The best place to hide
As the saying goes, the best place to hide
a dead body is on the second page of Google.
And it's because only 0.78% of Google searchers
click page 2 results.
So this tutorial is all about higher rankings
and especially getting you off that second,
third, or tenth page.
What's up SEOs?
Sam Oh here with Ahrefs, the SEO tool that
helps you grow your search traffic, research
your competitors and dominate your niche.
Now, before we get started, it's important
to note that in order to get the most out of
this tutorial, your website and content
should meet a certain level of quality.
Generally speaking, your site should be mobile-friendly,
load decently fast, have clear navigation and UX,
be secure using HTTPS, be free of
other glaring technical SEO issues,
and your content should be well written.
Not only are some of these direct Google ranking
factors, but the process that I'm about to share
with you will produce much better results
if your website is up to scratch.
Now, I'm assuming you have existing pages
that are targeting keywords.
If you're not, then go and watch one of our
keyword research tutorials, which I've linked up
for you in the description.
Alright, so here's the entire process as a flow chart.
Feel free to take a screenshot for your own
records and let's get started.
Step 1 is to check the strength of the competition.
With any battle, you need to know who
you're up against.
And since we want to rank on the first page
of Google, your competition is obviously going
to be the top 10 results.
Now, at this stage, we just want to do a quick
spot-check to see if the websites ranking for
this keyword are out of our league.
So let's say you have a relatively new SEO
blog and you want to rank for "SEO."
You'll see that the top pages are well-known brands like
Moz, Search Engine Land, Wordstream, and Google.
Chances are, you probably won't be able to
compete anytime soon.
Whereas something like "affordable seo services for small business"
shows sites you probably haven't heard of.
So this might be more within your wheelhouse.
Use Domain Rating DR to look at the website authority.
The second thing to look at is website authority.
At Ahrefs, we use a metric called Domain Rating or DR.
This represents the overall strength of a
website's backlink profile.
Now, while I don't use this as a main metric
to gauge ranking difficulty, it can work well
to spot check the relative "strength"
of a brand from an SEO perspective.
If you're not an Ahrefs user, you can use
our free Website "Authority" Checker.
First, enter your domain and you'll see a DR score.
Mark that down.
Then you can use it to check the Domain Rating
for the top 10 ranking websites.
If you have an Ahrefs account, just go to Keywords
Explorer and enter your target keyword.
As you can see here for the keyword "SEO," all
of the websites' Domain Ratings are quite high.
So if your DR is let's say 30, then you probably
won't be able to compete.
As for the keyword "affordable SEO services
for small business," you'll see Domain Ratings
ranging from 6 to 86.
So for that DR 30 site, I'd say it's well
within your wheelhouse.
If you've chosen a keyword that's too competitive
now, go back to keyword research.
And if your keyword is rankable, let's move
on to the next step, which is to make sure
your page aligns with search intent.
Search intent means the reason behind
a searcher's query.
For example, if you search for "how to make a
website," you'll see that almost all of the ranking
pages are how-to guides with step-by-step instructions.
To determine search intent, just Google your
keyword, and identify the 3 C's of search intent.
The first C is content type.
So are the top pages blog posts, product,
category, or landing pages?
For example, the type of pages ranking for "buy
protein powder" are all e-commerce category pages.
The second C is content format.
And this applies mainly to when you're trying
to rank informational content.
Common formats include: how-to guides, step-
by-step tutorials, list posts, opinion pieces,
reviews and comparisons.
So if we look at the top pages for "best tasting
protein powder," you'll see all pages are list posts.
And third is content angle.
This one is harder to quantify than type or format,
but content angle is generally the dominant unique
selling proposition used by the top-ranking pages.
For example, pages ranking for "best protein
powder" almost all have the current year in the title,
which to me says that freshness is the angle.
Whereas the pages ranking for "blogging tips"
are taking the angle of "for beginners."
If you were to try and rank for "blogging tips"
with an article called "17 Advanced Blogging Tips
for Professional Bloggers," it might be tough to rank.
