Everyone wants to rank high on Google.
One of the problems is SEO can be time consuming, not to mention difficult. But what if there was a way to boost Google rankings quickly?
It’s quite simple actually:
Find keywords that you’re already ranking for, but not in the top positions (yet).
If you can find these search queries, you can find the ranking pages and re-optimise and improve them for better results.
In this post, you will learn quick and easy to implement tactics to boost your Google rankings, including:
- Improve your CTR
- Find and optimise your internal links
- Quickly improve your top pages
- Find and fix underperforming pages
- Generate new content ideas
Sounds good? Let’s go.
Boost Google rankings with GSC & AWR
If you don’t have Search Console setup for your site, pause reading this and go set it up. It’s an essential SEO tool.
If you didn’t know, Google Search Console (or GSC and formerly Webmaster Tools), is a free tool to help manage your website’s search functionality and appearance. It is basically a collection of reports and tools that help you fix errors and optimize your pages.
Likewise, using a rank tracker (like AWR 😉) helps you verify and keep an eye on your keyword positions in Google. Without it, knowing which keywords are driving traffic (and revenue) will be needlessly tricky.
Together, GSC and AWR make a great team for improving your search engine rankings.
AWR’s keyword rank tracking interface is pretty easy to understand. But what about Search Consoles metrics? I’m glad you asked:
GSC Data 101 – what are impressions, position & clicks?
Google Search Console metrics can be slightly confusing. And, in Google’s own words: ‘are subject to change’. For further reading and more detail into Search Console Metrics, check out the official support page.
Here’s a quick rundown of what the different metrics mean:
This is a recording of a link URL appearing in the SERPs for a user. The URL records an impression when the user opens the page containing this result (even if the result is not scrolled into view).
This refers to the position of the result, and in very rough terms, this is the closest to a keyword rank. Position in GSC is the position of the topmost link to your site in the SERPs. It is also very important to note that this value is reached via averaging the position across all queries.
For most results, any click that takes a user away from the search results page is counted as a click. Conversely, clicking a link that keeps a user inside the results page is not counted as a click. Oh, and clicking a result, going to the website, then returning to the results and clicking the same link again = still only counts one click.
And finally, a nice simple one here: CTR is click through rate. CTR is the number of clicks divided by the number of impressions (clicks ÷ impressions = CTR).
Now the metrics explanations are out of the way, let’s look at the tactics:
5 Ways to boost Google rankings right now
There are no secrets to a successful SEO campaign. Well actually there might be two words:
Be honest with yourself: how many times have you researched, written and published a piece of content and then that’s it? You move onto the next one and the next one and the next one and repeat forever.
Good content (and bad content actually) needs to be revisited otherwise you are missing out on a huge opportunity for more traffic. Everyone knows SEO is an ongoing process. And so is content optimisation.
Let’s get started with ways to boost your search engine rankings.
#1 Improving CTR
First things first, we want to improve the organic click through rates of your pages.
Research shows websites ranking on the first page get most clicks. CTR steadily decreases the further down Google’s page results they rank.
Google have been characteristically secretive about how they use CTR data to rank sites. But the takeaway here is that improving CTR offers you a chance to get more traffic without creating more content. It’s every SEO’s dream.
To find your click-through-rates, just head to the performance report in Search Console, or alternatively you can access it via your AWR dashboard:
If you are using AWR, you can quickly check the CTR on the queries and pages that you already rank for. Just select ‘keywords only in GSC’ in the drop down:
Hit the Impressions heading to filter high to low and have a scan through your pages. What you want to look for here is high impressions but a low CTR:
If your site is getting visibility in Google, but no one is clicking through to your page, this tells us one thing:
You need to improve your title and/or meta description.
To improve your title, try using a CTA to make people want to click through, use numbers to stand out, make sure it’s the right length (60 characters) and consider asking a question to engage people.
To improve your meta description, try to keep it to 150 characters or less, give people a reason to click through to read more and maybe add a CTA and your keyword if you can.
It is also worth looking at other ranking pages in the SERPs to see if there are similarities between the top ranking pages that you should also consider including. For example, check out a selection of a few of the top ranking sites for the keyword ‘best wordpress hosting’:
We can see that adding in the year to show the lists are up to date is something we should consider including in our hypothetical page title update. Also, 10 seems to be the magic number of hosting providers.
Analyse the SERPs by looking at the other pages ranking around you, and ask yourself:
- Does my content match the search intent?
- Could my page title be better? Does it make someone want to read more, e.g. convey quality content?
- Are the other pages of content just better than mine?
#2 Find and optimise your internal links
AWR and Google Search Console make a great team for internal link building.
By adding internal links from top pages to pages you want to increase rankings for, sometimes you can see immediate results. Although, this being SEO, heavy emphasis on the sometimes!
