5 ways to identify SEO opportunities and improve your rank

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SEO is a long game, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t some quick wins along the way.

This isn’t a guide on how to go from 0 to 1,000,000 overnight, but it will walk you through our approach to identifying your best SEO opportunities.

At Centori, we specialize in working with our clients to help them build effective SEO strategies that will take them to the top of Google search results. Part of managing an effective SEO strategy is keeping track of your progress month over month and adjusting your strategy as needed.

I consider SEO to be a scientific pursuit. We have a hypothesis that Google will respond favorably to changes on our website (whether that be new content or structural changes) and we test it and look for the results.

Occasionally we get lucky and strike gold right away, those are always the best feelings. Other times… we missed the mark and need to change our approach. Within both scenarios, there are opportunities. Areas that we ought to prioritize our efforts to maximize the return on our time.

No one likes pounding away on a keyboard until their fingers blister. I’d much rather pick my best spots and see how Google responds.

In this post, I’m going to walk you through our top 5 ways to spot SEO opportunities for a website. We do this every single month with our clients when we list out their best opportunities for growth and we want to give you the same framework to use for your website.

All you’ll need to get started is a laptop with an internet connection, and Google Search Console set up for your website. Some of these reports require a bit of digging, though the Centori software platform automates all of them with our Google Search Console integration and prebuilt reports.

5 ways to spot your best SEO opportunities

Why 5?

I wanted something that ‘rolled off the tongue’, but also there really are countless ways to spot SEO opportunities and if you try to do everything it becomes unmanageable.

For the purposes of this post, I’m going to focus on choosing your best keyword opportunties. I’ll show you 5 tactics to spot your best keyword opportunities and what to do about it.

Do these 5 steps routinely throughout the year and you will discover new ranking opportunities and grow your traffic from Google.

1. Dust Off Your Keyword Research

One of the best things you can do is review your target keywords and go back to the whiteboard (or keyword list?).

I don’t mean toss everything out and start over. But I do mean that you shouldn’t treat keyword research like a static one-and-done process.

Keyword research should be a constant process throughout the year. You should have your customer on your mind and leave no stone unturned as to what their challenges are and how they are using Google to solve them.

Good keyword research is more than opening up an SEO tool and loading up thousands of suggestions, I like to break keyword research into a series of steps:

  • Define your product terms
  • Define product synonyms
  • List out the questions your customers ask throughout the funnel

Researching the keywords your customers are using on Google every few months or so is a great way to stay one step ahead of new opportunities that emerge. You just might discover a subset of questions your competitors are not answering, and that could pave the way for a whole new set of SEO opportunities.

Check out our guide on how to do effective keyword research.

2. Review The Questions You Aren't Answering on Your Website

This is somewhat related to the above, but worth calling out in a separate section.

At the end of the day, Google is a question and answer machine. They’re a sophisticated one to be sure, but that’s what Google does best. They answer questions.

Keywords are important (and SEOs sure love to obsess over them), but I’d rather think through the questions my customers are asking. How well is your website addressing the questions your customer is asking throughout the buyer’s journey? How complete of a resource is your website? What questions are you not answering that you should?

As you pull keywords to target for your website, take a moment to think about the question behind each keyword. Tools like Answer the Public or even Google’s People Also Ask are a great way to collect and brainstorm questions as well.

Centris’s keyword discovery tool has this built in, we automatically separate out questions that your customers are asking:

By taking a step back from a list of keywords and thinking through questions, I find it’s easier to put on my customer’s shoes and a spot the gaps in my content and on my website.

3. Review Keywords You Are Close to Ranking Highly For

Once you’ve exhausted new keywords to go after, take a look at the keywords you’re already ranking for – or are close to ranking for. This is a great fist step towards optimizing you site further and inching your way up to the top of Google.

I like to break this out into 2 groups:

  • Keywords with position 4-10
  • Keywords with position 10-20

By that, I mean:

  • Keywords you rank on the bottom of page 1 of Google
  • Keywords you rank on the second page of Google

These keywords present a rich opportunity to improve your rankings and be seen more often in search results.

You already did the hard part, you’re probably beating out the top 10,000 to 100,000 other websites that are targeting the same keyword. Now you need to beat out the few that are ahead of you.

To achieve that, I run through a series of steps to optimize the page further:

  • Am I using the keyword in the title, and h1?
  • Am I using synonyms for the keyword throughout the other headings?
  • Is the URL SEO-friendly?
  • Could I add anything else to the content? This is not about word count, it’s about addressing the needs of your user.

With a few quick enhancements and checks for each page that ranks for these keywords, you could see some substantial increases in traffic depending on how competitive your niche is.

To find these keywords in Google Search Console, apply a filter for keywords with a position less than 20:

In Centori, our prebuilt SEO opportunities dashboard pre-loads these for you!

4. Review Keywords You Are Not Really Ranking For But Could

Once you’ve optimized your pages for the keywords you are already ranking for, let’s dive into the ones you aren’t really ranking for but ought to consider.

I define these as keywords with a position of 30-50. In other words, keywords you rank on pages 4-6 of Google for.

Why care about pages 4-6 of Google?

Again, you’ve done the hard part of beating out thousands of other websites, now it’s time to put a little elbow grease in to beat the dozens ahead of you.

When you’re ranking here it’s because your content is good, but it does not quite address the keyword. Maybe you’re addressing the keyword in one section of the content, or just touching on it a bit. Either way, it’s time for a judgment call:

  • Choose the keywords that are compelling
  • Build out a new piece of content just to target them

To find these keywords in Google Search Console, apply a filter for keywords with a position less than 50:

5. Review Keywords You Rank Highly For, But Have a Poor Click-Through-Rate

SEOs spend so much time getting you to rank for keywords, but what really matters is the traffic those rankings generate for you (and what that traffic does).

A great way to spot some quick SEO wins is to review the keywords you are ranking on the first page of Google for but are getting a low percentage of click through compared to impressions.

You’ve done the hard part by creating content that ranks, now it’s time to drive more clicks from your hard work. The last opportunity I like to review is my keywords that I rank on the first page of Google for but have a relatively low click-through rate (clicks / impressions). To optimize these, I look at:

  • The title
  • The meta description

Perhaps a snazzier title or description will catch someone’s eye? Google tends to bold the words in a meta description, so ensuring you use the keyword/related keywords is a good tactic too. Structured data is another way to help your search results stand out so if applicable, I’ll add that to the page to draw attention and more clicks in.

To find these keywords in Google Search Console, apply a filter for keywords with a position less than 10 and a click through rate less than 5:

Again, Centori automates all of these reports with our SEO opportunities dashboard making it a snap to find your top ranking queries, low CTR queries, and keywords you're not quite ranking for.

How often to review your SEO opportunities

You’ve made it!

You’re armed with our 5 best tactics to spot keyword opportunities for your website, so now the question is how often do you do this?

Ideally, you are building a strategy that guides your team for the long term, but there is always room for course correction and improvement.

I like to review SEO opportunities alongside the strategy to help evaluate how things are going, and what I’d like to do differently going forward. That usually results in reviewing my best SEO opportunities once per month.

With our clients we do this with each monthly report that we send outa at the beginning of the month, and fortunately the Centori software platform makes it a snap.

Thanks to our keyword research tools and pre-built reports, you can discover questions, identify keyword ranking opportunities, and measure the performance of your content all in one tool. Schedule a free SEO consultation to learn more!

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