Reason being, the better you can match the searcher's
query, the better your chances of ranking high.
If your page doesn't match search intent,
you'll want to update the page so it does.
But, if your page is matching intent, let's
move onto the next stage, which is
to ensure your content covers the topic in full.
The way that you and I look at topics might be
very different from the way Google looks at them.
For example, if you and I were to talk about
the best watch brands, I might talk about Apple
and you might talk about Omega.
Ask five more people, and you might get
five completely different responses.
Now, looking at Google's top 10 pages for
this query, it's quite clear you should write
a list-style blog post that focuses heavily
on luxury brands.
And if you visit the pages, you'll notice
They all mention Rolex.
So this is probably a brand you should include
too if you haven't already.
Now, this is kind of just guessing based on observation.
So if you want to take it a step further, you can
also do a Content Gap analysis at the page-level.
Just take a few top-ranking pages and paste them
in the top section of Ahrefs' Content Gap tool.
I've already done that here with 5 relevant
pages, so let's run the search.
And now you can see queries that one or more
of these pages are ranking for.
Just sift through the keywords and you'll get
a better idea of subtopics you should talk about.
Now, if your content isn't up to par, then
rewind and follow these steps.
But if you've covered your topic in full, move on
to the next step which is to estimate the number
Backlinks are still the most important ranking factor and you need to build them!
of backlinks you'll need and then build them.
Backlinks are an important ranking factor.
Not only has Google said it themselves, but
pretty much every industry study has found
a positive relationship between organic search
traffic and backlinks.
Now, there's no way to know an exact number
of backlinks required because not all backlinks
are created equal.
But we can get a rough estimate using Ahrefs'
Just search for your target keyword.
And just below the Keyword Difficulty score,
you'll see a little note that says
"We estimate that you'll need backlinks from around
43 websites to rank in the top 10 for this keyword."
The way we come up with this number is by
taking a weighted average of the number of
unique websites linking to the top pages.
So, while this can work as an eyeball metric,
I recommend scrolling down to see the top 10
pages so you can analyze other factors, like
topical relevance of the pages and domains,
as well as website authority.
We have a full tutorial on assessing ranking
difficulty, which I'll link up in the description.
Now, if you don't have enough backlinks, then
go and watch our link building playlist and execute.
But if you do have enough, let's
move on to the next step,
which is to add internal links to your page.
We already know that backlinks can help boost
the authority of your page.
But internal links can also help tremendously.
To find pages you should add links from, just
go to Google and search for site:yourdomain.com
and then a keyword that's relevant to your page.
You'll then see all indexed pages from your site
that have that keyword somewhere on the page.
Visit the pages and add internal links where relevant.
Generally speaking, the more "authority" you've
built to the linking pages, the more "authority"
it can pass to the linked pages.
If you don't have any authoritative pages to link from,
then I highly recommend watching our video on
the "middleman technique," which is an SEO strategy
built on the foundation of strategic linking.
Now, after you've done everything up to this
point, it's just a matter of waiting.
Well, that depends.
After studying 2 million keywords, we found
that less than 5% of the top 10 pages
were under a year old.
So rather than sitting around twiddling your
thumbs, go and repeat the process for
different keywords and pages.
But before you get all pumped up to do that,
there's one very important thing you should know.
Ranking on the first page of Google may not
be the answer to solve your SEO woes.
If you look at this CTR curve, you'll see that there's
a huge drop-off after the first 2 or 3 positions.
Meaning, if you're ranking in position 10,
you'd only get around a 1% click-through rate.
So to put this into perspective, if you ranked
in position 10 for a keyword that gets searched
1,000 times per month, that's only 10 search
visitors, which may not be worth the effort.
So instead of just going for a first page
ranking, shoot for the top 3.
And this will often come down to matching
search intent, creating thorough content,
and building more links.
I highly recommend watching our video
on how to rank higher in Google,
as well as our link building playlist.
But before you go, make sure to like, share
and subscribe for more actionable SEO
and marketing tutorials.
And if you have any questions,
throw them in the comments below.
I'll see you in the next tutorial.