Go to the keywords ranking report in AWR and look for pages ranking in positions #4 to #10 position.
Go to the Keywords Ranking report in AWR and filter the positions using the drop down:
These are pages that are already ranking pretty highly, but could benefit from a slight nudge up the rankings.
Now you just need to find high authority pages on your site to link from. You can do this by looking at the pages with the highest impressions and clicks. Generally speaking, these will be the highest authority pages according to Google
Alternatively, you can use the advanced search operators in Google to find pages on your site that mention the keyword you are looking to improve.
Here’s the search operator you want to use:
For example, using this operator site:advancedwebranking.com CTR would search the AWR domain for mentions of the keyword CTR, or at least the pages that Google thinks are most closely related to that keyword.
All that’s left to do there is to find where the keyword is mentioned in the content and add in the internal link.
#3 Quickly improve your top pages
SEO wins are good. Quick wins are better.
When it comes to SEO campaigns, things take time to benefit from. So anything that can be done to get some positive (and safe) movements in the short term should be explored.
One such way to quickly see results is by improving your top performing pages. The logic being: if a page is performing well, it could perform even better with a few tweaks.
Let’s identify some of your top tanking pages.
Head over to the landing pages report in AWR and from the drop down, select all the GSC metrics:
Look to see what terms each page ranks highly for (2 – 10) and also look for pages that rank for multiple keywords.
Take these search terms and try to work them in naturally into the copy on the page, but only if it makes sense to do so. This is a useful way to optimise old blog posts and maybe grab some more organic traffic.
Another quick method for improving your top pages is to sort your data by Impressions and look for phrases ranking in positions 3 – 7.
To do this, go to the Search Console report in AWR and hit export. Just make sure you have Clicks, Impressions, CTR and Position selected to show all information.
Now export and open up your .csv in Excel.
Filter impressions column to show results high to low. Then filter the position column to show values between 3 and 7.
Now work through these pages and work the keywords into either your title tags or H1 of that page.
#4 Find underperforming pages (& fix them)
It’s not just your best performing pages that can benefit from an update; underperforming pages can too. Search Console is useful for identifying those pages that nobody visits or engages with.
To do this, make sure Clicks, Impressions, CTR and Position are all selected and then order the Impressions column to show the least first:
This is a useful method of identifying pages that you can consider deleting and adding 301 redirects to a more relevant (or up-to-date) content.
Studies have shown that deleting low traffic pages (aka content pruning) and 301 redirecting them to better pages, leads to Google valuing the more relevant pages higher. Overall this can potentially increase traffic to your site.
Another method to improve underperforming pages is to look for pages that are ranking well, but are getting poor engagement metrics.
Export your keywords, and filter the positions to show positions 3 – 10:
Now you’ll have a list of pages that are ranking well, towards the bottom of page one, but are not getting good engagement metrics. You can go examine these keywords and re-optimise them.
#5 Discover new content ideas
It’s not just existing content that GSC can help you with, but new content too.
Google Search Console can be a gold mine of new keyword ideas for content, (not to mention ad copy suggestions if you are running any AdWords campaigns).
To find them, filter your data in the dashboard to show ‘keywords only in GSC’. Then you can comb through your data and tick any new keywords your site is ranking for.
You can then easily add these new keywords right into your rank tracking to keep a closer eye on them.
The trick here is to look for keywords that are getting good metrics, but could be better addressed with it’s own stand alone content. Sometimes it is better to create new content than try to shoehorn them into existing content.
Also, pay attention to search queries with the most impressions. Also look at CTR and position too. If you sort by position, you’ll be able to see the search terms you rank highest for.
All that is left to do once you have found new content ideas is to actually write them up.
Using this landing page and keyword combo will increase your chances of ranking highly and actually getting people to click through to your site. Nice.
Tracking your improvements
Whether you are tweaking page titles or rewriting your content you really need to be tracking your keywords and pages you are working on. After all, how will you:
- See rankings as a result of your SEO efforts.
- Quickly see which pages & keywords are bringing in the most traffic.
- Understand any changes in traffic (and sales).
- Find and improve underperforming pages.
- Keep track of competitors’ rankings.
- Spot any new algorithm changes early.
Getting the most out of Search Console and AWR
All of the tactics above will help you make better decisions about your site.
Just don’t forget it’s called search engine optimization for a reason. Because optimization doesn’t stop. It’s not a one time job, there’s always something to improve.
So repeat these tactics every few months, just remember:
- Check and improve your CTR
- Find and optimise your internal links
- Find and improve your top pages
- Find and fix underperforming pages
- Keep finding new content ideas
More GSC resources for improving your site
This article only scratches the surface of what you can do with Search Console. There more use cases like improving UX, finding low hanging fruit keywords and building custom reports.
Check out some of these useful resources if you want to learn more: