‘It’s a marathon, not a sprint’ is a phrase commonly used to describe how a slower and steadier approach will help you to conserve energy, allowing you to complete the whole journey by taking gradual steps forward. The idea behind this is to help you absorb the finer details instead of having to frantically try to cross the finish line, leaving you feeling burnt out and lacking in motivation to take the next step on another journey.
But what if you can take the qualities of going the distance while combining this with sudden bursts of changes to amplify organic visibility?
By no means does this post replace a long-term strategic approach. Instead, by clearly defining your goals, adopting these techniques cannot only help to edge you closer to those goals at a faster rate, but it can ensure you are being productive on the right things.
So hopefully by reading and implementing the below points, you will be on your way. These points are aimed towards anyone, but as the nature of the post is gaining better coverage within a shorter timeframe, it is especially relevant to those sites who already have a strong domain authority and link profile. There are a few reasons for this:
Links still influence performance:
Despite counter statements indicating that links are either massively devalued compared to a few years ago, or in some cases, perceived as an unnecessary part of the Google machine (this has probably come from those ‘SEO is Dead’ folk); there is such overwhelming evidence to suggest that they are integral in determining the order of search results.
In this post, I share how you can test and witness its influence.
So based on this evidence, if a site already has an established domain, which covers core-ranking factors, it will mean the changes suggested below will have a better chance at succeeding at a faster rate.
Link building takes time:
If you are already familiar with the link building process, then you will know that nowadays, it takes longer than spinning some content and pushing a button to submit them to unsavoury sites.
But if you are less familiar with the concept, acquiring high-quality links takes time! And in fact, even if you were to attempt to fast track the process, this in itself can have a detrimental effect on performance.
A little caveat: for sites which have a stronger link profile, applying a few links can make all the difference, allowing you to move the average keyword group positions for a page from 12th to 5th.
And we know that by increasing ranking positions, the CTR should improve – here’s a chart to help illustrate this:
This is simply an average across sectors and query types (there are strong fluctuations between these and as shown below, there are a few ways that you can influence the CTR), but it helps to give a good indication on the potential CTR that you can receive.
Identify your current visibility – know what’s realistic & provides value
By paying particular attention to those related page groups which are either placed in the top 10 or between 11th or 20th, subtle movements while in these positions can help you benefit from a better CTR in the short term.
Once deciding which pages to select, extra weight should be given towards those pages which already have links directed to them.
To do this, SEMrush & SEO Monitor are both amazing tools to help pinpoint where those golden nuggets lie.
My personal choice for analysing backlink activity is Majestic SEO, while Screaming Frog is an amazing scraping tool. By merging the strengths of these tools, we are able to understand a few quick insights:
Based on their existing presence, current link profile & content relevancy, determine which pages and sections are realistic targets.
Assess the influence of pages and sections that provide goal completions. This is important in helping to assign value to a session or unique page view.
The number of pages that facilitate a visitor’s user intent. For example, those seeking to know more about what luxury holidays are available across Europe, yet are undecided on a specific location will want to know more information such as weather, things to do, costs and options before they make further decisions.
Whether the bounce rate across different devices is more pronounced. This can help identify whether additional user testing is required to establish why this is happening.
Here are a few steps I use while using this process:
Using the export files for SEMrush, Screaming Frog (include HTML and 200 pages), & Majestic SEO (only the URL and root domains), add these into tabs, similar to the below:
The GA tab I have uses SEOtools For Excel by tapping into the API of Google Analytics. It plots out the range of metrics, including sessions, bounce rate, goal completions, exit rate, unique pageviews, accessibility score, bounce rate & sessions across mobile, desktop & tablet devices.
Then by applying Vlook-up & SUMIFs formulas, in the 1st tab ‘Key Pages’, this will populate the URL, ranking ranges, traffic, bounce rate, goals. Here is a preview with the target page URL’s removed:
Using the above image, it presents the total available monthly searches per page. Once this is combined with metrics such as, organic traffic, Meta titles, goal completions and the total number of inbound links towards the page, it is possible to accurately establish what is influencing this presence.
This is particularly useful during competitor analysis because it can help to isolate the reason why they have been able to acquire this visibility. There are over 200 ranking factors – so obviously, it will be impossible to exactly determine why they have this presence. But by including key factors, such as:
A correlation can be made, meaning if your work is more aligned with what they are undertaking, you will be more confident that by replicating this activity, it can bear fruit.
Finally, in the second tab, ‘insights’, here is a preview of one table:
By tagging the user journey stage against each page (unfortunately this is a manual job), this can help you assess how your site content is distributed.
Importantly, this can provide additional insights. For example, whether new pages need creating or more targeted work needs to be applied to help improve positions for those, which are already ranking in more advanced positions.