Having a website show up at the top of SERPs for the right keywords is the best way to get massive amounts of organic traffic and increase your visibility. This makes a SERP a highly competitive place and the ultimate goal of every website owner.
In this short guide, I’ll show you how to reach this goal by finding a weak link and replacing it with superior content.
Step 1: Keyword research
Finding a proper keyword to target is the first and most important step. Obviously, “stealing” a difficult keyword is not something you can do in few simple steps, and it usually requires a separate strategy, complex planning, and lots of time and resources, which is not what this guide is about. Don’t jump to conclusions and start looking for long-tail keywords though; what you need is a keyword somewhere in the lower “body,” not too close to the long-tail. I use Serpstat to do keyword research. Any other tool that provides information about a keyword’s search volume, the level of competition and has a filter to narrow the results is also good.
Keyword Research Plan:
1. Start with the major keywords of the industry you’re interested in,
and use them as a benchmark to compare other keywords to. I’ll use the keyword “solar panels” for the purpose of this experiment. The average number of monthly searches for related popular keywords is around 8,000, and the competition for these keywords is high.
2. Filter the keywords to show only those with lower search volumes and, more importantly, low competition.
I’ve set the filter to show keywords with a competition level of less than 50 percent and a search volume above 300 monthly searches. Not a lot of searches but not exactly a long-tail keyword. Setting the limits for maximum search volume or minimum level of competition is not necessary. Who knows, maybe you’ll get lucky and manage to find a keyword with 10,000 monthly search volume and zero competition.
3. Select the perfect keyword.
Mine was second on the list, with 1,000 monthly searches and a competition level as low as 23 percent. “What are solar panels made of,” seems like a great keyword to use in PPC and good enough to try and rank organically.
There is no guarantee that you will find a good keyword on your first try, in which case I recommend changing your initial keyword to something else related to your industry and then repeating the process.
Step 2: Find a “victim”
Simply searching for your handpicked keyword (what are solar panels made of) is enough. Visit the top pages to see if any of them offer content that you can make better.
I found the perfect target which was right under the rich snippet, ranking first organically for “what are solar panels made of.” The page’s content consists of a simple article about the components of solar panels, nothing special, just what we need:
This article is three years old, but it still ranks first for a rather popular query related to technology, which is kind of weird. Without looking at the writing itself or the page design, I found some things that can be improved without much hassle:
- Images: the only image in this article is a tiny, slightly relevant picture – slightly relevant because it doesn’t give any idea of how solar panels work, but at least it has a solar panel in it.
- Text Structure: the body of text lacks structure, which makes the content harder to read. Many users won’t start reading an article without analyzing it first, so it’s necessary to properly organize your text and outline key parts.
- On-page SEO: Keywords are only present in the title and H1 heading. There are no H2 or H3 headings at all. The only image is not optimized either: note the name and alt tag:
It only took me a second to notice these things, so it’s safe to assume that a complete audit will reveal more flaws. Every flaw on this page is an opportunity to create better content.
As a bonus, this page also has a pop-up that blocks most of its content, which probably doesn’t help with UX.
Step 3. Provide better content
All I did was, take the original text, change its structure and use a better image. Here’s the result:
If this were a real project, I would’ve spent more time to create better content, provide links to various sources, find some extra keywords and so on. It may seem like I got lucky with the original article because improving it was such a simple task, but here’s the thing: even if the original article looks good, there are still ways to make better content. For example, create infographics or add gifs to catch the attention and make visitors stay longer on your page.
Step 4: Promote your content
Every month, approximately 1,000 people go to google.com and ask, “What are solar panels made of?” Having a great answer to this question is just one part of success. You also need to make sure that users can find it. The final, most difficult and most important step is content promotion. Luckily, there are many ways to do it – from advertising to guerilla marketing. I recommend starting with places where your target audience hangs out (forums, subreddits, Facebook groups) and promoting your content there. Running AdWords campaigns and addressing promo agencies are great ways to improve your content’s visibility. There are endless opportunities, depending on your budget, resources and time. I recommend checking out this e-book: “Tell a Credible Story with SEO. Free SEO & PR E-book to Improve Your Online PR Efficiency.” It has a lot of great tips on how to create outstanding content and market it successfully.