to start with the phrases that are already sending you traffic because that tells you for sure that these are valuable phrases. You could rank #1 for delayed beautiful thing, but nobody’s searching for that. And if nobody’s searching, nobody’s finding.
If you can spend a few minutes making changes to rank better for phrases that are already sending you traffic, though, you could easily see your search engine traffic double in just a week.
Questions? Confusion? Post your questions below! Also, I’d love to track your success with you. If you try this out and want to let me know how it works for you, I think it would be great for people to see some more real-life examples. Send them to me, and I’ll use them in a future post!